Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Safely Out Of California. Thank You, Lord.

We're back in Phoenix. California is the strangest place, a short drive from the ocean to the desert. California is peacenik headquarters and the home of much of America's defense industry.

We were going to stay a couple weeks longer but my sister and her husband are finally officially sick of California and they are getting their house and land ready to sell. So, they are fixing to start in the bedroom we were in. Anyone who would like a few acres of Sierra Nevada foothill gold country with a geodesic dome house and goats and chickens should let me know. Oh, and yes one can still pan gold out of their little creek, unfornately only tiny flakes. The big nuggets are a hundred and fifty years gone. Unless, of course, there is a still undiscovered mother lode.

We drove down to Watsonville and Santa Cruz the day before my niece's wedding, we drove kind of the long way around, State Highway 88 down through Lodi and Stockton to Interstate 5, south to State Highway 152 and then east to Watsonville. We drove through some of the finest farmland in America, the cherry harvest was just ending and the illegals, er undocumented workers were picking strawberrys. The artichokes were just about ready, too. The almonds and walnuts were ripening, the lettuce and cabbage growing, and, of course, the citrus. Of course the country is going to get mighty hungry in another couple of generations as the farmers are fast being replaced by yuppie owners of vineyards. We won't have much to eat but we'll be drunk enough not to care. It used to be the Napa and Sonoma Valleys for wine and table grapes in the Central Valley, now it is one wine tasting place after another from the foothills of the Sierras, through the Central Valley and back to the coast. At any rate we took all day on a three or four hour drive but we saw a lot of pretty country.

We got to Watsonville and checked in to a $79.00 a night Motel 6. On the coast of California no one needs to worry about me boycotting the Hilton bunch, I can't hardly afford Motel 6. We cleaned up and drove the fifteen miles or so up to Santa Cruz in plenty of time for the rehearsal. Not that we needed to be at the rehearsal but that was the only way to get to the night-before dinner, us not being familiar with the area. The nieces, all four were there, all the kids and a regiment or so of other relatives, some that I had not seen in more than thirty years.

After the dinner we then drove around the area until dark. We went to bed early and, after we got up, drove up to the beach at Santa Cruz. That is where we discovered that dogs are not particularly welcome there, we got chased off the big pier and could not go on the boardwalk. They will be sorry for disrespecting the Black Pug Of Doom.

Then the wedding. Poor Larry, the groom, had about three relatives total. The preacher made the bride's family and friends sit on both sides of the aisle for fear the church would tip over.

We then drove to the Elks Lodge, up the hill from the beach, for the reception. Nice dinner, loads of family, the usual thing. Since my niece is like forty or so, we had folks from toddlers to people in walkers but it was fun. Not much to talk about, though, my family is like any other. From the reception we drove over Highway 17 to San Jose where we met Springfield Slim and I bought some of the Big Lube Bullets. The trouble was that Linda Lou and I were both tired and the directions were on a recording on the cell phone that we could not hear very well. We went the wrong way on every turn but finally found the place. There is something serious wrong with driving around lost with $3.23 a gallon gas in the car. Then back to the motel. Things got interesting the next day but that is also the next blog entry.

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