Journal and photos of our travels in the West.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Santa Fe

Finally had to stop at this tourist trap...a fine remnant of Route 66 attractions. We got to see several such attractions, because I burned out on driving and we had to spend last night in Grants, NM. Most of the old motels are still there, but we opted for the newer Comfort inn, assuming that the matresses would have fewer resident vermin.
Now we are home. Here is Nancy, posing with the stack of mail etc.

We also had a good welcome home from Liz and Lyle, who house and cat sat while we were gone, and who are making it a lot easier to re-enter the being home lifestyle.

Friday, October 28, 2005

last day, which is just as well, since this czomputer is getting funky and keeps wzanting to put z's in everything. here azre a few more pix of zionz. and a pic of nancy blogging by the fire. and, here's her blog:

thurs.10/27 We are still at the Zion campground this morning. Jack is making pancakes, bacon and coffee in the camper, I'm sitting out here in the lap of the towering red rock cliffs. The sun has been up for a couple of hours technically, but has yet to peak over them. It seems like Fall may have arrived this morning; most of the other campgrounders have hats and fleece. The river is right over there (see, I'm pointing) which is why we chose this particular site; we hear its music all night.
The trade-off for the spectacular scenery is what happens first thing in the morning. If a certain professional photographer needs to take a picture in the glorious, dramatic early morning light, we need to dis-assemble the whole house and my slumber, and head up the road. At these times I admire people who are towing a separate trailer behind the car so that one person can go in the car,leaving the groggy one in peace.
Our camper being without bathroom is worst in the morning, when you need to stagger through a campground of waking (or worse yet, awake, chipper and friendly) fellow campgrounders to get to the communal bathroom. That's one reason we prefer non-campgrounds and the great outdoors. This morning once I finally made it to the campground's bathroom, I had to share the one, cold-water only sink with a European woman the size and build of a side by side refrigerator. It felt like my eyes were at the level of her butt, which scared me out of the place and back to our campsite for teeth brushing and face washing. We later saw her van which had printed on the side: "Helga Von Out FunHavin".
Zion is gorgeous. I kind of grew up in Yosemite, which will always be dear to me especially since my granddad was a ranger there for ever and ever, but this place is creating its own place in my heart. Yosemite is silvery-black-white granite, Zion is pinky-red-gold sandstone, and they are both stupendous. Cliffs higher than New York skyscrapers, straight up hundreds of feet. Rock-climbers are tiny specs on this huge vertical expanse.
Same day, night time now.We left Zion today, realizing we need to head home. Home? Except for being without Cookie, we feel like we've been home everywhere we've gone. Every place, we were sad to leave and felt rushed to get on with things. Well, except for maybe the restaurant in Shelter Cove where at dinner the musician wanted us to join in a sing-along during Puff the Magic Dragon. That, I could have lived without except for thinking "can't wait to put that in the blog". Oh shoot, Jack just shot a picture of me, and he always does that when I'm in Fashion Fauz-Pas Mode, this time complete with headlamp, kind of dirty hair mushed up by headlamp elastic, layers of crumpled clothes! People, you need to know, I am not the dork it appears I am in Jack's pictures. Well, maybe I am, but I'm happy so there.
We are in the middle of who-knows-where, Utah. On BLM (Bureau of Land Management, a Federal agency) land, you can camp legally, and no one really wants to due to lack of water, electricity, paved roads, bathrooms, and picnic tables. This is where we're happiest, especially in Utah since the views and settings can be breattaking. Perhaps if the world population keeps growing like it is, someday this place, remote and desolate, will be a national park with all services and lots of people. In the meantime, it's just us and the tracks and poop of coyotes and antelope, among the classic Western canyons and mesas, layered in yellow, green, chocolate, purple, red, orange, white and black. My desk and chair is rocks, as you can see from the photo. I am Wilma Flinstone with a Dell computer. Today my walk of a couple of hours sent me to no people, but amazing geology, views, and natural mysteries. I almost don't want to know more about the science of how rocks are formed, because it might get in the way of the wonder I have for it now. In Utah, you can see geology happening in your face. Erosion and physics is melted in to your brain, and you dream in fire and ice, dinosaurs, earthquakes and storms. Everything happens on a grand scale, as well as in minature. I love seeing huge cliffs towering above the grasses and rivers in almost grotesque formation or every shape, texture and contortion, and the same thing in the side of a rock that is a few inches total. Air pockets, hardness and softness, color, hot and cold - this happens everywhere in Utah in a place the size of your foot and in a place the size of a state.
Where we are now is part of the Escalante National Monument. Within it is the "Grand Staircase" - and the names Vermilion Cliffs, White Cliffs, Red Cliffs, Pink Cliffs. We think we may be on the second cliff. I can't tell what color it is but I've certainly seen lots of colors here. Navajo Mountain is straight ahead of us and Boulder Mountain is somewhere out there as well. The Monument is huge and largely roadless, and suits us just fine. Jack has a huge fire going, the night is warm enough to still be outside, the stars will soon be out, and we wish we had a week or a lifetime here. From our little campsite, we could walk miles in any direction and find no one. Since it's October, I probably won't die of either thirst or heat stroke. Carefully watching the ground for rattlesnakes and cacti is normal anytime and comes stress-free. this fire smells very pinon like, which makes me think of home, of our friends waiting there, of our kitty, of all the fun things we like to do there. so i am looking forward to home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Zion National Park
Well, this is quite a place. We are already trying to figure out how to put together a family reunion here. We've been doing lots of hiking, and plan to do plenty more over the next couple of days. Nancy's in a hurry to get going, so this will be brief. We are having breakfast in a cafe in Springdale, a cool little town on the west side of the park. Here are some pix.

