Saturday, June 30, 2012

California - Our first three weeks

We've settled in and 3 weeks have flown by so it's actually time to head to our next campground already.  Today, June 30th, we are heading north to the San Benito area (east of Salinas) then after a few weeks further north to Washington.

This area is beautiful and we've enjoyed our time here.  We relaxed more here than any other campground (partially due to the fact that it's not a quick easy drive to get anywhere) which is a tough thing for us (well, me mostly) but it was good.  Here are some of the highlights of things we did do...

First - the reason we came here - Live Oak Music Fesitval (Tom is a huge music buff and spotted this festival on the internet months ago and so we arrived a week before the festival).  It was the 24th annual festival and it was a great variety of different types of music, people, crafts and food.  The festival took place among the tall oak trees at Live Oak Campground just a few miles (but 30 minutes) down the road from us.  

Tom's taking a little snooze before the next show!

The main stage

He's such a happy boy!
Hiking - well of course we had to do some hiking!  Our campground is right next to the San Padres National Forest so we've taken a few hikes in the area.

The view of our campground/ranch from the trail

A little surprise!  Several months ago our dear friend Joe asked if we could meet him in Vegas when he was going for a 3 day bachelor party.  We regretfully declined (stating we'd be too far away in CA) but in the back of our minds figured we go and surprise him.  It worked and he was speechless when he saw us standing next to him in the lobby of the Luxor.  It was a quick visit but so great to see Joe, his son Matthew, the groom Chris, his dad Tom and another friend Jim.  We also got to spend a little time with "Joey Vegas" - Tom's cousin, Joe, who we appropriately nicknamed since he works at the Venetian and is a wealth of information about the area.

Joe's surprised face with Matthew on his left (a little blurry - taken on my phone while I was shaking)

Cousin Joe - aka Joey Vegas

Becky, Joe and groom-to-be, Chris

lunch with our bestest buddy (we missed you, Brenda!)

The Luxor

We spent a little time in the beautiful town of Santa Barbara and even got to meet Heather (a co-worker from GK&H who just moved to LA) and Jesus for dinner at a wonderful Indian restaurant.
Jesus, Tom, Heather, Becky - downtown Santa Barbara

We enjoyed another wonderful dinner in Santa Barbara for Tom's 55th b-day.  Happy b-day, honey!  Love the discounts we now get for him!  :-)
spaghetti and meatballs for the birthday boy
Here are a few pictures from the coast as well as one picture we don't really like (you'll guess which one!)

we hope to camp here one day!  It's a county park - just $27/night!

Channel Islands National Park - We took a boat from Ventura out to Santa Cruz Island - one of the islands which is part of Channel Islands National Park.  Many people will go out to the island to camp for a few nights or even up to a week at a time (only 14 days/year permitted per person).  We've decided next time we will definitely spend a few nights on this island.  The hiking was incredible and the water and cliff views breathtaking.
hundreds of dolphins could be seen by our boat on the ride to the island

view from where we were docking

the interior

incredible cliff views

back at the harbor at Ventura 

Til next time...Happy Trails!

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