Saturday, October 31, 2009

Going Home

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.
---William Henry Davies, “Leisure”

There have been longer trips. There have been trips more challenging. There have been few that have been as peaceful and fun. La Coachasita provided some moments of concern but returns in good shape with only small wounds to remind me of this northwest adventure.

I saw old friends, old places, and new places, met new characters, had excellent weather and except for the one storm, it remained warm until the end… As I left the Redwood Coast on Wednesday there was frost on the ground and the cold weather was clearly coming. The wind that had been suspiciously absent most of the trip was up, and it felt colder than it probably really was.

It was time to move south. My last stop was in the Santa Yenez Mountains behind Santa Barbara for three nights. It is a favorite place where at migratory birds from eagles hawks, ducks on the lake, and song birds to numerous to catalogue or name can be seen this time of year. The weather turned warm on the last day as the clocks changed and it seemed a good time to go home.

The trip plan, as the poet said, was to find a place I liked “to stand and stare.” It is good for the body and the soul, something we should all do now and then. I have seen television once in six weeks, read two newspapers and generally turned down the cacophony of the appliances of the world to find the serenity that can come with such silence. It would seem I missed little except the continuing saga the news reports of things there when I left and some boy who was and then wasn’t in a balloon somewhere in the Midwest and two Continental Airline pilots-- now former pilots-- who forgot they were en route to Minneapolis.

It is nice to have such wonderful weather to end the trip. Surprising this large and now green park due to the six inches of rain last week is quiet. The fishermen are at the lake for the day, but the campground is largely unused.

There are exceptions. An LA flock of four thirty somethings in a motor home and a trailer arrived on Friday, unloaded two mountain bikes, four bicycles, a remote control plane and a kite of vast proportions. They are affable bunches who yet wear their wireless phone devices even while kite flying. I am not sure have ever seen so many toys come with four people who have spent the last two days either sitting and laughing, or sitting and eating. I was fully prepared for more noise than I thought I would find necessary but so far they have collapsed into the arms of Morpheus early and remained there late. I will no doubt wake them all when I pull out tomorrow from across the wide road here.

The only other constant companions until today was a man and wife who, so far as I could tell, never uttered a word while in camp, insisted on parking in the space next to me (there were many others available) and were actually in the park and awake or out doors for perhaps six hours in two days. At about one today, I came back from the lake and found they had gone. This is not the sort of place that attracts those who park and go off to see the sights. This is the sight they come to see usually as it is miles from any town. While here and out, he wore a sweatshirt advertising a tattoo parlor, a straw hat and smoked a large cigar. When they arrived, she remained in the truck until trailer had been parked and arranged. When it was done, she ambled in and an hour later they left and returned around midnight.

Somehow, this seems all the confirmation I need that I am back in Southern California.

Home will be a good place to be tomorrow. Thank you all for coming on this rather short—for me at least—trip of 2200 miles. I have enjoyed your company, your e-mails and posts on the blog. Spring is the next significant trip with a book to publish between now and then. I will be going I am certain, where is yet a question. North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains have only been cursorily explored and that is in my mind now.

But much will happen between now and then, so we shall see.

There will be pictures later and perhaps some words over the winter. I hope you all stay well and stay in touch.

Monday, October 26, 2009



THE FAIRY TALE ENDS

The will be no championship in Anahiem this year. The Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem lost the American League Championship to the New York Yankees in the sixth game in the first hour of this morning Eastern Daylight Time.

The Angels had won two of the three games played in California and nearly forced a seventh and deciding game in New York. Shortly after huge clock in the outfield struck midnight and while over 50,000 people in the stadium held their collective breath, Gary Matthews Jr., the son of a former major leaguer, took one last mighty swing.

He missed.

"This was a special group," Mike Scioscia their manager said after it was over, "but they were the better team. " Mike reflected on a reporters question about the long season and said that he will not soon forget this group, what they had fought through this remarkable season full of injuries, losing streaks, and a tragedy most had never experienced in their young lives that was so much larger than the game these men play. They are gone now, this team that carried Nick Adenhart's memory and his jersey forward every day and wherever they went all year. Many will leave for other teams and more money, others will be traded, some will retire, and some will come back. As a group, as of today, it no longer exists and will never be together again.

