July 4th Road Trip


Posted by Annie in Family Fun on June 29, 2011

Independence Day!

Happy July 4th!

Are you planning a long road trip over the Fourth of July weekend? Many families will take off for cooler parts this weekend. The motherlode provides a great place to get alone with nature and experience the squirrels chatter and the birds song for a refreshing change of pace.

Let’s face it camping in the great outdoors is a terrific experience for the children and it can be easy on the wallet or as expensive as you wish. Regardless of whether or not you camp, drive an RV, or you are ordering up room service from your 5 start hotel room; planning can make all the difference between having a terrific time and being miserable for the entire weekend.

Have you considered the costs of your trip? If you drive at all, you realize that gas prices aren’t what they used to be and can vary wildly from region to region. Do your homework before you leave home, always calculate lower gas mileage than you expect and be sure to add incidental miles (like trips to the grocery store, the beach or any other planned outtings).

Use caution when using online widgets when checking for gas prices, they are often inaccurate, so don’t let your fluid levels get too low before you start hunting for a station. In some areas they can be few and far between — especially when traveling in the mountains. Last year, for example, Wayne’s Shell here in Twain Harte was closed for months – during the Summer, Fall and Winter months people expecting to find gas when they arrived in Twain Harte were disappointed.

Is your vehicle road worthy?

  1. Check and fill all fluid levels; oil, transmission, brake fluid, window washer solvent (not water, the solvent will clean the bugs off due to night driving). Check your hoses, in the heat of the summer, hoses often crack and break during a long trip.
  2. Check the brake pads, most communities have service stations which offer free brake inspection. Get them looked at by a professional.
  3. Check the tire tread and air pressure. (If you plan to head up into the mountains, pack the snow chains, you could need them this year.)

Be sure to have at least a small financial cushion, even if it’s nothing more than room on a credit card in case your vehicle leaves you stranded unexpectedly.

What to pack?

  1. Sleeping bags or blankets (if camping)
  2. A warm jacket
  3. Two changes of clothing per day (one for cooler morning and evening weather, another set for the warm afternoons).
  4. Two pairs of shoes (sandles, tennis shoes, hiking boots, flip flops, water socks) pick 2 or 3 but always have a spare pair.
  5. Swimming trunks
  6. Sunscreen/Mosquito Repellent
  7. Camera
  8. Cell Phone
  9. Laptop
  10. iPod
  11. Map (be sure to print off a copy just in case the GPS goes out)
  12. Walkie Talkie’s if you have them. They make a great backup in the absence of cell phone service, which is typical of many mountain communities and rural areas.
  13. Prescription Medicine (in their original containers).


Your specific needs will vary depending on personal preferences, medical needs, the age of travelers and more. Create your own list of items to add to this list as you think of them. Be sure to call and stop the newspaper delivery or arrange for someone to pick them up while you are away.

Be sure the house is locked up properly, check the doors and windows. Look around your yard, does it look like the house is abandoned? Set a timer for your lights, have a family friend or neighbor check on things in your absence. Be sure your animals have someone looking after them while you are gone.

If you have a large family, be sure to count the kids at each stop to ensure that no one is left behind. Go ahead and laugh, many parents are reading this sentence nodding in agreement. It’s not that hard to forget one on occasion and it’s one quick way to spoil a vacation.

Travel Safe!


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Keep on smiling…


Posted by Shawn & Annette in Opinion, Twain Harte News on June 29, 2011

The New York City fireworks over the East Vill...

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The family piled into the ‘Beca yesterday, with an entire laundry list full of stops to make and what an adventure we had. I find it simply amazing just how many things can go wrong in one day and we just keep on smiling — often through gritted teeth.

I’m laughing because I can’t believe it was hailing last night, the fog was so thick I felt like we were swimming in pea soup. I am very thankful that we made it home last night before dark, when I know it got really ugly for motorists traveling highway 108. It was pouring rain and just as we were unloading our vehicle it began to hail – hard.

I was thrilled to be back home, the National Weather Service was predicting up to 5 inches of snow in the upper elevations, I’m all but certain they got it. I feel sorry for the folks who plan to camp near Dardanelle’s Resort over the Fourth of July weekend. There is still hope the weather will clear up before the holiday arrives but it’s a toss of the dice. I know many locals have opted for camping at New Melones or Beardsley both at lower elevations, instead of camping at Brightman Flat or Kennedy Meadows.

If you decide to brave the elements, be prepared for cold, nasty weather, especially during the evening hours. Pack some warm sweats, you will need mosquito repellent and a heavy sleeping bag. It gets down right cold at night and in the morning. I type this as I sit wrapped in my warm snuggie that I almost packed up for the summer — it’s 48 degrees. I still have bins of summer clothes stacked high that should have been taken care of by now but every time I start getting into them the weather turns ugly and I need my winter gear.

It just goes to prove if you want to live in the mountains you must be prepared to keep on smiling. It’s a wonderful adventure. Have a happy July 4th weekend. Fireworks of any kind are illegal in Tuolumne County though with all this rain we are getting it would be a terrific year to have a fireworks display but I don’t really mind the restriction.

Keep it safe this holiday. Don’t drink and drive.


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D.A. Disregards Law


Posted by Annie in Opinion, Political, Tuolumne County, Twain Harte News on June 24, 2011

Did you catch yesterday’s news from MyMotherlode? I’m referring specifically to, “Marijuana Collectives Challenge Charges.”

June 23, 2011    03:28 pm
B.J. Hansen, MML News Director
Tuolumne County Courthouse, Sonora, California...

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Sonora, CA — Eight of the nine suspects arrested following a raid of three
medicinal marijuana collectives in Tuolumne County appeared in court today
before Judge Douglas Boyack.
Today’s arraignment proceedings were continued until August because attorneys
for the eight plan to file a demurrer next month. The legal maneuver
often challenges that while facts presented may be true, they do not constitute
a legal basis for a lawsuit.

“The charges are lacking proper basis, and these are people who were acting
in complete compliance with the medical marijuana laws of California,” says Kali
Grech, Attorney for Sara Herrin of Today’s Health Collective. “The DA is
refusing to recognize those laws and respect those laws.” [Continue reading…]

What I would like to know is why on God’s green earth is District Attorney Donald I. Segerstrom, Jr. draining the taxpayers money conducting expensive raids and trying frivolous lawsuits in the Tuolumne County Court? Maybe he didn’t get the memo that not only is Tuolumne County broke, but so is the state of California. What in the world is this man thinking?

This part really gets me… Is our District Attorney a communist?

Law enforcement officials argue that the collectives were selling marijuana for
profit rather than just collectively cultivating it for medicinal purposes.

What? They opened up businesses, are they supposed to pool their money to pay for the lights and the rent? Of course they are selling marijuana for profit, someone has to supply it and why on earth would they supply it for free? No one else would expect them to.

No one expects the drug companies to operate as a non-profit and charitable foundation. They are capitalists, they lobby in Washington D. C. and they spend a boat load of money while they are at it. Why doesn’t the district attorney send his swat team to Rite Aid and arrest the pharmacist for selling drugs for profit?

It makes just as much sense. Send Mr. Segerstrom, Jr. a message. Stop wasting our money or he can be replaced.

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