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“Home” for a bit

Today we arrived home in Niwot (near Boulder).  We drove all day from outside of Durango, CO.  We all got more and more excited as we neared familiar territory.

We’re taking a couple of week break from our adventure to connect with friends, recharge ourselves, and figure out what the rest of the trip will look like.

We’re mostly staying with our special friends Rachel and Noah who are surrounding us with love and cuddling.

We’ll probably be in Boulder for another week or so.  Aiming for Virginia for Thanksgiving.

As you can see, we also need to figure out how to pack the car better!

Point Lobos

Today we visited Point Lobos, “The greatest meeting of land and water in the world,” and it sure was in our estimation.  We loved the landscape of the rocky coves and windswept trees.  We spent a long time just exploring the amazing rock formations being washed (away, in geologic time) by the ocean.


Point Lobos was Karen’s favorite spot on the planet, so we thought that we would leave some of her ashes here somewhere.  Karen’s friend Melissa flew out from D.C. to spend some time with us here, and to be a part of this.  At the spot where we played the most, two auspicious things happened.  First, an otter was eating an abalone and we were able to watch him put on a show for us for a long time (Karen loved otters) and then a seal popped its head out of the water and looked right at us.  We thought that those were good signs, so we left a little of Karen there in the ocean.  It was a good place.

We also hiked through the grove of Monterey Cypress trees, looked at clear, blue waters in rocky canyons.  And we toured the whaler’s cabin, which had a museum about Point Lobos and lots of historical information about the area.



Pacific Coast Highway

We drove from San Luis Obispo up Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, to Pacific grove.  This could be a 3 hour drive, but it took us 9 hours because of all the fun stops we made.

Sea Jade (Click any image to see it larger)

Sea Jade (Click any image to see it larger)

Our first stop was in Cambria at Moonstone Beach, where we spent at least an hour combing the pebbly beach for cool stones.  The whole beach is made up of little rounded pebbles.  Apparently some of the pebbles are a special stone called Moonstone, and some are “beach jade”.  I’m not sure if we found anything of monetary value, but we took a lot of beautiful stones, and the finding of them and excitedly sharing each other’s finds was priceless.


The next cool spot was an Elephant Seal viewing area.  Elephant seals come from all over the pacific to mate and have their young on this stretch of beach.  The elephant seals on the beach right now are youngsters and adolescents who are here early to rest, since they don’t have to be out eating up food for what sounds like an energetic mating season.  We saw the beach covered in both directions with the slumbering bodies of these impressive animals.  But it wasn’t all repose, as some made displays and loud grunts, and there were some comings and goings. And of course there was the unique smell!  A worthwhile stop along the way.

Next we stopped at the Salmon Creek trailhead where we hiked back a little ways to a waterfall I remembered from my hiking days at Cal Poly.  Many a trip that I went on with the Outings group there stopped at this spot.  Today, however, we had it to ourselves.  It’s a magical waterfall into a crystal-clear pool.  Adam and I even went skinny dipping!

The rest of the drive we marvelled at the beauty of the mountains coming right down to the ocean.  Each turn brought us some new beautiful point of view.  We were hoping to stop at Limekiln state park to go hiking among the redwoods there, but there was a forest fire just in that spot.  (see it in the background of this picture.) We stopped and watched as the helicopters took water from the sea to dump on the fire.

Big Sur is the crowning glory of the drive.  Such a beautiful place on the earth.  As we drove through, we stopped at the Phoenix shop and the attached Nepenthe restaurant to have dinner.  This is a spot that Karen and I would stop at any time we were in the area, and a place that she would often come down to when she lived in Monterey.  So it was nice to share it with the kids.  We ate looking at this gorgeous view, and stayed until the sun set over the Pacific.

Itinerary for the next week

We’re still in San Luis Obispo.  On Friday we will head up to Monterey and spend a few days there.  Then we’ll come back south, passing through SLO and maybe Santa Barbara and LA on our way to Sedona, AZ.

Zippy, I’m ready…

Zippy had an exciting moment today when she heard, “Zippy!  I’m ready to be wiped” from her 3 year old companion.  It was Zippy’s first experience helping a child in that way.  Joseph is out of diapers, but still needs a little help now and then.  Zippy was the one he chose to get that help from.  Zippy is a confident and loving caregiver; she’s great with kids, and it’s obvious that Joseph trusts and thinks she’s great, too.

Central coast community connections

I’m really doing my best to walk our talk by connecting with communities while we are here in the central coast of California.

