Wednesday, November 19, 2008

tales from the trail...

We are homeward bound…after leaving our desert retreat yesterday before lunch. We had heard of the devastating fires in Los Angeles for the past few days…smelled the smoke in the air each evening. As we passed through LA and drove north, we were reminded again of the massive fires that raged nearby.

We passed fire crews along the interstate highway...

…and noticed the heavy smoke that hung in the air as far as the eye could see. Three separate fires…fueled by the Santa Anna winds…had just set the record as the worst in the history of this city. Our hearts go out to the thousands who have lost their homes…and all the others whose lives have been touched by this disaster.

Just north of Los Angeles, we opt to take the more scenic route of highway 99 for a spell…rather than return on the more popular I-5. We are so glad we did…we spent the afternoon cruising through farming country. After whizzing by vineyards for some time…we decided to take a little detour and see what exactly was involved in harvesting California grapes.

Out at the field, they were most friendly…

...and welcomed our visit. For the most part…we just snooped, since we would have needed an interpreter to communicate.

The grapes were hand cut…transported to the end of the rows…and packed into bags at the end of each row.

From there they were immediately loaded into a waiting refrigerated semi-truck…soon to be transported as California Premium Table Grapes to a market near you. We talked to the boss as we were leaving…he spoke our language and offered us a box of grapes for the road. We declined…since we were not sure we would be allowed to bring grapes across the border. Well then…he insisted on giving us a few for the road...a whole lap full of grapes!

These my be among the best grapes I have ever eaten…but I’m thinking we may have a problem making them all disappear before we reach the Canadian border!

A neighboring field is harvesting grapes for wine… the grapes lie thick beneath the vines, among the melons that were grown as a secondary crop between the rows. The leaves are turning red…as the harvest comes to an end.

We so enjoyed our impromptu grape tour! Here's my suggestion...when life seems to be whizzing by, get off the freeway.

We’re back on the road today, and tomorrow...HOME! I look forward to visiting you then!


  1. Your traveling in CA sure looks familar Judy. Glad you were able to purchase some of our wonderful grapes, aren't they good?

    Watching the news and seeing the devastation, so many homes burned to the ground, just breaks my heart. Over 800 homes now, was the latest this morning. Pray, Pray, Pray

    Safe travels back home--

  2. Oh that's a wonderful quote...When life seems to be whizzing by, get off the freeway!

    I imagine the border guards like grapes. ;>

    Haven't been following the devastation in CA other than in the paper. Your report brought it closer. Thank you for that.

    Can't wait for you to get home!

  3. I keep telling maelyn you guys are coming home tomorrow! I think she's quite excited. (I'm a little disappointed I won't get any of those grapes...)

  4. Wonderful!!! My mouth is watering!!!
    Dr M

  5. Those grapes are so beautiful! I hope you had the most relaxing, memorable trip ever. I, too, am so upset about the fires. May the Lord be with them!

  6. Judy, it appears that you had a wonderful side trip. Too bad you can't bring those grapes across the border and take the appropriate border crossing to pass a certain farm. . . and drop off the extra grapes. . .
    Oh, just have a wonderful trip home and we look forward to seeing you. . .here again.

  7. Fabulous photos that really tell a story! The farm workers look like they are working hard yet they look happy --I guess it is nice to be among all those beautful grapes.

    The fires were terrible -- such a tragedy for so many.


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson