11 April 2014--Been here at the Port Hueneme Naval Base since Tuesday, mostly hanging out and catching our breath from the last 2 weeks of go, go, go! This is the base RV park here, which I only share cause Hallie and Donna like to golf so much. We abut the golf course on 2 sides of the RV park, with this mesh fence separating us. Looks like a beautiful course!
Lining the fence are several of these trees...don't know what kind they are, but they have beautiful flowers on them and tons of hummingbirds...Hallie, do you know what these are?
Right up the street from us are these quonset huts...all I could think of was the old "Gomer Pyle" show when I saw them. haha
Late Wednesday afternoon we went down to the beach here...just under 2 miles from the front gate. Really beautiful area, but unfortunately we are having pretty heavy fog conditions, so it makes it cooler than we would like. (About 65 degrees, so hardly beach weather!).
They have these wooden structures throughout the beach which are pretty nice. Basically 4 picnic areas at each one, so plenty of places for people to gather with friends and/or family. You can see the heavy fog coming in and almost cut it with a knife.
Like at most piers, there were people fishing, and we stopped where one guy caught this "spider crab". The man didn't speak very good English, but we did ascertain that he thought it was better than lobster...??? You can see from Cathy's foot that it was quite large, but we were told they get massive, so Cathy looked it up on google so we captured the last 2 pictures from the internet. Can you believe how big that one is the guy is holding? And remember these are caught right off the pier, so they are pretty close to shore. Can you imagine being in the water and running into one of these??? I think you would hear me screaming in Nevada if I ever approached one. haha I think the 2 in the last pic are a good example of why they are called "spider" crabs.
From the pier we saw a big gathering of what looked like military people doing calisthenics, etc., and then when we got closer saw that they were both Navy and Air Force troops doing PT. Talked to a kid in the Air Force who said they were stationed here from basic Training to learn Vehicle Maintenance...not a bad spot to come for school!
Just driving around to go to the grocery store we have been amazed by how many farms we have seen, one after the other, lining both sides of the streets for miles. So when we headed out for a little sightseeing on Thursday and saw these field workers we just had to stop. The movie and 1st picture are of workers picking strawberries. We watched them for a little while before I got out of the car (I was afraid at 1st to let them see me with a camera...didn't want them to think I was acting like a jerk).
It was very interesting to see them doing their thing here. They picked really quickly, placing the fruit directly into the plastic eggshell you get at the grocery store. When they finished a whole box worth, they picked it up and literally ran to the spot where the other guy gathered all the finished product, and then ran back to their spots to do it again. Most of the rest of the time they are bent at a 90 degree angle...so I can only wonder how literally back-braking that is for them.
All the talking I heard was done in Spanish, which was not surprising, but I was surprised by how heavily they appeared to be dressed. Notice in the 2nd pic that they have sweatshirts, hoodies, hats, gloves, face bandannas, etc. It was not really cold so we were a little perplexed by that.
When we got home we got on the google again (haha) and found out several interesting facts:
1. The state of California produces 80% of the countries fruits and vegetables.
2. It is estimated that 52% of agricultural migrant workers are in the country illegally.
3. These workers are paid "by the piece"...but I couldn't figure out if that meant the eggshell or the piece of fruit.
4. I don't know how much they are paid, but I went to Sams today and saw a 2 pound eggshell of strawberries for $2.98, and at Albertsons, a fairly expensive grocery store, they are selling for $4.98--I have to wonder how much these people are actually making? And even how much is the farmer making?
5. They dress that way to keep the dust off their bodies and out of their lungs.
6. These fruits are taken from the field, to the eggshell, and shipped to the grocery store directly. They are never washed or rinsed off as I had always assumed, so let that be a word to the wise before you eat any fresh fruit or veggies.
Now is that some interesting stuff, or what!?
This a an artichoke field, and I just posted this cause I thought it a little surprising that the artichoke grew out of the tip of the plant as opposed to on the ground. I would have thought an artichoke would be too heavy for that.
