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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.

What’s that ruckus?

I came home from work the other day and heard a cacophony of screeches and chirping in my back yard. My scrub jays were squawking like crazy. This usually means there is a hawk nearby. This time it wasn’t a hawk.

The various hawks in the neighborhood (like Coopers, Red Tailed) are easily spooked. If I’m lucky enough to see a hawk sitting on the fence in the backyard I have to be very quiet and still. As soon as I start moving around the house those hawks take off.

But not this guy.

He sat in my maple tree for a couple of hours. I even went outside to grill some steaks and he stayed in my tree. I think he just wanted to take a nap.

But Oddie and Scruffy, my scrub jays, kept squawking and harassing this poor owl. Oddie, the male, kept diving bombing the owl.

Eventually this Great Horned Owl had enough and moved on. I keep hoping he will come back.


Here’s breakfast while camping…wait…no, that’s not it…not camping…that’s my back yard.

I love living here in Reno.

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