Fresh Day

Hey There! Yup, we’re still here. It’s trickier to keep in touch when there are full time jobs and 2 kids hanging around. Calvin and Ivy have started their winter break, so Ivy has found that ever-elusive thing…you know…time!

She has been busy before the holidays, though. You might think she’d been busy preparing for the holidays, but nooooooooooo.  Instead, she has been uber-interested in the King Tides. These babies are rare, so she feels compelled to get out there and enjoy them every day. They’re the most extreme tides of the year, more accentuated due to the Moon being closer to the Earth and some other thingies.  There were over 9-feet differences between high and low tide – – – woah! The waves have been astoundingly giant and surfers have been flocking to the beaches each time Ivy is there (hmmmm…) They kind of know each other now…they exchange that look…you know, the one where Ivy is saying, “Yeah, I do wish I could be out there with you, but I don’t yet know how to surf,” and their eyes are saying, “Why are you always standing around gawking at us?” Seriously, though, Arbor joined Ivy on all of the expeditions. Calvin thinks he’s going to make his first million helping out at the coffee shop. So the boys would head to the coffee shop each day and the girls would head to the beach. Nice plan (says the female crew of Schmidts)!

One day on our King Tide adventures, we came across some guys surfing on some unique boards. They had this long (maybe 2 feet) extension of blades/rudders meant to glide underneath the water, lifting the surfer and board up out of the water. It’s called a Hydrofoil and it looked like even more fun than surfing! These guys would catch a wave and be able to sustain their ride much longer, plus the best part was that they were literally 2 feet above the water. The blades that sit below the water must push the board up out of the water when they get enough speed. If you don’t pay attention to that extra extension, it really looks like they’re surfing on air, just above the waves. Hopefully our good videographing of this comes through with our pictures and videos found here.

Our community neighborhood is very active. They were glad to share their perspectives on topics for voting day. Fortunately, most people here think similarly to us. 😊 Many of them are without family in the immediate area, so they stick around for holidays. They do some meals together where others cook for you, and some meals where it’s more potluck style. They had a Solstice Party one week and then a Christmas party on Christmas day. We couldn’t understand why Santa came to the Solstice Party until we realized it was a more formal event with fancy place settings and a Yule ceremony. It was all so lovely. Over 70 people attended and our Common House (where there’s a commercial kitchen, 2 rooms for people to stay – $20 each, so get on over here, laundry room, lounge space, library, kids play room, back patio with grills, and large group meeting space/dining area). We sat near some boys who are Calvin’s age. That was wonderful too because they all seem so verbally challenged at his age (12) and seem to need the awkward silence abruptly interrupted by some embarrassing mom or something. Santa came (a well-dressed neighbor) who turned out to be quite funny for adults as he greeted the children loudly. (His voice reminded Ivy of her Uncle David who used to do this to the littlest, meekest children at our get-togethers, scaring the crap out of them!) Santa gave each child (around 20) a gift card to Jamba Juice. We had been talking with Arbor about how Santa is pretend, so this really confused her, as many things do. We thought she might try to pull off his beard or something, but she just reminded us afterward, “That was a pretend guy.”

As if one Santa looking pretty real wasn’t enough, we decided to go to the beach on Christmas Day. We arrived at the pristine Moonstone Beach for the last King’s Tide of this year. The tide was higher than we had ever seen. This stretch of beach is surrounded by tall cliffs, so these waves would often make it to the cliffs, leaving walkers nowhere to go but in. We knew the tide was going down, so we headed into the depths and watched each other carefully in case the waves tried to carry someone away. Ironically, Larry was the first to be surprised by the rogue waves. He was chatting with another daring soul down there with his back to the water. If you know Larry, you know he can get pretty involved in a conversation. Ivy and the kids looked over at him at just the right time of the approaching wave and – whoosh! It got him…to our delight! We felt bad…about not recording it.

As the tide went out, more and more people showed up on the beach. In fact, we began making a lever and adding a fulcrum to it so we could lift a giant driftwood tree from its side to stand it again. As we worked, Santa (okay, it threw Arbor off a little bit to see Santa carrying a baby dressed as Santa also…and then there was the peculiar elf-mom who took the Santa baby into her arms after big Santa offered to help). So, there we were (Arbor couldn’t help because she was too busy staring), Calvin, Larry, Ivy, and Santa, lifting this giant driftwood tree back to its glory of towering tall over anything else out there. Calvin wedged another piece of driftwood between it and the sand so it could stay erect. That’s a proper word we just used, since, as we panned back to examine our handiwork, we realized it looked quite phallic. We weren’t sure how to share that news with Calvin or with Santa, so we kept it to ourselves for the moment. Ivy snapped a quick picture of the Santas and elf as they left. Then Calvin said to his parents, “Now that the tree is standing, it really looks like a penis.” Thanks, Santa, for helping us erect a giant penis on the beach (that’s what she said – for The Office fans out there)!

When Larry and Ivy explored Alaska BK (before kids), we learned of a cool phenomenon called a Bore Tide that would come in and travel miles up a river. After leaving Moonstone Beach, we headed to Morro Beach for the sunset and more for low tide. Morro’s beach is sandy whereas Moonstone’s beach has some sandy portions and mostly river-rock-type portions. In retrospect, as it came close to low tide, Moonstone would have been the better option for exploring tide pools, but the waves there were still really strong and it didn’t seem like the tide was going down there. When we arrived at Morro’s beach, it was immediately noticeable – the tide was clearly low, winds quieter, and waves minimal. This beach must have been almost level for at least a mile out. There was a light coat of water all along, so it felt like we were walking on water. Then, a wave would come in. It would take a good full minute for it to cover the beach in a Bore Tide fashion. There were sand dollars everywhere and in many ways these moments felt very surreal…until Arbor ran up, tagging someone, yelling, “You’re it!”

See a couple of photos submitted by Ivy for the Kings Tide Project here. It’s a little creepy to see all the flooding of the streets. Photos they’ve posted of Ivy’s – 14, 142, 143, 144, 169

We thought we might have two or even three blog postings over the break, but here we are in the beginning of January with only this one. It does keep getting longer if that makes anyone feel better. It was a lovely New Year’s Eve. We enjoyed a meal with some of our neighbors, then we all played games (Ivy beat Calvin so badly in ping pong) and drank non-alcoholic champagne with the kids.

