Some blather on the good...the bad...and the foo king ugg lee...FWIW.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A quick SLO turnaround...

This weekend I drove to the Central Coast on Saturday morning, spent the night, then headed back to Modesto early the next morning. It was another solo trip for me, as Loretta had to work. My mission: visit my son Jimmy, visit my mom Betty...and, of course, take a few pictures. Mission(s) accomplished.Going there without Loretta always makes it bittersweet, as I miss her the moment I leave. She tells me, as well, that the feeling is mutual...I believe her! We are planning a weekend on the coast in two weeks for a wedding. This particular wedding is for an old friend's daughter, so I won't officially be "working"...although I do plan on taking photos for them as part of our wedding gift. We'll have time to do some other things as well, including see my mom again, hang out at the ocean, and relax a bit.

On the way in to Pismo, I stopped in SLO for a short while. I wanted to snap a few photos in the mission plaza area. There was a street fair going on, the annual Italian Street Painting Fair. They don't actually use paint, it's a painting-with- chalk thing. It looked like 25-30 squares were taped out in the plaza for artists to ply their talent on the plaza in pastel chalks...each individual area set aside was sponsored by local businesses. Everyone was busily etching out their creations under the bright morning sun. The weather was perfect, and it appeared to be a nice turnout.

They do a lot of things like this in SLO, unlike here in Modesto where you're lucky to find something like this at all. Of course, SLO is somewhat of an artist colony in its own rite. Sure it's a college town (Cal Poly) and tourist stop, but it has always been a bit of a mini-Carmel. I lived on the Central Coast for 25 years before migrating to the San Joaquin Valley. I don't make a single trip down there without becoming extremely nostalgic about my time spent there...a lot happened in my life during those years. Besides, the weather is superb and my immediate family still resides there. The drive from Modesto to the C.C. sucks, although not a deterrant to taking that drive at least a half dozen times a year.

Jenifer was born there. Went to school there. Graduated from college there. And got married there (last year). She and Roth set out on a leap-of-faith adventure to their "next S.L.O."...to Seattle last summer. They do miss S.L.O., but have discovered a much larger and more diverse version of their home town in Seattle. Hence, I no longer have that "excuse" to make the trip to the C.C., ie, visit my daughter. It still seems a little weird coming down the Cuesta grade on 101 into San Luis, and not taking that exit that leads to Jenifer's place.

Saturday afternoon, Betty and I set out for our usual trek to the ocean, this time to Avila Beach. It was beautiful there, the weather was clear and mild and even a little warm for that area. I took pictures and got to see the town of Avila since it was plowed under a few years ago from toxic contamination. They've done a good job resurrecting that little beach "town". Loretta and I will try to get there in two weeks.

By the way, Cal Poly's WOW week was in full swing, the week set aside for new students and their families. Pismo was the usual nuthouse on a busy weekend! Wall to wall people, assholes and elbows downtown. After this week, everything will settle down a bit, reverting back to the sleepy little tourist area that it is off season. Go there in the fall or winter and have the place to yourself...almost anyway!

After the sun set and I had taken several hundred photos of Shell Beach leading up to that event, we had dinner at Finn's...a seafood style restaurant at the Grover Beach ramp. It wasn't busy at all as most of the WOW week people stick close to SLO or the other big "name" Pismo eateries like McLintocks or The Cliffs or Alex BBQ. All of the aforementioned restaurants were packed to the gills. My mom and I ate fish and chips...me feeling extremely guilty about downing that kind of faire as it is not a part of the Sonoma Diet! But, I'll get back on track this week...making up for the McD "driving breakfasts" I ate as well.

After dinner, we had an interesting visit at my mom's place with sister Kris. I downloaded my photos on the iBook, then hit the couch. I had planned on getting up very early and making the drive back via Highway One...didn't happen. I had just been that route a few weeks prior and wanted to get back in a shorter amount of time. Loretta, Jen, Roth, and I will drive back that way in two weeks. I did have an opportunity to stop at Shell Beach and take a few rare morning photos of the rocks, the pelicans, and the ocean. Then, back on that sucky drive back to Modesto...101 to 46 to 41 to the dreaded 5...and home. All in all it is a 500 mile trip there and back. With the iPod blasting through the radio, I managed to make it home without too much anguish...or sweating this time.

We really do miss the Central Coast. Whenever we make the trip down there, we never miss an opportunity to visit one of the beaches...if not just to drive by and look at it out the window of the car.

Loretta and I moved away from there 10 years ago for reasons of advancing my job position. That position and others have long since evaporated. But we did buy a nice house in Salida and are very happy...when we are actually in the house!

Modesto has always been and still is a hick town without much to offer in the way of art, culture, or job opportunities. We've met some nice people, made some friends, and have had some fun. But it may be time to move on...again. Seattle has quite often been a sore topic of this discussion. Loretta usual points out that she can't live where there is that much precipitation and fog. As for me, that doesn't bother me...I sort of enjoy dreary weather.

The likelihood of us moving anytime soon? Fairly remote, for financial reasons. Seattle would most likely be a fertile area to cultivate my style of photography versus what one finds acceptable in Modesto.

Time will tell...


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