Photo Phriday – Cold Spring Tavern~

What to visit Gopherville? I do!

In 1860 a stagecoach pass was hacked through the California wilderness over the mountainous San Marcos Pass to connect Mission Santa Barbara to The Santa Ynez Rancho.

A rest stop was built along the stage coach route high up on The San Marcos Pass, next to a naturally running cold mountain spring.

This stage-stop was, and is still called, Cold Spring Tavern.

Back in the day the tavern served hot meals and alcohol.

It still serves both today, and the experience of eating here is one we return to enjoy whenever we pass by this area.

There was a bunkhouse,

a small store, a stable, and several small homesteads, forming a town called Gopherville, which is now a ghost town.

The town even had a jail which could hold up to eleven (crowded) souls…. rowdy cowboys and such, who likely drank too much whiskey…..

Cheers to you from Cold Springs…

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Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters

130876. sy475 I had listened to this audio book before, but it had been so long ago that I didn’t remember the outcome, so I gave it another go.

Stats: Published in 2006, print is 317 pages, audio is 12 discs, 13.75′ narrated by Barbara Rosenblat. It is book #18 of the Angela Peabody Mysteries.

Blurb: Convinced that the tomb of the little-known king Tutankhamon lies somewhere in the Valley of the Kings, eminent Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerson and his intrepid wife, Amelia Peabody, seem to have hit a wall. Having been banned forever from the East Valley, Emerson, against Amelia’s advice, has tried desperately to persuade Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter to relinquish their digging rights. But Emerson’s trickery has backfired, and his insistent interest in the site has made his rivals all the more determined to keep the Emerson clan away.

Powerless to intervene but determined to stay close to the unattainable tomb, the family returns to Luxor and prepares to continue their dig in the less promising West Valley—and to watch from the sidelines as Carter and Carnarvon “discover” the greatest Egyptian treasure of all time: King Tut’s tomb. But before their own excavation can get underway, Emerson and his son, Ramses, find themselves lured into a trap by a strange group of villains ominously demanding “Where is he?” Driven by distress—and, of course, Amelia’s insatiable curiosity—the Emersons embark on a quest to uncover who “he” is and why “he” must be found, only to discover that the answer is uncomfortably close to home. Now Amelia must find a way to protect her family—and perhaps even her would-be nemesis—from the sinister forces that will stop at nothing to succeed in the nefarious plot that threatens the peace of the entire region.

What I liked: I particularly like listening to Barbara Rosenblat. Listening to her you can understand why Barbara has so many acolades. She is great at doing different voices, men included. Since I am a history buff, I enjoyed the historical info around the uncovering of the tomb of Tutankhamon. I assume with Peters background, much of this information was accurate. This is the only Amelia Peabody Mystery I’ve read, even though it’s #18 in the series. Peabody is an interesting character and I like her husband, Emerson, but she seems to know an awful lot or is a really good guesser.

What I didn’t like: Peters takes a lot of time talking about the uncovering the tomb of King Tut so I thought something was going to happen (a murder, of course) around this part of the story (spoiler alert) but nothing does, instead the subplot becomes the main plot at the end and was something the reader had no way to even guess at. Maybe if I knew the history of the people and the time I might have thought it was an option, but it kind of felt like it was pulled out of thin air. Not a satisfying end for me.

Rating: 3.5/5

Dead Wake – The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

22551730I read Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City and really enjoyed it so when I saw this was available in audio from my local library, I thought I’d give it a try.

Stats: Audio book is 13′ 4″ long narrated by Scott Brick. Print is 430 pages. Both published in 2015.

Blurb: On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds” and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship–the fastest then in service–could outrun any threat.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small–hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more–all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

What I liked: As Larson’s White City book, you can tell he has done his research. This “story” doesn’t have the real-life oddities that the White City story has but if you like history (and you have to like history to read this book), it gives you details and insights that you might not get in a history book. It has many first person accounts, but since I was listening to this, I don’t know if they were direct quotes. They sounded like it. Larson weaves a lot of different aspects of the ship’s journey and sinking with cold facts, but in a way that is generally entertaining. He also must have had access to the log of the submarine that sunk the ship because there is much information about what occured on that vessel as well. All the different things that had to be in place for this very large and famous ship to sink makes one wonder. Not to mention that the British really should have been escorting the ship when it got close to Ireland. Seems like that was quite on purpose – to pull the US into the war. Hard to really believe otherwise, though Larson doesn’t come right out and say this. Scott Brick’s narration helps move the story along.

What I didn’t like: It is a bit long. I’m glad I was listening to it vs reading it. As I mentioned, you have to be a history buff to want to read this book.

Rating: 4/5