Bike Riding in Morro Bay

Bike riding in Morro Bay is one of my favorite things to do. Even Lara joined us on a ride to Caucus to look out over the RV Park that we stayed in at the beginning of our road trip a month ago. It is rather fitting that we end our trip precisely where we began. The trail starts out at Morro Bay Rock and extends all the way to Caucus by going through the local high school and along the neighborhood above Morro Strand State Beach. You then follow the west side of Highway 101 and through an upscale row of about 14 houses to get to another look-out where benches are waiting for you to sit on and admire the view.

When we headed back to Morro Rock, I watched an osprey eating a fish on a lamppost and listened to its piercing cry as it looked down over all of us below. He was a magnificent raptor and seemed totally relaxed around urban sprawl. When I lived in Encinitas, I watched a pair of osprey’s raise young successfully and they too had learned to eat their fish on telephone poles. That will be the future for some of these birds if they are going to succeed and raise young. Humans have made it their desired destination to live by the water and fish hunting birds will have to adapt if they are going to survive as a species.

We also watched the otters nursing their pups in the bay and I marvel at what good mother’s they are. As soon as a pup falls asleep and let’s go, the mother jostles it awake and demands that it held on tighter. Last summer while I watched the otters, one pup floated away and when the mother realized how far her pup had separated from her, she swam over and angrily shook it and bit it gently. The pup woke up startled and disoriented because it was half asleep and the poor thing wasn’t sure what was going on. She dragged it back to the safety of the group and then nursed it lovingly while making soft reassuring purrs. Fortunately, otters too seem to be making a comeback.

I love Morro Bay for the balance it seems to have achieved and for the cooperation, it maintains for both wildlife and for people so that they can live together, side by side, and for the most part, harmoniously. Because of this, Morro Bay is one of my favorite places to hang out in, and I hope to come back again soon.

We are staying here until tomorrow so that Callie can recover from her bronchitis and we are convinced that recovery is on the way. Her cough was terrible last night but seems much better today. I am keeping my fingers crossed. I also bought Callie a pair of biking sunglasses at the humane society thrift store and am going to laugh if she accepts wearing them the next time I put her in the bike basket for a bike ride!

A Rest Stop in Morro Bay

It feels wonderful to be parked at Cypress RV Park in Morro Bay after a month of being on the road with our grown up daughter and darling cat- Callie. We can look west to the rock and smoke stakes and can see a peak of the sunset if you dodge the buildings across the street. I saw the gentleman who fed the seagull and raven over the summer and we stopped by at Coast Veterinary to pick up an antibiotic and steroid for Callie.

Callie developed bronchitis last summer and it took 4 months for her to be properly diagnosed and treated and Dr. Stephens in Morro Bay was the one to finally get her well. Callie made it up to BC Canada and sailed on my brother’s catamaran called: El Fresca while enjoying a 7-week trip featuring one fantastic adventure after another. She has managed to stay well up until the fires in Santa Rosa, and the smoke became too much for her and she relapsed. We started her on the meds this evening, so I am hoping she will feel better by tomorrow. She is coughing and wheezing and feeling quite crummy, poor little thing.

We will stay here until we see that her health is improving and feel that it is safe to continue south to Anza Borrego Desert State Park where we live. If she doesn’t show improvement, we will take her back in to see the doctor.

But for now, it will be so nice to relax and bike, walk and rest in this idyllic beach town near San Luis Obispo, California.

*Callie is showing signs of improvement this morning.

Heading Home!

We are heading back home to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park after a month of being on the road. We forgot to pack toys for Callie, so a thrift store bag and iPhone chord will have to do! The thrift stores in Monterey and Carmel are incredible. The Humane Society Thrift Store, The Yellow Brick Road and Joining Hands help the homeless and animals that need to find a home too. Callie loved playing in the bag after we finished shopping.

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The Sky is Falling- The Crows are Calling

Callie has become quite the darling wherever and whenever she goes out for a walk with me and Lara! People are always fascinated that a cat can and will walk on a leash. She takes it all in stride though and tries to keep her cool in most situations.

Everyone walking a dog marvels at her calm disposition and the dogs cannot believe their eyes, ears, and nose. The smaller ones always want to touch noses with her, and if they go about it in a smooth and controlled manner, she will allow it. Otherwise, she lies in wait at the end of her leash, and I have to warn the owners that she will get the better of the dog if they get too close. Callie is wickedly fast with her claws and before she rakes the poor dog swiftly over the nose, she will let out a warning shriek that sends most dogs running in a blind panic!