Calvin and Ivy spent a good half-day at the beach over break too. We were again blown away at how many Sand Dollars there were. Calvin thoroughly enjoys climbing dunes/bluffs and acting like he’s falling. Sometimes Ivy is positive he is actually falling, which makes it that much more hilarious. Enjoy photos of his prat falls and parkour moves in the photos at the link shared above.

We drove the RV into California a little over a year ago on December 19th. While we have flashbacks of some of the best and some of the worst stops along the way, we are still so grateful for the experience and the journey. If we had the funds to make this a true coast-to-coast quest at this point in our lives, we would jump on it, but reality made a call reminding us that we were looking to relocate to our version of paradise.

So far we’re realizing that winters in this part of California (what they call the Central Coast) are decent for people who are avoiding snow, but a bit chilly at night. For some reason, Paso Robles has some pretty giant extremes. It can get below freezing at night, but easily warms up to 60s during the day. Closer to the coast – just 30 minutes away – it never gets to freezing. Whether in Morro Bay or Paso Robles, the rain and fog show up rarely these days. We hear the rain will arrive soon, but we don’t really know what that means.

What a life. While we miss so many of you, we try to look past that (otherwise we’d be sad all the time). We were able to enjoy the Geminids meteor shower because we could be outside and likely to have clear skies, rocket launches, t-shirt days in the winter, no day at the beach is ever the same, and lots of Vitamin D.

Wishing you a blissful 2019,

-Larry and Ivy

Happy Almost Turkey Day!

Greetings from the west! We know we’ve been out of touch for a while now. Gratefully, Ivy has a few extra days off, so she thought she’d send ya’ll a friendly salutation via the blog. For those teacher friends and family, you know as well as we do that teachers get stuck in this sort of cave of living life constantly thinking and striving to reach those kiddos that are seemingly unreachable. Now, with a few days off, in our home, we are reminded that we have two very reachable children of our own. This was exactly what Ivy was trying to avoid…getting caught up in others’ lives so hastily that she forgets her own life. This is a great time of year to remind ourselves what is important in life. And, if you have never viewed any of Gerry Brooks’ YouTube videos, check him out, as he has a great grasp on life as a teacher. Here’s one to give you a smile.

We plan to send out cards to you soon. Some of you have our new address, while others don’t. Hopefully this will help and you will mail us something back. If you don’t receive a card by mid-December, will you please drop us a line? We feel like we’ve detached from people quite a bit and we’re sorry for that. We adore you and don’t want to lose touch with you!

You’ve read much about the BCS (baby coffee shop – this name stays, because we know babies usually start growing, yet this little shop is still tiny as can be). You also know that Arbor and Larry are doing a homeschool hybrid (and Ivy helps him/her out on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays). That’s going well; much better than last year’s homeschool experience. This time, Arbor can move at a pace suited for her. Many of you have been asking about Calvin and Ivy’s school. While it’s difficult to describe, the best way to say it is that it’s more outside living/working/learning than ever the two of us have experienced.

The school has 3 buildings – one where Calvin and Ivy’s classrooms are housed, but in separate rooms, another where the older students learn, and a third building that includes what Ivy would call “The Arts” building…housing a pottery studio, weaving, music, and other arts studio, plus the Spanish teacher’s storage space. The school is situated on 5 acres with plenty of learning and working spaces outside. The weather is perfectly beautiful 99% of the time (aside from being too hot May-Sept). Since school was in session, there has been only 1 rainy day, but even on that day, students still managed to be outside for a good amount of the time and the rain here rarely (ever?) turns nasty, like some storms do in Michigan. The temperatures in these parts get chilly in the middle of the night, but recover quickly. The temperature shift from day to night is astounding! Sometimes it can be 85 in the daytime and 35 at night…a 50 degree shift is not uncommon! The sun seems to have more power here, fully warming a body even when it’s 45 degrees outside, making it possible to be outside in regular clothes, no matter the temp, as long as the sun is shining. No wonder so many homeless folks reside in California.

While we often wonder if we can stay in California (it’s so expensive to live here), we wonder daily if we could leave this climate. Some people say they get sick of the constant sunshine, but Larry and Ivy both feel that they cannot get enough sun. We have toyed with the idea of moving to San Francisco, as Larry would easily find a job with Tesla, but we are well aware that the sun doesn’t quite shine as frequently there. What will the future bring? Who knows, but we’ll try to keep you posted.

There is definitely a drought situation in this part and many parts of California. In fact, we have noticed that our water bill is outrageously high, whereas in Michigan, we paid close to nothing for water. The reverse is true about electricity. Here, we pay close to nothing (maybe because there are a lot more solar panels everywhere in these parts) in California for electricity, but in Michigan, we were paying upwards of $400 a month in the chilly season to keep our home lit and warm.

We had always heard from others who lived in warmer climates that their leaves would change color and all that, but it was “different.” We really did not know what that “different” meant, but this year we were fortunate to experience it. Our take on it is that just now we’re in the peak of fall colors here. There are many Oaks around and some Maples, though the Maple trees here do not grow nearly as large. Those trees and others are changing right now and it’s beautiful! It’s also amazing how much later that transition occurs in this climate. We hear Michigan has already had some light dustings of snow, but here we’ve barely crept below 70s during the day.

Our family has taken a couple of side trips, though we’ve really been adjusting back to the full-time work and school mode. One day we headed out to Carrizo Plain. When we told people we were headed there, most locals gave us a quizzical look, as if to say, “What and where is that?” As we drove there, we began to understand why. This place was empty! There were two campgrounds within the giant acreage of the place, but we actually only saw 1 truck with what appeared to be 1 live person driving it through our entire journey over this vast place. Camping must occur here much more in the summer?

We were drawn to it because we had read that it was one of the few places where the San Andreas Fault could actually be seen doing its jog close to the top crust of the Earth. Our poor children were sadly disappointed as we drove along this dirt road, then that dirt road, and another dirt road trying to catch a glimpse. We did find a ‘sag pond’ (currently dry area that sags when rain comes because of the fault) with the obvious line from the fault running through it. See a picture of Larry straddling it here. This was exciting to the grownups, but the kids were not impressed. We think they did not realize the magnitude of what we had found. Still, we would agree that the time and effort it took to find was probably not worth the drive. That said, Larry and Ivy found it thrilling to stand right where earthquake action had definitely occurred before.

