Home Sweet Home

It was not an easy choice to have to leave beautiful, Morro Bay. The Cypress RV Park was perfect, the weather awesome except for some wind, and we were able to off-road on our new bikes on fabulous trails. My elbows have tendinitis though, from all the bouncing around I did out on the trails. Getting older is no fun; but the alternative is worse, I suppose. We will certainly be back to the bay again some day soon, I hope!

We had a nice drive home through Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Corona, Temecula and on up to Ramona, California to run some errands. Grocery shopping is a priority before you descend back down into Borrego Springs. There are no decent grocery stores in our town. The two markets that we do have are very expensive and the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables is limited.

After 9 hours of being on the road, and 10 days of RVing, unloading the RV is what you have to do when you return from a trip. Michael does most of the unloading and I put everything away. We are figuring out what to pack and not to pack, but there is still a learning curve for both of us. I think we did a super job only because we had such a fabulous time, and most of the perishable foods were used up. For breakfast, I served coffee and tea with toast, yogurt and fruit. When you are camping, there are usually BBQ pits and grills to cook on so I did not do that much cooking inside the RV. I mostly put together salads and sandwiches and Michael did the BBQ. The kitchen is small but very well designed. I have a nice microwave/convection oven, and the work space is limited but very functional. Our RV is a 24 ft Class C Icon, and it has turned out to be the perfect size and is easy to drive. We are very happy with the choice we made.

When everything was put away, we had a nice dinner together and watched Bill Maher. I am a progressive democrat with leanings toward socialism because I believe in universal healthcare for all, and a fair tax on everyone. It is my belief that a healthy middle class benefits society as a whole. It would be fabulous if our government focused on infrastructure rather than pumping up our military, and that the Affordable Care Act be fixed now and forever so that health isn’t something that insurance companies profit off of. Having said all that, Bill Maher makes me laugh and because we haven’t watched any TV for the entire 10 days we camped, I want to limit my exposure to politics at this time of my life. I am not willing to protest and march, so I had better keep my opinions moderate, and my complaints, minimal. 

Callie seems to really enjoy RVing, but because the space is so small, it is funny to watch her walk around the house when we get home and meow to herself. She is so vocal, and I can tell that she loves this house with her 2 beds that are perched up high on the TV consol in the master bedroom. She slept better last night, as did Michael and I in the king size bed versus the full size in the RV. She is still coughing but seems to be improving. The shot the vet gave her in Morro Bay is a two week course. If she doesn’t continue to improve every day, we will contact the vet for a back up plan.  But for now, home sweet home…..

Farewell- Beautiful Morro Bay!

Today will be our last day in Morro Bay at the Cypress RV Park off of Main and Beach St. It is ideally located and we were able to walk and bike to most of our destinations. I give the RV Park 5 stars. It is clean and quiet and we have met some really interesting people. One couple from Oceanside, California told me that they once had a cat the spitting image of Callie and we shared cat stories. Her cat was also a stray that showed up one day and became a loving member of her family. Her husband was diagnosed with a blocked, aorta artery, almost died, had surgery, came home, and the cat didn’t leave his side until he had sufficiently recovered. She had to drag the cat away to go potty and get a bite to eat. When she would finish eating, the cat would race back to settle down by her husband’s side once again. This lasted for 2 weeks. Their hearts are still broken after the cat passed away from kidney failure 3 years ago. Our stories had a lot of similar themes and I think it made the grieving process just a little bit better for having stopped by to talk and share.

We once again biked over to Morro Strand State Beach this morning and this time we didn’t have to battle the wind. It was a beautiful day and we biked much further north this time. The wildflowers are still blooming along the coastline and the scenery and view are breathtaking. We did some more off roading and I am so appreciative of the hybrid bicycle Michael bought me recently. We are really enjoying biking on hiking trails. You get to experience a more wild side to biking than with the road bikes.

