Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Settling in for Thanksgiving in Santa Maria November 23-24

Nov. 23 and 24.....we woke up Saturday, and the big  decision for today was that we were going to stay here for the holidays. I had planned on riding further toward LA, but campgrounds south of here were becoming VERY expensive, as well as hard to find, beginning in the Santa Barbara area, which is really where the LA megalopolis begins in my opinion. I may get another day or two of riding before Thanksgiving, but Pam will come for me and bring me back to home base. After the holiday I will part ways with Pam for a while, and head south through LA along the coast, and she will take an RV friendly alternate route. Pam got on some RV forums and blogs, and it was unanimous, not to take an RV the way I am biking. She is still formulating a route that she is comfortable with, so our separation is still undetermined as far as length of time and where we are going to hook up. Stay tuned.
On Sunday,the 24th, we decided to Jeep 20 miles up Rt 101 to visit Pismo Beach. It was a lot farther than that on the trail that the ACA maps took me on Friday. We first visited  Pismo Beach Monarch Park, where monarch butterflies from all over the west coast were wintering in a few trees. The volunteers there estimated that there were 34,000 of them present.  We knew about this phenomenon because of an IMAX movie we saw in Seattle, at the science center. I thought all monarch butterflies wintered in Mexico, but there are several California sites, and we saw one today. We then went to the pier at Pismo Beach and killed some time in the 70 degree sunshine, watching the ocean, the mountains, the sea cliffs, and also some whales that were offshore ( while the rest of the country is in a nasty cold and winter storm mode, I was in shorts. Sorry.)
We decided to go back to home base through Guadeloupe, the way I rode my bike, and we stumbled upon an obscure Hispanic tradition occurring in town. We thought we saw action at a rodeo ring, but it turns out that it wasn't a rodeo arena at all but a charreada. We consulted with our answer lady (Tirzah, from North Carolina, or we wouldn't have had any idea what was going on.) Seven Hispanic horseback riders were in a ring with a bull, and they were waving Mexican blankets (serapes) at the bull, getting him to charge them and their horses. This went on for a while with a ten piece mariachi band playing very energetic Mexican music, and a narrator who never stopped talking in Spanish. We were the only non Hispanics in the crowd, but no one paid us any mind. It was like we were invisible, actually. The spectators were drinking beer, dancing to the music, and generally just socializing with each other. 
They put the bull away, and the horseback riders stayed in the ring, taking turns making their very beautiful horses strut and 'dance' to the band, who never stopped playing. The announcer never stopped talking in Spanish over the music, and it seemed like the horse was strutting to all the chaos. Then another big bad bull came out, and the horseback riders tried to trip him with their lassos as he charged randomly around the ring. If he wouldn't charge, a rider lassoed him by the horns and made him run around. They never tripped the bull, so I think he won that event. We googled to see what a charreada was, and what we saw may have been a loose rendition of a traditional charreada, but what we saw wasn't exactly what was described on the Internet. Whatever it was, we enjoyed it. It was just so random how we stumbled upon it, which is what I like about this whole trip. We never know what lies around the next corner!

The butterflies are in town winterizing!


These are "clumps" of monarch butterflies!  When their wings are open, you see the pretty colors, when their wings are closed, they look like brown leaves

When you look up into the pine trees, you see these huge clumps which are all butterflies





Remember, these are pine trees and they don't have leaves!  But it looks like it!



Monarch butterfly caterpillar


Charreada!  They are teasing the bull with a serape (blanket)




The bull was keeping an eye on us!

Check out these boots!!!








On our way home we stopped at a fruit stand and got fresh black berries and strawberries.  These black berries are HUGE!

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