My West Coast Family

Santa Barbara Sunset

I spent four days last week in Santa Barbara, CA. I traveled north to get some inside repairs done on my rig, EmmyLou.

Santa Barbara is such a lovely town sitting out on the Pacific. I stayed in an Air BnB very near the coastline. I could walk or ride my bike almost anywhere. I rode my bike back to the Air BnB after I had dropped my rig off. Even the bike ride was a pretty one. It makes me want to return to that area and spend more time.

Santa Barbara Mission

In the last thirteen years of my working life, I was a Tour Manager and Tour Guide. I often took people on tours to the Santa Barbara area. I know this type of work sounds glamorous but let me tell you it is work. I had to be responsible and ready twenty-four hours a day. And I had to be the expert. What’s that tree? What’s that rock? Who lived in that house? Although fun could be exhausting.

I enjoyed spending time alone in this town. I could finally do what I wanted and when I wanted. I could explore and get to know this area my way. It was a quiet and fun-filled four days. My rig is ready to roll. I had some time to explore at my pace, at my leisure.

Last Saturday I returned to San Diego for the final medical tests of the year. I am one year out post-treatment for thyroid cancer. These tests are now done and I am awaiting results.

Driving north or south on the coastline in southern California means that at some point I have to drive through Los Angeles. The ride up was easy. The return ride was a little how I remember the traffic in LA  pre-Covid. As I drove through the “Valley” my thoughts turned to Jim’s family. I connect that drive through Northridge and Chatsworth with the Fenningham family. It still feels odd to not exit the freeway and drive to “Mom’s” house. Each time I drive through that area I remember times with Jim’s parents and sisters. After both parents died his sisters and I have gradually moved forward with our lives and don’t stay in touch. We all move on yet I still miss this connection with Jim. I think of his family often and hope they are doing well. I also wonder if there will come a time when I drive through that area and don’t reflect back.

My West Coast Mom

I am grateful his family was so inclusive when Jim was alive. I felt like I had a mother on the west coast after my mom on the east coast died. She was instrumental in keeping the family together. The whole family took me in as another member. I am grateful I had those twenty-one years with my west coast family.

Now my rig is ready to roll and so am I. I am taking a few precious days to enjoy Cynthia’s and Ward’s company before I head out on Wednesday of next week. We have been quite a household. I will miss their company.

Today I am thankful for all those years I had with my west coast family. I am thankful that I still feel so much love and kindness for them. Their support after Jim’s death was important and wonderful to have. I am thankful for friends who become family. Today I am thankful.

 

 

 

My Bounce Around Month-The Challenges of Personal Growth

Sunset on Squaw Lake

After spending two weeks in the desert I once again have returned to San Diego. No, wait, I am in Santa Barbara. I call this month my bounce-around month. I am moving about the southern California area to finish this visit for the year.

Why am I bouncing around.

  • I really wanted some time in the desert and two weeks was all I could find this year to venture to the east.
  • I received my second Pfizer vaccine on March 1 in San Diego. I am doing well.
  • My rig, EmmyLou is getting things done. First, she had the outside fixed. Now we are working on the inside.  RV’s need check-ups. Today we are in Santa Barbara to meet up with Dan Neely. He is one of the Roadtrek Gurus, traveling up and down California to make it easier for his customers to meet up with him.
  • I have to return to San Diego as I have a few more tests to finish up my first post-year thyroid check-up. (I had thyroid cancer a little over a year ago) Oh and I am getting old, I have to have my left eye checked for a cataract. But I don’t feel old!

Rope Canyon & Peggy

Ladder Canyon & yours truly

My trip to the desert was grand. I camped and hiked and biked and kayaked. Although most of my friends were not in the desert this winter, a few were. Peggy and Roger have managed to figure out how to be in the desert and social distance this year. Peggy took a few nights to come and camp with me. It was good to meet up with her. We did some amazing hikes-ones that challenged me. The most rigorous one was when we took an early wrong turn in the Mecca Hills and ended in Rope Canyon instead of Ladder Canyon. After we tackled the first rope in this beautiful slot canyon we decided we were in the wrong canyon and hiked back out. Then we decided to tackle Ladder Canyon. It was a challenge but after Rope Canyon it was definitely easier. It is a beautiful place in the desert.

Squaw Lake Kayak

I met up with Cori another Roadtreker at Squaw Lake, a dammed lake on the lower Colorado River. There are several lakes just north of Yuma that is part of the Imperial Dam Water District. This is a great place for boaters, fishermen, and other watersports lovers. The lakes are gentle and easy to navigate. We also kayaked to the River and went up river first so we could float back down to the lake entrance. It was a fun adventure with Cori. We hiked and kayaked for two days before I needed to return to San Diego.

My adventures in the desert were not always fun. Friendships can be hard as well as rewarding. I sometimes wonder if I know how to communicate as well with others now that I have been on my own for so long. I tend towards introversion (yes, really) and since I have been staying away from people I wonder if I need to break into the world of others more carefully and slowly.

I have learned a valuable lesson on my desert trip this year. Being respected is important to me. I try hard to respect others and I have grown enough, now to count on others to appreciate me. When that doesn’t happen then it is time to leave and regroup. I also need time to remind myself that I am a good and worthy human being and worthy of being appreciated.

Argh! Growing is hard and challenging. I have a friend who turns 90 this year who told me once that I will still be growing when I reach 80. When growth is easy, it is fun and exciting. When growth is not so easy, it is challenging and hard. It is often the challenging steps that are the most rewarding.

A Santa Barbara Sunset

I will be in the lovely town of Santa Barbara for two more nights and then will head south. I am staying in an Airbnb in a quaint section of the city. I am one block from the beach and it is quite beautiful. This morning I dropped my rig off and then bicycled the 13 miles back to my residence. This afternoon I will repeat the process to pick her back up.

The adventure of life continues. I am grateful for the challenges that come my way. I am grateful for my friends who love and respect me. I sometimes grudgingly appreciate those who challenge me and help me grow. I am thankful for the mechanics and others who help my tiny home of wheels stay in tip-top shape. I am really thankful for my tiny home. Today I am thankful for a blue sky, classic sunny southern CA day.