Cuincy, Qalifornia

7 May

My chamomile tea and pumpkin bread was just proffered to me in the most quaint and ecologically sound of manners; a small ceramic pot of tea, a glass mug, plate and fork on a wooden tray.

That about describes this coffee shop and this town; taste and kitsch meet in the walls of the coffee shop – covered with cuttings from canvas coffee bean sacks and an endless collection of coffee pots of various shapes and sizes and vintages – and in the streets of the town, with its opposing one-way streets which collectively make up Main Street, small cafés, and more consignment, vintage, and thrift than is strictly necessary for a town of 5,000.

Quincy has been the seat of Plumas County since the county was officially established around the turn of the 19th century, and as such is steeped in the West Coast stylings of history. Chinese, Native Americans, the White Man, and a freedman named Jim Beckwourth all came together in various roles to develop a rich culture of basketry, beading, mining, logging, transportation, and agriculture.1

Aside from being the closest “real town” to our free campsite, it provides the indispensable benefit of providing free wi-fi in cutesy coffee shops, as well as excellent eavesdropping involving cow health and blurriness.

1All this information thanks to the $2 admission-fee
Plumas County Museum, which has more pictures of people in the old days
than anyone should ever care to see, but also has extensive collections
of heavy instruments for agriculture, mining, trains, blacksmithing, of
Maidu baskets, of porcelain dolls, of Boy Scout patches through the
ages, and of empty one-quart whiskey and bourbon bottles presumably
guzzled by grizzly miners during the gold rush. Unfortunately for those
drunk bastards, Plumas County was only lucky to have copper, quartz, and
the like.

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