Borrego: Presidents’ weekend 2017

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Not your typical Borrego weather.

 

The drought in California is over, now it’s a deluge, one storm after another, relentlessly pounding us.  Welcome to the age of extreme weather.  Boondocking in Borrego on Presidents’ is becoming a tradition.  The crowds were sparse this year because of the weather, and it was nice not having some drunk guy muttering at us, “You’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here.”  The Pineapple Express blew through SoCal on Friday, so we hunkered down at home and waited till midday Saturday to head out.  No sense putting one’s self and loved ones in harm’s way.

Everyone is predicting a super bloom this year for the Borrego Valley.  We hope the predictions are correct, if so we will be back out again to witness it.  We saw a decent amount of flowers this trip, but a super bloom is insane.  Imagine the stark valley floor turning into a carpet of colors, so many flowers you can hardly walk without trouncing on them.

The great news is there’s a new restaurant in town!  Kesling’s Kitchen, it’s attached to the Borrego Art Institute, right on Christmas Circle.  Their banner caught our eye.  Wood-fired Pizza, Sandwiches, Salads, 8 Beers on Tap!  The eight beers on tap really raised our hopes.  We were joking the 8 beers better not be Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Light, PBR, Old Milwaukee, MGD, and some other swill.  When we walked through the front door it was as if we entered a parallel universe, one where I owned and operated the restaurant.

It is quick casual, order at the counter, get a number, grab a table inside or out, and relax.  The wood-fired oven is the center piece of the restaurant.  As we were ordering Steve Earle was coming through the speakers.  When we sat down, we were by the kitchen and all the food coming out looked amazing.  Johnny Cash, Robert Earle Keen covering Peter Case’s Traveling Light, Dylan, Wilco, and Sun Volt playing in that order, while sipping on our beers.  What a music mix!   Where the hell are we?  The place was bustling with business, the vibe positive, and the views through the big windows awesome.  And the Fresh Funghi pizza was delicious.  It was not quite Industrial Eats magic, but it was damn good and a huge surprise for Borrego Springs.  We will definitely be back!

 

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Desert Sand Verbena.

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Brittlebush on the verge of exploding.

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Baby Jimsonweed.

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Jimsonweed.

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Second water crossing in Coyote Canyon.  As one would expect with all the rain, Coyote Creek was flowing.  This is as far as we drove.

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For once the road in Coyote Canyon wasn’t sandy.  Amelia couldn’t pass up the hero dirt.

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So she rode back.

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She’s thinking, hurry up mom before someone catches you picking those lemons!

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Wet, but beautiful morning.  All the dampness was from fog.  It was the first time we experienced fog in the desert.

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That’s a band of fog against the mountain rolling back in from Clark Dry Lake.

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Brown-eyed Evening Primrose.

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Pygmy Gold Poppy.

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Desert Chicory.

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I just had to include an Ocotillo.

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Bigelow’s Monkey Flower.

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Rock Daisy.  It was my favorite.

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I ran into this long lean athletic chick in Henderson Canyon.  

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Arizona Lupin.  All those green splotches in the wash will become Lupin.

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Desert Lavender.

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Gold Poppies.

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Desert Lotus.

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No swill at Kesling’s!  Amelia had the St.Archer White, I did the Duet.

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Here’s some of the menu, really reasonably priced.

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Busy short trip, but we still slipped in a bike ride before leaving on Monday.

 

 

Picacho Peak Hike: December 30, 2016

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The view of Picacho Peak heading west on I-10.  Like most peaks it looks different depending on the viewing angle.  This is the most dramatic view.

 

As we approached the entrance gate to Picacho Peak State Park a nice twenty something ranger greeted us. “Good afternoon, do you have a reservation?” “Yes, Harris, site B-4, two nights.” “Hold please,” a few moments later, “Got it, please hang this from your rear view mirror, and here’s a brochure.” Looking for something to do in the afternoon I asked, “Do you have any hikes here?” He lit up with that question. “Oh yes, my favorite is Hunter Trail.  It’s two miles to the summit.  There are cables but they are mostly for balance so bring gloves.  I did it with my buddies from college just yesterday, on my day off of course. Let me show you where it is on the map.”

As we were driving to our site we decided that sounded like a nice little afternoon hike.   Next thing you know it was 3pm and I said, “We better get going or we’ll be chasing daylight.” So we gave chubby Sara a kong with kibble and peanut butter, jumped in the truck, and drove the mile to the trailhead.  We filled our camelbacks, grabbed our biking gloves, and started hiking.

