Wednesday, Nov. 26th - Wednesday, Dec. 31st
Tuesday we put the RV in storage and drove over to John's sister's in central California for Thanksgiving. We spent about a week with her and friends and then drove over to Pismo Beach on the coast where the Monarch butterflies go for the winter. We stayed in a little park model cottage about a half block from the ocean.
For $5.00 you can drive on the beach for about five miles or so.
Somebody had been having a lot of fun driving on the beach here!
The young couple in this car were having a little trouble in the deep, soft sand, so Big John had to help them out a little.
You can also dry camp on a section of the beach here for $5.00 a day, which I think would be great, but I don't think we'll take the chance of getting our big rig stuck down here.
Kathy and JoAnn came down to join us for a few days and we did some sightseeing up and down the coast. We passed a huge group of bikers. Made me miss some of my old biking buddies. You know who you are guys.
We had fish and chips here and watched the dolphins playing out in the ocean.
Hearst Castle near San Simeon. We did a couple tours of this place about 35 years ago when we lived in California for a short time. At that time there were four separate tours to see the whole place. It is amazing and we will be taking my Mom to tour it when she comes down in January.
Hearst had all sorts of exotic animals and had lavish parties for all the Hollywood stars who came on the train to spend the weekends. More about all that after we tour it in January.
Just a little further north is an elephant seal birthing and breeding place.
The elephant seals spend about 8 months a year at sea feeding all the time and eat nothing while on the beach for several months between December and March for birthing and breeding. January is when there are supposed to be thousands of them here, so we will stop back here again also when Mom is with us.
The pups weigh 60 to 80 pounds when they are born and quadruple their weight in less than a month on the mother's rich milk.
The females weigh up to 1,600 pounds and the males up to 5,000 pounds. I think these were all females and pups in this group. Compare them in size to the folks above watching them.
You can see the lighthouse in the distance on the point.
The elephant seals haul out on beaches twice a year, once for birthing and breeding and once for molting. Their social life is vastly different than their solitary existence at sea. It gets very loud. They grunt, bicker, snarl and spar. Males challenge each other with battle cries and the females snarl to ward off the males. The mothers coo at the pups and the pups cry for their mothers.
They flip sand up onto their backs and occasionally move, but only a few feet at a time, as they try to conserve as much energy as they can. This old guy started moving a few feet at a time toward the water and this little pup just happened to be in his path.
Each time the old guy moved a little closer, the pup moved a little ways, Finally, he turned and got out of his pathway, which seemed to please the old guy and he let us all know it.
He made it a couple more scoots and then he had to rest again.
On our way back south, we stopped at Morro Bay where Dawn still remembers her Dad trying to drown her in the surf when she was a little girl. Morro Rock in the background.
They have a very nice boardwalk through the small touristy downtown and along the coast with a nice park at each end. These fishermen had just come in and were cleaning their catch. The pelicans and seagulls were waiting, none too patiently, for their share.
We hung around and waited for dark, so we could watch their Christmas boat parade.
It was not spectacular, but a nice little parade, with plenty of places to park and sit and watch, so no need to get their early and save a spot.
All-in-all, a very nice day of sightseeing.
We left Pismo beach early Tuesday morning and headed back to Yuma where the weather is a little sunnier and warmer.
There we connected with some old friends we hadn't seen for about 25 years, since the last of John's high school class reunions we had been to. Maybe some of my readers will recognize them. We had a couple of nice visits and hope to see more of them when we get back this way.
Sunday night they had a parade of golf carts through our campground all decorated up for Christmas. Tuesday we headed up to Emerald Cove for three days.
Our campsite at Emerald Cove where we spent Christmas.
This is our view of the great Colorado River from our camper door.
One of our neighbors at Emerald Cove.
A kettle corn stand next to one of the RVs, just one of the many ways people use to pay for their extended winter stays in the south. Last week we had someone parked next to us with advertisements painted all over his RV for the herbal and essential oil products he sold. We see all kinds of crafts, wood working, flag poles and such made out of PVC pipe. Occasionally we see little fences set up that are full of registered puppies for sale. Can you just imagine an RV full of yipping puppies!
After three days at Emerald Cove we go back to Havasu City where John will stay in the warm with the RV, while I fly from Vegas on New Year's Eve to spend ten days with the grandkids. I can't wait! Mom flies into Vegas the same day I get back to spend five weeks with us.
Merry Christmas and Happy Near Year!
Tarra and John