It’s Spring and Butterflies and Flowers are here

This isn’t a travel post but it’s so beautiful right now. Butterflies have come to our yard on their annual migration and I had to share a few photos with you all. They seem to love my pink Manzanita shrubs and the Painted Lady and Monarch butterflies have been visiting them for days.

Spring is my favorite season, everything is coming back to life after a long winter nap. Grasses are greening, rivers and streams are flowing, flowers are blooming and the birds and butterflies are returning.

Here on the central coast of California we often say we live in paradise. We are fortunate to live here and we love it.

Monarch on Manzanita

Painted Lady butterfly on Manzanita



Shooting Stars

Chocolate Lily

All the rain we’ve had this year has broken the drought for now and the flowers are beginning to bloom. They say we’re going to have what they call a super-bloom this year. I’ve dragged out all my cameras and am taking pictures. Today I plan to go on a wildflower hunt and I’ll post what I find. Wish me luck!

It’s just a week or 2 early for the big swaths of wildflowers but there are still lots.

I’ll share the ones I think are the best. I hope you enjoy them.


California poppies

Tidy tips

Baby Blue-eyes

We’re leaving for Wales at the end of next month. I’ll post again then.

Home again, home again

We decided to make a quick trip to the Farmer’s Market for some fresh produce and poultry sausages. If you go to the La Brea section of Los Angeles you must visit the Farmer’s Market. It is the original Farmer’s Market and has been there since 1934. It began as a dairy farm in the 1800s and then became an oil field in the early 1900s before becoming a farmer’s market.

After our trip to the Farmer’s Market we headed to Totally Wine in Woodland Hills to check out their beer selection.

We had an interesting experience when we got there.

We had pulled into the parking lot and were just pulling up to the kiosk getting ready to punch the button to get our ticket and lift the barrier when a guy on the other/exit side in a delivery truck got out of his truck, reached around onto our side, hit our button and took our ticket. That meant we were unable to get a ticket for parking because our barrier came up when he did that and wouldn’t come down until we went through. As we were beginning to collect impatient people behind us we drove through.

After we finished our shopping at Totally Wine, we headed to the exit of the parking lot determined we were not going to pay the $20 lost ticket fee since we had not lost our ticket, it had been stolen. As it turned out we just had to accept a scolding for not buzzing the parking lot attendant right when it happened and we were allowed to leave.

So, if a person ever reaches around and takes your parking ticket don’t wait, hail the parking lot attendant right away.

Our next trip will be in April/May to Wales for 2 weeks! See you then!

Today we visited the La Brea Tar Pits and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art!

Good morning Los Angeles! This morning’s sunrise was beautiful, glad I managed to get up in time to see it!

No real plans for today maybe we’ll try to get into “Wheel of Fortune”, “Price is Right” or “Jeopardy”! Worth a shot right? We’re right next to the La Brea Tar Pits, maybe we should go there? I love my home town!

Guess what, my back is finally feeling better! That makes this one of the best days ever!

Last night we walked down to “Little Next Door” on 3rd Street. It’s a French restaurant and is an extension of “The Little Door”. We each had a pasta dish that was very good. We finished off our dinner with Macarons, they were wonderful! By the way, Macarons are not Macaroons. Macaroons are coconut cookies.

I love that both of the places we’ve had dinner offered small sweets in addition to the regular desserts on the menu. Night before last we had these little chocolate covered bite-sized flourless chocolate cakes, they were delicious too and just the right amount after dinner.

Well we just found out that none of the game shows are taping today so it’s off to see the La Brea Tar Pits!

The La Brea Tar Pits were incredible, did you know they’ve found whole Mastodons and Mammoths in the tar, which is actually asphalt since tar isn’t naturally occurring. They weren’t of course all in one piece but all the pieces were there and they put them together. They also found Saber-toothed cats (Saber-toothed Cats were named the state fossil of California in 1973), how cool is that!

My heart broke thinking about how horrible it was for those animals trapped in the asphalt! They have a demonstration area where you can try to pull a plunger out of the asphalt. My husband who is a pretty big guy couldn’t pull the plunger out of some of the asphalt demos and it took all of his strength to pull it out of others. These poor animals got stuck then struggled which makes it worse then they fell on their sides and were incapacitated. At that point they began to draw predators who grabbed pieces off of them until they themselves fell in and were trapped.

We saw the skeletons of extinct Camelops found in Rancho La Brea who are as large as Camels but more closely related to Llamas.

They are still excavating and finding new skeletons.

It was an amazing experience and I highly recommend it for everyone especially for children, they absolutely love it!