 

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Here’s the view of the peak from the Hunter Trail trailhead.

 

We were less than a half mile into the hike and we started seeing cables.  We didn’t put on our gloves, hell we didn’t even grab the cable.  I’m thinking what’s the big deal, granted it’s steep and the quads are getting worked, but there’s no need to use the cables.

 

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This is after the initial cables.  And about when Amelia let out a “Damn, I have my zumba shoes on, not my hiking ones.”  I’m thinking how many shoes do you have…

 

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The view of I-10 before the saddle.

 

The mass majority never make it to the peak.  They turn around at the saddle when they see you have to suddenly descend a long way with cables, and then obviously go up again to get to the peak.  We started the initial descent, but yielded to an energetic 12 year old kid who was coming up.  Wondering what lies ahead, we asked the kid.  He responded all wild-eyed, “Craziest hike ever, good luck.  Some parts are straight up and super scary, good luck, good luck.”  Five minutes later we ran into his parents.  My thoughts were, ok, if they did it we certainly can, even if they are twenty years younger!

 

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The descent brings you down the backside to this intersection.  Now the fun begins.

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Fun?  Amelia is seriously pondering turning around.  As you go up you can’t help but to think, damn I have to go down this.

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Nice little healthy grove of saguaros between the two steep cabled sections.

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Here’s the next precarious section.  And this picture does not give you the true steepness.

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The catwalk.  White knuckling the cable.

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Southern view, still not at the top yet.

 

We are finally getting close to the peak and both pondering how we are going to get down.  Do you go down backwards like on a ladder?  One more corner, here we go, the summit!  And bam!  All I see is a big breast full of milk with a 6 month old latched on.  We both try to be polite and look away.  Mom continues to milk and starts chatting us up.  So does the father of her child.  What a couple they were!  It’s just another day for them.  They do the hike all the time.  Last year before the kid, they summited with all three of their dogs, not little dogs, big dogs.  He would load one dog up at a time on his back, get through the treacherous cables and catwalk, go back down to get the next dog, then repeat again. Holy f’n cow!

 

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View of the Catalina Mountains from the summit.

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Photo courtesy of the guy that puts dogs on his back and summits.

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Ominous clouds in the south.  The dogs on his back guy takes nice photos.

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He also likes stacking cairns!

 

And now it’s time to descend.

 

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Being limber and strong helps. There’s a lot of stretching to reach the next foothold.

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The descent was easier than our minds worked it up to be, but it was still scary steep.

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Luckily it was dead calm.  Strong winds would have really scared the poop out of us!

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Chasing daylight!  We are off of the steep descent, up next the steep ascent to the saddle.

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Amelia and her zumba shoes, pulling on the cable up to the saddle.

 

It was dark when we finally got down.  It’s been about twenty years since I did Angel’s Landing in Zion.  My recollection isn’t totally clear, but this hike seemed a lot more difficult and hairy.  The peak is only 3,374 ft, but can be seen from downtown Tucson 45 miles away.  Total elapsed time for the less than 4 mile hike was 2 hours and 40 minutes, with 2,403 ft of elevation gain.  Once a peak has been summited you look at it in a totally different light.  Doesn’t matter the peak, Whitney, White, Elbert, even Iron, Woodson and Black Mountain in San Diego County.  There’s a real satisfaction and smile when looking up at it.  The entire next day I couldn’t keep my eyes off of Picacho.

Airstreaming Arizona: December 26, 2016 – January 1, 2017

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Saguaro, pronounced Sa-WAH-ro. Native to the Sonoran Desert and just plain ol’ cool.

 

We spent a wonderful week in Arizona.  Our friends Georgie, Sara’s boyfriend, Diego, and Greg, or as we affectionally call him Old Man Birch (OMB) were able to join us.  They came out in their truck & camper.  It’s always fun to share the road and adventure with friends.  We stayed in three different spots: Yuma, Catalina State Park, and Picacho Peak State Park.

Like most places in Arizona, Yuma is hotter than Hades in the summer, but habitable in the winter.  The snowbirds love it there.  The population swells by 100,000 during the winter.  The retirees flock in, mostly in RVs, and take up residence in the many RV Parks.  The only time we ever shop at Walmart is when we spend the night in their lot.  It only seems right to spend a little money since they allowed us to stay overnight for free.  The Walmart where we stayed in Yuma had a greeter who was a snowbird from Minnesota and the guy who helped me in the RV/camping department was from Michigan.  He always winters in Yuma.  Both of these guys were easily in their mid 70s and happy to not be in the snow.

