Monday, June 30, 2008

A Night in the Valley

We rolled in last night a little after 8 and decided we better go find
a camp spot. Camp 4 is the walk-in campground so we headed that way.
The small ranger check-in station was unmanned, so we set out to find
a vacant site. After a quick walk around, it was evident that every
site was taken. But Steve had spotted a site with college girls that
looked like it had room. Since he looks like a bearded mountain man,
he sent me over to ask if we could camp in a corner of their site.

They were a very nice group of girls and were more than happy to share
a corner with us. We asked them how they knew each other, and they
were a Bible study group. Divine intervention! Steve sure can pick 'em!

We sent up our tent and went over to the bar where we opened a bottle
of wine we had purchased in Fresno, and snacked on a brie and fruit
plate, guacamole, and spinach artichoke dip. A perfectly wonderful

Whether it was the lack of sleep we got in Fresno, or the bottle of
wine, we both slept wonderfully.

This morning we found out that the bus we thought ran at 5 pm isn't
actually going today, so we will be hitching back to Tuolomne this
afternoon. For now we are sitting around, enjoying a few more hours of
reading and relaxing before starting the last leg of our journey.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

We Obey Signs

Enjoying an afternoon in Merced, waiting for the bus to take us back
to Yosemite.

Reflections on Miss CA

We sit on a train between Fresno and Merced, our journey through
pageant world at an end.

The train is oversold and we're sitting next to two dudes discussing
fat chicks and so forth.

It occurs to me that even though the pageantry teaches Erin impressive
interview skills, introduces her to other powerful young women, lets
her wear fancy dresses she'd never be able to buy, and helps pay for
school, the conversation these men are having fits into the same
competitive pageant world.

As seen by the 90 lb. winner with soap opera looks, the American ideal
of beauty goes unquestioned by the adults controlling the girls at
every step. Yet I think the girls themselves are of an age where they
do question the superficiality of short-lived beauty.

Unfortunately for women everywhere, volunteers who run these events in
California have been volunteering since before Title IX, and the type
of girls they look for seem to fit into stereotypes Baby Boomers
rejected 40 years ago.

Ultimately, it seems too many girls second guess the inner strength of
ones raised in equality (if not, superiority) with boys, and showcase
traditional talents fit for 19th century Parlor rooms. Kudos to Miss
Santa Clara for her brave tap/hip hop trash can percussion show, and
for having the happiest heart at the end of the night.

Kudos also to 2007's Miss California, a fellow Westmont alum. While
classicly trained, her rapport with the audience and her behind the
scenes honesty with this year's contestants reveal she doesn't drink
the koolaid.

So, what about these two dudes that continue discussing chubby girls
and gay people? If we're choosing the embodiment of the American
young woman, let's choose someone strong enough to turn the average
young man's chauvinistic and shallow notions upside-down. Hearkening
back to a different time perpetuates the pageant world's irrelavance.