Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's not the destination...

Except when it is!  And the journey is tedious for the most part; wind-driven through the desert on I-10, more wind with traffic and rain through LA, and fog on the coast.  But we're on a mission to reach home territory and family.

When the Tucson temps reached the high 90s we had no problem saying our goodbyes and hitting the road.  Long travel days maxing at 370 miles between Tucson and Indio provided an unattractive landscape with limited visibility.

That would be Quartzsite up ahead

We overnighted at a convenient park, Indian Wells Carefree RV Resort, for $29, not far off the freeway.  Sunday had been chosen as the day to tackle the maze of Los Angeles freeways hoping this day of rest would ease the rush hour traffic.  We arrived in Oceano near Pismo Beach around 3 pm, having driven 302 miles. Bear in mind, we know all the rest stops by heart, and when they are closed due to construction we are presented with desperately pulling off into unknown urban territory for a break.

I can't say enough about LA!

I don't think the Ventura Freeway has been resurfaced since my teenage years in the San Fernando Valley:

"You're gonna go.. I know...."

When in the Pismo area we usually stay at the Pismo North Beach Campground.  An easy block away is the popular Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area which caters to all-terrain and off-road dunes and beach romping. I chose to stroll...

Colorful sign between Elks and beach

Sand Dollar and friend

A photo-enhanced cloudy day

We stayed for 3 days visiting local friends, shopping at the Outlet Stores, and gorging on Trader Joe's delights.  We've discovered their frozen dinners; pasta/rice, chicken, shrimp, saucy, portion-controlled, easy and quick.  Just add a bag of salad and we're good to go.

Strawberry fields forever...

Cruising into Santa Cruz

And always construction...

And off in the fog lies Half Moon Bay

Back to the highway for 240 miles, arriving in Half Moon Bay at 4 pm.  We venture off the 101 at Salinas and take CA-183 through Watsonville to Coast Highway One.  And north, past fields of artichokes, Brussels sprouts, and strawberries, through the gridlock of Santa Cruz, and the never-ending construction.  But there is a reward waiting for us.

Liliana, 3 1/2, on the front porch

We had 3 days full of family immersion in Half Moon Bay where daughter Terri, hubby Clint, Liliana (above), Damien (almost 2), and the eldest grandson Daniel, who turns 18 and graduates this June, live.  We conveniently park in front of their home with a 20 amp. electric cord that barely keeps us charged.  All others systems are switched to propane. Thankfully we have choices.

Free parking with amenities!

Damien cries a lot except when eating or being held by his parents.  My pointing a bulky Canon in his direction did not help.  I went with Terri to Liliana's preschool, which she attends twice a week, learning how to play nicely with others and follow simple instructions, giving her mother a much needed break.  Damien, who really doesn't cry ALL the time, has speech therapy classes since he doesn't talk and is almost two (in a few days).  Maybe the pacifier in his mouth precludes speaking...just kidding!  Daniel, the elder, made fleeting appearances, usually with a young lady trailing, or to grab a quick bit to eat.  Photos were out of the question!

She's on the attack!

Liliana at preschool

I think there is food in my future

There was a 4 mile walk from their house, down to the beach, and along the trail.  I decided not to be encumbered with a bunch of camera gear hanging from my neck, so here's the phone tour.  Can you tell the difference; I can't!

One section of the Coastal Trail starts here at the State Park

Be warned!

Not all Mays are sunny...

Pedestrian bridge crosses Pilarcitos Creek

Coastal cottages from the trail

Another photo walk along the historic Half Moon Bay Main Street:

The Half Moon Bay Inn

Cunha's Country Store


The other side of the street...

On Saturday we're back on the road, destination Petaluma for Mother's Day.  Our first shocking encounter was the opening of the new tunnel at Devil's Slide, a beautiful, precarious section of Highway One that is slowly falling into the ocean hundreds of feet below.

A little creepy in a high profile vehicle...or any vehicle

And always a welcoming sight, the Golden Gate Bridge announces we're almost there!

Girl Scouts walking the bridge!

Hopefully, it will not take me so long to write from Petaluma.  We'll be there off and on until the end of July, with trips back and forth to HMB, Sacramento, and Sutter Creek...all photo ops I'm sure.  See you there.....
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