Posted May 9, 2022 – Narrated by Carmen
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you truly are.”
We said goodbye to Morro Bay and continued our journey north toward Alaska.
Traveling along the fringes of California we tied up loose ends – stopped to admire places we neglected in our youth and skipped past some old favorites.
Whenever we pass through Paso Robles, we stop for coffee and a bite at the Hunter Ranch Golf Course, an ideal RV rest stop.
The Grill serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week and the magnificent view of the namesake oaks (“Paso Robles” means The Way of the Oaks) smooths out towing-day anxieties. Thank you Paso.
Continuing on Highway 1, we entered Castroville, The Artichoke Center Of The World.
When I was fourteen, Jim hand fed me my first artichoke. The moment that intimidating food impersonating a medieval weapon passed my lips, I became a woman … who wanted more artichokes.
Artichokes, the caviar of vegetables, have a fascinating history. This challenging mediterranean crop, cousin to the daisy (my favorite flower) nearly took down the city of New York with Tommy gun wielding mobsters and train robberies.
Bearing a tender yet armored heart the domesticated Cardoon, Cynara cardunculus, is named for the secret lover (Kynara) canceled by Zeus. That tragic seduction story is often resurrected in film and literature. The meta-narrative even extends into the real-life story of the first Artichoke Queen of Castroville, Norma Jean Mortenson, famously known as Marilyn Monroe.
Generations of powerful males like Henry VIII reserved the artichoke for their exclusive consumption, forbidding them at the women’s table, until Catherine De Medici stuck a fork in that nonsense.
The taboo existed to protect women’s honor, you see. The assertion held that the delicious thistle would make the ladies frisky. Yeah, well, they make me gassy, but pity the man who would dare try to separate me from my sexy health food.
About twice a month Jim steams these sumptuous lil’ devils with lemon, herbs and black pepper corns and serves them up with a garlicky lemon aioli for dipping. Heaven.
All hyped up for a roadside segue of deep-fried superfood with a side of polyphenols, we pulled the rig off at The Choke Coach at Pezzini Farms where the large yard is big enough to park the rig.
We are tough customers because Jim IS the world’s best artichoke chef.
We tried the tacos and the grilled artichoke. They were good …
But I’m still thinking about that dreamy artichoke bisque we slurped from a cup! I could begin every morning with that buttery nectar. It’s in the top ten Best Soups In My Life.
Now, the Castroville Artichoke Festival is on our bucket list.
Like Morro Bay, we entered Santa Cruz with barely a week to see the area. That non-enough feeling hit us again when we saw our parking space. We squeezed into the tightest spot ever.
The RV Park at Santa Cruz Harbor is all about location.
It’s walking distance to town …
with cycling access to the most important places …
like the beach …
and even the, (ugh) …
We had some serious adulting to do. Since 2019, we’ve put off getting our Real ID’s.
To make nice with Homeland Security we had to suck it up and submit to our least favorite administrative office: the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
There are dozens of online California DMV survival guides, but we’re old pros: (1) Choose an office (any office in the state) with a coffee shop next door (2) any coffee shop with a bathroom. (3) Arrive after rush hour. 4) Go as a team (5) in comfortable shoes (6) with phones charged (7) and paperwork in hand. (8) Have distractions (candy, games, podcasts) so the anxiety (of our hangry, confused fellow DMV inmates fidgeting with their impatient children and stressed-out comfort dogs while straining to hear their number throb out of the echoey public address system) doesn’t get to you.
But we experienced a miracle at the Capitola DMV. A man, even older than us, in fluorescent orange athletic shoes – an energetic government employee with a runner’s physique and astounding communication skills – guided every person through their process as if we were, every one, a VIP and, by all appearances, he was having fun. I didn’t even have time to dig for my pocket candy. We were out of there in under thirty minutes.
“I want to be just like him when I grow up,” I told Jim as we exited, “I wonder what he eats to stay so healthy?”
“Crepes.” Jim said, Yelping on his iPhone for breakfast.
Sweet Peas Cafe, was a delicious, wholesome reward for responsible management of our civic duty.
Silver Sneakers Membership
The next item on the agenda: Fitness! As a new card-carrying member of the 65+ club, we both signed up for our Medicare Silver Sneakers benefit at 24-Hour Fitness.
Now, we have FREE access to swimming pools and shower facilities throughout the United States. This national membership program will broaden our choices for campground locations in cities and towns where fitness options are otherwise limited.
With business matters settled, we indulged our senses in Santa Cruz …
where work and play are dovetailed into the architecture and lifestyle.
It’s a mature point of view …
to understand that failure is vital to progress …
distractions facilitate goals,
and living creatively is not a waste of time.
It’s an “everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten” kind of vibe.
A place where community …
and a pint of wisdom go a long way.
Otters. Oaks. Artichokes. Beaches.
We skipped along the Central California shoreline like children without a care …
confident and secure that the adults are in charge, making the best of the situation.
All will be well.
Onward to San Franciso!
Chapters in the “Airstreaming to Alaska” series
- Chapter 1 – San Diego to Malibu
- Chapter 2 – Malibu to Morro Bay
- Chapter 3 – Morro Bay to Santa Cruz
- Chapter 4 – Santa Cruz to San Francisco
- Chapter 5 – San Francisco to Eureka
- Chapter 6 – The Oregon Coast
- Chapter 7 – The Strait of Juan de Fuca
- Chapter 8 – Victoria, British Columbia
- Chapter 9 – Victoria to Mackenzie
- Chapter 10 – The Alaska Highway
- Chapter 11 – Yukon
- Chapter 12 – Top of the World Highway to Chicken, Alaska
- Chapter 13 – Tok to Valdez
- Chapter 14 – Glacier View to Anchorage
- Chapter 15 – The Kenai Peninsula – coming soon!
- Chapter 16 – Whittier – Talkeetna – Denali – coming soon!
- Chapter 17 – Fairbanks – North Pole – Chena Hot Springs – coming soon!
- Chapter 18 – Tok – Beaver Creek – Destruction Bay – Haines – coming soon!
- Chapter 19 – Haines Junction – Teslin – Jade City – Bell II – Telkwa – Prince George – 100 Mile House – Kamloops – Cawston – coming soon!
- Chapter 20 – Lesson Learned – coming soon!
If you want to see our exact route, click here.
*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.