Oak Grasslands - Hwy G14 in California
Since returning from my trip to the north and south of San Francisco, it has been tough to get back to things in Kingman. Took me about three days just to go into town to get some fresh food. It was a wonderful trip even though what I photographed was not normally what interests me. But it was fun to be with friends doing what we like to do.
Upon my arrival in Palo Alto, CA went to my friend John's house. We sat around the house for awhile, talking with his wife, Gina and petting his two dogs. Then John and I went off to the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge and Coyote Hills Regional Park, east of Palo Alto across the southern part of the San Fransisco Bay, hoping to find some birds to photograph. The pickings were pretty slim. While we were at Don Edwards NWR, John and I noticed a pile of mud left on the shore of San Francisco Bay, probably a remnant of the salt harvesting in that area. I told him that when I was a kid, I used to imagine myself one inch tall and able to explore such mounds of dirt as if they were huge mountains. John said he did the same thing. It left me wondering if all little boys imagine the same thing.
That night we decided on carry-out pizza. We went to a place called Pizza Chicago, ordered a large pizza with two Caesar Salads, one for Gina and one for me. When the young lady behind the counter said, "That will be $53.00", my jaw almost hit the floor. Anyway, we went back to John's and enjoyed a great pizza.
The next morning, after a stop at Starbucks, we left Palo Alto on our way to the California Mission, San Juan Bautista. On soon as we were able, we got off the main highway and onto a two lane road hoping to find something interesting to shoot. We stopped several times to shoot what we thought was cool and finally arrived at the mission, located in the small town of San Juan Bautista. The San Juan Bautista mission does not seem to have suffered from a total restoration, thus it still maintains some charm.
After getting a cold drink for me and another coffee for John, we headed into Hollister, CA and a trip down Hwy 25 with our destination being the Pinnacles National Monument. Upon our arrival, we went to the visitors center and waited for a short while for it to open. We had already decided to return to Pinnacles later in the day hoping for some better light. Soon we headed down to King City and checked into the local Motel 6. After relaxing for a spell, we headed back to Pinnacles. The light was better and we got some interesting shots of the light shining on and through some pine trees on a hillside just off the main road in the monument. We took a couple of short hikes that were fun but not photographically pleasing, at least for me.
After spending the night in King City, we hit some more two lane roads, taking more images along the way to visit two more missions, San Antonio de Padua and San Miguel Archangel.
Of all the missions I visited on this trip, San Antonio Padua was the most interesting. It is not located near a town and generally looks much like it must of looked two hundred years ago or so. Additionally, it has not gone through a massive restoration. It really is a nice place. One of the interesting things about photography is how two people can visit a place and capture many similar images, while at the same time see things that the other did not see. This happened at Mission San Antonio with John and I. John got a wonderful shot of a hallway that I just walked through. Stuff like that happens all the time.
Our next stop was Mission San Miguel Archangel located in the small town of San Miguel, CA. There are houses and small businesses nearby but it is not "cramped" in. On our arrival, we stopped at a coffee house that was run by an artist and local rancher's wife. She is wanting to contract for a mural painting on the side of a building that faces her business. San Miguel Mission is another example of a California Mission that is not overly restored. It was here that I captured an image of a door that John had not seen. Funny how that works.
We then headed for Paso Robles where we would spend the night - at a Motel 6, of course. After checking in and relaxing for a bit, we headed to downtown Paso Robles to eat at Vic's Cafe. I forget what John ordered, but I got the fried chicken - big mistake. It was extremely over-cooked and dried out. Probably should have returned it - instead I ordered a bowl of brown gravy with which to wash the chicken down. But the salad was good after I picked out the pickled beets. Took a small bite of the beets since it had been years since I've eaten one - still don't like them. Raw beets are good, but not cooked or pickled.