Next we visited the Los Angeles Museum of Art, wow what a place!!!

We saw Picasso’s, Monet’s, Modigliani’s, it was awe inspiring and wonderful!

It’s so large that we spent at least 3.5 hours and barely scratched the surface. We weren’t able to see one entire building. We saw 3 floors of art in one building and were completely overwhelmed.

We plan to go back at some point in the future.

I took a lot of photos but I’ll only post a few here.

This is a Vanuatu Figurative Slot Drum.

This is a Hand Drum from Papua New Guinea c.1850. It is wood, fiber, shell and cassowary feathers.

Jeffrey Kouns sculpture.

Venus Disarming Cupid c.1570 Venus disarming Cupid and Workshop of Orazio Fontana c.1510-157? Wine Cistern’s. Both from Italy.

Decent from the cross c.1515, Circle of Daniel March 1477-1540 Germany

Piéta c.1725 Spain

Note the turtle feet at the table base.

There was so much information about the above table that I decided to post the photo of its placard that I took.

Claude Monet 1840–1926, France. Nymphaea, c.1897–98

Roger and Angelica Borne by the Hippogriff c.1840–46 by Antoine-Louis Barye

Stag Brought Down by Scottish Hounds c.1833, Antoine-Louis Barye 1796–1875 France

Satan c.1836 by Jean-Jacques Feuchére

Beautiful morning in Los Angeles

Last night we could see the sunset from our room and this morning on the other side was the sunrise. It just keeps getting better and my neck/back feel a little better this morning too!

As soon as we get showered and dressed we will be going to eat breakfast at a place called Swingers!

Breakfast was great and there were choices for everyone. They serve all organic foods and there are breakfast choices for Vegans, Vegetarians, those who prefer to not eat red meat and those who want red meat. The service is excellent too!

Now we’ll head on over to the Petersen Automotive Museum and spend most of the day wandering around there enjoying all the cars. We have tickets for the vault tour (no photos allowed) at 1:30p which we are really looking forward to. I will be sure and take lots of pictures in the rest of the museum!

The Petersen is overwhelming and wonderful! So many one-of-a-kind cars as well as cars you won’t see anywhere else. I took over 300 photos so it will take a little while to go through them and find the ones that are worth posting. I did manage to get a fairly good shot of the Petersen Automotive Museum itself, it was a $95,000,000 renovation so it’s worth seeing. Can you believe I was able to get a shot with no traffic passing in front?

Below is one of the beautiful motorcycles in the museum with it’s information placard below it.

The motorcycle exhibit was incredible, virtually all were custom one-of-a-kind works.

One of my favorite cars at the show was this 1953 Dodge Storm Z-250 by Bertone and one-of-a-kind.

Here we are in an old Ford reproduction.

The first practical car built by Karl Benz 1886

Detroit Electric Model 61 Brougham 1915 could go 80 miles on a single charge

Heading to Los Angeles in spite of my back

My back went out a couple of months ago and I was afraid we would have to scrap our trip to the Petersen Automotive Museum. Fortunately it has subsided enough that I think it will be fine besides, I want to go.

Right now we’re sitting at the table having breakfast. We don’t have to leave anytime soon since we live only about 3 hours from Los Angeles.

Finally on the road and traffic is light so far. I’m sure that will change as we get closer to Los Angeles.
We’re staying at a place called Beverly Laurel Motor Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. I’ll let you know how that works out as soon as I know. It got pretty good reviews on TripAdvisor.

Stopped at Firestone in Buellton for lunch. It’s a favorite!

After lunch and a few tasters of beer (mostly for me, the non-driver) we’re on the road again.

Waze took us around most of the traffic so we managed to get here with a minimum of stress.

The Beverly Laurel Motor Hotel is pretty darned nice and the price was super reasonable for Los Angeles. Less than $600 for 3 nights including taxes and fees. Plus our room has a separate living room.

The sunset is just out our window!

Went to dinner at a great Italian place in the Original Farmer’s Market section of La Brea called Maggiano’s. Really good food, wine and wonderful service! We both had the Grilled Salmon Salad which was absolutely delicious.

Tomorrow we will make our way to the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Last Day in Fuquay and it’s another gorgeous day

Another wonderful breakfast made by Patty. She’s such an awesome person and a great cook.

We took another walk around the area, this time heading out through the Fuquay-Varina Mineral Springs Park. Really pretty little park and there are roadways with little traffic and connecting dirt roads to extend your walk.

We headed on over to Chris’s folks house at around 11:30 where we visited until about 2:00 when I started getting anxious to eat lunch.

