Sunday, June 12, 2016

6/12/16-Part 2, Los Padres National Forest-Sespe Wilderness and Maricopa, CA

We left camp one day and took a day trip further up 33, the scenic route to Maricopa. Once again, I was blown away. Look at the S-curves in the pic above!

But first we visited two nearby campgrounds, The Middle Lion and the Piedra Blanca Trailhead. Both are in the Sespe Wilderness which is a 219,700-acre wilderness within the Los Padres National Forest. The Sespe Condor Sanctuary is a 53,000-acre wildlife refuge in this same wilderness, but it is not open to the public. Reportedly, there are many wonderful hikes along the Sespe Creek that include great swimming holes and even a hot springs about 16 miles from Lion Camp. I hope to go back one day and explore the trails.

If you want more information, I came across several websites you may want to visit:

General info -

Lion Camp Sespe Creek and Hot Springs hiking info -

And if you want to experience one of the coolest maps ever, click here and play - Did you catch that you can play around on this map with any wilderness, anywhere? And for information within a particular wilderness, all you have to do is click on the map and a pop-up window will give you information for that specific spot. I loved this map!!

This next pic gives you an idea how close all of this was to our Rose Valley campsite.

That was a close-up from this map.

The USDA Forest Service reports that “the Sespe Wilderness is mainly a chaparral covered environment with rock cliffs in various sites.” Here is a pic of some of the rock formations we could see from the road.

Now back to the scenic drive up 33.

I must admit I did something I’ve never done before. I actually stepped over the guard rail to take pictures. Yes, I know. I am as shocked as you are. Do not do that!

Compare this one to the first pic above.

We turned east on 166 at the end of 33 to go to Maricopa. The geography flattened out considerably but it was still beautiful.

I saw the following truck at the gas station. Maybe you had to be there, but with the current political environment, it cracked me up.

By the time we got to Maricopa we were hungry. There weren’t a lot of choices, and we decided to eat at Tima’s Diner. It is Tima’s, not Tina’s.

This is what it looks like walking to the front door. There were lots of plants inside and out.

This place was fantastic!

Tima does everything. She yells at people, I mean, greets people from the kitchen while she’s cooking, and has a million stories to tell about everything. All of her stories were told with great flair and at a very high volume. She seemed especially proud that her diner used to be a historic saloon with a bordello on the 2nd floor. Too funny.

We enjoyed getting to know her and some of the locals while we were there. It could have been a scene set in Mayberry. I asked and learned that Maricopa is an Indian word for butterfly. I shared that the Spanish word for butterfly is Mariposa. The connection did not impress Tima, but it led her to another story (which I don’t remember).

The food was great and everything was homemade – even the chocolate shake Colvin ordered. I couldn’t help but notice he had a funny look when he got to the bottom of it, and I heard him ask Tima, “What’s in the bottom of the glass (which was frosted)?”

She laughed, “Those are fresh blueberries.” We both breathed a sigh of relief. Then she continued with her story.

(Did I mention she had a story for everything?)

Tima said, “I have all these blueberries I have to do something with so I’ve been putting them in anything I think will taste good. People’s salad, tea, milk shakes, whatever. I have to get rid of them.” She waved her arms around frantically and continued, “You see, I had to buy a lot of them because the vendor told me this sad story about how all these young kids work really hard to pick the blueberries, and their little hands get all scratched up, and by the time he told me all about them, I felt so bad for those little kids that I bought all his blueberries. So eat up! You want some more?”

We were saved because the new guy that had just come in said that he would take some with his milkshake. Tima waved her hands in the air again and exclaimed, “Good. Because I have to get rid of all these blueberries.” And with that she once again headed to the kitchen.

What a wonderful treat that entire lunch was.

We went back the same way and enjoyed more wonderful views.

Nonni will not stand up or look out while the van is moving, preferring solid terra firma instead, but Bentley is my "wind in the hair" sight-seeing companion.


We took this day trip on April 14. Some of my wonderful readers have told me that the delayed timeline is confusing for them. I can understand that because I am so behind on my blog posts. On top of that, Colvin and I quit traveling together on May 10. I apologize for the confusion my wonderful readers! I could fast forward, but the thing is that we went to so many wonderful places and I got to experience such amazing adventures, I don’t want to leave anything out. So please bear with me as I catch up.

I hope it is not too confusing and that you are enjoying this journey with me. Colvin and I are still friends, but writing retroactively has been difficult. I’m glad I took good notes each day, but this has certainly taught me not to get behind on my blog!

Thank you for being here. HugZ!


  1. Come join the WINs. I'll be on their Pacific Northwest trip. The schedule is at

    1. Wow! Wouldn't that be great?!? Thanks for the invite, Diana! I just looked it up and see that you are hosting the Bend, OR area from 6/23-30. I'm not able to do this right now, but it is def something I want to look into soon. Thank you again for thinking of me! I hope to meet you soon. HugZ, d

    2. Maybe you can meet up later? I'll be with the group for 3 months or so.

  2. Tima sounds like a true character! I would think blueberries would be a really nice addition to a salad, sounds good anyway! You be extra careful stepping over those safety rails!!!!!!!

    1. OMG John, she was SUCH a character. I didn't know what to think at first, but then I just relaxed and enjoyed the heck out of watching and listening to her. What a trip she was. And no worries, I may never have the courage to go beyond the safety rails again. :*

  3. This post reminds me why I love traveling around out west. There are just so many great places to see and the scenery is so often amazing.

    1. I know Robert, right? So much to see and experience. We are very blessed to have the opportunity, as you know. KOKO!


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