Archive for August, 2015

Beautiful San Fran Fam!

After Casa de Everything, I headed across the Golden Gate Bridge to get to gorgeous wooded Marin County to see my cousin whom I haven’t seen in over 30 years! Somewhere along the crowded 19th street south of the bridge I picked up a bolt that went straight into my left front tire.

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BigBlue at the Golden Gate Bridge on a foggy day! This is from down below by Fort Point National Historic Site.

How do I know I ran over a bolt, you ask? Well, because from that moment on, I sounded like Sammy Davis Jr tap dancing everywhere I went! The traffic was so thick I couldn’t even pull over until I was north of the bridge and off the highway. And there it was…a washer-headed bolt plastered perfectly straight into the tire. I hated to take it out for it seemed a perfect plug all by itself! But when I went through neighborhood streets, every head turned in my direction to see a performance by Mr Show Business himself! I was able to take it in after hooking up with cousin and get it plugged successfully. Still riding on it, all the way here in the middle of Colorado via Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah!

tire plug

Getting a bona fide plug put it instead of the tap-dancing-bolt!

Once in Fairfax, I had a fantastically wonderful time with my cousin and her family. Especially her daughter who guided me through the castles and fortresses of the Marin resovoirs with her Secret Agent Dog, and just taught me several lessons about life in general, as only a child can do!

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My sweet second cousin! I loved getting to meet her and play with her! Such a delight!

At the tail end of our adventure we came upon some wild turkeys…with a blue gobbler! Of course I had to get out and ask for a portrait!

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Beautiful patriotic gobbler of a turkey seen in Marin County with my cousins! (I don’t know if it is called a snood, a wattle, a caruncle!)

Because this was a summer ago, Zoe had school to attend. That left brenda and I to venture through the gorgeous majestic woods on the way to Point Reyes. It was soooo nice to be the passenger! I could gawk at everything, without fear of distraction or getting a ticket for being distracted! Definitely spoiled! The weather was refreshing and once we descended the 310 steps to the lighthouse, we were able to catch a view of a mamma whale and her calf! Not the kind of view you get from a whale watching boat where they breach the water and what not, but still a view of a pair on their way to Alaska!

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Overlooking the Pacific Ocean from the trail down to Point Reyes Lighthouse…2 whales made an appearance along the coast too!

It was such a delight to visit with Brenda and get reacquainted in much more meaningful fashion than ever before…I suspect I will be knocking on her door more often in the future!

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Walking among the wind-shapened cedars along the upper coastline of the Pacific Ocean!

I then headed southward towards another cousin’s house in Pacifica via the Golden Gate Bridge (I wasn’t aware of this, but apparently it is tolled! My brother told me after he received a bill for me in the mail back in Houston…yet again he has saved my hide!). His wife was finishing up her MA in library science so I did the north visit first until she finished cramming!

deb and ronan

Look at this handsome fellow! He can make anyone smile just with one of those sweet grins of his!

But come to find out I didn’t need her company after all, because Ronan was all the entertainment I needed! What a handsome mild-mannered fellow! I think he is my second cousin…ie, my cousin’s son. (cousin relations always gets me confused!) I had a very rested two nights with them and even got some work done in the day while they all went to work. All in all, San Fran may become my new destination vacation spot with two wonderful second cousins to visit! (btw: Stacey finished cramming and can now be officially called “master!”)

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Jason, Stacy, and Ronan showing off their cuteness!

I then headed through Napa Valley (for what good is Napa to a tea-totaler!) to get to the southern end of the Cascade Mountain Range, so I could stop by Lassen Volcano ntl Park. But really the highlight of the valley and the southern cascades was getting to hook up with my old high school friend Sam and her husband John! Getting to hear their stories and how the Lord has led them makes me want to get to reacquainted with all my high school buds, one on one!

deb and sam

30+ reunion with Samantha in Oroville, CA! Twas a treat to get to meet her husband and hear all that they have gone through the last 3 decades!

Funny/strange incident happened before I hooked up with Samatha in Oroville. I was in Walmart parking lot plotting out my travels as I usually do, when this gal came up to my van and asked for a ride just a couple miles down the street and she would give me $10. I was a bit leery as she seemed rather agitated, but I agreed and told her to keep the cash, it was on the Lord.

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Oroville California at the southern end of the Southern Cascades

Well, it turns out she is from Oroville and she had me going all over town looking for her boyfriend who she was very very angry at…and he must have known it because he wasn’t anywhere to be found. So she started calling on the phone. But he wouldn’t pick up from her. So she asked if she could borrow mine. Gulp…I pay per minute of usage, so I don’t even talk on my phone (except to AAA towing service!). But I handed it to her…my phone didn’t know what hit it! When Brian (her boyfriend) picked up, she laid into him something fierce.

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Oroville Lake. there are falls that need to be hiked to…that will be on my next trip to visit Samantha!

