Travel Day To Be Remembered…Not

We had a 103 mile trip from Carson City NV over to…originally but not where we ended up…Coloma CA. Before I get to that though…there was a Supreme Court decision issued this week that deserves a few words about what they said and, what it means, and what the hue and outcry about it means.

The case is Knick, Rose Mary v. Scott, Pa, et al…and concerns the ability of government to take private property without just compensation. Essentially…there have been many court cases that establish that if the government takes your property without your agreement they have to pay you just compensation rather than just taking it. Cities, counties, towns, and states have used the right of eminent domain for 250 years now to take private property for public use…and they must pay the private owner for that taking.

So Scott Township (basically a county) in Pennsylvania passed an ordinance requiring that cemeteries located on privately owned land were required to remain public accessibility during daylight hours. On the surface…nothing really wrong with this as it would allow family descendants to visit the graves of their ancestors when the property had passed to another owner. Petitioner Rose Mary Knick was notified that she was in violation of this ordinance on her 90 acre farm…nobody from the government had contacted her about this prior to the notification and no payment to her for taking her property was negotiated or paid. So Rose took them to court…seeking a declaratory judgement in state court that this requirement was essentially taking her private property for government use without compensation…and therefore unconstitutional. The state court held that she had not demonstrated irreparable harm and therefore was not required to get relief…since the township withdrew the violation when she sued them…even though the town said she had to allow access. Rose in turn filed a federal claim against the township that she indeed had suffered under the takings clause…and therefore was owed compensation. 

The case eventually ended up at the Supreme Court…and the state claimed in their arguments and briefs that all she was allowed under the constitution was a claim to state courts for compensation.

The Supreme Court said that under the US constitution she was entitled to compensation as soon as the taking occurred and that the state was wrong…this overturned a precedent from 1985 (at least that’s what the media said) which held the opposite…but in itself that decision from 1985 was a reversal of decades of previous precedent.

Essentially…250 years of court decisions have stated that if the government takes your property you were constitutionally owed just compensation…but there a single 1985 case that had been used as a precedent in the opposite direction and that you must (under the 1985 case) follow the state court process instead. The problem with this is that state courts historically favor state government associations over private citizens…and also that the constitution which supersedes all state laws provides relief on taking.

As it turned out…the vote in this case was 5-4 with the majority being the justices typically branded as “conservatives” and the minority the “liberals”. What they actually said though…was that the right in the constitution says what it says supported by 250 years of court cases…and that if the government takes your property then they are required to compensate you for that taking. Not that they can’t take it…eminent domain is well established legally…but they can’t take it without compensation and that a citizen is owed compensation immediately when the property is taken.

So…reading about this in the news this week…it hasn’t been about the guaranteeing of rights in the constitution…it has been all about “conservative over-reach” in overturning “well established Supreme Court precedent”. The problem is that…at least in this case…there are competing and opposing precedents and the media, liberals, and Democratic Party are insisting that the sole case that falls in their favor is the one that should prevail rather than the other 250 years of precedent.

Now there’s nothing really earth shattering about this case…other than that it again established that rights enshrined in the Constitution are just that…inviolate.

So let’s talk a bit about “Supreme Court precedent” and how those “out of touch conservative judges” have violated it. At least that’s what you might believe from reading the media this week. Seems to me though…that if the government takes your property they must pay you for it is a mighty fine idea.

From what I’ve read this week…this is an egregious violation of Supreme Court precedent merely for political gain…but the real issue here for the liberals is the Roe vs. Wade decision which may…or may not…come up for a Supreme Court vote in the next year or three. What the media, liberals, and Democrats are trying to establish here is that any Supreme Court decision is “settled law”…much like the climate warriors declare that global warming is “settled science”…and thus not liable to be changed. Making this point now presumably helps the Democrats in some future abortion case where they can claim that Roe v. Wade is “settled law”.

While that’s a valid argument…it’s a bit hypocritical. On the one hand…Democrats are demanding that the single contrary decision on the takings clause should be respected as the last word in constitutional law instead of the other decades of precedent. On the other hand however…an interesting fact is that many other Democrat priorities (Jim Crow laws, same sex marriage abortion) were “settled law” the other direction under decades of Supreme Court decisions…at least until they weren’t because a liberal majority Supreme Court reversed the precedent. It is hypocrisy to demand that precedent be honored when it suits your demands and that precedent should be overturned when it doesn’t. It’s not “out of touch conservative justices” just because they disagree with your interpretation. The country has been debating whether the Constitution says what it says or whether new rights can be invented beyond what the document says…that’s the fundamental argument between strict and loose construction…and that debate will likely never be settled.

