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Published: April 28th 2010
Grace and I celebrated our 12th Anniversary on April 19th at Umi Sushi. I'd been to this restaurant before and it has one special dish that I went back for - their Panoramic Cake is incredibly tasty! They take a bowl and put some rice in it, then layer some sushi on it and then flip it over to make a dome. Then they top it with all kinds of fish eggs, sprouts and special sauces. One of the nice treats of this dish is that you can eat it with a spoon! No chopsticks, just big spoonfuls of sweet sushi. You can see that we finished off the plate and only left some yellow roe that had a nasty texture and worst taste.
Grace and I made it to 12 years now and we're closer than ever. We're going to do the real anniversary celebration in Italy in a couple more weeks. I hope we can get even better food there.
I took a couple hour hike in the 18 mile stretch of dunes from Pismo Beach to Point Sal. I was amazed at the undulating patterns in the sand but I
didn't have my camera with me because I was really on a run. I told Grace about it and she found out that the Dunes Center was putting on a photography hike in the exact place that I did my hike. The Dunes Center (http://dunescenter.org/) tries to coordinate activities across the dunes that stretch over two counties and three towns. The dunes are very popular with offroad vehicles and the ATVers keep losing rights to drive on many sections of the dunes because of how it destroys large parts of the habitat. I've backpacked to the southern edge of the dunes at Point Sal when I was back in College and it is very remote. The dunes are a very beautiful place as you can see from the pix.
5 workers/volunteers from the Dunes Center were on the hike and Jules was the leader. Jules is an avid photograher of the dunes and enjoys the mini-landscapes that the dunes present to the photographer. He pointed out how you can photograph a little section of the dunes and how they are a micro-cosm of the larger dune structures. The 0.1" dunes are made in the similar way as the 100'
dunes. Beautiful patterns form right in front of you eyes and there are billions of combinations.
We were fortunate in that we went a day after some rains so some of the sand was still damp while other sand had dried off in the sun. Jules said that these conditions only happen about 20 days a year. The closeup that I call "Snakes" is the best example of this interesting phenomenon. The dry sands blow over the wet sands and form little dunes that sweep across the wet sand. Another interesting aspect of the dunes is that we could see them change shape while we were there. A steady breeze off the Pacific culminates in sandy winds on top of the dunes.
To form dunes, the breeze blows the sand up the side of the dune and the heaviest grains settle in while the lightest ones blow over and form a dune. The sand that blows over is light enough to trap air in between the sands and you can see in some of the video how my foot completely sinks in the sand. I wondered if it was quick sand and thought I might be calling for
help, but my foot did finally reach bottom in the light powder.
I included pictures of a few odds and ends in this blog that I've been wanting to publish.
First off, Grace and I have been full-timing for 6 months now, so I wanted to do a little recap of what's happened. We've driven the truck over 10,000 miles now from coast to coast. The RV has gone a little over 4,000 miles so we do considerable driving without it. The trip hasn't been as cost effective as we hoped because of various RV expenses and living large. We've been going out for drinks and dinner more than we would if we lived in one place and are taking a fair amount of trips - with some big ones to come this summer. The gas prices haven't been a problem since my company has paid for most of it when I drive between meetings, but the eating out and throwing parties adds up. There's nothing like spending money to live well and we've enjoyed it.
I've posted a few pictures of RVs that I've seen on the way.
The panoramic shot on top is of a converted school bus. I saw this guy in New Orleans and he had under $5,000 in the rig. The container he put on the back used to be part of Tammy Wynette's road show. The container made the vehicle really back heavy and little weight was on the front tires. This would make it difficult to steer and I bet he porpoises down the road like crazy. Our RV even porpoises and that is when the truck gets pushed up and down by the RV like a porpoise going in and out of the water. His bus is probably not road worthy and is a danger to others on the road. I wonder if an officer stopped them.
A couple more photos from New Orleans show how the police use an RV as a Mobile Command Center. Do you need a surgery? They also have the surgery unit in case you need an appendectomy or vasectomy during Mardi Gras. The last RV shot is of a nicely converted school bus. This guy was living right off the beach in Santa Barbara. There was a nearby bathroom for releif, but I bet
this place smelled pretty bad with 3 dogs living in it. The cloudy van glued on top was probably not to regulation either.
I was looking over some old photos from Nepal and cam across this picture of some kids walking home from school. The girl in front was lost in time and I thought that was a really beautiful photograph so included it for you. I took this in a small village near the Tibetan border.
I rode my new bike over to Rich's to get some face time with Jack and Henry. These two fit on Rich's skateboard well. They developed a unique way of propelling themselves forward when Henry does a one-legged frog kick while Jack steers. They can get around the tennis court pretty quickly with this technique.
Grace baked some chocolate lava cakes for my birthday. She used muffin tins to pour the cake mix in that was 1 part chocolate, 1 part butter and 1 part flour. While this was baking, she took it out and placed one truffle in the middle of each muffin. When you turn it over - Wala - molten lava
This guy collected compost at the farmers market. Love the pink shorts and headband.
cake. It was delish!
Kurt came over for dinner and played some music and ate some cake. Then we went over to his friend Robert's house for a jam session. Robert and his wife are surfers and Robert loves playing guitar. They had some great food and did a chocolate fondu that gave me quite a few calories to work off. We had a great time but I was feeling a little older at 44, so Grace and I bugged out while they partied into the wee hours of the morning.
Next time, I'll tell you about my banjo picking birthday party.
PS. Two pages of photos and a few videos...
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