Last night I went down to Santa Barbara to take part in a celebration with the Mankind Project and spent the night.  It was wonderful to be instantly welcomed into this open-hearted circle of men.

Tonight we went to a picnic held by the White Heron Sangha to meet some Buddhist practitioners in the area.  The potluck was fun, but there weren’t any children for Zippy and Adam to play with, unfortunately.  The community is vibrant and healthy, but as in many of these communities, those with children have a difficult time finding the time to participate.

On to Moab

Josh and Kiara launched us well the next morning with a pancake breakfast.  The drive to Moab was beautiful.  We all enjoyed noticing the forested mountains change to dry rocky cliffs.  This was a foreshadowing of all the beautiful geology we are to see on the next legs of our trip.

Route to Moab

Route to Moab

We stopped at a rest area just over the Utah border and chatted with a woman who was road tripping to Zion, and a colorful rest area cleaner who wanted to make sure we went the beautiful route to Moab, which we did.  Route 128 goes the back way into Moab, along the Colorado River.

Touching the Colorado River

Touching the Colorado River

We’d been following the river for a while and Adam was anxious to “go touch it”, so that’s just what we did.  The whole ride was fun and jovial, with lots of “ooh, look at that!” to the beautiful scenery all around us. (I’m going to post our pictures separate from this blog, and will give a link when they’re up.)

During out trip, we’re hoping to stay with people as much as we can to make connections and enjoy community.  But we realized that while travelling from place to place that this might be difficult, so we are prepared to camp along the way also.

Camping under the fairy trees

Camping under the fairy trees

The gorgeous canyon is dotted with campgrounds.  After checking a few of them out, We stayed at Big Bend campground in a tucked away cove made by some trees that we’d never seen before, but we all thought looked like a fairy land.

Pogo stick in the campsite

Pogo stick in the campsite

This was our first night camping in a long while, and we had so much fun!

First night on the road

What a huge day today was, it felt like three days.

(click on any image to see a larger version)

First there was the packing part.  I’d hoped to leave Boulder by 10:00 AM, but we didn’t leave until 4PM!  We packed the car, found we had way too much stuff to fit and had to keep winnowing it down so we could fit.  We ended up taking out an extra seat to make more room, so Zippy will now be sitting in front for this whole part of the trip.  Of course becuse we have no home in Boulder, anything we decided not to bring in the car had to be brought to our storage.  During all this a photographer friend was documenting the progress.  We’ll post pictures from that soon.

Finally we were ready to go, here we are about to depart.

Then came the driving part of the day. It was mostly fun and easy. We stopped in Evergreen to visit our dog Holly for the last time. She’s in great hands with our Friends Lisa and Dave. Then we drove on west, into the sunset (literally!).  The mountains are beautiful, with little dustings of snow on them, and a storm with lightning and angry clouds made for a great show.  We started listening to the second book in the Redwall Series, Mossflower.

We had hoped to make it to Moab today, but once we departed so late, we realized we’d never make that.  So we set our sights on Glenwood Springs.  But even then as the rain started, and the sun was going down and hunger was setting in I was getting worried about where we would spend our first night.  A call to a cabin place in Glenwood found them full.  Could we camp?  Did I really want to set up a tent in the rain?  Was it too cold for us? (Zippy only has a light sweatshirt with her) Would I have to spring for a motel, even though that separateness isn’t what this trip is about at all?

And then we got a sign.  We saw a rainbow and since Adam couldn’t see it out the left window, I pulled off at the Avon, CO exit so we could get out and look at it.  (Beautiful and bright!).

And as we got back in the car, I remembered our friend Kiara lived near Vail.  So I called her and asked whether we could spend the night on their couch, and she unhesitatingly welcomed us.  Turns out she lives  right there in Avon with her significant other, Josh.

That led to the third part of the day, the community piece.  We brought dinner fixin’s, cooked it up, and had a great meal and evening together.

We met Kiara at a Thich Nhat Hanh retreat 3 years ago, and have kept in touch ever since.  Actually, we met Lisa and Dave at the same retreat.  It was a day filled with Sangha!

We are grateful for such an auspicious start to our trip, to allow the universe to lead us to just the right spot, and to spend our first night with such lovely people.

First Destination

We’ve been taking a long time to get ready, and it’s time we got going.  We’re going to head West.  I’m aiming for the Moab area to be our first stop so we can see Arches and other natural beauty there.  Looks like we’ll be departing on Friday.

Departing soon

We’re still in Boulder, but will be departing next week.  Stay tuned…