Friday, December 7, 2012

First Week at El Capitan

Today marks the end of the first week of our two month trip. We are boondocking at El Capitan State Beach in Goleta, California. No hook-ups. The generator is providing the electricity required to run my computer and it's been running a lot. Thank goodness we've been here alone, with the exception of a total of three nights when we had neighbors. Some brilliant administrator with the state decided that generators were to be run only between the hours of 10am and 6pm. We have not been following the rules, but since there is no one else here, we've had no one to annoy. We would otherwise have to employ plan B for making coffee in the morning and find other entertainment besides TV in the evening. As of yesterday, the only occupants of the entire campground were three sets of camp hosts and a couple tent campers.

We are down to about 1/3 of a tank of fresh water, which means we've used 2/3 in a week. To go fill our water tank, we have to secure EVERYTHING and drive the Beast about two hundred yards down the road. Ugh! I've been doing very well conserving water but I'll have to do better if we want to make it through to next Thursday morning.

It has been very enjoyable waking each morning to a view of the Pacific ocean, whether to fog and rain (the first couple of mornings), or golden sunrises (especially this morning). And each sunset has been different and lovely… except yesterday's which was dull and boring. An example:

The first two photos were taken on December 1st. The one with the trees was taken from our 'patio' and the second from the bluff overlooking the beach about 20 minutes later. The clouds moved across the sky quickly that evening as another rainstorm followed right behind. 

One would naturally think that a rainstorm is undesirable when out camping, but I thought of it as
an adventure (a leak found in the cockpit area not withstanding). We stayed warm and dry inside as we listened to the drops pelt the Beast in relentless fashion. But, we couldn't watch TV as we hadn't yet been able to get the satellite dish positioned properly between storms. And that is no easy task even in perfect weather. We read, played with the cats and Rob booted up his computer for some solitaire. I thought about how miserable the storms would have been if we
were still in the tent trailer. At least we have comfortable chairs and a sofa in the Beast. Makes all the difference in the world!

The photo to the right was Monday the 3rd, after the storms had passed. Kristie and Cayman drove up from Ventura to spend the afternoon and evening with us. We took Cayman down to the beach to look at tide pools and climb on the rocks. Because of the rain, he was able to enjoy one of every little boy's favorite
activities: jumping in puddles. We got to see sea urchins, too.

The photos to the left and below were taken the evening of the 5th about 6 minutes apart. Again, one from the 'patio' and the other from the bluff. It was beautiful to say the least. The water was a midnight blue like in a crayola crayon box. 

I spent some time just watching
the pelicans dive into the ocean
to fish for their dinner. As always, 
I wish I had a longer lens so I could get some up close images of them diving. Someday.

Yesterday afternoon we had a visitor at our campsite. A young seagull flew in and waddled over to check us out. I know it's not good for them, but I went inside and got the tortilla chips to share with the bird. After that, I took my camera, beach blanket and a pillow down to this perfect, little, grassy area on the bluff to  
meditate, listen to the ocean and
watch the sun descend. As you can see from the photo to the left, fog drifted over the surface of the water. I watched until it had completely obscured the horizon from left to right. I closed my eyes for about 10 minutes, just listening, and when I opened my eyes again the fog was gone, like it had never been there. When I turned my head I had another surprise. I guess our little friend decided that I represented nourishment, followed me and 
was willing to come in close to 
patiently wait for the next meal, which didn't come by the way. It settled itself down not three feet away. I think it realized that I had no food to give and finally took flight to search for better opportunities. Wouldn't it be really fantastic if it came back this afternoon?

We went out to dinner last night. Rob was in the mood for a surf and turf kind of meal. We did a search for restaurants in Goleta and found one that sounded good. The place is called Holdren's. We've never heard of
it before, but it appeared to be 

chain-like, similar to a Hoolihan's or Macraroni Grill. It was very reasonably priced and also very good. Rob got sea bass, which he thoroughly enjoyed and I had a herb-crust chicken breast with a gorgonzola cream sauce. It was awesome! But I don't think it did my hips and thighs any good at all.

Its about time I get off the computer so I can turn off the generator and thus conserve fuel. In the meantime, I hope you like the photos. Feel free to leave comments, which you might have to sign up with google to do. I'm not sure. Would love to hear from everyone.

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