Small towns are a slightly different atmosphere when it comes to holidays. Case in point - I just celebrated my first 4th of July here in Sticksville. Now, being that Sticksville is quite small, major festivities like fireworks are actually closer to 45 minutes away. However, I doubt the cities of LA or NY would basically shut down for a 4th of July parade. They shut down for no one and nothing.
Here in the tiny ranching and farming towns of America, it's a different story. It's quite simply a very different way of life. And I for one, like it.
Last Saturday, I went to my Job 3 like usual. I was told about an hour later, that we were closing not only for our normal lunch hour, but that we would be closed for four hours. So the few of us that work on weekends could go to the town of Alturas for their Fandango Days and enjoy the 4th of July Parade and festivities afterwards. Apparently this a big draw for this part of the state! At 10:30 I drove through all the detours and finally found a parking spot. The Parade had already started, but since I drove to the end of the route, I hadn't missed anything yet. I walked down until I was in the crowd. My grandfather had thought I could make there on my lunch hour to snap a few pictures of the classic cars that would be at the park. But little did either one of us know that I would have four hours available so I was able to wander around like a lost puppy with a camera.
Many of the shops had closed for the festivities. Only one restaurant closed. But still, where else do you find that? Half the town at least shut down so everyone can enjoy the day. Awesome, I say. Awesome.
I took pics for me and for him. So basically I shot everything. Here are a few highlights from the Parade.
Old fire truck and new fire truck.
They got a big round of applause - and deservedly so!
You know you're in a small town when the cheerleaders stop the parade for two cheers. And get introduced one by one. lol
1930s CHP car and a 2011 Crown Vic CHP car.
I spent about 3 of my 4 hours
chilling sweating like a dog, taking pictures. Managed to get a tiny little sunburn in the shape of a 'V' from my smock, and on my right forearm. Everyone headed over to the park where the old cars in the Parade were set up for show. There were also food booths, pony rides (I, unfortunately, was too tall), and vendors of all kinds. I bought a t-shirt, it's really cute. I also got a nice big Tri-Tip sandwich from the Fire Department.
For the actual 4th of July, I woke up early and went to feed and irrigate as usual. Apparently ranch work doesn't stop just because it's a national holiday. Weird, right? ;)
After our morning of sweaty and dirty work, K decided we should do something fun. They threw around some ideas about going to lakes that I hadn't been to. Actually, places I hadn't heard of. So, we decided to take a day and drive to a place called Blue Lake. (and before you ask, yes, it is blue) K fixed us sandwiches for the road and off we went. Well, first off we did shower and get cleaned up.
On the way there, the scenery is much the same - sage brush and desert all around. We dropped into a valley and it was so lush. It was green as far as the eye could see. Or rather, the length of the tiny valley. We decided to see some falls first before going on to the lake. K and I hiked to the falls. It was probably a 1/4 mile, but it felt like more. Because it was pretty much all uphill and I was in flip flops. But the falls were beautiful!
Mill Creek Falls
We had our little picnic lunch at the day use area at Blue Lake. The lake was still well hidden behind trees, but we could still look down on it while we ate. It's a small lake, actually. There's a footpath around it and no real "beach" area. There is a boat launch, though.
After Blue Lake, we took the dirt roads to yet another valley. Thank God none of us had to pee because it would have been sheer torture. Luckily, once down into the valley there were actual paved roads! We eventually made it home for the super dinner K cooked up - a mean pork tenderloin, corn on the cob, baked potato, and salad. And of course, dessert. K's mom made a rhubarb crisp and we also had brownies and ice cream available. YUM.
Random lush valleys in the high desert!
A valley called Surprise Valley? Guess those settlers weren't expecting it!