Other fun we’ve had were Calvin’s 12th birthday, Halloween, and our community’s Harvest Festival. We did drive up through the new road where the giant landslide occurred past Big Sur. It was astounding to see the added land that now juts out into the water, compliments of mother nature moving loads of earth that would cover the trucks that transported tons like a thick, heavy blanket. Calvin was excited to realize there must have been a Porsche rally north of the landslide. We probably passed 30-40 different Porsches that day. He named them all flawlessly, though we’re sure he wishes they were all Lambos.

We do not seem to tire of the beach or the classic cars always around. It is true that cars last decades longer in this climate. Rust? Haven’t heard of it. Rarely see it.

For Halloween, Calvin’s class put on a poetry play. You can see some footage of it here, but it sure was dark! Also found in the photos are both kids’ costumes and some footage from Arbor’s talent show with some friends in our community. So cute!

You may have heard about the fires in the news lately. If you have not, it’s been dry all over this state. About the same time a fire (or more than one?) began near San Francisco, one or more also began near Los Angeles near many mansions in Malibu. Larry had people coming in to the BCS repeatedly saying they had to leave the city due to the smoke and air quality. That’s good news for the coffee shop, but not as good for the people who have lost homes or loved ones. A friend in our community wanted to hold a bake sale to raise money to help pay the firefighters for all their hard work. Arbor offered to bake cookies to add to this bake sale, so we had fun with that. The bake sale raised around $125.

Now we turn to the holidays and begin to think of how grateful we are for our friends and family, most of whom are still far from us in distance but not in heart. We wish you a wonderfully warm, cozy, and loving Thanksgiving.

When reading this over, we realize it might be our least funny blog yet. Sorry about that…especially if you’re reading for the humor. We’ll try to get back into the swing of things and cause some more laughter medicine soon. Ivy is sure t o fall-jump from a surry sooner or later.

Seaweed Art

Do you know that some people eat kelp? Ivy has it in her shampoo. It is supposed to be good for you and your body. But, by far the most interesting thing about kelp, or seaweed, is that it comes in a variety of makes and models. We could have spent time at the beach organizing it all into groups and classifying it, but instead we just digitally recorded a lot of it in its natural state. It’s pretty slimy to touch, so avoiding anything tactile with the green goopy plantfood is fine with us.

As we all expected, Ivy’s school prep is ramping up. This group of both parents and staff are extremely helpful and supportive. It reminds Ivy a lot of Okemos, except a lot smaller and less focused on standards and testing – woo hoo! Larry took time out from his busy coffee shop schedule to help Ivy find a car. Ivy wanted to do a 0% finance of a new car, but Larry talked her into an older car that would not require payments or expensive insurance. We’re still paying on the RV – both full coverage insurance + monthly payments. In the end, she recognizes that he is right, and we remind ourselves that our pay is about 1/3 of what we used to make in Michigan. Seems a bit ironic, eh? We pay about 50% more than we did for our mortgage in Michigan, yet we make way less than we did. Sure, Larry could probably make the big bucks at a dealership, but at what cost, we ask you!? (His mental and physical health, of course.) And, everyone knows that a small business loses money the first couple of years. Ivy wishes she could have had a smaller light-colored car, but the pea-green/yellow Mini was not her style. Plus, we hear it gets kind of chilly in the winter in Paso Robles…not snow-cold, but apparently black ice cold. Ugh.

Back to Ivy’s school, Santa Lucia (named for the mountain range in our area). After much deliberation, the board was kind enough to offer Calvin a scholarship. The place is too expensive for us to be able to pay, but the public schools in the area are not so great, so this is what we’ll do with our boy. And as for our girl…we’re really getting creative! There is a different homeschooling option here in this area than the one we opted for last year in Michigan. This one is less rigorous and offers support to struggling students. She had a rough start in life and will always face challenges. We knew this from the moment we met her and were willing to take it on for such a sweetie who deserves the best in life. So, our plan is to have Larry work with her when the shop becomes less busy. Ivy has Fridays off, so she’ll work with Arbor on Fridays and the weekend, as needed. We meet with the teacher about once a month, so s/he can check up on how things are going, and other specialists will be present for support as desired.

Next, we want to apologize to Mary. We have tried for the past 2 weeks to remember to have Larry don his creepy guy hat and pose for a photo to share with you. So far it has not happened, but soon, we hope!

We were fortunate enough to enjoy at least 2 Ferraris these past 2 weeks. One we saw in San Luis Obispo. Ivy said it was the best Ferrari she had ever seen. Calvin asked why. Can you guess Ivy’s reply? If you viewed our photos here, you might be able to figure it out. She explained to her dear son, the sportscar enthusiast, that all she had ever seen of a Ferrari was either ketchup or mustard colored speedy racers. Never had she seen one that was a pretty sapphire blue shimmering in the sun like it did. Plus, it was a convertible! Who can argue with that? Calvin. He went on to explain that this Spyder version of the Ferrari is so common. His mom replied, “But the color. That’s really uncommon, right?”

He had to admit to his mother that indeed the color is rare for a Ferrari and he dared to go on to say that Ferraris should always be ketchup or mustard colored! We don’t know where he got his bad taste, but rest assured that each night after he’s fallen asleep, we go in and whisper sweet nothings in his ear about best color schemes on the sportiest of cars. It will eventually have an effect, we’re sure…as he approaches the grumbling and grunting years of puberty where he’d rather not speak a clear coherent sentence all day long. Remember that Stuart Smalley guy from Saturday Night Live? We should get his daily affirmations and put headphones on Calvin each night as he slumbers. That Stuart guy really spoke clearly and eloquently…and he mostly was trying to say good things, as we recall. Maybe it’ll help keep the boy in bed too. He sleepwalks like a hilarious doofus mixed with a sly zombie, always popping up out of nowhere onto Ivy’s side of the bed. One night recently, he was carrying the plug-end of his alarm clock, dragging the rest of it behind him. He spoke that night. His words were, “Um, do you think we should take this to Skipper’s Brew?”

