Cambria, San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay

Cambria is a town, really a village, which consists of East and West Village. We explored from top to bottom and then realized we were famished. We ate at Linn’s because of a tradition we have when we come to Cambria among other traditions. After filling our bellies we wanted more of Linn’s goodies, so we drove out to the farm, which is five miles out into the lovely countryside to purchase jams, jellies, avocados, lemons, and my main purchases were, pourable fruit that I will use as a glaze for chicken and fish, plus seedless Olallieberry jam.

On the way out to Linn’s Ranch and Store, we stopped at the Santa Rosa Chapel and cemetery. We noticed many graves with the name Fiscalini on them. It seems there is a big Fiscalini Ranch, plus an East Fiscalini Ranch and I assume a West Ranch as well. God Bless the Fiscalini’s.  Others, as you can see from the photo, are not so blessed to have a big family and ranches that span the Cambria area. These wooden markers have been here a long time and from the looks of some of them; their inhabitants have long ago been forgotten. I noticed on a few of the wooden markers a brass plate has been put on to remember the deceased who lies there. This cemetery is not on a grand scale like some others, but it is grand in the sense that you become absorbed in the ambiance, the experience lingers on in your mind forever, and you know you will return time after time.

We moved on to a favorite spot of mine, Moonstone Beach. We began our little walk along the beach and I was struck by the realization that there is something missing.  The beach used to be covered in little polished stones and a moonstone or two here and there.  The mass of stones has dwindled and they look scarce and picked over.  Oh my, there should be a sign discouraging folks from taking the rocks.  I am guilty and am very sorry. If I could bring the stones I took back to this spot, I would, but how?  I will never, ever take any more and hope you do not as well. I have seen first hand in my little world of worlds the significant threat human activity can make on a habitat that should be in existence eternally.

San Luis Obispo: Midway between Los Angeles and San Jose on the Central Coast of California

We spent an evening in the lovely little town of San Luis Obispo boasting as the happiest city in America, and enjoyed their Thursday Evening Farmer’s Market. The street was very crowded and full of things to eat.  /there was as line for McCintock’s Oak-pit barbeque that stretched for blocks and blocks. We asked the people in line if it was all that good and they said, “Yes, yes, it is ALL that good!” We did not stand in line, but we should have, definitely. The produce was beautiful as well as plentiful.

Morro Bay:

Morro Bay is one of my favorite waterfront cities. I love it for our history of visiting and for the huge rock that adorns it. We had lunch here in Morro Bay this visit on a patio, in seats that jutted out into the bay in full view of the otters at play, the sea lions basking, the fishermen coming and going, the pelicans gulping, seeing and feeling the birds dropping wet stuff on the umbrellas and occasionally on your person, hopefully not in your food, as well as enjoying all that the bay has to offer the visitor and the locals.

Cayucos, California

I found perfect weather in Cayucos, California and you all are welcome to come and sample it to see if it is for you.  There are overcast mornings, cool and fresh breezes blowing all day long and you do not have to put on sunscreen until about 3 or 4 in the afternoons, or even at all. The weather here in Cayucos is the most perfect way to bath your body in luxury. What am I not telling you about Cayucos?  I am not telling you of the life at the water’s edge. It is lovely at first glance, until you see mold and ravages of the sea on the structures and the inhabitants.  There is a constant maintenance going on here. It is just mother nature at work. Nothing more.

Now let us delve into the soul of Cayucos. I do not know how it is for each person because it is an individual thing. One thing noteworthy in the soul arena is that I was able to buy some things in this town worthy of having and remembering.  Three sugar shakers and a bracelet with ten squares and engraved on each square is one of the Ten Commandments. I enjoy being reminded as I read and re-read each one. Do I need to be reminded? Yes, we all need to be reminded believe it or not at all ages and stages. It is a connection with something of the ages. It is another root among roots that keep us upright and keep us from toppling over.

Another warm and wonderful time in Cayucos and the surrounding area is the time we spent with dear old friends. I do mean old in all ways. I hate to admit the truth and the truth is we are now considered senior citizens in line for miniscule discounts and handicapped parking stickers. Being a senior offers some prizes, but if you think of anything you would rather have that being a senior offers in exchange for youth, let me know now.