That's baseball.

Eight months ago, in Tempe Arizona, in the warm sun of late February, more than 100 men and boys came together in their odd three-quarter length pants. Scioscia's immediate task was to fashion a team of 25 of them that would stay together through the next eight months as a team and win. There were questions. There was not enough pitching.The remarkable first baseman from last year was gone. The wondrous right fielder with the improbable Russian and Latino name of Vladamir Guerrero, now older and more than a step slower still wanted to play everyday. The gentlemanly left fielder, Garret Anderson, the soul of the franchise in the view of many fans was gone, traded in his last years because he too was now more hitter than fielder. This is the way of baseball. The ebb and flow, the kids and the veterans, the greats, the nearly greats, and the never will be either one, who come to the valley every year. It is up to the Scioscia and the coaches on this team as it is on all the teams there and in Florida to sift through them and decide who stays an who goes and who plays and who sits. A team's complex mixture of chemistry, mental toughness.,and physical ability is an erector set that must be constructed in these busy early days of spring in the desert. It is done in the talented minds of the coaches, instructors, scouts, and ultimately the manager.

When they came away in late March, there were still troubling issues for Scioscia and his staff. There were questions that could only now be answered during the season in the sometimes grim grind of the 164 game schedule in six months before them. The pundits said that the Texas Rangers were good enough to beat this team and win the Division this year. The sardonic Scioscia, as highly respected a manager as there is in the league, gave the stock answer, "We'll see. That's why we play the games."

The bad things came early. Injury plagued the regulars, Scioscia struggled to find others to fill the holes and give them a chance to keep winning while the others healed. He found the answers in odd places. The rookie fist baseman did all he was asked to and more making last years loss of Mark Teixeria (ironically to the Yankees) seem less problematic. Young Erick Aybar became an outstanding shortstop. Pitchers who had been ordinary, became very good. John Lackey took the ball every fifth day and won or kept them in the game. He became the definition of what baseball calls a "stopper," a pitcher who does not let a two game losing streak become three. Then Nick Adenhart was lost to a tragedy so unlikely the team first spiraled and then made him their inspiration for the rest of the year. After his death the team lost a lot until reminded by Scioscia, in an emotional team meeting, that Nick would have expecteded more of them. They apparently agreed and won 23 of their next 30 games and kept going, with Nick's jersey with them always, even doused with champagne when they won the Western Division.Tori Hunter, the young, strong, and remarkable center fielder and team spokesman who had helped Nick acclimate to the major leagues, now made it his personal goal to win the World Series so that Nick's family would have a championship ring.

Yet on this chilled night in New York, eight months and 171 games after they began their quest, they came up short, because they met a team that was better, that had its own inspiration, chemistry, superb pitching, and better hitting to defeat them. There is no shame in that.

They were a special group with a special goal and tried as hard as their talent would allow to reach it. That they failed is not the point. That they tried, and came that close is what should make them proud. They had banished the Boston Red Sox in three straight games to get here. They came within two victories of doing with lesser talent but perhaps greater emotion, what they set out to do when they had gathered those many months before in the Valley of the Sun and were molded into this group that lived, laughed and cried together for the past eight months.

They are gone now. The locker where Nick Adenhart's uniform and baseball cleats resided these last 171 games is gone too. Next year, Mike Scioscia will find a new group waiting for him in Arizona. From them, some from this year, some from trades, some from free agent signings, and others from the minor leagues, he must put the right pieces in the right places once again. It will be a new group, with new talents and new chemistry. He and his staff will mold them, motivate them to overcome the shortcomings of this year and try again to somehow reach that which eluded this year's "special" group by so small a margin.

That's why they play the games.



Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.


