A three-day weekend for Bernie! Three days of Bernie for me!
Saturday was a puttery day, between garden and indoor house chores. I made wicked nachos and home-made salsa. Mostly I wanted Bernie to rest from his week's work.
Sunday found him ready for adventure, and we set off for the River Park for an amble through the forest with the dogs.
The day was simply glorious, low sixties with sunshine, the dogs leaping crazily through the wet grass (there had been fog in the morning), grabbing mouthfuls and chomping them in defiance of our admonitions: "Quit that, you grass-eating craphounds!" We leisurely wound our way from the broad City path to where the Kids path takes off towards the Stanislaus River, west.
Bernie looked at the fork that led east. "Where does that go?"
I didn't know; I assumed that it wound about for a bit between the blackberry brambles and the nettles and led back to the main City path, and our starting point. However, though he plays the innocent, Bernie knows that is a question that, in the woods, is irresistible to me. It was the question that earned me many spankings and groundings and lectures, but a question to which I was never able to resist finding the answer. "Where does that go?"
Where does that go? Who made that trail, and did they have a goal? Is it aimless, or purposeful? Was it originally a game trail, or was it kids escaping the life of the town to throw in their imaginations to the river and the bamboo thickets?
We turned east.
As we were very quickly hailed, and passed by a young boy on a bike, I knew that the path was not one I had to slink along, scanning the brush for danger. Indeed, in short order we stood off the path to let a couple pass who were toting a backpack and a couple blankets, having spent the night in a small area off the path. (Totally against ordinances, as "camping" and "fires" are forbidden in that park.) It was a veritable freeway, but I still was entranced to find out where it led.
Another fork, and the path to the right led to a vista of the river that I never knew existed. It was a big bend, like a small lake, simply beautiful. At that point I gave up trying to figure out the shortest way back and instead, gave myself over to the winding path.
At length, and I do mean at length, we struck a gravel City path again and followed it to the underbelly of Highway 99. I knew that the City had intended to merge the River Park on the west side of 99 with the east side River Park, but I'd had no idea they'd come so far. A quick walk across dry mud took us to the eastern park.
My feet were throbbing, having been encased in my 1-hour limit Reeboks. Bernie had his phone with him, so I made him call Alex, to see if she could come pick us up and take us to where our car was parked on the other side of the town. No luck. She wasn't home. We trudged our way to the bridge back over the highway, where Bernie stopped to buy some bottled water for us and the panting dogs, who were both so tired they were walking quietly at heel.
All of us loved the water. At that point I should have removed my shoes and walked barefoot, but had a bad case of "responsible adult" so I kept my shoes and socks on. By the time we got to the car, I was so tired I wanted to swear off walking forever, as well as wearing shoes. The dogs had to think about their leaps before they jumped up into the cargo space, and as soon as we were underway back to the house, Howie flopped himself down on the rug in the back of the car.
It was a good walk, but a long one. That Sebastian had to be helped to jump up onto his master's bed that night tells that it was a long walk.
Thank God my mattress is on the floor.
And though the next day, I fully intended to milk the "sore feet" thing for the whole day, we spent our day in search of bicycles -- first, for Bernie -- and we found him a comfy rider; and then for me, after 15 minutes of riding Alex's bike made my neck and shoulders ache. (Her handlebars are too low and too forward for me.) We drove back up to Wal-Mart and got me a Geezer Bike, very comfortable with a fatass seat and wide, sloping handlebars. And no gears. It's just a bike.
And then we rode our bikes around the neighborhood, me trying not to wreck.
They say that you always remember how to ride a bike, but after 30-some years of NOT riding a bike, well, hell. You don't really remember as much as you think you might.
(I strongly endorse the herb valerian when you know you've over-used muscles; I woke up this morning with no muscle pain and was rarin' to go for another training ride on the bicycle.)
In all, it was a great weekend, with sun and my husband's company, and woods, and the long-lost pleasure of bicycles. 43 more days until I have his charming, soothing, always entertaining presence again 24/7 ... at least for a while. I've missed him so.