Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve

I've never really been into New Years Eve celebrating other than ones in the past concerning winter camping out or going on a moonlit ski.  Anyway I'll be spending this one with my cousin Craig camped on highway 1 about 10 miles north of Santa Cruz.  It's great you can still just pull over and sleep on the side of the road in spots.  We will celebrate in a historic old times sake kind of way, although we likely won't be awake until midnight...or even 10 pm.?

I got a text and the boat I'm crewing on reached San Francisco this midmorning.  After sailing all night, once at the marina he crashed I suppose as he didn't text back with the marina address or answer my phone call.  We continued on with our day and Craig is now out surfing.  We will drive to the boat in the morning.  It sounds like we will head right out tomorrow afternoon due to the high nightly rate at San Francisco Marina and Yacht Club... just 2 miles in from the Golden Gate Bridge.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

It's been a month since arriving

It's now been one month since I arrived to the Oakland Airport. My cousin picked me up and I've been staying at his place ever since. I knew this time of year had the potential to keep small craft in port due to strong winds and large seas. Originally, I thought about renting a car and driving up to Eureka to meet the boat but once I got here I decided to just hang out with my cousin and wait for the sailboat to reach San Francisco. After 2 weeks stuck in Brookings Oregon and almost 2 weeks in Eureka he had made it to Fort Bragg on Sunday. He said he was hoping to reach San Francisco on Wednesday, which is tomorrow so it won't be long now. My cousin wants to go surfing again so we will be heading to the coast tomorrow and this time I'll be packed and ready to get onboard.
It might seem like a long time to be waiting for the boat?.. But it's been great reconnecting after nearly 40 years with my cousin and best childhood friend for a month.

Location:Manteca,United States

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My first Redwoods

After a couple of days on the coast, we drove over to Redwoods Regional Park up in the hills west of Oakland. Gregg, a friend of mine who was a kayak guide for a couple seasons in '98 & '99 had invited me via Facebook to a Shinrin Yoku Forest Therapy Walk. Gregg is currently a nurse and still guides occasional kayak trips. Most recently he was co-guide with a Prescott College group on a 2.5 month trip to the Sea of Cortez.

Gregg was working towards some credentials or certification for this type of Japanese forest therapy and is soon headed to Japan to further his pursuit. He is hoping to eventually convince certain doctors to prescribe this kind of therapy to patients suffering from an inadequate connection to the natural world. Anyway, it was interesting and great to see Gregg again. I'd last seen Gregg around 2003 when he stopped in Grand Marais on his way to Alaska where he worked as a nurse for a few years. At some point he moved to the Bay Area of California where he now lives. This trip is about getting onboard the sailboat I'm crewing on, not sight seeing so I won't be getting up to Redwood National Park etc.. I'll be back this way soon on a road trip with plenty of time for camping and backpacking.

According to a sign on the path, the ordinal huge and ancient Redwood trees in this area were clear cut from 1840 - 1860. The current redwood trees are up to 175 years old I guess but many are much larger than the biggest white pine you'll see in northern Minnesota. Many are 2' to 3' in diameter and a few were closer to 4' in diameter. I never knew that redwood trees would sprout from the cut stumps but they do. You could see circular clumps of 2' - 3' diameter trees around the remains of a really huge ancient tree's stump....

To the Coast

It's Christmas Eve that I'm writing this. I will be spending Christmas with my cousin Craig for the first time in perhaps 40 years ..?  The boat I'll be crewing on has reached Eureka after over 2 weeks of waiting in Brookings, Oregon for a break in the weather.  He's now been in Eureka over a week but it sounds like he may be able to make progress south this weekend.  It's possible he could reach San Francisco sometime next week.
Last Thursday through Saturday, Craig and I drove out to the coast to his favorite surfing place in Davenport, about 10 miles north of Santa Cruz.  We camped out 2 nights and it was nice to see that at least in Santa Cruz county you can still just pull over at numerous places along Highway 1 and sleep. My cousin slept in his truck topper.  I slept under the stars the first night and in a tiny tent during a rainy second night.   Craig got in a few surf sessions Thursday afternoon and Friday then we drove to Redwood Regional Park near Oakland on Saturday morning.  A former kayak guide employee and friend Gregg, had posted on Facebook about a type of Japanese nature walk he was doing in that Park.....

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Catching up with my Cousin

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It's been one week now that I've been in California staying with my cousin Craig in the Central San Joaquin Valley.  He lives in Manteca so about a two hour drive to the coast or Yosemite National Park.  The sailboat I'm going to be crewing on is presently in Brookings, Oregon just north of the California border.  I was going to try getting up to Eureka, which would be the boats next stop but I've decided to wait until it reaches San Francisco.  Since I have a place to stay I figure I may as well let the boat catch up with where I am.  The boat is currently waiting for improved conditions and has been in Brookings since Monday the 30th.  I've not talked to the captain since then but he said it will be a while before he can head out again.  There is currently a gale warning for that area with 40 - 50 knot winds and seas to 27 feet.

Catching up with my cousin has been wonderful.  We have not seen each other since 2002 when he drove up to Grand Marais after coming back to Minnesota to be part of sprinkling the ashes of his parents.  We were the best of friends all through our childhood and up until he moved out to LA California to pursue his career as a Mechanical Engineer.  We kept aware of what we were each up to through the years but mostly via occasional emails.  He eventually moved up to the Bay Area and at some point got into surfing, free diving and scuba diving.  He's lived in Cozumel, Mexico working as a dive master and in Sitka, Alaska selling jewelry to the cruise ship crowd.  We were looking through photos he had and I snapped a photo of one which I'll add below...
We must be about 18 or 19 years old here : )


It's interesting to discover we share so many similarities after so many years.  We both talk about retiring in a foreign country and now my cousin even seems interested in the idea of living on a sailboat for a while.  It seems likely we will spend a lot more time together in the years ahead after barely staying in contact since the late 70's.  He's living in Manteca due to work but was layed off in August so spends a bit of each day seeking a job via the Internet.  He hopes to find a job that would have him living closer to the ocean so he could surf more often.  We aren't really driving all over sight seeing and I miss my walks on the beach back in Duluth but it is so cool to talk about old times and future plans.  We are by far each other's closest relative, with a lot of childhood memories as we lived only 1/4 mile or less from each other.   It seems it will be at least 2 more weeks before the sailboat arrives to San Francisco.  That's it.....