Farewell, beautiful Morro Bay. We shall return…. Our next adventure will be to Carmel and Monterey where we plan on taking our daughter after she finishes her PhD program. She will need a celebration of some sort that requires little thinking on her part. Her brain is fried and she is exhausted but will benefit from visitng nature and being taken care of by her two loving parents and our cat, Callie. Now that will be an exciting trip. Maybe our friend, Fred will join us and make it a foursome. Keeping our fingers crossed.

On another note, Callie seems to be feeling better and coughed less last night. Her desire to play has returned, and her appetite has improved. Last night we had some rough and tumble playtime again and it felt so good to see her enjoying herself without coughing so much. We will know for sure that she is on the road to recovery if she doesn’t cough tonight.

Float Away Baby

I took another walk down to the pier to observe the otters, and was heartened to see how dedicated the mother otters are to their pups. Mother otters are called bitches or sows and the males are called dogs or boars. Whoever came up with those names? They look nothing like pigs, and even less like dogs… The collective noun is bevy or family.  The bevy of sea otters in the bay at the marina, appear to be females with their offspring of varying ages, accompanying them. I watched one attentive mother fall sound asleep while her pup became detached from her and started to float slowly away toward the pier. Both of them were on their backs and neither realized that they had become separated. The pup was oblivious and bobbing in the gentle salt water about 10 feet away when I heard the mother start to purr loudly, and hum even louder when there was no response. She then looked up and all around with a startled look on her face in search of her pup. She finally let out a bark of alarm when she realized just how far her baby had floated away. The pup had no idea it was going to be in trouble because it was sound asleep. When the mother reached her sleeping pup, she let out another annoyed bark and grabbed it by the nape of the neck and dragged it rather roughly back to the safety of the group. She disciplined it with a quick bite and a stern shake, and the poor pup let out a shrill squeak while trying to desperately wake up and make sense of the nightmare that was unfolding. When the two of them reached the perimeter of the group, she cuddled it adoringly and stroked its fur, while whispering sweet nothings in its ear. In response to the kindness, it started to nurse appreciatively and peace was once again restored. But it wasn't long before they started to nod off again, in unison, with the sun pouring down like warm butterscotch over their sleepy bodies. This time they both held on to each other tightly and did not let go. I counted 18 mothers with their young pups nursing and being groomed lovingly on their bellies, while the mothers bobbed gently on their backs. All of them were enjoying a quiet afternoon on a beautiful sunny day. The fog didn't roll in until after lunch and it was such an idyllic setting. As I have said before in an earlier post, otters were hunted for their lush fur almost to the point of extinction, and it is so touching to see that the mother otters have discovered the marina as a safe nursery site to raise their young.

An Update on Sweet Baby Cakes

When we first adopted Callie, it became obvious right away that her nickname would be “Baby Cakes”…. I think it was our daughter who christened her with such a charming term of affection. She is a sweet cat and lays on the charm rather than becoming bitchy if she is disciplined. She has inched her way into my bed at night; and that is a first. I have never allowed a pet to sleep with me before. The only reason I stand for it is because she creeps up ever so quietly, then bursts into a loud purr of pleasure when she can snuggle up close. Callie craves body contact. It isn’t enough to just be on the bed; she needs to snuggle right up against you too! She is just too cute to kick out of the bed. She pats you tenderly, licks you on the face and then looks deeply into your eyes with an adoring look on her face.

Callie has an upper respiratory infection and went to the vet on Monday. She is still coughing and seems to be improving; but the jury is still out. We have until Friday to decide whether we have to try something new. This has been an awful illness for her and we are hoping she will get better soon.

The nights are the most difficult for her. She is restless and coughs and wants attention and comforting. I have not been getting a good night’s sleep either. Today we should start seeing signs of improvement. The vet seemed pretty confident that she would start to feel better by the middle of the week. I will keep my readers updated on any change.

Blowin’ in the Wind

Michael and I are starting to suspect that the wind is following us. I don’t mean to sound paranoid, but really, everywhere we have gone lately, it has been windy. We thought we were going to leave the wind behind when we left Borrego Springs. Well the answer my friend, is blown’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind- Bob Dylan.

