Sunday, July 9, 2017

a vacation in CA

Summer vacation started with a small pop this year.  The night before our flight out to California I sprained my ankle playing softball.  I didn't think it was too bad, so I kept playing-- except that I moved from my standard outfield position to first base.  As an aside, first base is really great.  I hardly had to move the rest of the game!  And we won.

Later that night my ankle hurt bad.  I wondered if I needed an airport wheelchair.  While at the airport I eyeballed that old people greedily.  But I hobbled along.  And my ankle still bothers me 2 weeks later.

I didn't take as many pictures as I should have.  Missing from this post are images from our visit to Andy and Melanie in Napa (we had Oprah-recommended english muffins that did not disappoint.  Thanks, Oprah!), our beach trip, and several days hanging out at my sister's house.  

The biggest adventure of the vacation was visiting Big Trees state park near Bear Valley.  The trees did not disappoint.  As per usual, humanity did.  The largest tree was cut down shortly after the first Euro-Americans found the grove.  The stump remains in the ground, and some very big pieces lay beside it. 
 Before we all go 'what were you thinking???!!!???' towards those guys, I'll note that several trees in the area have fallen due to natural causes.  In fact, the signs say that much of the Sierras were covered with Giant Sequias several thousand years ago.  Those trees are long since gone.  Still, did they have to cut down the absolute biggest one???

Still, they might say to us in the after-life, 'did you have to climate change the whole planet????!!!???'  So maybe we're even.

On a perhaps related note:  we drove by the now-closed Sunol Golf course.  I was jolted by the sight of dead weeds standing in place of lush grass.  I guess googlers and facebookers don't play golf?
We camped (glamped?) overnight in Grandpa's RV.  The next day, Jill and I hiked down to the Stanislaus River to see how fast the water was flowing (very fast, and very cold!) and to see if we could find a gold nugget and retire (I'll be at work tomorrow.).
 That was an 8 mile walk with ~1000` of vert.  Ankle was pretty solid.
While at Grandpa and Grandma's house, we all played a golf-based game on their practice green,rough, sand-pit.  It was on the hottest side of the house, so evening games were common.  Some days reached 105.  But we also nearly froze to death at Half Moon Bay.  Janny and I played at the edge of the waves for about 30 minutes, and then she shivered for about 2 hours.
 Grandpa has a very cool koi pond (shown below).  Bernie has an unbelievable koi pond (not shown).  We will not be getting a koi pond (there are koi in the U of I's arboretum).
Grandpa and Grandma recently bought e-bikes that Jill and I tested out.  Very fun.  I was pleasantly surprised that they rode pretty much like normal bikes with the motor off.  Picking them up to carry them over a drainage ditch made it very clear to me that they had a motor.  Very heavy!  Note Grandma's sling in the photo below:  she was injured after crashing during a ride.  Heal soon, mom!  Also, Clara won Ticket To Ride.  Janny 'helped' her, so she was happy too.
We spent several days in Fremont, and this is one of the few pictures we took.  That's big cousin Anna, who is working this summer as a life guard!  Fremont is fancy now.  I saw a Whole Foods and a See's Candies store.  Some less fancy places remain, like Big 5 Sporting Goods.
I also partook in some silicon valley technologies for the first time:
1.  I texted [on my mom's phone]
2.  I talked to Alexa (Amazon Echo).  She played a Brett Dennen song for me.

The texting was to get details for what turned out to be a pretty sizable CBNC youth group gathering (plus their kids).  Jenn and Brian, Brian and Tracy, Eve (Anthony was ill, so couldn't come.  We did get to briefly chat later in the week), Phil, Tina, and I were all in the same place at the same time.  I don't know how this happened, and it is unlikely to happen again any time soon, but it was great.  Also at the party I met a fellow MSJ alum, who is a good friend of my best friend's brother.  Brentwood:  what a place!

Thanks to Mom, Dad, Bernie and Lisa for hosting us.  We look forward to our next visit.