I had bought a ring several weeks before Rachel moved down to California. I taped it under the sink to hide it from Rachel when she finally did get down here.
By the time that Rachel made it down here, I still hadn't figured out how to propose to her yet, so I just left it taped under the sink for a couple
of weeks until I could figure something out. For some reason (her entire family always asking when we were going to get married every time they saw me),
I knew she would say yes, so I wasn't worried about that. I also knew that I wanted it to be somewhere private and somewhat intimate.
From some of the guys at work, I had heard of a set of lakes called Ice House about 40 minutes drive up into the mountains. Rachel had just moved to California a couple of weeks ago,
and she was missing the farm, and the pine trees, so I decided that we would go on a picnic and I would propose there.
That Saturday, we packed up a nice picnic lunch, I snuck the ring out from under the sink, and was almost caught red handed when I couldn't get the ring box out of
the half roll of duct tape that I had used to tape it up under there! I could hear Rachel coming so, in a panic, I grabbed a knife out of the kitchen drawer, sliced
and stabbed at California's Largest Ball of Tape, and pried the ring out just in time to stick it in my pocket before Rachel walked in.
"What are you doing with all of that duct tape?"
"I'm working on California's Largest Ball of Tape."
We set off for our picnic, and drove on the interstate for awhile until we saw the sign for Ice House go whizzing by. After I turned around and took the right exit,
we finally started climbing and I had plenty of opportunities to scare Rachel on the windy roads with steep dropoffs and no guardrails. One thing about the mountain
roads down here, they are just like the windy mountain roads in Montana and Idaho, except every foot of these roads are paved, and there are crazy Californians in sparkling
clean SUV's and luxury sedans screaming around almost every corner.
The lake was pretty, but more populated than I had wanted. Way up in the middle of the Sierra Nevada's, people had hauled jet ski's and boats to enjoy the clear lake waters.
So, we watched the recreaters and ate our picnic lunch, talking about the scenery, the people, California, Idaho, family and friends.
After we finished, I suggested we take a walk around the lake to some big boulders I had seen. Rachel likes river rock, so I figured the big boulders would be a nice
place to propose.
We made it to a relatively private spot nestled between a couple of giant rocks on the lakeshore. We talked for a little bit, as I waited for a couple of passerby's to
stroll past. And then Rachel said,
"Well, should we go?".
Right...I guess now is the time, I thought.
"Sure, are you ready?" I asked. And then I noticed a couple of kayaks going by. Crap! There are 45 acres of lake out there, and these two have to kayak within 10 feet
of us? I thought to myself as I watched and waved to them. After they were gone, I turned to Rachel, fell down on one knee, took the ring out of my pocket and very
romantically presented the ring and asked,
"Will you marry me?"
"Really?!?" Rachel gasped. I think she thought I was joking for some reason. No, not really, fooled ya! Good one,
huh? Want me to tell it again? ran through my head. And then she said,
"Of course!" And that was that.
I moved to California to be with Nate in late August of 2005. I told everyone that before I moved, I needed a ring on my finger or a good paying job. However,
Nate showed up with a Uhaul, and without a ring or a job, I ended up in California.
I had no idea what was coming on August 27th when Nate told me that he wanted to drive up to a lake for a picnic. I knew that Nate was going to ask me to marry him sooner
or later, but I had no idea that he even had a ring at this point. He was planning a trip to the coast for Labor Day weekend, and I was sure that was when he
would ask me, not on this picnic trip to the lake.
We took a long drive into the mountains and up a windy, steep road to Ice House reservoir. We were looking for a place to stop, and having no clue what was going to
happen, I convinced Nate that we should have our picnic right in the middle of everyone else who was visiting the lake that day. I didn't listen when Nate suggested
that we find a more private place.
We had a lovely lunch by the lake, and visited with some of the locals. The mountain lake was beautiful and it reminded me of places at home with gorgeous pine trees, and
giant boulders surrounding the water. I was impressed that Nate knew that I would like this.
We packed up our picnic, and walked for awhile until we found a semi-private place by the rocky shore. We stopped for a while to take in the scenery and I felt
Nate fiddle with something behind my back. Wouldn't it be funny if it was my ring! I thought to myself, but then remembered that it wasn't going to happen
until next weekend. Then he stood right in front of me and said:
"Rachel, you are the love of my life." Destracted by all of the action at the lake, I replied
"Oh, that's sweet! Hey, look at those red kayaks!!"
Nate turned around to look at the "intruder" and I heard him mumble something under his breath. When he turned around, he started to kneel down. He was so close to
the water, I thought that he was falling in! Instead he pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him. I was so shocked and sincerely surprised that I said
"Really?" Nate gave me a look that said That's not exactly what you are supposed to say. So I said
I had thought about this day for a while, where we would be, what he would say, and how I would feel. Even though we were in California, this was a place that felt like
home, what he said was simple and beautiful, and I was excited that this moment was finally happening.