San Francisco to Los Angeles

Monday July 14
Drove into Los Angeles... in three lanes going to six lanes, traffic moving nicely. Ken says surprisingly good traffic situation and good parking (so far) in LA. We drove into the city going onto 6th Street East. Wow... so many homeless people, so little space. Men just sleeping on the concrete in a fenced basketball court. The old part of downtown was sort of slummy.
We then drove to near McCarther Park next to the Mexican Consulate, and since that didn't work out we tried to find decent food – we found food, that is all I"ll say about it. Seems our previous instructions to go the LA Mexican consulate were incorrect.

We then drove to the Farmer's Market. It was not what we expected in a farmer's market at all. It was surrounded by stores like Barney's of New York, Pottery Barn, etc. The Market itself was basically an outdoor food court with Zagat rated food stalls. I choose Brazilian since I never had eaten that before. It consisted of deep fried yucca collard greens, plantain, beans and rice and white fish. Ken opted for a giant grapefruit and giant brownie.

Since this was LA a film company was shooting in the mall, Dreamworks no less, darling.

Later we headed to the Whole Foods Market across the street.

On the way to LA we stopped for a break at Tinkers (nice burrito) and neat yard pottery in the area, note the forklift in the picture for scale.

Sunday July 13

As we left San Luis Obispo I painted the grape leaves in the sketchbook (takes me a while cause there are so many interesting things to do right now).

The hills were rolling and very yellow with patches of green oak trees and green rows of grape plants, acres of them.

We were on our way to Rusack Winery to meet Keith an acquaintance of Ken's through the Manpollo project.

Keith works at this winery and it is actually his last day as he is moving to Sweden to go to school. The winery proper was much more "mature" than those I have seen in British Columbia. There were big trees held up by teleposts. There was a picket fence surrounding the grounds. A blue bird gave us a visit. Keith had his friends come up from Santa Barbara to wish him well on his last day of work.

He and his friends were friendly, about Shannon's age or a little older. They gave us good tips on were to camp. Oh, and we got to do the wine tasting tour compliments of Keith.

The drive didn't get very long before we stopped to photo cactus flowers at the local Burger King.

Saturday July 12
Started the day in a botanical garden eating breakfast and sketching.

Great plants from Mediterranean climates around the world along with geckoes and many birds.

Then Ken used the computer with Craigslist and Google Maps to locate the garage sales. We restricted ourselves to two thrift stores. Ken then went to another real estate agent. In the morning we also took a look in an open house – 1600 square feet for $600,00.00. One bedroom was really a back porch. The home was nice, but not worth it.

For supper we ate outside at a grill with really rocking good music.

After supper we went for a walk at Morro Bay, CA.

We took pictures of a rock sticking out of the ocean. There was a three stack power plant there which did not add to the ambiance.

The Galleries were open late so we had to check them out.

Friday July ll (Shannon McDavid's birthday)

In the morning we got to feed Petals the dog in the camp office. She was a retired racing greyhound.

We drove through Castroville, CA which appeared to be the artichoke capital of the world (still on highway 101). I took pictures of artichokes growing in the field, I want to paint them at some point. This whole area to almost San Luis Obispo, CA was black dirt farm land, obviously worked by immigrants. We ate lunch just south of Castroville at Caotola, CA.

I passed hours of driving by painting.

We arrived in SLO (as the locals call it) just in time as they were beginning a concert in the park. The fist song they played was a Led Zeppelin number – The Immigrant Song which morphed into a hip hop beat. We decided to go on a Trolley ride to get a feel for the city, it was the bargin of the day at twenty five cents each.

The streets are lined with Huge ficus trees, there are jacaranda trees with big, purple blossoms and pale barked geranium trees (very tall). Beautiful tree lined downtown.

Thursday July 10
I took pictures of our camp area at breakfast, scorned the honey pot truck and left hoping to find a better campsite.

We drove to Big Basin State Park on a windy little road. There were detour signs just before the park, so we took a road called China Grade which took us to Bolder Creek. We went to an internet cafe and paid $5.75 for one coffee and one brownie (rip off). Ken found a great real estate agent and this was a great area to look for land.

We drove to a thrift store likely in Felton, CA and continued on to Santa Cruz. Ken stopped at a realtor and got local maps and listings. We drove to Natural Bridges State beach and took pictures of flocks of brown pelicans flying overhead.

Going north on the coastal highway we drove to the tiny village of Bonny Doon – a nice treed area, Not much more then a elementary school. Back to Santa Cruz for super at the newly opened Khyber Pass and took a walk on the main type street. Lots of young, surfer types which I know sounds like a cliche. The thrift store next door had snow boards and surf boards for sale.

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