Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

We arrived here in Acton, yesterday afternoon. The drive over started with temps in the high 90's, but by the time we reached Acton, we were into the high 60's with a big wind blowing. The wind is supposed to die down by tomorrow, but today, it's plenty windy. The drive over was pretty boring...miles upon miles of the same desert scenery.

The kitties were happy for a door-open day. It's been either too hot or too cold to have the door opened, and they love just sitting and watching what's going on outside.

When we arrived yesterday, I ran my hands over Smitty's back the way I always do when I greet him, and came back with a big handful of fur. He started shedding practically overnight, and so I spent about half an hour brushing him. He soaked it in, and I came away with big huge piles of fur. We could probably have felted a full-sized cat with it.

From here on, we're visiting things I've been collecting, literally, for decades and so I've pulled items from our California folder for the remainder of the trip. One never knows what we might find...the Musical Road, for one thing. As I'm typing, my video of the road is slowly uploading to YouTube. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get it done until our next stop. The RV park internet is not secure, and so my Norton Antivirus software has me completely blocked from using the park internet. It's the first time that's ever happened. Probably just as well that it protects me from myself. Nevertheless, I can use the hotspot on my cell phone...if the signal was stronger...and it's pretty darned slow. All of that to say the video is very slow uploading to YouTube, and so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed while it does its thing. This makes typing very difficult, so please excuse any typos you see.

As for the Musical Road, the things I read about it said to drive it at about 35 mph, and so we did. They also said to keep to the right of the roadway, and it turned out to be in the left lane. Geez. So, we kind of missed about half of it the first time around. We did a U-turn and tried again. The second time we got it right. There was also some roadkill and this vexed us some. So...without further ado...

If you can't see the video, click right here. Turn up your volume and listen very closely, because it's just barely audible.

Fun, huh? Now I can pull that one sheet from my overstuffed California folder.

We were so excited about that, we went to the grocery store just to settle ourselves down. It was quiet last night and the kitties are settling in, and so everyone is sleeping better. When we woke up, this was the view from our window.

We tried to visit a quilt shop this morning. Their website is active, but the store is permanently closed.

Fortunately, it was on our way, and so we only wasted a few minutes here. The sign was still above the door, but there was a lockbox on the door handle. The door was unlocked. When I opened it...nothing but an empty shell inside. Bummer. Oh well. Better luck next time. Just another reminder to call ahead.

From there, we made our way to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. I'd done some reading about this ahead of time. Almost to a person, commenters advised that we bring our wind breakers. Wow! The wind was something. I'll say more about that in a minute.

When I saw this sign, I realized I'd been remiss all this time in not telling you the many ways we could die on this trip. 

Please mind where you set your feet. We walked a few yards up the trail from there and the next thing we saw was this:

Now, I don't know about you, but I'm very curious about the story of this left-behind item. 

Most of the wildflowers and a lot of the California poppies were already bloomed out, but there were still plenty of poppies left to make it a beautiful hike. These are so pretty and delicate. This is California's state flower, and I've always loved them.

It might not be obvious from this next image, but they lined the trail on both sides.

Surely the landscape was prettier earlier in the season. I've seen pictures where these hillsides are solid orange. Nevertheless, there were enough to give us a sense of what it might look like earlier in the season, and it made for a thoroughly enjoyable, if short, hike. 

We saw lots of lizards. They are smaller than their Nevada cousins, but they are almost quicker than your eye can see.

Pleased to meet you, sir.

As I said, most of the wildflowers were gone, but there were a few...these tiny ones, for example. The flowers are barely larger than the head of a pin.

There was one clump of these blooming at the top of the hill.

The wind was so strong in the parking lot that we had to hold onto our doors while getting out of the truck to avoid having the wind spring them backward and break the hinge. (Yes, this happened to us once when we were visiting Crater Lake.) Because we've encountered high winds in so many places, Mike invested in an anemometer that he keeps in his truck. This was the wind speed at the parking lot.

It was greatest at the top of the hill, however, and so we measured it there.

Check it out. We watched the wind speed hit over 38 mph from here.

Here is a map of the park. If one were to walk the whole thing, one could walk a little over 5 miles. The wind was not unpleasant, but it did limit the amount of time we want to spend there, and so we walked just the little area I have outlined in green...twice, because we went back to the truck for the anemometer.

I'm really hoping you can read this next sign because it tells the origin of this place. Remember that you can always make an image larger by clicking on it.

Basically, an artist named Jane Pinheiro loved painting the poppies, and she got an idea to turn this into a park. Eventually University of California, Davis, got interested and after a period of time, negotiation, and persuasion, Dorothy Bolt approved the effort and embarked on a quest to purchase the land. She started a fundraising effort known as "Pennies for Poppies." Mike remembers collecting pennies for poppies when he was a boy. Anyone who contributed was given a paper poppy to wear on their lapel. The park was dedicated in 1976.

The only other thing I've been doing is continuing to work on the latest Hocuspocusville block. This morning I moved my hoop for the first time.

Now it's hooped up and ready to go again. I have a few days left to work on it, and then I'll be switching off to my next bag lady, Beulah.