From"Casey at the Bat"--- by Ernest Thayer, June 3, 1888, The San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT


The days and nights spent in the cathedral of the trees and in proximity to the crashing surf, the song birds and the boxing matches among the voles and squirrels are done on the magnificent coast. It is time to move on to new, different things . There was one more memorable morning of fog that lay on the water allowing the rocks to peek above it into the bright sun above. It is a beautiful sight, spiritual in its way and a good way to remember the serenity I have enjoyed.




When Monday arrived it was time to move inland. In order to do that one goes south back to California and the Northeast up U.S. 199 to Grants Pass through groves of Redwoods in the Jedediah Smith National Forest. It was a lovely day once one left the overcast of the coast. As the road winds upward, the weather cools even in the brightening sun. Fall colors are everywhere. The leaves are red and yellow and the rivers one crosses are teeming with salmon . It is time for the fall spawning run. It is an amazing sight. The crystal clear deep pools hold the fish until they are ready to go up the next rapids. One supposes they rest.




After lunch at the side of the road in a park placed here for contemplation of these sights, the ever valiant La Coachasita takes us into Grants Pass and we are suddenly confronted with strip malls, civilization, cars, and people, far more cars than I have seen in awhile. While the life on the coast has hardly been monkish, everyone here seems to be in a hurry. For nearly two weeks, there hasn't been anything to hurry about and now I hurry just to get out of their way.




Once at Grants Pass, it is a short ride down the highway to the Valley of the Rogue State Park. It is a delightful open park like place with fall color all about and plentiful wildlife. The Rouge River runs through it. The Coho Salmon climb the rapids near the campsite and one could probably stand there all day and watch them. I am puzzled by the absence of predators, yet realize the houses nearby and the proximity to the Interstate probably make other areas more desirable, There is a grazing area that draws deer in the evening just before dusk.




My lack of plans are often as much an enemy as a friend especially in area I have covered often before. It leads to thoughts of the trip south and which way to go. I spend the first morning pouring over maps and campsite information looking for a new way, give up after I get an idea where I will be through the weekend, and decide it is too nice a day to spend doing this and go out. My nearest neighbors are nearly always walking. They are accompanied by three dachshunds, all related, the youngest of which is 12. The dogs seem to have parade training as they always seem to be walking in step. They all live just north of Yosemite now that they are retired and are pleasant companions who point out they best vantage points along the river and the best places to see the deer that come down to feed.

This is a different world and I will be here but a while and then back to the Redwood Coast for a few days before going east again and then south. The weather will stay clear if cooler until then.

That's fine. It will give my rain suit time to dry out.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

THE MAGNIFICENT ANDERSONS

A few here in the camp have dawdled on the Oregon Coast now for over a week. I will soon head inland to see some of nature's other wonders, some friends, and think seriously about going south.

The storm left us with two days, while quite different, equally nice. The first was a calm day with no wind yet fog the crept in and out tantalizing us all day. It would be impossible to see for ten minutes and then lift to allow the shore to be recognized. It was, in its way, quite lovely. The soft fog, warm temperatures and the surreal landscape of trees that live in a permenant leaning state due to the usual omnipresent wind all give the impression that this is a different earth. The second day was as clear as the previous was not and as the sun rose high. It reached the mid 70 degree mark. It was a wonderful day to walk and visit and just sit and contemplate the birds and the sea.

The following morning it rained hard again and of course it was a day when things needed doing. By noon I was soaked but done and back inside. It was dry three hours later, the park was quiet and the temperature pleasant enough for a fire outside and a glass of wine with the neighbors before dark.

To keep me on my toes, and in keeping with the theme of the trip apparently, minor catastrophe struck the day after the storm when my air mattress decided it had seen all it needed of this world and sagged with a quiet sigh of fatigue. I woke and was certain I was sleeping in a hammock. The getting out was far more difficult than the sleeping which was pleasant enough. By the time I struggled free, I was laughing out loud. This says somethng for the level of serenity I have been able to achieve. A string of oaths would usually accompany such a thing in my "other" world.

