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Mind the Rules

The purpose of our road trip was to drop Christopher off in Davis for his sophomore year. He declined our offer of help in scaring up used items to furnish the house he’ll share with Francis, Evan, and Ryan, so we hightailed it out of town.

We observed that no one wears bike helmets or uses bike lights at night in Davis.  I guess it’s that college town bubble of supposed invincibility. I refrained from hectoring Christopher about this.

Davis Bike Parts

We had a vague idea of spending Saturday and Sunday in San Francisco before heading home, but swerved at the last minute and drove to Yosemite. Great stop in Chinese Camp on the way.

Chinese Market Sign

We met 81-year-old Frank Yap, a retired physicist tooling around on his own in his Prius.

David with Frank Yap

He told us about coming from Hong Kong at a young age, speaking the dialect called “hakka,” which means “wanderer,” and putting himself through Brandeis and Johns Hopkins.

Frank Yap Ring

Mike, the Kiwi owner of the market in Chinese Camp, recently bought a bucket of dirt for $20 from someone who swore there was gold in it. He found a fleck or two while we were there, but not the egg-sized nugget that David predicted.

Panning for Gold

The little garden area next to the market had multiple rules, suggesting that perhaps things get out of hand there. We weren’t making any trouble that day, nor were Frank Yap or the other travelers we met, a Welshman and two women on their way to their high school reunion.

Mind the Rules

This hut was one of several we saw in Chinese Camp that appeared abandoned.

Chinese Camp HutThere must be some activity in town because the Post Office still operates.

Chinese Camp PO

Here is Yosemite (No) Falls, disconcerting and eerie. The spot where the falls normally rush and roar has gone completely dry.

Yosemite No Falls

We hiked up to Vernal Falls, which has slowed to a trickle. Seeing the dry falls and all the dry river and creek beds along the way made the drought more real than it has been.

Vernal Falls

One of the things we thought we’d do in San Francisco was swan around in some good restaurants. With all of us working so much these last few months, our dinners have been well, sketchy.  Our food on the road to and from Yosemite wasn’t exactly five-star, but it made us laugh a lot. Sour milk in the coffee in one café; dry sourdough bread out of the bag on the trail; lousy red wine in a lodge, which we drank in blackness after a lightning strike blew out a transformer and plunged everything into the dark; purported sausage that may have been old hamburger with lots of spices to disguise the swap; and a few tacos that gleamed with grease. Not exactly the stuff of fine dining, but we enjoyed it nonetheless

Home today to sort through (unpleasant) email, get back to work, close the door to Christopher’s room so we don’t have to look at its emptiness, and appreciate all we have.

About treacycolbert

I make my living by writing about health care. I've always written about life's chastening effect, but just as a way of sorting it out for myself. After years of doing this and keeping these essays quiet, I decided to put some of these impressions out there on this blog. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think.

5 responses »

  1. I am shocked to see no falls at Yosemite Falls. I knew the drought was bad, but this photo stops my breath.

  2. What a lovely and bittersweet post. I’m all wistful now.

    I have often thought that if I were to operate a business, it would be wonderful if it drew a variety of travellers. What an interesting life.

    Even though I haven’t been to Yosemite, that shot and news is so sad! We pass over the California aqueduct regularly, and its spookily low.


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