Friday, March 20, 2015

WINTER RETURNED WITH THE



lowering of wings:
When those wings lifted off the tarmac last Saturday morning at LAX (that's Los Angeles Airport, Dear Russian Reader), I murmured
"Goodbye, goodbye, California. Parting is such sweet sorrow, 
but, alas, I've got to say goodbye til it be Morro (Bay [again])!"

En route home, I took photos of snow and clouds and icy rivers.
























And, Dear Reader, when those airplane wings lowered us to the ground at dinnertime (and at the end*), the weather could only be described as Cold and Dreary!**













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*The end of our flight.  Our trip.  Our vacation.  Our sliver of summer!



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**The temperature was 39 degrees (Fahrenheit).  So I suppose that around here (i.e. home) that weather could also be described as An Improvement!



Thursday, March 19, 2015

SOLVANG

It's the name of the Dutch town where the California foursome of which I was a part ate our final California meal.  You see, Reader Dear, after visiting that second mission, we drove to Solvang because it is known for its many bakeries.  It's true, Dear Reader (true that it's got lots of bakeries; true that, in spite of our bakery lunch, and the fact that we would soon be searching for supper, we needed more bakeries [I use the term "we" very loosely here. One of us in particular was on a mission for more sweets]!)

Mere minutes after our arrival in the town, we were seated near a fully-stocked case of freshly-baked pastries.  
(Some of our party ate pastries. [One of our party felt that the salted-caramel wonder she'd consumed at lunchtime should be her day's allotment of sweets; she abstained!]) 
Amazingly enough, our entire party was ready to search for our final California meal a short time later.

All were determined we should eat outside, due to the extremely pleasant weather and the finality of the meal (I use the term "all" somewhat loosely here, as one of us was downright insistent).  And, though it took a little searching, we found a restaurant where we could enjoy the outdoor patio.  

I savored the food.  I savored the wine.  Most of all, I savored the splendid California outdoor air!

As we finished our final California meal and walked back to the rental car, I was pondering tomorrow evening's dinnertime weather.  I was dragging my feet.  The sun was definitely setting on this California vacation.

However, we still had a more-than-two-hour drive to our hotel room, waiting for us  beside the airport in L.A. (that's Los Angeles, my Dear Russian Reader).  Every single one of us--The Yard Man, His Sis, The Bro-in-Law, and myself--were all intent on having a dessert of gelato while we were en route to the hotel.  So the Bro-in-Law searched his smart smartphone for a little gelato shop near L.A. Though we were all tired and sugar-laden, we anticipated this last California treat, and were hoping to eat it under the stars.*
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*And then. "It's in a mall!" we all exclaimed (with varying amounts of  disgust in our voices), when the realization set in. (How was The Bro-in-Law to know; there was simply an address listed on his [hmm, not-so-smart] smartphone!
Aargh, we were tired!  But, after talking it over, the four of us decided to tramp through that colossal shopping center, all the way to the upstairs food court.  And we all ate gelato (one of us plunging right ahead and adding to her daily allotment of sweets, regardless of her earlier discretion).
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And that, Reader Dear, is how I ended my lovely California vacation in a noisy mall!*

*(Well, if you don't count the noisy airport the following morning)



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

MORE EAST COAST FRIDAY

Afternoon:  This log will come to an end tomorrow.  But for now, we've got one more mission.  And we've got the Best California Doughnut of my Life. 

So, we start with the doughnut.

Because the doughnut is lunch.
(The next time you're in Pismo Beach, California, Dear Reader, be sure to stop by Surfside Donuts.  It was the owner's wife who arose at an extremely early hour this morning to mix up the dough, but she is not around to take my compliments at noon.  It is the owner who steps outside the shop to pose for me!)  The salted-caramel-topped doughnut (aka donut) will live on in memory as one of the highlights of my California Friday-the-Thirteenth*.
..................................... 
Later in the afternoon: We drive through the countryside,
the acres and acres of vineyards and other crops,



until we arrive at La Purisima Mission State Historic Park.
Once again, the tour is self-guided, with many explanatory signs.  (I'm afraid it's going to be self-guided for you, as well, Viewer Dear!)



It appears the Livestock Inventory has been reduced to one (very impressive) head!

We wander through some long, low buildings. 






The place seems quite devoid of other people.  And now that we've completed our mission of seeing this mission, The Yard Man and I, His Sis and The Bro-in-Law are going to add to the list of deserters.

......................................
(More Final Friday on Thursday [further muddling of the days!])

* It is an extreme act of willpower that prevents the chocolate-topped doughnut from also living on in my California growth experience.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

IT'S AN EAST COAST TUESDAY,

but it's Friday the Thirteenth in my log of California (You know, Reader Dear, my vacation log of sunshine and relaxation. Elephant Seals and a very blue ocean. Whales spouting and Redwoods towering and Morro Rock, unmoving).

Today our foursome must bid farewell to our rental house, say goodbye to the poppy I purchased on Day One, pack up the rental car, and head for L.A. (that's Los Angeles, my Dear Russian Reader) Alas, it is our final day to enjoy California weather and California sights!

We are on a mission today to see missions!
Our first one is San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, and I'll take you along, Viewer Dear, for the view:

 
videoWe take a self-guided tour, informed by the many explanatory signs.



 And, inside:

There are lots of facts and artifacts.

One of the interesting facts I discover for myself: this mission is still operating today!

There are several worshipers present as I brazenly walk through the chapels snapping photos (I believe I am forgiven).  

Once again outside, on this perfectly-blue-sky day,





 
I photograph a tiny resident of the mission, before we say a final goodbye to the place, and set out to see some tiny residents of Pismo State Beach.
 ..................................



Compared to its peak number of occupants, the Butterfly Grove has a slim crowd when we are here; but even so, the four of us see a lot of lovely flitting wings!



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One more mission coming up.  Still my mission to tell you about it, Reader Dear....