Once many trips ago, while making the bed, I slashed a mattress on a sharp edge and had to find another. Since then, I have always carried a spare realizing it was one redundancy that was crucial to life in the van. After rummaging around in the deep hold in the rear, I found the spare, replaced the bed and decided since I now that I had all this laundry I might as well do some of it. There is a laundry here that is as nice as any I have ever seen in a public park. It is franchised to a local sheltered workshop which keeps it clean and well stocked with coins and detergent. By five, I was reading while awaiting for the interminable dry cycle (an hour) to finish .

Two couples arrived at about the same time. As happens with these chance meetings, the one man had grown up 10 miles from me in the East. He spent life after the service as an elevator mechanic in Los Angeles and other places in California. They now live in the Sacremento valley. His wife, a self-described "traditional housewife" is a most kind a gentle person. Their dog "Maggie" is a Golden Retreiver of 12 that came to them last Thanksgiving is equally so. It is their third such senior dog that they have taken after the original owner has died. The two before have lived an average of 3 years and both of them are quite pholosophical about the fact that the dogs do not stay with them long. They are clearly attached to her and will no doubt treat her very well, yet seem to understand they are only caretakers for the animals of others who will have a few happy years with them and then will be gone. They see it as better than the alternative.


We were joined nearly simultaneously by a couple from British Columbia. They were headed home . We were disabused of the idea that they were snow birds headed south when the man, Trevor, explained that "at their age" they were only allowed to travel 30 days out of country or their insurance would be canceled. Their age seemed in the 60's so both my other new friends and I asked when that became the rule. Martha explained that since she was 80 the rules were different.


Well. All of us could have been knocked down with one feather. Trevor explained that he had married an "older women" to which Martha replied was his fault and he would always be trying to catch up with her. Laughing, he admitted it as true as he was "only" 78 soon to be 79. I am certain that I have never seen two people of that age in such wonderrful physical shape or good humor. We had learned all this soon after Trevor had jogged to and from their site to find sufficient US currency to feed the washing machines. I have relatives who do not run that well at less than half the age.


As with most Vancouver people, I found them polite, curious and wonderful story tellers. When asked if the city was ready for the Winter Olympics, they told of their son who has been a volunteer for the effort for nearly three years and would return from Florida for the first time in years to finish the job in January and February. Trevor said that the Candian government had somehow reached the conclusion that there were too few volunteers so were offering all government employees in the Province the "opportunity" to volunteer by giving them six weeks off with pay. He was appalled. They seemed to have many volunteers already and now many would just take the time off with the pay. He had decided that if one could be away from their job for that long n they should be declared "redundant" and the job abolished.


Trevor was not happy with his government before this. Yet, as with most Canadienans I have met their disgruntlement is more philosophical than angry a difference between they and many citizens here. He had been in the English Navy for 10 years and then the Canadiaen Navy for ten more. All the service was creditabe, but those who served prior to the unification of all the Armed Forces in Canada, apparently were not eligible for pension if their service was so split. The fact that he spent all those years in deisel submarines, served in two wars (I assume War II was his first), a most dangerous of professions, mattered not at all to them. It did to me, spending about ten minutes below deck in one of those things back when I was a young Ensign was enough for me. I cannot imagine how he did it.


Martha asked about our health care "problem." We all mumbled something that contained the word "maybe." Ken, the New Jersey born and raised owner of Maggie artfully turned that aside by asking what would happen if they became ill while here. Martha then recounted a trip they made here some years ago when she had been hospitalized three times for influenza. The hospitals and relevant caregivers all billed the Canadian government, Trevor's union insurance and some other policy they retain by virtue of living this long equally and were fully reimbursed by all since none talk to each other. Ken and I found it an interesting concept to remember for future reference since Trevor delighted in telling us that the Canadian government enjoys doing the same when a U.S. citizen gets sick up there.

Too soon, darkness was falling fast as the cold fog was inbound and we all had dinners to eat so we parted. Trevor and Martha left the next morning, another set of wonderful people I can put in my pantheon of the many met on the road.

Monday, October 12, 2009



HOW MANY CUBITS WAS THAT AGAIN?

