Farewell Mr. Pickles, Loopy, and the sheep.
It’s been a while now since the last update, but I thought I should keep this in some kind of order, and the only order that makes sense (if sense can be made of something so damned nonsensical) is chronological, so here we go with the next installment of The Great, nay, The Fantastic Adventures of Sandy Belle. In this episode we join our heroine as she prepares to embark on yet another journey; a journey from which she will never look back, possibly never recover, and hopefully, always view as a positive, slightly mad, almost insane, but nonetheless positive, step in her development as a contributing and progressive member of society.
On this surprisingly cold, but calm, clear, Sunday in November, Sandy Belle is to make her way from her summer lodgings in the open and windswept grasslands at the toe of the Sierra Nevada mountains, to her permanent home in Brooks, California, a community of 92 (going on 94) nestled between two scrubby-looking ridges of the Pacific Coast Range. The Blue Ridge and the Rumsey Hills are separated only by the narrow floodplain of Cache Creek and the fertile and productive farmlands it has helped create. It is due to the productivity of that farmland, the agricultural community it supports, and the simple beauty of the place, that we find ourselves dragging poor Sandy Belle the hundred-and-something miles down Interstate 5 from Chico. I know she liked it out there in the flatlands, surrounded by nothing but open grasslands and Butte County’s sacred Vernal Pools, but the trip down the Highway to Brooks and the Capay Valley, we told her, would be worth the stress of having to say farewell to the meadowlarks, to Mr. Pickles, Loopy, and the sheep; soon she is to have sheep of her own.
So, on the morning of the move we made our way in convoy (what other way is there to travel) out to the Wookey’s where Sandy Belle was waiting. Mr. Wookey, thankfully, had previously moved Sandy Belle from her shelter behind his workshop out to beside the road with one of his umpteen tractors to prevent any logistical shortcomings brought on by the mud and the likelihood of even more mud. Before making our way (in convoy) to the Wookey’s, we had to first go (in convoy) and pick up the huge truck that was given the unlikely and somewhat arduous task of pulling Sandy Belle down to Brooks. Now, I’m not saying that Sandy is in any way too big for her frame, overweight, or the classic, “big boned”, or that a normal-sized Amurrican truck wouldn’t be strong enough to pull her, in fact it’s quite the opposite, she’s rather light for her size, it’s just that she doesn’t have any brakes and a 4000 pound trailer with no brakes takes quite a bit of stopping, hence the need for Hector (shoot, now I’ve gone and given him a name too). After convincing the guy at the equipment rental place that we knew exactly what we were doing and that his truck was in the safest of hands, he let us drive it off into the distance with only a hint of regret visible on his usually cheery face. The fact that his dad (who happens to also be called Guy) once hugged me in public when I had absolutely no idea who he was meant nothing, he was still as confused and dazed looking as I had been – it took me about three days to get over the shock of that encounter and to figure out that I actually knew the bloke and that his saying “You should come by and see me some time” wasn’t as wierd as it had first appeared – and I’m sure it took him just as long to get over the fact that his truck was soon to be used to pull a 32 year-old 4000 lb Airstream trailer with no brakes and dodgy tires, by a hobbit, it’s parents, and a strangely amused Scotsman.
Having picked up the truck and made it (still in convoy) out to the Wookey’s, we made a final round of the place, picking up all our left over bits of wood, tools, and spare freezers and hitched Sandy to Hector (or visa versa). We stopped in on Mrs. Wookey briefly who was busying herself with the newborn lambs – all 96 of them (aawwww) – and then headed out (ic) on the journey.
And that, surprisingly, was that; no great adventure, no tales of hours spent by the side of the road caressing Sandy Belle’s fractured underside in the vain hope that her wheels would once again join the rest of her body, no encounters with toothless wierdos and their overly-friendly, and equally toothless, grandmothers, nothing, just an everyday trip down the road, by everyday folks, towing an everyday trailer. Bo-ring! It was one of those adventures that had the potential for any number of disasters. There were so many variables that could have sent the whole thing on it’s arse that I was literally weighing up the odds of what would actually happen; would it be a flat tire? a more dire technical emergency? would the whole rig go shooting through a red light taking out dogs, grannies, and vertically challenged basketball players? If you had offered me odds on Sandy Belle making it to her new home, tucked-in happily amongst the almonds without so much as a scratch, I probably would have laughed and not taken the bet , silly me. It appears that miracles can happen.
So there she sits, awaiting her next challenge – to get from one spot to the other, on the same farm, in the same orchard; no tractors, no convoy, no Mr.Wookey and his endless enthusiasm and mechanical know-how, just us, Skye, 55 acres, and 55 times as much opportunity for getting stuck in the mud, and our brand new, 1985 Chevy Custom Delux pickup. The next adventure? I think so.