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Arroyo Grande


Arroyo Grande
A nice little town

A mix of styles…. kind of Western looking… since so much of it was built in the 1880′s

There are a lot of great eateries along the main drag called ‘Grand Avenue’.
Grand itself leads straight on to the sea going through Grover Beach, and straight to Pismo Beach.
That straight wide road becomes packed with folks visiting Pismo… and the traffic can become pretty heavy at times. There is a high proportion of great places to eat for a small town.


 Here’s a nice old-school church in Arroyo Grande
AG has a lot of nice architecture. Many ‘Craftsman’ style homes are along the streets….
And some newer homes and businesses built in faux Craftsman style.
It makes for a very attractive little center-of-town look.

Pismo Beach

Pismo and Arroyo Grande from Pismo Heights
The cone-shaped little hill on the left third of the photo is called Silver Mountain.
It is reputed to have had several mines in it during the 1800′s.
Driving around it, you can see several areas with unnatural erosion and soil disturbances.
It is also said that infertile couples can spend the night
on Silver Mountain and be assured of a child thereafter.
Silver Mountain is near our home…
When I see Silver Mountain I know I’m nearly home.


This photo shows Pismo Beach and Grover Beach (formerly known as ‘City of Grover City’).
You can also see the long wide strand of sandy beach, formerly renowned for its huge ‘Pismo Clams’.
The clams are now gone, dug up by generations of revelers.
This beach is one of the few in the US in which you can drive a vehicle.
It is packed with visitors during holiday weekends.
Pismo is referenced in many films and cartoons including Bugs Bunny and The Big Lebowski.
It is also the place of  the fictitious ‘Pismo Beach Disaster’ in the film ‘Clueless’.

Gulls in Grover


   We went to Grover Beach. There were some gulls that obviously get fed often from the cars in this parking lot by a fast-food joint.
  Gulls are pretty common… and not especially pretty nor pleasing to hear. But they are masterpieces of evolutionary design. Efficiency….


Gopher Snake

Gopher Snake

  We call them Gopher Snakes here…
Some places call them ‘Bull Snakes’, or ‘Corn Snakes’
Taxonomists call them “Pituophis’

Some of the old folks call them ‘Hoop Snakes’…
and say that when frightened in this hilly country,
they will grasp their tail in their mouth,
form themselves into a hoop, and roll down the hill to evade capture.
I’ve never seen it happen….
But my cousin met a guy once who did.

They imitate rattlesnakes….
very interesting.
I’ve jumped out of my skin a few times when one of these guys turned up in the brush.
They’ll form into a coiled striking pattern…feigning strikes,
wriggling their tail and hissing in a strange way that sounds vaguely like a rattlesnake tail-rattle.

This one was sunning on the asphalt roadway.

I like these snakes… they eat vermin…
maybe having them around might reduce the rattlesnakes
as there’d be less food for the rattlers.
The King snake is good also..
and they are known for killing and eating young rattlesnakes….
although I imagine they’d eat gopher snakes also.

There’s usually no need for killing snakes….
beneficial snakes such as this should be left alone to live their lives.






New Hospital Building in Santa Maria

   There is a new addition to the Marian medical building in Santa Maria.
   It’s pretty large…. and has some building techniques I’ve never seen before….
   It seems to be covered with a plastic sheeting….. perhaps to protect it from the elements until the outer coating can be completed.
   I wonder if it is huge foam blocks… that would be filled with rebar and concrete….
   But it is interesting to see.  I suppose if I listened to the local news some…. I’d know what’s going on.


Arroyo Grande Fire Department


  I had some bidniz to do in the Arroyo Grande Fire Department.
They have a few souvenirs from the old days.
The fire bell was came from a fire truck the city purchased
from the Los Angeles Fire Department in 1929.


The Cowboy meets the Windmill

                                                   Windmill Nursery


    Windmill Farms….
    On the intersection of Hwy 101 and the Los Berros/Oceano turnoff in Nipomo is a little family biz.
    Over the years they have gently expanded their operations to include a petting zoo and fresh vegetables they grow on an acre or so behind the main shop where they sell produce.  I really like the series of little houses they’ve built for the petting zoo. It is so ‘Ghost Town’ looking… so ‘Western’…. so very unique.
    The foods inside are really good and fresh, and their brother is a pro-fisherman.. so sometimes they have fresh fish for sale.  I like to stop by for Albacore when it’s in season in the Fall.