But today we saw a different beast altogether! This afternoon we had several crows following us high up above in the oak trees and they would cackle and crow and make all kinds of clicking noises as they jumped from branch to branch. It was almost like they too could not believe that there was a cat walking on a leash below them. They both peered down at us intently and with keen curiosity, tried dropped acorns on our heads to see just how we would react to the taunting. I looked up at them in return and mimicked their sounds right back at them and that set them off even more. They flapped their wings and cawed even louder and flew off muttering to themselves about the impossibility of a cat walking around on a leash. This caused Callie to drop down into a fake crouch position, but because they were so much bigger than her, there was very little threat in her posture. I think the tables would have been turned if the Crows called her bluff and it would have sent her running in a blind panic.

We are having a lovely time staying at the Monterey Campgrounds again, and Callie has her favorite oak trees that she loves to rub up against. I wonder if every dog that has ever been walked on a leash in the area, has lifted its leg and peed on the trunks of these trees. She gets this weird look on her face and then drops and rolls at the base of the tree in total ecstasy and rubs her back and face along the base of the tree. And if owners neglect to pick up after their dog? Why she goes about burying all the exposed poop with dirt and dried leaves and you can tell that it bothers her that dogs are so sloppy and thoughtless. She is the most fastidious cat I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and can’t stand it when others are dirty and leave a mess!

So Callie and I will ignore the crows that hop from branch to branch and taunt us high up in the oak tree. And I will let them wonder just how it was that I taught a cat to walk on a leash in the first place. It must be a first for these ravens to observe and for most people to witness too, but I believe that Callie has opened the eyes of everyone that sees her out walking to the distinct possibility that their cat too, could walk on a leash!

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Words Cannot Describe

Yesterday morning, we headed south again for the Monterey County Fairgrounds in order to make the return trip home. We have been on this road trip for a month now with our daughter Lara and sweet cat, Callie, and for the most part, we have all had a wonderland time. The places we have visited and explored have been beautiful and the experience, priceless. Having our daughter join us this time has been a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I will always be grateful to her for joining us. Hanging out with her parents can’t always have been easy for her. She is a joy to be around though.

And the truth has come out about Callie! Callie loves Lara! I think Lara just might be her favorite human of all time, even though she still has to depend on me for daily walks, brushing, cleaning up after her and food. But Lara has definitely become Callie’s desired bedtime companion and slave in the middle of the night on this trip! I sleep up in the loft and am way up against the wall and Michael sleeps on the edge of the loft which bars me from easy access to getting down on the ladder. So it is Lara that is below on the ground floor bedroom that has to cater to Callie’s nighttime desire for snacks, petting, and playtime! Lucky for Lara! Smile.

Last night, due to the steroids that Callie is taking for her cough; her cough has returned because the smoke from the fires has irritated her lungs. She decided to play rough and tumble in the middle of the night, and she takes out her excess energy on the wool rug that rests on the couch. She drags the rug up into a tight embrace with her front paws and kicks and bites the hell out of it with her back paws. It is so funny to watch her try to destroy the rugby attempting to disembowel it! It also means that Callie is interrupting Lara’s sleep! Too bad! This also reminds me once again that I really must pack some toys along next time we take a trip so that Callie has something to play with besides iPhone power chords and rugs!

But on a more somber note, and one that words cannot describe, we had to drive through Santa Rosa and Petaluma again and are further horrified at the sheer devastation the fire has inflicted on this beautiful area of vineyards, oak trees, golden grasslands, people, wildlife, horses, pets, and cattle. The fire actually jumped over the 101 freeway and guard rails were still smoking as we passed on through so somberly. Thank goodness the fires are moderately contained today, which is a Saturday, and because the winds did not pick up as was thought, my friend did not have to evacuate! Catherine, who lives in Petaluma, was told to pack up her essentials just in case the winds shifted and an evacuation order was put into place.

Fortunately, it looks like the winds have died down over the weekend. The fires may have been caused by downed PG&E power lines that weren’t able to withstand powerful winds- these winds, with gusts of upwards of 45-75 mph, were not hurricane force winds though, and this is a wind strength that PG&E claims their lines should have been able to endure. Weather reports indicate that they were not, in fact, hurricane force winds when the lines fell down! In their defense, they may use the old excuse of – ACT OF GOD and this may prevent them from being held accountable. I hate big businesses that are too big to fail and that are above the law and just plain, common, decency!

