Roger and I spent a week in southern California visiting with my mom, who is feeling much better (YAY!) So, we hit the road Saturday morning at 9:00 am and drove 330 miles north to the beach house. It was a quick trip, even though we stopped twice at roadside rest areas to sip our homemade English Breakfast tea and eat croissant sandwiches. We were back in Capitola by 2:15 pm. Yes, we drove very fast.
There's a long stretch of Highway 101 with a posted speed limit of 70 mph. We tend to drive with the flow of traffic, which is usually ten miles over the speed limit. So you can see why we made it back to the beach house in such a short time.
There's not much to do while we drive but look out the window and admire the scenery. Fortunately, the view is pretty awesome out there.
On and on mile after mile the beautiful Salinas Valley spreads out between the Gabilan Range (to the east) and the Santa Lucia range (to the west). We remember for many years that there weren't very many wine grapes being grown, but that all changed about a decade ago. Now those vines are everywhere. Still, the valley is known for much of the "salad greens consumed in the U.S. are grown within this region. Strawberries,
lettuce, tomatoes, and spinach are the dominant crops in the valley.
Other crops include broccoli, cauliflower, wine grapes, and celery. Due
to the intensity of local agriculture, the area has earned itself the
nickname "'America's Salad Bowl.'"
I took most of the photos looking east toward the Gabilan Range. I didn't roll the window down, so there's a bit of alteration in the light, but I think you can see the wide range of colors in those tan rolling hills. They are so beautifully wavy.
I did get one shot looking west toward the Santa Lucia Range. Yes, those are more wine grapes as far as the eye can see. To give you some perspective, on the other side of these mountains is the roaring Pacific, and a bit further north is Big Sur.
Every time we take this drive, we always remember why we love California.