I drove into Ojai a month ago on Jan, 14th. When I arrived, I though I’d be there 2-3 weeks. Gotta say, it doesn’t seem like 4 weeks. And, it is time to resume the walkabout.
My stay has been luxurious by the camping/hiking standards I’ve grown accustomed to thanks to the generosity of three friends who shared their homes with me. One, offering her RV as a place to sleep for the first week, two, while he was out of the country, and three, when she was out of town for 3-4 days a week.
Spending time with friends. Honest, heartfelt conversations.

Taking Sherman for hikes in the mountains. Precious water running in the streams…

and running on the beach. Cynthia and Riley meeting us on the beach so the dogs can run, run, run…
Seeing the incredible erosion on the beaches from the storms.
Going to LA for “late Christmas”. Three generations here: L, Eben and Maximus.

And to LA another day to hank with the grandkids. Austin receiving a comfort moment with grandpa.
Making new friends. Watching martial arts movies with Robert. Going to 12-step meetings that had been so important to the birth and creation of sanity and serenity. Getting some information about Sherman from an animal empath. Finishing watching Seasons 2&3 of Alone. Doing some computer work. Sitting quietly. Getting good sleep. Weaning from coffee to white tea. Reducing my processed sugar intake to near zero. Giving Sherman a bath.
Peggy saw this one day when we were at Coast to Coast diagonally across the street from Vons. This is NOT a tree. What is it?
One of the mushroom blooms I saw after the rains. This was big! About a foot across.
The ebb and flow of being alive.
Since I arrived in Ojai on Jan 14, I was there as The Donald stepped into the POTUS character in the Reality TV show called Earth.
Wow! I really thought we were on the brink of turning Left. The sharp turn Right feels like being in an intersection and being slammed into by an unexpected force. My brain is just recovering from the concussion.
I drive out of Ojai at 6:30am to meet Kazdyn and his girlfriend in Santa Ana for breakfast. Traffic is not too heavy and we get there about about 9:30. It’s the first time she and I are meeting. I like her a lot! About noon, Sherman and head East. We’re headed back to New Mexico. My exploration of the state was cut short when my mom died. It’s now 2 months. One of those seems like yesterday and seems like a long time ago events…
I look at a map to see how far we are from The Salton Sea. Many years ago, I read a book of spirit poems by a author I can’t recall that was written there. Since then I’ve wanted to go spend some time there. We’re about 2 hours away. So that’s where we head.
The Salton Sea is near Indio, off the I-10. It’s big on the map, with a road only along one side. There are a series of State Parks along the lake, so I’m hopeful to find a nice spot to stay.
When we get to the 1st, and main, park entrance, I discover that dogs are not allowed on the trails along the lake in any of the parks. What is it with America and dogs?  So, we drive on. I find a local park that is a large parking are on the lake. Perfect!
We park and walk to the lake. It’s WAY down as are SoCal lakes. We find a path down to the very wide sandy beach where I hope to be able to let Sherman run. We walk through some bushes down the embankment and discover that what looked like a very wide white sand beach is tiny sea shells. There is NO sand. It’s all shells. I dig down in one spot and stop after a foot. No dirt. Just shells. It’s hard to walk on and Sherman is walking gingerly. Not wanting to run at all. The shells are probably sharp on his pads. I look to be sure they’re not cutting his pads and they’re not, so we go for a walk down the shell beach.

The mind can’t grok the billions of shells here. That whatever this critter is, it was in this kind of abundance. Maybe it still is in the water. Feels like a plague.
I’m clear that this in NOT where we’re going to stay tonight. It’s interesting, but doesn’t have a welcome vibe. After an hour walk, we head back to the van. I look for Forrest Service or BLM campsites ahead. There are a group of five, 2 hours ahead in Quartzsite, AZ.
We get there an hour before dusk. The area is a big ATV zone. The site we go to is an BLM land, so it’s what’s called dispersed camping. No sites are marked out. This is like a Wal-Mart sized parking lot with trees and bushes. There are at least 50 RVs here. Mostly big one’s with ATV’s parked next to them. It’s quiet and surrounded by high desert. We take a walk and then get ready to sleep.