Pillar Point- Half Moon Bay

It was a cold and stormy day today, but that didn’t stop Callie from going on one walk and looking out the window and enjoying the view of the ocean and the seagulls that fly past at breakneck speed. We are literally parked right alongside the coastal trail and a field of flowering ice plant. The jetty is in front of the RV and the bay is to my left. I can hear the waves crashing over the sound of the personal heater for Callie, and unfortunately, the Cabrillo Highway is behind us. You can hear street noise but I have been told that it quiets down at night. The mournful call of the foghorn blasts frequently and I love the sound. Our hostess, Cindy, is really nice and helpful and Lara, Michael, and Fred should be arriving soon from their day in downtown San Francisco.

What an awesome RV Park- Pillar Point RV Park has full hookup so we will be taking showers in the RV. Callie’s litter box has to be moved from the shower and onto the bathroom floor. The shower is a perfect place for her litter box and I am totally thrilled with this RV. We have had it for a little over a year now and bought it used. I have named it Pipsqueak because we are usually one of the smallest RV’S in the parking lot. At 24 ft, it is the perfect size for us. Fred’s Minnie Winnie is parked right next door.

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.

Half Moon Bay

Our drive to Half Moon Bay was delightful and Callie enjoyed the entire trip hanging out on the dash and playing co-captain. The bright yellow mustard and fiddleneck flowers are blooming everywhere and cover the fields alongside Highway 1. It has been raining all of last week and it will start raining again tomorrow, so new growth is abundant and prolific blooms carpet the hillsides in fields of gold.

We stopped by an Albertson’s in Morro Bay before we headed out of town and stocked up on groceries and supplies because we are set to hang out in Half Moon Bay for a week. The GDC18 Game Developers Conference is being held at the Moscone Conference Center in San Fransisco and our adult daughter is going to attend. Half Moon Bay RV Park is only 30 miles away, so we rented a car and will take her to the conference and pick her up while we play in the city.

Half Moon Bay RV Park is basically a dirt parking lot but the bathrooms and showers are clean, spacious, AND with plenty of hot water to use without worrying about putting quarters into a slot makes it worthy of 5 stars. When you arrive at the RV Park you are greeted by 3 cats and a retired bright red, British double-decker bus with Christmas lights blinking on and off. Seeing as it is the middle of March, it is rather eccentric, but we were welcomed warmly and put in space #7 with Fred next door in space #6 alongside a tall hedge of fragrant juniper or cypress for privacy.

Our daughter Lara earned a Ph.D. in Physiology in 2017, but it was not her passion and she wants to explore the possibility of becoming a producer in the gaming industry. She is gifted in multiple languages, computer science, computer graphics, writing, and mathematics. I believe she can do whatever her heart and soul desires so we are trying to be very supportive. She is our only daughter and we want her to be in a work environment that makes her heart sing with joy, but pays well too! I don’t think that it is too tall of an order considering her vast talents.

Today it will be clear and sunny but will rain the rest of the week, so I will make sure to get Callie out for a walk to explore her surroundings. Last night we hiked to the beach and watched a glorious sunset turn from a silvery lilac and yellow to lavender, red and molten orange. It was magnificent, to say the least. The shoreline was practically empty of people and the sand was a coarse bleached, pale off-white; this was perfect conditions for photography, and I took full advantage of the evening.

Wake up- Let’s go for a Walk!

It has been rather cold and rainy this past week in Morro Bay, and Callie isn’t exactly enamored with the weather, but she is game for a walk as soon as I can entice her to go outside. The sun was shining for a little while this morning, so Callie was able to close her eyes and inhale all of the delightful scents after a sky cleansing shower. Jasmine is blooming across the street and you can get a faint whiff of this gorgeous smelling flower when you head toward the marina. When you get closer to the blooms, the scent is intoxicating.

We are spending one more night at Cypress RV Park and will take the 3.5-hour drive to Half- Moon Bay tomorrow morning. I am looking forward to exploring new territory and I am sure Callie is too. This RV Park isn’t the best place for walking a cat, she prefers a few more trees and the gravel here hurts her dainty paws.

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.

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.

