Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lake Lopez

The thing I really love about living here is that every moment you are not actually working, you feel like you are on vacation. At least, I do.

Part of the reason for this is probably the climate, which still feels new and exotic to me after decades on the East coast and in Colorado. I'm accustomed to living near agricultural centers, but not like this. I'm still delighted every time I see oranges and lemons growing in someone's yard. K and I pulled over on the side of the road the other day to admire an entire field that had been planted with asparagus. That's not something you see in Denver or Hagerstown! And what are these beautiful purple thistles in our neighbors' garden? Oh, those are artichokes!

Living here, you are surrounded by green things growing (and purple and pink and blue things too.) But the thing I love best about our home county doesn't have any color at all. Can you guess what it is? It's the water!

It's everywhere! Lakes and rivers, beaches and bay...there are so many inviting ways to spend our off it, on it, even eating things that came out of it.

We are in the habit now of just leaving all our canoe gear in the back of the van, so it's easy to just hop in and go for a boat ride.

Last weekend we visited Lopez Lake. Of course, I love the ocean, but sometimes we just need a break from the summer fog. Before I moved here, I was always confused by that one line in the song "Lady is a Tramp." She "hates California?" "It's cold and it's damp?" LA always looked sunny and warm in the movies. What was Ella Fitzgerald talking about? Apparently, she was talking about Los Osos and all the other coastal towns between Santa Barbara and Monterey.

Maybe she didn't know about our inland lakes. Even on our foggiest, dampest, coolest days, there is a sunny wonderland hidden behind the hills, just a few miles to the East. Last Saturday, we found it up at Lopez Lake.

It was beautiful and sunny. And it's super easy to put the canoe in, because of the nice little shaded path that goes directly from the parking lot to the water. But, as you can see, it's a motor-boat kind of place. We had a nice time paddling around and exploring the quieter inlets, but as soon as we entered the main section of the lake, it was too loud with too much wake; not the relaxing experience we'd hoped for.

To get there, you have to drive on a bridge that spans a narrow section of the lake. The most exciting part of our visit was floating under that bridge. The whole place was abuzz with swallows dipping and diving all around us.

The birds wouldn't hold still for a photo, but we did get shots of their mud-sculpture nests. Aren't they amazing? I wouldn't know how to build one of these, would you? How do the Swallows know?

We also saw dozens of wind-surfers speeding around each other. At first I assumed that they have them for rent at the lake. But they were all going SO fast, I started to think it must be a race. I meant to ask about it at the gate on our way out, but I forgot because we were too busy telling the park ranger about the campers who were feeding Doritos to the wild-life. Poor dears.

There is also a giant water slide park at Lopez Lake. And, a number of interesting trails to explore. So, we will absolutely go up there again. We just won't go up for a day of boating...not unless we buy a speed boat and one of those big floating things on a rope that people use to drag their kids along behind them. That does sound like fun. But, I don't think our "kid" would like it.

Would you, Piper?


  1. Hi BD, just got caught up with the last few posts you have done. You are SUCH a wonderful writer! I hope your new employer is able to take advantage of your skill with words. You will soon be, if not already, indispensable. Like you are to me. Love, love love! M
    PS, you don't have to prove CA is better than MD and the East Coast. Both have their wonders and benefits. And I get to enjoy both since you live in CA and I can visit you-- Magic is wherever you are.

  2. I didn't mean that it is BETTER here...I meant that it is DIFFERENT, and thus feels exotic to me. The people who grew up here don't bat an eye at artichokes and lemons sprouting up along the sidewalks. It seems totally normal to them.

    Thanks for your compliment on my writing. I feel like this is more of a photo album with notes than a word-journal. Nice to know it doesn't come across like that.

  3. why am I only JUST NOW finding out about this blog....and please throw up a few new pictures or comments!!!! XXOO

  4. Looped back for a re-read. That was a great day at the lake. Come to think of it... most days are great days at the lake!