Thursday, November 15, 2007

If I could pick my neighbors

We are happy campers here at San Simeon State Park. The weather is perfect and apparently warmer than usual. Yesterday, we walked from the campground to the town of Cambria. We started on the beach but soon found that route too disgusting because of the massive amounts of flies swarming the beached sea kelp. Maybe it's a seasonal event, I don't know, but it was nasty.

However, further down on the beach near Cambria, the ocean was more hospitable to humans, especially the kind in wetsuits. We sat on a bench on the boardwalk and watched the surfers--and fed the squirrels. Funny to see squirrels on the beach, but these were awfully tame and beggarly.
Cambria is a cute beach town and amazingly small. It could be Santa Cruz 50 years ago. There are dozens of unique shops and restaurants (no franchised eateries that I could tell.) Secretly, I was wishing to dump Robert and Allie so I could shop at my leisure. Actually, I don't shop leisurely, I sort of speed-shop. I'm feeling due since on this trip I have bought nearly nothing. "Where would that fit in the trailer?" usually stops me.

Oprah has a segment this week on people who are hoarders, basically women who buy, buy, buy and then live floor-to-ceiling with their hoarded goods. I watch that stuff and gasp. What is wrong with that woman? Her rebuttal is that everything she buys is clearance or deeply discounted. If she has 42 umbrellas it's because she got them on sale. Pshaw! My particular purchasing style may not have any better logic but here it is: I rarely care what something cost (as long as it is within my means) if it only passes my one criteria: DO I LOVE IT? If it's a bit pricey I justify it with my time and labor. How much time did it take me to find this item? Since I am such a particular shopper I usually end up with nothing. But when I do.....

"How much did that cost?" Robert asks and I always snap back, "Well, do you like it? Do you like your new stainless coffee percolator? Yes, I could have bought a cheap french press, but then you'd have cold coffee after I'd hogged the first steamy cup." You'd think by now he'd buried that question, but he can't help himself. But, he knows one thing--anything I buy will be around in in use for our lifetimes. So that's how I justify my arrogant shopping style.

After a few hours wandering around we headed back to our campground. By now we were very tired. We'd started out with big ambition--now we were groaning about the 3-mile walk back. But on we went and by the time we reached the park entrance the sun was setting. It is not often we get to see the sun set into the Pacific. I think often about the trekking Allison does with us. Is it asking too much of an 8 year old to take these hikes and long walks? Interesting, she really doesn't complain, and she has never mutinied on us. She enjoys what we enjoy and that is a blessing born out of conditioning. I've been making that kid walk since she outgrew the stroller. One day when her kids complain about anything, she can say. "Well, when I was a kid, my parents made me hike mountain paths with names like, Damnation Trail. And we'd walk 8 miles in one day!"

Our new friends, Dave and Sheri, (with the 66 Airstream Tradewind) came over for dinner again. We pool our resources to come up with some pretty satisfying trailer cuisine. I was happy to have their company. I'm learning that it's easy to make friends on the road and often the friends you meet are ones you'd like to keep. The fact that you are traveling in the same manner opens the door for mutual appreciation. Now, if I could just gather all these acquaintances up in one place, I'd have one great neighborhood.

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