Monday, October 24, 2005

the chimes in the LDS church down the street here in Kanab, UT play a hymn every hour; nevertheless, I'm going to try to take a nap. I'm pretty tired from hiking, carrying a 30+lb pack with water and camera equipment. But I think I got a couple of good shots. We shall see.
Nancy and I enjoy our times of solitude, but I'll be happy to see her later, when she and Pat get back from Zion. I think the roadkids are better as a team.

Here is a picture I took in "The Wave" a few years ago.

This whole area has a rich history of being the location for many western movies, including the Lone Ranger.

Sunday 10/23; Kanab, Utah.Well, the little propane heater in the camper broke. Darn!
Yesterday we packed up camp and left Nevada for Utah. Is this the most beautiful state in the country? If not, it's on the short list, that's for sure. The rocks become so colorful, so weird in their textures and shapes; the light gets more dramatic; everything changes in Utah. I love the little Mormon towns and farms; they all seem so idyllic and perfect in layout and form. Jack dropped me off here at a little mom-and-pop hotel in this small town of Kanab, and my friend Pat showed up shortly thereafter. Pat brought a friend who's recently moved to St.George Utah from California, to join us for lunch before she had to head back. Jack left for his hike to the Wave which is an hour's drive from here, or should be normally. However, the storms from last week brought so much rain that a road was washed out and he needs to get there via another route, adding time. Hopefully all will work out for him and he'll get some good pictures; he'll be back here to join us tomorrow night.
Pat and I had a great day today. First stop was Best Friends Animal Shelter. What ever you're thinking, it's not. This place is set on over 3,000 acres (yes, three thousand) of some of the most spectacular Utah land imaginable. The setting alone is enough to make it worth the time. The road winds through this huge ex-ranch amongst red, pink, white and gold swirly cliffs, mountains and meadows, hawks circling overhead, river below, cottonwoods and aspens turning bright yellow and orange. There are horse pastures and barns scattered amongst the rocks and trees. Lots of westerns were filmed there including the Lond Ranger "hi-ho silver Away" scene on top of this rock overlooking everything. Today Silver was gone, replaced by a big beautiful hawk. Anyway, they give you a 90 minute tour by bus, and it takes that long to drive through the place. There are 1,700 animals there, the largest in the country or world depending on what you read. Their goal is to save Utah animals from being killed due to homelessness, and they take dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, birds, rabbits, pigs; perhaps not reptiles and amphibians but everything else. A wondrous place. 300 people work there, plus thousands of volunteers that come from all over the country just to be there. Quite amazing in this fairly remote area. So, they drive you down this spectacular road that could be set in a national park for its beauty, but up the little driveways are building after building of animals and their caretakers. Every building we saw was immaculate, and filled with happy animals being spoiled by employees and volunteers. I hope to come back someday and volunteer and get some serious animal-time in. We spent the morning only, and didn't volunteer, since the day was gorgeous and we wanted to explore the area some more. Unless you volunteer there's not time to see all the animals, the place is so huge. I did get to cuddle a few cats and horses, but not enough. I do believe as they do, that a society good to its animals will hopefully be a good place to live if you are a human, as well.
