A little bit about a lot of things:

• The road less taken is sometimes the one we drive right past.

That had always been the case for me with the “vista point” just off northbound Interstate 5 between the Crows Landing and Patterson exits, which in all my years here I had never visited.

On a whim, Kat and I decided to check it out while driving by on Saturday. I am quite familiar with the scene of the valley floor from Interstate 5 and didn’t really expect anything too different from the vista point.

So, I was wrong.

The “vista point” certainly lived up to its name, offering a panoramic view of the San Joaquin Valley.

From the new perspective of the higher vantage point, and the time to actually stand and study the scene as opposed to sneaking a quick peek out over the valley from the interstate, it was really a fascinating stop.

Conditions weren’t the greatest, as haze in the air limited visibility to a degree and for the most part kept us from seeing much more than a faint outline of the Sierras on the far side of the valley.....but I have no doubt that on a clear day you can see forever.

A stop at the vista point in clear weather will definitely be in order.

• The Fourth of July is upon us....looking forward to Saturday’s events in Gustine, which include a color run to kick off the day and the coronation of a new Miss Gustine that evening.

Had to stop and ponder the dichotomy of those two events.

The concept of a color run was a little foreign to me.....not only do you have people who get up early on a Saturday morning to run 5K just because they want to, but along the way they are getting doused with corn starch dyed all the colors of the rainbow and then some.

But I have to admit after attending my first color run last year.....it was fun and festive, a let-your-hair-down and have a great time just for the sake of having a great time event. While I did my best to steer clear of the serious color last year (the colored powder and cameras are probably not a great mix), I still went home with a few streaks of various powder hues.

A lot of folks who are covered head to foot with colorful powder at 9 a.m. will be cleaned up and in attendance a few hours later at the Miss Gustine Pageant.

So in one day, folks have the opportunity to take part in one of Gustine’s most informal events and then be in attendance at one of the community’s more formal activities. No color powder allowed at the pageant....but the evening leads to a celebration of a different sort as a new Miss Gustine is crowned.

Great day on the West Side.....but just a lead-in to the activities of the Fourth!

Doesn’t it kind of seem like the entire Fourth of July is just extended when there are several days between the color run/pageant and July 4 (with the FFA tractor pull in between on July 3)?

In advance....stay safe, be smart and have a wonderful holiday!

• Speaking of the Fourth, with Independence Day falling on a Thursday the Index and Press-Standard will be published one day early next week.....so news and advertising deadlines for the upcoming edition are 5 p.m. Friday.

• Yard work is not without its pitfalls, most of which I manage to find.

I particularly enjoy using our hedge trimmers, because so much progress can be made in such a short time.....but I think Kat may soon keep that tool out of my hands.

I was quite proud of how well I trimmed back the star jasmine surrounding our fountain recently.....only to find when checking the irrigation system that I had created a couple of additional, unintentional fountains by slicing through drip irrigation lines embedded in the greenery.

And, yes, the power cord to our fountain lights also fell victim to the trimmer.

Trying to put the best possible face on the unfortunate incident, I couldn’t help but point out that one never knows what one will find buried deep in the shrubbery.....and that it probably could have been worse.

The whole episode brought to mind a prior trimming episode, when I turned a 100-foot extension cord into a 98-foot cord.

Fortunately Kat took the whole incident pretty well, as she always does (I would be in deep trouble if I didn’t have a tolerant, patient wife).

But I won’t really blame her if she doesn’t let me play with power trimmers in the future.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.