Goin’ to the Mountains

October 17, 2014

Today has finally arrived: I am on my way to meet my childhood pal Sally–whom I’ve not seen since October of last year–and we are going to catch up on what has surely been for Sally a crazy year of re-settling in California. When last we saw, we were on a transcontinental road trip: Roswell, GA to California. I’d flown to Atlanta to help her pack up her stuff and move back to the west coast. It was a really fun, great trip. Much has happened in the year since, and we’ll have a long weekend to debrief it all. I’m excited.

Sally’s been living in Morro Bay for the last year. Our plan was to converge in Arnold, stock up on groceries, then head up to her parents’ cabin in Bear Valley.

The drive from Davis was beautiful! The weather was dramatic and the sights were quintessential gold country. And I had two cameras to play with. My kind of heaven. Here are a few shots:

Along Hwys 16 and 49:




I took this while delayed at a road construction stop along Hwy 4:


So, Sally and I met in Arnold at 12:30, exactly as planned, did some meal planning on the fly, bought food, and caravanned the rest of the way up to the cabin.

We arrived, unloaded our cars and while settling in discovered a big problem: we were lacking power, not all power, but the big stuff–heat, hot water, major appliances (like the stove, oven and dishwasher). We had enough electricity for lights and music (which we cranked), but that was about all. We also found that the refrigerator had been turned off and, not only had all the food inside spoiled, but there was a healthy crop of mold growing on all the surfaces. Ugh.

We would find out the following day, after dealing with a local electrician and PG&E, that there had been a smart meter malfunction and the 220 power line was down. They would fix it later that day, but until then…

….we had work to do.

We needed both heat and something to cook on, so, while we had tons of wood for the wood burning stove, we needed some kindling. I split wood while Sally emptied and scrubbed down the fridge.

chopping happiness

My hatchet skills were tentative and pathetic. I remembered something from my old wood-burning-stove days .. the claw hammer wood-splitting technique.. so found a hammer and hacked away:

claw hammer

That worked pretty well!  We had kindling to last the weekend. Let the fires and cooking begin:

stoking fire

This being October, we’d decided we were going to have an October Fest meal of sausages, sauerkraut and boiled potatoes. We found a grill for the sausages:


And cooked the kraut and potatoes on the stove:


Which worked really well. It was a great dinner and the cabin was extremely warm, especially upstairs where the bedrooms are.

Which was great because it got really cold outside. We took a nice walk, saw a gorgeous sunset and covered a lot of conversational ground.


First day: success.

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