This is Pat's first time to Utah and I think she's gone through 4 rolls of film today. It's so good for the soul to see such beauty and natural harmony. She's a bit amazed at how spectacular it is. If you've never been to Red Rock country there's no way to adequately describe it.
Last time Pat and I went somewhere that I knew and she didn't it was Maui and we both took scuba lessons. We both loved it and I scuba'd while there then gave it up because I met Jack, whereas Pat continued on and has done scuba trips all over the world since then, is a Master Diver and Instructor, and will have done 500 dives on her Cozumel trip in December. So look out, she'll probably buy up all of Utah or something, now that I introduced her to it.
Next we went to this area of corally-pink sand dunes. They were beautiful dunes and unfortunately for us, the ATV's are allowed there so it was noisy. Also the soft pristine sand is then marked with their tracks everywhere, ruining the beauty. We climbed a giant pink dune, but they drive them so fast that it seems likely that one could come zipping over the top at you before they'd see you. Not too good a situation. I know that ATVs are lots of fun, but it made it unpleasant for us to be hiking there.
Then we found out what they call a margarita here. Pat took a sip and her face contorted in the most unusual ways as her voice tried to explain so many problems at once. I thought I'd be calling Margarita 911. Clearly, the Utah scenery has it all over the bartenders.
Tomorrow we go to Zion! Can't wait!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Pioche, NV
tonight we stay at Cathedral Valley SP, which is a miniature of Bryce in pink. And I begin to become aware of a different sea..that of time. here the bones of the earth are laid bare, and we begin our descent through rock, back 350 million years, to the Colorado River canyon at Vermilion Cliffs in Utah.Perhaps Vine Deloria would disagree with me here. Maybe this place isn't that old. Perhaps humans cavorted here with the last of the dinosaurs in Flintsoney paradise.I don't think so. I find great comfort in the idea of deep time, that creation is immense, that we will never understand it, but only grow in our appreciation of its grand mystery.
Today, we took the time to do what I wish we had done more, but for the helter skelter to get wherever we have been going the last couple of weeks. that is, we talked at length to a stranger. Here it is the campground host couple.. they are driving a converted city bus, and it is fitted out nice. They have been doing this for 24 years. They are not exactly what I would have considered to be "geritol gypsys", but they have been roadkids for a very long time. They like to hang out in Quartzite, AZ, for the winters, then head up to a gig they do at a museum in ID. and here's the best part: their rig only cost them $6400, plus the work they've put into it. It's a nice bus that he's fixed up with a bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, living room and office. They tow a smaller 4 wheel drive vehicle that they can drive into rougher country. Now, I know many places where this would work well, including the Mojave, utah, Nevada, etc. And, we could travel around more to visit our far-flung family members. and our minds are calculating: could this be the next vehicle for the road kids? Stay tuned for our tales of Quartzite, appearing in January.
Here are a few pictures of a couple of places where we've camped, and some rocks from lost coast beach.
Tomorrow, Nancy and I will part company for a couple of days; she to join her friend, Pattycakes, in Kanab, UT to visit the Best Friends animal sanctuary, and I to hike The Wave. Talk to you again in a couple of days.