So why all the hue and cry over this decision. Simple…politics and not a darned thing more. Anything that Republicans or the President wants…the Democrats are guaranteed to be in opposition. They’re not alone though…the reverse also applies. The greatest problem facing the US today…well, not the Iranians, not the Russians, not abortion or voting rights or anything else…is the fact that our leaders…both in the administration and the Congress and from both parties…are more interested in making the other side look bad, getting reelected, getting even, and appeasing their constituents than in doing their job.

“Settled science”…just like ”settled law”…is an oxymoron. It’s only settled until a Supreme Court decision changes it…slavery, Jim Crow laws, and marriage between a man and a woman only were all “settled law”…until they weren’t…and the right to abortion didn’t exist until a liberal leaning court invented it in Roe v. Wade.

The other 2 decisions this week from this supposedly biased “out of touch conservative” Supreme Court…well…they did not overturn any previous precedent…probably because they decided it was right to begin with. And both of them went what you would think of as the liberals way despite the conservative majority…apparently the biased Supreme Court may not be as biased as the media and Democrats claim.

Politicians…fire ‘em all and start over I say…it couldn’t be any worse.

Ok…on to the travel day from Hell…or maybe hell, I can never really decide whether that’s a proper name and requires capitalization or not…best as I can figure out it’s proper and upper case H if we’re talking the religious Hell and lower case if we’re talking about non-religious interpretations. Just like the S word and the F word…there are so many meanings depending on phraseology, tone of voice, context, and facial expression.

As expected…our RV GPs routed us not over Spooner Pass west of Carson City and through the tunnel exactly as tall as our rig (at least at the outer edge of the 2 lane westbound tunnel, and whether the construction was currently blocking the left hand lane and hence preventing us from driving on the centerline where the tunnel is taller…and it’s only a 100 foot long tunnel so we would have no problem temporarily driving in the middle)…and through downtown South Lake Tahoe. Instead…we headed south a dozen miles then west over Luther Pass to intersect US-50 south of South Lake Tahoe and thereby miss both the tunnel and the downtown traffic…trust me, we’ve been there in Li’l Red and the traffic is brutal.

We had a couple of 6% grades up and down, but not too many curves so although the traffic backed up behind us a bit it wasn’t too bad. Neil was in front with the rig and after the first 2 passing lanes we went through where we immediately got to the right to let traffic pass…well, it turns out the drivers in the DPRC of California…well they are damned if they’re going to stay behind an RV and will gladly pass you in the passing lane area…even if the passing lane area is going away and the lane line for the second lane has stopped and there are arrows telling you to go left…well, they’ll just pass you anyway and force you almost into the rock wall. So…after the first two times…Neil just watched the remaining passing area distance and moved back to the left to block the assholes as they tried to rocket past. It was either that or put Big Red and the rig into the wall…and that just ain’t happening. Sure…we pissed off some CA drivers…but then anybody who has ever driven in the state knows that they’re mostly inconsiderate jerks, don’t believe in blinker fluid or adequate separation between vehicles, and don’t believe in not cutting you off either…according to the lady at our RV park in Fairfield CA drivers are just in a hurry but don’t mean anything by it…apparently they don’t believe in common courtesy on the roads in this state.

Once over the final pass…and it was about a 25 mile downhill on the west side of all the mountains…we got off at Placerville for the 7 mile trip up to our planned stop at American River Resort.

If you don’t want to read all the gory details ya can skip forward a bit…the too long didn’t read version is that if you ever plan on stopping in the Coloma CA area…that’s where Sutter’s Mill that started the California Gold Rush is located…then whatever you do do NOT stop at American River Resort. (Editor’s note: I may have to reconsider a portion of the comments below on the resort…when Neil complained via email he apparently got ahold of somebody with the authority to Make it Right as Mike Holmes would say…he was told the refund was processed but would take 3-5 days to show up. However…the campground is definitely not big rig worthy even through they claim it is…and it’s not any rig with 2 A/C units worthy in the summer when the weather is hot. I’ll report back if the refund actually hits our account.)

