Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Returning to California

We've been home a week and we have been busy. It is like moving and everything is still in boxes. Every time we need something, we remember that its still in the Beast and out we trudge to collect whatever it was we'd forgotten to bring in. Oftentimes, its only 10 minutes later that we trudge back out again for another thing. Thank goodness the Beast is parked by the side of the house instead of in some RV storage miles away. I've also been planning and making reservations for when we leave home in June to travel full-time.

After leaving Lake Mead, we headed to Newport Beach to spend two nights to visit with Rob's uncle, who is now 89 years old (you'd never know it by looking at him), and as handsome as ever. Court Hawkins is the embodiment of traditional, gentlemanliness from a bygone time, which, sadly, is rarely seen in our society today. He is the patriarch of Rob's mother's side of the family, a title to which Rob is next in line. We had him out to the Beast for lunch and a delightfully long, afternoon conversation. We were pleased, and grateful, that he devoted so much time to us, especially since his sweet, lady-friend, Dickie, couldn't join us because of having been bitten by a flu bug. Rob talked his ear off about our trip and the motorhome and our future plans. I don't think Court hardly got a word in edgewise!

After Newport Beach, we headed to Ventura to spend Super Bowl weekend parked next to Kristie, Matt and Cayman's condo. In an effort to economize, and to lessen the amount of TV exposure for Cayman, Kristie had cable turned off. So we set up our satellite dish in front of the Beast and we all watched the game from inside the motorhome. We opened our camp table on the sidewalk, set up the barbecue and enjoyed game day on the street corner. It was fun, although we weren't too pleased with the outcome of the game. Sigh.

We would have liked to spend another night or two with Kristie, but we just can't do that to her neighbors. Everyone was marvelous about us being parked there, even with the slides open and cones placed to alert drivers. The streets are relatively narrow so we could have easily heard complaints. None came. I'm glad the members of the neighborhood used their common sense and knew this was a temporary arrangement; however, I would not want to take advantage of their good graces.

Rob and I knew our drive home would be a minimum 7 hour day and for that reason we decided to stop at El Capitan State Beach, again. Although it is only an hour and a half north of Ventura, it did much to help break up the distance. It was also a welcome, and peaceful, way to end our trip. I didn't sleep well because of a little too much tequila throughout the Super Bowl (no I did not get drunk), so when we arrived at El Cap and were all set up for the two night stay, I took my reclining camp chair to my favorite spot on the bluff. I promptly fell asleep to the sound of the surf with the late afternoon sun warming my bones. When I awoke and turned my head to gaze at the ocean, I spied the little, black head of a sea lion, bobbing about 150 feet from the beach, and then it was gone. Utter bliss.

Allow me a moment to stand on the soapbox, please. There are three things I noticed coming back into California and, especially, coming back up to the Bay Area: First, you immediately feel the difference in the road quality. Our roads reflect the selfish mismanagement of funds in California. This state would rather give money to the 'poor unfortunates' doing nothing than insist those self-same, able-bodied persons get paid doing jobs building and repairing roads or some other state-paid work. Second, coming back into the Bay Area I found the drivers to be reckless as though each individual thinks they have superior right to the road. This was far more evident in the Bay Area than in southern California. Third was the amount of litter. Litter is everywhere along the freeways and exits—in the Bay Area! Why is this happening? Do the people here have it so ingrained that they think they don't have to be responsible for themselves or their actions? That someone else will clean up their garbage? Do they do it out of laziness? Because they can get away with it? Does it make them feel more powerful? It disgusts me and I do not understand it. I am a native Californian and have always been proud of my state. Not anymore. I feel embarrassed. I feel the people who decided to live in my state (and country for some), need to clean up their attitudes about themselves and their surroundings; and, anyone on public assistance needs to devote a day or two per month to public service for the betterment of the county in which they receive that assistance. Something's got to give. This state, and this area of the state, is too beautiful to be used as a garbage dump. If this state needs money, there's a gold mine in enforcing the litter laws alone.

Now that I've vented, I've stepped off the soapbox. Enjoy the photos. 

Louis soaking up the sun next to Ollie on our last day at Lake Mead.

The sunset reflected on the northeastern sky on our last evening at Lake Mead.

Brandy looking adorable in the warm sun on our last day at Lake Mead.

Court Hawkins

I just noticed that Rob and Uncle Court have the same nose!

A lovely spot on the bay at Newport Beach

Getting ready for the game.

Cayman and Kristie on game day.

Cayman getting cozy.

Handsome Calipso.

Louis checking out the night.

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