Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2013

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Where I stayed
Karen & Bob's
What I did
The Rush...

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, June 11, 2013

From El Cerrito the road took us to a couple of Bigfork reunions. First stop was in Placerville for a short stay with Bob and Karen, who recently left Bigfork to be closer to family.    

Lake Tahoe and the high desert are reminiscent of Bigfork and Flathead Valley. Billy didn't stop so these pictures were all taken from inside "Ole Red" while climbing and winding through the Sierra Mountains. This may actually be the southern part of the Cascades but at quick glace it could be Flathead Lake although South Lake Tahoe is a lot more commercial than any towns on the Flathead, with its huge resorts and casinos eating up large portions of lakefront properties. But the more rural shoreline on Lake Tahoe has more small charming communities like Lakeside and Somers and pockets of "artsy" villages like Bigfork.. Melancholy struck.... with mixed emotions about The Artful Odyssey winding down and returning to our cherished home in Bigfork.  

On the way, we had a high speed run-in with a cop - he flew by us in the fast lane, then suddenly slowed down to be alongside us. I had a sudden "Super Trooper" moment ["are you smokin' the reefer"] while we flashed hand signals back and forth, then we hear "roll your window down" over his loudspeaker and were admonished for not being in the slow lane, all while cruising at 60 mph in Sacramento traffic. Meow then! 

Karen likes to call Placerville the "Bigfork on steroids" with it's eclectic main street of boutique shops art galleries ( including the Original Thomas Kinkade Gallery, and classically named/uniquely designed restaurants....Cozmic Cafe, Heyday Cafe, Powell's Steamer Company & Pub... Placerville, like all of the neighboring towns, are products of the Gold Rush
around 1849. That rapid influx of fortune seekers to the site of newly discovered gold deposits to the first major gold strike here in California. Within a year about 80,000 “forty-niners” had flocked to neighboring gold fields. Some gold mining camps grew into permanent settlements, and propelled the new state's economy. There seems to be more "Ghost Towns" in these here parts than towns that survived. Placerville thrives!


 I'm not sure if I ever knew how funny Karen is... we really didn't know each other very well in Bigfork. We were casual friends and knew a lot of the same friends and neighbors but for some reason never spent much social time together. Its probably because, though our kids went to the same schools but their sons, Michael & John had graduated Bigfork High School before ours got there. 


Our strongest connection had been time we spent together during our annual Variety Show "Cowabunga." I proudly co-founded this (hugely successful  :O) annual event as well as its beneficiary, "Friends of Bigfork Schools" (FOBS) now boasting its 12th year. Karen has volunteered in many capacities, every year in my recollection. MOST AMAZINGLY YEAR AFTER YEAR-MANAGING THE BACKSTAGE GREEN ROOM, making sure performers (of which there are in excess of 100 including 3 year-olds to 83 year-olds) are in full costume, get to their places for entrances with props and a smile.(ITS A CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY JOB  but she maintains she LOVED IT.) 

Just days before they were moving last year we ran into she & Bob at "El Topo" when their dining companions were curiously no-shows so we joined each other to hear about their relocation and shared our Gypsy Tour plans and made us promise to visit. So...here we are. When I told Mallery that we were on our way to stay with them her response was ... "oh! That's random."  And it is. So glad we did..

I'll say again I'm not sure if I ever knew how funny Karen is... she is very witty, clever, and in fact riotous. She is "living the dream" whatever it happens to be for her that day. Warm, comfortable, endearing, positive energy. An easy, free spirit.  

 We shared lots of Bigfork gossip over delicious dinners on their deck and sunshiny breakfasts at "Sweetie Pies" outdoor patio. She and Bob clearly maintain contact with Bigfork friends because the knew EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYONE. We heard stories about friends that we didn't even know they knew! 

They also allowed me to mess up their house. We cut a pass-through in the dining room wall and added some arches in doorways transforming their home into a villa. Well, sort of.   

Karen Volunteers at a local Thrift Shop, "Partners in Care"  which benefits their "pre-hospice" organization with the same name.  And so the next "ever-shrinking-world story" is that when I went to visit Karen while she was working, a cousin of our Bigfork friends Pam & Mike ALSO VOLUNTEERS THERE AND WAS WORKING THE SAME SHIFT! Terry is a hoot and it was great spending some time with her as well. 


Bob didn't get much credit in all this but have to say he was a very generous host and has the memory of an elephant. We looked to him for names and places and players and dates and he came up with them -ALWAYS!   AMAZING!   Had a great time you guys! 

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Suzy, from Amelia on

Wow! Very nice work, Billy! I wish we had had a wall we wanted to punch a hole through!! :) The finished product is very, very nice!
Also, Placerville brings back memories of driving that route in my support vehicle behind my brother and his friend who were bicycling across the US to bring attention to Spina Bifida! (San Francisco to Jacksonville in 1984)

Karen and Bob White on

So, how fun to have Mary and Billy in our home and punching out the wall was only part of the fun. Billy also rounded out the top of three doorways to look more mediterranian and never left a speck of dust or debris. The Quintessential Contractor. We loved the pics of the Zucchini and we have a new game, one Zucchini came out looking like a baseball bat ----Viola! Zucchini Baseball was born in Placerville. Hoping the rest of your trip is as fun for you as having you here was for us. Can't wait for your next visit, we found another wall that needs bashing out. hahah. Loveya guys, Karen

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