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18 April 2006 - Tuesday

     To start the day Delores served us a delicious breakfast of an egg dish, which contained California chilies for which Tom also obtained the recipe.  After our meal Bill asked if we would like to take any lemons with us.  We responded that, “of course we did”, whereupon he took us out to the small orchard next to the house.  As Fred volunteered to pick the lemons he was outfitted with long canvas sleeves and gloves, a pouch for the picked fruit, and finally a pair of clippers to cut the fruit from the tree.  All of this was necessary as the lemon tree has many thick branches and large sharp spikes.  Apparently if one yanks the lemon off the tree by the stem the fruit’s shelf life is reduced by two-thirds. 

During our excursion we also sampled several varieties of grapefruit and Tom had an opportunity the pick Bill’s two remaining avocados with an apparatus on a long pole that contained a pair of snipers to cut the stem and a bag for the fruit to drop into.

      Around 9:00 am we sadly said our goodbyes and headed north toward the city of Tulare and the Sequoia Genealogical Society. The Society is located in a wing of the Tulare County Library and upon entering we were greeted by three volunteers who were ready to assist us with our research.   We believe this collection is the best we encountered during the entire trip.  Not only was it comprehensive in scope it was also well maintained.   During our exploration Tom found reference to what appeared to be a thorough biography of  great-grandfather Albea E. Scruggs.  Unable to locate the publication he inquired as to where it might be located.  Fortunate for us one volunteer remembered that the volume had been sent for repairs on the binding.  He found the rather thick tome but it was bound with many rubber bands.  This elicited a discussion as to weather it could be opened without damaging the recent repairs.  Tom, knowing that  this 

resource  might  contain  many important facts about Albea’s early years in California we silently prayed  that someone would take the initiative to give him permission to open the book.  Seeing our obvious anxiety over the situation the volunteer finally acquiesced and took to bands off the book.     What we discovered therein answered virtually all of the questions about when great-grandfather Albea had originally arrived in California.  This was surely another moment of our trip where we felt the need to do the “genealogy dance”. 

      Before noon we were heading north on California Route 99 towards Fresno where we planned to stop at the Sportsmobile factory to have the van’s 12-volt circuit panel checked out.  The plant was located within sight of the highway and was quite the place for a Sportsmobile fan as it was many times larger than its counterpart in Indiana.  As it was lunchtime we spent time looking over the many models on display which included one of the original Volkswagen models from the 1960’s.  The Sportsmobile operation in Fresno although much larger lacked the personal touch offered by Nancy and Jim at the Huntington, Indiana location.  We met with the service manager who explained that they were unable to assist us as he did not have the time.  Later when we had this work done in Indiana we found that it was at most a 20-minute undertaking.    Soon we were back heading north when near Lodi Tom suggested that we take an alternate route around Sacramento to avoid potential rush hour traffic.  After locating an acceptable route on the map we headed off into the countryside.  The change from interstate driving was most enjoyable.  Soon we were in the mountains where the road resembled a roller coaster ride.  It took us at least one and a half hours to cover the last 40 miles to Auburn.  The up side of this was that we went through picturesque Placerville as well as the Sutter’s Mill site where the California Gold Rush was born in 1848.  Upon arrival in Auburn we camped in a KOA as we didn’t want to get to far up the road because we might encounter snow and lower temperatures in the higher altitudes.  This was our first KOA of the trip and we were definitely impressed with the bathhouse which we placed in nomination for our “Best Bath House Award” as it was equipped with many wall hooks, the shower spray was of good pressure and stayed on as long as we liked.    The campsite wasn’t much more than a muddy parking spot with a picnic table, electric and water. For all of this we paid $30.00, which was the highest camping fee of the trip.  As we planned to get on the road early the next morning we took our showers the night before and got into our sleeping bags at a respectable hour.

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