Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Spent the day last Saturday driving to a small sleepy town called San Juan Batista, located not far from Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world. I've always seen the signs for the town as I buzz down or up California's main, sometimes coastal 101 highway, but I've never ever taken the time to drive over to explore. It was lovely.



At the mission were these magnificent and huge, ancient prickly pear trees of cactus - tempting, but look, don't touch!



We drove up to Fremont Park - up in the hills above San Juan Batista, and looking over the central valley saw a steep escarpment breaking the hills open. It was the actual San Andreas fault, where two continental plates are rubbing together as the both creep in different directions. Just like in Iceland at Thingviller!



Driving along the backroads my sharp-eyed sweetie spotted this young male tarantula in the road, out on the hunt for a lady spider. I got out to get a picture, and put the handsome arachnid on a stick, so as to show my sweetie a closer up view... he quickly rolled up his window in horror - what was he thinking? I wouldn't try to scare him with it!!


You might imagine, that this picture was taken over the Tennessee hills, or in Kentucky, or who knows what other state in the US. But it was taken in the foothills of the towering Mt Hamilton above San Jose. Who says California doesn't have seasons? The buckeyes and oak trees were all dressed in orange & yellow adornment for the fall.




The full moon climbed above the horizon and beautifully lit up the countryside as we finished our drive back home.






It was truly a lovely weekend.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is just a beautiful post, soup to nuts. It looks like a gorgeous weekend, indeed!

Mo'a said...

Wonderful photos. It sounds like you had a wonderful time with your Bear. That is one big spider. You are a true nature lover and I can see why you love Icealnd so much.
I also love the photo from Iceland. It's wonderful how many alpine flowers can be found here and there, in the sands of Iceland.

jillie said...

I was up in that area for the first time 4 years ago. We drove up the coast with the dogs for 10 days without an agenda. One of the BEST trips of my life!! I can't wait to do it again. We have new dogs now so we need to take a new trip!! Thanks for sharing ;o)

Doug said...

Terry, I took almost that exact trip a few months back. Almost entirely without plan or map, I just drove North up the coast and turned East at Castroville with a case of artichokes and drove through Gilroy and San Juan Bautista trying to get over the coastal range which was a mistake, not because I had made a wrong turn, but because when I finally succeeded I was in the infernal central valley by choice. What kind of idiot is in the infernal central valley in August by choice?

Keshi said...

***tarantula

eeeeeeeeee Im scared of em!

Other pics r great!
Keshi.

javajazz said...

omg, what stunning photos, Terry!
love them all, each so different...
Gilroy, i've heard of that one,
in reference to the garlic that grows there!
loved those mountains or rolling hills,
and the branches
with the moon in the back,
and i was quite surprised to see turning leaves,
so i guess you kind of have seasons there too!
even when i check the weather where brian is
i see the nights are getting very cool, sometimes
almost like our nights! what a surprise to me...
nice spider...my daughter would have a heart attack
if she saw that...doesnt even like our little pet
house spiders. you picked that up on a stick?
oh man, i think i'm gonna barf...

Bean said...

I just love these gorgeous pics, especially the moon (a favourite of mine) and the spider. We don't get those here! (um, tarantulas, we get plenty of other spiders ;)

Meg said...

WOW - what beautiful pictures ! I want to see those places too...must be my burning desire to roadtrip lately :) Maybe some day......

Take care and have a great rest of the week !

tsduff said...

Actonbell - Soup to nuts - haven't heard that one in a while :-) It was lovely - we delighted in finding huge acorns from the spreading orange oaks (nuts) and enjoyed a rich, hearty bean/lentil soup at the Basque restaurant we ate dinner at in San Juan Batista - so soup to nuts is right on :-)

Mo'a - I was wishing I had a quarter to throw down in order to put the spider to scale...it really WAS big - I'd say the leg span was a good 6 inches front to back. When I was a kid, we'd find those spiders crawling nonchalantly across the rural roads, minding their own business. I'm rather fond of them actually. Yep, picked him up on a stick and he even cooperated by staying happily on the other end instead of running up my arm. They walk nice and slow :-)

In Iceland we came across fields of those little white snow tufted flowers bobbing in the breese across the highland plains. They are so pretty.

Jillie - that is the best way (I'm beginning to think the ONLY way)to do a trip: without an agenda! That is the way we did Iceland - and we had a blast. That is also how we did San Juan Batista - LOL we were so laid back we almost didn't even leave the house on Saturday to go! Yes, you must go on another trip with these pups.

