Wet on Wet

Another drencher is coming (UPDATE: upons uns right now) and Folsom Lake is up seven feet in the last week, and from 17% capacity last January to %37 now. Yay water!

Lake Oroville now stands at 32 percent of capacity, while Lake Shasta is at just 31 percent. California will need a lot more rain and snow to break the drought.
But the recent rain has improved prospects for gold panners, said Brad Sankus, who was mining Sunday along the South Fork of the American River near the Salmon Falls Bridge.
“It’s fantastic,” Sankus said. “It’s really moving stuff around. That’s what we need for gold panning.”

Gold? Yes, GOLD!
(**UPDATE: Wettest December in seven years to-date, on record. We’re doin’ good.)
In this Obamaconomy every bit helps… Reminds me of the Carter Era but without the weird and gaudy vehicles of AMC: the Gremlin and Hornet, and the terrarium Pacer. AMC was an exquisitely American company conglomerated from refrigerators and vehicular obsolescence, an automobile company formed by the 1954 merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company. They gave us the staid Rambler, and later the rakish Javelin, the blimpish Matador, and the hot-rod AMX. What do we have now by comparison? All those $3,000 Corollas that started coming in on the wave of Japanese Import-Invasion are settled in land-fills by now.

My dad bought a 6-cylinder Rambler station wagon with his meager Pastor’s salary in ’62, and we drove it down to Ensenada (which I barely remember, being only 4 or so) and then all the way across-country (when I was 5) to a Baptist Mission conference in Green Bay Wisconsin. Along the way I saw the Badlands of South Dakota and the faces on Mt. Rushmore – and other sights like the green Sinclair Dinosaur gas-stations. I remember Mom driving through the night in Nevada as we kids slept in back, and the sound of sprinting jackrabbits, drawn to the light like moths, hitting the undercarriage. *thump* *thump-thump* You don’t stop for jackrabbits. We drove through a torrential Mid-West thunderstorm in Nebraska and saw a lightning bolt flash to the ground in the middle of a farmer’s field, halfway between us in the car on the wet road and a small farmhouse. A plume of smoke arose as the crash of thunder filled the station wagon. Dad said something about, “Probably a small blob of glass out there,” and drove on at the recommended 65mph speed-limit. I learned that 60mph was, “a mile a minute” and both my timekeeping and math skills advanced. We stopped at gas-stations with 10-¢ soda pop-dispenser, one where the bottles lay in a column of chilled air behind a tall, thin, glass-door, held back by metal yokes. You had to read the cap to choose between Coke, 7-Up, Root-Beer and Dr. Pepper, and then forcibly yank-out the soda you wanted after you heard the sound of the coin-drop. There were some weird flavors and mysterious brands back then too. On hot days and without a dime, sometimes we just opened the thin door and stood in the chill breeze of the machine.

My favorite was 7-Up, but a few years later when we were overseas there was only Coke and Fanta Orange. There was no root-beer except what might be made by local soda-pop entrepreneurs. Locals made soda from tap-water and local flavors, colored with fluorescent dyes and bottled with bottle-caps. Hand-bottling technology hasn’t changed since the Gold Rush days and you just need fizzy water, a lever, and the expensive part: caps. Sometimes the local pop-caps were picked-up off the ground re-used since that was an expensive bit of formed metal. At small shops selling “Coke” you also had to check and see if the bottles were re-used and that the cap was un-bent, because in a miserably poor country and an effort to save money and make a bit more, people would simply mix up their own batch of fizzy-brown stuff for sale. There were no sanitation or hygienic standards as such, or health inspectors – except for the Big Ugly-American Company Coca-Cola that also made Fanta. Drinking anything bottled besides that stuff could set-back your Typhoid-Cholera booster shot a ways and have you lying down puking your guts into a basket in between running to the bathroom with convulsive diarrhea. Also no using the ice or drinking iced-beverages – you didn’t know where that water came from, and in a miserably poor country with incredibly polite and friendly people, none of them wanted to offend you, so you would always be assured and re-assured by vendors and servers that everything was “pukka and top-notch.” Good times. (Various UPDATES.)