Catalina State Park gives you a lot of elbow room.  The space between sites was almost like boondocking in a popular area, but with electricity and water!  There’s a time for boondocking and a time for being hooked up.  The dead of winter, cold weather, and anything above 90 degrees warrants a hook up.  Two years ago we were here and it was stupid cold and we were dumb, staying at a site without electricity.  Lesson learned.  This state park and Picacho Peak both include hot showers with the price.  No hoarding quarters to feed into a slot for a timed shower.  It’s kind of strange having unlimited water usage in the desert, but I guiltily enjoyed it.  Amelia, she enjoys showering in the Airstream.  One more tidbit about Catalina, people from Salida, Colorado love it.  Both of our trips here we’ve ran into people from that small town.

Picacho Peak State Park is right off the I-10.  It’s between nowhere and nothing.  It’s a nice campground, but really just a one or two night max stop.  If you are fit, limber, agile, and not afraid of heights it’s definitely worth the stop, if for nothing else, to hike to the peak.  That’ll be the next post!

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There’s three Walmarts in Yuma.  The best one to stay at is off of exit 9.  We landed a choice spot.

 

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Birders are kind of a goofy bunch.  I’m a birder.  Georgie and I went on a guided group birdwatch our first morning in Catalina.  I added three birds to my life list.  Gila Woodpecker, Pyrrhuloxia, and Rufous-winged Sparrow.  Birds 313, 314, & 315.  According to our guide some birders fly in from all over and pay top dollar to see a Rufous-wing.

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Our Catalina State Park site.

 

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Amelia, Georgie, and a big old saguaro.

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Beautiful sunset in Catalina State Park.  Some followers will get a kick out of my sweatshirt.

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It was one of those sunsets that just kept giving.

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Winter equals those dreaded short days and dark nights.

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And playing games to pass time in the evening.  This a a crazy game called Suspend.

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Awesome sunrise at Catalina.

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Can you see OMB and Diego?

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Upclose shot of a rock in the Montrose pools.

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Montrose pools.

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Reflecting upon 2016.

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Our Picacho Peak State Park site.  I’m declaring us officially proficient at backing in.  Amelia does the driving and I hardly have to guide.  We were giddy like a couple of teenagers when she wheeled it right into the spot.

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The view of Picacho Peak while heading east on I-10.

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Evening pic of Picacho Peak from our campsite.

 

Our last evening at Picacho we experienced a heavy downpour.  Rain in the desert is a beautiful thing!

Fantasy Island: December 29, 2016

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Da plane! Da plane!

 

This is a bikecentric post. The next one will be for mass consumption.

Fantasy Island is a chunk of square land on the east side of Tucson.  It’s not a difficult ride by any stretch of the imagination.  We rode 20 miles with only 215 feet elevation gain. What it is, is fun.  It’s super fast turny singletrack with cacti all around.  If you veer off the trail you are getting poked.  It’s fun to have fun and the Tucson mountain biking community have had a fun time decorating the trails, especially bunny trail.

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Wait till you see this obsession with bunnies!

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I probably only got pics of half the bunnies.  I’m sure I missed many focusing on the trail.

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There’s also a trail called Bunnies Revenge.

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Welcome Spring.

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Stuffed one in the Cholla has seen happier days.

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This kind of stuff was everywhere.

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This was my favorite.  The poor thing seems sad and lonely.

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Indeed!

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Hardy har har.

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And of course license plates.

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Old Man Birch in the lead and Amelia going for 3 points between the Saguaros.

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Indian land?  

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A real memorial.

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This was a fun section!  And also where Old Man Birch was nowhere to be seen.  Maybe he wasn’t lost, but he was certainly no longer riding with us!   After many calls back and forth we finally ran into him.  

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Over.

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Under.

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Ain’t that the way it always goes…the city of Tucson sold a substantial piece of Fantasy Island to a developer.  The island is getting smaller.

Later that day we stopped by Catalina Brewing.  A great mountain bike themed vibe with  all kinds of cool paraphernalia.  Coming from San Diego County, the epicenter of craft beer, we have grown accustomed to high standards.  That being said, we rated the beer below average.  I couldn’t wait to get back to the Airstream and have a Karl Strauss Aurora Hoppyalis!

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Really love the theme.  We bike, we brew.

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They have been open less than year.  