From here, we'll be moving onto a place called Paicines, California, which is up close to the Monterey Peninsula. From there we can see Pinnacles National Park (our newest national park), Monterey (there is an award-winning quilt shop there), and several lighthouses. We have three nights there, and so there will be plenty of time to take in the area.

This post has taken me most of the afternoon and a good part of the evening to write and publish. I've had major connectivity issues here. I have no idea what the next stop will hold, and so if you don't hear from me for a few days, just know that my patience was used up with this post, and I'll be back soon.

19 comments from clever and witty friends:

Brown Family said...

I had to look up the musical roads! There is another one in New Mexico that plays America the Beautiful. They are also Denmark, Japan, South Korea, the United States of America, China, San Marino, Taiwan[1], and Ukraine. There is one video of a young man that took the California one at 100 miles an hour and you could really hear the William Tell Overture!

The anemometer looks like a cool toy! THe Poppies age beautiful

Dorothy Finley said...

The yellow/gold California poppy will also grow in the PNW---pretty invasive so you have to be brutal sometimes with it. But who doesn't love the color---so happy

Quiltdivajulie said...

Thanks for persevering through the connectivity issues to share a great post with us. DH would like the wind meter!

Debbie said...

Loved your musical drive. The poppy field are great to see and know the history. glad you did not blow away on the hike1

Dana Gaffney said...

Wind breakers and boots. I love the rattlesnake sign...they won't hurt you unless you corner them, frighten them, startle them, they woke up grumpy, just had an argument with the spouse or it's daylight, nighttime or windy. Really they're cute and cuddly and just misunderstood.
Love the poppies and the bra which made my mind spin out of control with so many possibilities.

Frog Quilter said...

Love reading your adventures. This is something I had hoped hubs and I would do but his health is declining... COPD, ASMA, and emphysema. He wants to sell our camper. I am retiring in August so .....I guess I'll do my own adventures.

piecefulwendy said...

How odd about Bolts in the Bathtub. Their Facebook page has a calendar up for May, so the closing of the store must be fairly recent. No indication of that on their social media though. I've heard about the store through another blogger, though I can't recall who. The rattlesnake sign would give me pause. The bra had me laughing out loud, wondering what in the world? Strong wind? Just too hot? At any rate, I hope it was something pleasurable for the individual (haha).

Sally Trude said...

I went to Ebay to bid on Smitty's furball but I couldn't find the listing. Please advise.


Senior Researcher for CCI (Cat Cloning Initiative)

Shari said...

I might leave more than my bra if I saw a rattle snake. Still enjoying your trip with you!

quiltzyx said...

I was eating an M&M in your honor when I got to Molly's comment & almost spit it out with laughing!!!

My friend Gilda & I went up to the Poppy Reserve many years ago. What a day! About a 3 hour drive as I recall, from here to there. It was warm & windy, but it was during the height of the bloom and just gorgeous. I took at least one roll of film (I know you remember that stuff, film, from the dinosaur age) of the Poppies and Lupine. Fabulous! But then we had that 3+ hour drive home and after spending an hour or so in the wind, we were whipped when we made it home. I did get a lot of wonderful shots, and my sister Nancy gave me 2 paintings she made from my photos. I do remember, as we approached the Reserve that we kept seeing huge orange spots on the hills & wondered what it the heck it was caused by - Poppies!!

WoolenSails said...

The road is so fun, will have to see if there are any in our areas.
Love the area you are in and what beautiful trails and views.
I especially love how the yellow flowers are lining the trail.


Betty said...

Interesting stuff at the Poppy Reserve, things that make you go hmm! If you like fishy stuff, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium while you're in that neighborhood. Another place we enjoyed was Point Lobos, beautiful views of the Pacific and trails for hiking. Of course you probably have those in your folder.

Rosemary Rivas said...

If you get into the area near Monterey, there's a great quilt shop in Pacific Grove. My sister and I went there on a Shop Hop. We're going on another one next weekend on the Central Coast. We've been to some of the quilt shops already as we stopped on the way to San Diego last fall when her son got married. Here's the info about the one in Pacific Grove : http://www.backporchfabrics.com
Here's the flyer for the Shop Hop:
We've been to Betty's Quilts-a huge store, and several others in Paso Robles. There are also nice Quilt Shops in San Juan Bautista, and a small one in Morgan Hill. There are several around the SanJose area as well.


crazy quilter said...

I love th Music road! What a cool idea! I see one of Smitty's admirers is wanting his fur ball. Please help Miss Molly out! Keep on posting these great pictures! Love your travels.

Lyndsey said...

I'd heard of the musical road from 'Top Gear' a UK TV programmes about cars but your version was better. I think they drove over it too fast. Shame about the quilt shop but I'm sure you'll find an open one soon.

Motherdragon's Musings said...

Those kitties, look loke they are think, " what is going on outside?" Such purr-fect cuteness.

Kate said...

Very fun video! I love the music. The poppies are pretty too. Hope you find better Internet soon.

Lee said...

I've not heard anything of Bolts in the Bathtub closing; the address I show though is different from what you posted. I show 723 W Lancaster Blvd, Lancaster, CA 93534 with same phone number.

liniecat said...

What a great road!!!
I adore those poppies and to think they are wild flowers, such exquisite colour and paper fine petals. I bought pkt seeds to be sure Id have them in every one of my gardens over the years.