Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Off south, mid-March, with two friends, to see if we can find some wildflowers.
Day 1, yesterday: South on 101, across a fine Golden Gate Bridge, stop in Woodside for a lunch in a bakery-cafe, then south on 280, back roads, 87. A discovery: Chitactac-Adams Park, a county park south of San Jose, with a fine interpretive trail and exhibit-room reconstructing the Ohlone community that once existed in this charming pastoral setting -- stream, oaks, boulders, oaks, wild plums.
On, finally, to San Juan Bautista, where stayed the night at the San Juan Inn, not terribly expensive, a walk from downtown; and dinner at the Basque restaurant -- don't go there unless you have the steak, savory and flavorful. The lamb stew unpleasant, I'm told; and the house red about what we'd have expected in the mid-1950s.
Up this morning for a walk through the Mission San Juan Bautista, recently and very nicely restored since the latest earthquake -- the painted decorations in the plaster nicely done, the museum exhibits polished up a bit though still lacking in explanatory labels (okay with me), the retablo a tad too operatic, the garden a real delight.
Then the slow drive down Highway 25 and a four-hour ramble through the Pinnacles. What a site! Amazing terrain, rock formations; the wildflowers just beginning -- bush lupine, paintbrush, Indian warrior, white ceanothus, monkeyflower, several others -- I'm no botanist. A fair amount of birdsong down at the parking lot, then silence on the trail, just as I like it. Snow, shade, sun, lichen, silence, rocks, vistas, woods, stream.
An hour's drive south, then turn east, through Coalinga, a snowy owl flying across the road in front of us, the motel, dinner -- expensive! -- at Harris ranch.
You can see more photos at