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The entire bar had a glass top with biking stuff underneath.

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They give an educator discount!  So Amelia and Old Man Birch scored.

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Shelf in the bano.

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Great shower curtain in one of the bathrooms!

 

Here’s a couple obligatory pics from the famous 50 year trail.

 

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OMB, 73 years young and an inspiration to us.

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Desert riding is different!

Happy New Year!

Forest Falls, Ca. November 19 & 20, 2016

 

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Forest Home Christian Camp

 

This might leave a few mouths agape.  I was working at a Christian camp this past weekend.  And I’m pretty sure I didn’t even cuss!  It’s just a quick consulting job evaluating their food operation that came about via my old business partner.  I was actually up there a couple of weeks ago for the day.  That first trip I was in awe of the beauty.  And I knew Amelia would also really enjoy it.  They have a few full hook up sites for trailers, so why not bring the Airstream and the wife.  I could work multiple days while only commuting once.  The nice folks at Forest Home were totally agreeable to the idea.  It would be a role reversal.  Amelia would be out playing and I would be working.

Forest Home is located in Forest Falls.  It’s about two hours from our house, above Redlands in the San Bernardino Mountains.  And the big plus, the area has amazing mountain biking and we’ve never done any of it.  Hell, I haven’t even been to the San Bernardino Mountains/ Big Bear area in 40 years.  I guess I was too busy driving back and forth to Mammoth.

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Pretty sweet gig when you can bring the family to this beautiful spot and work.

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Amelia was stoked because her friend Katie was up in Big Bear for the weekend.  Katie’s friend Walt gets credited for taking the pics of the girls.  Role reversal, I was working.

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All smiles, and why not, beautiful day, new dirt, and riding with friends.

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Happy girls.

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Mill Creek.  Forest Home is a huge property and the creek runs down the middle of it.

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Queen of the Airstream.  It’s awful nice of her to share her expensive dog house with us.

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I don’t know about you, but we never get tired of sunsets.

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After work on Sunday we finally rode a piece of the Santa Ana River Trail (SART).  It lived up to the hype.  Next time we will do the entire SART.

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The Red Rocket resting in a bed of leaves on the SART.

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When most folks think of Southern California they do not think of mountains.  Both the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains are actually really rugged and steep.  Slides are a common occurrence.

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No caption needed.

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Ain’t nature grand?

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The next cover of Airstream Life?

 

Unfortunately the threat of snow made us bail a day early.  Come springtime we will be back.

Dark Daze

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Finally, the long nightmare called presidential election is over.  If it seemed like it went on forever, it’s because it did, 597 days by most counts.  They say hope springs eternal, however a leopard can’t change its spots.  So the real nightmare may just be beginning.

That’s enough political stuff.  San Diego County is amazing!  Crowded, yet not.  I can go on a great bike ride, midday midweek and not see a soul.  We have the ocean, beaches, breweries, canyons, valleys, rolling hills, mountains, and desert.  All within the boundaries of the county.

The last two days we were in Agua Caliente.  85 miles and less than two hours from home.  We didn’t even have to get on a freeway.  It’s a fabulous quick escape.  As I wrote about on our last visit, it’s refreshing in this constantly plugged in world to spend a few days at a place without any cell reception.

Kudos to County of San Diego Parks and Recreation for the fine job of running and maintaining Agua Caliente Campground.

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Getting ready to enjoy the last light of the day.

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Serene beautiful morning.

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California quail.

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White-winged dove.

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“It’s 8:30am, but there’s two of us, we’ll be alright.”

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This is the “we are lost” look.  And yes we were.  The directions always sound easy when reading the book. .7 miles on Moonlight Canyon Trail, then go right up a small canyon, then left in .1 mile, then left again, through a sandy wash, and then through a boulder field, keep going, and you’ll see the Inner Pasture.  Once we got off Moonlight Canyon trail there was no trail.  So we started following the occasional footprint where there was sand.  Whomever’s footprints we were following, were also lost!  We finally corrected course.  Total mileage 5.3 miles, almost 1,200 ft elevation gain, and 3 hours wandering around.

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And here’s your proof of recent mountain lion activity. The lower jaw of a deer, so fresh there was still hair in front of the incisors.

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I believe this is a Desert Ironwood Tree?

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Looking down on Inner Pasture. In the far background on the right is Monument Peak,     6272 ft in the Laguna Mountains.

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Amelia relaxing after getting to the view of the Inner Pasture.

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The afternoon lighting is fabulous this time of the year.

