We spent a long weekend in Parkfield, where Dave and Geoff live. They are fabulous hosts, and it's always fun and relaxing to spend time at the 'Parkfield Hilton'.
Parkfield is the other town in California with a population of 18, and it's a long way to the nearest market in San Miguel, so a little advance planning before heading out there is a good idea.
For such a small place, there's a lot going on. It's home to the V6 Ranch, owned by the Varian family, which has played a significant role in California's history. In addition to the ranch, they run a cafe and lodge. They host special events year-round including a rodeo and a bluegrass festival, each drawing thousands of visitors.
Coming into Parkfield, you cross a short bridge over the San Andreas fault that takes you from the Pacific Plate to the North American plate, in at present, just a few yards.
Not surprisingly, the first buildings past the bridge house a US Geological Survey office and a UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory. And next door is a Cal Fire Station with Smokey the Bear tracking the fire hazard level.
Across the street is the Parkfield School which serves about a dozen elementary students.
The building next to the school used to house the school's teacher, but is now being converted to a public library branch. Having designed a number of libraries in his former life, my brother is helping with this transformation.
And, there is a community building where town meetings and other official business takes place (like the annual Halloween party).
"But what about the ranch?" you ask. It covers about 20,000 acres of diverse terrain; abundant wildlife; and is home to horses, cattle, and recently a pistachio orchard.
Ann, Doug, Moose, Darla, Sunny, and with gratitude, Winnie and Chinny.