Pillar Point RV Park

We moved the RV’s over to Pillar Point RV Park this morning before Fred and Michael drove Lara into San Fransisco for the GDC18 game developers conference. Lara wants to hang out there until 7:00 tonight. It is the first day of lectures and she is so excited about it.

Pillar Point RV Park is right next to the ocean and Half Moon Bay and a major storm has stalled over the area and will drop rain for 4 days straight. I happen to really love the rain and I am settled in the RV with Callie all curled up under a blanket and in a tight ball on the front seat. It is cold, wet, and windy out and the rain is coming down really hard now. I have a portable heater blasting hot air and it is aimed right at her. I am rarely cold these days being the mature older woman that I am, but Callie and Lara love it warm and toasty.

We are staying here at least until Saturday morning and I am so happy that we moved from Half Moon Bay RV Park. I can look out at the jetty and bay through the windshield and watch the rain fall on the ocean and the wind churn the sea into frothy foam. What a difference from a couple of weeks ago in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where I live.

Fields of Gold

I realize that some plants are just flowering weeds, but weeds are flowers that just happen to be growing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Half Moon Bay is covered with these golden yellow blooms and the hillsides and fields are alive with color. Mustard grass, Bermuda Buttercups, and Fiddleneck are three of the flowers that I can identify but there are others that I cannot. Tiny white and purple flowers are also sprinkled in the sea of golden yellow.

We are leaving Half Moon Bay RV Park early tomorrow morning and moving over to Pillar RV Park on the north side of town. We will be staying right on the ocean next to the bay and there are cats hunting for mice and all such creatures in the wildflowers and I wonder how Callie will act when she sees them or meets them on our walks. She has forgotten about Romeo since we left Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and her evenings spent searching for him in the master bedroom window are behind her.

Callie is living her life again on the road and the adventures she is having are worth writing about every day:) we can’t wait for our move to Pillar RV Park tomorrow morning, what a time we shall have camping along the seashore.

Morro Bay is very Bike Friendly

Morro Bay is a fabulous place to cycle and hike in. The community is very bike friendly and a coastal trail for walking and biking extends for many miles. We have taken the trail to Cayucos on Highway 1 which had some traffic on it but the shoulder is spacious and I didn’t feel too uncomfortable. I do not like to share the road with cars and that is why biking in the desert is so appealing to me.

The nature sanctuary trail is also wonderful and there are viewing benches to observe birds such as the endangered Snowy Plover. The sand dunes have nesting areas cordoned off and these adorable little shorebirds are treated with respect and courtesy and given prime site sanctuary locations in which to raise their young without being stepped on and trampled. I love this about Morro Bay; they are very pro-wildlife and try to give local and migratory animals a place to thrive in alongside us humans.

If you are staying in Morro Bay and wish to bike north, head down to Morro Rock and follow the boardwalk north of town until you pass the water treatment plant. Right before you bike underneath the Highway 1 bridge, turn left into the high school and follow the paved path on the west side of the highway. This trail will take you to Morro Strand State Beach and from there you can hook up to the 1 and follow that North to Cayucos. If you wish to bike south, Morro Bay State Park is another great place to bike around in. I don’t recommend going to Montana de Oro by bike because of the narrow roadway, but it is an incredible place in which to hike along the sand dunes. Biking through town is also fun because the cars go slowly and there is a bike path.

I have a front loading handlebar basket that I use for Callie and she loves biking but it has been too rainy and she has had to be left behind in the RV. I don’t think she minds all that much though. When we return, I find her in the same position as when we left. She seems to really enjoy all the activity of RVing and there is never a dull moment. She can rest on the dash and watch people walking their dogs or she can jump up into the loft for privacy and take an uninterrupted nap.

Morro Bay has a fabulous bike repair and rental shop called – The Bike Shop that is on Main Street in town and my husband bought an off-road Raleigh bike for me last time we stayed here. I love this bike and use it off-roading in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park. We have been coming to Morro Bay for 40 years now and this sleepy fishing community hasn’t changed all that much. It is a great place for walking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, and windsurfing.

White Rainbows

On the drive up Montezuma Pass yesterday on our way to Morro Bay, I witnessed a strange phenomenon emerging from heavy fog when my daughter and I pulled off the side of the road because a trucker had motioned to us that there was something wrong. At first, I thought he was upset with me for driving the heavy RV up the pass too slowly. He came up along the side of me and refused to leave until I pulled over to investigate.

