San Juan Bautista in San Benito County, CA, where I currently reside, began Phase 2 of the Grand Re-Opening this week. Restaurants have welcomed people inside for the first time since March (with restrictions) and so have the art and antique shops. Being of THAT AGE in a high risk demographic, I am still lying low, emerging masked from my camp only to exercise, get groceries, do laundry, and snag takeout once in a while. Fortunately, the weather has been pretty doggone nice for the most part. Some really awesome clouds have passed by lately - biggo cloud days are my favorite.
The County qualified for free COVID-19 testing recently. I tested negative for the virus on May 10 as expected and I would like to keep it that way. So I was pretty alarmed when I walked into town Saturday to find the usual motorcycle clubs and Mission tourists bouncing around without masks as if nothing ever happened. Apparently, for some people, ninety-some-thousand dead folks don't amount to much. I am generally an optimist, but it is hard to imagine how this virus will not do more damage if people slack off for the sake of a few beers.
To assist the small businesses, a program called Great Plates was initiated here using money from the state allotment of the CARES Act. The program pays the restaurant to prepare and deliver meals to seniors who qualify based on income. Here is where being dirt poor and old as dirt combine to create good times. Last night I received an amazing meal ("contactless delivery") from a restaurant in Tres Pinos (~15 miles from here) free of charge (to me) just because I am otherwise (except for my Adopt-a-Highway work) a fairly worthless citizen. The biz got paid and I got fed - win win! That is better than a stimulus check if you ask me. The owner dropped off the food in person and you could tell how happy it was making him to stay solvent and to help people, too. The food was great and I did not miss my beans and rice last night at all.
The 2020 in 2020 Challenge is in full bloom. I will edge past the 800-mile mark tomorrow, feeling healthy and strong. One of the coolest things I have kept track of on my walks is the progress of the Coke Farm organic artichoke field across the road from my camp. This week, it exploded with 'chokes and the harvest is on!
I have also made friends with a palomino on a nearby ranch - not a real talkative horse - mostly into eating grass and getting scratched behind the ears. I can relate.
The four mile section of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail that starts about a mile away from here provides a consistently challenging climb for me a few times a week. Sometimes I do the whole trail (8 miles round trip), but mostly I climb to the crest (2.7 miles) and back to my truck to get in my cardio. I have made friends there, too, mostly with blooming and decaying trees. The buckeyes are going crazy right now. And I'm always on the lookout for unusual shapes and expressive tree forms - it's a cheap hobby.
Most of the time, though, when I start to gain some elevation, I have my eyes on the long views. When the wind is blowing and I'm breathing hard, sweating like a workhorse, I get a thrill from taking a minute just to stand and stare. This land is my land, coast to coast, border to border, rain or shine. I belong to it, on it, and with it.
Peace, Love, and the Best of Health,