The ketchup Ferrari you see in the photos belongs to a guy who was contacted by media prior to doing their grand re-opening of PCH/Highway 1. He said they told him they wanted to have a sportscar present for every year since PCH was first created in 1934. Our new friend was year 1995 and he and his wife stopped in to our coffee shop after the rally. His wife was a bit peeved as she had learned that morning that they planned to shuttle the spouses onto a bus instead, making room for all the reporters as passengers in the rally. So, each sportscar owner drove PCH with a reporter. They had helicopters and drones covering the aerial views. Our 1995 guy drove a Mexican reporter along the trip. He told us that reporters came from around the world for this rally and reopening event. We wished we had known about it beforehand. We would have probably closed the coffee shop for something this exciting. They began with a lap around Laguna Seca Raceway in Salinas near Monterey and headed all the way to lil’ ol’ Morro Bay, parking by the rock in the end.

One day we took a little side trip to – where else? – Moonstone Beach! We just can’t get enough of that place. But Ivy had been talking about stopping in Harmony, a tiny town with a population of 18 people each time we pass the tiny town. If you know her at all, you know she loves glass and glasswork. There’s a big sign you can see from PCH that says, “Glassblowing.” That squeaky wheel finally got some grease and we stopped into the town of 5 or 6 buildings. It consisted of a wedding parlor (so cute!), post office (!), glass studio, and 2 or 3 private homes. There is also a wine tasting room up the road a bit. Larry and the kids almost left Ivy at the glassblowing place. It was her dreamland. There was someone working with glass right there in front of everyone and it appears as though anyone can do that, for a price. So, Ivy’s saving her pennies! It reminded Ivy of the good ol’ days when Mr. Watson made her stay after school in 6th grade because she couldn’t/wouldn’t light the Bunsen burner during science class. She finally got the guts up to do it and then no one could pull her away. In class over the weeks following, he gave the 6th graders tubes of glass that they could melt and re-form, which she absolutely loved and spent hours doing. She didn’t even crowd around Christy like everyone else when a glob of hot glass fell off her tube and into her shoe. It’s not that she didn’t care; she just knew Mr. Watson would handle it. Poor Christy was on crutches for weeks after her severe injury.

Moonstone Beach was different this visit. The smooth stones, which some may say are so tiny they act more sand-like than stone-like, were all buried under a layer of sand. We found ourselves digging some to get to them. Meanwhile, Calvin was building again with the driftwood. The fog snuck in and we hardly noticed. Afterward, we drove (or could walk) – literally – a third of a mile, and hello sunshine. Fantastic fog phenomenon in the month known on the coast as Fogust. That said, we have not seen a cloud or a drip of rain since we’ve lived in Paso Robles (mid-May). We hear some rain will come maybe in October. We’ll see…

Many schools have started around here. We think of you and yours often.

Well, Well, Well

One week after we say we’re going to post less often, we find ourselves frantically typing away to share events that only you would enjoy.

We made the local paper! Writer Karen Garcia made a visit the other week and had a sweet story to write.

We paired up with Chef Angelica, who lives in our little community. She makes gluten-free treats, so we purchase them from her and sell them at our shop. They’re expensive, so Ivy was sure they would not sell. As of today (first day selling them), we’ve sold 7. Thanks to those of you vacationing around here and willing to spend extra $ on some tasty treats. We really don’t mind if they don’t sell, as we’ll munch them all up, no prob!

Larry has been dealing with another hernia situation, trying to heal it without surgery. Soon after, Arbor announced that her booty was hurting. When asked what she thought might be wrong, she was pretty sure she had a hernia on her rear right cheek.

We’ve enjoyed swimming on the hot days when we aren’t at the shop. Yes, the kids took their squirting guns you sent, Vic. They very much enjoyed shooting their mom in the back. She didn’t tell them this, but it was like a lovely massage.

We took Larry’s birthday and one other day off mid-week. The main reason for 2 whole days off was to revamp our menu boards. People kept telling us our prices were too low (not customers, of course!), so we painted over the prices with chalkboard paint, took off “scones” and some other items we can’t find around here, and upped our prices just slightly. It was a very Pinterest-y project, bringing out Ivy’s creative side…except that she didn’t really get that creative with it…seeing as how it took her almost the 2 whole days to let the paint cure, get the prices set, add items that weren’t previously offered, etc.

TWICE now, customers at the coffee shop have mistaken us as Calvin and Arbor’s grandparents! What’s up with that!? We know, we know…we took longer than most to decide to bring up little tykes, and technically, we could have grandchildren their age, but reeeeeally?! It’s funny how much of a conversation stopper that topic brings.

There is so much fruit around these parts! Ivy made a tasty nectarine cobbler thingy for Larry’s birthday. We’ve been involved in so many community projects that Larry enjoyed spending his birthday in this manner. He really embraces the heat. The man could probably be out there all day in his creepy hat, looking like a shady character. One neighbor stopped in her tracks when he was out there. She said, “I don’t think I know you.” Larry reminded her he lives just a few doors down from her. Granted, she is quite a bit older…and maybe had some dementia, but still, if you saw Larry in his creepy hat looking like a shady character, you might try to avoid him too.

There have been giant and serious wildfires in several areas of Cali. None near us at this time, but many people from Fresno and Bakersfield have come in telling us they’re escaping the bad air of that area, since it is like a bowl, holding all the smoke and heat from the fires. Apparently there are some in the L.A. area too, and they’re valley folks as well, so the smoke and heat simmers and sticks around. Most amazing of all, however, are the fires called the Carr fires. Google it; they had a tornado spawned from the fires. That’s a real thing!

No photos this week. Wishing you a fantastic August,

The Schmidts

How Could We Forget?

Hello there again! If you aren’t aware, we posted just a short while ago, so be sure to read this post and the one right under it for a complete idea of the happs…including 2, that’s right -2 surveys! We cannot believe it, but we spent the past week going through our months of our adventurous journey, then forgot to post our “bests” in the blog…so, without further ado, here we go!

Favorite place we visited in the past 12 months –

Arbor = Devil’s Tower

Calvin = All of San Diego

Ivy = toss up between Danish Alps and any beach

Larry = Garden of the Gods, CO


Favorite boondock –

Arbor = Grandpa Pete’s (that counts, right?!)