Doug - one who is daring to take a chance :-D Oh, and be careful who you label an idiot - you really weren't there on purpose. Ummm - love artichokes :-D

Keshi - I can understand. I'm scared of cockroaches. :-D

Lisa - you crack me up. The garlic fields were so fragrant when we drove through them - At the valley's floor there is rich farmland all around. (I happen to be mad about garlic). The entire day was filled with nothing but beautiful scenery - every bit of it was awesome. As for the seasons changing - last night it was in the mid 40's, with tonight promising to get lower. Sweater weather. I do love California, just have to say.

Bean - I too love the Moon. Those pictures didn't do it justice - it was stunning to see it rise that night. Awe, too bad you don't get the big tarantulas. They are rather scarce where I live now unless you drive into the hills. I grew up playing with them so I'm rather nostalgic about them.

Hello Meg - I am keeping my fingers crossed for your upcoming road trip - may it happen soon. There is no substitute for getting away from it all. Enjoy the virtual trip through these pictures for now. Hugs - have a wonderful weekend (is it almost here yet??)

Autumn Storm said...

Oh my - how amazing that you had the opportunity to take so many wonderful pictures in such a short amount of time (and distance) - what a stunningly beautiful corner of the world. One of these days, I'm gonna have to just grab a rucksack and head out into the world, I have so many places on my list now, it's the only way I shall ever get to see them all. But until then, I get to see them here. :-) Great post, Terry, so good to hear you had such a fabulous weekend.

Happy Thursday to you, love and hugs too, x

jillie said...

Good luck on Tue Terry and I'll be thinking of you!!!!

javajazz said...

you guys always do sexy road trips
i just love stuff like that...
look at all the incredible beauty
that surrounds you all the time!
and you so appreciate it...
its like a treasure chest of goodies
out there in the world.
yes you DO love california,
very much,
which is why you are meant
to stay there...
oops, did i say that?
sometimes these things
just slip out.
well,
its true....!

Doug said...

Terry, I'm afraid a man who drives through the central valley in August with a case of artichokes and a few flats of berries in the bed of his pickup has to be called an idiot. The berries were pie by Bakersfield and wine by the time I got home.

Gareth said...

Truely awesome pictures!!

Mile Stones said...

Wow, what an excursion! It looks like you went through about 8 time zones, rather than just a Californian day-trip!

Outdoorsy Girl said...

It totally sounds like it was a great weekend! I love the pics! I have never seen a tarantula in the wild before. I might have rolled up the window, too! lol! :)

Anonymous said...

The Mission at San Juan Bautista is pretty. The San Andreas goes right past it, too. There is an old rodeo ring or whatever they are called near the church. The fault runs right through it.

Sar said...

Ooooh great pictures! Well except the creepy spider *shudder*.

Be sure to swing by my 11-11 bash, my friend! :)

Tai said...

Oh my gosh!
What an amazing adventure!

I loved all the pictures, especially the spider...he's very handsome!

Miz BoheMia said...

Wow! Beautiful pictures my friend! Breathtaking to say the least but the tarantula? Get that away from meeeee!!!!!

Oliviah said...

That was fantabulous! Like getting to go on a trip while sitting in the comforts of my home. Today, I am adding links to my blog (yours included) once I get through visiting blogs, that is my goal. If I somehow forget, I hope someone gives me a little pop on the head or a good shaking. It is ridiculous how long it has been since I have updated my "favorite blogs" list. Happy weekend to you!!

Autumn Storm said...

Hey Terry, hope you're enjoying another fabulous weekend at this very moment. :-)
Miss you tons, talk to you soon, xoxo

Mama E said...

So then I go away and come back to get drenched again by the shower of your work. I scrolled down this batch and had a story for myself. I loved going from faults to the coffee comment. I cannot stop at the full moon and not want to rush back to the pumpkin and then there's the flying squirrel and then the almost overload of the green of Iceland. Yummy, MamaE

Ranger Tom said...

Looks alot like where I lived in Yavapai County, AZ...

Great photos!

Minka said...

Amazing eyes you ahve, to capture such beauty. And I just bit my tongue ´cause I used to make fun of teh Californian seasons, not so long back :)
Wonderful pictures!

Autumn Storm said...

Happy Monday, xoxo :-D

Sal said...

Love the spider. :) Reminds me of a giant tarantulla I saw in Arkansas in the middle of the road. I caught it in a container to show the kids at home. Then we let it go. :)

:P fuzzbox said...

The Garlic Capitol of the world must have smelled great.

Kyahgirl said...

gorgeous pictures!

Anonymous said...

滿..................................................