Friday, November 11, 2011

Learning from my mistakes

I should know better than to start a blog at midnight after Tom heads to bed.  We always collaborate on the blog: I write it and Tom corrects it. As a result I know I really had some people confused, especially Tom Smile.   Just to clarify, we are in Santa Maria now, Thursday, 11-10-11.  We are going back to Fresno to attend the 11-11-11 cache event tomorrow at 6:32 pm (that adds up to 11).

We have been having a super time while here on the coast. When we arrived at the Santa Maria Elks we were greeted by mobs of people who were here for the Friday night “Cook your own steak” dinner.  We paid for our week, parked the RV and walked back to the Lodge for  dinner.  We have parked often at Elks Lodges and have often eaten at Lodges, but we have never experienced a dinner like this one.  There were probably 200-300 people there, some cooking steaks, chicken, ribs, or fish; some socializing; some eating; some just drinking.  We paid, Tom chose his steak and threw it on the bar-b-q.  And this is only 1/4 of the grill.


Then on Saturday we went for a drive, first stopping just down the street for a geocache.  This was right our in front of the Elks Lodge and was named “I’m STICKING around”.  There were 2 big cacti within feet of GZ (ground zero).  One of the cactus had been damaged.  There were pieces of it all over the ground.  We spent about 10 minutes looking for a nano (about the size of the end of your little finger).  We were about to leave when I noticed this LITTLE container just laying in the dirt.  We signed the log and replaced where we thought it might be near to the original spot and left a message on the cache sight.  It’s nice caching with a Droid because we can log the visit right when we find the cache. 

We drove over to Guadalupe, about 10 miles away to check out the Far Western Tavern, an icon eatery on the Central Coast.  We have been here many times over the years beginning with our stop to enjoy their “Bulls Eye steak” on our honeymoon, 49 years ago.  My parents and Tom’s parents have eaten at the Tavern over the years.  I don’t think it has changed a bit. The window coverings are still cow hides.  The Oxen heads still hang on the wall with a brass plaque honoring their many years of service to the founding family, The Minettis.  Tom had the Bulls Eye and I had an amazing barbequed chicken over a sweet potato polenta.  All this came with shrimp cocktail, chicken tortilla soup, a relish tray, bread, and Santa Maris salsa.  If you enlarge the picture of Tom’s steak, you can see the shinny piece of fat in the center where the Bulls Eye got its name and also makes this steak so tender.  

Sunday we went shopping at the Five Cities Outlets.  We each found comfortable sensible shoes (Mom loves me best).  This expression always makes me laugh and think of our good friend, Kay.  We have worn our new shoes every day since we bought them and they have never hurt and have been so comfortable.  I got the new Nike Air-Sole and Tom got Sketchers.  I am always a happy camper when I can walk all day and my feet don’t hurt. And to make this purchase even better, they were on sale at the Outlets.  We celebrated our successful purchases at Old Juan’s Cantina with my favorite seafood enchiladas with extra cheese on everything and Tom’s combo, enchilada, taco and tostada.  Old Juan’s serves small batches of fresh warm chips and the best salsa. We were back home in the RV in time to watch ‘60 Minutes’. 


The next morning – actually closer to noon – we drove to Solvang, about 30 miles south to Buelton then 5 miles east on CA-245 to the pretty little Danish town.  We were hungry and ordered the biggest most delicious Danish Pancakes ever.  Mine came with home made cinnamon apple sauce and real maple syrup.  Tom had eggs and bacon with his.


Then we went SHOPPING!!!  If I were a millionaire I could spend a good portion of it right here.  The beautiful clothes, hats, even socks are like none other.  We looked in our favorite shoe store – should have know better – and found the perfect black clog by Clark.  They were actually cheaper, relatively speaking, than the Mephistos I tried on. Open-mouthed smile  We shopped some more, bought some pastries to eat before visiting the Santa Inez Mission, and ended our day in Solvang by finding a very cleverly hidden cache.


You can see we have a pattern going on, it’s all about the food.  Tuesday we drove north up Hwy 101 and Hwy 1 65 miles to the quaint little town of Cambria.  Our first stop: Linns. This restaurant was rated 5 stars and when we saw that there was a bakery attached, we knew this was where we wanted to eat.  This is one of those restaurants where the waiters are perfect, the food exceptional, and the prices reflect this level of 5 stars.  I had a tomato basil bisque with a 3 cheese grilled cheese sandwich on wheat sourdough bread. This was grilled in butter!  Tom had a BLTA with apple cold slaw.  When we finally finished we could not even fit in their unbelievable deserts.  Crying face 


We walked off lunch by trying for a cache, but our Droid GPS would not settle down and we finally gave up.  This one had not been found in a long time, so it may have gone missing.  We did a little shopping and Tom found an awesome shirt. It fit him perfectly, the pocket matched the pattern of the shirt perfectly, and it had a big frons pattern that he likes but is hard to find.  Another successful day and a drive down to coast as the sun was setting. We pulled over for a picture.


And this is the picture Tom got.


The end of another perfect day.  We are so blessed.

The next day, Wednesday, we had made plans to meet our friend, Deborah, for lunch.  Deb and I have been Facebook friends since working together for the Special Quest project.  This was the project that pushed us into the RV’ing lifestyle.  I had a contract to work with SQ one week a month for six months in six different states.  We were able to travel the three weeks in-between.  We bought our first diesel pusher, a 2005 Monaco Diplomat, and left Fresno to Dallas, Dallas to Chicago area, Chicago to Alexandria, Alexandria to Atlanta, Atlanta to Burlingame, CA, then Burlingame to Denver.  Now that is just about the perfect Workcamper gig.  Tom camped while I worked with the most amazing group of people dedicated to the support of parents and the community of pre-schoolers with disabilities.  Deborah was one of those champions of the disabled.  We were excited to see her again and she carved out some time from her busy schedule to have lunch with us.  We picked her up and went to an Irish Pub, Rooney’s, in Orcutt. We shared stories, laughed and ate until we had to take Deborah back to work.  She even said she can’t wait to retire so she can travel like we do. 


Deborah recommended a must-see local historical mission/state park, Mission La Purisima.
We drove back down toward Buelton then turned west toward Lompoc.  This Mission has been beautifully restored.  This part of California history is dear to our hearts as Tom’s family was part of the early California Mission history. His grandmother’s family was part of the Santa Barbara Mission family back as far as 1802 when California was Alta California, a part of Spain.  These are some of the pictures of the Mission.






We ended our day with another unbelievable sunset.  As we drove back to Santa Barbara via the coast route the reds just kept getting redder.  I don’t think our cameras could get the full effect of the colors. We stopped at the Jetty for Clam Chowder in a bread bowl and fish and chips. Just another delicious dinner at the coast.


That brings us back to today and our trip into Pismo Beach.  We ate at Mo’s, had Ice Cream at Scoops, bought another cool shirt for Tom and walked the town reminiscing about the many years we have visited this beach town, from before we were married with Tom’s family, on our honeymoon, with friends when Tom taught in LA and every first weekend in August for our Fresno/Bakersfield family reunions.  It was a perfect day!  Tomorrow we go back to Fresno.  So we will be On the Road Again, Caching Places that we’ve never been.

1 comment:

  1. Love those sunsets! And all the food looked yummy. You brought back some fond memories for me of places I've also been.


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