WEEK ELEVEN: COWBOYS AND SURFERS

CONTENTS
Rearview Mirror - Summary of the past week: Ocean Camping
Pups Across America! - Beach Pups
Favorite Photograph - The Really Laid Back Camper
Travel Tools & Toys - Walkie Talkies
Camper’s Corner - Paradise By The Sea RV Park, Oceanside, CA
Headlights - Our schedule as to where we will be heading: Morro Bay

REARVIEW MIRROR
Start: Paradise By The Sea RV Park, Oceanside, CA
Stop: Malibu Beach RV Park, Malibu, CA



Sunday
Morning Stroll
I got up super-early to edit pictures and plan for the day. Around six, I took the Kids for their morning walk, taking a different ocean-side route. The only other folks around were surfers and a few workers drinking coffee as they walked/biked/drove to their destinations. A tad chilly--I was wearing sox and a wind breaker--quite a bit different weather than the heat across much of the south. No complaints from me.

Chilly Jerry Jan _ Beach Pups

Gardens
Late morning we drove the 20 minutes down I-5 to Encinitas to the Quail Botanical Gardens. Jan had read an online review that led us to believe that we were in for a mediocre visit--boy, were we in for a surprise. The gardens are spectacular with exotic plants from all over the world showing off their color and beauty on every step of the way. The gardens are divided into regions making it easy to find your way--from Australia to Africa to the Mediterranean and more. Great way to relax and spend a couple of hours. Highly recommended. www.qbgardens.org.

Quail Flower Quail Gardens

We drove back to our park taking the ocean drive, seeing a cross-section of humanity ranging from War/Oil/Wall Street protesters, to surfers, tourists, and mommas with baby strollers. We stopped for lunch at a famous local establishment, Bull Taco, for a Mexican lunch of the Surf & Turf Burrito for me and fish tacos for Jan.

Protesters

Bubbling Stress Release
A nice solution for weary bones was the whirlpool tub located by the pool off of the office. Here we relaxed and met new folks, learning of their travels and experiences and getting tips for future excursions.

Monday
Seaside Walk
The four of us went for our seaside walk in the morning quiet before the village was fully awake. As the day before, it was a little chilly, made more brisk by the ocean breeze. As always the Little Ones enjoyed sniffing the scents of their canine brothers and finding out what had happened over night.

Electronic Keynote
At 9:00 I had my weekly marketing call and at 10:30 I gave an electronic keynote presentation (done in the privacy and comfort of our motor home) to the North American services management team of a very large organization. This well-known company has worked its way through some difficult years and is now undergoing a services transformation--it is really good to be a small part of a big change.

BLTs on the Grill
Jan grilled BLT’s for an outside picnic lunch, then I had another client call at 1:30, planning for a training workshop in a few weeks. The rest of the afternoon was spent catching up on e-mails, and making some airline reservations.

Dueling Cards
Jan and I participated in our afternoon ritual of gin rummy. All this practice seems to be paying off because Jan is now winning as much as she is losing! Nice having some solid competition.

Tuesday
Mobile Office
I woke up to a chilly coach as I started the coffee and skimmed the newspapers online. The bulk of the morning was spent developing my presentation for a Thursday Webinar. At noon I had a phone call to firm up a proposal for a new client--it should be fun, as services are poised to become a much more significant part of this company’s strategic direction. I will be helping them build their new portfolio of services offerings.

Making Coffee

Errands
We had some errands that required a trip to the post office. Since we were out, we drove the eight miles to the Mission of San Louis Rey where we viewed the grounds and the structures of the oldest mission in California.

Back to the Tub
Around 5:00 it was back to the whirlpool. This was followed by cards, dinner, and an early trip to bed.

Wednesday
On the Road
At 9:00 it was left out of the gates onto the North Coast Highway, right at Oceanside Boulevard, then north on I-5, the San Diego Freeway, for 32 miles. Next we picked up California 73 North for 18 miles. From there it was on to the infamous I-405 going past LAX airport and through some very busy parts of Los Angeles. This is one of those crazy big-city highways where you never know when the fast clip of moving traffic will turn into a crawling parking lot of cars and trucks, buses and motorcycles. With several slow downs and a crawl or two, we turned west on I-10, the Santa Monica Freeway, for four miles, then slid over onto the California 1, the North Pacific Highway, for the remaining 20 miles going through Santa Monica and a few miles past Malibu to our camping destination.

