See that? That's me....in CALIFORNIA!!! My first wake-up in the Golden State. Thankfully the jetlag wasn't terrible and I wasn't awake on the couch for hours before anyone was up. I woke up and was soon greeted by Ryan, who had just done the same. Holly got him ready for school and took him over, and once she returned, we formed our plan of attack for the day. Her parents were joining us, which was really awesome! Our goals were simple: geocaching and wildflowers!
That looks like an exciting first stop, eh? Actually, it was pretty cool! It's a section of highway that's cut right through the San Andreas Fault, and that's the location of an earthcache I wanted to complete the requirements to. We wandered around, answered questions, and took some pictures. Here are a few:
After getting the information we needed and looking around all we wanted, we piled back in to Lola and headed to the Blackbird Air Park. It's home to a virtual geocache and several aircraft.
The hilarity of the day was provided by the USAF:
That stencil is on a fake rock, typically used to cover pumps or other fixtures in one's yard. I have no idea what this one was covering...it was actually bolted into the ground:
A few other photos:
Our trip took us into the museum/gift shop, where we all had fun:
I love how impish Holly's dad, Dan, looks in his photo! He's a fantastic tourguide, too, having worked in the aerospace industry for years. I learned so much in the time I got to spend there!
After leaving the air park we headed toward the mountains. Wildflowers were coming into bloom and it was a great time to see them up close! I'd seen the dusting of yellow as we drove around town, but nothing compares to seeing them like this. A few highlights:
Yep, we actually found a pond in the desert!
The views here were so breathtaking! With Dan driving Lola, Mary Ann up front with him, and Holly and I in the back, we just kept going higher and higher! Our goal was what must have once been a radar tower back in the day. It sits at the crest of one peak, and Holly, Dan, and Ryan had gone geocaching there about a month prior to my visit.
The trail had several larger rocks, not quite boulder-sized, in the middle of it. It looked to us like they had been rolled into place on purpose, as if whoever had moved them did so to keep people from driving up the trail. Whatever the reason, Holly and Mary Ann got out to move the first one and had the scare of their lives. Holly had been telling me about the deadly Mojave Green rattlesnake, only to find a baby one under that rock! Juvenile snakes are known for powerful venom and little care for who or what they strike at, so there was a serious scare when the snake headed for Mary Ann! Thankfully she jumped out of the way and snake headed into the bushes.
We got to a point where Lola wasn't going any further up the mountain, so Holly and I walked the rest of the way. We made it to the top, found the cache, and enjoyed the views. If I thought it was breathtaking before, I was mistaken!
That black spot just right of center? Lola!
We left the mountain and headed to see poppies. We were going to visit the Antelope Valley/California Poppy Reserve, but opted instead to find them elsewhere. I made a joke about wanting to make a poppy angel and was met with silence...until I started laughing. After seeing the poppies up close and personal (and having no desire whatsoever to destroy these beautiful flowers!!), I can see why the locals have such high regard for them.
After our off-roading adventure we decided to head back to the house. From there Holly picked Ryan up from school and we went to Lowe's. Lowe's? Yep, on my list of things to do! I work for Lowe's and like to stop at one wherever I go. Can't help it. We tried to get Ryan to get into one of the bathtub diplays for a photo op, but he wasn't having anything to do with it! Oh well.
From there we dropped Ryan off at home, met up with JoAnna and got some supplies for their Warrior Dash costumes, and then headed to a place called BevMo. We don't have anything like it here in Florida, but I guess I'd describe it as a warehouse store for alcohol. It was awesome! They carry things I remember (fondly) drinking while living overseas, many things I've never tried before, and lots of other things as well. And since it was Friday, they were having a sampling. Yep, got carded again!! I love California. While BevMo usually offers beer or wine tastings on Fridays, this time we got to taste cider. I've discovered my new favorite drink, Henry Weston's Cider! Sure, I've had Hornsby's and Woodchuck and things like that, but they don't compare to the smooth quality of Henry Weston's. Holly said it perfectly when she said the Hornsby's was more apple flavoring, while the Henry Weston's was more real apple.
After falling in love with Henry Weston, and buying bacon chocolate for my husband (yep, you read that correctly), it was back to the casa. We relaxed, watched tv, ate Dan's amazing arroz con pollo, realized he and I share a love for sriracha, drank wine, relaxed some more, and truly gave thanks for the ability to be right there, right then.