What a week – my family finally did something we see here every year – we drove our kid hours from home and deposited him in a dorm at a college in another town.
Educationally speaking, it’s no big deal. He’s tired of Butte College, and he wanted to get out and see what other people are doing, so he transferred to a tiny community college in Southern California. There are several “satellite campuses,” he chose the one with a snow park nearby, and lots of mountain bike trails. And, it’s a small school with a small dormitory, most of the students come from the immediate area, from tiny little towns strung along Hwy 395.
It’s very different from Chico, that’s for sure. That’s what kids want, they want to see something different than their parents’ back yard. My older son went out and about, decided he likes Chico. He has another semester or so at Butte, then he might actually attend Chico State, we’ll have to see. But he’s pretty sick of school, if there was an engaging job around here that suited his talents, I’m pretty sure he’d drop school like a hot potato. The little one is more stubborn, he’s going to take college to the mat and throttle an education out of the system if he has to break it.
My gift to the planet – one that simply turns the other cheek, and one that kicks you straight in the balls. You’re welcome.
The driving was a ball-buster. I don’t drive, cause my husband is one of those guys – I sit folded into the passenger seat like a road map. If we stop and get out, I have a hard time figuring out how to fold myself up and get back in there. I am so stiff right now, I can’t touch my toes. We did have fun.
There is a lot of geothermal activity along Hwy 395. We’ve been to several hot springs, some right in rivers or streams (which can be extremely hot and dangerous), and some very nicely developed with long sections of pipe to mix cool and hot water, and nicely made rock and cement tubs. We were lucky enough to run into some guys from the county water district, who directed us to the best tub. This one is used regularly, there’s a plug in the bottom, and somebody comes around often and cleans the scum out of it and refills it.
We did a lot of sight seeing while our kid was busy with mandatory meetings, fire drills, and filling out his move-in sheet. There are so many incredible physical features, right off the highway a mile or two. We went up to Convict Lake, a beautiful but creepy location known for tragedy.
The name the old people used was “Wit-sa-nap.” They say the gods created the lake to protect the creatures that lived in nearby creeks – “water babies,” fish with human heads. I wonder if they are referring to the German browns that inhabit the creeks and the lake. The fish and game department stocks the lake weekly during summer with rainbows for the nearby resort.
In between meanderings, we went back and forth to help our kid move into his little room, went around town to find the grocery store, the hardware store, etc. He was really excited about an event that had been scheduled just in time for the new students arriving in town – Cam Zink, a well-known mountain bike exhibition rider was to make a very publicized jump for ESPN (I believe they will play it again today on ESPN, or you can see it online at various sites). They’d been building the ginormous dirt mound jumps at the snowboard park for days, we watched them put the finishing touches on the night we arrived, since we got a cheap room right down the street from the resort.
We went over to the resort Thursday evening, watched the crowd build up to a dull roar.
My goodness, we waited and we waited. The mountain breeze was starting to pick up, and I didn’t have much of a jacket. The announcer was talking about how the wind would affect the jump.
Finally we watched him driven (!) to the top of the run in a quad with his bike stowed on the rear. He was wearing very reflective clothing, cause it was getting dark. I couldn’t see worth a darn, so I just held my camera over my head and started snapping.
And there it was. You know how these things are – the waiting is always longer and almost more exciting than the actual doing. It was like the best steak I ever had – over so fast I couldn’t remember the taste. Within minutes the crowd was filing down a tiny single track path to the parking lot, and buzzing up the road past our hotel. The place emptied out before ESPN even interviewed Cam Zink – when we watched that later in the hotel room, you could see the spectator area was completely vacuumed out.
Unfortunately, the bar at our hotel was JUMPIN!
Next day we did a few last minute errands, had a soak in the tub again, bade adieu to our man child and hit the road for Chico.
Back to the garden, the dogs, the every day rewards of home.