After a lot of loading over the weekend, we settled down on Sunday night to eat appetizers and watch the Academy Awards. I have a good new recipe for mini BLT’s served in baked Wonton wrappers. Also, a red bell pepper-cheddar dip. Also, salad mix wrapped in Prosciutto. So actually, pretty healthy. The awards were pretty good, though the end was certainly a mess.
Monday was a short driving day to our friends in Merced. Jeff and Betty Denno are always fun to spend time with. In the past, they have taken us out to find vernal pools, small bodies of water that only appear after lots of rain and maintain concentric circles of wildflowers while they gradually evaporate. There were lots of pools from all the rain this year in the Central Valley, but the wildflowers haven’t popped up yet. But the almond groves are still in bloom and the hills are a vibrant green. Wonderful to see after so many years of drought in California.
I managed to spot the white head of a bald eagle and only realized later that there was a second one hidden in the branches of the distant tree. That was really neat.
Our close friends, Mary Prendiville and Rick Lopez arrived later in the evening and the six of us enjoyed a rare night together. Mac, the Denno’s 17-year-old Cockatiel, contributed to the festivities, ringing his favorite bell and squawking.
After a long, luxurious breakfast the next day, we departed for Fresno, 40 miles south. Fresno sponsors The Blossom Trail, a fairly long circuit going through many nut and fruit orchards when they are in bloom. We took off around 3 p.m. when the light was getting lower. Having listened to the knowledgeable Jeff and Betty, we knew our almonds from our walnut trees. We determined orange trees by the oranges rolling around under them. We found large orchards with all their trees shrouded in netting. To keep out pests? They looked very mysterious.
The backdrop for many images was the hazy, pale green hills in the distance. Behind them were the snow-capped Sierra. We had a good time, then drove west, into the sun to return home to our very unimpressive RV park in Fresno.
The next day I called down to Carrizo Plain to see if they had wildflowers yet. Nope. So we lazed around and then Dave drove the rig 100 miles down the road to Bakersfield, where we often stock up before going to Death Valley. The smell: not very good. The visibility: abysmal. The town’s value is convenience. Tomorrow we’re out of here!