Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ventura – Malibu – Anaheim

Since sharing a camp site with Robinson Crusoe we have moved on; and been busy!

As you know from the last blog we were in Ventura for a long weekend. Ventura is a relatively nice town, but the beach left us cold – in more ways than one. And…believe it or not we met up once more with our Monterey neighbors!

From Ventura we traveled down Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu – the coast line is absolutely breathtaking. As we were driving along approaching Malibu Tom noticed RV’s in the distance on the side of a hill and wondered if it was Malibu RV Resort where we had reservations.
It was; and what a joy it turned out to be!

We pulled into the campsite and were directed to site V1, which challenged Tom’s parking abilities – it demanded that he parallel park, no less! What a view we had, we were literally looking down a bluff (about 250 feet) at the beach and the Pacific; where every morning a pod of Dolphins entertained us. Certainly, the most spectacular camp site we’ve been to since we set out on our travels.

The Northern Trust Open was being held at the nearby Riviera Country Club and we had 5 Pro Golfers as neighbors, including Jimmy Walker who finished in 4th place.

Tuesday we settled in, chatted with two new friends Mary who hails from Wisconsin and who is Giada De Laurentiis (of TV Cooking Channel fame) mother-in-law and Roger from DC; Roger had a 1960’ish BMW Motorcycle and a German Army WW11 sidecar complete with machine-gun mounting.  We also hiked the short distance to Solstice Canyon, and then the Canyon itself on Tuesday; which has an interesting history.

Wednesday we went to visit the La Brea Tar Pits and the adjacent George C. Page Museum. Why, oh why are these not more widely publicized? Only that we were meeting my friend Lisa for lunch at the nearby Farmers Market Tom would still be in the Museum. This should be on everyone’s “to do” list when in the LA area. Roger joined us for dinner that evening and entertained us afterwards with his bass banjo.

Thursday we spent at the Getty Villa in Malibu and Friday at the Getty Museum in LA. Again…both should be on everyone’s “to do” list, not alone for the exhibits, but more importantly for the splendor of their location and architecture.

Saturday we had a wonderful visit from Jennifer and Karl’s friends the Brookbanks; Richard & Dina, 10 year-old twins Ben & Oliver and 5 year-old Henry. After some time exploring the campsite and its environs we headed north to Bob Morris’ Paradise Cove Beach CafĂ© for lunch – you just have to go there for brunch/lunch when visiting Malibu; and…for you chocolate lovers the Chocolate Cake is ginormous and delicious – we ordered a slice – all 7 of us had some and we still took some home! We played soccer and rugby on the beach to Henry’s great delight.
Uncle Karl eat your heart out!

In our next blog I’ll start with Sunday at Lisa’s. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sharing a Camp site with Robinson Crusoe

We spent a lovely week at Pismo Beach RV Resort and met up with friends whom we had as neighbors in Monterey. We watched the Super Bowl in our RV but so did everyone else so company was not far away; however, we missed our usual venue at Eileen’s. What an entertaining Game this year?  Plenty of action and of course the ads were fantastic...

We went to the Street/Farmers Market in San Luis Obispo on Thursday night and bought our dinner from a street stall; there was quite a good choice, ribs, steak, chicken, kebab’s, corn etc. Tables and chairs were provided and we ended up sharing a table with a lady originally from New Zealand (she talked just like “Dame Edna”); a couple from Minnesota (he put on his “Fargo” accent) for us and we all had a giggle.  As we strolled along the streets we saw a corner shop selling ladies underwear called “Fanny Wrappers” which greatly confused Tom. Poor innocent! What a great name for a ladies shop.

There was a legalize Marijuana march and I was trying to imagine such a march on a Sunday morning at the Los Gatos Farmers Market!  I tried to be discreet and take a few photos. I never know if it is OK to do that or not.  They all looked pretty normal CA people.

Sitting in the RV I can see Robinson Crusoe through my window. His is wearing a blue swim suit, has a tattoo on his back, long grey hair and a long grey beard and his skin is as brown as a berry. These days he drives a white van and has a dog called “Friday”.  And, he resides on the beach in Refugio.

We found Refugio State Beach by mistake, we had intended stopping at Gaviota State Beach, but we came around an acute corner of 101 and there it was; “Rambling Rover” can’t do quick turns yet!  U turns are out of the question so we must drive on.  Next signpost was for Refugio State Beach so off we drive and find a real gem of a State Park. A gem, strictly in terms of its location (right at a spectacular beach – that’s it - no hook-ups (electricity, water, sewer), no Wi-Fi, TV, cell phone reception not good, so you are pretty much on your own. The Park did have toilet and shower blocks.

Luckily, before leaving Pismo Beach we had filled our water tank and had the batteries fully charged. Saturday when we were leaving we discovered that we had run our batteries dry and needed to move to recharge the batteries.  

