Posted by: Silver | January 6, 2011

On Foot in California

Well, I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to hibernate a bit over the past couple of weeks; I hope all of you have had the sort of Festive Season you wanted too! I’m still in California at the moment, but – thanks to Amtrak’s unfriendly luggage policies – Ranger is not. I was forced to leave him behind (he is being looked after by some very kind friends in Vancouver) and so I have been heading out for walks around the streets of southern California in an attempt to dull the withdrawal symptoms (and hopefully keep myself in some sort of shape). As I mentioned in my entry about the rain, walking really isn’t something that most people in this area do very much of: round here, I’m almost as much of an oddity on two legs as I am on three wheels. I can understand why this is so – everything is so spread out that you’d have to spend your whole day walking just to get a few errands done – but it is a shame, as the drivers speeding by me really are missing out on so much…

I first noticed how surprisingly many fragrant plants have been planted alongside the roads here when I was doing my training on Ranger back in June. There may not be as many flowers in bloom now, but there’s still plenty of scented foliage that, especially after all the rain we’ve just had, offered anyone not cocooned inside a car a chorus of delightfully fresh, invigorating aromas. California usually smells hot and dry: not an unpleasant smell by any means, but a very distinctive one that let me know I was nearly home the moment I stepped off the train at Santa Barbara for a brief rest stop on my way down from Vancouver. The unprecedented storms it has just endured, however, unveiled a whole new scented side to its character: a small compensation for all the days of torrential rain, mudslides and traffic chaos perhaps, but a pleasant one nonetheless.

And so from smells to sights and a photo gallery which I have presumed to entitle “Things you see in California when you walk…”

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Responses

  1. Silver,
    Nice to hear that you are in warmer parts for a while.
    Your comments about the fragrant road foliage is reminding me of the southwest and making me wish I was back there, as it’s a great time of year to be there, not too hot, not too cold in the right places. Right now Cambridge is blanketed under a drab grey mist of cold wet nonsense that will likely stay until – well who knows?
    It actually got darker this morning after getting lighter for a while and felt like the sun had given up on these islands entirely. Enjoy the California sunshine.
    Cheers
    JC

    • Thanks, John 🙂 I remember the drab grey mist and cold wet nonsense well – at least we get sunshine after the rain here! Hang in there, JC, spring is coming, and probably much sooner to Cambridge than Canada!


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