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Stairway to Heaven?

Stairway to Heaven?

Harbor Patrol, Avila Beach California
Harbor Patrol, Avila Beach California

No, it’s the Harbor Patrol on the pier in Avila

Dinosaur Caves from the sea

 

 Dinosaur Caves is a small little section of beach-cliff in the Shell Beach/Pismo Beach area of the Central Coast of California.

   If you’ve ever been to Lagos Portugal… you’ll recognize similar features… but Portugal has warmer and clearer water.

   The rock strata and the waves have created an ever-changing landscape of eroded cliffs and caves and holes underneath them.
Caves and arches can be seen aplenty.. but since it is so difficult and precarious to navigate on the rocks, one does not see the full beauty of the cliffs from above them, looking down.
   We rented some kayaks from Central Coat Kayaks in Shell Beach.  They have a full range of various types and sizes of kayaks and paddleboards.  They like to get people started early in the mornings to avoid the wind.  We tend to get very windy in the afternoons.

   The caves are interesting, beautiful. It seems like you’re in another world… one of National Geographic explorers, and strange exotic animals….. it’s really pretty cool to just drift like a piece of wood, right up near nesting colonies of birds, seeing seals and sea otters.
   You have to be careful not to get so close that you disturb them… but they seem to be used to people drifting about in quiet boats….

   The rocky cliff-side is pockmarked with caves of various sizes and depths.  As you go along, you can envision how the coastline has changed through the millenia… some areas were obviously caves, but are now just narrow arches… soon to fall into the sea leaving only the posts on either side. 

 

   The Big Cave is really something to see. From shore you can see only the small hole that comes through to the land-side…
We all went through the cave…. you have to time it with the ocean swell so that the wave will pick your boat up and carry you over the rocks…. then you have to stop yourself and turn when the wave carries you through… because it crashes against the cliff on the other side…. it’s totally awesome and rad Dude!
   One of the fellows even worked back against the tide through the big cave.. seemed like quite  a feat to me..

   We paddled into one of the caves that has two holes… most of the waves go into one hole, and with a great rushing and swirling turbulence, it rushes out the other hole…. it was really easy to get into the cave…. but getting out was a bit of a challenge…. I pushed the other fellow out, helping to guide his boat through the crashing surf…. helping to guide it in the narrow channel filled with rushing waters going every direction, and trying to carry the boat sideways to hang bow and stern on the rocks…. we got him started, and like a sluice… once he got to a certain spot, he was able to just zip right on through…. then I was next… alone.. it took three tries.. but third time’s the charm… like a dream the boat found its own way through the channel, and it looked like I knew what I was doing!

  Kayaks are surprisingly easy to learn…. they are a pretty safe way to boat… much more stable than you’d imagine due to the low profile…. VERY shallow draft…. and Central Coat Kayaks will even give you lessons at their clinics and one-on-one lessons.

  Get out there and have some fun.. and good clean water-sports are one of the best ways to experience life and maintain fitness.

Avila California, San Luis Bay

Some photos I took of the creek that runs through Avila and leads to San Luis Bay California.
Also, boats floating out in the bay.

A Bradbury Surfboard

   This is my surfboard from High School
   I never was a good surfer, LOL… I tended to ‘purl’ the nose into the water, stopping the board and pitching me in front of it where the wave and the board would both pummel me.  But I was pretty durable back then…. cuts and scrapes from rocks didn’t bother me too much, although I sometimes wondered of the wisdom in hanging my bloodied feet in the water from a board in the ocean for hours.

   I really do think that surfing is one of the best sports there is…. it is usually an individual endeavour… just you and the sea….
   Some of the beautiful and memorable events in my life happened from the top of my surfboard…. I’d spend a long time in the water…. all that rowing is good for the shoulders and back…. and the regular beach activities are healthy and clean.  On ‘flat days’ we’d sometimes just paddle out to and beyond the kelp ‘fields’.. far out at sea, such that the cliffs along the shore were only visible at times when the swell raised you up a bit.  Ah yes, the rash impetuousness of youth… but it was all good clean fun. 

   It’s always fun until someone gets hurt.

   Many of my friends still surf.. even now that they are in their fifties and some in their sixties…. those who still surf have retained flexibility and stamina…  it’s good seeing folks getting older nowadays and still staying kids in many ways… with the added smarts of being older.

This is my old surfboard from high school. It was made about 1967 by a shaper in Santa Barbara named John Bradbury. He eventually became a well known shaper, but unfortunately he passed away nearly twelve years ago.  You can see this board had part of the tail break off before I got it, it was repaired with some fiberglass and resin. There are also a few small dings I (inexpertly) repaired with resin.

  He built this and other similar boards for the waves at places along the Santa Barbara area… the Rincon… The Ranch… Jalama…. I still have the board… but don’t surf anymore.

