On a Roll

Miss Elsie the Cat and I decided it was time for an adventure. This morning we packed up and headed north and west. The coolest thing is that for once, I timed the traffic right in Los Angeles and rolled through that major traffic jam without a hitch. Whew, thank goodness.

My goal is Pismo Beach, on the west coast of this nation. There is going to be an informal Rally of Roadtreks for four days. We are gathering at an RV Campground and doing something. I am not sure what, but I am going. It is time to walk away from stress and decision making for a few days and have some fun.

The funny thing with a diagnosis of cancer, I immediately am sure that I am not going to live to see tomorrow. I wonder  if it is a bit of let down to see the sun rise the next day. I just don’t think so. A brief update before I move on to brighter and better subjects. I am putting a puzzle together. As each piece fits into place, my decision gets closer to being complete. I have all the pieces but one. May 15th, I have a second opinion at the Moores Cancer Center in San Diego. Hopefully, the visit to the Moores Cancer Center will give me the last piece of the puzzle, for now. The decision I need to make is: Am I comfortable with delaying surgery and the radioactive iodine treatment until fall, or do I have it done now? What confuses this decision, a good friend of mine and I have a two month trip to Africa coming up in July. Although everyone has told me to go and have the surgery in the fall, I am still needed a bit more confirmation. I have had a lot of indecision around this and finally saw a therapist to help me sort it all out. So stay tuned.

Steve, Debbie, Lynn, John

Meanwhile, back at the beach…..I have decided that I do not want to drive long distances any more. I want to have enough energy at the end of my day to enjoy a walk or a bike ride or a hike. I don’t condone exhaustion anymore. Once I was through LA, I thought I would head into the hills, ah the beach was calling and the hills will have to wait. There are these funky campgrounds between the railroad and the ocean as you drive from Ventura to Santa Barbara. I have always wanted to stay at one. Tonight is the night. Our view is the ocean. Yup right out the back door of the RV. I am not sure Elsie is as happy with this situation as I am. She takes a few looks and then heads to the front of the RV. Silly cat.

 

Tonight I met Debbie, Steve, Lynn and John, newly retired and testing out the RV lifestyle for two years. They are jovial and fun and have offered me dinner. Well yum. I enjoy meeting other people. I did the whole camping experience this evening. I had a burger with all the fixings and S’mores for dessert around a campfire by the ocean. I am still needing to give myself encouragement to interact with those I don’t know. I have struggled with this since Jim, my husband, died. It is fun when others make the first move. I am then more comfortable chatting it up and enjoying dinner and companionship.

Currently Elsie and I are bundled up inside our warm and cozy home. The ocean is our backdrop this evening. Hopefully the waves crashing just below me will lull me to sleep. If not, I will enjoy lying here listening to them.

Tomorrow will bring another day of wonder.

I am thankful today for good and kind people.

I am thankful today that I woke up.

 

Totality


fullsizeoutput_8201My extended summer vacation is drawing to a close. I have had an adventurous and good time in Idaho and Montana. I can’t thank my friends, Linda (for her “cabin”) and Mary (including me in her adventures) enough. It has been a fun.

The finale to my time in Idaho and Montana, and a little bit of Oregon was watching the Eclipse in totality, with new friends. We were in Unity, Oregon. The eclipse was every cliche or phrase or word you have ever formulated for amazing. I had told myself that I would not take photos. I was just going to watch it. Well the best laid plans can go awry. I did get one good shot of totality. It was fun to take pictures of the people and the shadow, and the sunset. Yep it was downright awesome.

And to think, I almost missed it. What?, you may wonder. She was planning to do this since last spring. How could she almost miss it?

I have been out in the back country for most of the summer. I have hiked and biked and kayaked and more. I have spent a lot of time alone. When the news started coming in that they were expecting close to a million people in Oregon for the eclipse, I hesitated. McCall Idaho was expecting up to 100,000 people. People were worried about traffic. There was concern that gas stations would run out of gas. The more the reports came in, the more unsure I became. I was not sure I wanted to be around all these people. I have seen one other eclipse. I could easily head south and avoid the masses.

Mary & Janet waiting for Totality

What drew me to Unity to see the eclipse was my friend, Mary. I had made a commitment to her to share an RV site. I had made a commitment to be there. I like my friends and I really don’t want to disappoint them. I don’t break commitments very easily. So with some hesitation on my part, I drove to Unity, Oregon.

And the result? 

I had a great 4 days. The group I was with were delightful and easy going. The day before the eclipse we went to Unity Reservoir and mucked about on the water. Everyone got along. The town and the townspeople were welcoming and helpful. We had a great big grassy area to sit in, the morning of the eclipse. Other people outside of our group joined us. Everyone was having fun getting to know each other. There were no hoards of people. We left on the August 22. There was no traffic. We had no difficulty driving or getting gas. The trip to Medford Oregon was long yet easy.

 

I am glad I stretched myself. I am glad I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone and mesh into a fine group of people. I believe that it is important for me to be a bit uncomfortable from time to time. The emotionally scary experiences help me to become more-more human, more whole, more of everything. I know several posts back, I spoke of fear. Fear has been pretty much a part of my day to day existence since Jim died. I can let it drown me or I can make it my ally. The trip to Unity is a good example of asking fear to be my ally. When I support this part of myself and push forward to a new experience I grow and fear becomes a tiny bit more distant.

Sunset in Totality

I am driving south. I am going to be in San Diego for two weeks, starting this Sunday. I have to visit the person I have an ongoing relationship with for another six months or so, my dentist.😁 I have to sign up for Medicare. Good heavens, I am 65 this October, how did that happen? The rig is getting checked out and serviced. It is time to get my eye exam and order new glasses. It will be a busy two weeks.

I am hoping to see all my San Diego friends. I have missed my major support group, since Jim’s death. You all know who you are. I hope to see each and every one of you in my two weeks in town before I adventure out again.

Tonight I am at the beach. I have missed the ocean and have felt a draw to the west to say hello to the Pacific, and Jim (he was buried at sea). It is time to get my shoes on and take a walk. It is time to say hello to the wide open ocean.

 

 

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.

IMG_6736

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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Jalama Beach Sunset

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Surfs Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Walking to the surf Break

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.

Tortoise & Turtle Ranch

Tortoise & Turtle 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.

IMG_6850

Me & my RT in the San Rafael Wilderness

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

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.

IMG_6736

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.

IMG_6606

Sunset, Jalama Beach

IMG_6624

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.

IMG_6838

Tortoise & Turtle Rescue Ranch

IMG_6824

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

IMG_6850

Me & My RT in the San Rafael Wilderness

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