Now that I am home and away from the seaside, I realize that while visiting this area, it seems that everything is civilized on the outside for a guest to see, but what is seething on the inside I will never be privy. How do I know there is seething deep within, because, there is seething everywhere and you don’t see it; you just have to know and respect that it is there. People want to talk with you, people want to share information, too much at times, and the children look wholesome and fresh.  Why am I even bringing this up?  I wonder unto myself.  Now that a little time has passed, I can tell you one thing. I was double charged on my Visa for our stay. I was charged for our rooms and the rooms of another guest. Now, certainly this is an innocent error, or is it that economic times are so bad this B&B needs the extra income? I know that it has taken me three days to get a hold of anyone with any authority at this establishment. I explained my dilemma and now, they have not called me back. I am being tortured.  I can’t slander their name, but you can see the pier if they give you an ocean front room. I mention the pier because upon arising, just before coffee you can walk along the pier to the very end have a conversation or two with the fishermen and then return to the double charging Inn, and have a lovely little breakfast.

Our window/patio view showed us places to explore as well: Here is a view of the Sullivan Butter Cookie Company taken from the patio.

We decided to walk over there to see what was happening because of the crowd around the front doors. Look what we saw. You are right, people hand making these wonderful cookies. You are also treated to a wonderful taste test of cookies for purchase. Oh yum.

Now keep looking at our patio sights and you will see Duckie’s Chowder House. I have it on good authority that the Manhattan Chowder is delicious and from the looks of everyone eating and licking their chops everything is good in Dickie’s.

Look also at the view of Cayucos Candy Counter with old-fashioned ice cream and candy. You do not know how hard and long I have searched for old-fashioned ice cream and to have it right outside my patio window, as well as hand made butter cookies and Dickie’s lip smacking good food is a travel discovery extraordinaire.

ON THE WAY TO CAMBRIA, Stop in Harmony: Population18

We got off the next morning to visit the sights and sounds of Cambria. But, wait along the way you have to stop in the town of Harmony with a staggering population of 18, including kids, cats, dogs, raccoons and local ranchers. First, you see the ranches, then, little homes and finally, you visit pottery making and the glass blowing building.

You have been immersed in a world ago and subsequently you are transported to discover another point in time. What a delight.

OAKLAND, BENICIA, SANTA ROSA, BRENTWOOD, SAN RAMON, SAN BRUNO, MILLBRAE

What? A trip with no photos, Sheila, how can it be? Sometimes you get so caught up in the moment. There is no time for the camera and this is the truth. When you forget your camera, I think you are really living in the moment, which is something I rarely realize I am doing. Do you? I am just kidding about no photos, but not many because as I stated, living in the moment takes front and center.

Oakland

The Oakland airport pick up at one airport and drop off at another is an expensive proposition. A much cheaper option saving us $369.00 is as follows:  You see, we flew into Oakland and wanted to pick up a car at the Oakland airport and drop the car off at the San Francisco airport. They charge big drop off fees if you secure a car from the airport, but drop the price considerably if you pick the car up at the city office. We took Bart bus from the airport, took the Bart train and departed at 19th , and then walked six of the longest blocks in the world.  It all sounded easy, sounded like a good travel experience and a good way to save quite a sizeable amount of change, so we did it. Dragging your bags down the main street of any town is the tough for a couple of old farts, plus we later found out we had been dragging our goods in a very tricky part of town. We found everyone to be friendly, helpful and accommodating. We got our car and took off North! I forgot to mention we took the Bart to pick up our car for $6.00, therefore, negating a $60.00 taxi ride. I tell you this not to show off that I am cheap, just travel happy, but actually  we got a taste of reality. Being an older individual necessitates perhaps for next time, a taxi ride!!

Benicia

Benicia was our first stop to see J. and her new digs. If you want a mini mansion with an affordable price tag and you want to live in the Northern part of California, buy here in this neck of the woods.

The points of historical interest in Benicia are numerous and varied, and they came alive as we toured the area. We attended an old-fashioned ice cream social at the Benicia State Capitol and Historical Park at First and G Street.  We walked further on to visit the glass blowing shop, went in and out of the “What-Not Shop,” viewed the Clocktower, ate in several nice establishments I would repeat when we visit again. We enjoyed walking from the town, down to the water’s edge.  The old town at the time, I thought was the quintessential little northern California town until I saw more of them. They each have their charm and have earned the title of quintessential little Northern California town.  Seeing more towns along the way did not change the quaint, old world charm as it mixed with new mix in Benicia. We enjoyed our visit and were especially happy to see J. and her family so happy and working so well together.

Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa has its charm as well. It seemed to me that there were several centers of town here. Each offered a different ambiance and each had it’s charisma and attraction as well. We attended a Bar Mitzvah in Santa Rosa with all meals paid for in advance.  The hotel we stayed in was so old world that our room had the same wallpaper I had in my room growing up. Exactly.  I do believe it was a reproduction, but all the same it was the exact pattern, lines curves flowers and color was matched to a tee. I made many childhood decisions looking at the flowers, lines and dots in that design. I was taken back to my room as a kid. I am very much the same in character and decision-making as I was then, only decidedly more mature and posses a much stronger determination as a person.  I think, I hope. The event was perfect in every respect. A great mix of people, a Bar Mitzvah family in earnest, a beautiful temple, lots of food and an abundance of love, and camaraderie. It was an honor to attend.

