2018….

….And we are on our way back to the ranch and Wandering Spirit.

Tonight we are in Blythe, CA, right on the boarder with AZ.  I’m binging on NCIS, since this afternoon and so far this evening, USA channel is playing it continually.  After tonight I won’t have TV for months so I’m glad I’m getting my Gibbs fix now! 😊

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Once we get back to CLR, I’d like to stay put for a week, so I’ll be getting some groceries here at the Albertsons early tomorrow morning, then driving 300 plus miles, ending in the 8 miles of dusty, rocky road that leads to my door.  Neither Joy, nor Shiloh, nor I like these long drives.  I’m sure the furry ones will be happy when we get home and they can be leash-free on our hill.

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Sorry, the only other pictures I have are of Big Sur.

All 3 of us are having a lot of joint aches and pains, with limping and such, involved. The fur babies are taking their Rimadyl, and for me it’s extra strength Tylenol for my knees now.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another, it seems.

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That’s Point Sur and the lighthouse, with clouds of fog behind, and beach afore.

I’ve been having knee issues for a long time now, but very recently it’s gotten worse.  I’m hoping it’s an arthritic flare up which will calm down very soon.

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Some hills in the foreground, cloud covered ocean, and then the sun behind a cloudy sky.

I’m going to try to lose some weight, to take some of the pressure off my joints…it can’t hurt.

And so the year begins…..

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Pieces Of Heaven

47FC060A-D3D5-4747-81A7-D3D45A78080D…Is a candy store that has been at the Barnyard for as long as I can remember.  And the Barnyard I’m referring to is a rustic and beautiful shopping center in Carmel-by-the-Sea, known for its beautiful gardens and this time of year it’s fairy-land Christmas decor.

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Above and below, some of those “pieces of heaven”.

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Yes, I bought a few!

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But that phrase…pieces of heaven….is so much more than a candy store.  Pieces of heaven …are…is….every glimps of the beautiful Pacific Ocean, crashing against the shore and the sight of the sea gulls above, riding the wind.

It’s  visiting with friends and family in their homes, or over coffee  (or…umm…a margarita 😀) in some of my favorite haunts.

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Deetjens serves brown sugar chunks with coffee, and always has soy milk on hand.

It’s the towering redwoods, the dramatic coastal views, and the magical quality of Big Sur.

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It’s  the Big Sur Lighthouse, Point Lobos, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and long, lonely stretches of beach with no one on them, amazingly.  It’s the white sand, dog friendly Carmel Beach, and the walking trails along the ocean in Pacific Grove.  It’s comparably easy access to vegan food.

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Part of the menu at Abha Indian Cuisine, a newer restaurant at the Barnyard.

It’s the foot trails down to the ocean throughout Garrapata State Park, with unexpected bench’s placed for spectacular views along the way.

And I could go on.  And on.  And on.  You get my drift…I love it here, and I feel so SO blessed and fortunate to be able to partake of this extraordinary place.  Through trouble and strife I found my way to this magnificence some 30 years ago, but it’s when I leave it that I discover it really is my home place.  Even the weather suits me to a T….the fog and generally cool temperatures that happen here are perfect.  For Joy and Shiloh and I.

So I am thankful and full of gratitude that I can Be Here Now….and the plan is to come back soon.

In a few days we will be heading back to Caballo Loco Ranch…and yes, happily!  I’m looking forward to being there for the rest of the winter!  When it gets too hot at the ranch…and I’m not sure when that will be but sometime in March or April I expect….we will come back to California’s central coast for the summer.  Mary is retired now and itching to travel, but not anxious to leave her house empty and then there is the cat that adopted her, who needs care.  The dogs and I are needing a travel break.  So….I’ll stay at her house and she can travel and come and go as she pleases.  We’ll see how it works out….

For now,  I pray that your New Year…2018 (how can that be??), will find you full of peace and love and joy, and yeah, that this beautiful planet gift that we have been given will survive the atrocities we continue to shower upon it and it’s flora and fauna.  May humanity wake up!

May the power of love overcome the love of power!  Thinking positive for 2018!

