Merced, California: We again woke to brilliant blue skies at our campsite (that was still) overlooking the beautiful Pacific. Not a cloud in the sky. No wind. I had to double-check the calendar – was it really the middle of November? There was nothing to do except go for one last run along the coastline before hitching-up the Honda and hitting the road.

I had a very enjoyable run. I ran too far and ran up too many hills (which meant I had to run down the hills and my old knees do not enjoy running down hills) but I came across scenic vistas at every turn, so it was difficult to stop. At one point I ran by an old man, standing on a very treacherous (ice plant covered) bluff. He was facing the sea and his dog was at his side, staring up to his beloved master. As I came closer, I could hear drumming and then I noticed the gentleman had a snare-type drum strapped across his body and was drumming away. As I came even closer, I could see the dog was looking up at his master with a “okay, can we go now?” look or possibly even a “dude, come on, this is like totally embarrassing” look. 

Dogs these days are so finicky.

Seriously, people, go for a run/walk. It is amazing the things you will see.

You know it was difficult for us to tear ourselves away from this (rapidly deteriorating) campsite. Look at this view!

All this could be yours for only $70 per night!

I just love “camping”.

Only one thing could lure us away from our ocean-side paradise – Duck sports Jimmy Buffett family. So we hitched up the Honda and headed over to the San Joaquin Valley to spend a few days with DT’s Mom and brothers.

We left the San Francisco Bay area via the San Mateo Bridge which (happily for us) only charges a toll on the west-bound lanes. We stopped for diesel along Highway 99 in Ripon, California. Did you all hear the sound of $345 being sucked out of our bank account? Today was the first time we have purchased fuel since November 4th. Not bad, Sweet Magna, not bad.

The next few nights we will camp at the teeny (6 site) RV park on the now-closed Castle Air Base. We stay here quite often, as long-time readers will recall. No pool. No bath house. No spa. No shuffleboard. No nuttin’. Just 30/50 amp power, water and sewer in an old parking lot. It is all we need.

We spent the evening at DT’s Mom’s house – the same house where Dave was raised. Brother Kent grilled steak and chicken. Mom steamed plantation rice from the South Carolina and tossed a wonderful salad with greens and pears. We provided a loaf of sourdough bread from San Francisco. Brother Billy was there, along with his wife, Ginger, and our niece, Meghan. Kent’s daughter, Kira, was also at the table. Fun times.

Kira (7 years) & Meghan (22 years)

We have a very talented family.

I know you are all jealous that so much talent has been bestowed upon this family.

We should have our own reality television show.

Not.

Until my next update, I remain, your Merced correspondent.

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