One photo has the logo he put on this board. 
His logos changed through the years as you can see at Stanley’s Surfboard Logos
(a huge site with a large number of surfboard logos)

Jambalaya, Hank Williams

Jamabalaya
Hank Williams

Good-bye Joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh my oh
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and file’ gumbo
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Thibodeaux, Fontainenot, the place is buzzin’
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style and go hog wild, me oh my oh
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

What does this all mean?
A French-Cajun interpretation….

New Photo Gallery

  We just put up a new photo album. It is arranged into twelve albums and has over 1,300 photos.

 

The photos cover some of  the beaches, hills, deserts and cities of California.

 

http://www.nopalcactusblog.com/photos

Pull the rope, spin the tire

 

Redneck Tire Mounting

 

 

   I’m no expert.. but I’d think this is pretty dangerous.. but yet quite ingenious.

   When I was in the Army, we used to break the beads on our Jeep tires by jacking the Jeep up, and then lowering the frame of the Jeep down with the tire under it.  We didn’t have to worry about seating the rim, because we had tubes in our Jeep tires.

   When I see something like this video… I am impressed with the ingenuity of some folks.. yet also a bit apprehensive. 

   Some surfer friends of mine were down in Baja… they saw some guys driving an old truck down a level stretch of road. The engine coughed and died… but their starter was non-op. So quickly all three guys jumped out, and in what must be a common task for them, they jacked the back end of the truck up into the air, they then wound a long rope around the tire, and while one guy sat in the truck ready to ‘pop’ the clutch, the other two guys took off running with the rope spinning the tire and allowing the engine to turn and fire when the fellow inside released the clutch. Then they pushed the truck off the stands, hopped in and took off before the thing could die again.

   Another bit of ingenuity is found in modern Cuba.  In general, it seems the cars there are the holdovers from the forties and fifties…. and many of them are still running using mainly home built parts. One day, if we ever ‘normalize’ relations with Cuba… some bright entrepreneurs will be running over there and buying old cars, bringing them back here for sale as ‘classics’.

   Speaking of old Cuban vehicles… remember the fellows a few years ago who modified a truck to go to Florida over the sea? I think they were steaming away just fine, when the Coast Guard intercepted them, took them off (for repatriation to Cuba I believe), and then they scuttled that marvelous bit of engineering… engineering that should have been placed into a museum to show the human spirit, and also to show how people will do so much to escape a brutal oppressive regime.

San Luis Obispo County Sunset, Avila Bay

 

San Luis Obispo County Sunset, Avila Bay

 

To Love is to Bury

   The new HBO series ‘True Blood’ has become a weekly favorite program in our tiny household.

 

 

   I also like the great variety of music showcased on the program… last night’s episode had an episode name taken from one of the songs by the ‘Cowboy Junkies’, one of my favorite bands.

 

 

   Cowboy Junkies have such beautiful words to their lyrics… the poetry and depth of feeling drips with tears.

 

 

 

‘To Love is to Bury’
~Cowboy Junkies~

 

 

I buried him down by the river
’cause that’s where he liked to be
and every night when the moon is high
I go there and weep openly

 

He and I were married
By this river ‘neath this willow tree
and with God and friends witnessing it
He pledged his life to me 

 

To me he was Earth
and I rooted in his soil
I to he was Sky vast and free
of the burdens from which he toiled

 

Then one night a terrible fight
Words spoken better left unsaid
With his wedding vows ringing in my ears
He gave his life to me

 

They say to love is to bury
Those demons from which we all hide
But tonight by this river ‘neath this willow tree
Becoming one of Earth and Sky

 

 

 

  We just buried my Uncle Bob this weekend in Los Angeles.  He was a fun loving guy.. always joking and messing around. I suppose when people have lived through horror, they tend to swing to one extreme or another. And Bob had seen his share of horror…. he was in WWII and spent time during the war in Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and Italy. He was awarded four Bronze Stars for bravery… this was a surprise to all of us. He never ever really spoke of the war, and even the fellows closer to his age (92) did not know of the Bronze Stars.

  Continue reading To Love is to Bury

Fiddler’s Green

 

 

‘Fiddler’s Green’
~John Conolly~

As I roved by the dockside one evening so fair
To view the salt waters and take in the salt air
I heard an old fisherman singing a song
Oh, take me away boys me time is not long

Wrap me up in me oilskin and blankets
No more on the docks I’ll be seen
Just tell me old shipmates, I’m taking a trip mates
And I’ll see you someday on Fiddlers Green

Now Fiddler’s Green is a place I’ve heard tell
Where the fishermen go if they don’t go to hell
Where the weather is fair and the dolphins do play
And the cold coast of Greenland is far, far away

Now when you’re in dock and the long trip is through
There’s pubs and there’s clubs and there’s lassies there too
And the girls are all pretty and the beer is all free
And there’s bottles of rum growing on every tree.

Where the skies are all clear and there’s never a gail
And the fish jump on board with one swish on their tail
Where you lie at your leisure, there’s no work to do
And the skipper’s below making tea for the crew

Now I don’t want a harp nor a halo, not me
Just give me a breeze and a good rolling sea
I’ll play me old squeeze-box as we sail along
With the wind in the riggin to sing me a song