Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Speaking of blogger friend Phil: He was egging me on, with regarding to a sort of half-assed plan I had germinating in my head anyway. About an hour from here up into the mountains, we have this really cool road that goes up into many, many square miles of hiking and camping spread known as El Dorado National Forest. The plan was to haul the mountain bike up there, along with the Little Joe which is now something like
five seven years old, and horribly under-used, with a thick layer of dust all over it. Thought I’d take advantage of the off-season and the diminished traffic, sort of build up my confidence with the device.
Because it’s an intimidating thing, you know, if you haven’t put it into some real use just yet. Dumping your pedal equipment in the middle of the Highway 50 corridor, you know, it could get someone killed. But the machine does seem to be in good working order…just need to get it into circulation.
Well, I forgot the Little Joe. But that was a secondary mission. The primary focus was just exploring the campground. You see, this far up into the mountains, the campgrounds remain frozen like popsicles into the month of May. And so, knowing that the road was closed off to motorized vehicles, I had promised my son that I’d go on this venture to use the pedal-power and check out the campground we had reserved for this summer, when he comes to see us.
This gets into some personal stuff I haven’t written about here. There’s an agreement going on here, one in which both sides have had to flex a little. The boy is with his Mother for the school year right now, we get him during the summer. We’re winding up the first year in which it’s worked out like this. There’s been just a whole lot of the other kind of thing…you know…Momma gets him for the fun summer things, we have to deal with bedtimes and homework and yelling and drama and…and…and. Which, right now, she’s dealing with. As she has all year. But we haven’t had our fun times with the kid yet, and we’re looking forward to that. So we’re looking forward to the fun. Of course, he’s coming up on fourteen, so it isn’t quite as much fun as it would’ve been earlier…
That’s something of a tragedy, of course. We try not to think about it too much. But the fact is, life is not a dress rehearsal. On the other hand — although fourteen is too old for water parks, it’s just right for camping out, figuring out the Seven Manly Ways to Start Fires with your old man…and s’mores.
So I gassed up in Placerville, and managed to find a good parking spot up in the forest just on the early side of ten o’clock. Most weekends, the girlfriend works Saturday and I confine my adventuring to that day of the week. On this particular one she had Sunday allocated as well, so while she slaved away, I bolted together the bike and set to exploring.
The clock on my point-and-shoot is a bit fast, I think by about twenty minutes or so, maybe more.
Here we’ve barged on in past the gate, which you can see if you blow this up enough. Now, one month previous to this shot we were fortunate enough to check this place out — three generations of Freeberg males. It was the first week of April and we were walking around on the snow on top of this gate. So you see, there is a good amount of meltin’ goin’ on. On the previous trip, even on pedal power this would have been quite unthinkable.
As it is, according to the website, this road is open up to cars on May 26. That’s something, isn’t it? Here we are barely four thousand feet above sea level…doesn’t seem Californian at all, huh. Memorial Day weekend and the place is going to be in its first week open, because of snow.
It’s hard to believe, but these campsites are still in premium demand. You’ve heard that California is packed with pussies who consider it a hardship when their four-dollar coffee drinks are made with real milk instead of soy. Well, you’re right about that…California natives get goosebumps if the temperature is below 75 degrees, and start shivering.
But they snatch up these campsites fast enough. Go figure. The “furlough Fridays” have a lot to do with that, as I’ve written before.
As you can see from this shot, it seems going forward we’re snow-free. This is, if I’m remembering right, about 0.42 miles away from where we assembled the bike, 0.15 miles from the gate that blocks off the car traffic.
From this point, the road meanders around, constantly on a downhill grade. Of course, after that sharp turn, I’m cut off from all kinds of civilization…motorized…visual. Wonder if there’s bears down there?
But I told my son I’d check the place out. A promise made is a debt unpaid. So onward we go.
By the way, all of these stills are clickable. Click for larger if you are so inclined; I had my camera set to 3072 pixels wide.
Took a side trip here to check out what’s going on. The bike computer says I’m 1.08 miles in. Why did I take a picture of this placard? What is it I keep telling you about tree-hugging hippies…they smell like grass, corn chips and butt crack, and nobody ever tells them no. About anything. Ever. Except when…no…actually there are no exceptions. Nobody ever tells the long-haired hippies no.
