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Friday, July 27, 2007

I have been very busy lately with the new etsy shop. The response is more than I ever imagined. I have sold 2 scrapbooks already, and I actually got an order from a shop in Hawaii for a lot of 10! I shipped that out today. I hope that this is not a fluke and that I will have slow but steady business from here on out.

Jason and I have also been camping more recently. When I get a chance I'll post camping pictures. In the meantime, check out my etsy site to see what I've been creating!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New "Shop"

I have been playing around with making things again -- always dangerous, I know. I've opened up a crafty little site on etsy.com (home of handmade wonders). I'm selling little things like handmade earrings and note cards made from my photographs. I don't know if anyone will actually buy anything but its fun! Plus you can find some REAL artwork at etsy, so check it out!
www.stasiland.etsy.com

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Campsite Review: Morro Strand SB Campground

About a week ago, on the weekend of June 23rd, Jason and I took our new baby camping:

The Rig

This is a Coleman Redwood pop-up camper, circa mid 80's, which Jason acquired for a mere $20. It was, and is, an amazing deal. You can see it's been lovingly patched with fabric glue and a nice sailing ship motif fabric. I'll have to get some detail pictures of the inside on our next trip. It has a comfy queen size bed inside, and two additional single beds, one of which folds up into a table with benches. There is also a sink and a propane stove. Tiki is absolutely in love with it. So is Jason. After this trip, so am I.

We went to Morro Strand State Beach Campground, which is located along Highway 1 (The Pacific Coast Highway). It is about 2 miles south of Cayucos, and lies between Hwy 1 and the lovely Morro Strand State Beach.

Morro Strand State Beach

The campsite itself is fairly urban, as it is located beneath a development of really nice, expensive homes. But this is well balanced by the fact that a gorgeous beach is just steps from your campsite. Here is the view from our site, Space 6, as the sun sets on our first night in camp:

Site 6: Golden Sunset

As you can see, the sites are close together and not very private, but again, the beach is RIGHT THERE!

The campsite itself has 55 sites, arranged in three loops with sites in the center and around the edge of each loop. There are plenty of convenient restrooms. There is a foot wash for the sandy beach but there are no showers. There are also no hook-ups for electricity or RV dumping.

We chose this campground as an alternative to getting a motel. I attended a wedding in nearby Paso Robles on Saturday. Jason wasn't going to attend, and I was attending with Becky, a friend from work. I left the campsite, drove to Becky's hotel in Atascedero, showered, changed, attended the 6pm wedding, and drove back to the campsite. I returned around 10pm. I found the site to be convenient to travel to both nearby cities.

Reservations are definitely necessary in the summer. We use Reserve America for all our state park stays. You won't get assigned a site at this campground when you make your reservation. Instead, you pick it when you arrive at the campsite. The Ranger did not let us drive into the campground to look at the sites before picking, so we guessed and got lucky. If possible, try to get a site in the center of a loop because you have more parking this way. We were happy with site 6. We had a guest join us the second night, who slept in his truck, but there was plenty of room if he had wanted to put up a tent. The ground was not very level, and there were a lot of ground squirrels who provided a lot of holes all around the sites.

Hello?

There was, however, ample parking for our truck, our trailer, and our friend's vehicle:

Our Campsite

If you are traveling with your dog, you will be in fine company here. We saw several furry friends, and Tiki got to practice behaving around kids and other dogs. Your dog is required to be in a leash at all times. The rules also state that the leash must be 7 feet or less. These rules do not seem to be strictly enforced, as we saw several campsites with off-leash dogs. We also had Tiki tied off on a 15 foot leash with no problems.

Dirty Dog, Posted Up

While the campsite is relatively dog friendly, the beach is not:

No Dogs Allowed

No dogs are allowed on Morro Strand State Beach, although I am pretty sure you can walk your furry companion (on leash, or course!) a few miles north in Cayucos. This was kind of a bummer, but Jason and I took turns holding down the camp while the other went down to the beach. I had fun taking pictures. There are a lot of shorebirds on the beach:

Great Blue Heron

And much of the area immediately bordering the campsite is protected habitat for the Snowy Plover. There is also a Blue Heron rookery in nearby Morro Bay. Morro Bay also has a lot of cool shops and offers fun day trips like kayaking, where you might see a sea otter or jellyfish in the inner Morro Bay Harbor.

If you are camping with your dog, the nearby town of Cambria is also very dog friendly and it has a dog park you might want to visit while in the area. There are also restaurants in Cambria like The Main Street Grill where you can dine on the patio with your canine friend. Tiki reports that you should try the french fries. Other local attractions include wine tasting tours and the amazing Hearst Castle.

Overall, we had a great experience. If you are looking for remote quiet and solitude, this campsite is not for you. If you are looking to hang out on the beach all day, or want to visit some central coast landmarks, or want a convenient family friendly campsite, or are camping with your dog and don't care about walking on the beach, you might enjoy checking out Morro Strand State Beach Campground.

California Camping

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Mission San Juan Bautista


1. Mission Garden Red Rose, 2. Proud Papa, 3. Blue Door, 4. Supplication

Last Thursday, I decided to explore San Juan Bautista, a town that I pass daily on my commute to Hollister. I specifically went to see the Old Mission San Juan Bautista. It was a beautiful, windy, bright day and I got a lot of cool pictures. From the Mission Website:

The Old Mission San Juan Bautista...
...began with a group of leather-jacketed soldiers and a few Native Americans watching a tonsured Franciscan priest raise his eyes and hands toward the sky...

"In the name of our blessed Father, and the saint whose feast we commemorate today, St. John the Baptist..."

The day was June 24, 1797, a Saturday, and the priest was Fr. Fermin de Lasuen, Presidente of the California Missions successor to Blessed Junipero Serra. This mission was one of four established by Fr. Lasuen in the summer of 1797 and the fifteenth of the twenty-one missions in Alta, California.

Construction began almost immediately under the care of Fathers Jose Manuel de Martiarena and Pedro Martinez. By Christmas, because of the friendly and cooperative indigenous people, not only was there an adobe church built but also a grainary, barracks, a monastery, and some adobe houses...

The mission was also one of the sites Hitchcock used for his film, Vertigo. I enjoyed the gardens and was especially captivated by the chickens. I didn't get a chance to explore the Plaza Hotel or the Plaza Stables, so I might try and stop by there next week. I always feel weird about visiting Old Missions in California. On one hand, I am amazed by the history behind one of the few "old" things we have here on the West Coast. On the other hand, the exploitation of native people, the forced assimilation and even the whole idea of a Christian Mission are really disturbing to me. Visiting this site, I tried to hang on to the delusional idea that the ancient Spaniards had good intentions when they founded the Mission nearly two hundred years ago.