Calvin = Carlsbad, CA

Ivy = Round Lake Vineyards

Larry = Carlsbad, CA


Least favorite place or thing –

Arbor = eye smash (when she ran into the open undercarriage door of the RV)

Calvin = the casita we stayed in Albuquerque, NM

Ivy = that dang logging road, MI

Larry = the giant fish from afar, MN


Favorite roadside attraction or activity –

Arbor = petting the stingrays, AZ

Calvin = Rodeo Drive, CA

Ivy = all the bikes, SD

Larry = tidepools


Most fun or WOW! –

Arbor = airplane restaurant, CO

Calvin = Las Vegas, NV

Ivy = totality eclipse, NE

Larry = Meteor Crater, AZ


Favorite animal seen along the journey –

Arbor = horse

Calvin = prairie dogs

Ivy = Sea Otters

Larry = Elephant Seals

We posted our Tour Builder a while back, but in case you’re interested…

Happy Friday!

Could An RV Be An Uber?

Greetings from the West Coast. Hope you’re all well. We realize some of you are feeling somber about this being our last ‘regular’ post, but cheer up, buttercup! – we’ll still post (just less frequently). So, if you haven’t subscribed to the blog, do so and then you will receive an email when we post.

Okay, we’ve created 2 surveys. If you really like – or even mildly like – our surveys, please do both! If they’re barely tolerable, don’t tell us ☹, but still do at least 1 of them, will ya please?!

Survey 1, AKA The Hardest Quiz is here – and Survey 2, AKA The Easiest Quiz is here – . When you fill these out, they’re like a gift to us, as some of you aren’t so good at keeping in contact, amIright?! We love hearing from you and this is our fun way of doing it.

Not much new to report here. We had some super-hot days in Paso Robles this week, so the kids made their crayon art. Arbor’s can be seen here and we hope to include a pic of Calvin’s next time, as it was still cooling.

As usual, we had unusual visitors at the coffee shop this week. There were lots of folks from France. A few of them were wearing Space X attire…so we had to ask. Sure enough, they are living in the US for now and working for Space X. They were preparing for a launch that occurred early in the morning (for us on the west coast) on the 25th. We almost woke up at 4am to view it, but opted instead to watch it recorded a little later, as Larry needed his beauty sleep.  The French people would not tell us what they were all doing here, as it was top secret, but we think it had something to do with the giant gray boats that were being convoyed out of here a few weeks ago. Conspiracy theories abound, but one thing we think for sure…Elon Musk will drop by here any day now.

We leave you on this (almost) eve of Larry’s 576th-month birthday. It still seems surreal with all that has happened over these 12 months…he began to walk and talk, then potty training finally occurred…and he got in that terrible fight at school. Oh, wait – – that was Larry the puppy. You can see him in the photos too. He’s so cute – just like the 576-month-old human Larry.

A big smooch goes out to you. Please keep in touch and we’ll do the same!

Ginger…the Redhead or the Root? And Turkeys…the Bird or the Country?

It has been thoroughly amazing watching the buzz about Highway 1 (aka PCH) as it opened…2 days early! People can once again get to Morro Bay, among many other fun stops, staying on PCH the entire trip. We don’t notice increased traffic yet, but we hear things will pick up. In one sense, it is fine with us if it stays less busy. That’s why we chose this area. It’s a lot less congested than San Fran, L.A., and San Diego and still has a small-town feel.

We did have a newlywed couple come in today. They had arrived from England and were traveling from San Fran down to L.A. They had no idea, but they had driven the new portion of PCH only 1 day after it had opened. We told them how fortunate they were, and only then did they realize what amount of road they were able to avoid backtracking.

We learned that the county fair is in our town, Paso Robles. San Luis Obispo is the ‘big’ city (48,000) in the county, so we can’t figure out why they chose Paso as their county fairgrounds (31,000). We hear the fair will make it pretty busy in our little town, but so far we’re not noticing a change, except maybe for the seemingly older/classic planes flying around. We have seen so many seemingly older/classic cars since our time in this state. It’s just such a common thing around here that we forget how very old cars can last an eternity out in Cali versus dank, humid, rusty Michigan.

We know we are probably driving you crazy always bragging about the weather, and also by always comparing the differences in climate and temps of Paso and Morro, but it continues to amaze us. While it appears that it will be 106 in a few days in Paso, Morro will boast low 80s. It is kind of like living the dream…perfect days in Morro and perfect nights in Paso. We have not seen rain or clouds that might rain since spring. Calvin thinks we should buy a boat and “use it on the weekends,” but we like the idea of mooring it in the bay and walking out each morning to the coffee shop, just steps away. Of course, there is that tiny problem of funding a purchase like that…time to play the lottery!

You may recall that on our drive to and fro Morro Bay each day, we pass the dinosaur ranch. Today was extra interesting when passing through, as there were probably 10 Turkey Buzzards hanging out near one of the dinos. It looked like a prehistoric feast fest. Turkey Buzzards are some of our favorite birds around here. It makes us think of the Jungle Book, though we think those were some sort of vulture. But that’s the sort of personality these avian authorities have in CA.

We keep sharing footage of the Dragon Boat wannabe; sorry about that. Larry keeps thinking it’s the real one, so Ivy rushes out with her photo taker and then has to lecture him about how the real one is so much more. We’ll definitely share if/when we see it again. Speaking of sharing beyond August…Linda suggested we do an “occasional blog” which we think could work. We know it won’t be the same and we have heard from several folks who want us to keep going on the weekly basis. Maybe this alternative will help with Ivy’s sanity, but also help us to keep in touch with ya’ll. Please keep in mind that we LOVE hearing from you too! If you reply on the site here, we always read it, but can’t figure out how to reply to you via the site. So, whether you are willing to trust that we’re reading and loving hearing from you, or if you’d rather send us an email once in a while, please know that this is a 2-way street and your feedback and support are mucho appreciado! (A little Spanglish since we’re so inundated out here.) Fun fact – Ivy spent over half of her elementary years in Spanish immersion classrooms…and another fun fact – While she remembers the colors and most of the days of the week, she could not say, “I love nectarines in my coffee,” to save her life…or much else, for that matter.

You will find some pictures of the moon in its waxing stage here. We were too lazy to go downstairs that night, go outside, and snap the shot. Yet it was so neat, we still had to try to capture it because Jupiter was right there next to it, shining so brightly. It was kind of cool how it resembled the flag of Turkey. Hmmmmm…is there a theme developing among turkeys in this blog entry?

