And then there is…

This sign greeted visitors to Disney's California Adventure Park, July 2004

This sign greeted visitors to Disney’s California Adventure Park, July 2004

“There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience.  And then there is California.”Edward Abbey

In case Abbey’s quote leaves anyone in doubt, I mean it as a compliment. Whatever else can be said of California, it is certainly unlike any other state in the USA.  It’s a web of contradictions; a place of unparalleled beauty that is more frequently the butt of jokes than admiring tributes.  Could there be just a bit of sour grapes flavoring some of the criticism?  Perhaps, but even those who love California will readily admit that its fiscal woes and multitude of other challenges are driving away many residents who once dreamed of living an entire lifetime there.

Even if you can’t afford to live there, I do hope you will be able to visit and get a taste of what makes this state so dear to so many hearts.  Whether you go to the breathtaking National Parks, to Disneyland and other amusement parks, or to the countless tourist destinations in every category you can name, I hope you will manage to get “off the beaten path” and explore the coast, valleys and lakes as well as the vibrant cities.  Be sure to sample some fresh fruits or veggies; almost anything you can think of is grown nearby.  You’re likely to see flowers everywhere, for the weather in most of California is so pleasant that even annuals come back perennially.  As do many people, who will never quite forget what made their years in California some of the happiest of their lives.


  1. My son, his wife and our granddaughter live in San Diego. We visit yearly and spend much time exploring the back roads, the desert and of course the beaches. Our California visit is the highlight of our year.


    • Dennis, I’m so happy that you have a chance to visit California regularly. I love the drive between Orange County and San Diego. What a beautiful stretch of coastline that is! Have you been to the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach? That’s something we talked of doing yearly but in the nearly 9 years we spent in CA, we never made it to that particular attraction. But it’s still on my “someday” list! Thanks for visiting here.

  2. Mike Bertoglio

    You have to jealous of being able to grow Cymbidium orchids on your deck. Always enjoyed Steinbeck description of Salinas valley in, “Of Mice and Men.” Spent time in school at Berkeley and did not get out into the parks that much. Of course the redwoods are amazing.
    Did some camping in Humboldt state park.

    • I didn’t realize you had been to Berkeley! The East Bay is a world all its own, different from San Francisco but fun to explore. I never did get to Humboldt although it’s supposed to be gorgeous there. If you have not been to the Steinbeck museum that opened in the late 90’s in Salinas, you would probably really enjoy it. Matt used to go to camp several times a year in Stevens Creek Park (near San Jose) and we would explore in and around Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel. We never tired of it and I really miss being able to go there anytime.

  3. Born in CA. Spent many summers at my grandparents. My dad is resting there now. I too love CA and am a bit sad that Stephen and I will never go back to live. TOO EXPENSIVE!!! But I am a CO girl in the end. I really miss those middle states, CO, WY, MT. Have a great day here in VA my friend.

    • It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone you’ve known for years. I didn’t realize (or had forgotten) that you were born in CA, and I also didn’t remember that your dad was buried there. I do always think of you as a Montana gal since that is the place I’ve heard you talk of so fondly, but tend to think of you as being from CO since your family is there and you met Stephen while he was at the Academy. Hope we get to see you this week or next.

      • Yes, we are looking forward to a visit with you. My dad was born and raised in LA and my moms family are true “Jode” people. They left OK and hoped to live fat and happy in CA. My dad is buried near Modesto and I have lots of family in the river valley there. We did love MT. I was born in the middle of the Mojave at Edwards AFB. Kat was born in CA too, she is our Lompoc baby. Talk with you soon. Thank you for this blog. Stephen and I enjoy it every day.

        • Thanks so much Amy. I remember your Grandmother living near the AZ state line, but didn’t realize your family roots went back to CA. No wonder I like you so much! Glad we all ended up on the Central Coast together, though. I don’t think I would have liked the deserts as much. The first time I saw Palm Springs I thought, “Okay, what’s the big deal?” 🙂 I am so happy you like the blog!

  4. merry

    Hello Julia. Interesting picture. I’ve been to CA couple times and was impressed with the beautiful flowers. Being a southern girl(born in GA.) I notice flowers…
    Prayers for you, Jeff and Matt, that you’ve a blessed day.

    • Yes, flowers are among the many things I miss so much about CA. Here in Virginia I have to bring my begonias and geraniums inside for the winter, but in CA they just bloom year round and get so big and beautiful. Everything else blooms pretty much year round too. The state flower (the California Poppy) grows wild all over, and is the flower pictured on the neon sign in the photo. We did have a blessed day, so your prayers were answered! Had an a/c repair that lasted almost 10 hours, but hey, at least it got fixed! (We hope :-))

    • Georgia born? I was born in Texas but grew up in Atlanta and will always think of Georgia as my home. Where in GA were you born?

  5. Sheila

    Julia, I have to laugh when I think of Myrtle Beach being called “Redneck Riviera”! I think it has been called ” Tinsel Town” by those that choose to live outside the city limits but are still considered local! Some east coast humor…. southern, of course! Sheila

    • Believe it or not I had never heard that term “Redneck Riviera” but I kind of like it! If that’s Myrtle Beach, perhaps those who coined that term think of the Outer Banks as “the Hamptons of Hicktown.” 🙂 I can see the “tinsel town” nickname too – especially after comparing Hollywood to other parts of the west coast. I guess some things are universal. Thanks for putting a smile on my face!

  6. Nancy

    Joe and Jan are there now, Julia…hiking, stay at Monterey, San Fran, driving Hwy 1…great vacation and well-deserved for them. I remember well the visit there with you, Jeff and Kathy over Halloween. Love and prayers. Nancy

    • Nancy, I have only very vague memories of that visit; is that when we went to the L.A. County Museum of Art, and I got that print of Pissarro’s stunning Place du Theatre Francais? I remember our being disappointed at how it lost so much in translation to print, but I just had to buy it anyway. I custom framed it with a silk mat and it’s been hanging in my dining room ever since, all these years (over 20 now). I had forgotten it was Halloween. Thanks for bringing back a happy memory!

  7. Three Cheers for California!!! We’ve been to a good number of destinations in the US and always return to California. San Diego of course and now San Jose. We love the weather in spring or fall. Not too hot but perfect for us northerners. I like that there are big cities for a quick visit of shopping and thrills but all the smaller centre’s and towns are what I enjoy more. Each with their own flavour.

    • I thought of you when I wrote this post. Although you are Canadian, your blog has that wonderful California spirit — upbeat, curious, open-minded. I agree with you that the charming small towns (such as those along the Napa and Sonoma trails) are even more fun than the cities. I’m glad you live close enough to visit that state often!


  1. Out there, waiting | Defeat Despair

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