Brentwood: Rancho Ruby

Rancho Ruby in Brentwood, California

Brentwood is beautiful. There are two towns, one is the old town and one is the new. The new town has everything you need, want and more. Cousin D’s Rancho Ruby is situated in the Mt. Diablo Mountains with beautiful views and scenes all around it. D. has a beautiful home, full of family antiques, a turtle pond, dogs, two barns, and a grove of olive trees, and lots and lots of vistas that highlight mountain ranches and farms.  We ate, whiled away the afternoon with conversations, little mini journeys into the heart of the ranch and topped the evening off with a gigantic steak dinner. No, no, not D, she is a vegetarian.

Via San Ramon to San Bruno and Millbrae

Then, on to San Ramon to see properties of interest and a ride over the San Mateo Bridge to stay in San Bruno another lovely little Northern California town. The first thing we saw was the terrible devastation caused by the gas lines blowing up, catching so many families at their dinner tables in the hills of San Bruno. They have one or two homes beginning the rebuilding process, but slowing it down is the fact that they can’t decide who will pay for re-construction.

There is a special garden in San Bruno and it is due to the hard work and constant diligence of Cousin K. Even though it was raining, we were able to enjoy its beauty knowing that it grows more beautiful as the season progresses. Cousin L & K have a close relationship with Flora Grubb Gardens in San Francisco, a must visit when in the South San Francisco area. Many of the unique, exotic plants in K’s garden come from Flora’s. Take a look.

K & L's Garden in San Bruno

http://www.floragrubb.com/idx/index.php

Skip at Flora Grubb's Garden enjoying the boxed cactus.

Millbrae:

We visited Uncle M. at the Magnolia. Visiting the Magnolia Senior Living facility this time was different. If you want to read about the first time, the piece is called: As If Looking into a Distant Mirror.  This time the distance in possibilities has closed because I have passed along in age and stage. Not a great deal, but noticing the aging of the residents during the year has made a world of difference.  The residents I met on my earlier stay were walking along on their own, getting up and down, chatting, and their pain seemed at a minimum.  Although it is impossible to judge the pain one experiences for another, you can see physical signs of added pain quite plainly, and it is evident by the squints and grimaces on some of their faces when they sit or stand and the inching along when trying to go from place to place.  I noticed that many of the residents now bring pillow aids to put on their chairs making sitting more comfortable. For instance, last year there were only a few walkers and this year mostly all are using a walker, a wheel chair or some form of aided transportation.  The call to dinner and the opening of the dining room doors presents a line of people jamming the entry-way, made even more well-defined by the presence of the walkers.

After talking with several of the residents about the decline in their mobility, they say they don’t like it but have made peace with it, say this is a part of life, dream about their old homes, their independent lives and some even hope for a new romance, a change in the menu, a walk around the block and getting better so they can enjoy doing more things.

The next morning we headed for Tennessee.

ON THE WAY TO POINT REYES TO PHOTOGRAPH THE LIGHTHOUSE

This is the coveted photo you spend two days on the road hoping to capture.  When you get there, it can be so windy you have to hold on for dear life.  Or the fog can be so thick it blots out the view entirely. The day we got to the spot for this perfect photo of the lighthouse, it was 100 degrees and clear as a bell. Now just imagine triple digits next to the coast in Northern California and imagine hot, hot, hot. As you will come to see, it was a blessed day.

As you start out on your journey for the perfect Point Reyes Lighthouse photo you have to travel through Marin County, and since you must travel across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, I thought that you would like to see  perfectly fog free photos of the bridge. More

“Natives” Are Home from our Tour in Santa Barbara

When we talk about Natives on Tour, the natives consist of our whole family. We get along great, usually, and enjoy going on tour with each other. There are many adventures and experiences that can only be taught by going on tour. Come with us next time. Got any good ideas for the next tour?

We are home from our lovely Natives on Tour in Santa Barbara.  Did we go to the museums? Yes. Did we go to the Zoo? Yes we did and we enjoyed the grounds almost as much as seeing the penguin feeding, the giraffes, the flamingos, the gorillas, the huge guinea pigs, the lion, the elephants and visiting amongst ourselves.  Did we get to the Mission, no not this time?  Did we go to Sterns Wharf, drive on the wharf, and hang around watching the fisherman, buy candy and shop? Yes, we did.   Did we do the whole State Street thing from the Museum of Art to Cabrillo BLVD.? Yes we did.
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