Reading the harrowing stories of people that jumped in their swimming pool to ward off the searing heat and flames that consumed their house, and the family whose 14 years old did not make it out alive is heartbreaking. We spent the night at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds in July and have read that it is now an evacuation safe zone for evacuees with their pets, including horses, sheep, llamas, etc. What a tragedy and one that is difficult to wrap my head around. The hills are scorched and many buildings have been burned down to the ground. Some of the residents that we saw while passing through town were wearing masks and the skies are still filled with heavy, acrid, dark smoke. The stench of everything that was burned fills the air and it is difficult to breathe!

It is one of the worst fires in California history, and with 17 fires burning out of control at one time, one of the largest. We are so appreciative that the fires are almost under control and that hopefully Santa Rosa can rebuild. California went through a 10 year plus drought and with heavy rains during the winter months, grass and brush proliferated and grew abundant during the spring. These were ripe conditions for a wildfire when the long, hot summer, dried them out! The entire coast looks like it could go up in flames too. I love California and can only hope for the best.

As we head back home to the desert, I will think fondly of this RV trip with my family. It was a once in a lifetime event and we had such a fabulous time together. I will count my blessings and I am so appreciative that I was able to write down my thoughts and take photographs of the places we visited and that I have readers like you who are taking the time to read my blog. Thank you all so much! It has been quite the experience and as I get older, my memory isn’t what it use to be. So keeping a diary of sorts of my travels with Callie will help me to remember what I did, and where I went, for many years to come. I am hoping to turn these musings into a book when all is said and done! So, once again- thank you all for taking the time to read my travels with Callie adventures. It certainly has been quite the adventure!

Avenue of the Giants

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Burlington Campground X2

Michael, Callie and I stayed at the Burlington Grove Campground during the summer months, right before the disastrous drive over to Albee Creek. Albee Creek was a disaster because RV’s weren’t recommended on the pothole filled drive over to the campground, and the sign stating as such was spot on. We lost a hubcap and later had a flat tire and the cabinets in the RV came loose from the wall. This story is about Burlington though, and Burlington is a lovely campground.

We biked over to the Founder’s Grove yesterday and walked among the ancient redwoods. 98% of the redwoods were cut down before a group of environmentalists in 1932 stepped in and questioned the sanity of chopping down all these beautiful trees. Thank goodness for the foresight of these individuals.

Callie loves the big trees and keeps looking up in bewilderment at how to go about climbing one of these giants. She settled for hopping up on stumps instead. That just doesn’t seem so formidable to her. She also got to meet a lovely young boy by the name of Ocean who had to give up his kitten because his landlady was mean and he was very sad about it. Callie comforted him and I told Ocean when he grows up, he must remember Callie and rescue a cat just like Callie was rescued of his own. His whole face lit up at the idea and he walked away just a little happier than before. It kind of looked like his family had fallen on hard times and may have been living in their car. Ocean told me he had been very cold last night. What a sweet, smart and well mannered young boy he was.

The photo below shows a redwood that fell down in a storm and the inner rings date back to 920 AD.

The redwoods of today are ancestors to even more ancient redwoods that dominated the planet during the time of dinosaurs. We, humans, have only been around for a blink of an eye, but we have already destroyed over 98% of these majestic creatures. How is that possible? I love these trees and feel so honored to have had the opportunity to camp below them twice now in one year. Who knows when or if a fire will consume them before I have a chance again? I can only hope that our current political administration will come to their senses and find value in our natural resources too- before it is too late!

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Good Morning California Quail

Callie and I woke up to a covey of quail clicking and squeaking their delight about some kind of food made available from our next door neighbor. I don’t think anything was deliberately left out, but they found something that struck their fancy. I counted at least 20 birds pecking away right below the driver’s seat. Callie had a front row view and contributed to the overall mayhem by making little squeaky sounds of the delight of her own.

We are going to attempt to drive up to Eureka and check out the redwoods in spite of the unhealthy air quality. We are being besieged by fires all up and down the California coast and Callie has started to cough again. There are at least 17 fires burning this morning. They were somewhat contained on Tuesday, but dry winds have picked up again and fanned the flames. The smoke and ash are everywhere. I feel so sorry for California and the people and animals affected by this tragedy. I must admit that the coastal trees and grasslands look dry and unhealthy. Perfect conditions for wildfires.

