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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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.

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Me & my RT in the San Rafael Wilderness

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

Serendipity

 

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Sereimagesndipity – the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident. I have been contemplating this word and it’s meaning for the past couple of months. 

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In late June of this year my friend, Nancy and I traveled to northern California to camp in my class B RV for a week. I don’t remember what brought this word into play on this trip, yet it was a discussion that came up in conversation several time over that week. I like the sound of this word. There is a bit of a mystery in it and it makes me think of magic in my everyday life.

On the drive out to the coast we drove through the town of Booneville and there was an International Music Festival in process. Nancy made the comment “this is serendipity”.  We debated whether to stop and because of the lateness of the hour we decided to keep driving. This makes me realize that I don’t have to act on a moment in time and maybe it is more important to acknowledge it and know that I can act upon it if I want to.SNWMF_MainHeaderLayers3

The other 2 moments that occurred on this holiday had to do with people.

We spent a day with the Nature Conservancy hiking on a private ranch. By word of mouth we discovered that one of the couples that hiked with us own the Westport Hotel and Old Ablaone Bar, in the very small town of Westport, CA. They have stated a tradition of having Saturday afternoon high tea. Serendipity happened and we went for tea.  There were five of  us who met at the pub and had a delightful tea and afternoon conversing with very interesting folks. And the pub and hotel were just charming. So if you ever find yourself north of Mendocino on a Saturday afternoon. Stop for tea at the Old Abalone Bar. I guarantee you will enjoy it.

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Tea with Friends

Tea at the Old Abalone Pub

Tea at the Old Abalone Pub

 

 

Westport Hotel

The last night we were on the northern coast we stayed at Gualala Point Regional Park. As we drove into the campground I looked off to my right and thought that the person setting up their camp looked familiar. A short time later, Nancy I met up with Mary and John. Mary worked with Jim and I have know her for many years. It was so good to see them. John was abalone diving. I had my first guests for dinner in my cute little RT. Nancy I made salad and soup and Mary and John brought the abalone and wine. it was such a delightful evening. For me it was one of the highlights of the trip.

 

Hiking back into Gualala Point regional park.

Hiking back into Gualala Point regional park.

 

Serendipity adds just that little something extra to a special moment in time. Would I have still said that I had a great trip if the two events noted above had not occurred? Certainly. Did these two events add to the magic of the trip? Certainly.

I believe that serendipitous moments happen almost every day of our lives, whether we are in our own backyard or on holiday. I need to take the time to notice them and acknowledge them. Last weekend Nancy and I put the kayaks in the water for the first time since Jim’s death. Although we managed fine, with the help of a step ladder, to get the kayaks on the roof when we arrived at our put-in spot, a man just showed up to help us get them off the roof. Serendipitous? I think so, and it was a lovely encounter with another human being, who had a very good handshake.

I am now paying a bit more attention to those moments when they arise. I look forward to them and find my life is just a wee bit better because of them. I think I would like to start a serendipity movement, asking people to wake up and notice those moments that make our lives a bit more exciting and valuable.

Our kayaks, not on the bay but I wanted to share a photo of them with you.

Our kayaks, not on the bay but I wanted to share a photo of them with you. Jim & I made them.

What are some of your serendipitous moments? I would love to hear about them.

Delighting in the day.