|Lupine in the meadow near the pass|
I'm a Californian, with deep roots here. I'm 4th-generation on both sides, born in the Bay Area. I moved to the East Coast for grad school, then a few years in Europe, and got back to my state but in the south. Hey, as I told my Dad, at least I was the same time zone! When Dad died, his ashes were interred in Petaluma next to his great-grand parents -- not bad for a man of 84, with roots in the Gold Rush.
So, up we drove from Southern California. We wended our way through the tangled labyrinth of freeways, leaving the LA basin in the steep drive up the Tehachipis. The "Grapevine" is the crossing over the Tejon Pass north of LA. Although the elevation isn't that high, it's frequently closed by snow in the winter (yes, there is snow in Southern California!) and is so steep, that there isn't room for the whole freeway on one route. North bound and southbound lanes criss cross each other on opposite sides of the canyon, so for a time you drive on the "wrong" side--like a twining vine.
As you drop off the Grapevine, you see the great central valley open before you: flat and yellow. We worked our way up Highway 99 and (thanks to having the iphone) were able to call an old school friend in Fresno for dinner. We stayed the night and continued up towards the mountains.
|The mountains are full of history|
I love my state, and I love the mountains. The smell of cedar and bear clover.... the color of the flowers... the rich variety of climates. On the way back down, once we got back to the Central Valley, we stopped to pick up fresh pistachios and stone fruits-- white necterines, two kinds of plums, all fresh picked--- in America's fruitbasket, hot and dry in the summer.
|Looking down towards Lake Beardsley|
We are hopeful we'll get to go back next summer.