As my friend John said about this picture...Sniff, sniff. What's that smell? I smell trouble! And that's exactly what we were looking for here. Saturday morning...in California...and, Oh, the possibilities!! Our first order of business was Ryan's soccer practice. It was neat seeing the emphasis on kids playing and having fun instead of following really rigid rules. They looked to be having a great time!
Ryan is the little goalie with the green soccer ball.
After practice was over we decided to go gambling. A local convenience store, Mike's, has had the good fortune of selling three different winning lottery tickets that have won millions. I wanted to try my hand, so we stopped by to check it out.
I did *not* win anything. But, I was in California with my bestie, so I had more riches than money could buy. *blush*
The plan for the day was basically to go to the beach! I'm a Florida girl with a fondness for smelling like coconuts and having sand between my toes, and I absolutely could not visit the West coast without hitting the beach. I had to laugh, though, at seeing snow on the mountains as we drove.
Our drive took us through Bouquet Canyon. Mind you, I never looked at a map to see our route, had no idea how long it would take, didn't know what to expect....Yeah, I felt like I was in an alternate universe. A good alternate universe, though! Here, take a tour with me:
Bouquet Canyon was gorgeous! Curvy roads, towering trees, water flowing by (Holly, stop this car RIGHT NOW so I can take pictures!!)...gorgeous!! Possibly one of my favorite parts of my trip.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
I kept taking pictures as we zoomed down the highway because I was floored by the scenery. One minute is was bright and sunny, and the next we saw fog rolling through the hillsides.
We made a quick stop at a place Ryan likes to call 'The Bee Shop,' Bennett's Honey Farm (Hello, Bennett family!!). Getting out of the car we were immediately hit with the sweet aroma of orange blossoms. I was reminded of home!
While Holly looked for some cactus honey for her dad, Ryan and I browsed and sampled. I prefer very bold flavors of honey and really enjoyed their buckwheat variety.
Pretty soon we piled back into the car and headed further down the road.
Our next stop was the Santa Clara Schoolhouse:
Holly and her family had tried to find a geocache hidden here, only to come up empty-handed. I love a challenge, so I was prepared to search and search if necessary. Instead I walked right up to it. I have to agree with Holly...it wasn't there when they looked before!!
The city of Santa Paula was another one of those really random places I wanted to see during my visit...go figure. Holly was kind enough to humor me, and for good reason! One of...if not THE...best Mexican restaurants in existence is in Santa Paula, Familia Diaz. But first, I had to have a little fun:
Ryan got to have a little fun, too:
Pretty soon we were seated inside Familia Diaz and enjoying albondigas soup. It was my first experience with that particular soup and I really enjoyed it! We then enjoyed chicken chimichangas and some fried ice cream...mmm!
Fred came out to play with our leftovers:
We finished our meal, made friends with the bikers at the bar, and then hit the road again. Remember, I still had no idea where we were or when we'd be at the beach. I was along for the ride and enjoying every second of it! The scenery kept me enthralled:
And then...we were there! At Holly's suggestion we went to the beach in Carpinteria. She found us a parking spot right by the sand and then we went to check it out:
The day was overcast and chilly, but that didn't stop a lot of people from playing in the water. Ryan, especially, had a great time rolling in the sand and then into the water...back and forth, several times. I don't know how he could do it! It was so cold I could only handle a few minutes with my feet in the water.
We stayed a little while longer and then decided to head to Starbuck's for a warm drink. Before leaving I picked up a few rocks and shells for Olivia. I was struck by the differences in sand, shells, rocks, temperature. Going to the beach is such a normal thing at home, but just because I was at a beach it didn't necessarily make me homesick. The differences were so much so that it was a separate experience entirely.
But hey, what else should one expect from a visit to an alternate universe?!
That said, I will add that this was probably one of my favorite days in California...right up there with wildflowers and Warrior Dash. Just sayin'
The End....is near!