We had another fabulous bike ride to Morro Strand State Beach this morning, and I love biking here. Even with it blowing like crazy, it is still beautiful out. The bike path borders the Snowy Plover nesting grounds and the sand dunes are protected too. You can only view the wildlife from a distance, and you cannot walk on the dunes at all in protected areas. The Snowy Plover lays her eggs in the sand and this has worked pretty good for them up until humans came along and trampled over their nests and crushed their eggs. It is only recently that the birds have been granted protected status during nesting season, but it is hoped that they will have a come back and flourish once again. They are so adorable to watch flitting and darting across the shoreline. Their legs appear to spin in a circle like a wheel because they run so fast. It would be an incredible loss if these birds chose to avoid our shorelines; or even worse, became extinct.

In spite of the wind, we managed to make it to Morro Strand and back with stops along the way to take photographs. The wind was howling and the sand was spraying and pelting me in the face when I tried to shoot a short video. You can hear the wind in the background and the camera is not being held steady because I am being buffeted so hard. Morro Rock looks so incredible from the north side and I love the way the dunes are patterned by the wind. The iceplant has adapted to cling to the sand, hunker down low, and conserve water in its leaves. All and all, it is an amazing sight to behold. I love the coastline as it becomes more and more wild the further north you travel. There are less people on the beach because it is too cold out for sunbathing. This leaves the shoreline less crowded with people and the wildlife left alone, to be wild…..

Two Men a Raven and a Seagull

Michael, Callie and I are staying at The Cypress RV Park in Morro Bay for one week. We had previously thought we would go as far as Carmel and Monterey on this trip, but we are having such a great time here, we have decided to stay. We also want to make sure that Callie continues to improve from her upper respiratory infection before we leave.

When staying put in a neighborhood, if you are observant, you will begin to see little dramas playing out all around you. Our RV is backed into its space, with the front facing the ocean and Morro Rock, and the 3 smokestacks to the right. Across the street are 2 men, a raven and a seagull that have a relationship with one another. The men live in a small trailer and are scruffy and gruff; but leave one slice of bread for each bird, once a day on a fence post. The raven waits patiently on the telephone wire above and the seagull paces anxiously down below. This morning, the seagull actually had a gift of a bunch of grasses in his or her beak, which it dropped at the foot of the fence post. When one of the men comes out of the trailer to place the bread on the post, one or the other of the birds will get to it first. If the raven gets the bread, the seagull takes to the air and circles around in the sky and squawks in protest until a second piece of bread is placed on the fence post.  If the seagull grabs the bread first, the raven caws and barks on the wire quite loudly until it gets a piece of bread. The seagull has to be very careful when it paces on the ground because there is a gray cat that tries to attack it. The raven has the ability to grasp the wire, while the seagull can only place its webbed feet on flat surfaces. This little drama unfolds every morning, and the 4 of them seem to take quite a bit of pleasure out of such a small act of generosity.

Now that I am a writer, I have become more aware of my surroundings. I have always been observant though. My daughter would chide me gently when we would be sitting in a restaurant because I would stare at people and wonder what their story was. It would make my daughter a little unconfortable because I would stare so intently.  I wouldn’t even be aware that I was doing it.  But it pays to be curious and interested in all that is going on around you if you are a writer. I would never have noticed, 2 men, a raven and a seagull if I had not been! Now Callie and I can stare and feel absolutely no guilt…..