Really, I’ve got nothing to complain about. It’s not like a city block is being closed off for these damn birds. My objection is not so much to the infringement of space, but of time. May 26 is pretty damn late in the year you know.
So once again, the “long pig” is making room for the other creatures. This is in blatant contravention against the Book of Genesis, which makes it abundantly clear that Man is to have dominion over the beasts of the field, the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky. But the pagans with their incense candles and their tie-dyed shirts and their lava lamps and their henna and their ponytails, demand absolute deference. And so, to the animals, the homo sapiens must yield. Hope they appreciate it. The beasts, I mean, not the hippies.
Actually I hope the hippies appreciate it too. Peace, man.
This is not a long-distance trek by any means. We knew that going in. But at this point something interesting, and not completely expected, happens: Water. Frozen. Lots and lots of it. Take a look; the camera is pointing in the direction in which we are traveling, 1.92 miles in. As you can see, we have a little bit of a situation going on. The two-wheel form of travel has reached a decisive dead-end.
We’re hoofing it from here.
The up-side is that we can leave the Trek on its kickstand, exactly as you see it. Bears are not known for their skills, nor for their enthusiasm, when it comes to stealing bikes. Candy bars and Little Debbies, maybe, but not bikes. Must be their butts being too big for the seats, or something.
But I do have to say, it’s a pleasant change of pace to just leave the bike where it is. Even peeled the helmet off my head and just chucked it to the ground as I continued onward, exploring on two feet. Campsites 81 through 111 are down this way, and we’ve reserved campsite 101.
We did not find campsite 101 as it turns out. You see, this snow…it’s in a process of melting and freezing and melting again and freezing again. It borders on a “snowshoe” adventure, and we were in sneakers. In our urban, sedentary lifestyle, we are of generous girth and the pounds-per-square-inch where our soles meet the earth, is a figure in a state of gradual increase.
So we had to shift our weight carefully in order to avoid sinking. Up to our waist. Bottom line? We didn’t explore too much from this point.
Across this body of water, there’s another campground we’ve been visiting on & off since the boy was about five or six (he’ll be fourteen this summer). So we’re looking at something familiar to the two of us, from a new angle for me.
At this point, I’m really looking forward to this. The wonderful thing about California is that the nighttime sky changes a whole lot depending on how secluded you are. There is the light pollution, and then there is the gas that comes from human activity. You get away from those two things and it is amazing how many stars you can see.
Of course, right now I’m not too concerned with stars. I’m a little concerned about bears.
On the way back, I saw one of these “bear proof” food repositories. They’re like garbage dumpsters, except weighted down so that a bear can’t tip them over. We-ell…this one was actually tipped over. Made me stop & go hmmm.
This last photo is of the only casualties on the trip, so far as I can see. I didn’t get nibbled by a bear, didn’t see any bears. But these things? My guess is: snowmen. I think what we’re looking at, here, is a snowman graveyard.
So I’m in at a little bit before ten in the morning, out at slightly after eleven.
Incidentally: On the way back to civilization, I stopped off at C & T’s restaurant in Pollock Pines. During the “Dad Grandpa and Kid” trip a month back, we breezed on in at 1:55 and kept them late…turned out their closing time was two. They accommodated us until we were good & ready to leave, not looking the least bit peeved. The service is excellent, the food is just as good. You should go.
This time, I didn’t act like a complete butthole. I patronized them promptly at 11:45.
Now, lessee…we get the kid right after school closes out, in early June. So I’m probably checking this place out one more time, most likely on the 4th of June at which time the road will be open. I could go the weekend before, really. Once the reservation timeframe is upon us, the boy is going to learn something about being a “quartermaster” on this particular camping trip. The meanie-cows who run the El Dorado web site insist on a two-day stay; we’re going to use this to make Friday night into a “shakedown,” and once we have a good inventory of all the goods & supplies we forgot to pack, we’ll descend upon Kyburz, or Pollock Pines — maybe both — snapping up whatever didn’t make the first inventory, at premium prices, for our second night out.
That’s a good camping trip right after the fourteenth birthday, I think. That’s a good age to learn your Dad is fallible and flawed and imperfect — you can’t just hang back, hope the old man thinks of everything, wait to be entertained. Participation becomes a requirement. And you know, in my world that’s healthy.
Anyway, I survived. The bears didn’t get me.
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