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La Reina de Agua Caliente.

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A Queen Butterfly on a Desert Lavender Bush.

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Beautiful sunrise holding the promise of a new day.

Hurricane Fall Trip

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Thursday evening mass at Churchrocks.

 

Ok, when did this whole Fall Break thing for the kids begin?  Didn’t school just start?  Do they really already need a break?  Apparently that was a contributing factor to how busy Hurricane was.  This is our first visit in the fall, and the busiest we’ve seen the town.

We had a nice group of six.  Pat came down from Bend, Oregon.  The rest of us from SD.  Bill, Marlene, and Pat’s brother, Dan.  I beat Amelia to the punch and invited a couple we met at the RV park, Scotti and Kristy from Winter Park, Colorado, on Sunday’s ride.

There were just a few bruises, abrasions, and some blood.  Marlene jacked up her shoulder, so she left early and missed Sunday’s ride.  But really, nothing serious happened to anyone, so it was a successful trip.

We did see the craziest thing we’ve ever seen out there.  On the washboard dirt road leaving Little Creek Mesa, this truck came ripping around the corner, probably at least 35mph, and there was a Fundamentalist Mormon girl holding on to the brush guard on front of the truck.  Her long prairie dress was plastered to her young body and she was staring right at us!  It gave us all a start.  There were at least eight other kids sitting out of the windows and hanging all over the bed of the truck.  It looked like a scene out of Mad Max.  Crazy!

 

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What a great idea!  This was at a rest stop on the I-15.  They had multiple collection boxes scattered throughout the property.

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Amelia on Prospector Trail.

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Riding buddies, Marlene and Amelia.

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Class of 78. Greg, Mt. Carmel HS, San Diego. Pat, Aragon HS, San Mateo, Ca. Bill, Fairfax HS, Fairfax, Va.

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The buddies on the point at the Goose.

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Pat on Gooseberry Mesa.

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Bill, yours truly, and Dan. Marlene photo bombing us.

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I’ve been hyping Hurricane to Bill for years. Finally, he made the trip out. He’ll be back for sure.

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Amelia and Kristy finishing Gould’s Trail, Scotti sweeping.

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Go Amelia go!

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I guess the star on your house thing is not just a West Virginia craze.  The folks in Hurricane are now on it.

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Gorgeous Sunday sunrise.

 

 

The Stadium

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Qualcomm stadium is a dump.  The Chargers might stay or leave, who knows?  But the stadium is most certainly a goner.  It’s hard to fathom it’s home to an NFL franchise.  It’s an embarrassing eye sore to America’s Finest City.  It’s unfortunate the Aztecs are stuck playing there.  It hasn’t always been a dump.  The steep downward trajectory seemed to begin when the Padres moved into Petco Park in 2004.  Petco is beautiful, new, clean, and full of modern conveniences.  The stadium is ugly, old, dirty, and has no conveniences.  It has been in limbo for years.  It is neglected, unloved, and past the point of no return on all the deferred maintenance.  It will be strange to drive through Mission Valley and not see it.  Seeing the stadium always conjures up memories.  If the stadium is no longer there will the memories and tales diminish or grow taller?

San Diego Stadium opened in 1967 on 166 acres of city owned property.  It was built for less than 28 million dollars.  That was the heyday of the multi-purpose stadium movement, of course now each sport needs its own home.  In 1980, the name was officially changed to San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, aka The Murph.  In 1997, the naming rights were sold to Qualcomm and the stadium became know as the Q.  That deal expires in 2017.  It would be fitting if Waste Management or EDCO acquired the naming rights the remaining years.

Amelia’s parents went to the very first Padres game at the stadium in 1969.  I’ve only been going to the stadium since 1974.  I’ve seen it all, Padres, Chargers, Aztecs, Holiday Bowls, KGB Sky Shows, and concerts.  Not to mention tailgating memories, wrestling friends on the asphalt, and jeering Dodger fans.  More stories than I can remember, and some that I can’t share.

In the mid 70s, a general admission ticket to the Pads was somewhere around two dollars. We’d wait until the 3rd inning, then sneak down to the field level seats.  Attendance was always sparse, except when Randy Jones pitched.  Then the stadium came to life, watching the lefty induce groundball after groundball on his way to another complete game victory in a mere 90 minutes.  This was also the era when the KGB Chicken was hatched.  And who remembers the Tuba Man?  Many times he would be better entertainment than the product on the field.

