Monday, July 06, 2009

Fourth of July with Family

This past weekend, I took a quick trip up to Placerville to visit family. My parents, who live in Kentucky, are up there visiting their parents, siblings, and other extended family who mostly all still live in the area (or, in some cases, have returned having once moved away). I've been needing to visit my Placerville family for a while anyway, but whenever my parents are expected to be up there, too, I tend to make a special effort. So even though it was a quick trip (at least I got Friday off of work, or even that might not have been possible!), I drove the 400-odd miles from the Pasadena area to Northern California for the holiday weekend.

Since we were up there for the Fourth of July weekend, one of the main items on the agenda was to go to Carson City, Nevada and the Nevada State Railroad Museum. It has been tradition for the NSRM to steam up the Inyo, which at 134 years old is one of the oldest steam locomotives still operating, although "operating" is perhaps used loosely here, since they only steam it up once a year, and it never carries any freight. But the fact that it still can run under its own power is the important thing. My dad is a steam locomotive fan par excellence, and we've taken more trips to more railroad museums than I can count over the course of my life. The NSRM is one of the "special" ones. While I wouldn't consider myself an expert on this kind of thing (my knowledge certainly pales when compared with his), I probably know far more about this kind of thing than most people. Ask me about the significance of the date, May 10, 1869, sometime (and how this engine connects with that date, despite not yet having been built!).

Of course, I was really there to visit with family, and one great way to do that on the Fourth of July is to watch the fireworks. A whole bunch of us found a piece of grass at one of the Placerville-area parking lots from which to watch the show, which lasted about 15 minutes. But before the show could start, we spent a few hours waiting and enjoying each other's company. Here's a shot of one of my cousins playing bubbles with her sons (the other one's out of shot at the moment, but he's running back and forth trying to pop them!).

It was definitely a far quicker trip than I would have liked, especially for such a long drive, but I'm glad I took it. I enjoyed spending time with everyone, and took far more pictures than I can comfortably share here (you can see an album here). Also, I'm increasingly aware that, especially in regard to my grandparents (on both sides, although only one is represented here), each time I see them could be my last. I'm trying to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.

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