We got there about 1300…and were told we couldn’t check in until 1400. No problem…our site was occupied but it turns out they had moved before 1200 to the site across the road because of…you guessed it…bad power in our assigned site 66.

We finally got checked in shortly after 1400, went to our site and backed in…it was a pull through supposedly but the road up to the site entrance was 6 feet wide with a ditch on each side…and we would have had to negotiate our way over a 2 feet deep 2 feet wide ditch to get in…so we ended up going around and backing in.

We measured…as always…the voltage at the pedestal…100-103 volts instead of the normal 120-123…which clearly won’t work. The rig has a power management system which cuts off at 103 to prevent damage from low voltage to our equipment.

Went back to the office and complained. They said “no other sites available”…you’ll just have to deal with it. Told them that we would have to leave…they said “absolutely no refunds”. Now I can understand no refunds for a no-show…but their website talks about a reservation being a commitment for both them and the RVer…and to my mind if they failed to provide the full hookup site we reserved and paid for then we should get a refund. The on site manager refused…Neil has an email in to the park owners to see if we’ll get our money back.

So we left…and did I mention the 13% and 14% curvy road we had to negotiate 8 miles to get there. And did I mention that at the bottom of each and every one of these hills there was a curve marked 15 mph so we had both no starting momentum to get up the hill and then had to essentially stop at the end of the downhill to negotiate the curve. It sucked I tellya.

We made it back down to US-50 and went another 40 miles west to Rancho Cordova CA…where we stopped at the Elks Lodge 2484. We’ll spend 3 nights here before proceeding on to Travis AFB in Fairfield on Tuesday. The good news is that (a) we’re at the Elks Lodge for cheap booze, (b) they have spaghetti dinner on Monday, and (c) we’ll take care of one of our Sacramento Fun Stuff© stops on Monday as we’re only 20 miles from downtown…and oh yeah, (d) it’s only 50ish miles to our next stop in Fairfield.

Dinner Saturday was at the Golden Arches…Connie didn’t feel well by that time but said a few fries sounded good and Neil had a fish sandwich. Sunday we did nothing except Mass…and then Neil made venison burger carne asada flavored tacos on soft corn tortillas for dinner. They were really good…and best of all there are leftovers which will make perfect omelet fodder for breakfast one day soon.

**Pro Tip…Note to self:**

If it’s going to be 97 degrees outside…make sure you have 50 amp power so you can run both A/C units…we’re barely staying below 92 this afternoon. Fortunately…the sun has peaked so it’s starting to go down a bit…and we’ll be gone most of tomorrow afternoon and hopefully won’t get home until it has cooled down a bit. 30 amps just ain’t cutting it.

Monday we headed out to Sutter’s Fort…which wasn’t actually a military fort…just a fortified settlement/trading post in the days before California became part of the US. It wasn’t really all that great…it was abandoned in the 1850s and mostly washed away by local flooding. However…it was rebuilt in Disneyland like fashion by the state in 1893…reconstructed to look old but very little of the buildings are actually old. Still…not a bad destination for our $5 each entry fee…although at $10 each it would have been overpriced.

So…who was John Sutter who founded the fort. Well…he was a German deadbeat essentially…after serving in the Swiss militia and as a merchant he abandoned his wife, 5 children, and debts in Europe and came to America (nice guy, huh?)…ending up in the Spanish owned California territory and established his fort near what would eventually become Sacramento as a safe haven for immigrants from the east after their journey.

Outside the fort…we spotted this duck…which we originally thought was a mallard…but it’s got a blue vice green head and markedly different chest and body coloration than a mallard. It’s got to be some sort of hybrid between a mallard and something else…or perhaps just a local color variation as there were 3 or 4 of them all pretty much identical.

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Heading inside we saw a room where immigrants were housed.

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In the gift shop we spotted this volume for sale…I’m surprised that in the liberal bastion here in the DPRC they would allow such a book to be displayed since it’s not politically correct. The Donner Party you’ll recall was stranded in the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the winter of 1846-47…there were 87 people in the group of which 48 survived…and they only survived through becoming cannibals and eating their dead. So…Donner Dinner Party seems a bit macabre to me.

