May 12-14, 2011 – Woodlake and Fresno, CA

Thursday we decided to take it easy and get some chores done around the 5th wheel in the morning. We needed to do some major grocery shopping so we drove to Woodlake about 13 miles from Three Rivers. We saw a hillside covered with roses beside the road - it was the Bravo Lake Botanical Gardens. The gardens were full of blooming roses along with lots of other plants and trees.

We took a stroll through the gardens enjoying the beauty and wonderful aroma of the roses. 
We didn’t find a large grocery store in Woodlake so we drove on to Visalia, a larger town where we were able to fill our pantry again. This is an agricultural area with lots of orchards and vineyards. On the way back we stopped at a roadside stand and bought some wonderful fresh picked strawberries and cherries – Mmmm are they good.

Friday morning we took the kayaks to Lake Kaweah and paddled around the inlet until the wind started blowing - we got tired paddling into the wind and not making any progress.

Saturday we drove to Fresno and toured the Forestiere Underground Gardens.  Baldassare Forestiere was a Sicilian immigrant and in 1906 sought to escape the heat of the summer by digging a cool three-room cellar retreat.  He decided to enlarge his living area and eventually dug over 50 rooms all by hand.  He had dreams of opening an underground resort but died in 1946 before he could complete it.  His family still owns 10 of the original 80 acres.  Unfortunately many of the rooms have been destroyed for new development.

He planted trees underground with skylights above them.  Some of them eventually grow up through the skylight.  What an interesting place!

On the way back to Three Rivers we drove through the countryside and enjoyed seeing the fruit orchards, vineyards and vegetable fields in this area.  We stopped and bought more of the wonderful cherries and strawberries.


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