A Trip to the Vet

In early March, Callie was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, and was put on an antibiotic. She improved for a short period of time, but it came back when we headed up north on our Travels with Callie, RV adventure. Michael and I did not want to take her to an emergency clinic last Friday, so we waited over the weekend because we were able to schedule an appointment for Monday at 1:45. ER Clinics are so stressful and crowded, and Callie actually likes going to the doctor. She loves being the center of attention and pampered, so I didn’t want to ruin that for her by going to an emergency room. She didn’t get worse over the weekend, but she also didn’t improve. Callie was examined by Dr. Duane D. Stephens, at Coast Veterinary Clinic, in Morro Bay, and it was determined that she still has an infection. He was impressed with her oral hygiene and I let him know that when we first adopted her, she needed to have her teeth cleaned because her gums were so infected. She was then combed for fleas, and she did not have one, itty bitty flea on her! After examing her, Dr. Stephens felt that she might not have been given enough antibiotic to get rid of the infection in the first place. He did a thorough exam and was so polite and gentle with her. She in return acted like a sweet little princess, and behaved herself too! “He commented that her breed, a (short haired calico) is known for having opinionated, sassy attitudes, and rarely are they easy to work with.” “I of course  beamed like the proud handler that I am.” I have worked with Callie tirelessly on social behavior, and she has responded with intelligence and curiosity. She wants to have a good time, and enjoys all the positive attention she gets with being petted and praised for her beauty and good manners. She seems to know that she is sweet and very pretty and waits for everyone to come running over to her. When you look at the photographs below, you will see that her eyes are wide open, and that she is a little concerned, but she does her best to be brave. Dr. Stephen’s assistant gave her a shot and told us to check in with him before we head back south. He has a back up plan if she is still coughing when we leave Morro Bay on Friday. I feel very good about the diagnosis. We were concerned it was a chronic condition like asthma or allergies. Yay for modern medicine and for good and kind veterinarians…..

Our Morning Ride Suprise!

Michael and I decided to take our chances, without a map, to figure out the bike trail that leads to Morro Strand State Beach. We ended up going the less picturesque way north, and discovered the scenic route by chance, upon our return. We made it to Morro Strand by passing under the 101 North, then following alongside the freeway and crossing back under it again, to get to the campground. I thought to myself that this isn’t what I expected. On our return route we noticed a pathway and took it all the way back along the ocean side of the freeway, and it was such a nice suprise. This bike path is the celebrated one, and it is so worth riding on. I imagine it gets quite a bit of traffic over the weekends and on holidays, but on a Monday morning, it was perfect. On the way back, I chanced upon a turkey vulture feasting on a dead seagull. Most of the sandunes are protected north of Morro Bay, and it is a delight to see all the wildlife behaving naturally and feeling safe enough from human encroachment. You can bike for miles and miles, and observe nature quietly and respectfully, without impacting them negatively. We had a beautiful morning.

Another View of Morro Rock

Morro Bay has recently developed an awesome bike path that can be used to view the rock from another vantage point. The city is also restoring acre upon acre of  dunes alongside the shoreline, and native plants are once again being allowed to grow undisturbed by the trampling of many feet. The snowy plover is hanging on in protected areas as is the beautiful black oyster catcher, cormorants and sandpipers. Humans have had a detrimental impact on this gorgeous planet, but it feels good to see something good being done. The otters are making a comeback and the seals too.  The seals and otters eat fish and this has had a major impact on the fisherman. They view these fish eating mammals as competition. Introducing sushi to the world has dramatically increased the consumption of fish. I love to eat sushi, but am trying to have it only on special occasions because as consumers of seafood, we are having a negative impact on healthy levels of fish in the ocean. It is so tricky to find a good balance in life. Seeing so many people out biking, jogging and walking, rather than driving around in a car is a good start. I had a wonderful bike ride this morning. The temperature was fresh and brisk with a slight breeze, and it was perfect weather for all the hill work you must do in Morro Bay, to get from one spot to the next.

Morro Rock

The rock in the middle of Morro Bay is actually a volcanic plug, or neck of an ancient volcano. It is located just off shore from the bay, and is the best known of the nine sisters of San Luis Obispo. Morro Rock is home to seals and gulls with starlings that rush by in large flocks that fly in unison, and look like smoke from a distance. You can hear the fog horn at night, and the shrieking of seagulls and barking of seals in the daytime. Morro Rock is a State Historic Landmark that was formed about 23 million years ago. It has the nickname of the Gibraltar of the Pacific, and is formidable to look at. This evening after a lovely day of visiting with my sister and brother in law, I rushed down at sunset to take photographs. The colors were molten with people milling about and the otters were back in the harbor grooming themselves, and sleeping contentedly. Otters have to constantly groom in order to keep their luscious fur waterproof. It was a lovely evening and I was glad I ran out to take photographs. Callie of course was more than willing to help me write my blog at the end of the day.