Archive for August, 2014

On Wednesday, I took a final walk along Pismo Beach. The surf was unusually high; the impact of a tropical storm from the south.

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After discovering that one of the new LD tires was down to 20 pounds, Dave “pumped it up” and we were off, an easy 100-mile drive to Emma Woods State Beach near Ventura. Easy-peasy. After passing a few nice-looking campgrounds right on the water, we reached our home for the night. Emma Woods is a very narrow lane of road with a long row of “campsites” perched next to a very small, very rocky beach. The Amtrak Surfliner train runs about 50 feet away on the other side. Some of the sites are parallel to the Pacific, ours was perpendicular. The back end of the LD was about 25 feet from the frothing sea. And it was frothing. The waves were large and loud. What a great spot. I am now totally converted to an ocean person (Except for the going-in-the-water part). We put out our chairs, sipped some 15-year-old single-malt Glenlivet (thanks again, Rick and Mary) and just watched the surf and the birds.

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Later in the evening, the sun sank and set. The light slowly declined and the photographic possibilities changed. I tend not to do well at night photography; I don’t see well at night and it’s hard to focus on far away things like the moon. Dave got some great shots and finally stationed himself on the rocks, pretty close to the surf line. The tide was rising at that point. Well, it rose over Dave. He and the Canon got drenched by a sneaker wave. He stumbled and fell trying to save the camera and scramble up the rocky shore. Luckily, both he and the camera came out of it okay. But he got a great shot right before that happened. We slept with the windows open, listening to the surf break all night.

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The next morning, we rose before the sun got over the coastal mountains and shot some more.

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Regretfully, we had to move on. Our task was to drive kitty-corner from the northwest to the southeast of L.A. It can be tough when you don’t know where the traffic difficulties are. The one thing I knew was that we should avoid CA-405. We planned to take 101 east and I-5 south. Our new Garmin can determine if there are slowdowns ahead and how much time we’ll lose. The trouble is, it reroutes us around the slowdown and sometimes we’re heading off to unfamiliar territory to save 5 minutes over 10 miles. This doesn’t work well with a 27-foot motorhome towing a car. And it doesn’t verbally announce that it’s changing the route. So I sat there with my map and my iPad (I love it!) keeping an eye on that mischievous Garmin.

We sailed past Disneyland and finally reached O’Neill Regional Park. We picked it for one reason: it is 2 miles away from the location of Alex’ and Alyson’s wedding. It’s a nice park, on the edge of the Santa Ana Mountains. But it was 98 degrees when we arrived. The campsites don’t have electric so we have to run the generator to run the air conditioner. We managed to avoid that until I started dinner. After dinner, the sun was down and the air started to cool off a little. So we sat watching the stars come out and the planes and satellites crisscross the sky.

Friday developed into another hot day. We decided to head for some air-conditioned entertainment, namely “Guardians of the Galaxy”. Luckily, it was an amusing film, because we paid $33.50 to see it. That included comfortable seats and perfect air conditioning, but my gosh that’s a lot. And that was the senior rate! We came home to ……..……… ants! They were all over, but didn’t seem that interested in food, thank heavens. So we wiped them away, went to bed and I had uneasy dreams. The next morning :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: more ants! Dave went on a Raid trip and sprayed all around the tires which seemed to slow them down. We’re looking forward to getting away from the bugs at Alex and Alyson’s wedding.

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Oh, it’s good to be back on the road again! After a surprisingly easy drive down to Pismo Beach, we rolled into our reserved campsite.  After a walk on the beach to see sunset, we luxuriously dined on leftover enchiladas and canned corn. A road meal if ever I ate one.


Tuesday morning we put on our hiking boots to meet Susan and Fred Miller at Montana de Oro State Park. This is a lovely place where you can choose to labor up a mountain or hike along level coastal bluffs with many coves. We chose the bluffs. The fog cleared up and we appreciated the various shades of blue that the ocean provided. We saw lots of brown pelicans and some cormorants. After a while we found a spot to nibble on some oatmeal-chocolate chip-cherry cookies that Susan made that morning. The cookies were as wonderful as the scenery and the company. (Am I getting a little heavy here?) Fortified by sugar and chocolate, we ambled back to the cars, ready for lunch.

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I have discovered that Susan has a unique way of associating her hikes with the lunches that follow. I don’t know if that will work for us when we’re eating peanut butter on a sand dune in the middle of nowhere, but I’ll probably remember Celias Garden Café in Los Osos. It’s a pleasant little spot surrounded on two sides by a nursery. After good grilled cheese sandwiches for Susan and me and meatier stuff for the guys, we took a walk around the nursery where the Millers checked out what they might add to their garden for fall and winter. We made our farewells and they returned home to their remodeling crew while we returned home to find we had parked in the wrong site and had to move the Lazy Daze under a big tree. That immediately proved the worth of our new mobile solar panel. It gathered sunlight in the sun while we shivered in the shade (Not really, but it’s alliterative).  Whoever thunk up the idea of a movable power source was a smart cookie.

Tuesday began with a sybaritic breakfast and moved on to fine wine. We drove 40 miles north to Joe’s Other Café, a place with the best hash browns I’ve ever had. The omelet was darned good as well. It was noon by the time we visited Wild Horse Winery. (Thinking of you, Mike and Jan Bigelow, who introduced us to Wild Horse.) All the reds tasted good to us, so we bought some. Then it was on to our current favorite winery – Tobin James. Oh my gosh, their zins are so good. And Fat Boy is to die for (No, not Dave; a great big zin.) Thank you, Mary and Rick, for your gift certificate. We collected all our alcoholic booty and headed back to Pismo. It’s about 20 degrees cooler here than it is at Paso Robles and we sat on our butts after two exhausting days of fun.

I went for a walk along the beach before dinner and carefully watched the seabirds getting their dinner. The gulls would jab their beaks into the sand and sometimes come up with some little lump of I don’t know what. They would shake it a little and then drop it in the sand and peck at it, as if to test if it was really food. Usually, they would then pick it up and swallow it, shaking their heads the way humans do when they have to swallow a big pill. I saw one gull do the first test and then abandon his bit of whatever-it-was. Another gull immediately swooped in and swallowed it. Heaven knows what these birds actually end up eating.


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