One warmer day when Ivy and the kids stayed home, we tried that crayon art project that people do, where they secure crayons to a canvas, then blow hot air from a hairdryer onto the crayons, causing them to melt and hopefully create an artistic piece. We decided to try this without the hairdryer, and wanted to see if the Sun’s rays and heat could melt the crayons. The kids chose the ‘ugly’ colors out of the box for our experiment, saving the ‘lovely’ colors for their artsy canvases if the experiment worked. It was a 95-degree day and it took a while, but almost all of the crayons melted to some extent. It was fun discussing why the white and light orange didn’t melt. This Wednesday is supposed to be 101, so we’re planning to try the advanced version of the art with the ‘lovely’ colors then.

As you may recall, Larry is a coffee drinker. He loves a good cup ‘o joe each morning. Ivy may enjoy coffee scents, but she does not enjoy any hot drink of any kind (Really, world, do we need more heat?!?). So, if one is going to talk her into a coffee, it had better be an iced or blended something or other. This all makes sense with her history of the Taste-Test Game from her childhood with those cousins of hers. She’d say yes to most anything being thrown into a smoothie-type drink…yes to throwing in some kale. Broccoli? Okay! Ginger? Why, yes, of course! You know, ginger is a great anti-inflammatory agent, acts as a pain reducer, and anti-nausea – and so much more! If you can stand the somewhat overpowering taste, throw it in your next smoothie. Incidentally, Ivy’s maternal grandmother’s (the one who would actually allow us crazy cousins to play the Taste Test Game, creating much more repulsive combinations than one would willingly choose) name was Ginger. If you’re learned on gingers via the Urban Dictionary or elsehow, you know we’re feisty, fun, and somewhat fanatical. (Surely, Ginger passed her redheaded freckle traits onto her offspring.) So, with Ivy’s Greek (paternal grandfather) and Ginger combo, Larry is a lucky lad, wouldn’t you agree? Ivy’s always spraying Windex on everything. Ivy’s students used to ask her where the red in her hair went. She would tell them the solid truth…”My grandma went gray when she was 16. It’s genetics, kids, aright?” Truth be told, Ivy had a few streaks of red in her almost entirely brown hair as a child. Happy now!? The secret is out! (That’s her feistiness coming through.) Don’t mess with her anymore.

Can you believe summer is half-over? We can’t!!! Be sure to enjoy it before it has slipped away completely.


That title is just the sound you’re supposed to make on Friday the 13th. We hope your ominous-but-not-so-ominous Friday the 13th in July went well. It’s hard to believe just 10 days ago Ivy was celebrating her 29th birthday again. While we may have had trouble celebrating on the third, we did find a day the week after this busy time. We went back to Ivy’s fave beach, Moonstone Beach! It’s a long stretch of the beach, so we tried a different area than we had gone to in the past. There were fewer Moonstones, but many more big rocks, which made Calvin’s day, as he loves to climb on them. It made Ivy’s day because she thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Harbor Seals lazing about…kind of like she does on the sofa at home…kindred spirits. And then there was Arbor. We thought ahead and brought along a thick, sturdy paper cup. By the end of the visit, the cup was pretty much mush. That’s okay because it kept her quite happy and took a long time to break down. What did Larry enjoy most? It was low tide, so he found tons of little creatures, like hermit crabs, other crabs, anemones, and small fish. See a video of his two favorite little hermit crab tykes here.

On our way back to Paso Robles from Cambria (Moonstone Beach’s town), we took a splendid drive through the mountains. It was packed with a little surprise. At the apex, we could see all around us and to our right, we could see all of Morro Bay, including the (usually giant, but now tiny looking) Morro Rock. The fog had come in, so the pictures turned out pretty sweet! There were pull-offs to get out and take a scenic view, but we were still astounded at the change in temperature from the beach (probably around 70 degrees or a little warmer) to the climb up the mountain, just a 10-minute drive from the water, at probably 95 degrees. By the time we got up to the top, we’re guessing it was over 100 degrees. It never ceases to amaze us the ocean’s ability to keep a steady, perfect temperature.

Do you recall the massive landslide that occurred North of us, near Big Sur? It happened in May of 2017 and took out a portion of Hwy 1 and they expected to have the road rebuilt by September of this year…almost 1 ½ years after the rains, and subsequent landslide occurred. Now they are thinking they’ll have it open by the 20th of this month. Woohoo! Why such a big deal? Near the Morro Bay area, there are a lot of small beach towns, including Morro Bay, of course. When PCH (Pacific Coast Highway, aka Hwy 1) closed, it kept the riff raff and everyone else from fulfilling their dreams of traveling PCH from San Francisco to Los Angeles and beyond. Morro Bay, along with many other beach towns, is right off of PCH, so we get a lot of people stopping into town on their vacay treks. With that portion of PCH being closed, local business owners say traffic and crowds have shrunk. There is a big sigh of relief coming from this community as the opening approaches. In fact, the City of Morro Bay will begin a campaign called “Morro Bay is #1 on Hwy 1” and they asked local businesses to offer a special food, drink, or other take-away for this fun event running August 1 through the end of September. We created our blended PCH (Perfect Coffee/Cookie Happiness), but one can get it in hot version, and/or uncaffeinated too. Ivy is finding that this is her favorite part of the coffee shop business…creating new, fun drinks. Gotta channel that creative outlet somehow!  BTW, that is marshmallow fluff, not whipped cream. It matters!

Lately, Ivy’s life has been increasing in busy-ness. She is gradually (Larry might say to replace the ‘gradually’ with ‘rapidly’) adding the teacher life back into her days. Since she sold and gave away almost all of her school stuff, she has been creating, grabbing, refining, and tweaking others’ work. It’s amazing what Teachers Pay Teachers offers as far as freebies.

Meanwhile, Larry has been working often to try to sell our RV. We kind of knew it would be difficult to sell, because when we bought it, we heard stories of many people who wanted to buy, but banks were not willing to loan such a large amount for an ‘older expensive’ vehicle. We had/have great credit and MSU’s Federal Credit Union is the best, so it was no problem for us to acquire a loan. As of now, we are consigning the RV with an RV sales place. Maybe they will give someone a loan. Of course, they’re not willing to pay us nearly as much as we were hoping to get out of it, but desperate times…so we’ll at least be able to pay off the loan, we think. Funny how prices are so much higher out in Cali, but our (very good condition, very low mileage) RV’s value/price is way lower than what we paid in Michigan.