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The only original building on the site…it contained Sutter’s office and the offices of the doctor and other administrative staff.

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The interior of the fort…instead of the original 2 foot thick adobe brick walls it’s constructed of just a double layer of modern bricks overlaid with what appeared to be stucco…it probably only vaguely resembles the original in both construction methods and design/layout.

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Reconstruction of a bee-hive oven used for making bread.

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Conestoga wagon reconstruction…although they did apparently use period building techniques as the wood members are roughly finished and the iron appears to be blacksmith made rather than forged/machined like it would be today. The canvas is a definite giveaway at the non-originality…no way 150 year old canvas would either look that good or be displayed outside.

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We headed home for Happy Hour and dinner at the Elks lodge. Dinner was excellent spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread…probably the best we have ever eaten outside of what Neil cooks…and apple pizza for dessert…think apple pie on top of pizza dough covered with whipped cream. Neil even liked it…and usually apple pie is way down his list of acceptable dessert options.

Monday morning…we deliberately didn’t get going too early as we only had 55 miles to go to our destination at Travis AFB in Fairfield CA and checkin wasn’t until 1300. We pulled out of our space bit before 1100 and after dumping at the dump station and waiting for the food delivery truck to get out of the loading dock so we could leave we headed on westward on US-50. It’s an 8 to 10 lane freeway at this point…and again was full of California drivers who pay no attention to speed limits, turn signals before changing lanes, adequate clearance before pulling in front of you, and assorted other bad driving habits. On the way…we tried to stop at a Walmart to get lunch and have a potty break…but it turned out to be a dirt turn around area with ruts in it and not the entrance to the. Walmart…the rig has a little boo boo on the LR slide skirt that we’ll have to see about getting fixed…it dragged a bit when the wheels on that side went into one of the ruts. Neil has an email into the New Horizon folks to see how hard a fix it is…I’ll post a shot of it later once we have a better idea of what we’ll need to do.

Oh yeah…we got some photos of the biggest tourist attraction in Carson City the last night before we leave…I’ll post them next time as this has already gotten too long since I went down the Supreme Court precedent rathole a bit.

Interesting things found on the net…just a couple for ya this time.

Spare tire cover speaks for itself.






About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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6 Responses to Travel Day To Be Remembered…Not

  1. Carol White says:

    I’m for the fire all the politicians idea. Might stop at the dog catcher level. I also think that once elected one term is it and you’re out forever, and lawyers can’t hold public office. Never going to happen, but I can dream. Oh and the guy who killed 7 motorcyclists in Randolph NH? According to a video released by Texas law enforcement , a Ukrainian national that ICE wants to talk to.
    He already had a drug violation.

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      I’m all for term limits…but I’m afraid that the pols will never vote themselves out of a job.


  2. Cat White says:

    Re your Carson City post and the Railroad Museum, here is a description of the “Wye” which is really an Armstrong turntable. Info from an editor at Model Railroader Magazine. Also a link to some historical info on that spectacularly lovely locomotive (Glenbrook 2) with its rainbow paint scheme.
    The Turntable stuff to follow in another post.
    John White

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      Thanks John. I thought it was just a eye which was how it was described… it on looking further on google satellite view it is a turn table so would allow locomotives to turn completely around. I liked the link…my old neighbor Tom back in VA would like it better as he’s a real RR nut. I’m ok with ‘em but not a real aficionado.


      The three kinds of stress…nuclear, cooking and a&&hole. Jello is the key to the relationship.


  3. Cat White says:

    OK, here’s the info on the Armstrong turntable from David Lassen:

    Hi, John: I’m an editor at Trains magazine, and your query about the photos from the Nevada State Railroad Museum was passed along to me.

    The first photo is actually of an Armstrong turntable, rather than a wye; a wye is a triangular piece of track used to turn a locomotive. The turntable is known as an Armstrong because, yes, human power is used to turn it; that’s what the poles are for. And yes, it takes some pretty strong men, although when balanced properly, they turn a little more easily than you might think.

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      Strong guys I guess…although you’re right, balanced probably not as hard as one might think.


      The three kinds of stress…nuclear, cooking and a&&hole. Jello is the key to the relationship.


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