Friday, March 11, 2011

cali {part three}

{ UM, just found this on my editor. Apparently I forgot to click that crucial Publish button. I think it is worth posting late, though… it entails the whole reason for our trip to Cali! }

And now, I will finish the California vacation post that you probably don’t care about by now… { truly! }

So after the mammoth trees and the beach, we had a little more driving through the beautiful forest…


One more tourist attraction…


It has a door (those two squares at the bottom are the window in the top of the door) and a room in the trunk of the tree, but it is all roped off and closed now. The Logger (that’s husb’s blog name of the moment) thought this may have been the biggest one we saw during the whole trip. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It was a superbeast.

We also went to one of the dozens of “drive-through” trees where there is a hole in the trunk and you drive your car through it and take a picture but it was all fenced in so you couldn’t see it from the outside and it was $6 and we were too cheap.

Then we emerged into the wine country, and the vineyards were so beautiful…


Those tall trees are so much bigger and better than the cypress we have in the PNW. I might need two flanking my driveway now. With the lavender at their base of course!


The vineyards seemed to go on forever! I meant to ask if people had to harvest all those grapes by hand or if it was mechanized somehow.


My strapping young man waiting for his Great-Great-Grandma’s arrival. The real reason for our California vacation was to celebrate a very important birthday with a lovely lady. She turned one-hundred! Isn’t that amazing?!

Here she is with her two sons (the one on the left is my dad’s dad)…


By the way, she is holding the book she wrote a few years ago, Growing Up With the West!

And here are all of us who gathered for the celebration…


After lunch and cake, each family got a chance to visit with Grandma at her home. We got to see old pictures and Dad got to reminisce about all the trouble he caused when visiting his Grandma and Grandpa…


And we got a five-- yes, FIVE generation picture!


It was great to see the family from California, and most of all Grandma, but there just wasn’t enough time! Before we knew it, we had to pack up and hightail it home the next morning.


Those were the oak trees outside our hotel. I LOVE the oak trees. Especially oak trees in mysterious foggy mist. (More on oaks later.)

The road to the freeway was so crazy I had to take a picture of it on the GPS to show you…


It was a little winding country road slash/ mountain pass. There were a few inches of snow and people were driving out here to go sledding, it was hilarious.


Some boring out-the-window scenery pics… the oak forests were so amazing to me. In the PNW we have so much underbrush… these rolling, grassy hills with oak tree forests were calling me to build a little farmhouse on them.



The hill country soon flattened out and turned into serious farming country. We saw crop dusting helicopters and airplanes in action, spreading cancer (as I like to call it) on America’s produce…



There were fruit trees forever, all trimmed up and starting to bloom…


And megafarm after megafarm…




Spring was hitting the lowlands, making the grass vibrant green…


But we’d go up a little mountain pass and everything was brown again…


It is hard to tell it apart from the clouds but the tip of that mountain is where the arrow is! Look how far it towers above the little farms! Brings to mind the word Majesty for some reason… God’s Majesty.

Okay, so about the oak trees. Here is a little random information you never knew you never knew.

I noticed little “poofs” up in the oak trees which did not have leaves yet. Turns out, The Logger noticed them last time he went through Cali and asked a park ranger what they were. It became a game for us to find the most infested tree, as some areas were worse than others…


DSC_0774 DSC_0785

That last one on the right was so bad! Does anyone know what it was? It is a parasite, known as Mistletoe. Confused? Parasites are not exactly icky worms, they are by definition a creature that obtains some or all it’s nutrients from another creature. In this case, the Mistletoe roots penetrate the oak tree, or ‘host’, and steal the oak’s hard-earned nutrients. Interesting, huh?

One last scenery shot – a little plateau all by itself…


I almost wanted to drive to the top!

And a little fixer-upper…


How sweet is that little house and how sad is it all boarded up? It just needs someone to love it a little!

So that is more than you ever wanted to know about our California road trip. I give you my word – I am finished now!

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