A mixed family of Arkansas gypsies has been roaming this campground. The group’s matriarch claims to be 51, and while missing some teeth she possesses a politician’s gift of gab and an Italian’s grasp of hand gestures. She has two big louts with her, one of whom may be her son and the other she fears is a meth head. The son’s pregnant girlfriend – who under better circumstances might pass for normal — is the fourth in their foursome. They scored some $50 marijuana on Day One which must suffice for morning coffee. On our Day One we parked close enough to overhear their shouting matches, such as “You bought eight packs of cigarettes and I only got two!” “Four of us smoke; two’s fair.” “No, do the math – should be three packs.” “No wonder you quit school in 5th grade.” The girlish voice asked “I thought you had to be fifteen to quit school?” “He was!” (Lots of loud laughter.) Or “We have $134, two cans of Vienna sausage, and we’re three states from home!”
Our Day Two began with an early move and we’ve seen and heard less of them since then.
But for some reason, the rangers and the Salida police are interested and have paid them numerous visits. A neighbor camped nearby left the Arkies in charge of his food, water, and tent while he went into town for a few days of chemotherapy. He has not yet returned, but the neighbor camped closest to him told Kat “They slept in his tent, ate everything in his ice chest, even borrowed a can opener from me to do it. He may have some water left, but I ain’t sure.” “And my wife caught that big meth head with his face a foot from our window looking right into our camper!” Here are a couple of license plate shots just in case we get kilt out here.
Going from the ridiculous toward the sublime, we grilled the rainbow trout Kat caught back in Big Meadows Lake. Two were wrapped in foil with a stuffing of cilantro, sliced lemons, black pepper and garlic salt. One was oiled, sprinkled with Dalmatian rub (salt and black pepper), then grilled sans foil. All three were cooked over mesquite charcoal, lid down to try to capture a bit of smoke and heat. They all were tasty, but we agree: no foil is the better preparation.
Tomorrow we will drop in on the inaugural Salida Arts Fair on the grounds of the park next to the Salida Aquatic Center, a natural hot springs swimming pool off Highway 50. We won’t swim, but we hope to see interesting art and come away enlightened. Failing that, we’ll at least enjoy an interlude away from the Joads.
You don’t think we’ll see them there, do you?