California: Your First Thought?

California Means Something Different to Each of Us

What is your first thought when someone mentions California to you or when you picture it in your mind?

Do you think of beaches or surfers? I see many surfers in my beach visits. I took the photo on the “I’d rather be surfing” mug below at Rincon Beach in Ventura. 

 

Are sports teams the first thing you think of? Los Angeles alone hosts many popular teams. I was at UCLA when John Wooden was coaching the basketball team and he eventually led it to ten NCAA national championships. Yet he stressed character as well as skills as he built his teams. 

 The Bruin 100: The Greatest Games in the History of UCLA Basketball

 

 

I guess you can tell where I went to college, even if I hadn’t told you above.  Since there are more famous teams people follow from California than I can feature here, I have stuck to three in Los Angeles. If you click through, I’m sure you’ll find gear and clothing to support y0ur own favorite team.

 NCAA UCLA Bruins Women’s Versailles Cap, Navy, Adjustable NCAA UCLA Bruins Vintage Sheer Short Sleeve Tee, Medium, Heather Royal NBA Los Angeles Lakers Men’s Pre-Game Graphic Climacool Ultimate Short Sleeve Tee, Large, Gold Usc – Trojans Sc design on Black iPhone 6 Plus / 6s Plus Guardian Case

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Do you think first of wine? California is known for its wines. Wine tasters are beginning to recognize Paso Robles wines as some of the finest.  I live in the middle of Paso Robles wine country. I live next door to the Croad Vineyards, tasting room, and inn, even though our addresses are on different streets. I watched the construction of each Croad building just by looking across my back fence. I have taken pictures of them in different stages of construction. There is a magnificent view of at least three other winery vineyards from the Croad tasting room. We will post more about Croad in the future. It is only one tasting room in Paso Robles with a splendid view of the surrounding area. 

California: Your First Thought?
Winter View of Croad Tasting Room and Vineyard, © B. Radisavljevic

Another of my favorite wineries is Peachy Canyon Winery. I love its picnic area with a gazebo surrounded by huge oak trees. It’s a very peaceful place. 

California: Your First Thought?
Peachy Canyon Picnic Area and Gazebo, © B. Radisavljevic

 

California: Your First Thought?
Jason on Bridge at Big Sur, © B. Radisavljevic

When you think of California does a specific place some to mind like Disneyland, Hollywood, Big Sur, Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, or Sea World in San Diego? If you’ve ever been to California or lived there, you may have a favorite place you associate with special memories. Here are a couple of mine. The first, to the left, is Big Sur, which my son and I visited together on a mother/son home school related trip in 1990. When Jason died less than a year later in an accident, I was happy I had the memories of that time together.

California: Your First Thought?
Panning for Gold in Sacramento River, © B. Radisavljevic

During that trip, Jason and I also visited the Carmel Mission, Point Lobos, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Clear Lake, friends along the way, and Sacramento to see the Capitol and the Blue Diamond Almond Factory. We also visited Old Town and its Railroad Museum. Jason bought a gold pan and panned for gold in the Sacramento River behind the Sandman Motel where we were saying. You can see how happy he is to be doing something he’d wanted to do ever since he met a friend of my husband’s who was a gold prospector.

Perhaps the mention of California makes you think of the California Missions. I live within half an hour of the San Miguel Mission to the north and the San Luis Obispo Mission to the south. I have visited most of the missions south of Carmel. My favorite is the San Diego Mission. This is one of my shots of Mission San Luis Obispo.

California: Your First Thought?
Mission San Luis Obispo, © B. Radisavljevic

 

When you think of California do you picture some of California’s natural treasures such as the redwoods, Mt. Shasta, Point Lobos, Yosemite or Death Valley? We’ve seen Mt. Shasta many times on the way to Seattle and back, and Point Lobos in Monterey County has always been one of my favorite Natural Reserves.  I was happy to have a chance to show Pt. Lobos to Jason (in the middle in the white shirt) during our mother/son trip. He loved nature. Pt. Lobos is in Monterey County, just north of Big Sur. 