At our home, the hippie commune (just kidding! It’s far from it, but still…let’s say unique or rare), Ivy has been helping a lot in the orchard. It is so rewarding to spend time growing some of our own food. The kids and Ivy planted pumpkin and watermelon seeds a few weeks ago. We transferred them to be ‘under the fruit trees cover’ with help from Jean (Ivy would call her the Mother of the Orchard). When planting, Arbor kept calling poor Jean, Jan. Ivy would correct her, and she would do it again and again. Luckily Jean-Jan was an educator for many years, so we think she understands. We’ve also been keeping an eye on our neighbors’ cat, Chika while they’re away for a month. Chika will come to our doorway each morning and greet us. Arbor greets her, “Good morning Keecha.” Aside from the names of local folks, she’s settling in well. Both kids have practically zero body fat, so they’re not minding the heat at all. We wish we could say the same, but this dry heat thing has not been too bad…aside from the 105 degree stretch where it only got down to 60 at night for a few nights. Yes, we’re a bit embarrassed to report that we did indeed turn on the air conditioning. But now we’re back down to the high 80s, munching on more fruit than a frugivore, chillin’ with a blended PCH…life is good.

We’re looking at saying goodbye to the blog on its 1-year anniversary. We know there are some of you who will be sad to see it go. But we all know that Ivy will soon become too busy and if we left it all up to Larry, it would sound like a car talk show with some coffee and beer bonus reels.

We leave you now with the scent of coffee in the air. Can you smell it? If not, come on over!

So Many Reasons to Celebrate

Do you love a good celebration? We know you do! We’re guessing you celebrated this week at least one time. We hope it was a blast (like that pun?)! We learned so much this week. For example, there are not many actual, true fireworks in these parts. It’s just too dry. The county fairgrounds arranged to do fireworks, but individual towns just wouldn’t take the risk of fires. They find other ways to celebrate, like with light shows and drones. We did not actually see any of those this year, as we had to get to bed early so we could wake up early to be at the BCS. It’s okay…don’t feel bad for us…we enjoyed a great “non-motorized” parade in front of the coffee shop. You can see some pictures here. Next year we plan to participate! There was also a “non-motorized” water parade, but it was not as hefty with participation. We did include a picture or video of the smaller of the 2 dragon boats we saw, but they didn’t seem to be where all the rest of the paraders were, so we’re not certain they knew they were even parading. This all backed right up with Ivy’s birthday. She always thinks the fireworks are for her. This year, as you can imagine with limited fireworks, she was really confused.

There is a crew of women (we only heard half of the conversation, but we think they’re all cancer survivors) who run a true Dragon Boat in the bay. We’ve seen them zip past here from time to time. It’s pretty cool to watch their synchronicity and sometimes they chant with a drum to their strokes. One of these days we’ll catch them in a video.

As June Gloom came to an end (in case you aren’t following, there’s Gray May and June Gloom around the coast of CA…lots of fog…sometimes 5 out of 7 days of the week, but it dissipates most mornings…and it often looks like clouds, as it’s higher up in the sky than we find in MI), we began to think there should be some sort of rhyme with July too. But, we are now thinking the word July is like the word orange. Does anything rhyme with those words?! The fog/clouds were omnipresent, but ol’ Ma Nature finally came through with some fully-sunny days on the coast.

We were (surprisingly) not that busy at the coffee shop during this special week with a holiday smooshed into it. On Ivy’s birthday, we left early to…can you guess? No, not the beach. No, not a brewery or vineyard. We went to our roasters. We needed beans, as the male adult who we will not name had not ordered enough. We went to SLO Roasted and picked up more beans, but also asked for a tour. That was kind of cool! They get the beans, mostly from places in South America, and roast them in their giant roaster, then grind some, package them all, and sell them. Of course, we grind our own, but it was fun seeing where and how they roast. We always love the local aspect, ya know?

Most of the time when we head to and fro the coffee shop, we take the shortest route. It’s approximately half freeway and half narrow winding roads through the mountains. After work, once in a while we stop at the Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos, the next beach town over from Morro Bay. After that, we take a different way home that involves even steeper and windier roads, but the drive is even more breathtaking. We included a time lapse version of a quarter of the drive in the pictures this time. If you’re one to get motion sick, we advise that you skip that video.

Coming back that way, we pass so many vineyards. We learned that this area (they call it Central Coast) produces the most wine in the USA after Napa Valley. We suspect that Paso Robles and its surrounding area house the majority of it, but that’s only because we see it everywhere in between here and there. We created a folder within the photos titled “Vineyards in just a 5-mile stretch” just to give you an idea. It is astounding! So, for those of you who plan to visit and are even partly winos, we can arrange to have one of those short transit tinted buses drive us around from place to place like the rich and famous. We’ll tell everyone we’re not famous, but they’ll still think we’re Dan Akroyd and Roseanne. Who will they think you are?

While we are not too into drama (save that for your mama…errrr…wait…), we did learn of some interesting happenings around Morro. First, we should explain the baby tortoise pictures from last week. Thanks, Linda, for mentioning that we forgot to mention the mentionables. So there’s this lady named Lisa. She’s a ‘regular’ at our shop. She works a couple of jobs and comes in before work at the aquarium down the street. One of her other jobs is to help the Morro Bay wildlife rescue, Pacific Wildlife Care do their work. She and her colleagues raise and care for the animals in need. They had just received these tortoises who were going to be left to die because their shells had imperfections. Apparently, breeders cannot sell these reptiles if their shells have an unintended line in a spot where it would not normally occur. As you may have guessed, Lisa is a bit of a hero to us. We asked if we could help somehow…raise one of the tortoises (until we found out that they’re diggers!), but that’s another story. For now, we found a place on their website where we could buy them something from their wishlist from Amazon. Thanks, Pacific Wildlife Care, for taking care of abandoned baby Sea Otters, hurt Sea Lions, and multitudes more animals!

