Monday, May 3, 2021

Day 3 of 15: Mustard and Mystery

Driving north from Santa Barbara through yellow velvet hills rolling toward the moody blue Pacific. I’ve barely cleared the Goleta outskirts when I'm stunned by a yellow, bright and pure as sunlight, draping across the land and demanding one stop after another and a detour along an unexplored backroad through surprising orchards stretching inland and up the verdant valleys … El Refugio Ranch, Rancho Guacamole, Edens hidden from the noise and grind of the destination-determined 101 traffic. 

The beauty of the super bloom of common mustard (Brassica rapa, I presume) belies its non-native, invasive nature, a gift from Russian immigrants who inadvertently planted it here with their wheat. While wild mustard is a botanical outcast to most, some Napa vintners are deliberately planting it in their vineyards because it helps aerate and condition the soil. 

Pushing away from the seduction of yellow, I turn inland at San Luis Obispo to take the long route along the recently opened, repeatedly repaired coastal Highway 1. At an age when I can no longer count on “next time,” I long for one more trip along the endlessly heart-pounding joy of twisting turns and breath catching vistas with their vertical drops to the rocks below. As a kid from Kansas, I have to wonder if is my early, land-locked, flatlander years that makes this thrill ride so compelling.  
Love the water someone left for the critters.
Fortunately, it’s Sunday, with no road work delays and relatively light traffic allowing me to stop repeatedly. Not long after passing Gorda, one of the three small settlements along the Big Sur coast, an unexpected riot of orange and pink-violet stops cars in both directions.

The Mystery

It’s obviously a created display; however, the only semblance of a sign read: the flower trap. Googling that lead me to an instagram account where I’m trying to get more info. Who is doing this and why?

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