We had lunch at a place called Anna’s Pizzeria in Fuquay-Varina. They serve excellent soups and panini, we’ve never tried their pizza but I’m sure it’s delicious.

We shared a Chicken Panini and went back over to the folks house to chat until dinner.

Tomorrow is an early day as we are heading back to San Jose on Southwest and then driving home from there.

We will be going to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles in December just before Christmas. That is the next time I will post.

Thank you for reading.

Beautiful Day in Fuquay-Varina

Got up this morning to beautiful blue skies, cooler temps and low humidity. After one of Patty’s wonderful breakfasts Chris and I set off on a short walk around the neighborhood.

We saw a few limbs down but for the most part people had already cleaned up the worst of it.

We saw some great Halloween decorations and I took a photo of one of the porches that I particularly liked.

On the way back we took a little turn through town and I got a photo of a mural and of the Fainting Goat Brewery sign that happens to be right across the street from our B&B.

Had dinner at a nice little place called Thai Lotus in Cary. They have very good food, wine and beer. The portions are large enough to split and the prices are reasonable.

Good Morning Fuquay! It’s Raining

Michael hasn’t made it’s presence known other than lots of rain. They’re predicting high winds but we are far enough away that it shouldn’t be too much of an issue…I hope.

It’s pouring rain right now and the wind is blowing pretty hard.

Spending the day sitting in Chris’s folks living room staying dry and catching up on what’s been happening in their lives.

Since the sheriff had advised that no one go out if it wasn’t absolutely necessary our plans to go out for dinner were skuttled. Chris’s mom made a quick dinner of spaghetti between numerous short power outages, making sure that we got on our way before dark.

As it turned out the weather had pretty much broken up by the time we left and we had an easy time driving back to our B&B.

Once we arrived we took a walk down to The Mason Jar for our nightly beer.

Hey, our B&B has a brand new front gate!

The inscription says:

The angel, Nature, doffs her cloak of night to stand naked, transparent, that you may see her beauty by the light.

Flight to Raleigh and on to Fuquay-Varina

Sitting in the San Jose airport waiting to board our Southwest flight to Raleigh.

We had a good breakfast at San Jose Joe’s with plenty of coffee. Bought a sandwich to split for lunch at Brioche Dorée. We should be all set.

Other than the part about getting up in the middle of the night, I love taking an early flight, the airport is almost empty.

We had an almost nonstop flight to Raleigh as our only stop was in Denver and we didn’t leave the plane.

It was along day though so I’m really happy to be here.

We are staying at the Fuquay Mineral Springs Inn where we always stay when we come to visit family here. John Byrne came out to welcome us when we got here and even showed us the back way path to the Mason Jar! How great was that!

I was surprised at how beautiful the gardens are, even though it’s October.

I would say that “hurricane season” is probably not the choice time to visit North Carolina as it’s very warm and mostly raining. I’m certain the wind will be a factor soon as well. It’s still a beautiful state.

We walked from out B&B to the Mason Jar which is our favorite neighborhood pub to have good pub food and some good beer or wine. Tonight I was in the mood for wine but often I choose one of the beers on tap.

Chris had to strawberry spinach salad with chicken and I had the black bean burger with cheddar. Both were darned good.

Now we’re sitting in our room feeling very relaxed.

Off we go to Fuquay-Varina Again

On our way for another visit to Fuquay-Varina, North Caroline where we have family.

We just arrived at our “home for the night” before we take a Southwest flight leaving at 6:30 in the morning.

The only place I could get a room in San Jose for a manageable price near the airport when I was planning this trip was at the Extended-Stay America on North 1st Street in San Jose. What a dive!

Very nice and helpful people working here but our. room is very dirty; think possible pubic hairs and some kind of scum on the phone, and something gritty on the floor which has no carpet, (that may be a good thing).

Everything looks and feels decrepit and uncared for. At least it was only $200 bucks a night, Yikes! It is close to the airport though and we can watch the light rail from the bed.

If you are coming to San Jose I can’t recommend this place. In case you’re wondering; yes I’ve stayed in worse places but not for $200.

I must give credit where credit is due though. As I said earlier the people working here are very nice. I called down because we are leaving at a little before 5:00 in the morning and there was no way to make coffee in the room. The young woman at the front desk not only sent up coffee making paraphernalia, she also remembered how early we were leaving and sent up some little packaged muffins. That was very thoughtful.

Just returned from dinner at Vito’s NY Trattoria. It’s pretty good and very close. We are now trying to wind down enough to go to sleep so we can wake up refreshed and ready for the day at 4:00 AM. Wish us luck!