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Whirlwind Tour of Chico

I was in Chico for work last week. I took a tour of my old haunts. I left feeling nostalgic but out-of-sorts. Since graduating, and leaving, back in 2004, I have been back to Chico many times. Some things have changed, but most has stayed the same.

I had lunch at my favorite diner downtown, Jack’s. This place hasn’t changed a bit. Jack’s Sampler breakfast is still on the menu. As I ate I looked back on all the times that I sat at Jack’s and had a meal. I remember the meal that I ate the morning that I walked the stage at CSUChico to receive my diploma.

After lunch I decided to walk through campus. This is something that I haven’t done since graduation in May 2004. Although I’ve been back to Chico many times since, I haven’t felt the need to visit the campus of my alma mater. And it was a strange experience. I WAS LOST. I couldn’t remember where things were. And there was so much that I didn’t remember. I tried to find my old cafe by the creek–and walked past it 3 times without recognizing it! Then I happened upon the rose garden, which I had forgotten about. It was a very strange feeling. This was the campus that I have loved so much 14 years ago and yet I don’t remember it.

I continued my stroll about downtown, walking up and down Main and Broadway. Again, there was so much that I didn’t recognize. LaSalle’s is being gutted, but Duffy’s is still there. The park in the center of downtown has big, beautiful mature trees with lots of shade. I remember being so upset when the cut down all the huge elm trees. 13 years later the park looks very nice.

Then I drove down 5th street and made sure that my Joe’s Bar was still there. I remember all the cold winter mornings I stopped in to sit by the fire and have a bloody mary before walking to class (of course, sometimes I didn’t make it to class). I parked on the street opposite my old apartment building and took a long look at my old home, remembering all the good times.

Then it was off to Bidwell Park. By this time it was early afternoon and already 99 degrees. I knew this would be a good time for a swim. So I made the dusty and bumpy trip up to Bear Hole for a cool soak in the river.

I was done with Chico and now it’s time to fish. I made the trip up hwy 32 to the top of Deer Creek where I love to fish. The river is in great shape for this time of year. I haven’t done much fishing this year due to problems with my back. But my favorite spot is relatively flat so I pressed on through the minor back pain. I caught a few planter rainbows and a new fish that I haven’t seen before up there–a brookie! Brookies are taking over the Sierras it seems–they are everywhere.

Around 8pm I’d had enough fishing. I was hot and tired and very hungry. I knew that I had to get Chester (I didn’t have enough time to get to Susanville) before 9pm and everything was closed. I made it to the edge of town around 8:30p and stopped at a new restaurant called the Ranch House, where I had a very nice steak at the bar while watching the Giants lose again. It was dark when I finished, and there wasn’t much to see in Chester–everything was closed and all the tourists were back in camp or in one of the few bars in town.

I smoked two cigars on the way home, which took about two hours. Google maps told me that Chester is about 120 miles from my house in Reno. I was tired, but entirely satisfied with a wonderful, albeit long, day.

One Response to “Whirlwind Tour of Chico”

  1. Deborah Lessa says:

    Ah Chico. I had some fun times up there with you! It is a great place to be. But….the heat will just kill ya!