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 lets go, the mother jostles it awake and demands that it hold 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.

Keep Tahoe Blue with LimeBike!

The environmentalists have a good foothold on what it takes to keep Tahoe blue, and one of the neatest ideas I have come across lately is “LimeBike!”

This operation is still on a trial basis, but you can rent these adorable bikes that are parked all over the downtown area of South Lake Tahoe, for $1.00, per 30 minutes. All you have to do is scan with your smartphone a GPS route and then use your credit card or debit card, hop on the bike and take it to your next destination of choice within the city limits. How awesome is that? And the first ride is free, none the less! I am not sure what kind of a success story this will be, but the concept is wonderful and I hope it works out for the company. It is very good for the environment and even better for tourists walking around and enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Lake Tahoe is incredible to look at and it is even more incredible when you are not inside a car whizzing by at 40 mph. There are paved bike trails along the lake and the neighborhoods due west are quiet and the streets have very few cars on them. We fortunately have our own bikes and do not need to rent a bike, but I can attest to the fact that it is fun to bike around this beautiful part of town.

On another note, Callie has been a wonderful RV companion and my only complaint concerning her, is that she sleeps all day and wants to play and eat at night. I have taken her on two walks today and hope I have worn her out just a little bit. I get the chirp and pat on my face at 2 am to check to see if I am really and truly sleeping. The answer to that, is that “YES, I really and truly am sleeping, CALLIE!” She doesn’t get it though! The joy she expresses at seeing me wake up is priceless, and that is putting it mildly. She immediately starts purring and chirping her cute little chirp and covering me with kisses. Even Lara is charmed by her and wants to help me out during night time duties. The RV is small though, and when one person is awake because of the cat, we are ALL awake because of the cat! Thank goodness she is just so darn cute! Otherwise she would be tossed right out, on her cute, little butt!

I went over to the front office and asked Ed if we could possibly stay through the weekend, and he kindly and most graciously secured B-9 for us through Sunday. This guy is incredible and the city is lucky to have him running Campground by the Lake with such compassion and cheerfulness. When I dropped by this morning, a young man was returning blankets that Ed had loaned him for the night because the temperature had dropped to 26 degrees. The poor guy was freezing. That was way beyond the call of duty and I told him that!!

Mono Vista RV Park

We left Yosemite Valley yesterday afternoon after a feeble attempt to try and reserve a campsite. Yosemite Valley was so crowded though, that we decided to drive over to Lee Vining and check out Mono Lake. We drove through a beautiful snowstorm in Tioga Pass, and the temperature dropped to 20 degrees last night in Lee Vining.

We pulled into Mono Vista RV Park around 5:00 and were given campsite #40 at the end of the row overlooking the lake. It truly is a Mono Vista RV Park, and it really has a view of the lake! The sites are spacious and the showers are clean. 2 out of 3 of us had hot water in the morning because Lara only had lukewarm. The management was informed of the problem, and they gave her another token for an additional 5 minutes which we never used and returned it to the front desk upon check-out. The campground has a large laundry facility and I thought the grounds were kept up nicely and the overall experience was rewarding. Our site offered electricity and water which was absolutely crucial for overall comfort because the night was so cold.

It is a gorgeous, bright and sunny day with a cloudless, blue sky overhead. After a lovely walk around the campgrounds with Callie, we collectively decided to head to South Lake Tahoe. We were going to go to Mammoth, but because most campgrounds don’t offer any hookups, I was concerned about Callie getting too cold during the night. She has coughed several times and we are trying to keep her warm and comfortable.

The drive to Tahoe was beautiful and the surrounding hills and mountains all had a dusting of pure white snow on them. The temperature was only in the 50’s all day, and autumn is definitely in the air. It took us about 2.5 hours to get here and we found an incredible campground called: The Campground by the Lake and we are settled into B-6. I personally believe we have the best site in the campground. The friendly host named Ed chose it for us and we can’t believe our good fortune! It is right across the street from the lake and is unbelievably large.

Because the site is so spacious and roomy, we were able to park the RV sideways so that we face the lake when sitting on the sofa. Our host was especially helpful and kind and made the experience of checking in without a reservation seem like a normal, everyday thing to do. We will be staying here for 3 nights and may stay even longer if we can. Supposedly the weekend is all booked up, but cold weather may keep some of the people that already made reservations, from traveling and they may cancel and stay home, according to Ed. We will keep our fingers crossed. It is aways advisable to have a campsite already reserved before the weekend rolls around. The weekends are when RVing can be a bit tricky. It is no fun driving around looking for a place to stay and finding everything is filled up!

The bike path is literally right in front of the campsite and there is another path across the street that follows the lake. Michael and Lara ended up buying her a bike at Walmart and we also purchased a 4 bike- bike rack for the RV. Tomorrow we will all try to go on a bike ride together!

Callie had an absolute blast on the front dash today and she jumps up on it as soon as the engine starts up. She is tucked into bed now after a nice dinner and we have the heat on because of electrical hook up. Who could possibly ask for more?

Photographs of the Monterey Coastal Bike Trail

If you visit Monterey and are a biker or like to walk or jog, I highly recommend you take this fabulous, nicely paved trail that crosses from one end of Monterey to the other and can be continued all the way to Carmel. The old railway tracks were used to determine the route as it hugs the coastline. It is a good alternative to driving a car around the city.

