Sunday, November 21, 2010
Camp Connell, Ca-- What we are experiencing is not the first snow of the year. That happened a few weeks ago with a polite three-inch covering that made good pictures but did not inconvenience anyone.
Today we are having what we call a dump. Twelve to 14 inches on Friday night, and an additional two feet or so (so far) since yesterday. The first of several we expect each winter, and this one came early.
It is beautiful, but the more years we live where winter is a reality, the less enamored I become with snow.
The snow plow has come by twice, and our lane is open enough to safely make it to the county road that connects us to the state highway.
But we opted to stay close to home after son Zack arrived this morning and warned us that the roads were extremely slick, and even careful drivers were sliding around playing bumper cars.
Yesterday afternoon Pat was driving home and just as she turned of the highway there was a young man beside his crushed pickup truck, looking a bit dazed. He told her he was alright, but his truck was demolished from the tree he slid into. His ATV had flown out of the back and landed nearby. His airbag inflated, though he said he was going so slow it didn't help much. He was driving down the mountain in his 4-wheel-drive vehicle when it began to slide sideways and he could not regain control.
This morning the local news website reporter trees down across a county road nearby, and several thousand people in our county without electric power.
We have to plan carefully any trip, even short ones. We carry chains, even for the all-wheel-drive Subaru and the four-wheel-drive truck. We carry shovels, drinking water and sleeping bag. And a First Aid Kit.
Just in case.
So this winter I have begun thinking about warm places, sunshine, and clear skies and roads.
Unfortunately our favorite sunny winter retreats have had recent setbacks.
The Pacific Coast of Mexico has changed through the last decade.
The resort area near Puerto Vallarta that we enjoyed for several years has become increasingly expensive, more isolated from Mexican people, and seems somehow less friendly than it once was, at least for me as a budget-minded visitor.
The beautiful little town of LaManzanilla on Tenacatita Bay is apparently as charming as ever, but Mexican politics, greedy and politically-connected resort developers and even some drug activity seem be be getting closer all the time.
The Florida that I used to know, as a child and a young adult, is disappearing faster than I can track. The coasts are now lined with condominiums, many of them empty or in the hands of the repo man, and the Everglades and "old Florida" beaches are dying faster than the aging population.
My native South -- Alabama and Georgia -- are not exactly winter travel destinations. I'd rather shovel snow off the deck than go through another cold wet winter that seems so typical in my memory.
The warm desert resorts of Southern California were interesting for a while, but require money by the bucket-load, and I have always been, and remain, cheap.
On the other hand, we've never been to Hawaii. Maybe it is time.
(Meanwhile, it is still snowing. Only three days into winter and I am ready for an escape. I think we'll walk to the general store for a candy bar.)