A Winter in San Diego

Crystal Pier Sunset

A month passes fast. I have been in San Diego for just over a month. Elsie and I moved into a rental near the beach for three months. It is nice to be able to walk the two blocks to the bay and then in a few miles be at the Pacific Ocean. I have missed “Big Blue”. I walk or ride my bike every day, in between appointments.

 

One of the reasons I moved back to SD was to get “stuff” done. Important stuff but still stuff.

  • Dental appointments, galore -I am on the finishing side of my tooth implant. My close relationship with the periodontist is at an end. He is a nice man yet I will be glad to put this chapter behind me.
  • All my doctor appointments are complete (many appointments in December) and I am good to go for another year. I know this sounds light yet, this is just the sign of relief I feel after being anxious about these annual visits.  I begin to fuss  about two months in advance. After having breast cancer, the trauma does not seem to totally go away.
  • I completed by new web site. It went live about three weeks ago. Go check it out. I am proud of it and if you want to purchase any of my photos it is all on the web site. Your comments are always welcome jarnoldarts.com
  • My storage locker is still there. I am starting to acknowledge that it may be time to get rid of some of the things that are in the unit. I am discovering that absence really does not make the heart grow fonder. I am beginning to realize that many things I kept because of sentimental value. After a year and a half away, the sentiment is growing less with each passing day.
  • I spent several days cleaning and sorting and fixing my Roadtrek RV. I enjoy doing this.
  • My rig is at the RV hospital getting repairs done and getting her physical check-up.

I could go on but you get the idea. The first month has been very busy. I am now finding more days that have nothing on the calendar. I am glad to see that because it means it is time to visit more of my local friends. I will enjoy catching up with everyone.

Another reason I moved into a “sticks & bricks” studio was to test the waters. Is San Diego a contender on the potential list of places to live? I figured that maybe moving in and staying put for a few months might answer that question. The jury is still out.

I have a good core base of friends in San Diego. I now realize that peoples lives move on, even my friends. They are caught up in their own lives, as it should be. I knew this was a possibility when I chose this current lifestyle, yet I miss seeing some of them and being more involved in their lives. You could say the same thing about me. I have changed and grown too. We are all caught up in our own lives. I do know that I need to reach out more and contact my local friends.

I really enjoy everything a large metropolitan area has to offer. I don’t like the traffic. San Diego is huge, the 8th largest city in the United States. It is spread out and rush hour traffic is a major hassle. Try driving it in a larger vehicle. People are impatient, and I get honked at and sometimes the middle finger is raised in salute. I don’t particularly like the hurriedness of it all. Being at the beach has helped. It has a different vibe.

And then there is the cost of living. I have spent some time on the weekends strolling the neighborhoods and stopping into open houses. Wow, the price of homes is amazing, really amazing. There is one that sold across the street from my studio that sold for $1.3 million. Jaw dropping, to say the least. Rentals are not much better. It is a landlords market currently and they can ask whatever they want. Thank goodness for my little rig.

Another reason to even consider this area is the weather. Many of you are currently in a deep freeze. It has been in the high 60’s and low 70’s in San Diego. Every day I spend time outside. I walk, I bike ride and hike and more. I love being able to access the outdoors every day.

Walking the Beach

The diversity of nature here is really a plus. For being such a big city, there is so much to do outside. Yesterday I walked the beach. I can go to the desert and to the mountains and many environs in between. I love this diversity. There are over 52 microclimates in San Diego county. This lends to some great exploring.

So here I am still in the “what do I want to do with this next phase of my life” issue. Who knows, maybe I am already doing it. I love to travel, the RV is certainly a good way to travel in comfort. Yet, I do know in my heart of heart’s that I want to settle into one place again. I am still exploring the where.

And, the jury is still out.

Serendipity

SerendipitySerendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. An easier description is that when you least expect it really cool things happen.

When my friend, Nancy and I travel together we try to be aware and take advantage of serendipitous moments. We welcome them. It is not always easy to catch those moments, I find I need to pay attention, stop when I was planning to drive straight through, talk to people and enjoy that very moment in time.

We are both members of the Nature Conservancy’s Legacy Club. Once a year they offer us an opportunity to learn about one of their projects in California. We hike and listen to the specialists talk about the projects in the area we are visiting. This year was a bit different yet still very interesting.

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Oso Flaco Lake with the Dunes

We explored the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes near Pismo Beach. This is not an active project, instead we were able to witness what a mature project looks like. It is open to the public and has some lovely hiking trails. One crosses Oso Flaco Lake, a fresh water lake just on the other side of the dunes from the ocean. It was a birder’s paradise.