highway 50 across nevada is beautiful. mountains draped in various shades of gold, tan and brown from the lush growth of last spring; patches of bright yellow where the cottonwoods and aspens are turning;and a clear, turqoise sky. They have called this the "loneliest road in america". The highway crosses basin and range country. We alternately ascend a mountain range, then descend into a basin. Each range becomes a bit higher than the previous one as we head east until, just west of Ely, we cross a pass at 8,000 feet.
Here along the road, in the middle of nowhere, is a great cottonwood festooned with hundreds of sneakers...much better than the one in the mojave near Amboy. the atmosphere around the tree isw redolent with the smell of old shoes and locker rooms, so we linger only long enough for a picture.
We have seen 3 bands of wild horses, with 10-12 in each band. Nancy's eagle eye scans the landscape along the road, and we pull over for even a distant sighting. The horses are so healthy that we suspect they may be domestic, until a local in Austin, NV confirms that they are wild.I think we could easily spend a week out here just taking back roads, looking for horses.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Date. Ummmm... probably Thursday, not sure of the number. I do know it's october. Oh, 20th.
We are now officially sad and blue, because the time with the kids is over. It's always difficult to come to terms with that. As much fun as we're having, I know it's because we've been propelled towards them in one way or another. We'll be fine, but it might take just a bit of time. Corey, Lissa, Ar, we love you guys so much. We are your needy, whiny parents who would be heaven only knows what without you. Thank you for making each breath we take more meaningful. I'm sitting at the edge of this beautiful lake in Nevada while Jack re-heats those potatoes from the crepe place in San Francisco, wiping away tears from loving you so much and wishing you were all here gathered around us. We will do that family reunion somehow, someday, hopefully fairly soon. And we'll have more time this time.
Fern take note; I know we're whatt we're doing seems dreamy, but you have 2/3 of your chicks gathered close by; lucky, lucky you.
Pat A., happy happy birthday. You are lookin good, you haven't aged a day since I met you. xoxoxoxo!
Jack is also missing the ocean. I will soon as well. We were lucky to have day after day of salt air and pelicans, that most heavenly of music when the waves land on shore. But we don't miss the crowds and traffic of CA; whew; how does anyone live there? It's good to be here right now looking out at a whole lot of absolutely nothing. We went past lake Tahoe yesterday and I think it was gorgeous. I think, because we'd stopped at McDonalds which we never do, for dinner, and they put something in that chicken sandwich that put me to sleep. I could barely keep my head up, and Jack (who luckily was driving) kept having to say Hon it's really pretty, you're missing it, look! I think I'll let another decade pass before another McD's attempt.
Now we're heading towards Utah, for the pink-rock phase of our trip. Hopefully it will bring more hiking and less eating out, or the camper won't make it up the hills carrying all our extra porkage. We're weak in the face of a Mexican or seafood or crepe or Thai or any other kid of restaurant, and I expect to hear from Wells Fargo any minute wondering if someone stole my Visa card. Excessive charges are showing up on your account, Ms. Arnold; shall we cancel the card for you? Pat E. is going to join us in Utah on Saturday; yippee! We'll go to the Humongous Animal Rescue Place (not the real name) while Jack tries to wear himself out on that crazy hike carrying 30 lbs. of camera gear PLUS his sleeping bag, tent, food, water etc. For all you Cookie fans, she is fine. Britt left to make room for Liz and Lyle who arrived a couple days ago and all is well in Eldorado at Cookie's house. I suspect she's forgotten all about us and that feeders/cuddlers are easily replaced. We're so lucky to have Britt, Liz and Lyle!
Arian, is that blue denim baseball cap really so bad? Be my roadtrip fashion advisor.
The frig froze everything again. I dreamt that some creep was outside the camper up to no good, which kept me awake and full of heeby-jeebies for a bit.
Weather is still beautiful. October remains my favorite month. My hands are cold but the sun is warm right now. Slight breeze. Yummy.
Goodbye from somewhere outside Fallon Nevada, under a huge cottonwood tree by a deserted lake. The drive today should be scenic/high desert and mountains.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


We picked up Lissa in San Francisco yesterday, and drove to Sacramento to see Arian. Ar lives in a cool neighborhood, called Midtown, which has lots of classic Victorian homes that have been nicely restored.

Ar reminds us that Sacramento's claim to fame, other than Arnie, is that it has more trees for its size than any other city except Paris. We are sitting under one now, at an outdoor coffee shop.

