A bike ride seemed to be in order today. We had seen roadies (folks on road bikes) along Trimmer Springs Road several times, so we decided that we’d drive out of camp to the post office in Piedra, park there, then begin our ride. The road out from our camp is impossibly steep (double-digit incline), so this seemed to be the prudent choice. But first, we had to make the long trek into Fresno to find a bike shop. John’s had an impossible time with the tire/wheel/tube combination on his cyclo-cross bike, resulting in several flat tires. The last time we found a bike shop and tried to buy new tubes, they were out of the needed size. Since the tube in his rear tire had SIX PATCHES in it, he just wasn’t willing to chance another ride.
New tubes in hand, and a Google route planned, we set off on our original route. What a joy! The temperature was in the mid 70s, and absolutely windless. We rode along a river road, marked with standard bicycle route arrows from previous bike tours. A fabulous route. For the first ten miles or so, we saw only two cars. We then hit a long stretch of citrus groves, on a road with a wide bicycle lane alongside. The citrus tang in the air was evident, and added to the pleasure of wandering along a flat, solitary road. We passed mile upon mile of citrus groves. Stopped at a fruit stand and purchased two gigantic navel oranges to quench our thirst. We smiled (nearly) the entire way. It was a fabulous day for a bike ride.
Back at camp, we planned a meager dinner of leftover stuff we didn’t want to haul to our next campsite. Eating outside at our picnic table, all of the sudden it started to hail! We could hear other campers yelling and scrambling. You’d be amazed at how fast tents can come down, and camps can be sheltered from foul weather in a pinch. I’m clearing the table like a madwoman, and John is trying to keep everything from blowing away. We’re getting pelted with stuff, and it hurts! We suddenly realize that it’s actually not hailing, but the strong winds are blowing these little bud thingys off the trees, which are pounding us like hail. Joke’s on us, I guess. After a few minutes, everything dies back down, and we resume – although we’ve pretty much packed everything up for our departure tomorrow. So, no real hail, but pseudo hail. Good enough for a major camp scramble.
Our kid camp neighbors came over to show us their Easter confetti eggs. This was a totally unfamiliar custom to us – egg shells that had been blown out, and colored on the outside. The ends are cracked off, and the shells are filled with confetti. The open end is then covered with a fine tissue paper. OK so far….but then, the eggs are then cracked on people’s heads. Boyfriends and girlfriends smash eggs on each other – parents and kids, friends and friends. Our neighbors were astounded that we had never heard of this custom – apparently Walgreens, Walmart, and many other stores sell confetti eggs around here, although these folks made their own. One of the moms showed me her cartons of eggs – said she had been saving shells for three months to make enough confetti eggs for Easter. (no photos – I was camera-challenged). We’re totally charmed by our neighbors in camp. This is a boisterous, extended Hispanic family of about 80 people who gather each year at this time, in this camp, to celebrate family. It was such a privilege to share in a few of their special moments and traditions.
This is such a great trip….
OK, it’s now Sunday morning (Easter), and I’ve got a bit to add. We got pounded by rain last night – felt bad for all our neighbors in tents, and were once again so happy to be cuddled up inside the Fireball. Everyone was up early, and packing for the trip out (for us) and home (for our neighbors) . We were astonished to see that Grandma/Grandpa from next door were hauling an entire mattress out to their pickup truck. No mere air mattress for them, but a real actual mattress that they strapped down on top of all their other sopping wet camp stuff. When I asked him if he got wet during the night, Grandpa (really a guy within a few years of my own age – a Vietnam vet), replied “I had an inch of water in my shoes. This is my last year. I’m done.” Then he gave me a crazy grin that told me he’d be back next year, and the year after that. You don’t give up on family traditions so easily…..
We decided to treat ourselves to an extravagant breakfast at the School House restaurant we had stopped at the other day. What a great idea that was.
We shared a lobster martini (large chunks of lobster, served in a martini glass with a bit of citrus, mango, herb, and a creamy avocado). It was luscious.
On to our new camp near Sequoia National Park. It’s another COE (Corps of Engineers) park on a lake, and we’ve got high hopes.