We remain at Brookings Oregon, deciding it is a good place to ride out the storm coming this evening. Many of the neighbors have done the same. They are a happy and by now familiar buuch so if bad things happen, we all feel we we will be among friends. This morning we all scrambled out for the purposes of finding groceries, gasoline in case we need the generators, covered bycycles, and eliminated our used water, and tied things down.
The weather forecast is not vague. It willl rain by evening after dark and bcome heavy by midnight and totals will be between two and four inches. Winds at the coast will be 20 to 25 gusting to 40 kts with 50 kts in the passes above. The wind warnuings are posted for 3 AM through 2 PM tomorrow. The rain will continiue all day tomorrow and tomorrow night becoming showers on Wedsnesday and then lesser showers on Wednesday.

At present, it is overcast and until about 4 o'clock the wind was calm. It was altogether a very nice day, if overcast and the high 60's is something you can enjoy and I can. As darkness falls, the air is again calm and now is 50. There is a quiet that falls at this time everynight, but only the hardiest of souls are lighting any fires. Most have tied down what we can and are now contemplating the places that will flood and the possible leaks that could occur.

I have been through one other storm on this coast, yet have not experienced the wind in full throat as it will be later tonight and tomorrow. If the gust get as high as expected, how much rocking will depend on the oreintation of the van. I am not wholly sure of that at the moment, but if it remains dry in here I am sure it can't be as bad as being at sea.

La Coachasita is wearing here winter "curtains" over here single pane windows in the rear and closed up as tight as possible. We await the storm, which, if it runs as it is supposed to, should be gone by Thursday morning. The wind will move it quickly if it indeed comes as they predict.

She also awaits a further examination of her electrical system on Wednesday as that issue continues to plague her.

Two bycycling campers, common in this area, came in an hour ago. I admire their tenacity. I believe I would have sought a motel room tonight were I contemplatating a night like this under canvas. They appear seasoned and at least fiegned unconcern when ask. I am sure they know a great deal about this. I trust I will not see them leaving in the morning.

An Ark would be useful about now. We will have to do without.

Friday, October 9, 2009






TRANQUILITY BASE


This is the place I will spend the next four nights or until it starts to rain. I arrived at Harris State Beach last night near dark thanks to some further discomfort of La Coachasita. She is having a rough trip. She is reasonably well now, still a lingering ignition issue which Lyle did not fully appreciate. His fix lasted two days and now there are new symptoms. I believe he was right in his fix, but that the problem is more severe. Until Tuesday, however, I am more worried about whether my bike tire will hold air and whether I will see the sunset.


Brookings, Oregon was the warm place in the state today, reaching 81 degrees. There is a strange wind that effects this place, much like the easterly flows from the mountains in California and it was blowing today and thus the temperature. It is part of the "Banana Belt" of Oregon because of its odd coastal location but lack of rainfall and tendency to be warmer than the rest of the state.


My favorite park in the state is named after an early Dutch settler, the literature tells me, but little more. It is in woods yet high on a bluff overlooking the surf and wonderful rocks of the coast. Orca whales are here, and while sightings are more common after rains, small pods occasionally appear near shore..


The Oregonians seem to have a sixth sense of when the weather will be good. After September 15th this is a first come, first served park. Some came on Wednesday to be first. I was so late last night I took what was left and hoped someone would pull out this morning. A few did and I was lucky enough to get a new spot I know gets full sun through from mid-morning through the afternoon. It is a quiet and peaceful place despite the full house crowd. The sites are large in the area I am in and well screened with wonderful shrubs. and tall conifers.



The forecast here is for good weather until late Monday when two days of some sort of rain will decide for me whether I leave to climb over the hill toward Medford, which will have less precipitation or simply wait until the later part of the week while doing some sight seeing and perhaps trying to find additional help for my companion. Brookings is big enough to have a "Lyle type" in it and it may well be worth the trouble. I can say this has been an eventful trip so far, not all pleasant one's but all the people I have met have been pleasant and there have been a few characters worth remembering.

