The Beauty Around Us – Grover Beach, California

I almost cried today.

Flowers

I feel like we’ve been traveling non-stop for days, though really it’s the planning that has me feeling so beat. At last, we arrived today at Grover Beach, California – a place where we will be for at least the next month.

After settling into the RV park, we took Frodo out for quick stroll and to explore. Grover Beach – the actual Beach – the actual Pacific Ocean – is less than a mile from where we will be sleeping.

As we approached the beach, I could smell the salt in the air. There is no smell better than that of the ocean.

Grover Beach Entrance

Grover Beach was *cold. Windy. And beautiful. I darn near cried. I mean, I really had to stop and take a deep breath.

It was easy to understand the excitement of those around us.

Excitement

Dave and I are a few days shy of our 10th wedding anniversary. We’ve only taken one vacation ever, and that was on our first anniversary. This year, though we aren’t on vacation, it will definitely seem like it! I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to get to celebrate our life together.

Happy Anniversary Dave! ❤️

Dave

About the cold… *This sunbird gets cold in temperatures under 70 degrees. After recently being in 90 degree temperatures with 15 percent humidity, 68 degrees on the beach with 12 mile an hour winds, and 60 percent humidity felt cold. That’s okay. I’ll adjust!

Frodo and the Fridge

Frodo March 2015

Does your dog tap the fridge to request peanut butter? Yes, Frodo is very spoiled. But he’s also well trained!

Since Frodo has a lot of issues with allergies, he frequently gets peanut-butter-topped-benadryl. What, you didn’t know this was a thing? It’s a thing. Trust me.

When it’s time for benadryl, all it takes is one of us getting the bottle out of the cabinet and he runs to us and sits down, eager to enjoy it. We made tapping the fridge and “finding” the peanut butter part of the game, so he’s thrilled to have his medicine.

Yes, Frodo is a very good dog…! It’s a joy to spoil him 🙂

Our Bathroom is So Small…

Our 25 pound dog doesn’t fit fully (head-to-tail) when standing sideways! Seriously, take a look:

Frodo in the Shower

No, we STILL haven’t made a video tour of our van, but this is a glimpse of what it’s like to live in a comically small living environment.

Our bathroom is indeed, comically small. Yes, that is the shower, and behind the curtain is the toilet.  During a shower, the curtain is pulled across the doorway (where Frodo’s head is in the photo) to keep the water inside the shower. This means the toilet lid and base are in the shower, and not protected from the water like the photo shows. We did that today to make Frodo’s bath less work by skipping some of the post-bath/shower squeegee time.

Our bathroom is what is known as a Wet Bath – when everything you need is in one space – and it all gets wet. On the PRO side, the area around the toilet gets a bath every day preventing those super scary dust bunnies that would otherwise grow there. On the CON side, you have to learn to be careful in the shower or you’ll bruise your knees!

Today was a very long overdue bath for Frodo. Er, shower. He kind of had a shower. Frodo doesn’t mind the micro-bathroom, and the end result is the same – he is now clean again – yay!

Yes I know, we owe our friends and family a video-tour. Some day that will happen, some day…

Fun with Photography

Lately my camera has been resting much too often. It was time to take it out to play…

Because we chose to live in a 22′ van, we simply can’t have everything with us we want – like a tripod. This adds complexity to the fact that I really want more photos with BOTH of us in the actual photo. Challenge accepted.

I told Dave I could take a selfie with my 35mm lens, no problem at all. He had the nerve to doubt me.

Selfie of Sharon and Dave

Yes, I really did take this photo holding the camera backwards, composing it blindly.

Because I can’t just let things go, I wanted to further prove to Dave that I can focus where I want, such as in the foreground here:

Selfie Focus in Foreground

Or in the background here:

Selfie Focus in Background

For anyone curious, here is a behind the scenes photo taken by Dave (the boring way, with the camera facing frontwards).

Backwards Photography

And no photography outing is ever complete without a photo of Frodo. Though I think I prefer Arizona over California (so far), Frodo just can’t seem to hold still if there’s grass under his feet. He is really digging California for that reason. He must run and play!

Frodo likes to play like no one is watching… as he should!

Playtime

In all seriousness, it was great to get out today and play. I have my ups and downs with Gastroparesis and the last few days have been pretty rough and a bit painful. But today, today was a good day. And that makes me happy.

Today we are in San Dimas, California.

Catching up in Cali

Sometimes when you travel, you just never know what you’re going to see. For example, you could just happen to look to your side and see a Dinosaur. True Story. Photo location: Cabazon, California

Roadside America Dinosaur

We’ve been in Chino, California for about a week now. The day we arrived I had planned to blog about our trip, knowing if I don’t write immediately – it won’t happen. Well, obviously, it didn’t happen. I took photos the moment we arrived, but the park where we were staying was, well… horrible. Sure, it looks pretty, but looks aren’t everything.

