May 14th, 2007

Family

A Visit to the Hills

On Sunday, Cheryl and I drove to my mother's place in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Lake Frances, California [the name of the lake is in flux, as explained here], and had a great lunch including some fine barbecue prepared by my nephew Shane. We took a few photos as well.

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After leaving Mom's, I got it into my head to drive up to Challenge, which I had not visited in many years, so we detoured over hill and winding road up to my home town, where we stopped and had a look at my old elementary school and what I remember as my family home.

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My first home that I can remember was a few hundred feet from that of my grandparents, but I think I spent as much time in my grandparents' home in my first five years as I did in my actual home. Alas, time has not been kind to the place, which my grandfather still owns, but which has sat unoccupied now for years and was hard used by tenants before that.

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Besides my grandfather's old house, Challenge as a town is more run down and dilapidated than it was when I lived here. The town's main industry was the US Forest Service district office, which closed when the Forest Service consolidated districts on the Plumas National Forest. They still have a work station open -- part of the ranger station on which I lived for a couple of years -- but it's clearly a far smaller operation than when I lived here. The former ranger station administrative offices are now signed as the Challenge Professional Center, but it obviously has few tenants. Sad, really. Most of the development, such as it is, is down the hill in Brownsville.

Having engaged in nostalgia, we made our long, slow way back to Fremont via Marysville, Sacramento, Tracy, and Altamont Pass.

Edit, 16 May 2007 23:55: Reworded clumsy sentence about my original home relative to that of my grandparents.
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