Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Californian Mysteries

November 30th to December 2nd

Leaving Hearst Castle, it's back to a more earthy reality as the landscape turns green. Artichoke and sprout farms lush and leafy as far as the eye can see. This is farming on an industrial scale. Mile after mile of irrigated ranks of dense produce.
I never met anyone who likes sprouts! Not even a little bit. They're just something to leave on the plate on Christmas day so you feel like you can fit in a larger piece of Christmas pud. Just what is going on here? Where do they all go? Do people really eat this many sprouts? It's a complete mystery. We ride on confused - somethings are just beyond explanation....



And next Guadalupe.
It's like a ghost town. We ride through deserted streets and see no one. It's like everyone just upped and left. There's a real Mexican feel to the place though. Buildings are multi-coloured, bright and vibrant, supermercados advertise in spanish. But where are the people?



We ride out confused.

And next Solvang.
How do you explain Solvang? With it's windmills, statues of Hans Cristian Andersen and little mermaid fountain copied from Copenhagen....



Originally founded by Danish settlers around the turn of the last century, it now looks like a place trying so hard to look like Denmark, it's actually become the most Danish place on earth! There are fantastic bakeries wafting enticing sweet fragrances into the air.... and extravagant wine merchants threatening to seriously damage our budget. We need to leave fast.

This is the Santa Ynez valley - a flat spot between the Santa Ynez and the San Rafael Mountain ranges and famous as grape country. We camp in a county park on the beauteous Lake Cachuma, actually a reservoir serving the Santa Barbera area....



And admire the Bradbury Dam holding all that water at bay....



And watch the sky turn pink....

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