My next door neighbors are from near Redding California and have been here two weeks. One of those weeks has been devoted to treating a sick dog who, according to the woman whose name I have yet to learn, "got a bad bone" from a lady at a gas station somewhere north of here and has been to the veterinary to treat an intestinal problem as a result. It is a wee thing of undistinguished breed. Whatever its's disability, it still knows how to bark now and then. It has a companion, slightly larger ,which seems to see it as her duty to shut the other one up. Tom, the male member of this fifth wheel tribe is a large quiet and kind man who showed up at my door about eight last night with left over pizza that he claimed he was incapable of eating. This park is like that. I have never met an unkind person here and it has a sense of community which, while not oppressive, can be helpful. I tossed my trash out front this morning to take it to the dumpster once the sun was full up and it was time to see the beach. A man I have never met walked by, picked it up and took it with his own. It is that sort of place.

So we are settled for the weekend.A bike trip to town for a a Sunday paper and some milk may happen on Sunday, otherwise I intend to finish reading a book, listen to ball games and perhaps indulge in a nap.

So, Houston, as it was once famously said, Tranquility Base, here, The Eagle has landed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

LYLE MEETS STUPID AND HIS VAN




The van still rules. You can believe all you want that you plan these trips and that you are the one in charge, but if the van is limping, it is in charge, and attention must be paid.




My departing post mentioned that the ignition was acting up on start. It seemed to believe that it was being asked to start by "remote." which was and add-on installed several years ago to allow one to start the van from outside the vehicle. People who live in very cold places and members of families of a certain ethnicity who live in New Jersey know all about these starters. Few Southern Californians know of them and less about installing them.




I needed this option for a variety of reasons none of which are important enough to repeat here. As I arrived in Morro Bay, it seemed to be getting worse and whether it was doing real damage was a question I couldn't answer.




The proprietor of the RV Park was as usual a font of knowledge and he understood the problem at least as well as I did. He suggested I go see "Pete." Pete ran a repair garage in the center of town which seem fixes everything that run on liquid fuel and is a mode of transportation. When I arrived I met "Lyle," as Pete was busy assuring a customer that no, the key to his trunk would not start his car and that was why it was now stuck in his ignition and he would certainly take care of it.




Lyle, a man of about 20 or 22 years of age approached and I started my by now well rehearsed story about how when I turned the key to start the van in the normal way, it appeared to be starting remotely, as in the lights would blink and the ignition buzzer would go off. If I was fortunate enough to get it running, the lights would continue to blink unless I touched the remote start control start button three times, then it would run normally. It had begun the day before I left, but only on the first start of the day. By the time I had left the campsite that morning, it was doing it anytime the van was turned off.




I, who freely admit that what I know about electricity can be put in my pocket and still have room for my wallet, was sure that the best I could hope for was a "mechanic's shrug" from anyone other than an installer of such devices, but was sure that any mechanic could at least disable it so that no damage would be done and it would no longer make me crazy every time I started the van.




Now I had this young man standing in front of me who nodded his head, asked for my keys, tried to start the van and quickly stopped. he then asked for the remote control, examined it, and pushed one of the three buttons, restarted the van, looked at the dashboard for a moment, turned it off an declared it fixed.




Well. Since I was playing the part of Stupid, I replied, "Huh?"




"Fixed," Lyle said.




"How?"I replied.




"By pushing this little button, this grey one here, next to the yellow start button, which has an unlock symbol on it, I unlocked the remote."




"It was locked?" Stupid asked, mystified.




"Yes," Lyle said casually, "see, it has a button to lock it and unlock it and then one to start it. You lock it so that another radio frequency doesn't start the van and it also acts as an alarm so that the lights blink. They will blink again if you disable it as you did a few minutes later."




"Oh," Stupid said, "How come when they sold it to me no one bothered to tell me that? In fact the previous control, which had to be replaced, had the same buttons. When they gave me that one they told me it was a universal control and I could ignore them since they would only work with an alarm."




"Dunno. But they were wrong."




"Why, after two years, did it 'lock'?"




"Somebody pushed the lock button. Maybe you did when you put it in your pocket. Hard to tell."




"Yes, hard to know," Stupid admitted.




Lyle shrugged, smiled, asked if there was anything else, I laughed, he laughed, Pete--who had now joined us--added to the merriment, said I didn't owe him anything for three minutes work and then actually thanked me for stopping in and gave me a cup of coffee.




