Jesus with a machine gun

Ok. They didn’t film all of Back to the Future III in Sonora, California. According to, the Red Hill Ranch near Sonora was used for the fictional Hill Valley in the year of our Lord 1885. The hills around the movie set certainly look like Sierra foothills. I remember seeing this move in 1990. Knowing it was in California, well, I wanted to be there instead of Dallas, Texas. But whatever.

From Hetch Hetchy it would be a 1.5 hour drive to Sonora, where I’d stay the night. The Sonoran Pass, CH 108 over the Sierras, would have to wait until tomorrow. Lake Tahoe would be tomorrow too.

The drive to Sonora was cool. Coming down from the mountains to footill country always provides big views. Here and there I was high enough to see far enough into the Kansas part of California. However, it would have been better to see in its smog-free, primordial state. Maybe, then, you could’ve seen the coastal mountains on the far west side of the Central Valley. But not today.

An hour later I was at Sonora. It was ok. It certainly didn’t look like Marty McFly’s Hill Valley. It looked like so many small towns across America, of course adorned with the same corporate logos on tall signs.

I checked into the Miner’s Motel, went to Safeway, and bought sushi and crappy wine. Afterwards, I laid down in bed to watch Southpark’s “Imagination Land” episode. Watching Jesus mow down Sigourney Weaver’s Alien with a machine gun was a perfect way to end the day. Once in a blue moon such mindlessness is perfect.

(And, no, I don’t regularly watch South Park. In the past ten years, I’ve seen maybe three episodes.)

Anyway, the air conditioning blew cold air. The hot sun at 1,825′ was setting to give the trees and town outside my second-story window a golden hue. I slipped under the covers, and my eyes closed after darkness took over.

This Wednesday the 12th of June in the year of our Lord 2019 wasn’t amazing or epic or mind-blowing. It didn’t provide moments where life felt perfect, as the day before atop Nevada Falls did. But you know what? It was a good day.

No, it was a great day. It started with that joy one feels from refreshing sleep. That joy morphed into pure excitement at Bass Lake, and the buzz didn’t relent throughout the day. It epitomized why traveling is wondrous. It epitomized why I still love being in California.

And more new things would come tomorrow. More joy would come tomorrow. Praise God.