Sure signs of spring pop up Nevada County |

Sure signs of spring pop up Nevada County

Springtime arrives differently in Nevada County. In most parts of the country, spring has arrived when folks start planting their bulbs, start taking each other out to the ballgame, maybe even begin wondering out loud whether it’s Arbor Day or National Hairpiece Appreciation Day they have to wait for to wear white again. Here in Nevada County, the signs are somewhat more subtle, though no less apparent to a practiced eye:

• An armada of RV traffic sets sail from Grass Valley and heads down Highway 20 for the coast. In a related development, mortgage brokers notice a decided uptick in second mortgages as RV owners cash in their home equity to gas up their rigs for the first trips of the season.

• Contractors blow a collective sigh of relief that they can finally start getting some work done. By “blow a collective sigh of relief,” I actually mean “grunt meaningfully while muttering, ‘About dang time.'”

• Folks no longer don anoraks, mukluks and other garments with Eskimo names before entering Posh Nosh’s outdoor dining area.

• The ne’er-do-wells in Nevada City’s Calanan park display a newfound bounce to their, well, slouch as they dutifully go about their daily toil of disquieting old ladies and tourists.

Now that the Frappucino season is upon us, Starbucks realizes the “grande” size just isn’t cutting it for people who need more than 600 empty calories of milkshakey pleasure to start their day. To meet the demands of conspicuous consumers everywhere, they debut a new “gluttone'” option, wherein baristas back a tanker truck of mocha and caramel syrup down your driveway and open a 6-inch fuel hose directly into your waiting mouth. Espresso optional.

And then there’s Nevada County’s version of Groundhog Day – let’s call it “Muddin’ Day.” My own personal Punxsutawney Phil is the neighbor kid with the tricked out 4×4. This kid spends hours dialing in his lift kit, tweaking his nerf bars, installing improbably massive tires. As spring’s clarion call draws ever closer, he’ll start coming out to his porch in the morning, sniffing the wind while idly scratching himself. Who can tell what he’s sniffing for? The gentle insistence of the season’s change? The ineffable mysteries of the universe? The swirling tides of infinity? The smell of transmission fluid?

This is not for us to know. What we do know is that when the signs are just right, he’ll do it. He’ll herald spring’s arrival appropriately. He’ll reach for his toolkit, grab a crescent wrench and give it a little half-toss of reassurance, just to feel its heft in his hand. Then, with the subtle grace common to all master craftsmen, he’ll take the doors off his truck.

Ah, spring … when a young man’s fancy lightly turns to removing car parts.

As if at a signal, teenagers the county over will emerge from their season-long torpor and start taking parts off their cars, too. In Chicago Park, in Cedar Ridge – even all the way down to Smartville – you can gauge the season’s progress by the number of parts removed. Bumper and doors? Clearly mid-June. Got the grill off? Getting towards July. Antenna, rearview mirrors, removable roof, and windshield? Mmm – late August for sure. Nothing but the frame, tires and steering wheel? Well, that’s a whole ‘nother phenomenon – someone stripped and sold your car to pay for their daily gluttone fix.

Enjoy the weather – get your doors off!

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