And an afterthought! If you want to go out to a really good restaurant- The Sardine Factory has been around for over 40 years. I have been there twice and my husband, three times. It is one of our favorite, upscale restaurants and is located on Cannery Row.

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!

Just Another Day

I love biking in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. There is hardly anyone here until the first of October. You can bike for hours and not see any people. Wild animals are a whole other story though. We watched a magnificent, young male coyote in his prime, with a fine coat of rust and gray, jog across our street as we were heading out. Flocks of twenty or more quail explode out of the brush as we pass by quietly, and the cottontails and jackrabbits dash in front of us, still curious and not quite sure what a person on a bike is. Roadrunners run by and look left and right as they trot along, and are just as funny to look at as the cartoons that depict them.

We biked over to Coyote Canyon on our street bikes today, and passed one of the orange groves that was left to die, and some of the trees still have a branch or two that are green, trying desperate to survive. These trees have been abandoned to save on water and it breaks my heart to watch them die a slow and agonizing death. I don’t care what anyone says, these trees want to live and not to die. They bore fruit for years that this rancher harvested and profited over, and to just turn off the water source and walk away seems unnecessarily cruel and ungrateful. Cut the trees down and harvest the wood, don’t let them die slowly.

Life in the desert is harsh and you pay a serious price if you are under the sun during peak hours without water. People have died out here that are hiking and unprepared for the heat. Every once in awhile you will hear a helicopter buzz overhead, searching for hikers that have not returned as scheduled.

Today is just another day in the desert. The high will be 107, so we have gotten our exercise over with early in the morning and can now relax in a cooled, air conditioned house. What a luxury that animals out in the wild do not have!

Survival of the Fittest

Michael and I are starting to get up early again in order to fit in a bike ride before the sun heats up. Today we went over to Seley Ranch- an orange, date and grapefruit ranch that has been around for generations. The farmers here have water rights and use up much of the natural aquifer. Times are changing and now that water has become such a precious commodity, some growers are letting portions of their crops die. It is heartbreaking for me to watch a grove slowly succumb to the heat and lack of water. I wish they would hire a local worker to cut the grove down right away and dry the wood for later use. I believe that plants have their own form of consciousness, and to die slowly, is a form of suffering that isn’t necessary and I believe, cruel.

The bike ride was beautiful though and I love taking photographs of the desert in its natural state. It always continues to amaze me how each plant that does survive, stakes out a claim and there appears to be some form of cooperation. When you look at ocotillo, they are always spread out uniformly. I have a great deal of respect for the desert and admire the harsh, stark beauty of survival of the fittest.

The desert willow for example is flowering now, and it has been well over 115 degrees several times last week. How does such a delicate looking flower manage to bloom in such intense heat? The flower smells like scented soap, clean and fresh, with leaves that are long, dark green and slender. Soon it will be autumn and who knows what surprise will be in store for me next? I plan on being strong myself- survival of the fittest is the name of game.

Gnomeland Security

Willapa Bay and the Bay Center RV KOA Park are a big hit for Callie and me. Callie and I were out on our morning walk when we rounded the corner and she was startled by a series of gnomes guarding a small corner of a vegetable garden. She stopped dead in her tracks and cautiously moved forward to check out these strange little creatures. When she was convinced that they wouldn't harm her, we continued down the pathway to our campsite.

Michael and I went on a bike ride along the bay and discovered a prolific patch of wild blackberries growing by the roadside. I dumped the water out of my water bottle and filled it to the brim with blackberries. We are going to have a bowl of berries tonight with our Tillamook old fashioned vanilla ice cream!

On the way back from our ride, we stopped off at the Bay Center Farms Seafood Store and bought fresh oysters, pickled salmon, canned, smoked albacore tuna and a fresh lemon with seafood sauce. Such abundance everywhere you look! I know it is summer and the sun is out! It can't be as green as it is here without weeks and weeks of rain. But for now, we are enjoying the here and now!

On Wednesday we are going to head to Port Angeles and take the ferry over to Vancouver Island. I have a brother and sister in law that live there. Tom Faue is an artist, as is his wife, Frances. It will be nice to see both of them again.

An Evening at Albee Creek Campground

After a lovely day of exploring the redwood forest, we settled down for a dinner of leftovers and a walk over to the apple orchard. Callie and I watched a young black tailed doe with her adorable, playful fawn and a buck showing off his antlers. He was rubbing them on the branches of the apple tree and wasn't at all shy about it. As he grazed, he would swing his magnificent head back and forth in a large graceful arch and the doe would stop to let the fawn nurse. It was an idyllic setting with the sun setting slowly in the west and the pale blond grasses catching the last of the golden light before darkness descended. Callie and I sat on a picnic table and listening to the sounds of jays squawking and people preparing their dinner over campfires. She has become very good at walking on the leash and usually can last about 20 minutes before wanting to head back to the safety of the RV. Once she is in the RV, she can watch all the activities unfurl through the front window while safely sitting on the dash. Real time big screen TV in action. Not a bad place for a cat to be!