 

 

 

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Merry Christmas From Big Sur

Or whatever holiday you may be celebrating.

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“Mysticism of stone, Which failure cannot cast down, Nor success make proud.”

From Robinson Jeffers poem “Rock And Hawk”.

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Just a few pictures of the stunning beauty that calls me….

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From the patio at Ventana.

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Yum.

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Mary and I in front of the fireplace at Deetjens.

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And then there is the fireplace at Ventana, where Laura, Joel, and I shared some time and some memories.

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A little bit of Christmas…

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And coffee at Deetjens.  Served with brown sugar chunks and soy milk.  More yum.

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Way off in the distance you can see Point Sur.  That’s where the lighthouse is.

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And not to leave out a spectacular Sur sunset.

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May you be blessed with love, peace, Joy, and the beauty of nature this holiday season.  Hugs to all.

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Life On The Central Coast Of CA

These days have been mostly about catching up with friends and family, Christmas shopping ( I love it…even in the Christmas rush), working on some Christmas gifts I’m making, and I’ve even had a chance to do a little baking.

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Have a ‘peace’ of apple pie?

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A lovely loaf of bread, right out of the oven!

It has been busy but fun.

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Oh, and just in case you come over…! 😊

Also Mary and I borrowed the five movies that comprise the Twilight Saga from Jason and Mandy ( my son and daughter-in-law).

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We’ve been binging on these in the evenings, including the many extra discs that have the special effects, interviews with the cast, and deleted scenes.

I know.  It’s supposed to appeal to teenagers.  Just call us young at heart!  Remember, I’m the one who spent a week in Forks, WA, and a week at the RV Park at First Beach in LaPush, on the Quileute Indian Reservation, where the wolves hang out!

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Remember this? Jacob in human form…and me. I seem to do ok with men as long as they are made of cardboard.

I’m so team Jacob!  I think Mary is too.

The author of the saga, Stephanie Myers, a mom with three boys, who majored in English in college, but had never written a book before in her life, had a weird dream about Bella and Edward in the meadow.  Three weeks later she had written the book called ‘Twilight’, and the meadow scene was in chapter 13.  Just some trivia for ya. 😊

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I went to a Christmas retirement party with some of the nurses I used to work with.  Marsha and I did a selfie between the Mimosas.  (Ok, this is the day before I got a much needed hair styling from Deb, who’s been doing my hair for the last almost 20 years, when I’m here.) Marsha lived in Spangle, WA for awhile after retirement.  I visited her there a couple of times and blogged about it.  Now she has moved back to the Central Coast area.

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Mary and I had lunch at Tillie Gort’s Cafe, an old hippie hang out where you can find vegan fare.

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Joel (the Joel Pole man), makes the best cup of java in existence. Joel the Java Man!

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While visiting with Laura and Joel we drove up to a hill top at a Palo Alto park, and got a view of San Francisco and San Francisco Bay.

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Jason and Mandy and I had lunch out in Big Sur at Napenthe…a tradition for us.

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It was hard to get good costal pictures this day because of the smoke from the Southern California fires.

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But I kept trying.

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I get to go shopping at my very own Whole Foods market.  Well, not exactly mine, but…you know what I mean?  Hey, did you know I saw Clint Eastwood shopping there once?  Made my day! 😘 And he was NOT cardboard.

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Sharon (Mandy’s mom), with Joy and Shiloh.  We went to lunch and then back to their property for a walk.

You know how in our travels to The Ranch, we followed autumn….that was awhile ago.  Thought autumn was past, didja?  Nope.  It’s just now come to the central coast.

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These changing leaves pictures were taken near Mary’s house today.

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Yeah….I’m loving being home right now.

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Home (And Getting Here)

Yes, home is where I park it.  But it can also be a certain place, and for me, that place is the central coast of California.

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Joy and Shiloh on DelMonte Beach.

The more I travel, the more I know it.  Wow.  It feels good to be here.

 

What makes a place “home”?

It must be different for everyone, and I think it can change over time, too.  Relationships, familiarity, feelings, memories, the right vibes.  I certainly didn’t

start out here, and I’ve seen a lot of beautiful places in my travels….but this place is not only beautiful, but it just feels right.  I resonate with the area on many levels.

