Tag: rv travel (Page 1 of 2)

Word from a Surfer Bumper Sticker

What appear to be seals off Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz, are surfers waiting for the right wave. The wave of mountains behind them is the rest of Monterey Bay looking west (or south if you’re not from the area.) What a beautiful place.

I’ve been visiting desert landscapes since we left the Bay in early January, but I miss the surfers and the sea. When hiking, a slogan I saw or heard while on the coast comes back to me. I think it’s catchy and helpful.

Use Your God-given Gluts


Earthquake Humor

For three weeks in December, we moved out of Wren into a tiny attached housing unit with lots of light, a full kitchen and comfortable bed in a section of Santa Cruz called Pleasure Point. It’s famous for its waves and attracts surfers and those who love to walk or bike the boardwalk along the cliffs to watch them. The houses quickly become more modest as one walks away from the beach. Here among short streets packed with small houses there’s a neighborly feeling. We’re advised that our doors don’t need to be locked when we leave and as strangers, we get friendly smiles and hellos when out and about on foot.

I’ve had many pleasant interactions with one stand-out. It happened on a mild evening graced with a full moon. After dinner my husband, dog and I headed outdoors for a stroll. Around the first corner we met a man coming from the other direction on tiny Yucca Street. We nodded to one another, and then he asked had we noticed the moon and the ring around it. We murmured something about its beauty, and he said, “Means it’s going to snow or be an earthquake.” Then walked on into the night.

It never snows in Santa Cruz. I laughed in relief that this brand of dark humor is not confined to New England, but flourishes here as well. Great way to regard the real possibility that one will die in the sudden crashing of tectonic plates along the fault lines we’re perched above or in the tsunami that would follow it.

Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz CA

Camping among Giants


This photo was taken at Nisene Marks State Park just south of Santa Cruz in Aptos on a hike with Jerry and Bess. I’m wearing four light-weight layers because the trail we used is quite flat and the day was overcast and in high-fifties only. The Sequoias are loving this cool, damp weather, and I’m loving their deeply-grooved bark, their lofty heights, the green of their needles on the branches, and red of the ones that have fallen at their base to cover the forest floor.

We camped for a week in Big Basin Redwood State Park in the hills outside of Santa Cruz, then moved to a private campground in Felton, CA, among the redwoods for another four nights. Two of those days were rainy, so we got to appreciate days when the sunlight does eventually filter through the crowns of the giants to where we are far below. The young redwoods are a mere 150 feet tall, the elders 300 or so. Those who stay and live among these trees clearly love them and the micro-climate they create for other plants and animals.

Welcome Rattlesnakes


This warning is posted on the office counter at Country Cactus RV Park in Tucson. I read it carefully, twice, and did use a flashlight at night. Did not want to step on a rattler enjoying the warmth of the asphalt after the sun went down or one just passing through. I felt sure I’d survive a bite, but not sure my forty-pound dog Bess would. I did not come across any snakes the week we stayed there.

Better than a Mother’s Scolding

Part of living in Wren has been learning to close each cabinet drawer, no matter how small, immediately. Because quarters are so tight, one is sure to bang forehead, elbow, or temple on the corner of the heavy-duty cabinet door.  Those hinges do not give when struck by part of the human body. Although I still catch myself occasionally, the pain of impact has improved my ratio of closed to left-open dramatically. Did mom ever succeed in getting the kids to shut the drawers and doors after they found what was wanted?


The Road is Life


There’s a tiny farmer’s market on the east side of Tucson on Saturday that includes a food truck worth standing in line to be served from. And I did for at least half an hour. No idea really it was so pleasant with children, grandparents, vendors, gem cutters and locals to eavesdrop on.

Time enough to read the menu and the specials and make a perfect choice, the southwestern grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and peppers. Gooey delicious and mildly spicy, generous and inexpensive. As Kerouac says we are all on the road. Let’s make it worth how hard farmers, merchants, musicians, writers and the rest work to support us, including a long wait for slow food.

Getting into Wren

It took me a few thousand miles perhaps to figure out how to remember which foot to step up first when entering from driver’s side or from navigator’s side of the van. Great relief to discover that all it takes is putting the foot closer to the van up first, then the other foot naturally goes on second step and one’s feet do not wind up entangled and the rest of me unbalanced when I try to sit down. Who knew?

Elk, Elk, where are you?

Glenwood Hot Springs, CO

Glenwood Hot Springs, CO

Overheard in the pool

“The elk are out there. Saw a bull elk today grazing by the fence along the highway. On private property though. It’s said that the elk are staying at higher elevations this fall. They think it’s September.”

While this may not be literally true, it says something about the change in the way things used to be climate-wise.

It’s All About the Sky


Badlands National Park, South Dakota

The day we arrived, the sky was blue with puffy Georgia-O’keeffe clouds floating about. This photo is from the next morning from Wren. Is that rain? Skies cleared on our way from there west 40 miles to The Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore. The day delivered sunshine, snow, rain, cloud cover and finally a red sunset as we headed back to Cedar Pass Campground where 4 sites remained open after official closing. It had poured there and was pitch dark when we arrived. First thing we did was step out and into sloppy, sticky mud. The sandstone Badlands are eroding rapidly due to rain, wind, snow, and visitors’ footsteps. No one had to convince us after we could see the sediment in every puddle under clear skies.

It was a beautiful place to stay. While I was told camping would be dry this late in the year, the restrooms were open, and heated, as were the showers.  Dogs are not allowed on any of the trails or boardwalks.

My Great-Grandmother’s Diary

Part of this long road trip over three seasons is learning more history of my mother’s family and sharing some of what I know. This took us to Wisconsin and a large town outside of Madison where my ancestors settled after migrating from Vermont and other places East. My grandmother’s sister remained on the farmland there, so cousins who stayed on the land or nearby know a lot of the history. From there we visited a first cousin outside of Minneapolis, MN, and her husband. Kate was eager to hear all I’d learned and see what I’d brought from home. My mother was the only daughter and perhaps because of that was given much of what her mother had of family artifacts. These included a chest of drawers that made the trip west from Orwell, a spinning wheel from Vermont and fabric woven from its threads, and a tiny bureau made by one of our ancestors for a child. I did not bring these items in the camper.

img_4540Kate with Kate’s Daily Diary 1936

What interested Kate and me the most was a diary kept by Kate Buell Ranney, the woman my cousin is named for, in 1936 at the age of eighty-two when she is a widow and living part of the year with her daughter who left the farm to live in Des Moines and the other part of that year with her only other child, daughter who stayed on the farm and married a neighbor farmer. The lady had a busy social life with lots of calling and callers, club meetings, and church events. Letter writing and receiving was a vital part of every day.

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