David and I caught the last rays of the sun today. Although we'd started the morning in 80 degree heat, which climbed to 105 later in the day, now that we were at the ocean's edge, a chill was in the air. We were glad we'd grabbed our jackets before heading for the beach.
As we perched on the picnic table, using the bench seat to rest our feet, we thought back over the day's drive. We wondered if there were another state as diverse as California. One where you'd find helicopters spraying lush farmland in the morning.
A state where you could stop at noon at pristine hacienda-style buildings, part of the rest area system maintained by the state to provide travelers with water, maps, and toilet facilities, and feel as though you were in Mexico.
Take a side trip in the afternoon to see Pinnacles National Monument, a place where the endangered California condor soars above the rugged canyon walls, and caves. Where the result of millions of years of volcanic, water, wind and earthquake activity makes you catch your breath at the resulting rock spires and ramparts that dominate the landscape.
Is there another state in America as diverse and beautiful as California? A state where we could take a leisurely drive for a few hours beginning in rich farmland, climbing through stone monoliths, and ending at the Pacific Ocean?
We don't think so either.
The road to Pinnacles National Monument is approximately 18 miles of slow, sinuous, mostly single-lane driving. Allow at least forty-five minutes to reach the park.