July 30, 2015

California Summer Daze, Part 1


I always find reasons to return to Northern California. After four weeks of Eastern and Midwestern America's thunderstorms, I felt like I was coming for the weather.

Landing in Sacramento was glorious. I walked down the steps of the plane, onto the hot tarmac, and looked around: blue sky forever! Finally!

I wanted to lay flat on the concrete and let that valley wind roll over me from each end of the giant blue sky that stretched in every direction.

But the main reasons I came to NorCal this summer were for work and my best friend, Tanya!

I don't do nearly as many volleyball camps as I used to, but I love working my little Redding Christian camp. Why? The campers and parents are all so grateful that I come all the way to Redding and they welcome me with open arms every year.

This time I even stayed with one of my favorite RCHS families, the Johnsons. It's amazing to process that I met their daughter, Cheyenne, at NBC Camps when she was just 13 or 14 years old - and now she's going into her sophomore year of college volleyball!!! Her family and I connected instantaneously back then, and they were the perfect family to host me.

The Johnsons even lent me a truck to bum around town in, and that allowed me to meet up with several awesome old friends from my many days spent in the area (2-4 weeks of summer camp for 11 years, plus 2 years of living there).

Redding is still as beautiful as ever, and the mountains cut dark against bright orange sunsets every evening.

My three days of volleyball camp were bracketed by time with Tanya. Hanging out with Tanya in Orland is basically my version of the perfect time machine. We go back to the early 2000s, driving around nowhere, singing in the car, and lazing about the lake. It's perfect because we feel like we are in high school again, just without all the homework and annoying people.

She took me stand-up paddleboarding for the first time, and we literally had Black Butte Lake (say "butt" if you want to, but the correct pronunciation is "bute" with a long "u" sound) all to ourselves. It was the most relaxing and intense workout I've ever had!

The other rad place Tanya took me to was this crazy back road from Redding to Orland. There was no one out there for miles and miles. We did see another car, once. There used to be a boomtown out that way, but it only lasted until the railroad came and everyone moved to Orland.

Both of my days with Tanya were in two absolutely beautiful and amazing wide open spaces.

Summer had finally arrived. I just hadn't realized it was waiting for me in California all along.