Saturday, June 28, 2014

Day (-1) : Sonora

Friday June 27, 2014

I am in our room at the Barretta Gardens Bed and Breakfast. Fortunately the traffic wasn't as bad as I expected and we arrived in Sonora around six thirty in the evening. Barretta Gardens is a charming place run by Astrid and Danny. Compared to the rest of Sonora, it is an Oasis of elegance with Scandinavian overtones. 

When we walked in the front door I was greeted with a warm homey smell from my past. I was immediately transported back in time and if I'd closed my eyes, I could have been standing in Gramma Jensens living room. I was all ready to sit down to a dinner of Fricadella, mashed potatoes, and grammas famous soggy salad. But no, it's a bed and breakfast not a bed and dinner.

We walked down town after dropping our stuff into our room. We walked past places that were at least a hundred years old, and looked it. The sidewalks and retaining walls in Sonora are all losing the fight against gravity and are slowly slipping sideways down the hill. A soft warm breeze gently wafted its way through town. The big red LED sign in front of the bank said 81 degrees. The weather was perfect

Downtown Sonora, on the other hand, is an interesting place, and not quite as perfect. Born during the California gold rush in the late eighteen hundreds, it is trying deperately to hang on to its wild-west roots. There is a distinct difference between the out-of-towners and the locals. Us touristy folks were sheep to be shorn to support the local economy.

We found an old place that advertised 'Old fashioned soda fountain' in the window. Upon entering, sure nuff, it had a great big bar with ice cream dishes where the liquor normally goes. There were only two people in there, a young guy and gal, both sitting on the swivel chairs planted around the bar, er em, I mean 'soda fountain'. I asked one of the patrons, is there any one working here. The gal waved her hand and between mouthfuls of take-out Mexican food she said she could make anything on the menu. 

I noticed that the sign on the window said books. So I asked do you have any books? Even though we came for the ice cream I didn't want to interupt her dinner. I know how surly I get when somebody wants me to do something when I am trying to eat. She said, "yea, we have a few back there and a lot more downstairs", pointing to a staircase. We meandered past the bar, I mean soda fountain, and headed for the stairs. 

The first thing I noticed as I descended the stairs was water coming out of a strange sluice looking thing in the wall. Like a fountain, not a soda fountain, a natural little waterfall. It hit the rocky floor and the water formed a little creek that headed off to parts unknown. Turning away from the wall I found the books. It was a cool comfortable cavernous place. The sound of the water and the comfy chairs set about made it an ideal place to come on a hot summer day and read. 

All of the books were organized by author and there were many authors that I recognized. These were obviously all used books. If I'd have had more time I could have stayed there quite a while. 

Other the other end of the library there was a fenced off area and what appeared to be mining stuff, a tunnel headed off into the blackness. 

When we returned back upstairs, Katelyn had finished her dinner and taken her rightful place behind the bar/fountain. We sat down and ordered some dessert while I chatted with Katelyn. She's moved here into the big city from the suburbs to follow her dream. Her Dream seemed to be sitting down at the other end of the bar wishing we'd leave. I think Katelyn wished we'd leave too because we were making her work rather than leaving her to pursue her dream.

She told me about how this building used to be bar. Wow, that was a surprise!(sarcasm). She said that the tunnels below used to lead to other bars and the guys used to bar-hop from place to place through the tunnels. It seemed pretty reasonable to me. What do I know? I'm just one of the gullible tourists.

Just about the time we were finishing our dessert, Katelyn asked the Dream to go and locked the back door. She said we have lots of time before she closes, but it seemed to me that she'd be closing the moment we left. Just then another couple came in. I said, "Hey, the ice cream is great!" While I waved at them from the bar. They smiled and came walking further in. I told them Katelyn can make anything on the menu. 

I stood up as I paid my tab. Kelli had already left as it was too cool inside and she wanted to enjoy the warm night air. As I walked to the door I heard one of the couple ask Katelyn, "Can you make a chocolate shake?" I turned and smiled at Katelyn and said, "Katelyn loves to make chocolate shakes! Thanks Katelyn!" And I walked out the door.

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