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That’s part of the Monterey Peninsula in the background.

Mary, Joy, Shiloh and I went to DelMonte Beach on this beautiful day. (Yesterday).  This is Joy and Shilohs favorite beach ever.  They were practically raised on it.

 

I used to let them run free here, but now with some wild waves this time of year, and Joys decreasing strength, I’m not letting her run out into the water.  Last time we were here (last year), she did that and her back legs collapsed under the strength of the water.  I had to go in and get her out and it wasn’t easy.

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Yesterday she was allowed to get her feet wet.

Getting Here And Practical Things

i had a routine service appointment scheduled for JR (my truck, ‘Joy Ride’) the day before we were leaving the ranch.  I was talking to Fred about it and he asked me if I ever check my oil.

“Umm, no.  I have a gauge…” I answer sheepishly.  I knew that was the wrong answer.  So Fred and Colleen came over to show me how to check the oil and other things under the hood.  When it came to the battery, Fred told me there was a little peep hole in the top of it, and told me to look into it.  He asked me what I saw.

The color red.

Oops, another wrong answer.  It’s supposed to be green.  Don’t want to make a long trip on a dying  battery.  It’s over 5 years old, so actually it’s time for a new one, but at the last check up it was running at 12.7 though, so I thought it was fine.  I decide to have a new one out in at the appointment.

And then, the next day when I’m tooling around the ranch, the engine light comes on.  Yikes, this can’t be good!  I read the manual and it tells me that when the engine light comes on and does not flash it means the engine needs to be serviced soon.  What is wrong and how soon remains a mystery.  Can I drive it 50 plus miles into town to the servicing?  Most opinions around the ranch range in the yes category.  Fred and Colleen offer to follow me when I go but that’s a 100 plus mile round trip they may not need to make so I decline.  They tell me to call if I have any problems.

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Will we make it to that beautiful ocean after all?  (Obviously we did. 😀)

So Thursday comes and anxiety blossoms as I Start down the bumpy dirt road.  I find it necessary to pop lots of antiacids.  The battery works and the engine light stays on and the trip to the Ford dealership is uneventful.  I tell them my story and then we wait.  The whole place is very welcoming to Joy and Shiloh and they behave like angels.  The polished marble floor is very cold and they enjoy lying on it.

Finally I get the news, yes there are dead cells in the battery and we have replaced it, but as for the engine light….we ran the codes and nothing is showing up.  We think it’s probably just………dust on the sensors.  We cleaned them off….

Well I can certainly understand that.  JR is covered with a thick coat of dust.  I’ve literally been sweeping it off with a small broom.  Well, if that’s true, what a relief!

California here we come!

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The Monterey Bay, where we are in these pictures, stretches from The Monterey Peninsula on the south, to Santa Cruz on the north.  It goes for about 40 miles I believe.  There is rarely more than a couple people on this beach when I’ve come here over the years, and even still.

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We leave the ranch Friday, December 1 and have a blissfully uneventful journey to Blythe, CA, where we spend the night.  On the 2nd we are up early and on our way to Barstow where we will be meeting up with our friends Shirlee and Doug from Canada.  We met them here near Barstow at Owl Canyon BLM about 3 years ago and camped together also at Sawtooth Canyon, in Quartzsite, and at Mittry Lake.  Today we drive directly to the RV park where they are staying near Barstow.

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Shirlee and Joy.

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Shiloh getting his guy time with Doug.

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Joy chewing on Dougs socks.  Joy and Shiloh have good memories of being in Doug and Shirlee’s 5th wheel and all the love and treats they received there.

After a nice visit and a walk we go check into our hotel in Barstow. (I highly do NOT recommend the Worst…umm…Best Western Desert Villa Inn, in Barstow.).

A little later Shirlee and Doug arrive with dinner from Peggy Sues Diner, nearby.  Yup, they have a veggie burger there.  We have another nice visit and a walk.  So nice to see them again.

