Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hi there!

Things are starting to wind down here... In the last few days it’s become apparent that, while we came here for Summer, Summer doesn’t last forever.

The sun hangs in the sky with none of the menace it showed during those dog days when we would swelter our way across the deserts, watching the car’s thermometer show 110 on the clock... like the true artist she is Autumn is starting to weave her magic. Its still warm but the evenings grow cooler, there’s a chill in the morning and the unmistakable scent of fallen leaves and cut grass fills the air, flowing down from the wooded hills like water, pooling in the cool shadows. Its beautiful, but a reminder that we’re almost into the winter of our holiday too... we can count the days until we leave easily now, unlike when we started and they were just uncountable and it was unimaginable that we’d ever actually return home!

Yosemite was our last National Park – and while not my favourite – it was an amazing reminder of just how bloody grand this country can be, just what a show it can put on when it wants to. From the exit at about 10000 feet we slide back down the eastern slopes of the sierras, we can see the deserts again in the distance. Its much drier over this side of the mountains, and sagebrush creeps across the rolling hills to the horizon. As the sun begins to set we pass the old ghost town of Bodie, lonesome in the glow of magic hour, the wind whistling through its empty streets and the tall grass and abandoned mines...

We stop for the night in a small town called Bridgeport – theres not much to it – but the motel is nice, the girls play on the grass amongst the fallen leaves and in the morning we find an excellent park to play in. The girls play hide and seek with us and then Lib and I try the local breakfast burrito with salsa verde (lovely!) and a cup of great coffee. We cross back into Nevada and explore the state capitol of Carson City – Mark twain worked here for a time, and in nearby Virginia city – honing his writing skills, its a nice stop, and I pretended to filibuster with the girls in the old assembly rooms of the Capitol building.

Lake Tahoe is next and a strange hotel RIGHT on the boarder with California – so of course its a casino – but a great big bustling one in the middle of, well, not much else... and mid-week it was as dead as a doornail – gambling is in NO WAY glamorous... the only people here were haggard looking stained t-shirt wearing slot jockeys hoping for that big break that will never come as they suck on a death stick and drink watered down beer... talk about glamorous... Lake Tahoe itself is BEAUTIFUL... the most amazing clear waters, bright sunshine, interesting nooks and crannies along its coastline, great walks and wonderful beaches... and its all inland! We hire a paddle boat with a top speed of about .2 knots and chug out onto the water – we can see down a long way... and it gets even deeper (abd colder) the further out you go... its so cold they occasionally bring up perfectly preserved cowboys who met misfortune over a century ago... poor buggers. We have a lovely paddle along the shore and then head north into the gold country for one of our last stops...

Downieville and Sierra City are two tiny little towns strung out 12 miles apart on a VERY quiet highway both with a population of about 300. Its like being in another world, we’re bunked down in a small cabin about half way between the two – surrounded by pines, steep hills, glacial lakes and the sound of the river running by outside... its wonderful... The girls and I play in the river all day building stepping stone bridges, playing with dolls and making up stories... we hire a rowboat and spin hopelessly on a small lake, watching bald eagles fly overhead, and fish hide in the shadows below us. The deli in Sierra makes AMAZING sandwiches (roast beef, pickles, Swiss cheese, crispy lettuce, red onion, mayo and mustard on a sourdough roll) and we eat them on the rocks below the cabin in the sun, sipping on orange juice or lemonade while the girls eat ice cream. Its quiet and relaxing – and I can see the trees across the river dropping yellowed leaves in the afternoon breeze... they twist and turn downstream, out of sight, towards the sea...


 
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