California: Your First Thought?
Jason Climbing Rocks at Pt. Lobos, © B. Radisavljevic

My husband and I have not yet made it to Yosemite, but Jason did. The parents of a close friend of his invited him to come along on their camping trip, and he had a wonderful time. It was one of the last trips he ever took, just three months before he died. Our friends took this photo in 1991, and I scanned it.

California: Your First Thought?
Jason in Kayak at Yosemite, © B. Radisavljevic

 

Does the thought of California bring to mind issues and politics? Drought? Left Coast? Climate? Rush hour on the freeway? Jerry Brown or Nancy Pelosi? Jammed freeways during rush hour used to be a part of my daily commute when I had to use the freeways in Los Angeles regularly. I’m glad I’m out of that now. Here in San Luis  Obispo County the freeways don’t jam unless there is an accident or road construction. Then delays are usually minimal.

 

 Poster: Why I Left LA

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The drought is also very real to Californians. They tell us when we can water our lawns and for how long. People are xeriscaping their yards or letting their lawns die. Here is how some of my neighbors have replaced their lawns. I’m saving my money to convert my lawn. Until I do, it looks brown in the middle and green around the edges near the flowers, where I do water twice a week as allowed. That’s part of California life now in most Southern and Central California cities. 

Our lakes and rivers in Southern and Central California are now dry most if not all of the year. For the photos of the decline of Atascadero Lake, check out The State of Atascadero Lake Breaks My Heart. This is how the Salinas River looks most of the year when seen in Paso Robles. I keep a photo journal of it year round, since it’s a short walk from my home. This was taken in August 2014,  but it looks the same now. I haven’t been able to get there lately because my knee is untrustworthy when I walk.

California: Your First Thought?
Dry Salinas Riverbed in Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic

 

 

One of the above topics or places is probably someone’s first thought of California. What’s yours?

I always wonder what those who don’t live here think of when they think about California. I hope you will share what you think of when you get to the comment box below.

When I think of California, My First Thought is “Home”

California has been my home for 73 years. At different times in my life I’ve called different California cities home. I’ve lived in Long Beach, Bellflower, Los Angeles, Culver City, Newbury Park (part of Thousand Oaks),  Templeton and now finally in Paso Robles. Templeton and Paso Robles are both in North San Luis Obispo County. The life style is much more relaxed here than it was in Los Angeles County, and the traffic is not as stressful. That’s one reason I rarely go south of Westlake now unless I have to.

Although the North County has the cities of Paso Robles and Atascadero it is mostly rural. Our small rural towns are Templeton and San Miguel. Our cities differ from those in Southern California because in Atascadero or Paso Robles you are always within five or ten minutes of a rural area, and sometimes you can walk to one from the commercial areas. Here are a couple of examples: The Middle of Nowhere is Right in the Heart of Somewhere in Paso Robles and Shopping Centers are a Short Walk from Wilderness or the Farms.

This photo was taken in downtown Templeton. This is the historic commercial area of Templeton that served early settlers and the agricultural community. There are storefronts, lining Main Street. This is typical of what you will see between the stores and the railroad tracks behind the stores on the east side of the street. The tracks run beside the Salinas River, which is on the other side of them.

California: Your First Thought?
Trees Behind Storefronts in Templeton, © B. Radisavljevic

 

Are you familiar with any of the places above? If so, please share you thoughts about them in a comment below. What do you first picture when you think of California? What California places would you like to see photos of? Please share this post with others you think might enjoy it or want to comment on it. Sharing buttons are below. This last photo, taken close to where the above photo was taken, is designed for Pinterest sharing. 

California: Your First Thought?

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “California: Your First Thought?

  • July 5, 2016 at 9:58 pm
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    I love California… it is my home state. So much comes to mind when I think about it. Mostly I think about how much I want to go back to the state and travel through it again.

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    • July 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm
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      I’ve always wanted to get to Happy Camp to see where you lived. I’d hoped to make it when you were still there. There is still so much to see in this state I’ve not yet seen.

