[Continues from: “The Donners of Mesopotamia”]
© — Onward we went, running a tad late now. So, when we came to the south end of the lake, we just kept driving. The casinos on the Nevada side offered blackjack, and we already had had enough trouble with that today. Howard wanted to take the tram at the big ski resort up the mountain, which was a good idea. But it would be dark soon, and the tram was closing. So onward we went…again…through South Lake Tahoe’s 3rd millennia C.E. version of Mesopotamia. Made me wonder: Did Mesopotamia have gambling?; A golf course, or the equal thereof? What did the Mesopotamian gift shops offer? And did a distant relative of Neil Diamond sing in the Tigris Room for one night only? Well, I’ll bet it was something…yep…I’ll bet old Mesopotamia was really something, indeed.
It started to get dark, so we headed north up the east side of the lake, watching the sun set over the distant mountains. The lake went from silver, to gold, to royal blue, and then into a velvet black. That’s the thing about a coddiwomple, you see stuff…if you pay attention. Like that little, brief, flash of green the sun threw off before it tucked itself in. And learn things, like the kind of history between Mesopotamia and South Lake Tahoe that Mr. James Faulkner could have put into a single sentence. And muse over things, like why that perfect, little island had a petit castle atop. Not to mention the joy one finds in seeing a long line of pants holding people back from joining the freedom of fat and happy trout. And witness the miracles, like the ones that start up right about the time I open my eyes every morning. A wide-eyed coddiwomple…that’s it…continuing right over a hill named Brockway. And a quite one, too; finally, Billy and Howard were asleep.
Rolling north off of Brockway Summit, Billy woke up in a start. I came to learn that Billy would do that. He would have elements of his past as a carnie come back to him, and apparently they weren’t all merry-go-rounds and funnel cakes. He had seen…and lived through…some of the worst of it. And the ghosts returned to him while asleep, in startling fits. He thrashed some when he woke up, knocking Howard’s leg, and sending the now-melted Slurpee Howard had between his legs all over Howard, the back seat, and the car floor. In the ensuing melee, I drove right over I-80 (our turn toward Woodacre), and kept going through very dark woods until we came to a town called Sierraville. Not knowing where we were, I pulled over at a country gas station and asked for directions. Well, the I-80 was 24 miles back toward where we came from, and no one had noticed as Howard and I listened intently to random carnival-life horrors. Not being back-track folk, we got information on heading west over a mountain pass, and on into the Sacramento Valley, where we could find the highway toward the SF Bay Area, and on to Woodacre. We drove into the night, and eventually found a Forest Service road to turn on to and camp for the evening. ‘Camp’ was really just a big flat spot off the road for loggers to park equipment on. And it was quiet, except for the screech owl, which was nice. Loud, piercing, and lovely. On a coddiwomple, you hear some pretty cool stuff, too.
(For your convenience, we offer…The Coddiwomplers Route Guide)
Copyright – Robert W. Hansen – 2017