Strawberry Fields

Cabins & Camping, Car, Lost Girls, United States — By on July 25, 2008 at 3:26 pm

fresh fruitI’ve always wanted to be a California girl. So I decided to go there for a three-week visit to see my sister who has landed on the Central Coast as a traveling nurse. It wasn’t intended to be a vacation-I figured the sunny weather and ocean air would offer inspiration for writing the book. But, I soon discovered, it’s impossible to be all work and no play in the Golden State.

Case in point: Even a simple coastal drive can morph into a pleasure cruise. One of my college roomies, Melissa, picked me up from LAX for a road trip to a beach town called Carpentiria. The plan was to camp overnight with her and her boyfriend in his RV, and then hop on a train for my sister’s home in Pismo Beach (one of the most beautiful places ever, but more on that later). It was the day before the 4th of July, traffic was thick, and we just wanted to get there, already! We had fireworks to light, campfires to build, and s’mores to eat. (Tough itinerary, I know!)

Smoggy haze, honking horns, and bumper-to-bumper traffic soon gave way to open road, blue skies, and miles of strawberry fields. As we kept passing wooden fruit stands advertising “fresh-picked strawberries,” I convinced Melissa to make a pit stop. In addition to purchasing a pint of berries, we also stocked up on dried apricots, salted pistachios, juicy oranges, and organic honey. It was my idea of a shopper’s paradise.

Once we got back on the road, I gave Melissa the honors of having the first strawberry tasting. After taking a bite, her eyes grew wide. “These are the best strawberries in the world!” she proclaimed. I looked down at the bright red gems spilling out of the green container in my lap, and tried them for myself. If it’s possible to actually taste fresh sugar spun with pure sunlight, this was it. I had to concur that these were, in fact, the best strawberries in the world.

Pismo BeachEither that sugar must have gone straight to our heads or those farmers were using some special herbal pesticide, because all of a sudden we could not stop laughing. Any word out of our mouths seemed hilarious-I’m sure the humor won’t translate so I’ll spare you the sidesplitting details. We laughed so hard we could not breathe. And then we got the munchies.

So we proceeded to stop at half a dozen or so more fruit stands along the way to confirm that we had, in fact, tasted the best strawberries in the world. We probably consumed our weight in berries. I must report that we erred in our initial assessment-each successive strawberry was even better than the last.

CarpinteriaMelissa’s very patient boyfriend-who had driven his RV from LA to Carpinteria two days earlier to beat the crowds for a coveted ocean spot-was very good-natured when we arrived over an hour late (but with ample food supplies!). Melissa proceeded to open my eyes to yet another fun pastime-shooting bugs off of rocks with some kind of toy pop gun thingy (don’t worry-I didn’t kill anything. My hand-eye coordination is about as good as my sense of direction-definitely not spot on!) We erupted into another can’t-breath-stomach-hurting laugh attack, and he finally had to ask in bewilderment, “Seriously, what the hell did you girls get into on the ride up here?!” All we can say is this: It’s the strawberries, man.

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    1 Comment

  • Camels & Chocolate says:

    I heart California and being a “California girl!” I always felt more like a West Coaster at heart than a Southerner or, forgive me, Yankee! =)