This is where we’ve been for the last few days, Prado Regional Park in Chino.

Prado Regional Park

What you can’t see in the photo is the experience, photos don’t tell you the whole story. The park is about a mile away from an outdoor olympic shooting range, and gunshots are heard from just prior to sunrise and continue past sunset every day. Three days a week the range is open for 12 hours and we were treated to gunfire sounds for more than 12 hours during those days. It was lovely. Frodo was usually able to be outside just long enough to do his business but he was quite the unhappy dog while we were there. Walks barely happened, he would get too freaked out (understandably so)!

In addition to the sounds, there was the smell. Have you ever been near a dairy farm? There are several in Chino, quite a few right near the Prado Regional Park. For most of the day the smell was so bad we were unable to use our fan or open our windows. In fact, you can smell cow manure as you drive around Chino. Feel free to knock this city right off your to-visit list.

Oh, but of course, we weren’t in Chino to sightsee, we were there to have our hot water heater system replaced – which we did. We have working hot water now! It’s a miracle! I have another RV Repair shop to recommend, thoughts to share about our experience of going a full month without any hot water, and tips about how to go about having your hot water system replaced – all… coming soon.

For a few more days we are kicking around near the shop where had our hot water system replaced, just to continue testing and make sure all is well before we depart. Currently we are in San Dimas, California and though the current place is well above our budget, it is well worth the change in venue. Even Frodo approves!

Frodo Living it Up

Hopefully the lack of gunshot sounds throughout the day will get me back into a writing mood so I can write more about the last week, and month.

San Dimas California

Until next time…

Basking in the Quiet at Craggy Wash in Arizona

Is the rest of Arizona as beautiful as Lake Havasu City? Throughout the day, I find myself staring at the sky, the mountains, and clouds.

Clouds and Mountains

Every few minutes the scenery changes and I wish I was better skilled at landscape photos, but, that’s Dave’s speciality. I usually take better photos of people or things. Like our van.

I took this photo shortly after we arrived at Craggy Wash, our home for the night.

Boondocking at Craggy Wash in Arizona

No, I do not miss having a house thank-you-very-much. I mean really, what is there to miss from a house?

In related news, over the past few days I learned I do not need Hot Water. Honestly, the fact that we don’t have hot water right now has been no big deal at all. I’m shocked that I feel that way, and I’m grateful for this little life-lesson. I thought hot water was a necessity. Apparently, it isn’t for us.

After dinner I sent Dave to grab some of his amazing sunset photos. He didn’t disappoint. Can you believe that sky? Thank you Arizona, you’re being an amazing and gracious host!

Craggy Wash Sunset Photo by Dave

 

It’s a Beautiful Day in Tucson, Arizona!

We had a choice between struggling for warmth in Las Cruces, New Mexico – or getting to BE warm and comfortable in Tucson. It was an obvious choice really, and we are finally somewhere that will have good weather for a while so we don’t need to rush off anywhere.

Even though our race across the country has been at a much faster pace than we plan to travel for any length of time – it’s been an amazing journey. We have had a wonderful opportunity to preview areas where we would like to have extended time to explore. St. Louis, Missouri looks like a blast for urban photography, Columbia, Missouri will be a great place to relax, and New Mexico? Give me a month in New Mexico – or maybe two! There is so much to see and do and explore!

For now though, today we are in Arizona. And it’s gorgeous! I can understand why people spend their winters in Arizona. Who wouldn’t want to be here?

Palm Tree

Something screams H.P. Lovecraft about this plant. Maybe because it was larger than me!

HP Lovecraft Plant

The Tao of Dog says, a dirty dog is a happy dog. At least according to me. And Frodo. A dirty beard means lots of nose-to-ground time – heaven for a scent-driven dog!

Happy Dog Frodo

If an opportunity presents itself to reach out and grab something – do it.

Sharon Tucson Arizona Pull-up

But be careful around cacti, particularly when they are close to ten feet tall…

Southwest Architecture

Southwest landscaping is pretty nifty though, I’m quite drawn to it.

Southwest

And architects are smart to build in sun-shades where it is necessary.

Sun Shades

But one of the coolest things we saw today was the most unexpected!

Car Parade

Wait, are they slowing down for the camera? They are! See the wave?

Car Parade 2

This guy was awesome, he honked for us!

Car Parade 3

Reason #101 why you should always have your camera!

Car Parade 4