A Day at the Beach

August 30
For the past 2 days, we have been ensconced at O’Neill Regional Park near Rancho Santa Margarita in Southern California. We are here to attend my nephew’s wedding later today, then we are headed east to New Mexico. It is hot. Like 99 degrees hot. There are no hook-ups here, but our site is very shady and with the slight breeze, it is almost tolerable. The site is just on the other side of a berm where the stream flows. Well, it would flow if there was any water in it. Bone dry!

Once again, having the extra solar panel is proving vital to our happiness. The one problem with it so far has been the way the cables attach on the back into the solar controller. They seem to have used a very heavy gauge wire that doesn’t really fit well into the compression connections. They were put in securely at the factory I’m sure, but moving it around puts stress on the connectors at the controller on the back and they eventually just pulled out. It is extremely difficult to get the wire squeezed together enough to fit back in. I’ve had to take to cutting some of the strands off in order to reduce the thickness. Not a great solution. There is no fastening system to keep the cable in place. Had I realized this would be a problem, I would had taken preventive steps to secure the cable to the back of the panel better – thereby keeping any stress on the cable and connection to a minimum. I have fashioned a temporary fix with, what else, duct tape. I tried using the same tape used for sealing the LD seams, but when the panel has been in the sun for very long, that stuff just melts off – doesn’t hold at all. A small but annoying problem.
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1802_EmmaWoods1We knew it would be hot here. Since we had a extra day before our reservations at O’Neill, we decided an evening near the coast would be nice. It was an easy 120 mile  drive down U.S 101 from Pizmo Beach. We found Emma Woods State Park, north of Ventura and managed to get in. This park has no facilities whatsoever. Well, it did have a garbage can. It is also pretty much a squeezed in angled parking lot. But you can’t beat the location. Literally 50 ft. from the ocean. A number of the sites are parallel park type sites, and they are a little better because there is more of a feeling of privacy. Unfortunately, there were none available.

1807_Emma-Woods3Because of large storms out in the pacific, the surf has been unusually large. Some of the parking spots, er, campgrounds have been closed due to high waves breaking onto them. It’s not like scary large surf, but it is definitely bigger than normal. With our ringside seats, it made for a really enjoyable day/evening of wave watching and photographing. The weather is perfect for this. Highs, mid-70’s with a little breeze and no fog.1841_Emma-Woods7We had fun with long exposures of the rolling surf.
1869_Emma-Woods8We also worked up a mighty thirst.
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1873_Emma-Woods9As dusk fell, we saw that there was a sliver of a moon about to set – another bonus. After dark, I stepped out to photograph the surf at night. The milky way was surprisingly bright this evening, and my photographs show it quite well. I got close to the surf to catch the foggy appearance of the water after long exposures, but not so close, I thought, that I would be in danger of sneaker waves. This went well for about an hour. The tide was still coming in, and I guess I pushed my luck a little too far. As I finished one last exposure, I was suddenly hit in the face with a wave. Oh yes, I got wet, the camera too. But it wasn’t like a tsunami type sneaker wave. More of a roll up the beach, then up me kind of wave. I did get a little hurt as I sprang up, turned and scrambled up the rocky beach, I stumbled over some of the larger rocks and took a spill because I was trying to protect the camera from the rocks. Not bad hurt, but I now have a bruise on my thigh and a slightly sore shoulder – and I still banged the camera on a rock. Being a California native, I should have known better. This wave was far stronger than any of the others – the classic sneaker wave. An no, I would not allow Mary to take a picture of me post wave – I have my pride after all. It’s just a little soggy now.1897_Emma-Woods11

1911_Emma-Woods12In the morning, we were up and out early again to photograph the immediate area. It was slightly misty and with the waves still pounding, and the morning trains buzzing by, we had another fun session.1915_Emma-Woods13

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Neighbor's set-up.

Neighbor’s set-up.

So the only other problem with the current campground are the ants. Thousands invaded us yesterday and all we had was some mosquito repellent to combat them. We kept them at by most of the day, but ultimately lost the battle after we went to bed. They didn’t, and when we awoke, there were lines of them everywhere. Surprisingly, they didn’t seem to be going for food. I don’t know what they were looking for, but they did seem to be congregating around water more than anything else. I had to make a special trip to the store for ant spray to spray around the tires and anything else that touches the ground. Oh well…

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