Dixie said goodbye to her fresh water pools on her last walk at Sierra SKP Park. We told her that her next frolic would be in the waves of the Pacific Ocean.
As we headed south into the San Joaquin Valley, we looked over hundreds of acres of spectacular agricultural bounty. Grapevines wove magical patterns across hillsides as far as the eye could see. The vibrant green of leafy vegetables and artichokes contrasted starkly with the freshly watered rust-coloured soil. Rows of seedlings of all sorts emerged confidently, knowing that there would be no drought for them. I am impressed with this region whenever we pass through it, it is always so different.
California’s growing season can be up to ten months which boggles the mind of someone raised in Ontario where five months is pushing the limits! Within the four weeks we were at Coarsegold, many trees had blossomed and were in full glory like a thousand brides. We passed a couple of almond processing plants where huge mounds of almond shells were piled high. They are ground and mixed with feed for dairy cattle as well as used for fuel and landscaping material. As we passed the fruit and nut orchards we heard a serenade of taps and blasts, a musical procession of bugs hitting our windshield. It was sad to see as many were likely bees from the many bee hives piled along the rows of trees to insure pollination of the blossoms. The windshield was just plain nasty! Many acres were filled with tiny new trees bound to white posts for support and fanning out across the fields like crosses in a National Cemetery.
As we approached the coast, the land opened into rolling hills and wildflowers, grazing cattle and a few reservoirs of deep blue. It is always a sight to come upon those huge lakes in a region that depends on irrigation for its crops.
By late afternoon, we could see the sand dunes stretching along the coast. As we neared Monterey, we caught our first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean; always a magical moment. We set up at Marina Dunes RV Park. The park was well treed and sights were divided by large hedges. A healthy stroll lead to beach access with a view of the dunes and grasses where we could walk Dixie. It was located close to the highway but it was only a place to crash at night after the many day trips we had planned. When we went exploring, the dunes and beach were always almost empty.