For the last two years, I have joined my sister and some of our female cousins in renting a beach house on the Pacific coast. Since all my "girl cousins" live out west, it is much easier for me to fly to their location, than for all of them to fly to Arkansas. This year, we rented a house on California's central coast of San Luis Obispo County. The house we rented was called "A Tuscan Sun" (a fitting title for this photo!), using the agency at www.rainbowventures.info If this is something that you are considering doing, be aware that there are hundreds of choices that come up when you google "beach house rental", so one really needs to thoroughly check out the rental source. Because so many folks have had bad experiences from vacation home rentals, there is even a "Vacation Rental Watchdog" organization where you can evaluate the merits/demerits of a particular property. Just go to www.vrwd.org to check out your potential rental.
The great thing about being right on the beach is the easy access to walks along the shoreline. The rental property we had last year was on a high cliff above the ocean---the views were fantastic, but the access to the beach was not. The beach where we were this year was so accessible, one could even ride their bicycle (with a trailer in tow) right beside the ocean!
As mentioned in yesterday's blog post, this stretch of beach is the only one that allows vehicles to drive on it. Since sand and salt water can be very damaging to vehicles, many visitors choose to experience this phenomena by renting a vehicle, such as the four-wheelers shown here. Dune buggies and ATV's are limited to a certain area of the beach, however, so don't expect to go roaming all over the beach and dunes doing wheelies!
I call this my "Fistful of Dollars" photo, and it is a reminder to mention one of my favorite activities during this trip---"combing" the beach with my eyes to pick up sand dollars and shells!
My cousin Debbie had a bountiful harvest of sand dollars. This photo shows the dozens she picked up on just one "beach combing" outing, early in the morning! Lest you think we are diminishing the marine life there, keep in mind that these sand dollars were actually "rescued" from being run over by a motorized vehicle, as motorized vehicle traffic increases as the day evolves.
There were two directions we could walk when we left our beach house. This is the view, if one walked north, toward the town of Pismo Beach. That is the Pismo Beach pier that you can see in front of the distant cliffs.
On one of our walks, we learned that the owners of our rental house "patrol" the beach via horseback. Their website shows their photo on their horses, and advertises that, with their company, you get real "horsepower"! Horses can also be rented from local outfitters.
Our beach house had a formal dining room, complete with a full set of Christmas china, so we used it to enjoy a Keeling favorite----chocolate gravy over hot biscuits---along with other delicious "breakfast for supper" menu items, to celebrate the birthday of two of those present.
This view of a "rockier" coastline, is what we were able to photograph on one of our excursions, just a short distance up Highway 1. The picture shows the quaint little town of Pismo Beach ( www.ClassicCalifornia.com ) Pismo Beach has this beautifully-landscaped park overlooking the ocean. This park bench was beckoning me to sit and look for migrating whales, but my girl companions were beckoning me to get back in the car!
Our next stop was the gigantic wooden-floored pier at Pismo Beach. The pier extends far out into the ocean, and is the hub of activity and events for the town. It is surrounded by shops and boutiques where you can purchase beach attire and souvenirs and food and water toys.
While the others shopped, I walked to the end of the pier to get a photograph of a very popular activity ---- fishing from the pier.
The end of the pier was also a good location to photograph the surfers (and there were many!) practicing their skills, for this classic California hobby.
Another classic California scene you can see from the pier is beach volleyball. Probably when it is hotter, and the players are wearing something besides long sleeves and long pants, there are more spectators!
After dark, when we were back at the beach house, the gals enjoyed a lively game of dominoes, or putting together jigsaw puzzles. We also had a big screen TV (and numerous smaller TV's) to play the movies we rented or catch up on the news.
Watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean is a wonderful experience, and we tried to be on the deck each evening at that time, to see what the skies had in store for us ! This was one of my favorite sunset photos that I took.
It is not easy getting a group of seven women to agree to pose for a photo, but they did let me arrange it on four different occasions; so I made this collage of the group photos, to thank them! Their cooperation for these photos, and throughout the trip, are a great example of one of my First Place 4 Health (www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) memory verses that says "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2 Because each lady was humble, and gentle, and patient, and bore with one another----we are already talking about our next get-together. I know it will once again bring "miles of smiles"!! Tricia