Astonishing joys

Fabulous day on the road yesterday, I went to a little town called Cambria which is chocolate box cute and full of people who’ve figured out how to live just by making and selling glorious pieces of art (gits). I have added it to my list of possible places I might want to live if I could hack the tourist traffic. It is nestled in the middle of wine country and only has one main road.

I took route 46 out to the coast to get there and found the little known Jack Creek Farm which has been lifted out of a quaint 1990s film about good witches getting into all sorts of romantic malarkey. Nestled into wheat coloured meadows and dark green hills, two rosy cheeked sisters welcome you into the farm store, handing out tastings of honey, jams, sauces, chutneys, dispensing sage advice, and probably throwing in a cheeky little love spell with every box of farm grown heirloom tomatoes. If Disney did farming…

One of the things I love about travelling/ road tripping/cruising/ hot air ballooning (whatever you want to call it, it all involves GOING ..either away or to) is the return of a sense of astonishment.  After you live somewhere a long time, especially somewhere that attracts the creative crackpot sector of society like Los Angeles, you stop being surprised by unusual things. We are rather proud of this, and think of ourselves as coolly cynical, “Nope, nothing shocks me. I’ve seen it all,” with a small, secret image of ourselves in the appropriate role of the day: grizzled cowboy, captivating femme fatale, ice cold gangster, futuristic road warrior. But the truth is, the cynicism make us boring, joyless company.

No amount of chic self image can surpass that moment when snorting in surprise, your whole body lurches forward, eyes wide open, in a moment of unabashed “What the hell was that? Go back! You have to see this!

Yesterday’s top Flaming-Nora-What-The-Bloody-Hell moment took place on the California central coast.  Driving along the PCH, admiring the ocean on one side and calmly grazing cows on the other, humming a tune… Doo doo do doo dooh dooh do doo do doo – what’s going on with that cow? Is it wearing a stripy blanket? OHMYGODIT’SAZEBRA!!!  Zebras!  Look, look zebras, there’s bloody loads of them hanging out with the cows! What the..? WHY ARE THERE ZEBRAS IN A FIELD IN CALIFORNIA?

It turns out that I was passing the grounds of Hearst Castle at the time which I am sure must have something to do with it. Possibly there’s a whole zoo of exotic animals at the castle, and every so often they let them run wild… and mangled bodies start turning up mysteriously. Or not. Could just be someone’s got a herd of black ponies and a tin of white paint.


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