    Once in a while they’ll have a BBQ open… I took the photo below of their main BBQ fellow Billy Ruiz, the owner of the BBQ operation who they contract to come by and cook meat. Like a lot of the pro BBQ people in the area, he has a trailer with all of his necessary tools and implements. He just backs it in, opens it up, and fires up the wood and he’s ready to start.
  The name of his BBQ business is Cowboy Flavor, and I tell ya, he knows his way around a steak! In fact, he’s so good that President Reagan had him go to his ranch to BBQ for the President and his guests at the ranch on a regular basis.


Road Crew Ahead

We live far down a dirt road….
We’re pretty remote….
I understand that other folks with higher population densities would get the highest level of service….
That makes economic and social sense

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few

   Nonetheless…. our road occasinally gets to a really bad condition, such that people get their tires flattened and rims broken, and shocks breaking through the vehicle due to the huge potholes they hit…. at speed (not good to drive fast down a twisty dirt road with occasional washouts).

   There are some local folk looking to sue the county for the poor condition of the road….
   In principal I disagree with this thinking. The ones who ruin their vehicles year after year are always the same people… everyone else just gets unusually high wear and tear…. and there are going to be occasional accidents due to people trying to evade potholes at the exact second someone comes around a bend…. yet we can’t expect the county to get back into this remote area after every rainstorm… they’ve got an entire county full of dirt roads to maintain, and they have people along each of those roads with the same story.

   In return for me not messing with the county… I’d like to have a reciprocal agreement that the county, state, Feds, and all other governmental agencies would leave me alone.  But I know that won’t happen. Every one of those agencies seems to want to stick their fingers into the pie… while they stir it up and knock your own hands away such that you can’t even cook.

A joke:
What does a libertarian eat for a salad dish?
Answ: Lettuce alone

     There are many people who like the security of a ‘Nanny State’, taking care of our every need… ensuring employment and medical services etc.
   Such a state would also have the right to decide when, how and where you live your life….

U.S.A. Saying:
When you’re living under my roof… you’re gonna follow my rules

  If we wish the government to ensure medical coverage… then we should also expect that the same agencies would want to reduce overeating and alcohol/cigarette/drug abuse.  This would greatly reduce the amount of health costs for the nation.  Salts, fats and sugars should also be reduced in the diet…. In fact.. to ensure the best health/life care… we should have all people living in large apartment complexes, with a communal dining area. We’d not have to buy food either!  And all we’d have to do is sign over our lives to the state.

   Here’s some photos of the grader maintaining our dirt road.
   The fellows on the crew do a good job… they give a proper crown so the water rolls off to the sides… the ditches along the edges are maintained and lead to culverts underneath the road, carrying the excess water to the creek….
   I think the county could save some money by permitting some of the locals to help maintain the road between the big grading jobs they do… we could all show up on occasion to scrape the road with our tractors to smooth it out and fill the potholes… but that’d bother the union the county workers belong to…. and there’d probably be someone who’d plow into a car, or have their blade tilted too much and ruin the crown… road-maintenance by committee is probably not too efficient either. And besides…  the county road is a mile from our house…. and it takes forever to drive a tractor a mile. So I’m happy enough having the county do the maintenance… thank you very much.

  Life can be a bit complex sometimes… even with something as simple as a dirt road. 
The complexities come from the people.





Canyon Cruiser

A neighbor has a Chevelle he’s had since High School.
He takes it ‘out for a spin’ now and then.

A Masterpiece of ‘Muscle-Car’ engineering….
A Classic of Detroit Steel


On Marriage

   Nature has given each species certain hormonal urges to ensure procreation. Mankind has these same urges…
   Often nature ensures that animals are ‘hard-wired’ to see the differences in others of the same species as likely indications of a suitable mating partner.   This is a method that ensures the mating units are not too closely related… this widening of the gene pool leads to what we call ‘Hybrid vigor’.  It is this ‘Opposites Attract’ feature that gives us widely dissimilar people who find some common interest in one another.

