|Today's letter is C.|
For more C posts,
On the husband's and my last 23rd date, we got in our car and drove east over the mountain to finally do the wander we started a few months ago. The fog was too thick then so we had turned back. Not so a few weeks ago. It was a gorgeous day for being carefree and fancy-free.
Back in January, a waitress had told us if we wanted to see some great views, we should go to the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Gustine and drive up to the flagpole. She was right. The husband thought that the Veterans buried at the cemetery were probably happy to finally be in a peaceful place.
|San Joaquin National Cemetery in Merced County is one of the 131 national |
cemeteries for U.S. Veterans. To read personal comments about the cemetery at Yelp.com, click here.
We had one goal that day—to hike in the Great Valley Grasslands State Park. It is truly an undeveloped park. It's a good thing we did our homework. Otherwise, we wouldn't have known by which unmarked gate to park.
|I expected grass above my head and to be walking through it. Maybe it was |
further up the path, but we only got a mile in because. . .
. . .this killdeer Mama stopped us in our tracks with her screeches. She was hatching
her four eggs. Rather than stressing her out with us walking by, we watched her for a bit,
then turned around and headed back to the car.
|We definitely want to return to the Great Valley Grasslands State Park and complete our trek.|
After getting back in the car, we decided to just wander. The husband and I took turns saying which way to turn. Left. Right. Straight ahead. Through the farmlands of Merced County we drove.
"Look at that!" "Did you see that?" "Wonder where we are." "Do we have a map?"
We drove through Livingston and wondered if a Stanley lived there.
"Are you hungry?"
When you're in the middle of ruralness, you won't find any convenient picnic tables. So we did what any of you, dear readers, would've done. We pulled off the road and into an orchard, set our beach chairs under a shady peach tree, and made sandwiches out of the bagels, salami, and cheese that we brought from home. I can still remember how good those sandwiches tasted and how relaxed we felt just hanging out there in an orchard far away from responsibilities and duties.
|The husband had waited several hours to read the comic strips.|
After lunch, we continued taking turns saying Left. Right. Straight ahead. And, of course, Stop! I gotta take a picture.
|Water towers, my new fascination.|
We eventually came to Merced, the county seat. Both of us had never been there. I'm ready to return if just to see more of the Merced County Courthouse Museum. That 1875 building is a beauty, both in and out. Because we got there half an hour before closing, we rushed through it with a docent following us all the way. Picture-taking is not allowed in the museum. I didn't know that.
It turned out to be a good thing, as the docent told us stories about the courthouse that we wouldn't have learned on our own. For example: "See those scuff marks on the wall by the steps," the docent said, as we were walking up the stairs to the second floor. "They were made by the prisoners' ankle cuffs as they walked up the steps." I could just hear the sound of shuffling feet and metal scraping against the wood.
|The statues that perch atop the old Merced County Courthouse. |
At the tippy top of the cupola is Minerva, the goddess of wisdom.
Below her is Lady Justice. She holds a sword and scales. Hmmm.
From Merced, we headed homeward. Left. Right. Straight ahead. Jiggity jigg.