[Continues from: “Niel Diamond – One Night Only”]
© — The sun didn’t exactly ‘come up’ in the mountain pass woods, but it did provide enough light for us to shake the dew off of our sleeping bags, and find the rural highway down the hill and into the Sacramento Valley. We got to the flatlands about 8:00am, and stopped at a Denny’s for breakfast. Those two didn’t eat the pancakes I had ordered for them, so I had the sweet waitress put them in to-go boxes for us. She was really nice, and only smiled and nodded when I explained how Billy and Howard were probably going to just start eating chips and junk food as soon as we got into the car. Besides, cold pancakes make for a great while-you-drive brunch on a road trip, if you don’t put the butter and syrup on them.
While sitting in the booth at Denny’s, I got out my cell phone and checked out our location on Google Maps. By zooming out, and I could see where we were relative to the San Francisco Bay Ara, and the direction we needed to travel to head directly toward Woodacre. However, I also discovered a rural highway that headed due west toward the California Coast, and Highway 1, which, if we headed south from there, would then take us right past Woodacre. And that route would also take us right past Clear Lake! That sounded far more interesting than the quick way south!!! So, I grabbed the pancakes, Howard and Billy, found the car, and off we went on the same highway we came in on, due west, and straight across the Sacramento Valley toward the Coastal Range mountains, that we could now see in the distance.
That was our cairn…the distant mountains. A cairn (say “Karen” fast) is usually just a pile of odd rocks, assembled in some way so as to be unmistakably crafted by humans. Some are ancient. Some slight. And some unexpected. I’ve come to count on cairns to lead me through uncharted canyons, over snowy backcountry passes, and to some fascinating places. While cairns can be a simple stack of rocks, they can also be a small statue on top of a tall pillar seen over city buildings telling me of a garden park below. Or a fallen tree that points me toward the flowery meadow it was reaching for. Or brightly colored tarps that shade the artists offering their wares beneath. Or whole mountains. Like the ones in front of us that called for some serious coddiwompling. They say, ”This way!”…and that’s the way we’re going.
(For your convenience, we offer…The Coddiwomplers Route Guide)
Copyright – Robert W. Hansen – 2017