Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Summer Sun is Fading As The Year Grows Old

I love the fall. The covers of magazines in October and November with the golden leaves, the squash....everything in the bronze tones of the season. The Fall catalogs come filled with plaid, cable knits and corduroy. I've always felt drawn to the golden elements of my birth sign and, though Leo is a summer sign, the various traits of the Sun, fire, sunflowers.... are what drive me. I want to explore in the autumn months. Pumpkin patches. Autumn leaves. I want to wear sweaters even before it's cold. When I feel the first chill in the air, I crave a ride through the hills, a bowl of soup and freshly baked bread.

Some spousal manipulation garnered a trade: a drive for autumn colors in exchange for a day taking pictures at a motorcycle track day in Willows. Mark promised to pull over whenever I spotted a picture and was true to his word though it's painful for him to pull over just after he's managed to put the pass on two or three RVs only to have to pass them AGAIN, after I've taken a few photos. Our summer has kept the air so warm, I wasn't sure we'd find the colors I was looking for and, as it turned out, I was right. I suspect another two weeks will be needed to turn the leaves to reds and golds.

Since we were heading east, we went north on Highway 3 out of Weaverville, hoping the Trinity Alps might have seen a chill. Looking up to the trees coating the mountainsides, it's easy to see the changes are afoot but just barely - the hint of colors mottling the canopy is just barely visible. Areas near water, where the more easily manipulated deciduous trees reside, teased me with yellow. We stopped for a brew in Weed at the Mt. Shasta Brewing Company and found a fun crowd in there on a Sunday afternoon. Mark had the Abner Weed Amber Ale while I tried the Stout of Jefferson, a seasonal they had on tap. They knew we were visitors but, when I told them we were from Humboldt and were no strangers to microbrews, one local sighed and said... "you are SO blessed in Humboldt" and began to tell a story about a business trip, a surfboard and a waved that kicked his ass. Fun crowd. We left them discussing the scores of some sport we don't follow and headed out to I-5.The Thunderhill Raceway is in Willows, just a half-hour or so from Chico, so we trusted Victoria, the bitchy Brit in our GPS to guide us to the nearby Sierra Nevada Taproom. The place is enormous - a far cry from our Humboldt microbreweries with its tanks resembling grain towers on the roof. The food was tasty - Mark had a steak and I tried the Grilled Lamb Pizza on a crust you could watch them tossing in the open kitchen. The decor was gorgeous. We polished off our brews - I tried the Tumbler, a nice brown ale because I was drawn to the Autumnal scene on the label, and Mark had the Stout. We called it a night fairly early in preparation for 7:00 gate opening at the track. The wind was already gathering speed at 6:00 when we met Tom and Dan for breakfast.; not cold but the leaves were stirring which is never a good sign early in the day. As the sun came up, we gathered at the track gate, everyone scoping out what the other guy brought. Suzukis, Yamahas, Ducatis... all planning to turn their road-race bikes loose on the turns of the SCCA track. The people at Pacific Track Time run these track days allowing for three levels of riding, twenty-minute periods for each. Each group (in theory) would have four blocks before lunch then another four after. Although there is likely some unofficial racing going on, the intent is just to ride fast and get the yayas out. The wind made the riding, or at least the turning, difficult allowing at least two riders a helicopter ride to neighboring hospitals with injuries. The waits for the medical crews and air ambulances delayed the riding a bit but all in all, everyone had a great time.
The day got warm - brushing close to 90, I suspect which the wind cooled down only slightly. I spent my day wandering the track with my camera thinking how fun it would be out on the track, with no worries about traffic except for a few other bikes. Maybe one of these days I'll take the opportunity to let someone else take the pictures. For now, I still need to get back out to check out some autumn leaves.

No comments: