Thursday, June 30, 2011

Westward, Ho! Day 3

June 28

This really is like camping. Sleeping on a pile of sleeping bags, eating picnic lunches, admiring the lovely scenery. Tomorrow I may even be able to shower. I’m sure all the people I hugged today only smelled sweet peas and violets.

Our alarm went off at 6:30 this morning, which was really 7:30 our time. Whether 6:30 or 7:30, we are used to the sun already having been up for hours. It was nice to have it still decently dark at such a late hour. I sleep much better when it’s dark.

A little personal hygiene moment, a quick picnic breakfast, and on to Gold Country! Soon we found ourselves with the lights of Reno in our rearview mirror, and across the border into California. Jack kept bemoaning the unfamiliar amounts of traffic as we climbed over Donner Summit, and we picnicked at a quiet mountain rest area near Colfax.

Next stop: ministorage. Amazingly, it all fit. The only thing we didn’t bring was the large, thick, heavy TV that has been sitting in there for the last 1 ½ years. Jack’s friend, who kindly came to spend time with us by hauling boxes, was able to use it. As I pointed out to Jack, it would give him an excuse to save up for a newer, thinner, lighter TV. Men generally respond to that sort of logic.

We had a lovely visit with our dear friends, just over the hill from where Mom & Dad used to live. We met their charming herd of miniature donkeys, who all wanted me to pet them at once. How do you pet 4 donkeys with only two arms? I’m still not quite sure how I did it, but it involved my elbows.

The three ADORABLE granddaughters waited on me hand and foot. First they brought me apricots. Then they got a paper bag, and began loading it with anything they could grab from their grandma’s house. Whole walnuts, a large toy car, stuffed animal, a can of beans, a partial box of crisped rice cereal, and on and on. They were going to put some eggs in, too. Then, while I was outside, they cracked a bunch of walnuts for me, serving them on a paper plate with a fancy little bowl, and raspberry candies. After that, they went and picked berries for my culinary enjoyment. Jack finally had to roll me out to the car, with a generous young lady’s stuffed polar bear in my pocket.

By the time we reached Folsom, it was pouring rain and chilly. We felt very much at home. Water running everywhere, putting on a nice, warm shirt…it was almost as if we had never left home. Only the gridlock and crowds of people reminded us that we were enjoying the California summer.

As we drove along, a lighted sign on a well-known grocery chain read, “Food 4 Les”. It left me wondering, who is Les, and does he really need that much food? For many years, I drove past a Lockeford store whose nighttime sign read, “Payles Market”. What a difference a light bulb makes.

By modern standards, the trip over the Sierras was rugged. Cold rain falling on a warm road made thick fog at windshield level. A long, hard, snowy winter with copious amounts of snow still on the ground at the end of June, had scoured the lane markings from the road. How adventurous to twist and wind up and down the mountains, not completely sure where the road was going to be a few feet in front of us.

Carson City seemed like a good place to stop, close enough to the McDonalds that certain basic necessities could be attended to first thing in the morning. I can hardly wait to get out of the desert and back where it’s warm.

Homeward bound,
Noni Beth

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