This blog post is less about traveling and more about our journey through this messy life!
Yep, we are still in Santa Cruz, California, USA!
As the saying goes “Plans are written in the sand at low tide” and boy are we feeling the truth of that. My last blog post was at the end of October and at that time we only expected to be in the States living on Pancho (our RV) for another few months. Well, here it is three months later and we are still living on Pancho in California, USA and we won’t be leaving anytime soon. Our new, new current idea, thought, projection, outline, alright… PLAN… has us departing sometime in April, at which time we will drive the RV down to La Paz B.C.S., Mexico. We will put the RV into storage and board s/v Pablo for a few months of cruising in the Sea of Cortez. Please don’t ask what is beyond that as I am afraid to whisper our desires for fear that God will be listening and in need of a good laugh.
Our time in Santa Cruz, CA has not been idle nor wasted. It’s actually been quite the opposite as our lives have been busy and full. There has been oodles of time spent with family, the birth of a baby boy, Christmas celebrations, walks with friends on the beach, a trip to Mexico via airplane to visit Pablo and a much-needed foot surgery.
Thanksgiving week was a little kooky as Steve stayed on Pancho in Felton, CA while I stayed with my daughter in Watsonville. Steve’s sons and extended family joined him in the Smithwoods RV park. They enjoyed walks together, a pancake breakfast with Santa and they all took a train ride through the mountains on the historic Roaring Camp Railroad. The days were rainy and cold but everyone enjoyed the time spent together and the littlest ones enjoyed the mud puddles. Camping in the rain is the perfect place to make memories and time with family is a great reminder of that which we are most grateful.
While Steve stayed on Pancho I spent a few weeks staying with my daughter at her place, waiting for the birth of her son Jack who was born on 11/29/2016. It is an experience that was both beautiful and sad in equal measures. The day following his birth Bella showed an enormous amount of grace and courage as she handed baby Jack over to his adoptive parents. The experience was moving and emotional for everyone involved. Bella was surrounded by her family; Mother, Father, Step Father, Brother, Sister in-law, and Grandmother. The Adoptive parents also stayed at the hospital surrounded by their family. There was an enormous amount of love and respect shared as our family lovingly handed Jack into the waiting arms of his parents. Even the staff at the hospital was touched by the overwhelming amount of love, compassion, and cooperation shared by all present.
I cannot begin to express the enormous amount of pride I feel about my daughters decision. She chose a very difficult path, taking the emotional and psychological burden onto herself while giving Jack the best possible start in life. The strength, courage, and selflessness she has displayed is mind-blowing. However, she has many challenges to face in her immediate future and it is for this reason that we will be remaining in California for a while longer.
We barely caught our breath after Jack’s birth before the Christmas holidays moved in. We found ourselves visiting our children in three different houses spread over the course of two days. Steve’s sons, Donald and David, each hosted a Christmas gathering and my son Nick and his new bride Kristi hosted their first blended family event. We filled our hearts with love and our tummies with good food. We had the wonderful experience of Christmas shopping with our tween grand-daughter, Sara, finding the perfect pair of tennis shoes. And a fun-filled day was shared watching our youngest family members open gifts, make homemade pizzas and get pie’ed playing silly games. Our focus was family and each moment was precious.
In January we traveled to La Paz, Mexico via airplane and spent ten wonderful days on Pablo. One of the big highlights of the trip was finally meeting up with James and Deena Mitchell from s/v Nellie Jo, another beautiful WS32. Our entire 2 year relationship was based on ongoing blog/FB/and email communication. However, despite never meeting in person before it was like seeing old friends. The shared experiences of selling it all and getting on your trusty boat to sail away created an instant bond. We look forward to spending more time with them when we return, hopefully getting the opportunity to share some of our favorite anchorages and possibly exploring a few new ones.
One early morning we decided to buy some fish. Steve and I wondered down the street to a local beach where the fishing pangas come in. With our limited Spanish and the help of a kind bilingual gentleman we were able to purchase a beautiful Halibut, fully filleted she weighed in at 5.5lbs. At a cost 350 pesos that comes out to about $3/lb. There was so much fish that even after giving several fillets away we still had yummy fresh meals for several days. Oh how we love Mexican food!
We wandered the streets of the city visiting museums and some our favorite restaurants. We played darts with friends old and new at the Tuesday/Thursday dart game, giving us the opportunity to feel like we were part of the community again. Days were spent sitting in the sun, walking the Malecon, and reacquainting ourselves with the dream that started this whole adventure. The time was good and the warm glow will surely carry us through the next few months.
We have again moved our RV, this time to the KOA in La Selva beach and they have granted us long-term stay. Meaning we will not have to move again until we depart for Mexico. One of the things we had not anticipated with our RV lifestyle was the rules and restrictions around how long you can stay in one RV park. To keep it simple I’ll just say that we have had to move every few weeks until we got ourselves into this park, which could allow us an extended stay.
La Selva is lovely and the KOA is a wonderful spot. We are surrounded by a wildlife sanctuary and we are only a short one mile drive from one of Santa Cruz area’s best beaches. From our campsite we have seen a coyote, watched and identified 12 different bird species, fall asleep nightly to the chorus of mating tree frogs and frequently hear owls in the night. We have hung a bird feeder to increase our nature viewing experience and to my surprise almost became a critter hotel. We keep our shoes in a basket by the front door. One morning I went to put on my slippers and found kibbles (yes, dog food) in the toe of the shoe. I threw it away and laughed at the fact that someone was hiding their snacks in my shoe. Two days later when I went to put my shoe on I found a field mouse all cozy in the toe of that same slipper. Needless to say the slippers are no longer stored in the basket outside.
All in all living in the RV is fairly easy. The most difficult task is trying to keep occupied on cold and rainy days which are coming quite frequently now. As with the boat, we consider the outdoors our living room so when the weather is disagreeable our living space shrinks quite a bit. But we take advantage of the breaks in weather and hike the local parks, walk on the beaches, volunteer with local endeavors and whenever possible spend evenings by the campfire.
Now that we are settled back into Santa Cruz for a bit, Steve has decided to have an elective surgery done on the big toe of his right foot. The cartilage is completely gone and the toe has caused him quite a bit of pain when taking extended walks for the last several years. He will have a procedure done to fuse the joint which should alleviate the pain. The recovery time is approximately six weeks which will pin us down but the results should prove worth the trouble. The cruising lifestyle requires a lot of walking. Its nothing to walk 3-5 miles per day while in town or visiting remote beaches.
For now we sit tight, healing our wounds both of flesh and heart. We spend time with those we love most and continue to dream BIG dreams and PLAN for the next adventure.