I had Lara get out of the RV and she discovered that her bike was dangling from the bike rack that had collapsed and the extension arm was bent down toward the ground. Her bike was hanging on by a thread- or rather a bungee cord and could have so easily broken loose. We were very fortunate that the bike hadn’t fallen off of the rack. I wish the trucker had stopped so that I could have thanked him profusely! From what I hear, truckers really look out for each other and I have noticed that whenever they pass me with Callie on the dash and I am driving the RV, they smile and give me a thumbs up.

We were able to snap the extension arm into a horizontal position and put the bike back up and secure it. By the time my husband and Fred discovered that we were missing in action, they turned around and came back to investigate. It all worked out just fine, and the reward for stopping at this particular place was a white rainbow or fogbow. I have never heard of such a thing and didn’t know what I was looking at. The mist was gently burning off and what emerged was this white arch rising out of the light and mist. Fred joked that it wasn’t very colorful, and with that, I was in agreement, but it was so unusual looking and in hindsight, I am really grateful that I snapped two photographs of it. I posted it online yesterday with, Callie’s Troubles are Behind Her blog post and my NationalParks follower suggested it was a sun halo. That didn’t sound quite right because it wasn’t cold enough for ice crystals to form, so I looked it up this morning on Google. A white rainbow is pretty rare and one photographer saw one in Rannoch, Scotland and said, “I have never seen anything like it in the 10 years capturing landscape photos around the globe.”

White rainbows, ghostbows, or fogbows are rainbows with the color leached out of them. They emerge from the fog that is thin enough for light to pass through. I saw the reddish tinge at the edges and there can also be blue, but the color is wiped out in the center of the rainbow. The sun needs to be at your back, which was the case for me. I was looking west in the morning and the sun was behind me and rising up over Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. As with a rainbow, a fogbow’s arch is shaped from water droplets and the sunlight passing through the drops is at a perfect angle. The water droplets are 100 times smaller than rain droplets. Most of the light is scattered when it hits these tiny droplets, but some of the light is refracted and the white or colorless rainbow then appears. The sweet spot, where the reflected and refracted sunlight is concentrated most, actually forms a complete ring and can sometimes be viewed from above in airplanes. Due to the incredibly small size of the droplets, the light waves don’t spend enough time interacting to separate cleanly and refract and cause the prism effect associated with colorful rainbows.

How fortunate I was to experience some misfortune so that I could witness this unusual rainbow. It was so eerie out with the mist rolling over the green pastoral scene and cows mooing off in the distance. It brought the stress into perspective and diffused it so that a bigger and grander picture came into view.

Callie’s Troubles are Behind Her

Michael, Lara, Fred, Callie and I all pulled out of Borrego Springs this morning at 7:30 am and made it to Morro Bay by 4:30 pm. I drove ”Pipsqueak” and Fred drove his Minnie Winnie. Michael hung out with his best friend Fred and the girls all traveled together separately. As soon as we made it up Montezuma Grade, I had two truck drivers motion me over. I assumed it was because I was going too slow up the pass, but it was actually the bike rack that had slipped down with the extension arm, and Lara’s bike was actually dangling and the only thing holding her bike on, was a bungee cord.

I pulled over to the side of the road and Lara and I were able to secure the bar back up into place and get her bike back on the bike rack. It could have turned out really bad and we were so fortunate that kind and attentive truckers alerted us to the problem. Michael and Fred were ahead of us and because of bad phone service, they didn’t even know we were having difficulties.

The two of them finally came back to us and Michael helped me attach the bike even better and with more security. Apparently, the extension arm wasn’t locked into place. I am not placing blame on anyone, but it wasn’t me that loaded up the bikes!:) When we were finished, I looked up and over at a pasture full of cows in the heavy mist, and I happened to see a beautiful and very unusual white rainbow or a sun halo, so I quickly took a photograph and away we went. If we hadn’t stopped, I wouldn’t have seen this strange phenomenon!

Callie hopped up on the dash right away and she takes her job of Dash Queen Cat quite seriously. Once I start the engine, she leaps up and settles into her spot. She gets all in a huff if we start without her. Callie was obviously exhausted because she slept the whole way up the coast. I don’t think she will be spending too much time worrying about whether Romeo is making an appearance anytime soon. She has much better things to do now and places to see!

Callie’s Pathetic Toy Collection

One thing I can say with absolute certainty is that Callie has a pathetic toy collection. It only becomes a problem when we head out in the RV though, because she has her beloved olive trees to climb up and the backyard to hang out in when we are staying in the desert.

