Seabright State Beach

I usually post only 1 time per campsite, but Santa Cruz is just too spectacular and I feel compelled to write more about it. Now grant it, the weather is gorgeous and the sun is out and it is warm. I suppose if it were cold and rainy, I would have an entirely different opinion, but we have had a really good time here at the Upper Harbor RV Park.

Having only 12 spots in which to park the RV adds to the overall charm and the entire marina is clean and well taken care of. My only complaint would be that restrooms are for the boat dock owners only, and that bothers me. There are very few public restrooms and for some reason that just seems wrong! I get it that boat owners pay for their slips and that entitles them to private usage, I also feel that the public has a right to use a restroom too! There are a couple over by the restaurants, but I don’t believe there are enough.

We went on another lovely, evening walk and checked out the amusement park that borders the ocean and the San Lorenzo River. The night was warm and balmy and perfect for an evening stroll while taking photographs. The lighting was soft and diffused and the sunset colors deepened into shades of orange, rose pink and purple. The Walton lighthouse is still being used and the walk out to the point was spectacular. There were a lot of people out and about with campfires burning bright and the smell of weed permeated the air. This is a college town and there are a lot of young people, but they were well behaved and considerate. There was no public drunkenness and I was impressed with how proud everyone seems to be of their city. I would be too if I lived here!

Catatonic

Today is Sunday and a day of rest and relaxation. Santa Cruz Upper Harbor is quiet except for the clank of rigging on the boat masts and the laughter of seagulls. People are out walking their dogs and biking, jogging and otherwise enjoying the outdoors. It is a lovely day filled with sunshine and the weather is warm. We walked over to Aldo’s for brunch and have been hanging out in the RV ever since.

Callie went out on an early morning walk and was praised for her ability to walk on a leash and to behave in much the same manner as a small dog. There are dogs being walked everywhere and I am on the constant lookout for any dog that appears aggressive toward her. Most of them cannot believe their eyes and ears, while others would like nothing better than to give her a good shake for daring to walk among them. She will hang over my hip and go limp if I need to make a quick exit though and I sure hope the day never comes where an owner looses control. I pity the poor dog who attempts to hurt Callie- mark my words.

So today is a lazy kind of day and for Callie- why she has been positively catatonic! She loves to sleep up on the top bunk during the afternoon to get away from all the activity and today she was so sound asleep and close to the edge, that she almost fell off of the loft. While passed out, she was so out of it that she forgot to close her eyes! It is warmer up high and because the bedding is wadded up close to the edge, she was forced to sleep close to the edge herself. We all looked up as we heard her clawing and scrambling her way to safety and it made us laugh indeed. There isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t get into some kind of trouble. Such is the life of a cat on the road.

Santa Cruz Harbor

We started this road trip in our 24ft Icon Class C RV, a little over a week ago with our daughter as a welcoming new edition to our travels with Callie adventure. Our first few nights were spent in Morro Bay, then on to Cayucos, next, San Simeon Beach, and we are now nestled into the upper harbor in Santa Cruz, California. This RV park has only room for 12 RV’s and we are in slot number 1.there is full hook ups so I am pleased to have the luxury of electricity, with running water again. In my humble opinion, we have the best spot available too, because we are parked sideways and parallel to the street, and our dinning area window is overlooking the marina.

We had a lovely drive up 101 North and dropped into Monterey for a quick bite to eat at the SandBar Restaurant on the wharf for lunch. Michael and I have been going to this darling restaurant for many years and are quite attached to the place. We always have a good experience and the food is delicious and the view to die for. We wanted to show the place off to Lara and we weren’t disappointed. Miraculously, we didn’t have a wait and were able to sit at a table right away on a Saturday afternoon- unbelievable!

We always share calamari, clam chowder and a Caesar salad, but because the halibut was fresh and recommended by our waiter- we split that too. Fresh sourdough bread is always served with butter and has the perfect crunch on the crust and chewy inside that makes this bread so delicious. The SandBar overlooks the wharf and anchovies were flashing their silver undersides and seemed comfortably protected from most predators, while 2 sea otters basked on their backs and groomed themselves right outside the window. They were so relaxed that boats had to go around them instead of the other way around. For dessert, our waiter surprised us with a complimentary serving of fresh strawberry shortcake to welcome us back. He has served us in the past and we remembered him too. How sweet is that? What a feast! We were stuffed when we waddled back to the RV..

We made it to Santa Cruz around 5:00 and ended up going for an evening walk along the Marina and watched sailing vessels come and go and all the people were milling around in 75 degree weather in shorts and t- shirts. It was a beautiful evening, warm and slightly breezy and made for a perfect first night. For dinner we finished off leftovers in the RV and had ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert. I do believe we were just a little piggy, but hopefully all the walking we are doing will balance it out.