Ladies Love Country Boys
Trace Adkins

She grew up in the city in a little subdivision,
Her daddy wore a tie, Momma never fried a chicken,
Ballet, Straight A’s, Most likely to succeed

They bought her a car after graduation
Sent her down south for some higher education
Put her on the fast track to a law degree

Now she’s comin home to visit
holdin the hand
Of a wild-eyed boy
with a farmer’s tan

And shes ridin in the middle of his pickup truck
Blarin Charlie Daniels yellin, “Turn it up!”
They raised her up a lady
but there’s one thing they couldn’t avoid
Ladies love country boys

   This song is something like Vickie and me… she grew up in Orange County… she really never knew anyone with a garden until she journeyed to the country to visit her brother who was working on a local landscape crew due to his knowledge of Spanish. She saw a whole new life in the bush after she met me….

   But it sure was a different life than the city… we lived for a time in a tow-behind 27 foot travel-trailer. We grew much of our own food, and had no Television. As the song said… it was as primitive as could be. And it was fun, and new for us both.

   While the initial onrush of ‘Romantic Love’ is heady and easy to flow along with…. it is the long-term committed relationship that requires constant work, and forgiveness and love… and may require a bit of that in varying degrees each and every day….  To forgive and to accept and to deal with shortcomings and problems is the only way to continue.

   Just as Reba says….


~Reba MyIntyre~
‘I Keep On Loving You’

“Love takes the patience of Job”
That’s what my Mama always said
‘Faith is the belief in something more than what you know’
That’s what the Good Book says
You gotta play the cards you got
Who knows what fate is holding
At times you gotta go without knowing where you’re goin’

That’s why I keep on lovin’ you
I keep on lovin’ you
Through the ‘baby don’t leave mes’
And ‘never will agains’
And ‘I promise tos’
I keep on lovin’ you

Lord knows we’ve had our share of fights
Our sleepless nights, our ups and downs
We’ve had plenty and then some of ‘baby I’m gones’ and turnarounds
Sometimes I swear it might be easier to throw in the towel
Someday we’re gonna look back
And say “look at us now”

That’s why I keep on lovin’ you
I keep on lovin’ you
Through the baby don’t leave mes
And never will agains
And I promise tos
I keep on lovin’ you

   I’ve heard it said that “Men marry women hoping they’ll never change… Women marry men hoping they can change them”.

   Best is to pick someone you can put up with, and remain committed to… and hopefully you will have picked a person that can put up with you… and will remain committed to you also.

   I suppose it’s something of a crapshoot… and I never was a gambling man….

   An uncle of mine told me to “stay single, and raise your kids to do the same”… somehow in the sixties that was a really funny line.. cause no one had kids without being married (it seemed).  But he had five or six wives in his time….. he was speaking from experience.

Kahlil Gibran
‘On Marriage’

Then Almitra spoke again and said…
“And what of Marriage, master?”
And he answered saying:

You were born together,
and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings
of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the
silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between
the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress
grow not in each other’s shadow.

   Give yourselves some room…. for most folks being together 24-7 is too tough.  Get out and blaze some paths, encounter some new people… have some adventures…. but always be good.. so that you can come home and be happy to be there.. and have no regrets.  Life with regrets is burdensome and heavy.

But get away from one-another on occasion… just remember:
‘There ain’t no place like home’ 


‘Drops of Jupiter’

Now that she’s back from that soul vacation
Tracing her way through the constellation
She checks out Mozart while she does Tae-Bo
Reminds me that there’s room to grow

But tell me
Did the wind sweep you off your feet?
Did you finally get the chance to
Dance along the light of day
And head back to the Milky Way

Tell me
Did Venus blow your mind
Was it everything you wanted to find?
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?

Can you imagine no
Love, pride, deep-fried chicken
Your best friend always sticking up for you
Even when I know you’re wrong
Can you imagine no
First dance, freeze-dried romance
Five hour phone conversation
The best soy latte that you ever had and me

Tell me
Did you sail across the sun
Did you make it to the Milky Way
To see the lights are faded
And that heaven is overrated

Tell me
Did you fall for a shooting star
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself

And did you finally get the chance
to dance along the light of day?

Vickie and I are quite different, and yet strangely so alike in so many ways…
and after half a lifetime together we still get along and love one another….
although sometimes we grate on one another….
at those times we agree not to speak of the ‘issues or problems’….
luckily we have a lot of space….

and in a short time… there is no trouble.
Because in time most troubles fade away….
and in the end nothing else really matters but love.
And after we leave, that’s all we can take with us.

God is Love