The Lay Of The Land

Google EarthWe are trying to get a feel for this new place. We are trying to find our way–constantly. GPS is an immense help, but I want to learn the area. It won’t happen overnight.

The image at the top is from Google World. It’s an approximation of what you’d see looking toward Irvine from a perch just offshore. The mountains have been exaggerated to allow more of the land contour to be seen.

Most of Southern Orange County is a coastal plain. It’s flat, but it slopes upward toward the mountains. By the time you get to our house, you’re over 400 feet in elevation.

The slope is so gentle I never noticed it until I looked at topo maps. We’re 11 miles from the ocean. 400 feet is not a big deal. But if you rolled a marble down the 133, it might make it to Laguna.

This time of year there’s virtually no natural above ground running water in SoCal. The dry season began last spring. In Irvine get our water from very deep wells and via aqueduct from Central California, hundreds of miles away. Rain here isn’t as critical as snow in the Sierras.

With little moisture, dust becomes a problem. We’re surrounded by construction and farming. There’s no way to stop it. Cleaning always means dusting. Never ending.

Land here is very valuable for homes. That’s odd considering how much of it there is. A large portion of the west is protected from development. That reduces what’s available.

Until those homes are built, the land is planted. Orange County’s big cash crop is strawberries. There are fields of ripening strawberries we pass nearly every day. It’s still strawberry season.

I have seen the observations from back in Connecticut today. The angst I suffered on days like this is not forgotten.

4 thoughts on “The Lay Of The Land”

  1. He said “the 133”. You’re so Cali already, dood… 😉

    Water: have you read “Rivers in the Desert: William Mulholland and the Inventing of Los Angeles”? Absolutely fascinating. Read that book then watch Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” again, and then “The Two Jakes”. Then go seek all those neat hidden oil pumpers…grab an In-N-Out (or two) along the way…so jealous…

    The story of William Mulholland reminds one of Robert Moses and New York (“The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York”).

  2. I remember when Irvine was El Toro Air Force Base. Once when I was getting on to Santa Ana Fwy, 2 jet planes were taking off. I was driving a convertible and these jets were just a few hundred feet above my head. Talk about noise.

    If you are still feeling your way around the area, make certain you attend the Laguna Beach Art Festival next spring & summer. Check out their website. If you enjoy art, this is the place to go.

  3. Carole is right … I think it’s called Pageant of the Masters? It’s a wonderful festival. But, then, Laguna Beach is one of the best places on Earth anyway …

    1. Louise, you are correct, it is the Pageant of the Masters. If you want to get good tickets to it, you can purchase them as early as March or April. The pictures are created with live individuals. It is something you really cannot describe, you have to see it with your own eyes. They also have the Sawdust Festival, which is across the street. It is located on Laguna Canyon Rd just a few blocks off the Coast Hwy in Laguna Beach.

      I could come up with a number of places to go from Disneyland in Anaheim & the Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, which are both in Orange County to Hollywood Bowl. Wish I could be tour guide. I know my way around Orange & LA counties like the back of my hand. A must see event is the Rose Parade on New Years Day.

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