The El Nino Effect

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It’s a rainy, dreary, cold Sunday morning when we finally leave Santa Cruz, heading to San Luis Obispo.

But yet, the feeling is there. The open road calling.

Freedom, intrigue, anticipation, and wonder. We have no plans, but to be in SLO to get the van into the mechanic on Tues. We aren’t sure which way we are going to drive, or where we are going to stay, not even thinking it is a three day weekend.

We have until Monterey to decide.

After so much busyness the past few months, being on the road in a sense feels like being set free.

Just before Montery, we detour to Moss Landing State Beach, watching the sights through the mist from the protection of our van. This little sea otter doesn’t mind the weather. I wonder, does he/she know it’s an El Nino year? Did it do anything different to prepare?

 

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These folks must for sure know it’s an El Nino year. Yet they are out in the elements enjoying themselves.

 

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Already, we are starting to notice our surroundings more…see the details, smell the scents, and breathe in the air.

Back and forth we go, processing our options. Along the coast or inland. Meander or push straight through. Get the van to the shop, or take a chance of a breakdown along Highway 1. (Never a  good idea.) Fred’s feeling confident about the van, the sun peeks out just a bit, and we go the coast route.

It’s a good choice. The ocean is calm, after a week of huge waves and super high tides.  Nothing too eventful happens, no whales, no gorgeous clouds, no magical unicorns on surfboards, and thankfully no breakdowns. Just the serene ocean. That’s ok.

Even fog and mist so thick at times, you could cut it seemed ok. Floating on a travel high.

We pass the day this way, stopping here and there, noticing all the traffic, reminding us finally that it is Martin Luther King’s b-day holiday. Before dark, we arrive at Plasket Creek Campground. It’s fairly crowded for a rainy day, but we find a spot off to the  side, away from the big RV’s and party crowds.

We meet a nice young couple lusting for a van like ours. Then another nice young couple strolls by stopping for a chat, while inspecting our ride. It’s always fun, for us “older folks” getting high fives from the younger crowds that flock to Volkswagens and drool with envy over owning one themselves. Someday…we tell them.

Monday the clouds lift a bit, and we stop by to visit again with the “Big Ones” at Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery.

Even the Elephant Seals are sedate. No fighting amongst the bulls, not too much irritation among the new moms, and babies just lying hither and thither. We are about a month earlier this year, than when we were here last year, so it isn’t quite mating season yet. Or maybe they are tired from the ravaging surf of last week. Or maybe it’s the “El Nino” effect.

 

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I didn’t know you could tell when an Elephant Seal was getting ready to give birth, but this lady really looks like she is bursting at the seams!  Her last moments of peace and calm perhaps?

 

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There’s lots of love going on between other mom’s and babies!

 

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Bonding together only to separate in just a short month or so.  Is it hard for them?

 

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This mom had a fresh newborn, and was definitely telling everyone to stay back!

 

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And this sweet matron here below. She is being so zen, practicing her yoga poses with no cares in the world. She must be getting ready for her own journey out into the wild blue yonder. Or perhaps she is breathing deeply before her own little babe comes into the world.

 

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It’s that Peaceful Easy Feeling…all over again.   ❧

 

2 thoughts on “The El Nino Effect”

  1. Oh you should know this trip well. We feel sometimes like SLO is our second California home now…and I can never come here without thinking of you guys and the many stories you’ve shared of the area over the years. Hope you had fun snowboarding!!!

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