Happy Mother’s Day & the Flower Fields

Today is a day to celebrate mothers! Many of us celebrate the special day from a distance, but our appreciation and love for our mom is not diminished. My mom inspired and continues to encourage my travels around the world. I am thankful for her support and understanding of my need to travel. She too had once enjoyed meeting new people, seeing new places and discovering unknowns. I know it is not easy for my mom to travel now, yet it provides me one more reason to write this blog when I do travel. So Mom, I love you, thank you for everything, and Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you enjoy the photographs of the flowers I saw at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California in this post.

Despite the gray day, the colorful flowers and many fields of flowers were on display for us all to enjoy. There is quite a bit of history about this place along with so many varieties of poinsettias, but what I found most interesting is that they plant ranunculus seeds. The light-weighted seeds take 4 – 5 weeks to germinate and 6 months to blossom!

There are many, many fields of flowers here. One was in the shape of the American flag planted with petunias. It reminded me of my Vestal, NYS Student Council members who planted hundreds of petunias as an American flag in the front of the junior high school for Flag Day. Overall, a fun learning project for the students. I had a real appreciation for the field/American flag made here at the Flower Field, 100 times larger than the student project!

May people visiting the fields kept physically distanced or otherwise wore a mask. There were other activities to do besides walking the field: tractor ride of the fields, pea maze, video programs, and I picked blueberries. The good-sized and sweet berries were enjoyed in my cold cereal the upcoming mornings!

Later in the day I arrived at the KOA I was to tent at the next nights. I have a three-season tent and backpacker gear for lighting, cooking, and sleeping. I found it fascinating to watch people lay down carpets in front of their campers, string lights around trees and any other post available, plug in electric griddles and instant pots or cook on the barbecue grill, and use air compressors to blow up double sized mattresses for their sleeping in their tent. Many RV’s had a booming sound system and/or a television which by nightfall were on in most places. People brought camp chairs, screens to show movies on, and coolers large enough to hold plenty of beer. In some ways it seemed like numerous parties were happening. 

Everyone I met was interesting. Everyone has a story. With my tent the only thing on my site and an occasional use of my backpacker stove, I was most often defined as a minimalist. People were fascinated to know how I survive and how I even got a bicycle into my car! Always fun conversations!

Flowers from today:

Thanks again Mom! Love you!

Virtual Wine Tasting # 1 of 4… All Fun!

Virtually everything is happening virtually! With many of us unable to travel to our favorite California wineries, those businesses are bringing wine tasting experiences to us via Zoom. In the next blog posts, I will share 3 more virtual wine tasting details as each of the 4 wineries have a different approach to their virtual tasting.

Today, let’s talk about Papapietro-Perry Winery, located in Healdsburg, California, as they have had the most variety with their virtual tastings. One was a wine and cheese package, another wine and chocolate, and the ultimate fun one was wine, cheese and chocolate! With each package we bought, the food item(s) and 3 bottles of wine were included for the price along with a link to connect via Zoom on the designated virtual tasting day and time.

Before each virtual wine tasting, information was provided on how to prepare the cheeses we received, and what temperatures and when the wines should be opened. Papapietro-Perry Winery is known for its pinot noir wines and they never disappoint! One cheese package from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, located in Point Reyes Station, California had a fantastic variety of three cheeses. With another Papapietro-Perry wine tasting, a different 3 cheeses came from Marin French Cheese Company, located in Petaluma, California. Whether eating fresh brie, cranberry goat cheese, camembert, toma truffle, or bay blue cheese, all were absolutely delicious to this cheese-lover! Check out the cheese companies and also Papapietro-Perry Winery!

At each tasting time, the Papapietro-Perry wine club manager spoke, along with a cheese spokesperson for their company explaining the different cheeses, and a husband and wife team who made the Volo chocolate products. As you can see in the photo, the three chocolates were varied flavors. This team makes their chocolate in Windsor, California.

Each of our tastings with this company have been fun, informative, and allowed us a relaxing time to drink wine and enjoy the products. Recent surprise was seeing one of the California cheeses we had at a tasting available at our Arizona store! Yeah!

Websites of the companies mentioned in this blog: pointreyescheese.com, marinfrenchcheese.com, volochololate.com, and Papapietro-Perry.com Check them out; you will enjoy all!

Monday Memories: Death Valley National Park

I have visited Death Valley National Park in California a couple of times. Hiked the various trails and Badwater Basin salt flat, and another trip bicycled on the few roads within the park boundary. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes along with other points of interest in the park were worth seeing in this unique ecosystem. There are climate and geography extremes so plan your visit carefully.

There were flowers during my past visits, but my wish is to visit again and see a “super bloom”. I heard about the one in 2016 and saw many colorful wildflower photographs. Now in 2020, along with our pandemic time and no travel, there also was no super bloom. Maybe I can get there next year and witness a “super bloom” too!

It would be fun to see the Artist’s Palette again. With my new photography skills I know the importance of being there as the sun shines on the colors.

Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level, the lowest point in North America, and photographing the salt flat and salt crystals would be fun too. If the heat is to much I know I can go to the surrounding mountains.

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes had a dust devil moving across it while I was there. After my Sahara Desert visit in Morocco last year, I wish to spend some time back on this park’s dunes.

My future goal: visit Death Valley National Park again, and if there is a “super bloom” that will be wonderful!