Friday, March 31, 2017

Sagebrush and Snow - in Los Angeles?

March 26-31, 2017
Santa Clarita, California

Sunday family and friends join us for BBQ and visiting. Everyone's schedules are so full, we can't get the whole group together at the same time, but this afternoon we get close. They don't even see each other very often - jobs and school and family and life keep them all hopping.

We have a great visit, and of course these days is all about the little ones. 

Richie (the youngest), Bill, and Corey (#2) with Maximus.

Corey, Scott (Nick's best friend and like another son), Bill, Allie (Scott's wife), Nick, Jillian, Richie and Tessa.

Maximus and Ella (Scott's youngest)

Nick, Jillian and Maximus

Ella and Daddy Scott

Maximus and Autumn (Scott's oldest)
Corey's girlfriend, Carlie, and Travis (#3) and girlfriend Emily join us later in the evening and by then the camera is forgotten. Some day I will have photos of everyone :-(

Monday I never get out of my pjs while the high winds bluster and throw branches at our roof. Tuesday we get together with Brian for lunch and run some errands.

Wednesday the wind is not as bad and we're ready for some nature. There are forests "up the road" from us. Let's go see that!

Just north of the little town of Gorman, near the summit of the "famous" Grapevine hill in northern Los Angeles County, we leave Interstate 5 heading west.

The next six hours we traverse the very diverse region that is the Los Padres National Forest. While the hillsides along the interstate are very green, we spend most our day in grays and browns. It looks completely different here. Not because it's dead, or because it didn't get a lot of water, but because the indigenous flora here is mostly manzanita, chemise, scub oak, toyon sumac and true sages. The growth is thick and healthy, just not as much green.

From chaparrel, to juniper-pinyon woodland, to oak woodland, to conifer forest, to the sub-alpine fellfields at 8,000 feet, we enjoy an every changing environment under beautiful blue skies.

Throw in wildflowers, water, rock formations and snow - and we have a really great drive.


More signs of the heavy February rains.


Highway 33 connects us back to Highway 126 and home.
Out of the mountains we stop for lunch at the cute little town of Ojai. From 55 degrees at the summit, we are now sitting in the shade at 85 degrees. It just adds to the feeling that we've covered a lot of territory :-)

Spring blooms
Agave Maria's - my favorite Ojai eatery

Happy for bright colored shade.
Back home we get ready and head out again. This time we're off to the big city of Valley Village in the San Fernando Valley. The traffic isn't bad (going in this direction) and we arrive on time for dinner at Megan and Chris' place. How sweet to enjoy a home-cooked meal and wonderful company. We are so blessed with family.

Thursday we spend a little more time with Brian and then meet Travis and Emily for dinner. Where I finally remember to get a photo of these two cuties. More blessings.

Emily and Travis - getting married next June :-))
Our Friday starts out with a visit from Richie and his girlfriend Gabby. They come bearing bagels and a Cribbage board - sweet! Bill played the game with his dad and taught all his boys. Nick made Richie his own board, and today Dad and the youngest play a game. Life is good.

Gabby, Richie and Bill....too much sunshine :-(
The rest of the day we get a few things done before our travels over the weekend. More celebrating with more family!


  1. You have such a wonderful family to spend quality time with. And that drive, looks perfect. Except for the snow. ;)

    1. We are family-blessed for sure! Another surprising area that I'd never seen before :-)

  2. What a wonderful time with the all the kids and grandchildren:) Sure looks like a fantastic time and lots of memories to take back on the road. I love that story about the Cribbage board!! Soooo special!!

    Great drive and awesome surroundings!

    1. We were surprised and delighted when he brought the board to play a game with his dad!

  3. What a fun time with family. Love the pictures of everyone and all the big smiles! Nice memories in the making....

    1. We're definitely loading up on memories to last us a while.

  4. In a previous life I lived in Encino in the Valley and loved Ojai. If I remember correctly there are some hot springs not too far away. Great pictures of your family and that's not even all of them. WOW! Cutie grandkids for sure. Love Tessa in the snow.

    1. I always forget you were a Cali girl for a bit. I think the springs are still there, the little town has a lot of spas.

  5. on my....Your family is adorable, Jodee! 😀

  6. What a sweet and fun-loving family you have! Including your little furry snow bunny. :-)) Looks like you're having a great time—we were in Ojai a couple of years ago and would love to return for more exploring. Have you been to the wonderful outdoor bookstore? I'm making note of Agave Maria (excellent name)!

    1. Yes, missed it this time, but I love the bookstore. The patio is perfect for dining at Agave Maria's - I don't think I've ever been inside :)