(Note: Jan drove the entire trip as though she were a professional bus driver--cautious but cool, competent as well as confident. Maybe I’ll buy her one of those fancy bus driver hats :;>>>. )

Buena Vista
Once we pulled into our site, all we could see was the blue waters of the Pacific. Magnificent views all through this park. Wow, we felt lucky just to be here.

Camp Site View

Welcome Visitor
Late afternoon our good friend Jo drove over from LA (Culver City, actually) to visit and spend the night. It was great catching up and we sat outside enjoying the weather, the scenery, and the company.

Jo _ Jan #2 Mitzy and Jo

Thursday

Webinar
At 9:00 I put on a Webinar, “The Challenge of the Channel” (how is that for a catchy title?), sponsored by my friends and business partner, Service Strategies. It is a topic of interest in the services industry as close to 200 people signed up to listen in for the hour session. It went well with lots of good questions.

Late morning Jan and I left the Kids in charge of the coach and headed for the big city. We took Highway One east to I-10 East, north on the 110 to Union Station. Here we carpooled with Jo and headed north to Griffith Park.

Jerry _ Mitzy

Autry Museum
At least for our American readers, hear the word “Autry” and most of us think of Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy of cinema and television fame in the ’40s and ’50s. So when Jo took us to “The Autry,” I was expecting to see memorabilia specifically about Gene Autry and cowboy movies and shows. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Autry National Center and the Museum of the American West at Griffith Park was much, much more. Among many things, its exhibits range from historical documentation of cowboys, to native American art, to women’s role in building America, to studies of the American west. Extremely well done, and just a pleasure to visit. I highly recommend. http://theautry.org.

The Autry Western Movie Stars

Indian Princess OK Corral Cowboys

Alvara Street Lunch
We drove back to where Jo’s car was parked and walked down Alvara Street to her favorite Mexican restaurant for a great meal. After a missed exit or two on my part, we re-traced our steps, this time a little later in the day and into a lot heavier traffic--it took two-and-a-half hours to make it back.

Friday
The Getty Villa
In the afternoon, Jo drove back over to our campground. Here Jan and I got in her car for the twenty minute trip back to Malibu to the Getty Villa. We’ve been there before, but we were looking forward to another visit. FYI, there are two Getty museums in the LA area, and both are outstanding. The Getty Center in LA concentrates on Western art from the Middle Ages to the present, and the Getty Villa is all about the art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. We saw the special exhibition on the Aztecs. After viewing some really impressive pieces, we viewed a few select exhibits then strolled through the impressive gardens before returning to our home on wheels.

Seafood Down the Hill
After some careful research, we decided to take Jo to dinner at a seafood restaurant just down the hill from where we were staying. We were told “nothing fancy, but really good food. Be sure and bring your own wine and glasses, though.” They were right on all counts. As you walk in the door you are immediately in line (this is a popular place), and on your right is a counter full of your meal selections. Once we made it to the register, Jo ordered Mediterranean sea bass, Jan asked for the halibut, and I had the wild Alaskan salmon. Bread, fries, and cole slaw completed our order--no beverages (a steal for $80 ;>>>). We then scoped out then claimed our picnic table across the drive and opened our bottle of wine as we waited for number 83 to summon us over the not-very-clear-sounding intercom. I was pleased that we had broken the code and had brought our own beverage and vessels, but we were really awed by some of the other customers. Some of them had to be professional diners here! Red checkered table clothes, cloth napkins, fine wine glasses--one small group brought a complete bar!

Not being able to hear what numbers were being called, Jo and I walked across the drive and stood in line at the Pick-Up-Your-Order counter until the sliding window opened and we were handed our order served on paper plates with plastic utensils--all this added to the special ambience. Gotta love it.

Saturday
Jan made a wonderful quiche for breakfast to help fuel our day. Jo ate and ran (she had a big dinner to prepare for), and Jan and I did our morning chores. I took the Pups for a nice walk out on the state trails that adjoin the campground. Back at the coach I buckled down doing work for the week then catching up on the blog.

