California – It’s Not Quite What You Think It Is….

I know I usually start these with when the State joined the Union and other facts you have forgotten from grade school, but I decided to switch things up a little.

You thought Sebring was a bit of a backwater? Try Alpine County, California, the State’s smallest county. There is no High School there, no ATMs or banks, and no traffic lights. On the good side, there are also no dentists.

Want to see the largest county in the entire United States? I can’t think of any reason why one would, but if you have a reason – better skip Texas and Alaska and head to San Bernadino County, California.

Think summers are hot here in Florida? Well, they are. But not quite as hot as Death Valley’s temperatures that regularly exceed 115 degrees. Of course, it IS a dry heat….

Fallbrook California is the “Avocado Capital of the World”. Yes, I know it should be Capitol – but that’s the way they spell. I assume whoever decided that was educated in Alpine County.

More than 300,000 TONS of grapes are grown in California annually. Not too surprisingly, over 17 million gallons of wine come from California (including some very nice Merlots). But wine is not the only product created from this bounty of grapes! Fresno is the world raisin capitol.

Not to be outdone, Castroville, California is the Artichoke capitol of the world. In 1947 a model named Norma Jean Baker was crowned as the first Artichoke Queen. This royal is better known by her stage name, Marilyn Monroe. I am assuming that the crowning took place before the nude calendar pictures were published.

Want to climb the highest peak in the lower 48? You better have California in your travel plans. Mount Whitney tops out at 14,495 feet (or about half an Everest). No Sherpas required.

Are you a serial molester of monarch butterflies? Avoid Pacific Grove, California, as there is actually a law on the books there specifically dealing with the problem.

Want to see the National Christmas Tree? Forget New York City, or Washington D.C. – head to King’s Canyon State Park in California. An over 300 feet tall giant sequoia was designated as the National Christmas Tree in 1925.

Maybe a three-day rodeo is more to your liking – sorry Texas, the largest three-day rodeo in the United States in held in Red Bluff, California. I expect Texas has already initiated longer rodeos to make up for this.

Feeling lucky? Head to The County Store in Baker, California. That establishment has sold more winning tickets in the California State Lottery than anywhere else.

Want to check out something older than anyone in Tanglewood? It’s in California. No, it’s not Betty White. It’s the bristlecone pine tree. Betty is getting up there, but that species of tree is more than 4,600 years old. If that is too intimidating, try Sequoia State Park, some of those young whippersnappers are only around 2,000 years old.

Remember the old-fashioned carousel in “The Sting”? Me neither. But if you want to see it, head to the Santa Monica Pier.
Want to see some bald eagles? The largest winter population is found in California. At the other end of the spectrum, California raises more turkeys than anywhere else in the USA.

California is home to two Presidential libraries- Richard Nixon’s and Ronald Reagan’s. I have no idea if any other state can boast of having more, and I doubt if anyone is interested (assuming you have actually read this far)

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Betsey Ellis

Betsey is a recovering agent of Satan (.i.e. a legal professional) now working towards a lifetime goal of becoming a perfectly sane cat lady, medieval clothing designer, and occasional playwright. Maybe even finish my doctorate.....nyah, probably not, who needs another expert in Elizabethan Law and its effect on the growth of the middle class.