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​2012-13 – Arcadia Publishing –The Images of America Series– Author, photographer, layout, and graphic designer completing five volumes under contract with a national publisher. The California Mission Collection features 1000 archival and contemporary images with narrative descriptions of California pioneers, buildings, settlements, and regions pioneered by the Spanish in California. Requirements made necessary deadlines, creating a concept for a series, writing the manuscript, documenting expeditions, pioneer discoveries, and impact on the indigenous people necessitating visits to 40 original sites and special collection documentation libraries. The project titles are Missions of Monterey, Missions of Central California, Missions of San Diego, Missions of Los Angeles, and Missions of San Francisco Bay, currently on sale in hardback, soft-cover, and Kindle formats.

Gold Country Explorer


There’s a vigorous new generation of 49er residents and an energetic enthusiasm alive in the Sierra Nevada Foothills in support of the traditional values of self-determination and entrepreneurial spirit of the past generations. Of the most monumental events shaping the country, the California Gold Rush brought productivity and innovation to a new era of prosperity. An estimated 300,000 streaming into the Golden State with rumors of California nuggets out for the taking created the sudden frenzy that ignited the largest mass migration in recorded history. In 1849, the pilgrimage began by wagon, horse, mule, oxen, or on foot to bring prospectors to the Sierra Nevada from all corners of the globe. 

Today, the Gold Country region displays hundreds of old brick-and-mortar buildings of the 1849 Gold Rush, with nearly 500 established mining towns. The Gilded Age produced more efficient water systems, steam power generation, long-line electrical transmission, long-distance telephone lines, new clothing styles, expansive agricultural methods, and other innovations. By 1869, the crowning achievement celebrated the arrival of the first transcontinental railroad in Sacramento, at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers. A common thread connects much more than mining, lumber, status, or wealth but conveys a sense of commitment to its verdant landscape and the authentic era of 49er pioneering hospitality. 

Exploration and travel on California State Highway 49 leads to the most panoramic foothill destinations in the Sierra Nevada foothills along a 300-mile journey north to south. Entering the majestic California State Parks of the Sierra foothills, visitors discover wooded landscapes and steep canyons of moderate to mountainous terrain and access to unlimited recreational opportunities. Most certainly, there is never a dull moment touring State the Highway 49 Golden Chain and visiting the museum-quality mining towns, living history events, campouts, trails, and adventures following its legendary pioneering history. 

Contact the author via LinkedIn:

Robert A. Bellezza


530-273-5600 text/cell

Step back into history to the vibrant era of the 1849 Gold Rush! A single Eureka! event changed history forever early in January, 1848, at Sutter's Mill on the American River, and the first gold discovery site. Make a journey on the circuitous Gold Country backroads to museum-quality mining towns on a tour around 'California's Golden Triangle' via Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite National Park, covering one-fifth of the Golden State's most scenic geography. Whether exploring James W. Marshall's first gold strike on the American River South Fork or visiting the bounty of vintage mining towns along State Highway 49's Golden Chain, the 300-mile adventure explores the once legendary gold mines, tent camps, and their surrounding lakes, rivers and streams. It's a path of history bringing the magnetic, frantic lust for gold drawing the miners and tradesmen into the goldfields, and within a year the search for the precious mineral generated the single largest mass migration ever recorded. The Gold Country today offers legendary lodging, handcrafted goods, delicious farm to fork foods, craft beer, wine and spirits, with an unlimited choice of vacations and recreational opportunities.

Within his 50-year career living in the Gold Country, the author recalls the first impression seeing Sutter’s Mill on the American River, in Coloma, during a family trip in 1972. The impressions of California’s early history piqued an interest to hearing more early original Gold Rush stories on regular excursions. At the time, residing in Nevada County between Lake Tahoe and Sacramento, he began publishing an initial guidebook, Gold Country Guide, after visiting the ghost towns and original gold mining camps. Hiking the trails of the prospectors’ overland journeys from over a hundred and fifty years ago, out from Marysville to the Henness Pass crosses the high Sierra traversed by horse and wagon as the fastest way to the gold and silver mines of California and Nevada. The seekers came to San Francisco and from Marysville into mountainous towards Sierra County along the Yuba River, creating the Gold Rush colorful story was often comprised of tales of the miner’s successes and sorrows.