Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Saturday, December 29, 2012


And down, and down  and down.

There were only two days while I was in Chico that it did not rain – and for those two days, we drove up to Lake Almador where Carol and Ken have a second home.   It was a lovely drive -  The recent storms had done their work, though -   as we wound our way through the mountains along the “lovely little stream”   which  was now angrily tearing away at it’s banks and bordering  trees and shrubs, a chastened sun tried unsuccessfully to warm the day.  

                                          Mt. Lassen
The next morning, we took a trip around the lake – it was a beautiful drive – the sky was blue with large white clouds hanging around the mountain tops.   The lake was calm and reflected the sky’s brilliance.     Carol and Ken do a lot of hiking and kayaking in and around the lake.     Their vacation home is located in the little town of Chester, CA -   It reminds me a lot of Lincoln, MT -   small town, in the pine woods, with a single main road – Chester is bigger and has more businesses than Lincoln, though.

                                                                                               Lake Almador

We returned to Chico after two days of clear weather, only to have it start raining again the next morning.  

Carol and Ken have a big Black and white cat named Max.   When we first arrived, he took one look at Tucker and ran and hid under the bed.   But slowly, at Tucker’s insistence, he lost some of his shyness and in a very few days the two of them were chasing each other all around the house.  Max loved to jump up on a dining chair, and lay in wait, reaching his paws through the back of the chair to swat Tucker as he came by.  By the time we left they were very good friends.


While in Chico, I had dinner with a friend I met on the walking trails of Bidwell Park when I was last in Chico, two years ago.   It was a very nice evening, even though I got lost on the way  ( was careful to pay attention to streets and avenues, but neglected the easts and wests)  We talked about the possibility of doing some camping the next time I come through  - in about 2 years.

 Early the next morning, with a weather forecast of sunny and fair, I headed down the road toward Victorville, CA    Because the roads were still wet, I decided to take Highway 5 – more direct, and possibly less travelled.   Well, let me tell you -   B-O-R-I-N-G!!!!!   There is nothing on Hwy 5 from Chico to Bakersfield .   Every so often there was a rest area, and every so often there was a service area offering fuel and food -  Taco Bell, Burger King or McDonalds that was it .   The road just went on and on and on forever.  The traffic was relatively light – a lot of trucks, but evenly spaced and since they had to travel at a lower speed than I did – no problem in moving along.

Shortly after leaving Bakersfield behind, it was full dark, and I entered the Tehatchapi mountains and…… FOG.   Carol and I had talked about fog and how it is best to just pull off the road, so I did.   I sat for awhile  watching the traffic – and it seemed no one was slowing down.   I thought maybe this was just a light patchy fog and decided to give it another chance.   I entered the highway just behind a big truck – travelling 35 mph.  It was perfect – I followed that truck all lit up like a Christmas tree for 70 miles – until we were well clear of the fog, and I was almost at my turn off for Victorville.   I felt so blessed, so protected!   

 The next morning, we awoke to a bright southern California day – lazy, hazy blue skies – warm – the first time I’d left a building in short sleeves since August.   I met Corliss at the Hobby Lobby store, picked up a couple pieces of fabric, made a couple other stops, then we had supper.  Afterward, we drove to her sister’s home and visited for a couple hours.  Corliss was my supervisor when I worked at the JoAnn’s store in Chesapeake, Va and she is my dear friend.

I think I should rename Tucker – Houdini!   It appears I’ll not find a harness that he can’t get out of.  One that I made stays on pretty good, but until I come to a stop someplace where I can set up my sewing machine,  I can’t make more.   While in Victorville, between one stoplight and the next he slipped out of his harness and came bouncing over to my lap.

In the morning, Tucker and I checked out of the motel and turned our headlights toward Phoenix.  We left about 6:30 a.m. for the 350 mile drive.   We came down from the high desert just out of Victorville – what a rollercoaster ride – dropping over 1000 ft in altitude in a very short time.   We eased through San Bernardino, and headed East.

We had a very pleasant, uneventful journey.  Once again, I was fascinated by the huge wind farm near Palm Springs - I  looked it up once – I seem to remember there are about 4000 turbines in that valley. 

 From mountains, through deserts, more mountains, down valleys, and up on high desert plateaus,  through rain, sleet, snow and hail,  it’s been quite a journey so far.  

We arrived in Sun City about lunch time.   The weather was exceedingly pleasant – in the mid 70’s.


   Tui gets a bath

Tucker immediately made friends with Tui and Christi, the Shih tzus.  Tui at 15 was not interested in the antics of that young whippersnapper, but Christi  and Tucker were  soon chasing each other all over the house.   Sadly, Tui left this world about a week after we arrived.  Christi was was devastated and went into deep mourning.  Tucker started biting her front paws to try to get her to play with no success.   (He also started attacking my bare toes)  Tucker tried his best to cheer her up, then gave it up and just stayed as close to her as he could.  Today, more than a week after Tui’s passing it appears Christi is finally showing an interest in what is going on around her.   She was whining at our door this morning, wanting Tucker to come out to play.  It takes time.


 I found a candy supply store – semi-locally  (about 30 miles away) and managed to make up some chocolates for my hosts.   And a few extras, too – as usual.   Luckily, I am immune to my chocolates…….. I reach for the Hershey’s Kisses instead.  I tried a couple new things this year – first, I made my own fondant for the centers –first time – it was a rousing success!  Second time, it seemed to be going ok – I took the syrup off at 238 degrees and poured it into the food container and poured it into the food processor container.  Then I washed the thermometer and placed it into the syrup – Wow, it somehow had shot up to 293 degrees – it took a day and a half to get it all melted and out of the container.   The second “first” was the caramels – first time I have ever made them – they are delicious


Yesterday was Kathy’s (Kit’s Mom) 88th birthday, and we celebrated with an ice cream cake.  Kathy was born and grew up in Australia.  She came to the US when Kit was a baby.


(OK, I double clicked it, and I don't know the secret to deleting the duplicate)
Wishing you all a very Merry Arizona Christmas!!!!


Until next time
Bear Hugs
Luv n’ Boots and Tucker, Too.
Little Bear is still with us.

She believed she could do it and so she did!






No comments:

Post a Comment