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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

I traveled out of “the Valley” (San Joaquin: breadbasket to the world) going north up Highway 99, the old one that parallels I-5. At Red Bluff I turned west on Highway 36 going west, going towards the coast, going to coolness. In Red bluff the temperature was 102F, and I was toasty enough. Highway 36 was a real E-ticket ride, twisting and turning, “Slow to 15 mph” kind of road. I got a Dr Pepper at Wildwoods Cafe & Store, then reached a summit at around 4,000 feet elevation. From there, I could look north and see the Trinity Alps. Getting cooler by the mile now. Ever vigilant for bicyclists, huffing and puffing alongside the road. don’t they know this is a petroleum based world? Geesh. Then I came to Swains Flat, expecting to see one person behind the counter of the store, selling some canned goods to a local. Much to my surprise, there was a party going on! Turns out, Sky Blue’s home was damaged in a fire, and the community was having a fundraiser to help her out. Count me in. Music, BBQ chicken and cole slaw, beer and sodas, and a couple of vendors selling crystals. I had a dinner plate and went back for more – napkins. The closest I got to finding out about Eric Johnson, my former boss, was a neighbor of his, who had moved into her house a year after I left. Oh well. Eric died in 1981 anyway, and so it goes. I was tired after the heat, the miles, and I needed to reset my eyeballs from all the focusing I did on 36. So I moteled up in Fortuna at a bare bones motel. A great Mexican restaurant on the other side of the road met my needs. From there I visited Arcata the next day, dropping by US Servas and Humboldt State University. (See yesterday’s entry.) Here’s some Highway 36 scenes.

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As I’ve alluded to before, I went in search of George Duke’s burial in Shingle Springs, 1867. I had nice chats with Diane in the Depot Diner, and George Turnboo in El Dorado. Goose eggs all around. I’ll need to get the specifics from my cousin when he can find them again. It was a nice drive down Highway 49, through Auburn, across the American River, twisting and turning all the way. The cherries I got from a roadside vendor in El Dorado were quite sweet and delicious. I did get a goodly dose of local history on this day trip. For one thing, most of the cemeteries are abandoned, even built over, or in general disuse. The Shingle Springs Cemetery is not one of those. The Boy Scouts do maintenance work, and the State of California has jurisdiction for internment issues.

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I spent almost a week with Fred & Judy in their Penn Valley home. What a place and space! What wonderful friends. Kayo and Mira, two huge German shepards shared the grounds with Horace and Bing, the cats. Wildlife abounded, with special note of the African guineas that traipsed by the front deck daily. Wide, open decks surrounded the home, affording both sunshine and shade throughout the day. We ate well. The dogs provided a daily wake-up call, usually around 5:00 a.m., but that’s par for the countryfied course. Judy had to work (she’s a midwife) some days, and Fred continues to write in his office. We had wide ranging talks, took trips into town, and visited the Empire Mine State Park. This is, after all, gold country. I took a solo day trip to Shingle Springs in El Dorado County, wondering if I could find any clues about George Duke, my great, great grandfather. I expect to fill in more details about this week as time allows, but for now, pictures need to be uploaded.

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I’m sitting in the yurt, the guest house, up in the mountains above Boulder Creek. Getting here was a thrill, finding one hidden road – track really – after another. Tys directions were superb, and the skull-on-a-stick was the clincher. I wish I had mounted my camera on the roof rails, so you could see the narrowness, the rutted-ness, the twists and turns of the track. The Subie was so much fun, being in her real element (outside of the snow and ice mode) for the first time. I didn’t even need the skid plates as she did her version of goat-on-hillside. On indicator of the climb was my mileage: 10.4 mpg! I just made one wrong turn towards the end, and was lucky to find a neighbor who told me how to backtrack to the skull thingy. And then I was there, May 31. Melissa saw me first, waving and smiling. Correction, Jack, their dog saw/heard me first and gave me a good once over almost jumping into the car.

To say I was in another world is an understatement. After five years of constant work and effort and design choices, they had their housewarming party just two weeks before. Their house is almost finished. And what a house it is. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking, but adobe walls play a big part of keeping the house cool/warm as needed. It was in the high 80’s that day, and going inside was a palatable relief. And they are off the grid, using solar for their electrical needs. No big screen TV (no TV at all) and no microwave, but in this Eden of theirs, who needs them? I will fill in more of the details later, but for now, these people have created, and live, in the real deal.

‘Later” is now. July 6

The five years of home building goes like this:

  • The “Year of Stone”
  • The “Year of Wood”
  • The “Year of Mud”
  • The “Year of Inside Finishing”
  • …and The “Year (plus) that IS”
If you would like to see more details (photos with text) you can visit his wonderful blog at: http://ideamountain.com/

All our meals have included fruits and veggies from their gardens. Gray water drains to some of the veggies that can use it. Their well, 340′ deep is pumped to a water reservoir. The 3/4 ton diesel pickup runs on waste vegetable oil, which an on-prem machine converts. Tys does his work remotely, connecting to the web from his phone’s modem. My phone showed “no service” but my Kindle got five bars. Go figure. When Tys and I go into town, I’ll upload the text and show pictures, but in the meantime I am incommunicado.

Their ten acres is natures cathedral, redwoods reaching for the sky far above. Sun glinting through here and there, birds, lizards and other critters unseen sharing the habitat. Melissa and I took a walk to their neighbors and from there, the Pacific was visible to the west. This is my second host family for US Servas. I am so glad that this volunteer organization exists, and doubly so for the great people I have met, and their unconditional hospitality. I am blessed.

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I’ve been staying at my brother Barry’s home for the past four days, and enjoying the weather; coastal, breezy, sunny. I visited with my niece, Shani, her husband Clint, and my first grandnephew, Logan. Barry, Margaret and I went to Ivy Lawn Memorial Cemetery and tried to locate Dr. Ethyl Percy Andrus’ mausoleum but ran out of time, as the maintenance crew had to ready to grounds for Memorial Day. Back at their home, we had a wonderful try-tip steak with rice and steamed spinach. I’m packing up tomorrow to return to another leg of my road trip. My next week or two will center around getting my car repaired. The fender and parts will be here next week while I am up by Santa Cruz. Then I will return to Oxnard and spend three more days with the car in the shop. Then back up north I go again, this time to continue with the “gray road experience.” It will be interesting to see how this all works out, as making firm arrangements is problematic to say the least. Oh well, it’s all good.

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In-N-Out Burger at last. The last time I was at an In-N-Out Burger was probably with Phillip, of all people. So there I was in the drive through line, taking pictures to memorialize my visit. Blissfully unaware that I had read the blog Universe Today earlier today, I looked skyward into the overcast, and saw a blimp in front of the sun. It wasn’t moving. Looked again, and the neurons finally fired – eclipse! I shot some with my 35mm prime, but then parked and got out the big gun – 300mm of telephoto glass. And the overcast? My filter that made the pix possible was Mother Nature’s overcast – thanks mom on this Mother’s Day! Synchronicity at play.

The burger was good too – burp.

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From December’s snow to April’s BBQ, here are some pix of food, some of which I prepared myself. I’m making myself hungry as I type…

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