Here's a picture of Ar, Lissa and Nancy, having way too much fun.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

shelter cove
We found a place we'd love to return to someday, to stay a while and truly enjoy. It's a long secluded beach at the end of a treacherous mountain road. On the way there, you'd think that no one could end up at such a place, then once you get there, you are met with hundreds of homes. We think they are vacation or retirement places for Bay Area people. jack says they are for "dentists and general practitioners, not specialists" because the houses are generally ugly, huge, and on small lots. Pretty tasteless, and sad because the area is lovely. and the best part: it sits at the end of a 24-mile long, secluded b each called the "lost coast"
The first few miles of the beach are known as the black sand beach, and are littered with black pebbles ranging from coarse sand to golf ball size. most of the pebbles are banded with white quartz veins, and many are rolled into perfect cabechons and spheres. the marbel-sized pebbles, with their intricate viens suggesting chinese characters, are hard to resist picking up. And so, after about 1 mile of hiking and picking up pebbles, Jack's shorts pocket is so heavy that he can hardly keep them on. Not that it would matter anyway....there is no one else on this beach, and it is, after all, northern california.

Lots of seals here, and boy are they cute. I love watching them scramble on to the rocks, you really appreciate how much effort it takes when you only have front flippers, the tide doesn't want you on the rocks, and you are one heavy lardy sluglike thing meant for swimming. Here they are enjoying viewing the humans.

a van pulls up in the parking lot, a big Grateful dead logo on the side, and 4-5 young hippies pour out, all garbed in hair, hemp and cotton. Their truck has a name: "even further". later on the way out of the steep windy mountain, road, we got stuck behind them as they attempted to get that old thing up the hills. i wonder how far they'll make it before replacing the engine.

Oh yeah, a lot of these pix have a "where's Waldo (jack) in them. I love taking pictures of jack taking pictures in these beautiful places, looking so tiny perched on bluffs overlooking the ocean. so if you see a little figure on a cliff, it's him messing with his camera for a "real" picture that will be for sale in the future.

We send you all fog, beach stones, salt, seagulls and crashing waves!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Little gas station heree in Ft. Bragg has Nag Champa incense and rolling papers. Ah, NoCal.

Nancy say: By the time we reached Mendocino, it felt more and more like the North Coast that I fell in love with 30 years ago. I ended up almost to Oregon back then, but the terrain, people, weather and towns are very similar. It is something special, with the chilly, rocky, wild coastline, the seemingly never-ending fog sometimes breaking in to glorious sun melting away the gloom, the jokes about people rusting not tanning up here. The rugged, frizzy-haired people who call this coast home. The green, green, and more green, the redwood forests. One does begin to believe in leprechauns. Oh, the hiding places. What do they do with the banana slugs, larger than they are? I haven't seen one yet, but I know they're there, I can sense them.
Mendocino blessed us with some real finds shopping-wise. This makes us hipocrites since we criticize how overly cutesy and touristy it is, yet we're first in line for the folksy-earthy-sweet farmer's market and loaded up on beautiful harvest-season goodies. (jack's note: found best oysters yet at this market. prepped 'em up that night out on the deck, in the rain, and slupped 'em right there. truly a primal experience.)
Also, I found the world's best used book store, a good thing indeed. Every book in that place seemed to be a winner, and already I'm completely swept away by this hilarious novel about a nice Jewish guy in New York, and his life, told from the viewpoint of the well-educated and insightful cockroaches who are trying to live in his home. It seems to be brilliant. Also a beautiful old copy of Old Man And the Sea, and a few other treasures for my Santa Fe reading later. (jack's note: been reading Vine Deloria "Red Earth, White Lies". Good thing about Deloria, you know his biases right up front. )

For all of you who are wondering: No, we're not sick of each other yet. I think we're more in love than ever. (jack's note..I agree. Don't think there's anyone else in the world I would want to be with right now, doing this)
Last night was Date Night, which was going to the laundromat. We'd never been to one together. Do you know how expensive they are!?? It's an outrage! Nevertheless, we had a wonderful date there, washing all of our several items of clothing, running back and forth to the truck and the other romantic date venue in the rain (Long's Drugs, next door). I read Jack some of my cockroach book, he got little styrofoam thingies of guacamole and salsa for bright-light laundromat dining, while the dryers ran.