Lower Coyote Canyon

The weather has been perfect for outdoor activity and Michael and I impulsively decided to off-road cycle to Lower Coyote Canyon. I have a somewhat new Raleigh bike that I had yet to try out in deep sand and wanted to check it out. It performed beautifully and we were able to bike all the way to the first spring where coyotes and Bighorn Sheep drink and Brittle Bush bloom in the middle of February. The Ocotillo were starting to green up too and some even had the beautiful bright orange blossoms at the end of their thorny stalks. Purple, fragrant desert verbena is only blooming along the banks of the water source, nothing like last spring when the super bloom blanketed the entire desert.

Swainson’s Hawks are migrating overhead from Argentina and Mexico on the return trip to Canada and they only eat insects on the wing as they travel home. Birders come from all over the world to count how many hawks pass over Anza- Borrego Desert State Park and there is a bench at the entrance to Coyote Canyon for the counters to sit on and watch with binoculars.

There has been very little rainfall this winter, but the natural spring is still flowing and the sky a deep, powder blue with wispy cereus clouds and contrails streaking high up overhead. Wild bees were buzzing and we were the only bikers out there this morning. Five 4 wheel drive jeeps caravanned past us slowly as they continued up the road to the upper spring, but otherwise, it was only us and nature.

It felt good to bike off-road and I actually prefer it to street biking. I love horseback riding, and this type of biking reminds me of being on a horse. We did pass two riders that board their horses at Vern Whittaker Stables and I was just a tad bit jealous. I love horseback riding and miss doing that with my sister.

A beautiful day unfolded and it was a perfect bike ride. Anza- Borrego Desert State Park is at its best in late winter and early spring. Callie has enjoyed several servings of the new, homemade cat food and I hope she will continue to eat it. All is good in the middle of nowhere!

Settling Back in to Borrego Springs

Saturday evening, Michael, Lara, Callie and myself pulled into our driveway with the stars twinkling overhead and coyotes yipping and howling in the desert. It is a little unnerving to hear a pack of at least 20 coyotes celebrating the full moon or a kill, or just enjoying an evening under the stars so close to where you are unloading the RV. Callie’s attitude has changed concerning coyotes since she came eye to eye with one in Death Valley earlier in the day. She most definitely knew the difference between a coyote and a dog. Now instead of ignoring their howls, she sits straight up and looks to where they have gathered.

Today is Wednesday and we are all settled in and enjoying the beautiful weather. It is only 80 degrees out and the sunshine is mild and the sky free of clouds. We have taken up biking every day and Callie gets to bask in the sun outside on the patio. She knows she is not allowed to leave the yard and doesn’t question it as long as I am around. Michael says she tries looking for me if I have left to visit my sister though, and he has to be on constant alert to make sure she doesn’t go over the wall. For now, all is well and a nap is in order.

Furnace Creek in Death Valley

We pulled out of Zion River Resort RV Park in Utah, yesterday morning and headed to Death Valley for the partial lunar eclipse. The drive was uneventful and I am getting better at maneuvering the RV on my own. We have decided to name our RV “Pipsqueak” because of its compact size in comparison to most of the RV’S we are parked next to. The ICON is 24 ft in length and as far as we are concerned, perfect! It has plenty of power and can easily accommodate 3 adults and a cat.

Callie has been sneezing for 3 days and we can’t figure out if she has allergies or came down with a cold. It was very chilly in Utah, especially at night, but other than that, I can’t figure out how she would have gotten sick. Her appetite hasn’t diminished so that is good.

Last night we watched the full moon rise and this morning we witnessed the partial lunar eclipse. Today we will explore the park but will have to stay on paved roads because we don’t have 4 wheel drive. Death Valley looks so ancient to me and at least it will be warm today. Callie can rest up in the sunshine and thaw out.

On the first morning, Callie had a visitor by the name of Jake who also walks on a leash and halter and is from Canada. Sadly, she didn’t want anything to do with him though.

Death Valley National Park

I am not sure what I expected when we decided to visit Death Valley because the campsites at Valley of Fire were all full, but I can honestly tell you, it was better than my wildest imagination.