Anyway, Lisa and another regular customer (we’re going to call her Granddaughter because we don’t know her name, but we do know she’s a Granddaughter to the Aquarium owners) come in frequently and tell us the tale that began about 58 years ago with Granddaughter’s Grandfather. He started up the aquarium about 5 doors down from the BCS. As you may recall, Arbor and Ivy went down there to check it out one day and it was looking pretty decrepit. We found out today that the owners of the Central Coast Aquarium in nearby beach town Avila Beach will be building the new aquarium here. While anyone would agree that the place here needs a rebuild, the drama has come with the city not accepting Grandfather’s appeal to rebuild and basically cutting this longstanding family business out of the picture entirely, offering the new Avila folks a very inexpensive rent on the Embarcadero of just $1 per year for 50 years! We pay A LOT more than that for our tiny little BCS each month, including an additional 5% of our sales that goes to the city, just like the rest of the businesses here…and the new aquarium is getting quite the deal of a lifetime…not to mention, they’re forcing out the previous owners for no obvious reason. But there is a subtle reason. It turns out that the vote by Morro Bay’s city council was 3-2 in favor of the new owners and great financial deal. Then, one of those 3 who voted for the new owners left the city council to become the CEO of this Avila Central Coast Aquarium! It left Granddaughter and her family business hurt, surprised, and bewildered. We are not the only local business owners who have heard this tale, and others are bothered by the sweet deal for only one business on the Embarcadero…but what to do? Change the subject; that’s what we’ll do!

We really appreciate those of you who replied to our “11-year-old-son-who-is-too-cool-for-words” issue. Most of you agreed that this is quite normal and suggested we wait it out. Will do! But Ivy loves how the tables do turn. She recalls so many times when her mom embarrassed her. Sometimes her mom didn’t even have to do anything to garner that respect. Now, Ivy is on the other side and she’s finding that she loves to give Calvin kisses and smooches whenever people are watching. What a beautiful thing…being the parent instead of the embarrassed child. But, what comes around, goes around. Ivy also used to love hiding behind a corner in the house and when her mom would approach, Ivy would jump out and scare her. Guess who’s doing that to Ivy now?

Haley, the ice cream shop owners’ granddaughter gave Arbor loads of her old clothes…just in time, as Arbor has been growing a lot lately! Each day, as Arbor heads to the coffee shop with us, she announces, “I’m going to so Shusie my outfit,” (instead of ‘show Susie’). Susie plays along and tells Arbor she remembers the outfit, though we don’t think she could remember them all. Now, if only we could figure out what to do with Calvin. When he wears pants, they’re always like highwaters these days…but we can’t find the only kind he likes…we miss you and your Nike/UnderArmour pants, Ben! Luckily, Cal can wear shorts most of the time right now.

We wish you a wonderful July! Take care and enjoy wearing shorts instead of highwaters.

Around the World on a Busboat

Hey! We hope your week was fantastic. Ours was, as usual. We met more people from around the world. Well, actually they were mostly from Europe this past week, a little bit of Norway, Netherlands, Finland, and then there were the multitudes of Australians. Obviously, they’re not from Europe, but they were once ruled by Europeans, so it kind of counts. We asked a few of the Aussies why they come here (we know why we would, but we wondered what they saw in the non-Great Barrier Reef part of the Pacific). They reminded us that it is wintertime for them right now.

We think there was also some sort of bus straight from Asia…China, Thailand, or Taiwan maybe? You know, the buses that become boats? Seriously though, they descended on us like a cloud of barely-speak-English-folks. When we finally understood that half of them wanted a caramel latte, we whipped them up and about 67% of that half decided the caramel lattes were too sweet. We have tried articulating to Europeans and Asians alike that American lattes are too sweet for their taste, but they don’t seem to listen and we end up adding hot water (their idea!) to the latte…live and learn…us and them!

Since our drive to and fro the BCS is a bit long for the kids, we try to have some fun by identifying landmarks along the way. It also helps end the ceaseless question, “How much longer?” (aka, “Are we there yet?”) There’s the BBQ place in the mountains with all kinds of fun-looking gimmicks, the goats at one place, and the billy goats at another (gotta keep ‘em differentiated somehow), and there’s the brewery near the end of our drive coming home, which Arbor calls the lion and bear place (you’ll know why if you go to the link). But, our favorite landmark by far, is also our halfway point. It’s the ranch (which looks like a sprawling hilly yard) with all the dinosaurs. Most of us enjoy the T-Rex munching on the surfboard, but all of the Jurassic Park wannabe yard is interesting. We tried to stop by and get a closer view one day, but there’s a ‘No Trespassing’ sign right out front. It’s too bad they tempt us all with the cool creations, just to keep the actual exploring all to themselves. We included some pictures of the dino yard and other things here.

A few weeks ago, a woman and Larry struck up a conversation out front of the BCS and she turned out to be the ‘recruiter of new businesses in Morro Bay for the City Council’ woman. She asked Larry if he would come and introduce himself and talk briefly of Skipper’s Brew at the next council meeting, as this is their regular start to their meetings. Larry said he would. That occurred this past Tuesday. Ivy and the kids watched him online. Had we known ahead of time how to access the show, we would have asked you to tune in. It was absolutely exhilarating for the kids to watch their dad on TV. Ivy tried to remind them she had been on national TV once, but they acted as if they could care less.

We think we mentioned before that Morro Bay is a dog-friendly community. We do what we can by offering free dog coffee (they call it water in dogspeak). We also offer free dog treats, which Arbor is always ready to give out, and better yet, a free Puppuccino, an espresso-sized cup filled with whipped cream to any dog who asks. Arbor also enjoys being the Holder of the Cup for the dogs as they try to slurp it down. We took a video one day, as it is so adorable to watch! We were once hopeful that this would fulfill Calvin’s desire for a dog, but he mostly ignores it (probably because he knows that Larry will not give in on us having a dog). In fact, as the (way-too-young in mom’s mind) 11-year-old boy’s voice is changing, his parents notice he is becoming more and more silent, maybe even distant. We think this is normal, but how would we know? We’re only children and Ivy’s not taught kids that old. Help us! Please let us know, those of you who have had a boy who’s near 11 or older…ugh! He wouldn’t even participate in our Snapchat photo session the other day. Granted, we can be a little embarrassing, but that’s nothing new. Is there any hope?

We can’t believe it, but so far, we’re loving Paso Robles’ heat. There is an afternoon breeze that picks up daily and blows that dry heat around, cooling it some. There is not a night that goes by when we do not open the windows. We have not used the air conditioning yet. Our current goal is to see if we can go all summer without it. We’re sure there are warmer days coming, but we’re content with it all so far. Here’s a toast to perfect weather all the time!