Hit the road Jack, but be sure to come back

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.

My husband and I found this tub out in the middle of the desert.

My husband and I found this tub out in the middle of the desert. Just what the doctor ordered after a long drive.

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.  

This is a tragic place.  I told my son to stay away from here, no matter how good the trout fishing is.

This is a tragic place. I told my son to stay away from here, no matter how good the trout fishing is.

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. 

Milling around the dirt mounds.

Milling around the dirt mounds.

We went over to the resort Thursday evening, watched the crowd build up to a dull roar.

Folks of all ages came to see what was probably the biggest thing going on for miles.

Folks of all ages came to see what was probably the biggest thing going on for miles.

And dogs...

And dogs…

...of all sizes.

…of all sizes.

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.

 

At last, a glimmer of excitement as our rider made his "speed" run toward the jump.

At last, a glimmer of excitement as our rider is carried to the starting point in a quad runner.

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.

A rider approaches...will he make it?!

A rider approaches…will he make it?!

I'm sure glad I had the camera because this happened so fast I could not believe I saw it.

I’m sure glad I had the camera because this happened so fast I could not believe I saw it.

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.

Ah, the green, green grass of home.

Ah, the green, green grass of home.

Back to the garden, the dogs, the every day rewards of home. 

It's always good to get home.

It’s always good to get back to the garden.

Always good to know somebody is waiting.

Always good to know somebody is waiting.

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Hit the road Jack, but be sure to come back

  1. “…fish with human heads. I wonder if they are referring to the German browns that inhabit the creeks and the lake. ”

    No, they are referring to our city council candidates.

    Cam Zink, ah?

    Sounds like plumbing tool.

    • No, you are thinking of fish with stinking heads. The council is one collective stinking fish, and I think Gruendl is the head. The whole fish should be thrown out, at least the portion that’s available in this election.

      did you watch The Flip on ABC Sunday morning? They also got a half hour commercial enterprise out of a trick that lasted less than 30 seconds from start to finish. I am always conflicted – I want to admire this child for his practicing and determination, but the Redneck in me wants to walk up to him and say, “Get a haircut, and get a reeeeeeeal job!”

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