Death Valley has the honor of being the hottest, driest, and lowest place in North America. It is an endorheic basin, which means that the rivers that flow in the valley do not head out to sea. It is part of the Mojave Desert and is famous for its unusual geographical features. There are sand dunes, salt flats, craters, and hardy stalk-like plants called Devil’s Corn Stacks.

This arid desert valley was once covered by a very large lake named Lake Manly that has since dried up. When the water evaporated, it left behind large deposits of minerals and salts that were once harvested by mules. Harmony Borax and the 20 mule team rigs that hauled the salts out of the valley that is used for washing clothes, was a well-known product when I was growing up in the 50’s.

We camped at the Furnace Creek Campground and had site number 66 and 70 which had a lot of privacy and a good view of the Panamint Mountains with white snow dusting the largest peak in the distance. It was dry camping and our auxiliary battery kept dying and our propane was low, so note to self, always fill up with propane before dry camping. I ended up having to get up at 4 am the last morning we were there because the refrigerator needed at least a charged battery or propane to continue cooling our food, and an alarm went off warning us that we were about to run out of both propane and the use of our battery. I turned the motor on and sent out a silent prayer that we weren’t causing our neighbors to lose sleep over the noise; the generator wouldn’t even turn over. I was able to get enough juice stored in the auxiliary battery after about 20 minutes of idling, and turned everything back off until 7 am when generators could be turned on once again.

The four of us spent 5 days and 4 nights at Furnace Creek and went exploring every day with our daughter’s car. My only complaint with RVing is that once we set up camp, we either have to walk or bike to wherever we want to explore. We had so much more freedom with a car. Towing a small car may have to be a necessity in the future.

On our first day, we went to Badwater and walked around the salt flats. It consists of mostly plain, white table salt, and was such a trip to look at. From a distance, it appears like snow, but up close, you can see the sodium crystals forming on the surface. On the return drive, we drove through Artist’s Palette Canyon but the lighting was too poor for a decent photograph. The colors were so spectacular with turquoise and rose and yellow ochre tints, that were layered inside golden sandstone. My photographs did not do it justice.

The Harmony Borax site was unsettling to look at because I just know the mules were worked to death and the Chinese workers that mined the salts were only paid a pittance and their wages were deducted for the cost of board and food. The Ubehebe Crater was extraordinary though, and looked like something on the moon and is only 2,000 years old. We hiked up to the crater’s first lookout and it was breathtaking! You pass the sign for the Race Track on your way to the Crater that is famous for the heavy rocks that slide along the ground of their own accord, but it was not reachable because we didn’t have 4 wheel drive. Multiple flat tires are common and there is no cell phone service available. The cost of being towed out can exceed $2,000! We tried to off-road to Darwin’s Falls, but that too became problematic because the car is so low to the ground and Lara and myself were sure that we were going to break down. A guy coming back from the falls convinced us to turn around and Michael reluctantly did so. The falls weren’t flowing strong anyway, so we didn’t miss out on too much!

We visited the Mesquite Sand Dunes, rode bikes and the last day I took photographs of Zabriskie’s Point at sunset. That was incredible and this time the lighting was perfect and I took multiple shots of the magnificent geological rocks that take your breath away.

Camping at Furnace Creek and exploring the Visitor Center was so much fun. Callie loved it too and started to feel better once she unthawed from her stay at Zion. She had the sniffles and kept sneezing the whole time we were in Utah. I wasn’t sure if it was allergies or a cold. Her respiratory system has been so compromised ever since she had that terrible bout of coughing that went on for over 4 months last winter.

I drove the RV all the way back from Death Valley to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park myself, and it handled so well. I am rather proud of doing such a good job. Michael has accidentally gone over railroad tracks in the very beginning just a little too fast, and we have had multiple flat tires and one time it separated the kitchen cabinets from the wall. The RV is a house on wheels and needs to be driven ever so gingerly. I had no mishaps on the way home. We did spot a very tame and curious coyote on the drive back and it came right up to the RV and checked Callie out. She actually growled at it so I am relieved to see that she knows the difference between a dog and a coyote. She loves dogs!

It feels good to be back in a house after 2 weeks on the road, and Callie is relishing having more room to run around in. She climbed up all three of her olive trees this morning and took a shot at the CD cabinet in the living room. All is well and another trip will be planned soon.