We learned that one of Chatsworth's (or maybe its only) claim to fame is Stoney Point Park, it having provided the backdrop for many movies. We took a short drive there to walk/hike around. It was definitely a one and done. There are no groomed trails and the walk around is very uneven. It is a better location for those interested in rock climbing, not hiking.
As I explore the area and learn my way around, I've been keeping my eyes open for things that are different here than other places I've lived. One of them is vending machines for water! I haven't used one of these machines, but have watched others. The customer brings containers and pays to refill them from the machine. I suppose this is an attempt to discourage or reduce purchase of bottled water.
Since the move west, we've both spent significant time on the east coast and not with each other! That's made exploring our area a bit harder to schedule. When Tom was away on business in March, a long time friend, Pam Wilt, was in CA and we were able to spend some time together. I was very happy to have a familiar face join me in an unfamiliar place.
|Santa Barbara harbor|
First, Pam and I headed to Santa Barbara.
|Santa Barbara Mission|
|selfie with Pam|
|first view of the California poppy|
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area has a very long name, but luckily it's only a short drive away from Chatsworth - I'll be back with Tom.
In the Antelope Valley (true name), there is a Poppy Reserve to protect the native wildflower in its natural habitat. I was anxious to see what they looked like in large quantities. Pretty, but nothing compared to tulip fields. We still had a nice day out.
Poppies exist in orange, yellow and white although we only saw one yellow among many orange.
|only the orange is poppies|
"Will you take our picture?" After passing numerous signs "stay on the trail", there was little motivation to cooperate. We told them no and that they shouldn't be there. Maybe we've become a bit Swiss.
|poppies scattered among yellow "goldfields", another wildflower|
|funny flowers called fiddleneck|
|state animal in mosaic|
Los Padres National Forest offered some scenic views along the way to Paso Robles.
Conveniently, Paso Robles had a craft and flea market where there were also vintage cars and motorcycle sidecars on display. It was a fun way to wander around the main square before our scheduled tour.
We had signed up for a food and wine tour, but unfortunately we got off to a rough start because the tour guide was not at the meeting point at the appropriate time. They finally returned our calls 30 minutes later just before we left and went off on our own.
|Clarabelle at the designated meeting spot|
Along with four other people, we went off to do some tasting. Our first stop was Halter Ranch.
|vineyard outside the tasting room|
A new experience for us was olive oil tasting. We tasted the oils both plain and with a variety of herbs and spice mixtures. There were also several kinds of infused oils for sale afterwards.
We tasted some good wines, but nothing called to us - no purchases made.
A cultural difference between east coast and west coast became evident on this tour: we do not share the same opinion about personal space. I felt myself backing up as people stepped closer to me than felt comfortable. The tour guide and others in the group also touched my arm repeatedly during conversation which is not normal in the east with someone you have just met. Also, our B&B hostess told me I had an "east coast vibe". I have no idea what that means or if it is a compliment. Hmmm.
The town of Paso Robles has quite a few restaurants and both we tried were very good. After another hearty breakfast served at our B&B, we left Paso Robles. We opted to stop in Ventura on the way home for Tom's first visit to one of the California Missions.
|Mission San Buenaventura|
It was definitely not as nice as Santa Barbara's mission, but a convenient stop on our way. We do not plan to visit every mission!
Tom and I will be together in California for a month before we head back to Switzerland for a visit. Hopefully, there will be time for some more new and interesting experiences. Stay tuned.