Lyle went back to tasks which I certainly hoped taxed his brain more than my alleged problem. Stupid got in his van and continued north on U.S.101 still shaking his head.




I wish there were a moral to this story. There isn't. Lyle is a wise young man. I wish-- no hope--there are more like Lyle out there. We will need them all.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

THE ROAD CALLED AGAIN

I have decamped. The phrase was more common in the 1880's and in England than here, but I have nonetheless.

Carlsbad is in the rear view mirror once again. The trip began before dawn since it involved driving the Los Angeles Freeways which are known to us that live south if it as the Combat Zone. Getting beyond LA to the north requires one to use their freeways and it is best to pick the day and time one wants to do so before setting out so you can have a reasonable expectation that you will be able to get through and out at the northern end of the San Fernando Valley in under five hours.

La Coachasita and I have found the any north bound travel is best started before dawn. Sunday is a good day to leave as LA people like all others are likely to get a late start that day. This weeks added attraction was the fog and 20 degree drop in temperature and and occasional drizzle as we passed through. Nothing keeps people off the LA Freeways more than a chill wind and a chilly morning. We were in Santa Barbara in three plus hours for which I was grateful , if sleep deprived.

Wind was a factor all day which is annoying when you are driving what amounts to a box faster than you wish. However, we were able to leave the main road and make several stops along the road and still reach Morro Bay by early afternoon. The wind on the beach was strong, but I had lunch there and it was in the 60's so not uncomfortable. It is , as they say "fresher" now and I will be rocked to sleep tonight. The clouds and rain had been left behind and the sun is bright and welcome. The locals are complaining that it is too cold. So far, I have found it quite refreshing. Unlike the spring trip certainly and the forecast for the northern coast is fair and perhaps a bit warmer for the rest the week.

This trip will last about a month. The driving, unlike the marathon of the spring, will be much less. Southern Oregon is the farthest I will go. The Coast will be first and then inland to visit the banks of the Rogue River, Asland, Medford, and then back south to the Redwoods National Forest. That is the plan, as you know, I am not good a keeping with plans, but one overriding desire does exist. I wan to go into the woods and sit and think and enjoy the quiet. The television seems not to work as it relies on one of those conversion boxes that no one here has had much luck with including myself. The Public Radio system in Oregon is good and the satellite radio works so long as it is not blocked by the giant trees or the cliffs along El Camino Real which will be the main route. This is the route of the famous Franciscan Missions, some, now nearly 300 years later, still operating after the Franciscan Friars led by Junipero Sierra blazed the trail to convert the "savages" to Catholicism. Others are ruins. All are interesting. We have been this way before and seen many of them on this, the first route north in California long before it was in the control of the United States. It is also now as U.S.101 and on my return I will travel through the area of California known as the "Lost Coast" since there is no road that runs along the ocean as Route 1, The Pacific Coast Highway does south of Legget. It is an odd, and in some ways an enchanted place of dirt farm roads and great trees as well as farms that run all the way to the surf. Grazing cows are sometimes seen wading in the surf there in warm weather.

So I and my faithful companion are once again off on a grand adventure. All our adventures are grand just in the fact that we manage them and get home. This will be the last of the year with only local trips hereafter. The van has a slight wound now, a glitch in the ignition system that makes the front battery drain in the night. There is a remote starter involved and it seems to be interfering with the normal starting process. It can be overcome, but I would like it to be fixed and as it happens there is a place here in Morro Bay that can look at it in the morning. If they can and it takes some time, I will still be south of San Francisco tomorrow night. That is why itineraries are rather useless. I would like to have it done, just to know something worse is not happening. It is not rocket science. Anyone with an elementary knowledge of electricity and the 12 volt system--I am not in that group--can make it stop, if not wholly repair it. I can live with either for now.

So it will be onward and northward for the next week and a slow pace, a pace this trip seems to need.

If you come along, I will try not to bore you. The places and people of interest are out there as always. I will try to find them and tell you of them.