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Biba

Sacramento, California: The Plague of the Flies continues. Jogging today was again miserable due to insects. Seems flies tend to land on non-moving objects and apparently I am a non-moving object while jogging.

I did have an exciting encounter of the Chinese kind while pounding out my 5k this morning - a fun conversation with two young Chinese student-pilots. There is a pilot training school, Sierra Academy of Aeronautics on (the now defunct) Castle Air Base (where we are camped) and the Chinese government sends a bunch of their young men to school here to learn to fly jets. The men live in the old Air Force bachelor quarter apartments and train at the landing strip on the old base. It was interesting for me to meet the students and fun to speak with them in Chinese. Amazingly, I can still remember a few basic pleasantries in the Chinese language from our Taiwan days... plus, it was amusing to see the look on their face when I spoke in their native tongue. Good way to start the day - exercising your body and your brain.

Actually, I could do an entire post about all the businesses which have opened shop on the huge air base since it was closed in 1995. The obsolete base left many huge buildings, hangars, etc., which are now used as small manufacturing plants for private businesses. On a personal note: Castle was a SAC (Strategic Air Command) Base and my late father-in-law, Colonel Will M. Taylor, retired from Castle Air Base in 1970.

After exercising, we headed out to ship the daily Camping Journal orders and to visit the Hmong vegetable and fruit stand in nearby Winton. Pronounced Mong, over 30,000 members of this Laotian hill tribe have settled in the San Joaquin Valley of California since 1970. Every time we camp at the Air Base, we visit our favorite fruit/veggie stand - the strawberries are luscious and ripe throughout. I have written before about the owner's daughter - now in high school - who is fluent in English, Hmong and Spanish. They grow the veggies and strawberries on a small plot of land along the road and sell the just-picked produce in a small wooden shed on-site.

Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberries

Did I mention it is the tenth of November?

We bought a whole-buncha-berries and took them to Dave's Mom... where we all stood over the sink eating the delicious juicy berries. Fabulous. Unbelievable. November? DT's Mom said the Hmong strawberry farmers had quite a time this year - spring rain caused mold on the fruit and then an assumed racist went around burning-down all their road-side farm stands.

Mean People Suck.

DT and his Mom

After spending the morning with Dave's Mom we headed north on the incredibly bumpy Highway 99 to Sacramento where we are camped, yet again, at the Cal Expo RV Park. This full-service campground is at the California State Fairgrounds - and adjacent to miles of bike/jogging paths along the Sacramento River. We have camped here often. No frills - but full-service campsites and plenty of them - at an incredible location.

So we could visit All The Brothers on this trip, we met Brother Steve and Sister-in-Law Gina at my Favorite Restaurant In The Entire World, Biba, for dinner. There may be better Italian restaurants in America... but Biba is always good, often perfect, her wine list is wonderful and her wait-staff are off-the-charts. You will not have a bad meal at Biba and if you love gnocchi, you will melt. We enjoyed several delicious appetizers and then hunkered-down to some serious eating:

Tonight's Special: scallops - harvested this morning

Organic chicken cooked under a brick

Pappardelle con Gamberi, Cappe Sante, Pomodoro, Panna e Vodka
(Ribbon pasta with prawns, scallops, tomatoes, cream and vodka sauce)

Could you find two more handsome dinner partners?

As usual, we had a wonderful evening with Steve & Gina. Delightful dinner companions at a delightful restaurant.

The word is the Siskiyou Pass is expecting snow tomorrow. We need to cross this pass. There will be no jogging 5,000 meters in the morning. There will be a pot of coffee brewing while we bring in the slide-rooms and fold-down the satellite dishes before dark. We will be hitting the highway (I-5) early.

And by "early" I mean "early for us".

Until my next update, I remain, your "we are still killing flies in our motorhome" correspondent.

RV Park: Cal Expo RV Park.  Full-service sites at the California State Fairgrounds in Sacramento. Bathhouse and laundry. Recycling. No pool, no hot tub - just a very basic RV campground in an incredible location for a visit to Sacramento. Right on the river with access to miles of biking/jogging paths. Close to shopping, restaurants and eight minutes to downtown Sacramento. We paid $31.