French Camp to Patterson, California

21 marathons down, 114 to go

Paula and Tom have military planning down to a science when it comes to weekends and their kids’ soccer games. Nick has to be at a local park at 7:00 for an 8:00 game this morning. So this morning’s plan is to drop everyone off at the park at 7:00, then Paula will take me up to French Camp to start this morning’s marathon, then Paul will get back to the park before the game starts. It was a great plan.

I do my morning ritual of topping up the trailer tires. I have to do this every morning. Apparently, there is a kink in one of the tire tubes this morning. I find this out when I hear something that sounds like gunfire or a car backfire. The sound is really the result of the tube exploding.

A search for local bike shops shows there is a bike repair and lawnmower repair shop in Manteca. So a change in plans. New plan: we all go to the soccer game, then we go to the bike repair shop, then we go to French Camp.

It’s nice to get to see Nick play. Nick is a goalie and so was I a long time ago. Unfortunately, the defense didn’t show up so it was a rough game to watch.

We then head to the bike repair / lawnmower repair shop. Paula is in the back seat navigating while Tom drives. Paula announces, “You can go straight here or turn right, whichever you want to do.” Tom starts to go straight, and Paula says, “You can do whatever you want, but I’d turn right here.” I burst out laughing. You can do whatever you want; it’s completely your choice, but only a complete idiot would do it any other way but the way I would do it. “Welcome to my life,” Tom says to me. Both Tom and I keep it up, and Paula says something about hitting both of us.

After our commentary on marriage, we arrive at the bike/lawnmower shop. I no longer have a spare so Tom suggests getting an extra tube along with the replacement tube. The owner ends up not charging for anything. If anyone needs a bike or lawnmower repaired in the Manteca area, look up this odd combination, and consider giving him your business.

From there, we head to French Camp. As Tom helps me unload the trailer from the back of the SUV, he says, “I can’t even imagine pushing that thing the distance you’re going.” I hug Paula and the Defective One, shake hands with Nick and Tom, and then I’m off.

Dairy cows
Dairy cows cheering me on

I can tell how much human contact cows have by the way they react to me. Beef cattle out in large pastures typically run away as I approach. These dairy cows, on the other hand, are hilarious. They’re all up on that hill as I approach, then this group runs to the fence, then they run along the fence with me. They then all line up to be fed. OK, so they see me as a source of food and they’re not cheering me on, but they did run with me!

I pass a number of dairies, and I think about my dad. Believe it or not, my dad’s favorite smell was the smell of a feed lot. Dairy farm isn’t quite feed lot, but it is very similar.

As I continue down the highway, there’s a lot of shooting up ahead. Turns out there’s a firing range, and it seems it’s very popular.

Shortly after the firing range, I come across this.


It looks a lot like that situation where the ice fishermen wait a bit too long to remove their shacks and trucks from the ice. I’m really not sure why that one truck has its passenger door open.


I’ve previously passed walnut trees, fig trees, and olive groves. Now I’m passing almond trees. I don’t think I’ve ever seen almond trees before. At least, I think those are almonds.

After this, I cross a lot of open ground to get to where I’ll be spending the weekend. Time for some needed rest.