Callie loves traveling and immediately hops on the dash when the engine starts up. She loves being copilot and takes her job very seriously. Back in the RV, the sleeping arrangements have been modified and Callie’s determination to sleep with Lara has proved fruitful. Her persistence has paid off and because she has overcome her aversion to the plushy blanket, she has wheedled her way onto Lara’s bed. Lara has given up too, so it is a mutually agreed upon change of plans. I was wondering how long it was going to take! Callie gets to sleep with Lara now! Too funny…

San Simeon State Park

After leaving Cayucos, we drove north on the 1 to San Simeon State Beach. It is an old campground and the sites are pretty run down. You can hear the trucks all night long and they have a serious ground squirrel problem. The squirrels were so bold that you couldn’t sit outside and eat or leave anything unattended. Our neighbors had a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers on their picnic table that was mauled in no time and hauled away, one sunflower blossom at at time, all to the delight of the thieves. I was concerned that they would attack Callie, but she proved to be a threat to them instead. We had an ocean view but the pine tree in front of us AND between us and the view, was seriously suffering and would need to be cut down soon. There are no hookups which means it is dry camping and that you will need to use your generator occasionally. That being said- so will every one else. The weather was gorgeous though, cold and crisp, and the wind was gusty but refreshingly cool after living in the desert. We took long walks to the beach every day and watched birds and wildlife in abundance. All in all, we had a fabulous time and just hung out and read and otherwise relaxed.

FYI- Callie has overcome her aversion to the plushy blanket and now calls Lara’s bed- HOME!

We are heading north to Santa Cruz next!

Callie and her “Big” Sister

It is so hilarious to watch the family dynamics play out in a 24 ft RV; what with Callie attempting to hang out with Lara and assuming that Lara is feeling the same kind of joy in hanging out with her! She watches Lara intently and will jump up to be with her at the first sign of an invitation. Lara loves Callie back, but is much more of a disciplinarian. I have become the grandmother that spoils her rotten. Lara is strict in much the same manner that I was in the past, but with me, Callie has managed to manipulate and wheedle her way into situations I would never have tolerated years ago!

At night, Lara places a plush blanket over her down one as a deterrent to Callie. Callie has never wanted to place so much as one paw on these supposedly “plushy blankets” and appears to have an aversion to even touching them. I swear she acts like she thinks a cat has been skinned alive and her horror at even feeling the material is very funny to observe. If you try to throw her on top of the blanket, she leaps off in disgust and will run away!

So Callie has watched Lara from a distance and you can see the workings going on in her mind and thoughts as she tries to figure out how to get on Lara’s bed without touching the horribly offending blanket.

Yesterday, Callie had a breakthrough though, and decided that her love for Lara would overcome her aversion to the blanket. Last night she tried to sleep with Lara and Lara promptly kicked her off the bed. Lara needs her sleep and Callie can’t help but purr and give Lara licks and kisses which interfere with her ability to get a good night’s sleep. If she would just cuddle up next to Lara and be quiet, she would get away with it.

So Callie comes back up to the loft with me to curl up in my armpit. You can see that her feelings are hurt though. How could Lara not love her in the same way she loves Lara? It is just too funny to watch! They will work it out. Callie could use some much needed discipline, and boundaries really do need to be set!

Bella Vista RV Park By the Sea

I need to update my first opinion of Bella Vista RV Park. We are having such a wonderful time in Cayucos that we have extended the stay until Thursday. The people here are so friendly and the view can’t be any better. I must have been so tired and stressed out and this contributed to my negative viewpoint. Several days of relaxation has made all of the difference.

Lara and I finished up two loads of laundry and hung the clothes out on the clothesline to dry in the sun. We walked down to a gas station that has a Mexican Deli that served the best taco salad I have ever eaten. Walking to the pier every afternoon is the highlight of the day as we finished up yesterday with a Creme Brulle gelato that I licked up lovingly while watching the anchovy boil being consumed once again by whales and pelicans.

In the evenings we play “Rook” a card game that has an unusual history to it. It is an alternative card game that is a substitute for players that have an aversion to so called “sinful ways!” The game was designed to appease non-gambler sensibilities. I have a hatred of math that is based on many years of horrible experiences in my youth, so I am not prone to playing games. My sister Elizabeth taught me poker one day, and then promptly beat my butt and took some fine possessions away from me! Is that really what happened? She and I will have to some day share each other’s version of the story. My memory may be faulty. I have never been a game player and always feel stressed out when trying to compete. Now that I am getting better at it, and with Lara’s approach to making it fun, it is becoming much more enjoyable for me.

I am teaching Lara about photography editing and her skill levels are improving every day. Callie has been able to hang out with just the halter on and I am trusting her to stick close enough to the RV and that she will dash back inside at the first sign of trouble. She is totally enjoying the RV experience now and knows how to kick back and relax.

