Vintage cars fuel interest in museums tour

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Put a vintage car like Ron Ludford’s green and gold Model A on a side road in Placer County that was once Highway 40 and something magical occurs. Now put a whole lot of early- and mid-20th century cars on that road and you have a magical history tour. The magic will be in motion and at 18 museums inside county lines Aug. 8 and 9 when the second annual Heritage Trail event puts participants — in modern-day as well as old-time modes of transportation — on a trek deep into the rich history of the area. Ludford’s 1929 Model A speedster will be on the road for the Aug. 8 and 9 journey into the past. A member of the Native Sons of the Golden West’s Auburn parlor, Ludford said he appreciates the chance to drop in on special events being held at several sites. Ludford’s sporty, open-air two-seater will be joined by other Model A cars driven by members of the Auburn A’s Club. Diana Hudson, who will be riding along with Ludford, said the sight of old automobiles along historic routes will help recapture history in a colorful way during the two day Heritage Trail. “It’s the journey — not the destination,” Hudson said. Melanie Barton, county museums division administrator, said that the first Heritage Trail museum open house last year drew members of a vintage Porsche club and other old cars. Bringing in more clubs for a historical “cruise” is part of the vision for the event. A Harley-Davidson riders group from the Lincoln area is even in the mix. The tour is also attracting interest from the Bay Area, where people want to turn the weekend into a staycation. “There’s a big cluster in the Bay Area,” Barton said. “They’ve read about it on the Heritage Trail blog on our Web site and want to bring their families to the foothills for mini-vacations for two or three nights.” With the economy and county finances tight, the museums division has reached out for additional sponsorship from Capital Public Radio and communications company SureWest. The phone company has provided not only financial support but will be opening its Roseville Telephone Museum, which is normally open by appointment. Also new to the tour this year is the Fruitvale School, near Lincoln. The theme this year is “A-Tisket A-Tasket, Bring Your Picnic Basket.” All 18 participating museums will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. As part of the weekend, a bus tour and a van tour will be departing daily from Auburn. On the Saturday bus trip, Trail travelers will visit the Golden Drift Museum in Dutch Flat, Colfax Area Heritage Museum, Forest Hill Divide Museum and the Griffith Quarry Museum. On Sunday, a 50-passenger bus will travel west to make stops at the Rocklin History Museum, Fruitvale School, Roseville Telephone Museum, Roseville Historical Society Carnegie Museum and the Maidu Interpretive Center. The seven-seat van tour will explore sections of the Lincoln Highway and visit the Gatekeeper’s Museum and Watson Cabin in Tahoe City and the SkiSport Museum. A picnic stop is planned for all tours and participants can order a box lunch or bring a picnic. All tours cost $10. Reservations for the tours with advance payment are required. The phone number is (530) 889-6500.The event blog is at The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at or comment at