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  • July 5, 2016 at 11:28 pm
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    I was born in Artesia and raised in Bellflower; I have never lived anywhere other than California, so my first thought upon hearing the word is “home.” After I graduated from college and began my career, I moved to Santa Ana. Following our marriage, we lived in Fullerton, Santa Ana, and finally North Tustin, where we have remained for 46 years! I have visited over 40 of the 50 states, plus D.C., American Samoa, and Puerto Rico, as well as several other countries including Mexico, Canada, and Tahiti, and have found those places beautiful and interesting, but I have no desire to live anywhere other than California. It’s not perfect, but neither is anywhere else, and it is definitely HOME!

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    • July 6, 2016 at 6:54 am
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      Carol, I didn’t realize you lived so close to my brother now. When we lived in Bellflower, the atmosphere there was much different. That could also be said of most of California back then.I remember your dad was our mailman and people still had walking mailmen carrying the mail. People knew and talked to those who delivered mail.

      I,too, love visiting other states and countries when the opportunities present themselves, but it would be hard to consider another state home. Many friends are moving to Texas, and I have cousins there, but I don’t think it would feel like home to me. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
  • July 6, 2016 at 3:55 am
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    I have family in San Diego and Los Angeles. I would move to California in a heartbeat if it wasn’t so expensive! As you posted here, there are so many great things about California. 🙂

    (PS – I thought Florida was called the “Sunshine State”.)

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    • July 6, 2016 at 7:28 am
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      You’re right on all points. Florida is the official Sunshine State. I was probably getting myself confused with our nickname, Sunny California (except when it isn’t.) We are the Golden State. I had probably better change it. Thanks for pointing this out. We are an expensive state — especially near the coast and in the big cities. We are also taxed to death. We may soon be the bankrupt state.

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  • July 9, 2016 at 8:26 pm
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    So many ways to answer your questions! As a child, I visited California with my family for the first time. Coming from the rainy northwest, we reveled in the sunshine and warmth, thrilled to camping on Mt. Shasta and under the big rocks in Yosemite, and of course, delighted in Disneyland, then still fairly new. For a long time, California meant Yosemite, sun and Disneyland. As a teenager, I wanted to go back, and realized that dream in my early twenties. By then, The Big One was due any day, camping here was atrociously crowded, the smog was so bad most days we couldn’t see across the street from my office building, and my lungs suffered terribly. After two years, I quit my job, piled all my possessions in my car, and drove across three states to home, blue skies and tall mountains I could see in the distance. For decades after, California meant Point Lobos in Monterey, one of the most beautiful places on Earth, earthquakes and smog.

    When our oldest daughter relocated here, we decided to give California another try. After all, thanks to the heavily-opposed emissions regulations of the 70s, smog barely existed along the coastal cities I saw when we visited. A big one had just happened (Loma Prieta), and California now meant ocean, fresh air, political freedom, progressive thought, and close proximity to our children. I still love Point Lobos, though we don’t get down to Monterey much, and delighted in San Luis Obispo when we visited there. San Francisco has its ups and downs, and I don’t just mean the hills, but California still means fresh air along the coast, a certain amount of political freedom and progressive thought, though that seems to be changing as more and more wealth is concentrated in the world’s sixth largest economy, and close proximity to my children and now grandchildren. All in all, a pretty fair place to be.

    I am deeply sorry for the loss of your son Jason. What a beautiful young man! I pray that you find comfort in every single moment of every single day.

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    • July 10, 2016 at 5:07 am
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      Kathryn, thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I can only imagine actually camping on Mt. Shasta. I have admired it from I-5. Pt. Lobos is one of my favorite places, and it gave me great joy to be able to share it with Jason who also loved it. Did you also visit Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove? That’s another favorite place of mine. I first saw San Francisco when I was in elementary school. I belonged to a private girls’ band. The leader and his wife took over thirty of us to San Francisco for a week for a competition. We practiced every day in some lovely place and we got to see the sights with the leader and his wife, as well. That’s a story in itself. Maybe someday I’ll even see Yosemite. It’s such a big state it’s hard to see everything.

      We do miss Jason, but we are at peace. Pain begins to dim with the passing of many years, and we hold on to the good memories.

      Reply
    • August 9, 2016 at 11:19 pm
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      Vince, what do we have in the summer that you don’t have?

      Reply

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