Friday, March 11, 2011

Beach, Beach, Beach, All the Way Down the Coast

California Poppies

Friday, March 11, 2011 - Oceano, California

I am finally at a fairly warm, sunny ocean beach, which was the sort of destination I had in mind when I left rainy, gray Eugene, Oregon, almost a month ago.

I've been enjoying having Internet access at the Pacific Dunes RV Resort & Riding Stable, which is on a bluff overlooking the dunes at the south end of Pismo State Beach. I got caught up on some eBay re-listing. I usually list items at auction for a week, and then I may re-list the unsold ones for a flat price rather than at auction if they seem likely to eventually sell.

I got here last night, later than I expected, having had some more mechanical troubles. I was heading south on Hwy 1, just outside of San Luis Opisbo, when my brake and battery lights suddenly went on. I didn't hear any unusual sounds or see any other evidence of what was going on. I pulled over at the first opportunity, at a place that turned out to be one of SLO's several correctional facilities. I popped the hood and saw coolant all over the place. AAA towed me to a local garage. The problems weren't anything related to the engine replacement in San Francisco--just other old parts of the Guppy needing to be replaced. There was a rotor that sits in front of the engine that went bad and that needed replacement, as well as a belt. Fortunately they found the parts locally and got me on my way in a couple of hours, so I made it here to Pacific Dunes where I had a reservation.

My plan for today was to do my eBay work and walk on the beach. I was really surprised when I walked down to the RV park's office this morning and learned about the horrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which also has much less drastic consequences here on the California Coast. The beaches I'd planned to walk on today are closed until further notice. There have been swells in some of the towns along the Coast, in some places damaging boats and shoreline property, including some wreckage at the very harbor where I camped a few nights ago in Santa Cruz! I saw some local TV footage of boats that were floating around and hitting other boats. I found out it's safe to go up on the bluffs or dunes and look down at the beach, so I guess I'll do that this afternoon.

I really want to tell you about the drive down here, before I had to call AAA again. After I left my friend Mike in Santa Cruz two days ago, I drove south on Hwy 1 to Big Sur and stayed at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. I'd gotten faulty or outdated information from the Internet and thought that it cost only about $20 to stay at this park, but in fact it's $50 if you get a site right on the Big Sur River or $35 if you don't. I opted for a cheaper site, but it was so close to the river that even deaf ole me could hear the rapids as I fell asleep. And I took a wonderful walk through the old growth redwoods that made me not regret spending one extra cent on staying there.

On my Big Sur day, I only had one disaster. I drove head-in into my spot okay, but then decided to back up and correct the angle a little bit, and that's when I hit the tree, which seemed no worse for wear afterward. The Guppy's ladder is twisted, however, and there's a little gap in the siding which could lead to leakage, I would guess, so I'll need to get that addressed fairly soon. (The day before, I realized I'd lost a credit card in San Francisco, so a twisty ladder seemed pretty tame on the daily disaster scale.)

Yesterday morning I continued down Hwy 1 and stopped in Hobbit fashion for second breakfast, because the views were just stupendous and the sun was out and it was getting warmer the further south I went. What a great feeling it was to sit on a rock above the surf, having a snack and some tea from my Thermos.

I am so amazed as I drive the length of California that there are so many juxtapositions between coastal formations and whatever is going on across the road from the coast. For example, sometimes there is rugged coast across the highway from agriculture...or sandy beaches with good surfing across the road from huge rocky outcroppings. As I wound up and down all of the hills and in and out of the twists and turns on Hwy 1, I had so many "aaaah!" moments when I'd catch a glimpse of the next view. The elephant seals on the beaches near San Simeon were incredible; unfortunately my camera battery had no charge when I was there, but I got out and walked along the boardwalk to get a good view of them.

I'm enjoying my non-driving day here at Pacific Dunes. Besides getting caught up on some eBay work, I've mended the screen door with duct tape, because it was the first day that it's been warm enough to use the screen door and there was a Sonja-sized gap along one side. Then I put up a curtain over the doorway as well, which is inspiring me to get to the other sewing projects I want to do for The Guppy (covering cushions and making curtains for the windows).

I am doing a collage of my journey along the eye-level cabinets that line both sides of The Guppy's interior. The picture shows my travels along the coast in Northern California and my stay in San Francisco. The photo didn't turn out very well, but note that the business card for Ted & Al's Garage is torn into three parts to represent the tripartite repairs performed there.

Okay, now my biggest decision of the day...nap first and then climb a dune, or the other way around?


  1. Your post brings back memories Sue! Both of that beautiful area and of losing a fan belt in my old Toyota Dolphin out in the TN boonies.... When those multiple dash lights pop on like that, it is often a lost belt. I think it is just a common thing for that engine. I started carrying extras with me after the second time we lost one. Glad it is fixed again and I sure hope the guppy gives your wallet a break now :)

    It sounds like a really great time you are having out on the coast! Your outlook on life is very cool!

    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

  2. I like the collage idea too. Very original and will bring back memories as you go along.

  3. That has always been a pet peeve of mine. The arrogance of trees, always insisting on the right of way.