Hello folks. Well, Bill and I have less than two weeks left on this road trip. This leg of the journey takes us from the welcome home of our son Raymond, his partner Gino, and their dog Rogelio in southern Orange County, to Santa Cruz, where our chakras align. I am currently sitting in the welcoming library in Capitola writing this story. May you reflect on your year of inspiration this Advent season.
O’Neill Regional Park
We only stayed in Marion one night of the five at O’Neill Regional Park, in Trabuco Canyon. The rest of the time we stayed with our son Raymond, his partner Gino and their doggy, Rogelio. On Saturday, Nov. 25, Bill’s Brother Larry, his wife Candyce, their Standard Poodles Maya and Diego–who live nearby in Cota de Caza–joined us for a picnic at camp. Their sons Jeff and David joined us for a fun visit. So enjoyed seeing the boys-to-men cousins reconnect. That night, Gino took us to one of his favorite Peruvian restaurants–Inka Grill in Lake Forest. Gino said the food was similar to what he ate growing up in Ecuador. Bill and I felt the love put in the delicious food and liked the welcoming and unpretentious atmosphere. A great way to end our visit with this pair of great and much-loved lads.
The following morning we left camp early to drive to Palos Verdes and visit Frank and Kay Poss. Frank is Bill’s dad’s Jack’s cousin, born in 1929. Frank and Kay are a delight to talk family history with. They also have a love of travel. Frank writes some good mystery novels. And the one photographed on the table–The Rogue Princes–is a collaboration with his granddaughter Katie. A good yarn!
Malibu Creek State Park, Calabasas
Our next leg of the journey took us to Malibu Creek State Park, where we camped in site 2 under Live Oak trees. The park is located nearby where we once lived in the Seminole Springs Mobilehome Park on Mulholland Hwy. The Woolsey Fire burned the upper half of the park Nov. 8, 2018, taking our former home with it. We visited our long-time friend Debi Croft, whose home also burned. She returned to a new home at the park, with her dog Rico in Dec. 2022. A lovely visit with her. We sold our home for $99,000 in 2000 to move to Whidbey Island. Now the new places are selling for up to $800,000, with monthly HOA fees nearing $700 a month.
The weather was warm at the beach and one morning we drove to Point Dumé to catch a view of the Malibu coast. A Stephen Spielberg look-alike mansplained what we were seeing. All part of the journey.
We visited one afternoon with a childhood friend of Bill’s, Alan Kane. Alan II, his son Alan III, and grandson Alan IV live in a house that is home to Janice, Alan II’s wife, who works as a long-time critical nurse–and has a deep well of caring for her family of two children and eight grandchildren–and Alan III’s wife, Jessica, who runs a thriving home-based custom bags, straps and accessories business, KuddlesandKane.
Taking a reprieve from camping in Marion one night, we stayed at the home of dear friends Diane Corwin and Jeff Sielaff in Sherman Oaks. I worked with Diane at NBC, Burbank in the late 1970’s, and she’s remained a part of our family ever since. Diane and Jeff married in the 1990’s and the two are a great pair, generous and fun.
Monterey, Carmel Valley and Santa Cruz
Friday Dec. 1, we left camp early, driving to the Weather Tech Racetrack at Laguna Seca in Monterey. Perched on a hill overlooking the Monterey foothills, Bill and I find the vibe of the place just about right, with the exception of the shooting range. Sometimes we heard the champ cars racing. We camped in site 46 next to the restroom. Note there is no potable water here due to the EPA’s ruling that arsenic levels cannot exceed 20 ppm, up from its previous mandate of 10 ppm. The levels here are at 18 ppm. We bought our own water.
The reason we camp here is to visit a wonderful friend, Sheila Hiebert. I met Sheila and her late husband Ray, while working as a cook aboard the Snowgoose Alaska in 2009. We’ve remained friends ever since. We missed dear Ray this year. He earned his wings and passed from his body in August. Sheila hosted us for wonderful dinners at her home for two nights. We met Sheila’s friend Susan, whose husband Chris passed away last autumn. We shared heartfelt conversation. One night Sheila treated us all to a cowboy vaudeville concert, with Sourdough Slim and his supremely excellent guitar and saw-playing friend Robert Armstrong. Sheila was surprised to see the first act was none other than the infamous Steve Bernal, whose role as-now-former sheriff was once embroiled in scandal and lawsuits under his watch.
Peak experiences found us while visiting Monterey and Pacific Grove Dec. 2. We ate delicious love-made food at the popular Wild Plum Cafe. Just when I walked out the door to visit the restroom, a woman in a chef’s jacket said she would show me the way, where it was located in the back. Turns out it was Pamela Burns, Wild Plum’s owner. We talked of our mutual love of cooking, using fresh ingredients and the importance of cooking with focused attention. Afterward, we walked to the Parker-Lusseau Pastries, which a dedicated customer told me, is her favorite bakery in the world. Bill said it was a good thing he had a generous breakfast at Wild Plum, otherwise he would have been seduced by all the confections at Parker-Lusseau. Then we drove to Pacific Grove, where we parked at the restroom adjacent to a protected area and spectacular beach. We pulled in next to a couple of ladies. The driver was applying pale blue nail polish and shaking her fingers to dry. She wore a strapless black dress and pearls. Both had matching eyelashes and black and white coats. Alexandra and Sunshine, they were, of Ukranian origin. I was impressed by their incredible heart energy. Afterwards, we walked along the beach, admiring the otters riding the waves on their backs, dining on shellfish.
And, to finish off this part of the story, we enjoyed a heartfelt and delicious dinner made by Eva Wax in Santa Cruz. I was lucky to spend the last three years of my friend Urashan’s life with her. Urashan has eight children. Two of them live in Santa Cruz: Jacob and Kater Pollock. Jacob is married to Eva. Last night was one of-a-kind special moments with this fun family.
Finally, we are camped in site #74 at New Brighton State Beach near Santa Cruz. We have a terrific view of Monterey Bay.
Signing off now. Happy trails, everyone.