Wednesday, September 08, 2004

What a fun labor day weekend. Once again the family headed up to Mariposa County for the world famous Mariposa County fair. It's not really world famous but is such a classic representation of a small rural county fair. It's the event that the county waits for the whole summer. It's full of livestock, weird carnie folk, games of chance, country music, and way too much beer. Samantha absolutely loves it. She's in hog heaven on the rides, loves the terrible food, and could toss ping pong balls at small glass bowls until she was blue in the face. It's been really neat to see her grow steadily more confident at the fair. This is her 3rd year and when we started going she wouldn't even consider going on one of the rides. Now she loves it all, has made little friends with the children of her grandparents friends and just seems so in her element there. It's not that she's a rural kid, it's just that she's grown used to the rural environment that her grandparents live in and slides into the environment very easily. It's the whole adaptability of kids thing I guess. But it's not just her that loves the fair. I must say that I look forward to it every year. I don't want to call it wholesome just because there's pigs and a demolition derby and lots of cowboy hats, but there is something oddly innocent about it. People know one another, enter their pictures, crafts, plants, in the contests, cheer each other on, chat with you even if they don't know you. You're guard is down and I like that. Of course there's also the bald guy with a huge cross tattooed across his chest who has a wandering eye and (due to my careful observation of this nut) absolutely no social skills who has, none the less, managed to find a mate in an obsese, semi-literate alcoholic named Lulu. There are also absolutely no minorities. None. Not even a stray latino. It's a lily white existence and I felt a need to shelter my daughter from alot of the small mindedness. But for the most part the people have good (if sometimes misguided) hearts.

I also had the chance to ride up near Bass Lake. I found a couple of trails in the area through www.mtbr.com (a good resource actually) and Tami and our friend Jeff took a chance on a ride up Goat Mountain Trail. I have to tell you that it was one of the best rides I've been on in awhile. 3/4 of the climb up (about 1300 feet of gain) was on very tight single track. Once away from the main road around the lake we saw no one else. There was a signifigant stretch of fire road as I climbed up to the Goat Mountain observation tower. It was a tough climb mostly because of the heat. I enjoyed a magnificent 360 degree view in which I could see Bass Lake and Yosemite as well as most of the surrounding Stanislaus National Forest. But the really fun part was yet to come. The descent on Goat Mountain Trail was just too much fun. about 4 miles of tight, wooded challenging singletrack. I must say the Retrotec and I rocked it. Once again didn't see another soul on the whole descent. A good mix of tough rocky technical descent, smooth banked loamy trail on which you could really let go without worrying about running into another person. It was riding unlike the bay area, though I imagine it was what mountain biking on Mt. Tam would've been like 30 years ago. Good stuff.
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