The Actual, Incredible, Poppy Blossom Tour Of April 9, 2017

May 22, 2017 in Event Report

By Creig Turner 

What an awesome sight to behold, nine gorgeous Jaguars and one hideous Chrysler (with a 900 HP hemi under its hood, we were told) lining the street in front of my house on a beautiful Sunday morning just a few weeks ago. The mighty Jags were panting and ready to begin the daunting journey up and over the nearby Alps and all the way to the mysterious Antelope Valley in search of the elusive, seldom seen, California Poppy.

After a half hour of drinking high octane, day old coffee, and noshing down some high protein, vitamin laden Winchell’s donuts, and after looking and snickering at my modest collection of attention needy old English bottom feeders, we were ready to go.  Since my navigator of record (She Who Must Be Obeyed) had concocted some flimsy excuse of unavailability, I persuaded Judy Graven to assist me with the virtual brake pedal and map reading chores, and then off we roared.  Our thunder shook the local windows, with at least two or three each of XJ6s, XJs, F-Types, and XK8s, followed by that awesome Chrysler.  After 7 miles of the 210 Freeway we turned north and began our trek up the treacherous Angeles Crest Highway.  The skies were a beautiful blue, the sage and wild flowers were out, and the next 40 miles of lofty rugged mountains and desert wilderness flew by like a scenic travelogue.  Eventually rediscovering what passes for civilization in Palmdale we grabbed a few miles of freeway (and in so doing lost 4 cars, although found them a while later) getting off at Lancaster, and then west again to the desert poppy preserves.From miles away, as we approached, we could see the orange hue of the mountain slopes that told us we soon would be there.  But alas, we were not alone.  At least 200,000 other seekers

of the legendary poppy were ahead of us.  Undaunted, we jostled and jousted and eventually all 10 of our cars drove through the gates and parked.  We unloaded our picnic baskets and followed Mark Mayuga’s sage advice on obtaining picnic table space; we would sidle up to some hapless picnic couple and sit down right close to them and start spreading our stuff all over and talking loudly. Soon they would get up and seek other seating, and by diligent obnoxiousness we soon had all 20 of us seated together.  The younger and more athletic hiked off into the preserve (there must be a thousand acres of ploppies here) but rejoined and helped with disposal of the cheap wine in inconspicuous paper bags so important to scientific poppy observation.

Some folks decided after that to return back to the 14 Freeway and head home.  A few others cast their lot with me and we snaked down south to Lake Elizabeth and then west to a quaint joint known as the Rock Café.  It was made entirely of river stone and was full of stoned Big Harley folks and lots of big Harleys (Harlies?).  It’s amazing, the bikers really know where the cool hangouts are.  So we joined them and had a few; our president, Jim Friehl, holds his own quite well in this intellectual milieu.  Eventually we left and set off in a new and unknown direction on a rustic trail called (I think) Francisquito Road, a beautiful, winding road that 30 miles later came out near Six Flags Magic Mountain and I-5, and so on to home again.

All told we all drove 140 great miles in our fine Jaggies with only one mishap; Mel Friedman suffered a flat tire in front of a Costco store, which soon had him running again. Eee haaa, what a great day.