Tired and burnt

So, no pictures from the mountains, since the idyllic mountain stream we went to turned out to be a nudie idyllic mountain stream and it felt, as Bne would put it, "kinda stalky" to be taking pictures. But it was a beautiful place. and one quickly becomes blase about the flesh on view. There were enough people wearing clothes that we didn't feel too out of place, which was good because I got a pretty ferocious sunburn over the bits of me that were exposed, so I don't even want to think about what the parts that never see sun would have been like.

It was a three hour drive up, in my black car with no air conditioning and 104 temperatures (about 40C) . I was on the edge of heat exhaustion... when we stopped for cold drinks and exposure to a controlled climate, a cashier actually asked if I was OK. I was beet red and sort of glassy eyed, I expect. But we soldiered on. To get to Yuba River, you leave the highway and start up a very very winding, steep, heavily forested mountain road. The road starts out as paved and two lane, then goes to paved and 1.5 lane, then to unpaved and 1 lane. Traffic is light, thank Christ, because there's barely enough room for two cars to pass. The second car that we met, I started getting grumpy about how they seemed to be driving in the middle of the road, squeezing me up against the cliff on my side. Then there was a thin spot in the trees on the other side, allowing a view.

Oh.
My.
God.

I had not realized how high up we were, or what a steep drop there was. It was like the view from an airplane window. You know how you can walk on a board with no problem when it's on the ground, but if it's three stories up, you can't? Yeah. And being in a car makes it worse, for me at least, because it's harder to have a sense of where the wheels are and where the car's center of balance is. That drive took ten years off my life, I expect. And, at the end, the parking lot was full so we had to park on the road, pulled over as far as we could to let people pass but not so far as to tumble to a fiery doom. I made R:tAG come with me so I wouldn't die alone to tell me how much room I had, and he practically needed pitons to get out of the passenger door and back onto the road.

Luckily, the beach the next day was a short easy drive, and overcast and foggy, and actually chilly when the sun went down. A rarely expressed sentiment, I know! (I found this picture on the Web, but the guy must have been sitting exactly where we were. Picture the clouds at ground level, and you've got it...) The last time I was at an ocean beach was Fort Lauderdale, I think, and this was different. Florida beaches are so clean that they look sifted and swept, the water stays shallow forever, and is almost as warm as bathwater. This ocean looks like a scary chicken soup... full of vegetable material and feathers, and it's COLD. I got my feet wet and decided that that was enough. R:tAG stayed out for a very long time, learning to boogie-board with some friendly locals. He's a better man than I. :) But my sunburn didn't get aggravated, which was all I cared about.

The best part about the beach was not, alas, immortalized on film. Around sunset we lit a fire and were sitting around chatting. That bit of the beach has a row of firepits, so there was a family next to our group doing the same thing. There were four children, about 8-14 I'd guess, and watching them "play" quickly became our entertainment, because they were more vicious than the average WWF event. The highlight was when the three youngest stuffed themselves into the adults' bunnyhugs, back to front, with their legs in the armholes, and the hoods up over their faces. The kids' arms were pinned by the bodies of the sweatshirts, and they were forced into sort of a crouch, and they were blind because of the hoods. So they started hopping around trying to push each other over while the oldest (who was too big to fit into a bunnyhug like that) tried to peg them with a huge purple beachball. It was like "The Prisoner" re-enacted by squigs, to make a hopelessly geeky reference, but it was hysterical. Unhappily, it was too dark for pictures to turn out and we felt weird about taking pictures of strange (in all senses) kids, but damn.

So, a good weekend. We got to see some really beautiful parts of California and hang out with new and old friends. We were careful to drink lots and lots of water, so apart from the sunburns, there was no recovery needed (you get wimpier as you get older, but you also get smarter). And we learned that any car we buy here is going to have air conditioning.

12 comments:

  1. Terry said...

    The first car I bought had A/C (They just happened to have a model in the parking lot that was exactly what I wanted, but it had A/C, so they threw in A/C for free)

    Well, after having A/C, you better believe the next car I bought had it. The horror that is a hot, stuffy car, to banish that forever is worth the price.

    AND THAT'S IN SASKATCHEWAN!!! Where the A/C days are maybe 10-15 a year?

    I'm kinda shocked they sold you a car without A/C in California... That can't be legal.  

  2. Terry said...

    Err... change that to "I'm kinda schocked they let you bring a car into California..."  

  3. neuba said...

    Sounds like a good time. Except maybe for the no a/c part.

    2 1/2 weeks til be come. I am getting so excited.  

  4. Amy said...

    Terry, this is the US of A. Everyone has the inaliable right to go to hell in the unairconditioned handbasket of their choice.

    This heat that we're experiencing now is atypical, everyone assures me. And we're still better off than Phoenix, which I hear has had 35 days of straight >100 temps.

    I still love my Civic...  

  5. Anonymous said...

    Oh yes. Oh yes indeed. The only thing worse than driving across Canada (or across the city) in a hot car in the summer is driving across Canada (or across the city) in a hot car with hot cranky kids.

    Then, if you add a hot cranky cat to the milieu, you learn why A/C was invented by the weather Gods.

    -cenobyte  

  6. Suz said...

    I'm glad to hear that those temps are atypical as that's what I keep getting told here when I mention our pending trip. The #1 piece of advice I've received so far is, "Bring a jacket." Go figure.  

  7. Amy said...

    Oh, but they have these things called "hills" here. These "hills" serve to keep weather in little isolated pockets. Hence, it can be(and is right now), 42C in one place (Sacramento) and 17C about 100 km away (San Francisco). Mark Twain famously said "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

    Layers. Always dress in layers.  

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