“BATW Goes Full-Steam Ahead in Tuolomne County”

By Robert W. Bone

Last month about three dozen BATW members returned to “the thrilling days of yesteryear” and uncovered some golden opportunities for fun in California’s Tuolumne County.

Several “Gold Country” destinations delivered interesting out-of-the-past experiences. For three action-packed days, members happily bounced between such legendary 19th-century outback destinations as Sonora, Columbia, Jamestown and Tuolumne City. The events were sponsored by the Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau, led by Anna Davies, special projects coordinator.

Members arriving on Friday were welcomed at an early evening reception at Sonora’s Indigeny Reserve, a bucolic environment reached via a winding road and a covered bridge. This was followed by a live theater production featuring songs by the legendary Hank Williams at the Fallon House Theater at the nearby Columbia State Historic Park.

On Saturday morning, BATW held a brief business meeting in the old railroad station at the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park at Jamestown. This was followed by a short steam-engine excursion aboard the “Movie Train,” so called for its frequent appearances in Hollywood productions. A roundhouse tour completed the morning activities.

Then it was back to Columbia where “Mark Twain” entertained at lunch. This was followed by a ranger-led walking tour through the authentic old town. Our closing dinner was at the Black Oak Casino Cafe back in Tuolumne City. Afterward, members later witnessed an anachronistic 1980s “geek choreography” concert by the chain band Spazmatics.

Following the Tuolumne experience, a few attendees continued with an overnight excursion using the nearby northern entrance to Yosemite National Park.

Many thanks to BATW Board member Ashok Khanna and all who participated in coordinating this terrific event!