About a week ago I drove up to Chico to spend a weekend with two of my friends. Up to this point, I have spent almost no time with either of them in the United States. Our friendship was founded in the remote corners of the world, having traveled together in Patagonia and New Zealand (or rather, having sort of accidentally invited myself to their trips in these places).
Having moved further north in the state, driving to visit them has become less daunting, which prompted the visit.
I was uncertain what to expect of Chico, but I am now certain that I am quite keen on the place. It struck me as a sort of "Boulder of California." The city is just enough of a city without being overwhelming, and the Great Outdoors are literally the back yard of this urban space. As a college town like Boulder, it feels young and active, but also feels more down-to-earth and slow-paced in comparison to many places in Southern California (the "southernly regions"...if you will). And, I quite like the agricultural accidents that abound in this part of the Valley.
The weekend didn't entail a whole lot to report for you, dear reader, to replicate in your own trip to Chico someday. However, I will say that the weekend was truly a gift. I was humbled by my friends' hospitality and kindness in allowing me to stay, even when they both are incredibly busy at the moment. I was hard pressed to drive away at the end of it, but thankful that God has allowed me to befriend such sincere and selfless individuals.
Some highlights are listed below along with pictures. But before I sign off, I will say that my concluding thoughts on Chico were that I hope maybe to live there someday...perhaps in a shoulder season?
- Coconut Soup at Cocodine Thai Cuisine (came highly recommended by the resident Coconut Aficionado)
- Tour of my friend's home garden (quite Shire-like, if I do say so myself)
- Ultimate Frisbee with the regulars
- Trip to the Plant Barn to buy lavender bushes
- Planting lavender bushes
- Almond Blossom Bike Ride (included the snafu of running over a giant staple, thereby rendering my tire airless in moments)
- Dinner at one friend's parent's cozy home
- Delicious lettuce wraps made my friend's girlfriend (far superior to the PF Chang's variety with ingredient purchased from a local farmers' market)
- Run in Bidwell Park
- Drive up to Table Mountain (next time need to hike it properly)