CALIFORNIA

The plan was to leave Yuma at 8 AM on Sunday. I left at 8:09. All fueled up, all fluid levels checked, oil change & lube- done. Having the storage shed made reloading the van easy. I was able to organize everything so that I EVEN had some empty space.

I set the cruise control to 60 and set back, enjoying the scenery, happy and excited about the summer plans. About 10 AM I stopped for breakfast. I like to get a couple hours in on a road trip before stopping. Tried Jack In The Box for the first time. Not a lot of choices on road trips anymore. One thing I’ve noticed on this trip are the number of boarded up small businesses and towns. It’s hard to find that small town diner along a route anymore.

I hit LA right on schedule. The traffic for a Sunday afternoon was slow but not too bad. Just north of LA, I got my first view of the Pacific. Hard to believe, but I’ve never been to the West Coast before. Here’s a shot taken one handed while driving on Hwy 101:

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I arrived at the campground just after 4 PM, pretty much on schedule. I was thinking of getting a bike for the weekly grocery run into Santa Barbara but it’s a lot more mountainous than I thought. There’s no way I could make it! The National Forest I’m at is in a canyon. I’ll be taking care of one of five campgrounds here. There is someone in my spot so I was put into another camp for a few days. We’ll switch on Thursday. So I am in the group campground which is completely empty. I’m all alone, surrounded by coastal oak trees, chipmunks and deer.

It’s so quiet, quite a change from the interstate noise in Yuma. The only noise is from the breeze through the oak trees. The leaves are small and dense and make a unique rustling sound.

No street lights, either. Last night, I laid on the picnic bench and checked out the stars. I will be experimenting with some long exposure photography, so you’ll see what it looks like. Meanwhile, here’s the view from my patio:

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The cat loves the milder temps and we’ve taken a couple of hikes up the trail head that is steps away from my site.

This morning, there was a knock at my door. One of the other workers needed his battery jumped, so I helped him out with that. While setting up the cables, I noticed a rotisserie spit BBQ in the campground he was at. At about 3′ long, it would be perfect for roasting a whole pig. I mentioned that and he said there are wild boar in the hills here. When I asked about hunting permits (there is some limited hunting available) he replied “You’re the camp host. It’s your campground.” So maybe there some fresh BBQ in the future. There are fire restrictions here, though. At some point soon, they will restrict all outside fires, allowing only propane grills.

Today’s joke: Why did the lollipop cross the road?

It was stuck to the chicken.

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