Breaksfast Quiche

While I was working, Jan took the Little Ones up the coast scouting out a place that sold diesel and was big enough to handle our rig. (Note this is not an issue in most places, but it sure is in California! On our trip up the coast I only saw one or two places that fit our requirements.)

Out to Dinner
At 4:45, two other friends, Barbara and Mike (Jo’s brother), drove down from the Valley to pick us up and chauffeur us over to Jo’s place in Culver City. We were joined by Jo’s friend Rene and and his family. Immediately after greeting everyone, Rene headed for the kitchen where he individually prepared Mojitos. It must have been his Cuban heritage, but the Mojitos were wonderful, and I don’t even like Mojitos. We had a fast-talking, wide-ranging conversation peppered with U.S. English, Mexican/Cuban Spanish, and snippets of Spanglish thrown in as needed to ensure understanding. Just a great time. It is always wonderful to spend time with old friends and make new ones. (Hey, we invited everyone to come to Pine Island this winter!)

Mohito Man

Big Water Commentary
I didn’t know that I missed the Gulf of Mexico until spending time by the Pacific Ocean in Oceanside and Malibu. There is something special about being on big water--the salty smell, the incoming breeze, and the sound of the waves. It is just wonderful waking up with an ocean view from our front windows and going for a morning stroll along the beach.

PUPS ACROSS AMERICA!
Although dogs are not technically allowed on most California beaches, Jan and I were happy to spot these three beach pups out during our early morning walk. Check them out. Can you guess which one did not like me taking his picture?

Beach Pup #1 Beach Pup #2 Beach Pup #3

Oh, my, I’ve added a candid cat picture to the collection, Jo’s cat Souli. She was a personal challenge, as Jo said she doubted that I’d even see her at her condo let alone photograph her. True, it is not a shot I’ll be entering in any contests, but I got her nonetheless.

Soolee

Schedule Your Pup Shots
Please e-mail me at alex@PupsAcrossAmerica or call me at 239-671-0740 to set up a shoot when we are in your area.

Pass the Word
Know other Pup Parents who might enjoy this blog? Please spread the word.

FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPH
I know that I am biased, but my favorite is Laid Back Camper. I think this guy spent the night in this chair in his site directly across from us. Early morning, this is how he looked. I could not resist sneaking in this pic.

Laid Back Camper

TRAVEL TOOLS & TOYS: Walkie-Talkies
For $30 you can buy a pair of decent quality walkie-talkies that have multiple uses. When parking a 40-foot motorhome it is sometimes difficult to see your parking buddy, and almost always you can’t hear each other speak. Walkie-talkies make this sometimes-stressful job much easier. Also, there are times when instead of towing our car, we are driving both vehicles. Yes, you can use cell phones to communicate, but the walkie-talkies are easier to use. Finally, we sometimes hike in areas where there is no cell phone signal. Walkie-talkies help us keep in touch. We use the Motorola FV300 www.motorola.com/Consumers/US-EN/Consumer-Product-and-Services/Two-way-Radios-and-Accessories/ci.Talkabout+FV300+Two-Way+Radio_US_EN.productCompatibility

A word to the wise: Kids are drawn to walkie-talkies like deer to a salt block. Either put them away around youngsters or have plenty of spare batteries!

CAMPER’S CORNER
Paradise By The Sea RV Park, Oceanside, CA. This is the cleanest part I’ve ever seen! Every morning the help is out sweeping the concrete and racking the sand. Full hook-ups, cable, pool, hot tub, even a meditation garden. Activities for kids and activities for adults. It’s 250 yards to the Pacific Ocean and minutes away from just about everything you want. A little pricey, but, hey, this is California. Highly recommended. www.paradisebythesearvresort.com

HEADLIGHTS
June 27 thru July 1
Morro Dunes RV Park, Morro, CA

July 2 thru July 4
Pinnacle National Monument?

July 5 through July 9
Monterey, CA?

July 10 thru July 21
San Francisco RV Park, Pacifica, CA

July 22 thru 24
Napa Valley?


Going to be near? Look us up. Have some suggestions concerning places to see? We are open.
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