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

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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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

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?

A Morning At The Beach

Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach

This morning, Saturday, I went to the beach. If we were in town, Jim always met up with his running buddies at the beach. I usually would join them about once a month and while they ran I walked. Saturdays were a time of bonding with some of his closest friends. Brian, Henry & Barbara were highly valued by Jim.

Jim. Barbara. Henry, Brian & Karen (Brian's Sister)

Jim. Barbara. Henry, Brian & Karen (Brian’s Sister)

Now I look forward to seeing them on Saturday mornings about once a month. Today I arrived at the beach and no one came. That is OK. It was a beautiful morning, the surf was strong and I enjoyed walking The Pacific Beach Pier to stare at the waves breaking underneath me, the surfers and the day. It was  a lovely morning. I had time to think about these three people and how they have affected my life.

Barbara & HenryBarbara and Henry have just continued to love and support me. I look forward to seeing them and know that they are my friends. I know that I can call and ask them for help if I needed it and they would be there in whatever capacity they could at that moment in time. (I have not done that yet) They are both warm and generous people and have helped me to remember those Saturdays when Jim was running with them. It is a good memory. Any time I think of Jim I see the two of them. He cared about them unconditionally and so do I. They are good people and I am honored to have them in my circle of  friends.

Brian, HenryBrian was Jim’s closest friend in San Diego. I don’t know what they talked about but they certainly were a good sounding board for each other. They ran, hiked and went to the movies together. Every year they made the annual trek to the San Diego Car Show. I think it is very important in all of our lives to have one person who you can share your inner most thoughts with, yes even guys. I am glad that Jim had a good male friend. I hope Brian knows how important he was in Jim’s life.

Brian was a great support to me in the months after Jim’s death.  Shortly after Jim died Brian told me that if there was anything I ever needed, I could call him. Do I take advantage of that offer? No, yet it is good to know that if I needed to, I could call. Why don’t I take him up on this offer, you may ask? I have been discovering that I am quite the handy person and I like figuring out things on my own. I also know that Brian is a busy person and I feel that when someone offers this that I should appreciate and respect the offer and treat it gently and with care. Everyone’s life is so busy and full.

There are others that would join all of us at the beach for the Saturday morning run or walk and I value each one of their places in my life. These three along with Jim, however were the core of  the Saturday morning run. I hope they know how much Jim valued their friendship. When we started to plan our move to Colorado the first he said was I am going to miss, Henry, Brian and Barbara. I now know and understand what he meant. I am glad I had a moment alone this morning to value these three people’s place in my life.

Today I am thankful and grateful for Barbara, Henry and Brian.

Jim, Barbara, Henry, Brian – Smoothies

Hanging Ten

Me at the Mavericks festival

Me at the Mavericks festival

OK I’m hooked. I love big wave surfing. Friday was such a great day. I loved camping where I did. I could walk everywhere and I love that. The first thing I saw when I got up in the morning were the different San Francisco news vans getting set up. Well that was kind of cool and exciting. Then I walked over to the Mavericks Festival. There were big screens set up so that those who were not lucky enough to go out on the boat could watch the contest. There were all kinds of food and beer, of course. People just showed up with their beach chairs and positioned themselves for the day. Everyone I met was so nice.

At 10:30 a.m. I stepped onto the boat. Now here is something to remember. When the waves are big out at the break, they are also big when you are going out into them in a small fishing boat. It was a great roller coaster ride. Thank goodness for bonine.

big wave

big wave

Mavericks, the break, is about 2 miles out in very rough seas. When we arrived I was so amazed at the number of people and boating equipment that was there. There were kayakers, a sculler, people on surf boards, private yachts, small fishing boats, rafts, paddle boarders and more. The most important boats there, were the coast guard that kept everything in as much order as they could. The coast guard created a loose circle that all the boats had to go in so that everyone had a chance to see the surfers.

catching a wave

catching a wave

I soon realized that taking photos was going to be really tough. I took a few but then befriended Ben who had a cool looking camera and when he downloads them, will share his photos with me. I was pleased with this arrangement as I could then do what I came to do and that was watch. And watch I did. Even though we were close to the break the surfers still looked so small on those big waves. It was cool.

The waves were 30-40 feet high. I have decided as exciting and fascinating that I find this sport, I personally think these guys are a bit nuts. By the time those surfers are surfing down the face of a wave that big they are going up to 35 mph. Whoa.

IMG_6002The immediate kinship everyone on my boat felt with each other was very heartwarming to me. We were all in this together. Everyone shared talk of cameras, even the professionals. There was always room for one more at the rail. If you were trying to walk and were weaving too much someone gave a hand to help that person out. I enjoyed the company as much as I did the event, if not more. I like meeting nice people and giving them the chance to be nice is good too.

After 3 hours and the final was complete the boat surfed us back into harbor. It amazes me that the kayakers and scullers came out through this break. The day was done. I got in my RT and headed south.

My campsite for the night before the competition

My campsite for the night before the competition

Main judges boat & surfers boat for the competition

Main judges boat & surfers boat for the competition

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Driving RT 1 south of Half Moon Bay

Driving RT 1 south of Half Moon Bay

I spent 2 days traveling down Rt 1. What an amazing road. The road between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz was gorgeous. It looked a lot like Big Sur. I had never been on that stretch of RT 1. I have now decided that I need to travel the northern part of that RT. I like the feel of independence the people who live in these spaces exhibit. There is a part of me that feels that independence within me as well. And for my friend Zoe, you should see the vistas.

 

Sunset at Cosanoa.

Sunset at Cosanoa.

Hiking at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Hiking at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

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The last day of this trip was spent meandering down the Big Sur Coast, one more time. I have not been on this coast for several years and in the past year I have traveled this stretch of the Pacific Coast at least 5 times that I can count. I love this coastline. It never ceases to amaze me. Each time I have traveled here it has been different, I have been different. I really like the fact that I feel that even though it is a long ways from home, I can casually meander the coast in the morning and still get to San Diego not too late in the evening.

Big Sur Coast

Big Sur Coast

Each trip I take is different. Every time I venture out I feel different. This trip was so much fun yet I found that the leaving and the driving north was hard for me emotionally. I felt alone and concerned about that state. What if no one spoke to me? What if I didn’t know what to say to strangers? What if I didn’t have a good time? What if, what if, what if.  I find that since Jim is no longer with me I have been having to find a new balance in my life. Sometimes it is spot on and I am good. Then there are times like this trip that I struggle to figure out my place as a single woman in my world and in the broader world. It is OK to be this way, I know this, still it can be a struggle. I am glad to be home. 

Every time I've traveled the Big Sur Coast I think this bird is waiting for me. I see him in the same spot each time.

Every time I’ve traveled the Big Sur Coast I think this bird is waiting for me. I see him in the same spot each time.

sea gulls taking their morning bath

sea gulls taking their morning bath

   Still slowly moving forward and finding strength.