Before we stopped, our main goal was to take a 30 mile drive on the Pacific Coast Highway to the Malibu Beach Pier. The drive didn't start out as foggy as it ended up shortly after we left, but it was very pretty anyway. In the 2nd pic are 4 of a pod of dolphins we saw, and then obviously someone riding the waves. Lots of people doing that...I can only imagine how cold they are, even with wet suits, cause it never got above 65 degrees outside.
You can see here how much fog there was by the time we hit the outskirts of Malibu.
There must be massive employment around here for gardeners because they have flower displays at almost every home...and big displays at that. The most interesting flower was this one...have you ever seen these before? Again, I would have to ask Hallie if you know what these are. I think they look like preening birds...love all the different colors!
Right about this time we got a couple surprises. With only a few miles to the pier we saw a sign saying 6 miles east of us was a Visitor Center for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, so we decide to take a diversion to see what might be interesting there for us to do another day. The building they were housed in turned out to be the old barn of the King Gillette Ranch...Gillette being the guy who developed the 1st disposable razor. Anyway, he had his house built in 1926 on a 600 acre ranch...and here it is.
Now that was nothing, really, to write home about (haha), but this here was the 1st surprise. As we turned the corner around some trees, and before we saw the Gillette house, lo and behold we run straight into this surprise. The Park Ranger never even mentioned it was here...weirdo! So watch and listen to the video and then I will get back to you. haha
The Biggest Loser is actually my favorite show on TV. I find it totally inspiring that these morbidly obese people usually end up running a marathon at the end of the 13 weeks they are involved in this, and I use it to beat myself about the head and shoulders when I am being lazy and want to quit working out because I am "tired". haha In the 1st pic I am calling Hallie to tell her where I am...haha The 3rd pic shows part of the Gillette estate that they use as a dorm for the show's contestants.
From here we drove a couple miles up the road to an old western town previous owned and used for movie/TV sets by paramount pictures. This was used to make the movie "How Green Was My Valley" and also the TV show "Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman". But better than that, we lucked out and happened onto not only a music video being shot, but Entertainment Tonight doing a background story on the kid making the video. That is me with Rob Marciano from ET...did you know he is only 21 yrs old? I only asked for a picture after finding out who he was...for which he ragged me when I originally let him pass. haha
The kid making the music video is Ian Thomas, a 16 yr old from Belgium making his American debut. The girl on the horse rides into town and meets up with him. I was nervous at first that they would yell at the old lady videoing them making their video, but they initially didn't pay any attention to me at all. (One guy ultimately approached me and nicely asked that I not publish anything...but I don't think he meant my blog--haha). He is not a country singer, so don't know why he had the hat on, but that is the director's call, I guess. haha
The scenery as we drive back toward the beach. This entire area seems to be as green as Joshua Tree and Death Valley were brown.
A Hindu temple we passed. So elaborate!
And finally, much later in the day than we had anticipated, we finally reach the pier. Between the fog and the breeze we were quite cool, but notice the kid in the middle of the 2nd pic...he doesn't even have a wet suit on, just shorts and a t-shirt...I can't imagine it was any more than 60 degrees at this point, and I think I am being generous.
Check out this bird. I don't know if it is some type of gull, but it was on the pier and obviously fairy used to humans...I was probably less than 10 feet away taking these pictures. I love the white tail going from his head down his back, and notice the blue hues to his head and beak in the 2nd and 3rd pics. So pretty!
By this time all we had time for was to have dinner before heading home, and here are a couple shots of the coast on the way.
So nothing momentous I guess, but we had a fun time with the Biggest Loser and and the music video, and I love those plants and that bird, so all-in-all a very fun day for us. And almost nothing beats the farm worker experience or that crab...haha...so! Did more relaxing today...still pretty foggy, so just taking it day to day to decide what we do next.