Sunday morning we are outta that yucky hotel early, and on our way to Mary’s house!  I’m happy to report that JR is running like a top and getting 20.5 to 24.5 miles to the gallon as we travel.  At Paso Robles we get on Hwy 101 north, and I know the home place is only a couple of hours away!  Emotion trickles down my cheeks now and again.

We reach Mary’s house and the dogs are ecstatic.  My gut is saying Yes! Yes! Yes!  Mary and I talk non stop as she makes pizza with a cauliflower crust and Daiya Cheese Shreds, and lots of veggies.

Phew.  We made it.     Home.

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Keeping It Simple

I meant to blog sooner but between poor connections and the heat, it’s been awhile.

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It’s been up to 90 degrees in Tucson recently, and 5 or so degrees cooler at Caballo Loco Ranch.  This Thanksgiving was the hottest anyone can remember here.  Up on our little hill. In the shade, with the breeze up there, it’s been bearable…as long as we stay there…in the shade during the heat of the day.  Nights cool down to the low 50’s though, which is wonderful.  We take walks in the early morning and again about sunset.

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So……I had this opportunity….provided by kind friends, to buy a larger trailer AND a 4 wheeler for an UNbelievablely low price.

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Here they are.  Fred would have taken care of towing it up to my site, and fixed any problems that might develop.  I wouldn’t tow it…it would stay permanently on my site, which is the set up most folks have here.  It was cute inside too….well loved and taken care of.  And in a way, I wanted it…..more space for the dogs, an oven, room for some ice in the freezer…all what I consider luxuries!  I’ll never get a Better deal than this….

it makes a lot of sense….but….but….for three days I labored over the decision.

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The thing is I’ve actually been so content in my little WS….and Joy and Shiloh seem to be also…for getting close to 3.5 years now.  I really do like keeping it simple.  With another place to live I’d be getting lots more stuff, and I am liking the minimalist lifestyle….fairly minimal anyway.

Simple is good.  Having this option made me realize how much I do enjoy this lifestyle.  Finally I was able to say peacefully that I was so thankful for Colleen and Fred’s kindness in trying to help me out, but no, I would decline.  (Happily they have sold the trailer and 4 wheeler already to someone else.  They were doing this as a favor to a friend).

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One of the spectacular sunsets from our view on the hill.

That being said,  the plan is to leave here on December 1, and go to the home place for most of December, to see friends, family, doctors, and celebrate Christmas.  The thing that is going to be different about this trip is that I’m leaving WS here at the ranch, in the care of friends.  We will be staying in dog-friendly motels on the way back to the Monterey area.  Once there we will be staying with Mary again.  Thank you so much  Mary!

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One one of our walks.

Whats more, we’ve made arrangements to meet up this our friends Doug and Shirlee on the way!  We met them early in our journey near Barstow, California, while camping at Owl Canyon, and we ended up camping together a number of times.  A year and a half ago we planned to meet and camp at Glacier National Park, but due to circumstances beyond our control, that disappointingly, never happened.

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There is so much more I could tell you about, and we are in town today, having left CLR at about 7 am this morning to beat the heat.  Plans for the rest of the day are to go to the cemetery where my parents are buried here in Tucson and put Christmas flowers on their graves, and then drive the 50 or so miles back to CLR and get ready for the “Margarita Party” we are planning later this afternoon!

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What a beautiful face!

Tuesday the weather is supposed to start cooling down, but then we leave Friday.

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Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Sleepy girl!

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Getting Back To CLR

 

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Actually this first picture was taken in Gila Bend but it’s so spectacular!

I’d been dreaming about getting back…I mean, literally dreaming while sleeping.  And finally I turn onto the dirt road that leads to the ranch…

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Not exactly dream material, but I drive very slowly….IMG_3603

And finally we reach the sign above the road…IMG_3604

And I feel like I’m home.

 

I make it up to ‘my’ hill and with a little luck manage to position WS so she’s pointing pretty much north so the door is facing east and we get the afternoon shade.

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It’s about 10:30 in this picture.

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Evening here.

I planned to have a long post here but am having internet problems so….it will be short IMG_3636

I’ll share some pretty sky pictures….

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This last one was this morning .

And some happy dog pictures….

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And I will end this and hope that next time I get a chance to post the internet is in a better mood!

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