Cayucos Beach

We are a weary foursome of travelers. After spending two nights at a Morro Strand RV Park that smelled of water treatment ( a necessary part of community living) we headed 4 miles north to Cayucos. It brags about being the last funky beach town in California, and it is an accurate statement. This charming, funky town is a lot like Encinitas near Del Mar, California. We are staying at Bella Vista and it is right across from the beach at the north end of town. Bella Vista RV Park is not my favorite place either, but it will have to do. We are all too tired to continue up to Monterey at the moment.

We walked over to the pier around 3:00 and the humpback whales and pelicans put on quite a show of gorging themselves on the massive schools of anchovies that were trying to escape from all the predators up above. The winds were whipping the water into white caps and I can only imagine what it looked like below the water. Apparently this has been going on for over three months now. I was really impressed and very appreciative of seeing all the wildlife. I have never witnessed so many pelicans diving into the water at breakneck speed, while seagulls attempted to maul the pelicans in groups of five or more. The sounds of a feeding orgy with screeching and splashing and the constant screaming of the gulls added to the overall scene unfolding. It was quite the show to put it mildly!

Tomorrow we are going to try to bike to Morro Bay; the opposite direction of what we are use to biking in. The weather is gorgeous and the marine layer burns off in the afternoon. It is so nice and cool compared to Borrego Springs that I can’t help but be in heaven. It has been very hot and humid in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park. We had flash flooding from storms right before we left.

My daughter ended up taking better photographs than I did, so I am posting hers along with a few of mine. She added the pier and other man-made objects and balanced it with nature which made for a better composition. Mine were boring!

Callie was able to go on a few short walks with me and loves sleeping in the sun on the front seat of the RV while it is actually cool outside!

You Know it is Hot when…

Michael, Callie and I now have the awesome company of our adult daughter joining us on our travels with Callie adventure. She has been going to school- non-stop for close to 27 years. She wants to do a little traveling before deciding what she wants to be when she grows up. She is an only child and a much loved one at that. There are pros and cons of being an only child, but not one that I can address because I am one of 8. So having her join us is an honor and we understand and appreciate her very much. Not every adult/child would be kind or mature enough to take on the task of an RV trip with a cat and her aging, crazy parents.

We left Anza- Borrego Desert State Park where we have lived for a year and a half now. It was a hot, Friday afternoon on September 15th and it was 112 outside. Trying to pack up the RV in the oppressive heat was a daunting task, and this time most of the work fell on my husbands shoulders. I have Bipolar Disorder and had gone on a binge for several days before the trip. Leaving the house to go on a trip has frequently been a trigger for me, and this time was no exception. Staying in bed in a fetal position is horrible to experience, and no fun for any of us! I am relieved to see it behind me and the four of us safely out the door.

Living in the desert is brutal during the summer months and that was the reason for the RV purchase last December. It is miserable to be shut up in the house all day with a swamp cooler blasting and no possibility of doing anything besides swimming outdoors. Even the pool was a tepid warm and not very refreshing to go in. Plus the sun is so harsh that it fries your skin within an hour. The reality of just how hot it has been hit home when I noticed that my fake, battery operated candle had melted down to a forlorn and sunken shape. The real candles that a close girlfriend had given me had liquified and none of the wicks were left on the surface. Cans of V8 juice had exploded in the pantry and needed to be cleaned up and everything was super hot to the touch.

So I am so delighted and so appreciative that we got out of there in one piece and will be traveling up the coast. It will be cooler along the ocean and my adventures with Callie will begin once again.

The Beauty of Dawn

It is another beautiful morning in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. When the sun rises in the east and there are shades of pink in the sunrise, the San Ysidro foothills in the west blush a beautiful rose color. It is my favorite time in the desert. It is also Callie’s favorite time of the day! The birds are singing and the temperature is still tolerable. It looks like the series of summer storms are behind us. Soon the desert will start cooling down.

Desert Storms-Part 2

Anza Borrego Desert State Park is having a series of summer storms in September that build up in the early afternoon with ominous, dark gray clouds forming in the northwest. As they move slowly across the sky, the sound of low emitting thunder, grumbling and rumbling deep in the belly of these clouds, is like no sound I have ever heard before. Instead of a crashing boom after the crack of a lightening bolt, there is just a constant, thrumming vibration as the clouds pile up overhead. If the desert is fortunate, these clouds will give up their moisture and provide life giving water to the plants and animals below. If not, the clouds will move on and pass overhead without releasing so much as a drop of water. The entire desert seems to hold its breath in anxious hope that rain will come soon. And when the rain does come, it arrives in torrents and sheets and all at once. The rain is usually a drenching downpour, saturating the foothills as the water finds a path to lower ground. You would think that the rainfall would immediately be soaked right up and into the sandy soil, but it doesn’t. The water stays on the surface as it turns into a muddy, raging, flash flood and can be quite dangerous to anything left in its path. Because these storms are putting on a display right in my very own back yard, I feel like I have a ringside seat to nature’s  “Greatest Show on Earth!”

Below are a few of the photographs that I took today. Anza Borrego Desert State Park is a beautiful and wild place in which to live out my retirement years. At least for now that is.