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And more...the trip ad nauseum...

When we last left our intrepid explorer, she had finished dinner at the Pizza Factory and retired to a glass of wine and a long sleepless night.

Sunday's dawn had nothing on her. She was up before the birds. The coffee maker worked and so did the bathtub. A nice normal-sized tub, so much larger than the one in her mobile home. She managed a shower before the bath, so that the bath water would not be polluted with shampoo and toothpaste.

Karol had arranged to meet with Dana at seven at the domes. Dana, readers will recall, is the go-to guy for weed wacking and various repairs and is the fount of information about what is possible in Three Rivers. He's also a little slippery about his charges. Doesn't itemize. Says $20 per hour but if you aren't there to count the hours he's going to push them up a wee bit. He was to meet us there to tell us about trash. Steven is already there. Did I mention that if Karol is manic then Steve is supermanic when it comes to getting stuff done?

You can't order a trash pickup any more. You can order a dumpster and it might get there Monday. Or not. Or Dana can load the trash into his truck and haul it to the dump. How much, asks Karol, her eyes lighting up.

"$180", says Dana. I'm remembering that Dana charges $180 to weedwhack the place. No way does it take him nine hours. So we ask what is included in that $180.

The dump is over 40 miles away. They require sorting. There's time involved. Of course there's the truck use involved as well. Even so, $180 seems a trifle high for a trip to the dump. Finally Karol settles on the dumpster plan. Dana will order the smaller size, fill it up, it will be emptied, he will fill it again if necessary. I don't know what this will cost. I gather Karol has some idea.

Dana is off to some other city, will return at one to see what trash we have generated. He'll estimate what it will take. Karol and I are back to the motel for breakfast. Steve is off to a restaurant for his breakfast. And then we're back to the domes for the final push. Our mission: find and fill. Get the remaining valuables into the truck and forget the trash until later. We have a deadline: 11:30  to get the truck back to the rental place in Visalia. THat means getting out by ten at the latest. Driving the truck to Woodlake, unloading, then driving it to Visalia.

The short story is that we made it. It was close but we did it. The three of us drove to Woodlake in three vehicles: the truck, the van, and my car. After unloading everything into the storage unit, we went two different directions: Steve took the van to Three Rivers to gather his gang and check out, while karol and I took off with the truck (Karol) and my car (me) to Visalia. Karol returned the truck and we returned to 3R in my car.

It's beautiful in Three Rivers right now. We could see snow on the highest mountains, well above where we were. The weather was cool and crisp, lovely really. The recent rains left behind a carpet of green sprinkled over the hills. We couldn't help but notice this as we raced furiously in one direction or the other. THere wasn't a chance to jump out and take pictures, though. I grabbed a few of our operation on the domes, but too few.

After the truck delivery, it was downhill. We wrapped the trash thing, not without some moments, checked out of the motel, and met at the candy store.

The candy store in Three Rivers is an institution. It is currently owned by candy makers who have an eye for marketing. They have turned it into quite a money-making machine. That doesn't mean it isn't worth visiting, and we do look forward to these visits.

Even so, we didn't spend much time there. I bought an advent calendar for Joey plus truffles and chocolate mints to bring to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving. That ended our visit together. We took off from there.

My trip home was a familiar route, although I had not taken it for a few years. Highway 198 to US 41 to US 46 to US 101. Much of the route is two-lanes and goes through desert, a kind of familiar land, not much development along the way. It may be insane to think it will stay that way but I can hope. Three Rivers looked much the same as it had the last time but we learned that realtors are snapping up land left and right and lumber companies are starting to make regular trips that way. I expect that it will be hard to recognize the next time I visit, but I hope not.

I listened to Bach, the so-familiar Goldberg variations, on my way out of town. I smiled and turned up the volume. I love having travel companions like Karol - I don't know how well either of us would have done getting through the I-5 nightmare, for example, without each other. I also love to travel alone, with my music turned up and nobody to be bothered. Later I found classical stations and finally Air America when I hit Paso Robles. It was an easy trip, as it usually is, but I was so ready to lie around and do nothing. Which is what I did last night and so far pretty much what I've done today.

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