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Since yesterday’ entry, Ian has booked our car for the next Baja trip, a Jeep Grand Cherokee (or similar), so that’s one less thing to worry about.

This morning the weather was foggy and overcast when I woke up, a bit like a camanchaca day in Taltal. It struck me that with the limited visibility it was like driving any motorway anywhere. Yes the lorries were larger and the names on the sign posts more exotic, but the concept of millions of people and tons of freight plodding along concrete canals is the same all over the developed world. Despite the rush hour, everything kept flowing very well – take note and learn, England!

By the time I got into the country side, the weather had cleared and it turned out to be a nice sunny day. I made one stop along Cal 79 and found Opuntia basilaris and Yucca whipplei (thanks, Eunice for the email ID), the latter in flower. Basilaris looked as miserable here as it does in my collection. It seems that stem (or pad) sacrifice is a common phenomenon.

I arrived in Julian in time for lunch. It really is as though time has stood still here. Not just in the architecture, but also in the pace of life and the amount of time that people seem to have for each other as I discovered when, attracted by a sign that said they had ‘European Breads’, I ended up for lunch at the ‘Candied Apple and Pastry Company Bakery and Bistro’. We chatted about the types of breads they had and I selected the Italian olive bread that we sometimes buy on the Saturday market in Salisbury – can’t remember the Italian name – all washed down with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice (or was it?) Alain, please note – no beer on offer, although I could have had a glass of local Cider, as this is Apple Country.

I took some pictures as I strolled through the town. This is really a tourist trap once you examine it more closely.

I found Cal 78 West and made another stop at the Inaja Memorial Picnic Ground, which had a short trail into the hills. The area had been hit by last year’s forest fires but in addition had suffered from erosion due to heavy loads of water thrown at the fire from helicopters and planes (according to a local man who was inspecting the damage). ‘Remarkable how nature can recover.’ I said. He agreed, but added, ‘Not so good if your million dollar house went up in smoke’. Guess he had a point, although his luxurious car seemed to suggest that the insurance pay out had been received..

And so on to Carlsbad, which almost seems to be a northern suburb of San Diego, along with Vista and Oceanside. Once again I had selected a Motel 6 – cheap but clean and trusted, with the all important wifi to stay in touch with people. It’s handy for exploring the local nurseries early next week, for another  trip into Anza Borrego tomorrow, and a quick drive up to LA next Thursday for another presentation.

This Motel 6 is surrounded by shops and restaurants, so I won’t go hungry, but will have to get up earlier to decide where to have breakfast. Decisions, decisions.

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