Callie has one stuffed giraffe tail? Is that what it is? It is a toy with a giraffe pattern on it and a fluffy brown tail at the end. She also has two catnip stuffed mice and a crop like whip that used to have a tassel on the end. She has destroyed the tassel and broken the wand portion handle in two. It is now taped together with electrical tape and Lara assembled colorful bits of ribbon and yarn and tied it to the end. I use this toy to smack her gently and sometimes not so gently on her rump and then tap it on the floor for her to chase after. She likes playtime to border on the rough and tumble side and doesn’t get all worked up and excited unless it hurts just a little bit. Calico’s are known for having attitude, so dominating her has turned her into a very nice and friendly cat. When I take her to the vet, he marvels at how well behaved she is.

Tomorrow we leave for Central California and I must remember to pack her pathetic toy collection. Walking on the leash takes up a great deal of her energy and after a particularly adventuresome walk, she is ready to nap for the rest of the day. Riding on the dash is also very stimulating, and she sleeps much better at night when we are on the road. There is so much to see and do and she doesn’t have the luxury of sleeping uninterrupted all day long. But still, in the evening, she wants to play with her toys.

The Greatest Show on Earth

There are a lot of beautiful places on earth, but for now, I am in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and my very own “Mount Illuminous” lit up with molten gold this morning. Every sunrise is unique, but after a rainstorm, the desert visibly responds to the moisture and the air is permeated with the intoxicating scent of negative ions, sage, creosote, and flowers. It is so fresh and alive outside, that you can’t help but skip and dance and throw your arms up into the sky with joy and appreciation. The desert depends so heavily on what scant rainfall that does drop from the clouds, every living creature, plant, and animal, rejoices after a storm that provides rain.

The coyotes were yipping and howling last night once the wind finally subsided and it makes sense to me that the party starts when they reunite with the fast-growing pups. I used to think they began their chorus after a successful hunt and kill, but I now believe that it is just the adult coyotes returning to the younger members of the pack. I suppose it could be both, but it doesn’t really make much sense to howl after a cottontail or jackrabbit is caught because they would be busy devouring it. Coyotes actually hunt more insects and date palm dates that require little effort, than expending so much energy running down a bunny. You rarely see fur in their scat.

So this morning dawned as the greatest show on earth for me today. It is beautiful outside and the desert will reach 80 degrees today. We leave tomorrow for our RV trip up north so I probably won’t be entering as many blog posts for a couple of weeks. Time to be in the moment and enjoy the great outdoors. Writing has helped me so much while living in the middle of nowhere, and I am so grateful to my readers for following my blog posts. It helps me feel a little less isolated and to also appreciate the unique environment that I am currently living in.

Callie, of course, ran up her beloved olive tree and surveyed her domain with regal curiosity. She seems to be getting over her love affair with the absent Romeo. The suitcases have come out, and she knows what that means. She loves being Queen of the dash and RVing.

We Got Rain!

Another storm has been drenching Los Angeles, and we are actually getting light rainfall too in the desert. It has been a very dry winter so far and there aren’t many wildflowers blooming, but it is still a welcome relief and very much appreciated.

Callie loves it when a storm front moves in and you can tell the smells are intoxicating to her. She sits primly on the pool deck and wiggles her nose in search of scents riding on the wind. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is always buffeted by wind before any rainfall is received and this storm was no exception. The wind roared last night as it pulled the storm up and over the barrier of the mountains.

The rain finally came around 5:00 pm and while not much of a drenching, it is still so dramatic with the dark and ominous clouds and lighting. It was also much cooler today. I just finished listening to the chorus of coyotes yipping and howling behind the house. The Coyotes love a storm too!

La Reina de Olivos

I thought it would sound more regal for the title- Queen of the Olive Trees to be written in Spanish. Seeing it in Spanish seems so romantic to me and fitting for such a cat as Callie.

She has to climb her olive trees most mornings and the dawn isn’t complete without a dash up these rugged trees so that she can survey her domain and maybe check to see if Romeo is hiding somewhere from sight. She is not allowed to leave the yard, so climbing up as high as she can on the gnarled branches of the trees gives her an advantage. Romeo left his scented mark on the screen door and he also marks on the trees and oleander bushes and the pink and red bougainvillea. He has never been seen in the light of day though.

Callie is still waiting for him every night in the master bedroom and places herself next to the glass door just in case he makes an unexpected visit. She has never appreciated the attention of any other cat before, so Romeo must be very special indeed. Thank goodness we are leaving next week for San Fransisco so that my love-sick Callie can get away from this unrequited love affair and be the queen of the dash instead.