California Day 7 Agua Dulce Departures 8/12/18 by Bill Pike

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Sunday was to be a transition day. A couple of departures were to take place.

Around mid-morning, Rachel and her family were being picked up by Garth’s sister to spend a few days in the San Diego area before flying back to Texas. Later in the afternoon, Elizabeth would be heading to LAX to catch her redeye back to Raleigh.

Early mornings in Agua Dulce are tranquil and cool even in August. Occasionally, I hear a rooster crow, a turkey gobbling, crows cawing, birds chirping, crickets, and a horse or cow greeting the day. But, the sounds of Los Angeles are miles away.

After breakfast, Betsy, Elizabeth, and I took a walk to the entrance of Vasquez Rocks. A Los Angeles County Park made famous by its spectacular rock formations. Those formations also caught the eyes of film and commercial production companies as the park has been a set and backdrop for countless films and commercials.

As we were walking down the partially shaded long service road from Abby and Art’s house, we kept hearing an unrecognizable sound. At one point, I stopped and looked up at the canopy of the eucalyptus trees we were under. As I scanned the foliage, I noted that the trees were in bloom, and that sound was coming from bees swarming the blooms.

By the time we made it back to the house, Garth’s sister had arrived, so it was time for goodbyes. We have always enjoyed Rachel and Garth and their children. They are a really special young family who have put down good community roots back home in McKinney, Texas. 

Somehow, it appeared they were able to get packed up and on their way without a bit of forgetfulness.  Goodbyes are tough on grandparents, especially grandmothers. Even though Abby shed a few of those traditional Cloud family tears—she handled the departure well. 

The morning pushed by pretty quick, and then we had a nice surprise. Ashley came around taking orders for lunch from the California famous In-N-Out Burger. 

Started in California in 1948, this chain has an established following in its home state, up and down the Pacific Coast, and parts of the Southwest. 

Packaging of their food has also been noted with Bible verses being printed on wrappers. On our wrappers today was printed the following from Revelation Chapter 3, verse 20:

 “Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me.”

Bible verse or not, one thing is very clear—the food is good, and the chain continues to be successful.

Later in the afternoon, time arrived for Elizabeth to head to LAX.  I rode along as Art drove her to the Flyaway in Van Nuys. The Flyaway is a bus service that transports passengers to the always busy airport. Clearly, the advantage for Flyaway customers is leaving the driving to LAX to someone else.

It was good to have Elizabeth with us for a few days. She and Ashley are close in age, and they have a good bond as cousins. I know they enjoyed catching up with each other.

After Elizabeth purchased the bus ticket, we said goodbye, and she settled in for a short wait.

On the drive back to Agua Dulce, I noted the tanned, brown landscape. The drought, relentless summer heat, and lack of rain fall just zaps the life out of anything green. I marvel at the plants that because of deep roots or location near almost dry stream beds somehow manage to hang on and survive. The chance of late fall and winter rains are months away. Hopefully, this rugged parched terrain can make it without the wrong incendiary spark.

Once back at the house, the shade and pleasant breeze was a good setting for playing bocce. Art, Abby, Tyrell, Betsy, and I played a few games of this simple yard game.

 A bit later, Art grilled salmon and some fresh summer corn, and we had a delicious meal sitting  around the pool.

As the sunlight faded away, we started looking for stars to appear. Slowly, the blue sky transitioned to darker shades, and in this high desert landscape with limited light pollution, the stars started to clearly pop out of the sky with a few planets leading the way.

Just happened that Sunday, August 12 was the night for the Perseids’ meteor shower. But none of us were willing to stay up for this viewing, although one  stray shooting star did streak through the sky.

Slowly, we cleaned up outside and headed in the house.

As I have found on each day of our California trip, I’m ready for bedtime when it arrives.

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