Brian's Photo Blog — Article 481
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Cayucos California Visit Cut Short
Tuesday 27 October 2015   —   Category: Outings
For many months my wife, children and I had been planning to make the 830-mile drive south to Cayucos, on the California Central Coast, for a mini family reunion to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of my aunt and uncle. My cousins and their kids and grandkids, as well as our­selves, would be coming from four west­ern states.

Because of my new-found passion for cooking, I spent the few days before we left packing my Toyota Tacoma with food, water, two cases of Oregon beer to share with those not fortunate enough to live near Beervana, a camping stove, a small barbecue, and two big boxes of cooking equipment from my kitchen! Like a good boy scout, I was more than prepared for any eventuality.
I even made four jars of special sauces to take and share with the relatives. Click on the following links to down­load a PDF copy of each recipe. From left to right, I made: Vegetarian Marinara Reduction, Sour Pickle Ré­mou­lade, Spicy Whole-Grain Honey Pub Mustard, and Bavarian Biergarten Obatzda.

Before 5:00 AM on Sunday 11 October I set off in my heavily-laden truck to traverse the mountain ranges between Eugene and Redding ... and beyond to Cayucos. My wife and two daughters drove separately in my older daugh­ter’s car. Thirteen to fourteen hours later, we all arrived safely at my parents’ house in Santa Maria.

The next day I was the chef for our main meal at noon, frying pork chops (sea­soned with Weber Steak 'n' Chop sea­son­ing) at high heat in a cast-iron skillet, served with baked polenta, and zucchini stir-fried with Weber N’Orleans Cajun seasoning. I set out a bowl of the above-mentioned Sour Pickle Rémoulade to top the pork chops. It all turned out pretty good, except that the meat, although not overcooked, was a bit tough. I guess not every pig is tender!

After the kitchen was all cleaned up, we headed north on the one-hour drive to Cayucos. The following evening was pasta night for dinner, at which I had the opportunity to share my Vegetarian Ma­ri­na­ra Reduction. After dinner I went for a walk along the beach in the dark with my older daughter. Even though we had a hard time finding our way back to the right house, it was a great walk. I have not seen the Milky Way so clear­ly in a long, long time.

Because my socks and shoes were very sandy after the walk, I left them outside and went back into the house bare­foot. That was my fatal mistake! Later, as I was rushing through the dining area, I slammed my right foot really hard into the leg of a bench, with most of the impact hitting the second-to-smallest toe. The next morning my foot was so painful and swollen that I went to the Urgent Care in Morro Bay.

Up until my accident I was doing pretty well, being more social than usual, and generally having a good time. But for me, being social takes a lot of emotional en­er­gy. Injuring my foot was like pulling the plug, and all of my emotional energy quickly drained away. In addition, all of my plans to go on photos outings in the area, and to give some cooking lessons to my family, were ruined.

Suddenly, I just didn’t want to be there any more. My one overriding thought was to go back home in Oregon. It absolutely was not going to work for me to sit all day long with my foot propped up, bored to tears, in a hot hotel room (there was a heat wave that week, and no air con­di­tion­ing). And I’m definitely not the type of person who simply wants to sit on the beach all day, nor to sit around and socialize all day. I need to keep active and busy.

Lompoc Brewery Proletariat Red Ale
So after going to the Urgent Care Wednesday morning and sitting around bored all afternoon, my mom took us out to dinner before I headed back to Oregon first thing the next morning. We went to Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill in Cambria, where I had awesome clam chowder, and an excellent flat iron steak with a wonderful sauce.

On Thursday I made the grueling fourteen-hour drive north, which stressed my already-injured foot. Along the hundreds and hundreds of miles of Interstate 5, I had too much time to lament all of my plans which had come to nothing. Every time my four-cylinder Tacoma struggled up a steep grade because of all the unused food and kitch­en equipment in the back, I felt so sad that I had hauled all of that down to California, and now was haul­ing it all back to Oregon.

For the short time I was in Cayucos, none of my relatives seemed very interested in trying the four types of Oregon beers I had brought. Two of them recently won a Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado: Lompoc Brewery’s Proletariat Red Ale and Rogue Brew­ery’s Hazelnut Brown Ale. In addition, I brought a gen­er­ous supply of Ninkasi Brewery’s Oktoberfest Lager and Widmer Brothers’ famous Hefeweizen. Well, their loss is my gain — these beers definitely will not sit around ne­glect­ed and gathering dust!

I was also disappointed that I didn’t get the opportunity to share all of the special sauces I had made. Nor did I give the pretzel-making lessons I had planned. Nevertheless, it just wouldn’t have worked for me to stay. In the end, all I had was broken expectations, a possibly-broken toe, and lots of bummed-out relatives.

My hopes for good photo outings in Cal­i­for­nia also came to nothing. I took pic­tures of the sunset each of my three eve­nings on the coast, and that’s about it. My wife ended up taking way more photos than I did! To the right is one interesting picture she took of me photographing a sunset, with the entire scene reflected in a window. Nice job, Catherine!

Over the years I have written 18 articles about my California photo outings and shared over 700 pictures in 25 California photo albums. Some of those past outings were in the Cayucos area, like San Sim­e­on to the north, and Morro Bay and Mon­taña de Oro to the south. I had been hoping to revisit some of these locations, as well as some others I had never photographed before, but apparently it just wasn’t meant to be.

Out of the small number of pictures I took on this trip, I’ve gathered the best 21 into the new Cayucos 2015 album.

Well, at least I had a good time for the few days I was down there, and got to connect with my relatives a little bit. Now it is two weeks after my accident and my foot is still recovering, but in light of the progress it has made, I’m thinking it was only sprained, and not broken, so that’s good news.

Unfortunately, I’m not yet fit enough to recommence my daily two-kilometer neighborhood walk, and time has run out. According to a recent newspaper article, the rain switch is about to be flipped on — Oregon’s infamous nine-month rainy season is about to begin.

As the sun sets on the season of good weather for Oregon outings, I can at least enjoy the memories of my short visit to the beach in Cayucos. And work on my backlog of photos and articles I want to post from all my outings to Portland these past few months.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 481
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