2.28.20  Traveling With Friends

Our spring trip up the central coast continues with more friends, brewery visits, and e-bike rides. And the wonderful weather is continuing as well. Life is great and we are so very grateful.

When we planned out our trip months ago, I wanted to stay at the Santa Barbara Elk’s lodge after our two weeks in Ventura was up. However, they were full up with a Valentine’s Day event, so we moved further up the coast  to the Santa Maria Elks – which is inland, but it was nice never-the-less.

We arrived on a Friday which means they were having one of their famous CYO (Cook Your Own) steak nights. This one was especially crowded because it landed on Valentine’s Day. So you buy your meal ticket, pick out your steak, then take it to an in-house giant grill, and cook your steak over an oak pit. Then you take it back to the main building to pick up the rest of your meal. It was a new and interesting (and delicious) way to have dinner.

Since we weren’t at the ocean anymore, we were gonna just lay low for five nights. But because the central coast has been our family’s go-to vacation spot for years, two of our four kids were visiting for the special weekend. They were too close for us not to visit, so we left Mark and Patsi at the Elks and drove to Morro Bay on Saturday to meet up with Jenna and her family for a bit.

It’s obvious I’m not very good at gathering the family for a nice photo – I was more concerned with a shot of their dogs in the stroller!

Then we drove back to Avila Beach on Sunday to see Eric and Jordyn, who were camped out with a gorgeous view.

Again, I have no photo of the kids. Just the view out the back deck of their toy hauler. Arghhh…

It was great to see them all – even if I didn’t get photos. Then we just chilled at the Elk’s lodge – taking time to play Bocci ball in our grassy “backyard”. (I know, I know – bad photo! (The gal with the great legs and a branch face is Patsi.))

Then it was time to head to our reservations for another two weeks at the Oceano Elks Lodge. Again, we were just a walk away from the ocean so we took advantage of many ‘long walks on the beach’. On our first outing into Pismo (via the beach) we found that they were working on a big construction project at the base of the pier.

After asking around, we found out they plan on putting in a big fancy playground.  I always thought the swings and the sand was enough, but what do I know?

One day we took a bike ride up the hill to Arroyo Grande for lunch. They had all types of roosters* running around and we found out a local chicken ranch would just drop off the roosters like stray dogs and the downtown kind of adopted them. The irony is spelled out in the posted sign: “Abandonment of Chickens, Cats, Dogs…is illegal”. Anyhow, the variety and beauty of the roosters was incredible. *For an update on the birds, click here.

Some of our friends from my hometown have a vacation home in Pismo, so I made sure to let them know when we were going to be there. We were able to meet up with Ernie and Sherrie and we all went wine tasting in the nearby Edna Valley. We packed some snacks, and enjoyed the wines, and the locations, and of course the friends.

It was so fun to have our old-home friends and our new-travel friends all together – and of course they hit it off as well. So we got together again the next day to have lunch in Avila Beach.

Another bike ride day took us past the Monarch Butterfly Grove and then into Shell Beach. There used to be thousands of butterflies in this eucalyptus grove in February – but we found a couple.

It was a beautiful ride along the ocean cliffs and we stopped at Eldwayen Ocean Park.

(disclaimer: I’d been here many times before, but I had never heard the name of this ‘park’, but my phone/camera knew the name of the location we were at!)

Because we (Tom) keep tabs on our traveling friends, we knew that full-timers Dave & Nikki were staying practically next door at Pismo Coast Village for a couple of nights. We got to ride bikes over there to visit with them and since they have a tricked-out Jeep, we went Jeeping with them in the Pismo Coast Dunes .

Tom teased Davie after we made it up a hill (in our stock Jeep) that he had trouble with. Then it backfired on us as we got stuck and Davie had to pull us out.

Thank goodness we didn’t take Mark and Patsi out in the dunes by ourselves, and thank goodness we were with friends with a winch on their jeep!

While we were in Oceano, I got word that a very dear first-cousin passed away. In his eighties, Richard Rogers was more like a father-figure – and the first person to introduce me to RV traveling. (I joined his family in a Pacearrow on an epic road trip when I was eighteen!) Being a nomad means I’m not always able to attend funerals of loved ones, but in this case I was only a couple of hours away. So I drove to Tulare to pick up my mom and attend his services.

He was a much loved member of the community and there were hundreds of people there. I got to see so many cousins and friends I haven’t seen in a while, and I was honored to be able to attend the tribute to his great life. If you’re driving on Highway 99 through Tulare, you may recognize him as the farmer-in-overalls life-sized cutout.

He will be missed.

Happy Travels!

Peace & Love, Joy