"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Saturday, March 7, 2020

March Madness! Covid & Grandson Make an Appearance!

Bakersfield, CA
Kern River County Campground 
Santa Margarita, CA
Santa Margarita Co. Park
Monterey, CA
Elks Lodge

The 4 hour drive from Palm Springs was enjoyable with the amazing Poppy bloom on the hillsides.  Orange everywhere.

We chose this little campground as our overnighter.  Even though they told us we'd fit and some of the sites were larger, the campground road is very tight and we rubbed some bushes on a tight turn.  Not bad, but we wouldn't stay here again in a rig our size.
Kern River County Campground. #49, $20.  We stayed hitched up since we weren't going anywhere.
We took a walk around the campground and saw why it was so packed.  There was a group of falconers here.  They were doing competitions and exhibits.  They were very excited to tell us all about the falcons.

It was very interesting to watch them.
They had special cages and housing set-ups in their trucks.

The next day we headed to Santa Margarita. 
We pulled over for some lunch and this sporty little rig was across from us.
We chose to meander Rt 58 the entire way.  It was a windy road that took us past oil drilling rigs, piping, cattle farms and lots of wide open grasslands and oak studded hills.  The previous nights storm has left some pretty cloud views.
We stopped at a couple geocaches that had easy pull outs.  This was a 2 lane road and most people would probably not take it.  It was in very good condition and besides a few motorcycles, we rarely saw anyone.  It's the exact road we love to be on and we were in no rush. This landmark was one of the interesting things we came upon.

Oil drilling.
So much wide open out here.  That's probably surprising to people who think of California as solid people and buildings.  We're driving across the San Andreas Earthquake fault which runs north/south through this section of California.  We are driving through the Carrisa Plains.

We watched a few coyotes run across the road and up the hillside.
A lonely windmill.
A big surprise out here were the ENOURMOUS solar farms.  This location produces 550 MegaWatts of electricity.  It goes on for miles!
We arrive at Santa Margarita County Park on Lake Santa Margarita.  It's a small campground with a marina and store.  You can stay in a loop above the water, closer to the marina and entrance, or you can park right along the lake.  There are also some nice tent spots. There is a swimming pool too.
Site #1.  No hookups, but right on the lake.  $25.  We stayed 3 nights.
Our first day we hiked around part of the lake on the trail.  It was cold and raining off and on.

We drove in to the cute little town of Santa Margarita to one of the many wine tasting rooms.
"Cinnamon, the Cow" who proudly hangs around in the Ancient Peaks Winery.
Wine is a big deal to these coastal foothill areas and you will drive past acres and acres of grapes.  As is with many things in California, wine tasting can be expensive.  We chose to have one glass instead of a tasting.
See?  Even has is crazy!
On the way back we pulled over to a spot where we had seen this rooster just hanging out.  He must've been dumped as he was there the entire time we were.  What's up with the fork?  Maybe someone planned on having him for dinner?
He's a Rhode Island Red and looks like one of the roosters we had back in Placerville.  Of course our guy was named "Red".  And he was as sweet as could be.  This guy was not.  We called him Rooty at first but switched his name to A$$hole after he lunged at me when we left him some water and peanut crumbs.
A******, I mean Rooty, didn't care if we were there, but the cows loved us!
Something else ridiculously priced here... firewood.  No bundles.  $1 per "stick"?  Whaaa? I don't think so.  Thankfully we had our own.
We couldn't get the kayak out because we didn't get enough dry weather so we hiked the trails when we could.
On a hillside overlooking the lake is this grave of Sarah Rector.  She lived on her brother's property was sold and is now at the bottom of Santa Margarita Lake. She died in 1883.

Our final day we drove up to Paso Robles so Steve could hit the Fireside Walker Brewery.  He loves their beer so he sampled and we split an appetizer.

Another 3 hour drive took us straight up 101 to Monterey.  More wine, grape and artichoke fields.

To get to the Monterey Elks Lodge where we would be staying for a month, we passed the famous Laguna Seca Rec area where racing is big!  We could've stayed here but it's more expensive and 1/2 hour away from our son.  The Elks is $35 and less than 5 miles away.

Here we are.  $35 W/E/D.  Site #1.  It's quite uneven here front to back and very narrow spots.  We like the end because we are allowed to hangover further to the right and have a bigger spot.  We are here for the birth of our first grandchild and we are SO EXCITED!

Of course Covid exploded right when we got here and they locked down the next week.  It was like a ghost town around here.  They were very nice to reduce our fee in half and allowed us to stay as long as we needed.  We ended up staying here through May due to Covid lockdown.  Who would've guessed our 1 month would turn into almost 3 months?!
Only one other person here.  Looks like they chopped his rig in half :-)  Of course we became good friends as we were the only ones here.
While we waited for our grandson's birth, Diana & I walked along the shore quite a bit.  Since we were in lockdown together we were only around each other.
Me and Diana, my sweet and beautiful daughter-in-law.

The view from our rig.  You can see Monterey Bay in the distance.  Steve and I did a lot of walking up and down the hills trying to keep occupied over the weeks that followed.  It was very strange not seeing other people out.  This lodge is in the middle of a wealthy area and the homes around us are probably 2nd homes.
We did enjoy the gorgeous flowers and landscape that were blooming all around us.  Some are unique to the coastal climate and you don't everywhere.

This one in particular is huge!  The blooms are sometimes 12 inches or more long.  They are all around and grow wild too.  Most are purple but some are bluish.  We also had plenty of visits from deer, turkeys and even a bobcat.

We tried to do this particular hike near us but it has rained a lot and much of the trail was muddy.  We did come across the famous, Banana Slug.  They can get to be several inches long.

Ok, too muddy to continue.
We were a little worried what this Covid would mean to Ryan, Diana & Jaxon as the rules were changing constantly.  At first Ryan wasn't going to be allowed in the hospital, then they said Father's Only.  

Well after a couple of weeks Jaxon Stephen McCormack finally decided to arrive!  9 1/2 lbs, 21 1/2 inches long!  What a moose!  Mom & baby are healthy and happy.

Papa & Nonna are so proud and happy!!

This bottle of Crown Royal was given to my father when Ryan, our first, was born.  He saved it and gave it back to us when Jaxon was born.  
Aguri and Salute!
Well if we have to be holed up somewhere for who knows how long, this is the best place to be!