We opted to leave a few days prior to the Conservancy hike and explore some areas that we had never been to before. Jalama Beach, 14 miles west of Lompoc, CA, butting up to Vandenberg Air Force Base was our first destination. It is a classic wild California coast line. If you need a lot of things to keep you busy, well this is not it. At the beach there is the campground, a store and grill and…that is about it. I love walking the beach. It is a great spot for sunset photos and checking out the surfers in the early morning. I loved it there. I am already planning a return trip, for a longer stay.

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Sunset, Jalama Beach

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Walking to the break, early morning

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morning surf

 

Bob Thomas was one of the Conservancy tour participants. He is also the owner of the Arroyo Grande Tortoise and Turtle Rescue. He offered a tour of the rescue facility the day following the Nature Conservancy hike. Serendipity??? You bet. Early the next morning we arrived at this beautiful 5 acre ranch that is currently the home to 300 plus turtles and tortoises. It was a great tour and it was led by Bob who has a passion for these creatures. Every day people bring him or send him their reptiles they cannot own anymore for various reasons. After more than an hour and a half our minds had absorbed more info on these creatures than our brains could hold. We saw big tortoises and little turtles and even a galapagos tortoise. It was a fascinating hour and a half. If you are ever in the area look this Turtle and Tortoise Rescue of Arroyo Grande and take a tour. Tours are by appointment only. They also had alpacas, goats, many birds and the friendliest dogs.

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Tortoise & Turtle Rescue Ranch

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In our quest for free camping in the wilderness, yes there is still wilderness in southern California, we discovered Figueroa Mountain Road out of Los Olives. The road was extremely narrow, frequently steep with little shoulder room, and required cautious driving. There were pull outs in case you met a car coming head on. Thank goodness we did not have to back up, we met very few cars. What a grand ride it was. The views were spectacular and the road was “fun”. You definitely would not have wanted to take anything larger than my sweet little RT on this road.

camping among the oaks

camping among the oaks

After we crossed the summit of Figueroa Mountain we descended to Sunset Road where we headed north until we found a great National Forest Campground, Davy Brown, in the San Rafael Wilderness. Until late in the evening we were the only ones there. One other group came in and camped at the other end of the campground. Talk about quiet. We camped in the tall oaks and, in spite of the drought, there was a stream flowing next to us. The moon was almost full and it was so delightfully quiet.

The next morning we finished the loop by traveling to Happy Canyon Road. As we maneuvered the twisting road we drove by two large group camps of mostly young men. Shortly after we encountered cars parked along the sides of a steep down grade and more young guys sitting skateboards. As I drove carefully through them we stopped to ask questions about what they were doing there. The Gnarbara, first legally sanctioned down hill skate boarding event on this road, was about to begin. There were participants from all over the world. Most were young, teens and twenties. Many do not do tricks or jumps, they just like to go fast.

IMG_6930After driving the coarse, I parked the RT at the bottom and we hiked back up to the medical tent to watch some of the event unfold. Yes, you heard me right, the medical tent. It is not unusual to treat skin abrasions and broken bones. They had a walkie talkie connected to 911, in case they needed to make the call. Yow!!!!

There were several categories, professional, amateur, hands up (no hands onto the pavement what so ever) and more. Because of time constraints we could not spend the day. We were able to watch the practice runs and some impromptu races. By the time they reached the finish line (no one could quite decide where that was) they may be reaching speeds of 35 mph.

IMG_6952Here is what I have decided. You need to be young to do this event. They are all a bit crazy. If I knew of things like this in my teens and twenties I so would have been there. Now I think about broken bones and hospital bills. While the participants caught the bus back up the hill, we, unfortunately needed to head south and home to San Diego.

This event is the ultimate serendipitous moment. We could have driven by yet instead we stopped and got involved (as observers). We met nice people and watched something that I may never see again. All the young people were great to talk to. They reminded me a lot of surfers in their language and actions. Most of all I had fun. I took pictures and videos and talked to the parents of some of the participants.

Now I am back in San Diego, cleaning my RT out for the second time in less than a month. I am glad I have my small mobile house to see places in comfort and style. I will continue to drive the small byways of California and find the unusual and serendipitous moments with friends and alone. All these moments make me grow as a person. Many of these events make me laugh out loud. Mostly when I come across the unusual I meet the nicest people that care.

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Me & My RT in the San Rafael Wilderness

What a joy serendipity is. Got any moments to share?