Today our mission was to see one of our party’s first cousins just outside of the “blink and you’ll miss it” census designated place of Badger, California, not too far outside of Squaw Valley. We managed to make it there and back, but it definitely had a more epic feel of a journey than one might normally expect, unless the Sierra Nevada range is something you have a great deal more experience with than I have. At any rate, there was a theme to today, or at least a pattern, namely the way that it seemed that one should have been somewhere already only to have not quite arrived where one should yet, forcing one to continue on until one was able to arrive where one was looking to go.
We left this morning at a bit after 6AM, where two of us were ready to go at 6AM when we had planned to leave and one person lagged a bit behind. After that we had to gas up the car before we left (and we had to gas it up again in our return to Los Banos on our way back). After having written out the directions, I was hoping that they would work well and they did. We went to Watsonville, found a way across the state through Los Banos (where we stopped at the Black Bear Cafe there for both breakfast and dinner), made our way through Merced and Fresno, and then left Fresno to explore the Sierra Nevada mountains and arrive near the hamlet of Badger, where we were able to enjoy chatting with one of our party’s first cousins and his wife.
While there I must admit that there was a great deal that was entertaining. The woman of the house had been a waitress when she was younger and did a good job at cooking as well as at showing a couple of us around the property, which consists of 9 acres in the mountains with some steep terrain and some placid beef cattle being fattened up for the slaughtering season. While at times I had to try to keep from napping during the conversation during the hot afternoon while we sat outside, there was definitely plenty to be excited about, be it humorous stories about relatives, references to being a wild youth–of interest is the fact that the person we were visiting was blind and had once beat up someone who kept on talking who had tried to bully him. I was struck by how foolish it was to try to bully a blind person because there is no upside, not least when a blind person beats you up after you try to bully him.
I think, in general, that it is an immensely worthwhile thing to visit family members, and it was nice that our cousin was both knowledgeable and full of stories from nearly 80 years of life, but also that he was interested in genealogy. The land that they had was quite lovely even if it was somewhat remote–so remote that the property value of three neighbors’ homes that are for sale at present was between $150,000 and $200,000, an absolute bargain compared to most of the properties I have been seeing on Zillow as of late. The land that they had still showed the affects of a fire that had begun thanks to the behavior of a clandestine pot farmer who had been siphoning power off of a neighbor. And the roads themselves were rather treacherous, all of which made for interesting driving. But it was an enjoyable and successful mission nonetheless.