Dear Friends and Followers,
Gourmet Girl Gail here writing from Lake Cachuma, a short drive from my home in Santa Barbara. The thing I noticed most on my way up the 101 Freeway to Buellton were the number of RVs on the road. According to the RV Industry Association, RV sales in some areas have sped up 170 percent over the same time period last year. Since getting on a plane or taking a cruise is out of the question for a majority of us during the pandemic, many more people are taking road trips in their RVs. Camping seems a safe pastime during these hot summer months, but in reality we think it’s better to stay close to home if you do plan to camp because, the truth is, the farther you travel from home, the more you put yourself and others at risk. Even if you get all of your supplies and load up at home, fill up your gas tank down the street from your house, and plan to head straight for your destination without stopping, inevitably you may have to stop. An unplanned bathroom break, a forgotten staple, and unfortunate events like a flat tire or a medical emergency could put you in contact with people outside your local community, despite your best efforts.
That said, my camping pal Kathy Moran and I have been camping locally and working from the road since early June. Our first spot was a Hipcamp called Freedog Farms about 45 minutes away from Santa Barbara. Hipcamps are quite eclectic and private, and most are on large tracts of ranch- and farmland where the hosts are cognizant of the pandemic and taking necessary precautions.
Abigail immediately felt at home and became the farm dog of her dreams. She and Bandit got to play a bit, tempered by the 100+ degree temperatures.
The obliging hostess brought us a propane fire pit for use during evenings when it finally cooled down.
And we made a few delicious meals, including a classic Salade Nicoise and Jalapeno Burgers.
Our second recent outing was to Rincon Parkway. For years, I’ve noticed big and small rigs parked along the roadside of the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1) a few miles north of Ventura, California. It had never occurred to me to overnight there until Kathy said she’d reserved a spot for a few nights. Luckily, I was able to reserve a spot right behind her.
We hardly ever have visitors, but we became pretty popular during this trip. Kathy’s husband, TJ, came down from Ojai a couple of times.
One of my book clients (and a friend of my brother’s) drove up from Camarillo for a visit. No doubt checking on my progress with his manuscript. LOL!
The parkway is an unusual camping experience as it’s right on the road, but we had a good view and a fair amount of entertainment at hand.
We brought along our own portable fire pit for the evenings. Going camping without some kind of fire is out of the question. It’s become a ritualistic part of each and every adventure we have.
Even Abigail liked the experience. She was able to run freely on the beach, meet other dogs, and, as usual, get more than a few cuddles.
The next time I check in, I hope I’ll have more trips to write about. In the meantime, stay safe out there! Let us know here what little freedoms and pleasures you’re enjoying during Covid. We’d really love to hear from you!
Gail, Denise, and Lindsey