We're hanging around the mendocino-ft. bragg area today, looking for pix, and just taking it easy, with little driving, hopefully.
Here are some pix...more writing to follow.....

Friday, October 14, 2005

10/13 Thurs.Items of note
today: I have lost track of the day and date, and need to refer to a guide for this information. Seems like a good sign. Also Jack just scrubbed the floor of the camper. So clearly we're evolving in to somewhat different people.
Our trip is going really well. We love the meals we cook in this little playhouse. The small space and never-ending clutter is not too annoying. The bed is comfy though interesting to climb in and out of. I'm sure we'll be glad for more comforts someday, but in the meantime, the adventure, lack of responsibility, and beautiful places we find, are well worth the inconveniences. Lissa and Ben are really happy in SF and it was so good to have the time with them. The whole day with Lissa was a treat; we first saw their brand new cute little apartment, then drove around shopping, and visiting the restaurant she works at (The Ramp) and meeting her friends there. For dinner we walked down the street and had a great Thai dinner, after a glass of wine at the little yuppie restarant also near them. The city was fun for us, after the semi-developed desert we live in. We left SF yesterday morning after the best latte ever on the planet since my last SF trip. How do they do that? There is some magic in the Bay Area that makes for the most heavenly smooth sweet espresso drinks. I could have stayed there all day people watching, drinking lattes. For many reasons we didn't want to leave SF. We've felt that about almost every place we've been; it's a theme. Having a month is just a tease. We feel like the time with both Corey and Lissa went by in a wink, and we miss them so much now. Then once we leave them and are smelling the salt air and watching the crashing waves, we still miss the kids but we're so in love with the ocean we don't want to leave it either. We drove up Hwy 1 yesterday, of course one of the most beautiful drives ever, any where. At least if it's not pouring rain which it wasn't. No landslides or car wrecks, either. So we lucked out, and wove in and out of fog and sun and unbelievable scenery. We love Santa Fe but this is so different in every way, that we're drinking it up and our appreciation of the ocean and everything related, is huge. Checked out a few campgrounds on the way up, and had cherry pie and coffee in Gualala yesterday, then ended up here at Manchester, which is just south of Mendocino. We love it here, and this is the first place we've spent two whole nights in one place. It's very quiet, only a few people out on the beach. A few other campers in the campground and even that's too many for us. The weather has been sunny and perfect during the day, not a cloud; nights are cold-ish. Yummy.Yesterday the quail showed up right in the campground. Oh, are they ever cute, these California Quail!
A group of 10-12, all full grown, with one big flashy male keeping an eye on them all and on possible threats, now and again calling them all back from their foolishness of eating the breadcrumbs I tossed them. They live in the brush right here at our camp, so they show up frequently, to my huge delight. Dang are they beautiful little sillies. Also lots of deer here. A doe with two still spotted youngsters among them. They walk on the beach too; we saw their tracks down there today. The high point of this place so far is Jack conversing with owls last night. We heard two of them hoo hooo hooooting, and went out to listen. Jack hooted back. They replied, and it went on like that for quite a while. It was dark, half moon out. Then we saw them when they flew to a cypress tree even closer to us. It went on and on. Jack said he's done this before, called it hooting up an owl. They came closer and closer, and at one point circled around us and landed in the tree we were standing under. So it was so close. All the while singing to Jack while he sang back. It was a wonderful night communicating with these magnificent birds. Jack thinks they were great horned owls and large; they didn't look that big to me so we'll look it up later, what owl they might be. As this was all happening and I started calling Jack by his new name, Sings With Owls, I thought of how happy my mom would be, that I have this man in my life who is such a joy, so odd and wonderful, and who loves nature as much as I do and as much as she did. So, perhaps she visited us last night in the form of an owl on a Northern CA beach, singing her hello and love. We love large birds, and today on the beach saw a group of 4-5 red tail hawks that we had interested in us due to the funny noises we were making. They were curious enough to stick around for a while till they realized how boring and inedible we were. Very long beach walk today; all day on the beach. No driving for the first time. We feel exhilarated and tired, and very much on vacation. Yahoo!
We're running out of time to do everything we want to do, and I think we'll have to nix the wild horse preserve up near Shingletown, in favor of the next few days near the ocean. A tough decision but I'm figuring since we have mountains and horses in NM, we'll drink up more ocean while we can. We are finding it so nurturing and beautiful we just can't head inland, which we'd have to do in two days if were were going to go see the horses. Too bad. Sings With Owls is out there again calling his friends but no luck this time.After a few more days of ocean, we'll go back to SF and pick up Lissa, then head over to Sacramento to see Arian, which will be great. We have such fabulous kids. A recurring conversation is can we somehow spend more time out here and see them all more.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wednesday, San Francisco
We met up with Lissa and Ben yesterday. Went and visited lissa's restaurant, which is where this picture was taken. Then took Lissa shopping for housewares. Lissa and Ben have a neat little one bedroom in Hayes Valley, which is a neighborhood near the opera and symphony hall, and features many yuppie establishments, one of which we are sitting at right now. Typical SF morning, with fog and coffee.