This is going to sound unbelievably crazy: in the early 80s they would let you bring your own booze into the Pads game.  It had to be in a plastic container or some dumb rule like that.  We would stop at 7-11, buy a couple 12 packs of Coors Light and a couple gallon jugs of water.  Pour out the water, right in the 7-11 parking lot, and fill the gallon jugs with beer. And then just stroll through the turnstiles.  For real, this is how it was!  Eventually someone came to their senses and figured out they could make a lot more money by squashing that policy.  But of course after years of being able to do it, everyone was upset with the policy change.  So naturally everyone would try to sneak beers in.  One ingenuous friend, who shall remain nameless, hollowed out a small boom box that we would use to smuggle in beers.  And for the most part the ushers would turn a blind eye, except for one guy that was coined the banjo player.  If you were in his section, good luck fooling him. The stands were full of characters.  And some of the vendors were outright kooky.  There was this one vendor who sold newspapers.  Once he sold out his supply he would take a victory lap around the stadium with arms up in the air.  Everyone would give him a standing ovation.  This would happen every game!  It was the game.

Then in 1984, all hell broke loose.  The town was electric, finally a winner.   The Pads beat the Cubs and were going to the World Series.   Words can’t truly describe that year.  We lost to the Tigers, but what a year.

14 long years later, we had the ’98 team and another World Series trip.  Amelia and I were lucky enough to attend every home playoff game and the one World Series game at the stadium.  Without a doubt, our best team ever to date.  Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman, Caminiti, Finley, Carlos Hernandez, Leyritz, Greg Vaughn, Flannery, Wally Joyner, Quilvio Veras, Chris Gomez, and Kevin Brown to name a few.  And the future hall of famer, Bruce Bochy, was the manager.  It was an incredible high.  The town was in love with the team. The NY Yankees swept us.  And celebrated on our field.  But the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen happened.  As the Padres were leaving the field they received a standing ovation, as if they had won. The players could hardly believe it.  They were showered with love.  It was an emotionally charged moment that practically brings me to tears recalling it.

It was reminiscent of January 15, 1995, after the AFC Championship game, Chargers beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, we were going to the Super Bowl!  A huge spontaneous welcome home party was held at The Murph late that night.  They opened up the stadium and 70,000 showed up.  Interstate 15 was a parking lot.  People were parking on the side of the road and walking to the stadium.  Seating was a free for all, but my buddy was working at the Union-Tribune and had an employee ID card.  So we got into the press box and sat there.  It was one big cheering love fest.  When Seau took the stage, with his family, the place went bonkers.  He gave a great speech.

I just laugh when all the pundits say SD is not a sports town.  They point to all the fans from the other teams in the stands.  Of course, there are a lot of fans from the other teams, this is San Diego, who doesn’t want to visit?  Why not take a mini vacation to San Diego and see your team play.  And you have all the transplants, still clinging to their old hometown teams.  Trust me, San Diego has great fans, especially when you give them something to cheer about.

A funky thing about the multi-purpose stadiums is in the fall when baseball is still being played and football begins, the dirt infield stays, so they play football with a big dirt patch on the field.  This was the case on September 10, 1978.  The infamous date of the Holy Roller game against the hated Raiders.  I was in the stands that day.  It was brutal.  I have a bad track record with Chargers games.  I also witnessed a couple of depressing playoff losses.  The Marlon McCree fumble in 2007 and Nate Kaeding’s choke job missing three field goals in 2010.

One of the most memorable Chargers game I attended had nothing to do with the actual game.  I couldn’t even tell you who we played or if we won.  Of course we were drinking, and we were watching the cheerleaders with binoculars, instead of the game.  I’m sure we were all saying stuff.  But our friend’s wife,  who’s a well known hot head, and whose head gets even hotter when she’s drinking, overheard her husband say something like “I would hold anyone of their hands” (that’s the PG version since this is a PG blog).  Somehow she held it together until after the game, as they were at the bottom of the escalator, bam!  She sucker punched him.  A bullseye, instantanous bloody nose.  Guess what?  They aren’t married anymore.

The Marshall Faulk SDSU years were really fun.  And the current Aztecs are exciting. Donnel Pumphrey is the real deal.  A Heisman Trophy candidate.  Unfortunately the SDSU Aztecs are stuck with Qualcomm Stadium as their home.  45,000 attendance in a stadium that holds 70,000 equals a bad atmosphere.  Too bad, the Aztecs deserve better.

