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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Central Coast

Two years ago I made my first drive south of San Francisco in many, many years. I remember wondering why it had taken me so long, because I was really taken by the beaches just below San Luis Obispo (where I am writing this before I head out for Sacramento and Tahoe). It's really all about family for me in California and, at that time, everyone was up north. My nephew had lived in the Napa Valley or the East Bay of SF for years. My in-laws have been in Tahoe forever and my hometown is so far north you could call it Oregon. Now that Phil has relocated to Orange County (OC to the locals), I am going to be spending a lot of time in the area that I have just been visiting during the last few days - the Central Coast of California.

Spend the day at the beach or do a winery tour. Enjoy some fine dining ( I ate at one the restaurants used in the movie Sideways). A highlight for me was hiking on the Sedgewick Ranch, a 6,000 acre area that has been deeded to UC Santa Barbara for research. Google it. I'm sure that you could also get the lay of the land on horseback. I went into an old feed & grain in Santa Ynez that made it pretty obvious that a lot of folks are into horses and chickens around here. It's all rolling hills and oaks and it can get pretty warm, but the marine flow is nearby and tempers that heat. Take a drive on a curvy, mountain road and watch vistas of the Pacific. It's great!

I'm missing Bill. He knows what I mean about the light. Last evening I was in Santa Barbara at their waterfront with our old friend, Paul Rail, and he and I both felt like we were looking at a scene from a French Impressionist painting. I'm not sure that I captured it on my camera but at least I'll have a memory. We had been at a beach a little farther north for the afternoon watching people hang gliding off of the bluff. Oh, those teen-aged, bikini-clad surfer girls.

Once again, I am spending time on this blog when I should be getting on the road. Today I am driving up to Sacramento where I will stay with Bill's old college roommate and his wife, dear friends that we try to connect with every time we are close. Good cooks, too. Their son, Alex, and our Katy were born a few days apart. I suppose their house was built in the 50's, maybe older, in a typical Sacramento neighborhood with lots of big trees for shade because it is so frigging hot all of the time, although they might poo-p00 that. I can take a day or two of the valley heat and then I need to climb to a higher, cooler altitude and commune with the Sierras. That's where I am heading on Friday and will hang with Bill's sister and her husband for several days. I will read, cook, go to Fallen Leaf Lake for a swim and see the latest work on the landscaping at their new home. I'll share my latest tunes from my iPod and we will dance in the living room. It is my second home and I can already smell the pines.

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