Here is a photo of Ben and Lissa in front of a wood sculpture in Hayes Valley Park.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Mon. 10/10:After the wineries with Corey and Whitney on Saturday, we kept heading north. Ended up in a creepy little motel in Santa Maria that was hilariously dirty and scary. We brought in our pillows and sleeping bags from the camper, unwilling to come in contact with their "linens". Instead of extra toilet paper under the bathroom sink, I found some guy's laundry, so we supplied our own TP, too. Couldn't get out of there quick enough on Sunday morning. Drove up to Cambria, a place we love. The campground is called San Simeon Creek. The beach is tranquil and gorgeous; we spent hours just staring out at the delicious blue and listening to the waves. Jack actually did nothing for the longest time. I napped on the beach. Jack collected beautiful stones and took a great picture of them with some eucalyptus leaves.
This morning we left Cambria and saw the elephant seals, which is a high point.
I love those guys. Galumph galumph. But so incredibly graceful in the water. Lots of teenagers and young adults this time; last November when we were here there were lots of huge males fighting and such. Then up through Big Sur; no need to stop there this time. Then to the amazing Point Lobos. I'd never been, and why I don't know, having spent so much time in the area. Wow. It was hard to leave but we're on the way to see Lissa so we had to. The trails through the poison oak bring you to view after endless view of amazing shoreline and birds. I am absolutely in love with pelicans so I was in heaven; there are hundreds (thousands?) there, soaring everywhere. The weather was sunny and clear, warm in the sun and cool in the shade; really perfect. Several deer in the forest. We're having a fabulous time. We are in love, grateful to have this time, basically jubilant that we both love this so much. On the list of things that don't upset us: gas is $2.69 to $ 3.09/gallon, the refrigerator is freezing everything, its gasket keeps launching itself on to the floor, we sleep with our heads lower than our feet sometimes, the camper is really small and tosses everything as we drive, often we have a substantial walk to the bathroom or to the woods. I am missing my washer and dryer but not psycho about it yet. The state park showers have meant I'm clean at least, if my clothes aren't. Everywhere we go there are mountain lion warning signs but alas they are teasing us. Should I put a raw steak on the hood of the truck?Jack got oysters today, from the crabby fishmongers in Carmel. He also got a newspaper which I thought was for reading but no, it was for catching the oyster juice. He had all 3 of those oysters eaten within an hour or so; every stop we made, first an oyster had to be eaten. He's also obsessed with fresh artichokes so that's on the agenda asap too.We love our meals made in this little play kitchen. We're livin large with two plastic coffee cups, a couple of bowls and spoons and forks. The propane works better than our natural gas range at home. Adios amigos, from Sunset Beach campground near Santa Cruz CA.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

day 1: santa fe to flagstaff
lots of trucks on this highway today, and a few unusual vehicles, as well.
Plenty of remnants of old route 66, including these tourist stops.

I remember the one with the cave from my first trip on this route, in 1961.

Nancy sports her first tourist purchase: a t-shirt from Indian City.

Tonight we camp in the Coconino National Forest, unfortunately, near a rock quarry that appears to have a night shift with occasional noisy trucks.