I tried to see if there was something that she could do that would be healthier for herself. But she was seeing red and unable to engage coherently really. But she did thank me for the rides, paid me the ten, and got out at the last place we sojourned to. Now the reason this is strange is because I ended up dropping her off just a block away from where my friend Sam lives! What a crazy introduction to Oroville, California!

seagull at san fran

Can you tell what city I ran into this seagull at? Truthfully, I counted to three, and then his face lit up with that smile of his!

Well, that is all for now! Hopefully next week I will finally get this blog out of California and up to northern Oregon!

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California Coast

With the Sierra Nevadas and the Golden hills of California in my rear view mirror I started the breath-taking drive through the windy (both WINE-DEE and WIN-DEE) coastal area of California via hwy 1 starting at San Simon where the William Hearst Castle is located.

golden hills of california

Beautiful central valley of California covered with golden hills…now I can see why they are called the “Golden State!” This is near Paso Robles

There is much reason this road is famous…cause everything that is said about it is true…it is stunning to see the sun glisten off the Pacific ocean, to watch seals sleep, play and swim together in community, to listen to the crashing waves against the high rocky bluffs, to wind one’s way through the thick and luscious tall trees of the road, and have stellar jays, chipmunks and mule deer make an appearance periodically seemingly just to bless me with their presence!

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I was hard pressed to find a seal that was by itself…every one of them was touching at least another one while sleeping! They were a delight to watch, even when they went to sleep!

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I know, I know! Seagulls are a dime a dozen and can be rather annoying…but they do have some fascinating features! Like this great black-backed gull’s little red dot near the tip of their beak at the bottom (presuming its not lipstick), their beautiful eyes, and that slit at the side of their beak (as it turns out, seagulls can drink both fresh and salt water. Most animals are unable to do this, but seagulls have a special pair of glands right above their eyes which is specifically designed to flush the salt from their systems through that opening in their bill!). Amazing!

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Two well-fed squirrels romping around the California coast together through the feet of those eating lunch! These little fellows, and chipmunks, should be the mascot for all the parks…for they seem to be in every single one of them!

The 93 miles between San Simon and Monterrey through Big Sur is breathtaking. Thankfully there is plenty of free dispersed camping in the Los Padres National Forest (well, all national forests really, but that is the forest along the scenic route!)

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I implored a German couple to snap a photo of me here overlooking the Pacific Coast. It was difficult to do, since the only thing I know in German (besides Gesundheit!) is “It’s my birthday!” But pantomiming did just fine!

bigblue-ocean

BigBlue certainly has made the rounds, having started at the Atlantic Ocean in October and having made her way to the Pacific by May! Los Padres Forest has GREAT dispersed camping with incredible views…tempted to live there…but can only stay 14 days at each spot!

I try not to drive at night so while the sun was heading into the ocean, I turned into the forest to find a spot for the night. There was a fantastic overview but  there was already an rv parked there. Usually if a spot is occupied, I go on to another, but this time I felt compelled to stop…and I’m so glad I did! There was Chip Cunningham from the Washington area sitting in his lawn chair reading 2 Samuel! He has felt called to minister along this 93 mile stretch and start a FourSquare church in the area.

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I met a blessed Christian musician and pastor while in Los Padres–Chip Cunningham from the FourSquare Church in Washington state. It was a lovely time to hear of his journeys and encounters along highway 1 and in Los Angeles.

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BigBlue and I watching the Pacific Ocean swallow the sun…leaving incredible colors behind. Twas a marvelous way to end each day!

It was a blessed evening of communion and fellowship. He sang some worship songs he had written. He made dinner! And he shared with me his testimony from the past and his dreams and hopes for the future. Then we concluded the evening with prayer. An other-worldly blessed-time!

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The Pacific Ocean joining the California coast along highway 1 near Big Sur and Los Padres National Forest. Glorious scenery to go to sleep to and to wake up with!

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A little “Deborah” (bee) collecting pollen from the bright yellow flowers (and there were some orange ones as well) along the ocean’s edge. Not a bad work environment!

Next on tap was one of the newest National Parks, Pinnacles found in the Salinas Valley in Central California. It used to be a National Monument but has been “upgraded” recently by the President. It too, like Joshua tree, has spectacular rock formations/pinnacles that makes a great place for rock climbing. I must confess, in all of my adventuresome spirit, there is nothing in me that wants to rock climb!
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But it also contains about 30 miles of good hiking trails and a few caves. Thankfully I was able to hike into Bear Gulch caves (they are closed presently now though due to Townsend big-eared bat roosting). And then meander up to Bear Gulch Reservoir and hike a bit along the High Peaks Trail. Though the park is known for having California Condors, they apparently had other things to do than to make a special appearance for me! But some red-headed woodpeckers and blue birds kept me good company instead!

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I then camped one night at the Casa de Fruta (with many other casas to boot) in Santa Clara County California just south of San Fran where I splurged with a pot roast dinner!

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Next blog entry will cover my time in San Fran and Sacramento area getting reacquainted with family and friends, DV!