Tuesday, July 12, 2011

4th of July in Downieville

The Fourth of July is always entertaining in a small town. Here are a few highlights:

Nim decorated her bike so she could be in the small town parade down Main Street. Linda walked with her so Chad and I could be spectators.

The fire danger up there is too high to allow fireworks, but one couple in town has a tradition of unrolling two giant rolls of bubble wrap down the street at the end of the parade, which everyone duly stomples -- it sounds a lot like fireworks, and is just delightfully wacky to watch.

The rest of the afternoon brings a tug-of-war and foot races down Main Street. Nimue entered the 8-year-old race, came in third (of three) and was frustrated, only calming down after I grudgingly ran in the over-30 women's race. I'm not a sprinter, but managed to strategically place myself in third, just like Nimue, which cheered her up immensely. (Good thing she didn't come in second; I let myself get boxed in, and probably couldn't have placed myself in that spot!)

Race written up in the Downieville Mountain Messenger. Oooh, we're famous... (Click on the image to blow it up and see our names.)

Much water play. It was up around 90 degrees the whole time we were up there, so the kiddie pool, sprinkler, and mister were much appreciated. The first small pool suffered a large woe after being cartwheeled into one too many times, was resurrected as a circular slip-and-slide dance floor, and then replaced with a bigger splash pool.

Chad and I took an entertaining bikepacking trip on local dirt roads and trails --more on this later.

Fishing at Upper Sardine Lake, at the base of the Sierra Buttes:

Nimue's other big project in Downieville was to try to make money to buy more Zoobles. For those not in the know, Zoobles are disgustingly cute little plastic critters that come be folded up in a ball; they pop their ears and eyes open when the little magnet inside gets close enough to something metal. I keep finding an armada of them bristling off the refrigerator door.

At any rate, she had a few, wanted more, and decided that selling chocolate chip cookies in Downieville was the way to make money more quickly than waiting forever for her allowance savings to build up. Being a Towle, she quickly set up the "Towle House" cookie booth, and smiled and waved at every passer-by until all the cookies were gone.

She made such a haul at the first attempt (something like $40), that she was motivated to repeat the process the following weekend. By chance, this was the weekend of the Downieville Classic bike races, which multiply the town's normal population by about a factor of 10 and fill the main street with a mountain biking festival. However, it was less of a cookie-eating population (a beer stand would have gone over well, albeit illegal for the small ones...), and some of the local kids got in on the action to provide some sales competition. Nimue banded together with them and did sell more cookies during the bike races, though her take was not quite as much as the previous attempt.

Part of the deal with us to allow her the second stand (these things do require parental/grandparental effort and resources, after all) was that she would donate some of her profit. She chose to give 25% of her take from both sales days -- $16.27 to be precise -- to the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship operation that maintains the trails up in that neck of the woods. The woman who got the envelope was so tickled that she immediately took Nimue over to the race announcer, who not only announced her donation to the entire town, but also interviewed her over the very loud microphone. Linda could hear it all the way over at her house across the river! Nim was nervous, but spoke very well, and was clearly on a high, feeling famous, afterwards.

Scan Pile Procrastination

I've been working through the scan pile this morning, procrastinating other things, and trying to clean up the office enough to locate the missing truck service coupons. Here is another batch of Nim's work for your enjoyment.