Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Sam and Kyla Day

Yesterday we went to Redding to spend the day with Sam and Kyla. I stopped on the drive over to take a few photos of this rock lake. It forms here every spring from snow melt and when you're driving by it, with the sky reflecting off the water, it looks like a field of floating rocks.

It's really three or four times as large as in this photo, but there isn't an easy way to take a photo of the whole thing.

Don't these rocks look like they're suspended in midair?

Along with the two hour drive there and another two hour drive back, we had a full day in Redding. First we took care of some shopping needs we could only complete in the city. We slipped in an hour browsing at Barnes & Noble. Then we hung out at Sam's house for a bit. He was cleaning and adding chemicals to the pool. They were watching the pool cleaner swim around like a strange ocean creature in an aquarium. Every once in a while it would hit the surface and spray water at us.

Sam bought his house eight months ago and he's been working hard at fixing it up ever since. When he first moved in this pool was just an abandoned hole in the ground with decades of dirt and debris in it. He had it refinished. He's fixed dry rot on the house, pulled off the old siding and added a very pretty stucco finish. He's painted inside and out, put on a new roof, new windows and doors, new kitchen appliances, and put in new carpeting where there wasn't hardwood floor inside. He's clearing brush (it's a half acre lot) and just had asphalt laid in the driveways. It doesn't look that fancy from the photos but if you knew what it looked like when he bought it, you'd be VERY impressed at the improvements. And he's not finished yet. Sam is one of those people who works hard and plays hard. He does more in a day than two or three regular people.

Here he is "playing" with a bull whip. We finally got it away from him thank goodness! Then we all went for a DELICIOUS dinner out, where between courses we spent all our time discussing our upcoming trip. Everyone enjoyed it except William, who kept pointing out that he wasn't getting to come on the trip. Sam countered by pointing out that William got to go on the last trip and it was four times as long!

After dinner the boys tried out a new indoor go-cart race track. Look at how big this thing is - see the tiny people halfway across the open track?! It was sort of pricey so just the boys raced. Kyla and I decided we preferred to save our money for buying shoes and settled for eating ice cream and watching the guys go crazy on the track. It was pretty fun even just being a spectator.

They went REALLY fast - it was hard to take photos. Here's William cutting Hubby and another guy off on a curve. Sam is the racer in the background but he's not "behind" - he looped around some of the other racers several times so he's actually ahead of the people in front of him. Hubby drove fast but pretty sedately. However, William and Sam were going for it and they both spun out on a corner at least once. William's spin out caused a four car crash. Apparently it's all part of the fun though, they got it worked out and off they went again.

They all got out of their carts whooping and grinning and high fiving each other. They had a really great time. It's obviously a Guy Thing.

Sam was totally full of himself when he checked out the ratings board and saw he'd won the race.

After all that excitement it was time to go back to Sam's to shoot some pool. I beat William in a game and won a game against Sam but didn't beat him he says because I won only because he put the eight ball in too soon.

Eventually it was time to call it day. We stopped for snacks to sustain us on the long, dark drive home. On a full moon night like last night, the drive becomes more of an experience than a chore. The moonlight is so bright, especially this time of year with snow still at the higher elevations, the forest shadows are as crisp as the objects themselves. The light flickers through the trees so brightly they feel like city lights, even though we're miles from anywhere and anyone. We pass hardly a dozen cars for two hours.

When we get up on the high ridges were we can pick up radio reception, I like listening to the odd, bizarre, sometimes silly, sometimes fascinating, and sometimes scary stories of people calling in on the AM radio Coast-to-Coast Show. What's more fun that telling ghost stories in a spooky old house? Listening to stories of aliens when you're driving in the dark on a highway in the middle of nowhere! I have to listen carefully because there's still a lot of static so far out there. (Did you know we live so far out that not far from us there is a SETI radar station, sitting out there under the mountain skies, listening for signs of extraterrestial life!?) I drank my Starbucks latte first, for the caffeine jolt, then switched to alternating between the sweet, creamy fruit of a Jamba Juice and the salty crunch of a bag of Pirate Booty.

All in all, a lovely, lovely day.


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