It seemed like the Beach Boys played the stadium a million times.  I was at either the first or second Rolling Stones Farewell Tour.  Now here we are in 2016, some twenty plus years later, and The Stones are playing yet another final farewell tour.  Guns and Roses just played the Q last month.  No, I was not there, not even a free ticket would have brought me out.

The mother of all concerts, especially for a 19 year old was on August 5, 1979.  The line up was Shakin Street, UFO, Pat Travers, Blue Oyster Cult, and Cheap Trick.  Before the show even began we felt like pieces of burnt toast after spending the night on the banks of the San Diego River like the homeless, so we could be one of the first to enter.  My recollection of the day is spotty.  I do remember there was an incident with some Birkenstock sandals.  And the bass of Blue Oyster Cult is still rattling my cerebellum.

It’s going to be strange when they tear down the stadium.

 

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Padres Memorabilia.

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House, lit like a Christmas tree on our driveway in PQ. This was after the final NLCS game in ’84 when we beat the Cubs.  He was lucky enough to be there.  He drove all the way to our house honking his horn.  The entire town was complete bedlam.

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House’s tickets. Only $25 in ’84!  Game 5 1998 never happened unfortunately.

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The late 90’s was a great time to own a restaurant named Fins!

 

Photos are more plentiful in this era because everyone has a smart phone.  I don’t have too many pics of all the time spent at the stadium.  This next set is from the ’98 World Series Game.

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Mother and daughter baseball fans!

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Pre marriage, unfortunately I don’t have the red vuarnets anymore, but I still wear that Hawaiin shirt!

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Happy Tailgating.

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Donna and Jonna.

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Bruce Bochy.  I still can’t believe that shitass Sandy Alderson pushed Bochy out the door.

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Donna and Amelia, pals since kindergarten.

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Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago at the SDSU Cal game with Bill and Marianne. Aztecs won!

Industrial Eats: Buellton, California

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Porchetta, yellow squash, fried egg, greens, and yes garlic.

 

Not exactly a winning name, but this restaurant is a real winner.  It’s called Industrial Eats because it’s located on Industrial Way in Buellton.  This place has soul.  It’s a legit farm to table operation.   A one of a kind place that can’t be duplicated, and if some corporation tried, there would be no way they could operationally execute it.

This was the best dining experience we’ve had in decades.  You order at the counter.   The menu board is on a roll of butcher paper.  They give you a number and deliver the food to you.  All the tables are communal.  Everything is cooked in two wood fired pizza ovens.  The space is just buzzing.  And it’s reasonably priced!  The three of us shared the pictured porchetta; a fennel sausage, tomato, mozzarella, basil pizza and a prosciutto, taleggio, parmesan, argula pizza.  If you are anywhere near Buellton, please visit Industrial Eats, you will not be disappointed.

 

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Cool entrance.

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I have no idea what the deal is with the Bruce Willis pillow on top of the cheese case?

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If I lived here I’d go all the time.

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Denise and Amelia chatting up the owners Chef Jeff and Janet and petting their dogs.

 

Buellton was a short three night stop on our way home from San Simeon, two with Denise.  We stayed at Flying Flags RV Resort.  It’s a big resort and quite busy, yet strangely quiet.  No generators help, and folks abided by the quiet hours.  We got back home through dreaded Los Angeles just a little scathed on a 10 mile stretch of the 101 before the 134 split.

 

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Flying Flags RV Resort.

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Pretty cool, it would be even cooler if they allowed mountain biking.

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Lower section of Lover’s Lane Loop.

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Spanish Moss hanging off the oak trees.  Spanish Moss is not a parasite.  It’s a epiphyte.  It absorbs nutients and water from the air and rainfall.

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Upper Lover’s.  Grass Mountain in the background.

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Tidy tips.

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Look at me, I’m Hap-Pea and Denise is Pea-Wee!

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The beautiful grounds of Sanford Winery.

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Damn!  Denise fell on the Lover’s Lane Loop hike.  It wasn’t until the next day when she got home that she found out she fractured her wrist.

San Luis Obispo & San Simeon: July 31-August 8, 2016

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Foggy morning on Oats Peak-Montana de Oro State Park.

 

California’s central coast is a beautiful stretch of land.  It’s one of many must see areas in this amazing state.  If you live in San Diego, the problem is you have to drive through LA to get to it.  We left before 6am on a Sunday morning and were able to get through it fairly unscathed.

