I started this trip with a swing by the car place to get everything double-checked and to get a couple new tires. Then it worked out that I could see Nancy and Jim in Santa Barbara for a little while. I could have enjoyed just sitting in the garden admiring the birds. But we also went for a walk, so good for us!
’21 May-Jun: Memorial Day Road Trip
LA-Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo-Morro Bay-Pinnacles National Park-3 nights at The Ranch-San Francisco-Sacramento-3 nights at Lake Tahoe-June Lake, Mammoth, Manzanar, Home Sweet Home.
Strolling through downtown SLO I came across a tourist highlight, Bubblegum Alley. Wiki says this use of the alley was recognized either after WWII or in the 1950s but at least by the 1970s it was a well-established Happening Thing.
They’ve got a pretty big college here, the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, established in 1901, a golden oldie with 22,000 students enrolled. SLO, with a city population of around 50,000, does the 50k include the 22k? I don’t know, but in either case the population skews very young. This is evident by the downtown commercial properties being predominantly bars, restaurants, and clothes for college-age souls.
First I’m going to make a map. I ‘think’ I’ll have time for that before it’s time to EAT AGAIN. omg The Food here at The Ranch.
An overview of where Pinnacles is:
And a closer view to appreciate the long and winding roads.
I traveled 14 miles on a rutted dirt road with crazy-sharp switchbacks up and down through the mountain. What?! YES! I wanted to drive on roads unknown to me but maybe not quite that unknown.
Here’s a little wikipedia about the Park and why you might not have heard of it:
“The national park is divided by the rock formations into East and West Divisions, connected only by foot trails. The east side has shade and water, the west has high walls. The rock formations provide for spectacular pinnacles that attract rock climbers. The park features unusual talus caves that house at least 13 species of bats. Pinnacles is most often visited in spring or fall because of the intense heat during the summer. Park lands are prime habitat for prairie falcons, and are a release site for California Condors that have been hatched in captivity.
“Pinnacles was originally established as a national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, and was re-designated as a national park by Congressional legislation in 2012 that was then signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 10, 2013.“
Above, part of the olive tree lined driveway into the ranch, and below, the entry gate.
This was an unexpected and delightful addition to the program. Ian and Nana and their fabulous baby who I enjoyed Every Day came in from their home in Japan. Here is Nana making us all Japanese tea with a delicious selection of snacks she brought from Japan, and cookies she had made the night before, all served up in the new family dining room. You go!
And then there’s the spa! Lynn, Naomi, Marijke.
And below, Inside and Outside my front door.
Here’s me taking a turn. So even if we could find them to buy we couldn’t buy this view!
My swing through San Francisco was actually a few hours visiting with Roger and Sandy and I was so glad for it. I hope I didn’t do them in…both remarking upon their need for a nap!
The above picture is of Sandy’s recent work from a class, building art inside a small box. Of course Sandy being Sandy, she searched through antique stores to get just the perfect boxes. Below is a picture of a part of two of the many walls covered in her art.
Sandy gave me one of her paintings! She had done the painting years before and recently added the frame. I LOVE it! It’s Nancy on the left, me in the middle, and Sandy herself on the right. Isn’t it fabulous!
Looking for My Nitty Gritty
Still with the wounds that come with age
(and I’ve had my share)
Years of discovery and recoveries
Of digging and pealing at the truth
To get to the core, the heart,
My own Nitty Gritty
Years with my hands in the dirt
Scuffing and chipping my
Nails to behold the tuber
That started it all
I haven’t seen her for a while
My Nitty Gritty
I wonder, is she near, is she close?
Is she in something I do
In a painting, a collage, a drawing
Of a wavy headed girl,
In a poem I am writing?
In something I wear
That takes flight?
Like my Mexican twirl skirt,
A patchwork of colors, bold and muted
With ancient Aztec and modern designs?
Is she in the kitchen, in the fruit
That I sliced and put in a
Bowl to eat now or later
With crumbly cheese?
In the apples
Simmering in a pot with cinnamon
Is she outside
Wrapped in a tea towel
And left by the door?
What could be easier?
I’m always here
Opening and closing cupboards and doors,
Sweeping and fixing,
Watering and wiping
Metal and glass
Back in the kitchen I sift flour with baking
Soda and salt
Whisk butter and sugar,
Eggs and vanilla,
Folding the wet with the dry
Kneading the dough
Still wondering –
Is she hiding under the sink?
Among old plant containers and worn out
Sponges, jars with lethal
Things you don’t want to touch
Or get into your eyes
With left over dirt
Like the stoic cat in a Repetitive dream
That hasn’t been fed or Brushed in years
But continues to live in spite of neglect
Am I the cat?
Am I the Nitty Gritty?
Am I the tuber?
Am I my thoughts? And wonderings?
Tired and spent
I rest to still my mind
Awakening to the fragrance of baking dough
I smile, forgetting my Nitty Gritty
I walk outside and squat in the Garden
Giving the half eaten pear on the cutting board,
Its flesh turned brown,
A new home on the compost heap
Above is the view from my hotel window. I had to change rooms three times but it was worth it considering the two other views were commercial roofs full of air conditioning units.
Rolling into Sacramento at 5:30p the temperature was 110. The following day it was 97. Nice as Sacramento is, but yikes.
My hotel is positioned exactly where I wanted to be, right between Old Town and the Capitol. Coming onto the plaza, here’s the divider:
Following under the gate to Old Sacramento we pass through an underpass..
..leading right into Old Town.
I stopped in Sacramento for a chance to have a visit with Christa, to have a rest day on the trip, the timing between destinations was good, and I like Sacramento.
Here is where Christa lives, her block, looking up the block and across the street. Sacramento, City of Trees.
Even the Capitol area is nestled among the trees: