Alarm goes off, adrenaline burst through the body, lights are turned on, clothes thrown on, and dashing about to take care of last details. That is how i learned to leave for a trip. Instead we had a gentle awakening, did the chores that had to be done without looking at the clock, and we left. Instead of getting into the car and feeling the adrenaline drain and a sense of exhaustion replace it as we turned onto the highway, there was no adrenaline so no exhaustion.
It wasn't as early as i would have left on my own, because Christine has more chores that must be done promptly and regularly. (Because of all my distractions, she does them, and i get chores that have much more flexibility.) However the sense of departure was much more celebratory and delightful. With the tumult in the atmosphere, clouds and sun and small squalls of rain, and the called for thunderstorms, all sunlight was going to be unpredictable. Rushing to catch dawn light wasn't worth the gamble.
The drive is broken up into four segments. First, 101 to Gilroy. This is half asphalt landscape and half the Coyote Creek and Coyote ridge landscape which is green and the first taste of leaving the urban landscape. We were deep in the shadow of the Diablo range to our east: sun danced on the tops of the Santa Cruz mountains to the west. In Gilroy, we leave 101 to take a road across the agricultural landscape of the valley. The soil is a beautiful black loam and fluorescent green seedlings dotted the long rows. There's much i enjoy in this stretch, but the road is notoriously dangerous. Christine drove so i could soak up the views of small San Felipe Lake and a nearby ranch dotted with beautiful oaks. Theres a gravel pull off near the lake, but not really far enough off the road to seem safe for scenic stopping. And we were driving through.
The third segment is an even more glorious landscape: the Pacheco Pass. I believe Henry Coe State Park and Pacheco State Park would be ways to visit that landscape, and as we drove through i questioned my fascination with this more distant landscape. Coe is a well loved place, though, and BLM lands offer some freedoms that State Parks do not.
And one can't help falling in love and fascination with a place.
Some day i will make those my destination. We continued on the last segment: I-5, the major artery of the state. Mustard fields and almond groves gleamed in the morning light. I recalled that we would be exiting through an almond grove so i bided my time, observing some past peak bloom, some before bloom, and bee hives liberally distributed at the edges of the groves. (Why not in the middle?)
First stop was the edge of the almond grove just before the asphalt ended.
Christine gamely kept going with the dirt road, not bringing up some of the roads i've directed us down in the past. First drove past the "recreation area" sign, where "recreation" seems to be heavy use of the area for riding motor bikes or dirt bikes. Next to the scars of treads was a vibrant orange carpet of fiddleheads.
These would obviously not be the rare forked fiddle head, so i gathered some for my studio work and took some photos. At home i discovered the classification for rare meant that they have very limited distribution and could possibly become endangered, but are not endangered at this time. Well, the ones by the road were.
Must start the work day!