Fires and smoky skies are part of summer now in the west, especially in California.  The huge Soberanes Fire in Monterey County was drifting smoke as far south as San Luis Obispo.  I guess we kind of lucked out only having smoky skies four out of eight days.  It was never bad enough where you had to stay indoors, but you could see and smell it.  And it sure ruined the beautiful vistas.

When I was in West Virginia people were asking me about the drought and fires.  Living in a state that’s damp, humid, and the vegetation is always green, they couldn’t comprehend the drought and large swaths of land burning out of control for weeks on end. Unfortunately, they recently experienced a devastating flood that took 23 lives and ruined over a 1,000 homes.  If I was feeling like a smart ass I’d say something snarky like, “Climate change is just a hoax made up by the Chinese.”  But death and destruction really aren’t joking matters.

San Luis Obispo or SLO as it is referred to in SoCal, is a nice college town with some good mountain bike riding.  I never knew this until this trip, but Obispo means Bishop in Spanish.  We were here a couple of years ago, and will probably be back again in a couple of years.

Denise joined us in San Simeon, home of the famous Hearst Castle.  If you are around my age or older I’m sure you remember the Patty Hearst saga from the mid 70s.  She’s 62 now, living in Connecticut, and is a grandmother.  The marriage to her former bodyguard, Bernard Shaw lasted until his death in 2013.  Crazy, huh?

Anyways, unfortunately there’s not any mountain biking in the San Simeon area.  What a shame because the terrain is perfect.  Odds are it could be quite a while until we return, but then again one never knows.

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Bang the Drum Brewery.

Our first evening in SLO we went to Bang the Drum Brewery.  They tout themselves as the smallest brewery on the central coast.  It had a funky vibe & better than average beer.  The next morning I couldn’t find my wallet.  I had a panic moment and canceled the two credit cards.  We figured I must’ve lost the wallet in the campground showers or the brewery.  I scoured the showers, talked to the hosts, no wallet.  The brewery wasn’t open for hours, but I was able to leave a voice message, so I did.  Two hours later they called back, sure enough they had my wallet!  I swear I only had two beers.  We picked it up hours later when they opened.  All my cash and everything was still there.  I love Bang the Drum.

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Thankfully Amelia is back in the saddle!  This is the Hazard Peak trail in MDO.

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Our friends Mike & Chris’ property in Templeton.  They just moved to Templeton and are going to build their dream home on this lot.  We’ve been hearing about the land for as long as we’ve known them.  And of course in their modest and understated way they completely under hyped how awesome it is.

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Big cousin of bumps.

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Amelia, happy to be riding.  Cerro Cabrillo trail-Morro Bay State Park.

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The view a third of the way up West Cuesta Ridge.

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Our spot at Washburn Primitive Camp- San Simeon State Park.  For one day we had Flag Flying Fifth Wheel Fred as our neighbor.

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San Simeon Pier, constructed in 1957.  At 850 feet it’s considered a small pier.

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A chilly and windy, but clear day.

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The Santa Lucia Range.

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Elephant seals at Piedras Blancas – only the adult males are here this time of the year.  It was a first for us.  We couldn’t get over how huge they are.  Up to 16 feet and as much as 5,000 pounds.

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They were just laying around, occasionally flipping sand on themselves as protection from the sun when it got warm.

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The little white speck on the upper left is the Piedras Blanca Light Station, more on that in a moment.

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Hate it when that happens.

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On Saturday we went full tourist mode and visited Hearst Castle with Mike and Chris.  I even got suckered into buying this photo.

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Naked Golden Girl at Hearst Castle looking west at what is usually a jaw dropping spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, unfortunately for us this was the smokiest day.

Denise’s sleek new camper van.  The Luxor-TS Pleasure-Way.  She’s only had it four months and has already heard every porno joke in the book regarding the name.

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A chilly and windy, post dinner walk on the boardwalk in Cambria.  If you are in the area definitely stop at Sea Chest for dinner.  Cash only, my kind of place.

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Piedras Blancas Light Station.  What a great tour, much better than Hearst Castle.  The light house is just a small part of the tour.  On the nice walk around the grounds we saw all the typical seabirds and a Peregrine Falcon, Elephant Seals, Harbor Seals, Sea Lions, and Sea Otters.  There’s less than 3,000 Sea Otters in California, so seeing them was a score.  The BLM and all the volunteers do a wonderful job running this property.

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Dune Buckwheat on the Piedras Blancas Light Station property.  The entire property used to be covered in ice plant.  They ripped it all out and put in natives.

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The sign says it all.