For now, enjoying the quail below the window will have to do. These birds look healthy and happy and are relishing a lovely morning before all the campers wake up.

Fires Raging in Santa Rosa

We left South Lake Tahoe and innocently headed to Bodega Bay, oblivious to the fires that were raging in Northern California. About the time we came closer to the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, we could see smoke billowing off to the right side and north of us. By the time we merged onto the 101 North, we received an evacuation notice that blasted over the phone and we took notice that most people on the highway were zipping by us and going in the opposite direction with their lights on. Soon, whole hillsides were engulfed in flames and smoke. Cattle were actually grazing in fields that had been recently charred and smoke was curling up gently all around them. It was so eerie to see the cattle walking around in burned fields with smoke and blackened grass. They weren’t even reacting, just ambling along quietly with young calves at their sides.

As we drove past Petaluma, the smoke became more and more densely thick and you could actually see flames! We also saw a sign that informed us that the freeway was closed up ahead and that we needed to find an alternate route. Because the smoke was so thick, we had made a joint decision earlier not to go to Bodega Bay, but to try and continue north to escape the pollution. By then, we were all coughing and our eyes were burning from all of the smoke. We were forced to get off though before we got to Santa Rosa and thought that maybe Salt Point State Campground would be clearer. When we drove through Bodega Bay, it was really dark with smoke and after another hour or so of driving north on the 1, we made it to our Campground.

It wasn’t any better at the campground though. Apparently, there are fires burning all over and the entire coastline is smokey and the sun is tinged a blood red. We spent one night there and woke up to smokey skies and took the 1 to Casper Beach RV Park and Campground which is north of Fort Bragg this morning. The skies are still smokey and because we dropped by and had lunch in Point Arena, near Irish Beach, we watched the news and were horrified at the extent of the fires and the sheer number of lives and structures lost. Horses and people and vineyards and a Hilton Hotel, and the list goes on and on. I am in shock and feel so bad for all of those that are affected. It is hard to imagine in this day and age, that fires can still swoop through whole neighborhoods and kill everything iI its path. It was apocalyptic though! We were just at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds not more than 2.5 months ago.

We will be staying tonight at the Casper Beach Campground in Westport and may decide to head back south again tomorrow. The skies will not be clearing up anytime soon and we are miserable. Certainly, it is nothing like what others have had to endure, but it is awful never the less.

I have a good friend, Catherine who I have written about concerning Anza Borrego Desert State Park and she lives in Petaluma and has been watching as rescue trucks have delivered animals out of the fire zone. Apparently, a lot of horses have perished. She dropped by the Red Cross today and delivered donated clothes. I am so sorry for the fire victims. What a horrible thing to endure.

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Last Day in South Lake Tahoe

Tomorrow we are going to be pulling up stakes again and heading to Lassen Volcanic National Park. But only if we can find out if there are any partial hookups for RV’s. The nights are dropping into the 20’s and it is just too cold for Callie when we don’t have the heat on. She is coughing intermittently and we don’t want to see her get any worse. If Lassen isn’t our next destination, we will go to the redwoods. Our daughter hasn’t seen the gentle giants since she was a little girl, and the climate should be more temperate along the coast. It only got in the 50’s today in South Lake Tahoe.

Callie enjoyed a couple of walks today and is quite at home in this Campground. Most of the campers have left and it is quiet and there are more trees than Callie knows what to do with. She loves walking up to a tree and evaluating whether it would be worth climbing or not. Gray squirrels are busy stashing away food for the winter and barely take notice of her passing by. She is interested in them but because they are almost the same size as she is, chooses to leave them alone. The Canadian Geese like to head back to wherever they came from around 3:00 in the afternoon and you can hear them take off from the lake and start to fly back over the pine trees in a reverse pattern from the previous dawn. I wonder where they bed down to during the night?

We have really enjoyed our stay here at Campground by the Lake and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in camping in Tahoe. It is affordable, well run, clean and except for the traffic along the lake, quiet. The campground closes in 2 weeks though for the season. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if snow falls with the next storm that passes overhead. You can feel autumn in the air and winter is right behind it.

We were never able to figure out if Lassen Volcanic National Park has hookups, and after much consideration- we have decided to go to Bodega Bay, or the redwoods in California because of the temperate climate! Nothing but the best for Callie Adorable!