Hot, hot, hot!

Trip Start Aug 07, 2011
Trip End Aug 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Serenity Gardens Bed and Breakfast Merced
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Explored some of Merced, did our first shopping!!

Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sad this morning saying goodbye to Mark as he had to leave us and head back to San Francisco to start his long journey home. He had chosen the cheapest option to reach the US and this had meant 3 stopovers for him, which would give him only a 2 hour margin for getting back to teach in Ulsan on 22nd August.  Mark, being Mark, had met a young German guy when he was hiking the Panorama trail the day before and Karston had offered Mark a lift to SF in his jeep.  As Mark would have had to catch a train or bus, he naturally jumped at the chance of going with Karston.  After Mark had left, we packed up our bits and left Strawberry Creek, heading out of the park towards Mariposa.

Mariposa was an unexpected delight - just a small strip of stores in the middle of nowhere but some of the buildings were old - 1901 and there was even an authentic place to "hitch your hoss" when you rode into town.  We stopped for a light snack at the Yosemi Tea tearoom which specialised in different loose leaf teas from around the world - I opted for a vanilla rooibos which was delicious.  (Mark/Michele,  you would have loved this place - lots of different types of mate and other interesting teas)  I bought some tea to bring home and after some delicious sandwiches and refreshments we went back out into the heat of the day (nudging 95 degrees) and had an explore of some of the shops - several antique stores and unusual shops. 

   The drive onto Merced was hot, dusty and increasingly arid.  Fields were brown and crispy and we marvelled as to how they supported any wildlife as the landscape looked very barren and inhospitable.  Merced was a town of contrasts, both visually and economically with some areas run down and charactererised by cheap shops and cafes.   In contrast, other areas were manicured, well tended and appeared affluent. 
We stopped off in a mall to do some shopping (and enjoy the air conditioning) and found a Target - a great shopping spot we knew from our Florida trips.

Our B & B was another surprise, we knew that Jackie and Jerry kept chickens so we thought they would be in a rural spot but Serenity Gardens  was on the end of a cul-de-sac.  They were very hospitable hosts and Jackie was understandably proud of her lovely garden, just over an acre, with 35 hens in an enclosure at the back of the vegetable patch.  Jerry was a Harley Davidson enthusiast and he proudly showed both Paul and Julian his bikes and workshop. Jackie gave us an excellent suggestion for our evening meal, at the bistro at De Angelos nearby, where I enjoyed my first soft shell crab dish of the holiday.  It was very hot tonight although Jackie commented that the summer had been cool, usually their summer temperatures were over 105 degrees!!

Jackie and Jerry have two dogs, Spot and Bonita, so it was good to have a doggy fix and they were certainly pleased to see us. 

Have to say that the ongoing  canasta tournament is not working in the Reynolds favour, the Goldsmiths seem to be on a winning streak much to my chagrin.   
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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