The story of Refugio - it was given as a land grant in the 17th century to a Spaniard, let’s call him Miguel who farmed the land.  When he died his son Sergio decided smuggling was much more lucrative. At that time Californians (Spaniards) could only purchase their goods from Spanish traders.  They were few and not reliable so he started to trade with all the well stocked ships that passed his way and hid the loot on his property. The Government in Monterey (then the Capital of California) heard about this illegal trading and sent down a posse but Sergio got wind of the raid and moved all his loot into the surrounding hills. When the Monterey guys got there they found neither man nor loot so they burned his house. Needless to say the name is much longer in Spanish - Refugio de Smugglers.

We are now at Ventura Beach and still enjoying all the chocolate that was lavished on us over Christmas which means that I’m taking a rain check from Tom for my usual Valentine’s Day chocolate. 

We wish all you lovers out there a fun Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Looking for Yogi!

I convinced Tom to drive down Big Sur on Highway One and what a roller coaster that was.  We hit four sets of road works that would have been bad in a car but horrific for Tom driving the RV.  Of course I was perched up on the high passenger seat on the cliff edge, enjoying the view right down the side at the beautiful azure water on the rocks way below.  I had checked the escape exits - I was going to run back to the bedroom and open the emergency window and swim!  To what? Those rocks that I could see were being beaten by the surf a half a mile down below.  Poor Tom only saw his own white knuckles.  But for me it was beautiful!
We stayed two nights at Pfeiffer State Park which was about 2 miles up a canyon on a road that was full of potholes so we bumped, bumped, bumped all the way.  A state trooper comes along to see are we OK?   I just end up wondering where did he leave YOGI as he was all decked out in his uniform, but no Bear. We were without Wi-Fi and TV and the phones didn’t work too well.  We missed not being part of the “real “world.
Sunday we ate in Nepenthe’s where we had been a long time. We hiked to 3 waterfalls - Pfeiffer Falls in the Park, McVey Falls a very pretty waterfall which falls 70 feet to the beach and Salmon Creek Falls which was by far the best, a big surprise.  To see these falls one needs to get out of one’s car and walk about three-quarters of a mile, as the view from the road does not give you any idea of how spectacular the Falls are, or the quantity of water that pours over the rocks.  A great thundering waterfall!
San Simeon was our next stop where we saw the whole story of the procreation of the Elephant Seal.  Two long beaches of barking, belching seals.  The male’s weighs 5000 lbs. the female 1500lbs.  I called one of the seals Napoleon because he was very busy looking for his Josephine, but his advances were being constantly refused. I thought he would crush all those baby seals while he followed his lusts desire.
Now we are at Pismo beach.  We are right on the beach which is long and pretty, the sea is cold but we have a heated pool on site.  It feels like half of the population of the little town of Pismo are RVer’s as this is one of the snowbirds favorite destinations.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

On the road again...

So here we are, “back on the road again”!
Since our last Blog posting we had a lovely Christmas Day with our Bay Area family members, again, much thanks to Stella and Tony for putting on a great meal and an evening of fun and entertainment…sadly Melissa was not able to join us as she was recovering from a hysterectomy on the 22nd.
Christmas night we spent at The Red Roof Inn near the San Francisco Airport, where we parked the car until January 17th for a great all-in price – we highly recommend this facility.
On the 26th we flew from SFO to Birmingham, UK via Paris; it was wonderful to see our Son-in Law Karl and granddaughter Hannah waiting with big smiles for us in the arrivals area. From then on we were in a veritable beehive of activity. We celebrated Karl’s Mums 70th with the extended family; sang in the New Year at a village friends home; visited Muriel and Gerry for a couple of days (how wonderful it was to see them and enjoy their company); lots of lovely walking around the canals and by-ways; a family visit to Leicester to see The King & I, with a follow up shopping visit; Tom’s sister Veronica visited with Rick and their son Liam, and then it was time for us to leave. Jennifer and Hannah drove us to a hotel at Birmingham Airport – our flight was at 6.30 AM to Paris and on to SFO.
On January 18th we reunited with RamblingRover at Leale’s RV in San Jose where she had been for servicing and other much needed up-grades while we were away. We cannot speak highly enough of Leale’s, all the work was perfection in itself. Definitely, the go to place in the Bay Area for RV servicing and repairs.
Once more we imposed on our great friends the Barth’s and stayed with them for a week before starting off once again on our US odyssey.
While in Los Gatos Adele kept busy with her Newcomers friends while I was discovering through X-Rays and Ultrasounds that I have arthritis in my spine and hips – old rugby injuries!
Old Rugby players never die…they just limp away!!
Thursday found us in Monterey, CA where we had a lovely bike ride along the coast from the RV Park to Pacific Grove and back.
Then on Friday we went to Point Lobos where we hiked 6 miles and saw a “raft” (the technical term for four or more) of Otters, Sea Lions and more excitingly Grey Whales – we saw quite a number, very close to shore; and not just spouts, but also breaching and tails. Spectacular!
From Monterey we will traverse Big Sur…watch for the Big Sur Blog.