Welcome to Chapter 7 of our On the Road with Beatrix and Marion series. This leg of the journey took us from beautiful Laguna Niguel, with a comfortable stay at the apartment of our son Raymond, his partner Gino, and our grand doggy Rogelio, to Malibu Creek State Park. It is nearby our former home at Seminole Springs Mobile Home Park, where we loved and lived for 19 years before moving to Whidbey Island. It is bittersweet, revisiting the people and places we love. This visit rekindled deep memory senses of sight, smell, taste, sound and feel of a home we left behind and love still.
We arrived at camp Nov. 28th, following a visit with Bill’s very interesting relatives, Frank and Kay Poss. Frank is Bill’s dad Jack’s cousin, 93 years young.
Frank and Kay have lived for decades in their home looking over the Pacific Ocean in Rancho Palos Verdes. We have long held a close connection and mutual love of travel with this lovely couple. We spent a few hours with them recalling history of camping trips Frank took with his dad Frank Poss and his brother, Bill’s grandad, John Poss. It is Grandad and his beautiful wife Maree who inspired us to take up the adventurous life of trailering. During our visit with Frank and Kay, Frank mentioned visiting Castle Dome in Arizona, hauling out bags of stones that glow when illuminated by black light. Bill picked out some crystal beauties Frank offered from his collection in the garage, which we will add to our stone altar when we return home Dec. 16.
Tuesday, Nov. 29 we reveled being back in the ‘Southern Yosemite’ of California in the Santa Monica Mountains. The oak leaves turned a beautiful butterscotch yellow. The air smelled of pungent autumn leaves at our campsite in Site 2.
We met lovely campground neighbors, Susan Rudnicki and her husband Dana Trout. I felt an immediate connection to these two who live in Santa Barbara and have helped publish a book of its history, Yankee Barbareños. While Susan and I chatted outside on our picnic table one afternoon, Dana helped Bill repair Marion’s furnace. As you may recall, Marion’s 43-year-old gravity furnace has given us all sorts of puzzles to solve. This time around, the gents attempted to repair why the propane gas makes a boom sound when the thermostat kicks in. The heat is clean and comforting and we are glad furnace repairs have come as far as they have so that we could be warm in campgrounds with no electric hookups. California State Parks, most of which we will be staying in for the remainder of this trip, usually do not provide electricity or heated bathrooms/showers.
The uncrowded campground hosted a murder of crows and a herd of ground squirrels. Even though drought has visited our beloved park, rendering the formerly always flowing Malibu Creek a dry arroyo, we love the beauty of the mountains and oaks. The peaks rose above meadows wreathed in fog on some mornings.
We swam in luxuriously warm waters at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center before driving out to Seminole Springs Mobile Home Park where we met our long-time friend Debi Croft and a friend and former neighbor, Ray Prugh. An inferno leveled the upper part of the park Nov. 9, 2018, forcing Debi to evacuate in the predawn morning. While Ray and his wife Izzy were evacuated, they were able to return to their home days later. The lower part of the park survived the fire where Ray and Izzy still live. Debi told us Washington’s governor Jay Inslee came out following the 2018 devastation, and she had her photo taken with him. Meanwhile following the fire, the rains came and the hills rising above the park’s lake eroded, and filled the lake in. Now it’s a willow forest. Debi finally moves into her home, Dec. 6, after four years of having to rent a place in nearby Oak Park.
The following day we took Beatrix in for a 20,000 mile checkup at the Toyota dealer in Thousand Oaks. Great place and excellent staff! With the two road trips we’ve taken this year, the miles add up. Good thing we average 34 miles a gallon with our hybrid.
That evening we stayed with our dear friends Diane Corwin and Jeff Sielaff. We shared many a story and hilarity that night over a delicious salmon dinner Diane prepared. Jeff introduced us to a Netflix series he watches, The Midnight Diner, which he watches to relax following his work editing video for the Democratic Party and its attempt to educate folks to save our democracy. The Netflix series is Japanese and the food prepared inspires me to try out the recipes the chef makes.
The following morning we rose early to witness a pair of expert tree climbers ascend tall fan palms to trim the fronds with chainsaws. Wow! We were impressed by the tree men’s finesse on the trees.
We left Diane and Jeff to meet with our fun friend Patty Maloney. It was at Patty’s party on Nov. 10, 1973, that I met Bill. We shared stories about family and the state of the world at one of Patty’s favorite places for Mexican food, Las Fuentes, in Reseda.
Hugging Patty goodbye we drove to Thousand Oaks where we spent a couple of hours in the company of the expanding Kane family. Bill has been friends with the family of seven children since he was a Catholic boy attending St. Cyril’s Catholic School in Encino. We stay in touch with Al and his wife Janice, their children Alan, and his wife Jessie. Natalie, Al and Janice’s daugher, who is now pregnant with twins, stopped by for a quick hello and to drop off two of her daughters. We also are friends with Al’s younger brother Paul and his wife Tricia, who used to live at Seminole Springs. They now live at Malibou Lake. Tricia let us know she has reconnected with her Singapore roots via distant cousins and enjoys reunions. All said, we loved the family connection of three generations at Al and Janice’s home brimming with love and family.
Our time spent visiting friends and landscape we love came to an end too soon. By Friday morning Dec. 2 we left Malibu Creek State Park, heading north on the 101 Freeway.
Arriving at Laguna Seco Raceway in Monterey, we were glad to be perched among the Coast Live Oak trees above the race track. The setting sun was a gift.