As much as we gripped about having to be back in expensive California, as soon as we got out of the heat of the central valley and over to the coast, we were very happy campers. While there are things we don’t miss about California, the central coast is not one of them. It’s a great area.

We had no plan of where to go after leaving Visalia and waiting to get to Tuscon by the 17th, but we were ready to get out of the heat and out of the Elk’s parking lot. I didn’t think it was possible on such short notice, but due to plain ol’ good luck, Tom was able to get us reservations for four nights at the Elk’s Lodge in Oceano on the central coast. I don’t know if it’s because the funeral was over, or we were back in familiar territory, or just that it felt so good to finally have cool weather, but we definitely felt a collective sigh of relief when we got there. Plus, I’ll always be a Pacific Ocean girl. It felt really good to put my feet back into the sandy water of the Pacific.

The rush of activity was over, and it felt like we had a few days to just relax, so we did. Also, our time with friends was not over. A couple of times we got together with Ernie and Sherrie, who have a place at the coast. Then Tom had a chance to meet with his friend Richard, who lives there, and some other guys from back in the day, while I got to spend time just chillin’ at my favorite spot in Shell Beach.

While so close, we also took a drive over to Moonstone Beach in Cambria, because we like it so well. We had a great time beach combing and picking through the stones.

Because we have the Jeep, we took it out to the dunes to check out all the crazy camping out there. IMG_6532We didn’t go back further in the dunes because we didn’t have our flag mounted, but found it fascinating (and scary) how the ATV rental business has flourished.IMG_6535

I also took some time to play. I had fun creating a couple of fairy houses, and even more fun leaving them on the beach and watching people’s reactions.

I placed my little fairy house on top of an abandoned sand castle, and watched at a distance while a man looked it over for several minutes, opening the door and marveling to Tom at how it could be hollow inside. (hint: solo cup, sand and glue)

I could have spent a week there, but everywhere was booked. We were able to gain an extra night when our neighbors left early, so we just moved over one spot. They sure pack ‘em in at that lot, but it didn’t matter, it was just so nice to have our windows open again!IMG_6490

When our time was up, we were able to drive down the coast and get another couple of nights at the Elk’s Lodge in Santa Barbara (in Goleta actually). Again, the parking lot spot wasn’t the greatest, but the location sure was. We went to a couple of beaches and out on the pier to watch the sailboats. Unfortunately, it didn’t feel like we had enough time to take out the kayak, because the weather was just perfect.

We were there for a real farmers market (the booths only had food and produce!), IMG_6644and while we were downtown, we also did something that’s been on my list for when were were back in that area: A visit to the Salt Cave.


There is a store downtown  that converted it’s basement area with tons of Himalayan Salt. Salt crystals hang in “nets” above, there is salt “sand” below, and the walls are covered with salt stones.

We paid for forty-five minutes of relaxation in the room and we loved it. I didn’t even sit in the chair, I just took my blankie and laid in the salt on the floor. It was wonderful.

Our time at the coast went all too quickly and it was time to hit the road to Arizona. We enjoyed a “California” Mexican meal before leaving the state again, because that’s one thing we’ve missed the most on our travels. We couldn’t get enough good Mexican food while we were there.

And just like that, we were back in the heat. Time to help Jessica move into her new apartment. IMG_6714

I was totally grateful that this time it was on the first floor – the first year we had to move her stuff up three flights of stairs, and last year she was on the second floor. So even with the heat, this time wasn’t quite so bad. (Not that I didn’t feel like I was getting heat stroke at one point!)

Plus there are always those desert sunsets to admire – even while driving through town.IMG_6715

After a few days of helping to get our college daughter settled, we will be making a quick trip East to Oklahoma. And back to work.

Happy Travels,

Peace & Love, Joy