The last two weeks have been busier than ever, I keep trying to convince myself that it can’t get worse. Last week all three of the Girls were camping with the Young Women’s program of the Church. The Graduate headed up as staff while the younger two enjoyed the activities. I can’t help but think back to my days at Boy Scout camp, the things I learned, and the memories made. High points were earning the canoeing merit badge and the mile swim award. They said that it would take an hour, so I did it in close to half the time. Those days are past in so many ways. I am grateful that the Girls have such an opportunity.
I feel sort of jilted though. I have been driving up to camp for some years now, getting a carload of excited, giddy, and giggling passengers to and from their week experience. I didn’t get to chauffer anyone up this time. Our destination is just off 88 out of Pioneer. I missed the drive up out of Sacramento on up 16 to 49 and Jackson and then along 88 into the Sierra Nevada. This usually sends my mind contemplating quieter, slower times as I pass conifers and rustic cabins. Thoughts of my grandparents will accompany this meditation and time spent with them and the cabin outside Chester. There is almost fifty years of Denhardt/Arens growth lines etched into the front door casing; we’re working on fifth generation.
Then there is the return portion of the drop-off trip. You can’t image how surreal this leg of the journey is; quiet, tranquil, serene, peaceful, and in tune with the pleasant noise of my music. I like to backtrack down 88 (a little trivia, this is aka the Carson Pass Highway) and down into the upper San Joaquin Valley toward Stockton and Lodi. This helps to reminds me of my ag roots. Dad has always affirmed that you need to see what the neighbors are doing. Their rows are straight and their fruits are always a favorite detour as I can’t seem to pass up a produce stand. A couple of my favorites are Clements Ridge Produce and Clements Ranch. CRP serves an amazing Tri tip sandwich; they close Sunday and Monday.
But I did get to pickup and therefore not all was lost. The return route of pick-up takes us north on the Mormon Emigrant Trail and Sly Park Road onto 50 and home. The tradition is to stop for lunch at the In-N-Out Burger in Placerville on Forni Road. We just swamp them with the number of kids we bring. The Girls sure enjoy it and the staff appear to keep a smile on their faces even if they aren’t breakin’ any records getting the food out. I’ll just stay with the vehicle, it’s less of a headache and makes for wide open spaces.
Last week was a nice change in the routine. I enjoyed calming things down and charging the batteries. It isn’t a good thing to have your plan running you at overload. Things tend to trash more quickly. Take care of yourself, this race is a marathon and not a sprint.. ■
— Scott Arens is a lifelong resident of Arbuckle. To contact Scott email firstname.lastname@example.org