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Posts Tagged ‘California’

Eight days a week…things are still up and down. It is very hilly here. By the way that is not Mt. Shasta pictured further down in case you were wondering, or know better…

In every trip there are bound to be ups and downs. This trip is no exception. Yesterday and today I drove highways I had never driven before. Snaking through the serpentine mountain passes today I was either going up or going down. All day long-up-down-up-down-up-down-up…you get the picture. The area of Lake Shasta was so magical I was disappointed to find it was man made resevoir. As you wound around discovering different views of the mountains and water all I could think of was Lord of the Rings. (photos is by Shawna Scott not me)

In stark contrast was Mount Shasta a totally not man made mountain. Actually it is a collection of volcanos. This photo is by me. Do you remember Johnny Carson talking about Mt. Shasta? I do. The Native American name means white mountain. But all the snow was gone. Quite imposing.

Continuing my up and down journey I took a side road in Dunsmuir to find gas. But instead I found this excellent theater marquee. It was a strange little town that obviously at one time a great little resort town. Very old fashioned and quaint. There were lots of little cottages, an arboretum,boat launches etc. Would be nice to visit in the summer. But indeed a little past its prime.

There were many interesting places to stop and visit, the sundial bridge, Shasta Caverns and many more. But I was like a horse that sensed the stable ahead. I just kept driving.

In this same area was Castle Crags. Ancient, rough and scaly like the back of a venerable dragon. The land became greener and greener. The trees bigger and bigger. The sky turned dark and brooding which seemed only sensible considering the power of the mountains. Eventually it began to drizzle and then rain lightly cleaning the remains of the desert of the car.

I arrived at the night’s destination to a room from the past. Pine panelling and pink ceramic tile. A nod to the 50’s motel past.

Sleep tight.

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Day seven, not a day of rest. I’m back in comfy territory. I was back in California this January to visit friends and visit some favorite places that I didn’t have time for on this trip a year ago. The Pasadena Playhouse is back in business I am happy to say. It is still sunny and warm, not like here in the PNW….

Coming out of the desert as I said was almost culture shock. Here I was on tree lined streets, it was 77 degrees, much warmer than the desert had been. The cars on the freeway glittered in the sun like an Oscar gown. I feel very comfortable in Pasadena. I have been there many times before. I thought I would spend an extra day there. But I said to myself if I do that I just might not leave. There is something about the energy that feels good to me. I did drive by the Pasadena Playhouse and took this picture. They announced recently that they were shutting down due to the economy. But there were still productions announced on banners and the valet parker was setting up his stand. Maybe there will be an angel that saves this cultural jewel. I have enjoyed performances there on several occasions in the past. No time on this trip however.

Next day off to the north. Driving over the mountains through the Angeles Forest I wonderered if my little overloaded car would handle it. You could never consider it overpowered by any means. Then I saw the sign saying turn off your air conditioner to avoid overheating, radiator water in 1 1/2 miles. But there was no problem.

The sandy, sparsely vegetated mountains bore the scars of a forest fire in places. As we reached the top and started downward the mountains turned green and grassy. They reminded me of the Brecon Beacons in Wales, especially when I saw flocks of sheep on the hillside. As I turned one last corner, a large flat terrace of land appeared. It was so different it was almost like driving through a portal into another land. Kern County-how about that?

Pistachio plantations, orangeries, and vinyards went on for miles. Flowering trees were waiting for the bees to emerge from their hives. Now and then a truck rode throught the neat rows checking on progress. Signs for fruit stands started to appear. One farm’s signs were so eye catching I decided to stop and check it out. There were fields of purple flowers with grazing cattle too. But I didn’t see any happy California cows! Dairy council shame on you. The only Holsteins I saw were in large, bare ground lots. Back to Wisconsin you California want to be cows. The fruit stand road was lined with beautiful rose bushes. Red leaves and very bushy with the most amazing red-orange blossoms. What do you think of these?

I was so excited to see billboards for Pea Soup Andersons. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a restaurant/gift shop/tourist trap. Of course they are famous for their pea soup. I collect restaurant china and I have a fantastic plate from there with their logo on it. They no longer have a logo on their china. Too bad! I suppose people were stealing them all the time and they would be costly to replace. Very few restaurants have logoed china any more.

Isn’t that just too funny? The outside of the building has a big windmill. There is also one of those boards that you stick your head through into the logo so you become the chef and his assistant. I saw a couple looking at it and I could tell they wanted a picture. So I offered to take it for them so they could both be in it.

As we slowly traveled up out of the farm land the mountains completed the circle closing the passage on this enchanted land.

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