To be clear…Williams is an agriculture hub of this part of California. I5 bisects the town and semis are continuously getting off and on the ramps. Not sure where they’re going, but they drive with purpose.
As I left the town behind I hit a glider port on the outskirts. It was a beautiful morning and I was very tempted to go for a ride, however when I pulled in to the parking lot there wasn’t a soul to be seen so I took it as a sign to keep moving.
As I rode I began to realize the vast amount of rice grown in the region. Huge fields of green…I can’t even imagine the mosquito population, but damn near every time I stopped I got bitten. Interesting with the West Nile virus being talked about so much. I heard what sounded like a frenzied group of trap shooters all around me and finally spotted the cannon making the noise. They’ve got these placed all around the rice fields. Guess they don’t like to share the wealth with the birds.
I continued on my way and rode through the wonderful small town of Colusa. It boasts about 6k residents and it really is a beautiful town. The pride of ownership is obvious and people were very friendly. I stopped an older gent carrying a Beretta over/under and we talked for a few minutes. He told a little of himself and the town and gave me the most important info…where the best place for breakfast was!
The rice fields continued but started to give way to fruit/nut trees. I saw pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds and most of all…walnuts. Sunsweet has a large presence in the area and it was interesting to see how the get the fruit from the tree. Two low slung rigs get on either side of the tree. One of them has a claw the grabs the trunk just below the first branch and shakes the shit out of it sending the fruit onto the second rig which conveys it over the top into a loading bin. Fun to watch but dusty as hell. I can’t imagine what their Q tips look like at the end of the day.
The riding was nice and flat. Perhaps one day I’ll be more inclined to be excited (in a good way) about hills but for the time being I’m loving the flatlands. This whole area is strewn with water canals. Some the size of small rivers and others just a roadside ditch. With all the work being done in the fields I was a sweat soaked muddy mess. I made use of one of the smaller canals to strip my shirt off and get it and me cleaned up a bit…musta been a helluva sight for anyone unlucky enough to pass by.
I made it to Gridley around noon and found the Post Office. Sure enough I had three packages waiting for me. Two had been sent to me from Cycle Monkey and one from Rosa. The package from Rosa contained my second set of panniers and rack. I had decided that I didn’t want to carry the Camelbak on my back and that I needed to adjust the load so although I wasn’t too thrilled with the extra weight I was a good idea. The packages from Cycle Monkey were bike parts, part of my rack and some clothes I was going to send home. So here I was at the post office with these three fairly large packages and nowhere to open them and work on the bike.
I am somewhat remiss in saying I “found the Post Office”. When I got to Gridley I pulled into a gas station and the owner pointed across the street to the Post Office. I had noticed he had his service bays empty so I went back and asked him if he would mind me working on my bike in the garage. He, Jeff, is a very likable guy and told me it wouldn’t be a problem. When I showed up with the three big boxes you could see the wheels spinning as he wondered if I planned and adding all of it onto my already heavily loaded bike.
It took over two hours to get things sorted through and added on to the bike. Jeff was kind enough to let me store the boxes overnight so I could take them over to the Post Office and send them home the next morning. He also gave me his contact number and told me to let him know if I ran into any problems either while riding to or staying in Chico, my next stop and where he calls home. Like I said, he’s a kind individual. Indicative of the people I encounter everyday.
I found the only motel in Gridley. They were pretty proud of their place by the amount they charged, especially considering the place seemed pretty empty and it was a Thursday. But she assured me they would be full because today was the first day of the county fair being held in Gridley. Ah well, no big deal. Thankfully they had an on-site laundry room and I would be able to get all my things clean.