It’s been fully a year since we we’ve been able to get back on the road. We didn’t really want to leave town while our contractors were digging away on our new basement rooms (now completed). Then we learned my father had lung cancer, so we stayed home to help brothers and sisters care for him. In that time, my mother also became ill, and it was difficult to focus on anything photographic while they struggled. Dad passed away four months after diagnosis, while mom is now on the road to recovery. A difficult time to be sure.
We hadn’t plan to leave at all this spring – it was already a month past the time we would want to go, but we badly wanted to get away. We had a window of about 5 weeks where we could do it, but we had to get it together quickly. We’d hoped to do a wildflower tour this spring, but most of the areas in California we knew about were done by the time we could leave. Still, we decided a month or so just out on the road would be a good way to ease back into our life on wheels.
A number of difficulties arose in the process of getting ready. Our rig just does not like being left along for so long. Despite my “exercising” it from time to time, various items needed replacing or repairing. We barely managed to get out on time trying to get repairs completed.
Some problems followed us onto the road, and taking care of these things took my attention away from photographing and writing. I am now so hopelessly behind on posting images and words, I’ve decided to do a quick catch-up of mostly images. This is part 1.
Pinnacles National Park We took several nice hikes during our 3 days there. First was the Bench trail. This was a mostly shady flat walk in the valley, and very pleasant. Perfect for a hot afternoon. The next day, we hiked the High Peaks Trail. The morning started off under overcast skies that helped cool us on the slow rise up to the rock cliffs.
While most of the wildflowers were gone, there still remained a few areas of color. It’s all in how you frame it. This trail did not disappoint. On final day, we hiked another part of the Bench Trail and found some nice fields of poppies. Paso Robles Moving on to Paso Robles, we discovered our favorite winery there was also a Harvest Host location. Harvest Host is a group of businesses, such as wineries, farms and other attractions, that allow RVers to camp on their properties for free. A $44 fee covers membership for a year and there are locations all over the west where we travel. They do ask you patronize there business during your stay, but in the case of Tobin/James Winery, not a problem since it is one of our favorites. We spent a few days touring the area wineries and, in between, driving the countryside, but again, flowers there were finished. It was interesting to see a couple of areas looked very similar to the wheat growing areas of Washington, known as the Palouse. It appeared they were also growing wheat here. Pismo Beach We moved over to the coast, as the inland temperatures were set to rise over the next few days. We found one of our favorite campsites unoccupied when we arrived at Pismo Beach State Park. I was able to find an RV repair shop in Nipomo, about 20 miles south, that could do the step replacement in just a couple of days. No one else I called could get it done this month. So thanks Sea to Sea RV for getting us back on track so fast. On several drives, we only managed to find a few areas where color on the hills remained. It was kind of a teasing taste of how it must have been a few weeks ago, but I am happy with seeing what I have so far. We headed out to Montana de Oro State Park, about 20 north of Pismo, for a hike along the rugged shore. There is always abundant birdlife along this stretch. On this walk we saw Pigeon Guillemots, Oyster Catchers, Cormorants, gulls, Pelicans and more. The high surf and stiff winds over the water also added to the fun. Another day we drove up to the Morro Bay area to hike the Black Hill trail. Once we actually found the trailhead, we found it to be steep, but very scenic. A 3 mile round trip hike, it quickly raises up to a grand view all around the area. On this day, it was a truly wide view. The image below is doctored a bit in Photoshop using a directional blur. I like the way it blended and smoothed the lines of surf coming in. A little visitor crossed our path on the way up. Just a garter snake – a big one. From up top, we had wonderful views of the still green hillsides. Haven’t seen that around the state in a very long time. We said good-by to Pismo after a 5 day stay and began making our way toward the Eastern Sierras. We’ll be meeting up with friends somewhere along the way. Stay tuned.