California Dreaming

It’s just over a year ago that Ralph and I made our trek to New Mexico and then on to California.  Hard to believe it’s been that long but the good thing is that we’ll be heading to New Mexico again in September.  I will try Very had to contain my enthusiasm!

I had been to California a number of times before.  My roommate from college moved to the Los Angeles area and I visited several times.  I used to date a guy during my travel agent days (he was also a travel agent) who thought it was a great idea to fly to Los Angeles or San Francisco for the weekend.  Boy I spent a lot of money on those trips but I got to see California.

But our trip last year was something different.  We left from New Mexico, crossed Arizona and headed along the lower part of CA.  We then turned north and headed into a completely different world.  The San Joaquin Valley.  It was like New Jersey with mountains.  I mean that in a good way.  Fields and fields of grapes and corn and tomatoes and orange and lemon trees.  Just incredible.  Views that extended farther than the eye could see.

We continued on to San Francisco and beyond to Sonoma County.  We were heading there for a wedding.  We had the joy of spending a week with my cousin who luckily lived only about 20 minutes from where the wedding would be held.  She graciously offered her home to us.  It was a wonderful time.  When we left we headed through the Sierra Madre mountains and it almost felt like an adventure through the woods.

We then headed South to our next destination which was Lone Pine.  A wonderful step into the past.  Lone Pine is an area adjacent to the Alabama Hills and Mt. Whitney which served as the back drop for hundreds of movies and TV Westerns.  We spent too short a time there and then took the drive through Death Valley.  I think Death Valley is such an interesting place.  Just be sure to get gas before you head in.  The only gas station after you get in there sells gas for more than $2.00 above the regular price.  Hey, if you’re in Death Valley and you need gas…You Need Gas!!

We headed back through Nevada, Arizona and then into New Mexico.  We were able to spend another 10 days in our Happy Place.

What brings all of this to mind?  Actually it’s a book.  Michael Connelly has always been one of my favorite authors.  I’ve read all of his books and just ordered from the library the only other one I haven’t read.  While in Maine I found a copy of his The Black Box at a used book store.  It was out of order for me, there was another book before it but I hadn’t read one of his in a while and I wanted to read it.

The Black Box (Harry Bosch, #18)

In this book the main character Harry Bosch who is based in Los Angeles, travels North into the area of the San Joaquin Valley to solve the mystery and catch the bad guys.  Somehow it’s always been such a treat to me when I’m reading a book and I’m familiar with where it takes place.  That was the case with Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil with Savannah, Ga. and Hannibal with Florence, Italy.  Hearing about these places brings back memories to me of having been there myself.

This time it’s especially clear in my mind because we were just there last year.  I always love a Michael Connolly book but I’m especially enjoying this one.

In fact, I only have about 10 pages to go…I want to know what happens…Gotta Go!!

Happy Friday!


5 responses to “California Dreaming

  1. Nice post..the joys of traveling America’s SW

  2. I lived in California in the early 80’s and loved it! I was up on a hill, 2 streets from the beach with a clear shot of the ocean. Love love loved it!!

    If I had my druthers, my first choice of where to live would be California, my second would be New Mexico. The first time I was ever in NM, it just felt like home to me.

  3. Everything about Death Valley scares me…and now the gas stations there scare me as well!

    Happy Friday Fran. Have a great weekend. Hope the book ending is fantastic!

    • I don’t mean to scare you, Ameena. It’s actually a very unique experience. The landscape is so unique. It’s about a half hour ride to the little rest area. You can use the restroom, get a snack, buy some souvenirs. If you really like it, there’s a little motel there! Then it’s about another half hour to the other side. There’s two different ways to leave, both lead to different Nevada towns. Also a beautiful place called Scotty’s Castle which we haven’t visited but I’ve see photos. It’s not as scary as it sounds, unless of course you decide to do it in a wagon train!! 😉

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