PART 1: We Get on the Road
PART 2: Hot Springs, Arkansas
PART 3: Adventures with Starr
PART 4: The Tennessee Loop
PART 5: The Intensive with Starr
PART 6: The Way to North Carolina
PART 7: The NorthEast Loop
PART 8: Washington D.C.

PART 9: Movin' West to Columbus
PART 10: We Cross the Great Plains
PART 11: Montana Adventures

PART 12: Oregon
PART 13: Northern California

PART 14: Central California Adventures
PART 15: Southern California Adventures
PART 16: The Return

Part Fourteen; Central California Adventures

Santa Cruz

We left the Bay Area Monday midday. It was warm and dry, and we moved at a good pace through the city until we got out into the suburbs. There the southbound freeway was hot, dusty and congested. Slowly, as we got further away from the high density of buildings and industry, traffic picked up. By the time we reached Santa Cruz, we were beginning to get stuck in evening rush hour and found more traffic congestion. Santa Cruz had changed drastically since I had visited it in 1984. A lot of the downtown area had been cleared, and new touristy strip malls built there. Many one way streets diverted traffic around and around the city and so we had to do the loop towing Shungo a couple of times until we found the narrow road winding by the water that could lead us south to our RV Park. Then we got lost or turned around, as the directions in the RV Guide didn’t seem to make sense. Fortunately, after getting on and off the freeway a couple of times and several cell phone conversations later, we found our way over the railroad tracks (I cringed –trains!) and down into a little flat area which housed a small RV Park.

We were told they had room for a 40-footer, but we certainly couldn’t figure out where that could be. Then they pointed out our place - the last one before the street, or rather you might say a spot IN the street. It was jutting out into the narrow access one-way lane that circled through the Park and only one vehicle could pass us at a time. It felt strange walking out of our door to find myself in the middle of the street and later, for me to hear people talking right outside my window. But I was grateful for a space. The people were friendly and that’s always a good sign. We were welcomed warmly by several of our neighbors, although they were full-timers here and could easily have ignored the in-and-outers.

Finally, once we were set up, it was becoming dusk so we rushed across the street to the beach to get in the last rays. Despite the heat of the day, it was now getting chilly (60’s –brrr!) and very windy. We had to walk fast because we weren’t dressed warmly enough. Within a half hour, the temperature must have dropped precipitously. We had arrived at the RV Park in summer but left the beach in winter only an hour later! Nevertheless, the beach was welcoming and healing.


Monterey Peninsula

Tuesday we packed up a bag or two for the day and headed south again, this time only in our truck. Following the directions that Terence and Karen had given us, we found our way to the seemingly isolated quiet valley and to a beautiful development where they lived. I say beautiful, because the landscaping was tasteful and there was a well-maintained golf course. But also, mostly because there were still many wild areas surrounding and flowing between the houses, placed as they were, harmoniously at different intervals along the few winding streets.

We stopped at their lovely house. The front yard had interesting plants that I didn’t recognize, but seemed to be attractive to butterflies. Whoever had designed this landscape had a good eye for design and for plant texture that pleased my eyes. Terence met us at the door. Karen, it seemed, was at some stables nearby having her riding lesson. Ah, the good life! We walked into the spacious place, immediately noticing large crystals shining and sparkling at us and intriguing statuary that needed to have second and third looks to appreciate fully. We passed through the living room to the comfortable den with its lounging sofas and chatted. Then, we went outside and sat on the patio and talked some more. Finally, we took a ride in Terence’s golf cart around the development and walked some of the sidewalks along the golf course. He had seen various wild animals, including wild cats, along the golf course while playing there. All was calm and quiet here. I could really relax if I spent more time in this peaceful place.

Thinking of relaxing, Terence showed us what he has been developing for his company Real Music (see http://www.realmusic.com). A new line called “iRelax” features CD’s to de-stress, drift and have massages by. Developed especially for massage therapists and spas, one even has the clever title “InSPAration.” My favorite use of “new-age” music has always been to put on a CD and lie down for a nice drift to the music that shapes the fleeting images of the mind in a free association of semi-dreams.

Karen returned and then the four of us piled into their car and took off towards the Monterey Peninsula. The seashore along the 17 mile stretch is preserved and there were many people enjoying the view of the interesting rocks surrounded by waves and sea spray. The dunes and small hills along the shore were covered with many interestingly colored flowers and herbs of native species. Sitting on the cliffs on the other side of the shoreline road were multi-million dollar mansions with the great views. They had fresh air and surf sounds of the beach wafting up to them through the hiss and rumble of constant traffic. The places had little or no yards, were mostly on rock and to me looked like being in a fish bowl, visible to all who pass by. If I had many many millions, would I ever live here? Nah.

We made our way into Carmel to a restaurant both Terence and Karen enjoyed. Another wonderful evening passed, with fellow magicians, filled with enthusiasm and fun and sharing. Terence generously gave us two wonderful CD’s of their relaxing music. We especially like the Liquid Mind Albums and now we had the latest one. It was hight by the time we returned to their house. The weather was cool and the air fragrant. We shared warm goodbyes that reminded me of an ending summer camp. When you’ve had a great time, there’s always a twinge in the letting go and goodbyes, even if there is ample inspiring adventure ahead for all of us.

Wednesday, we drove around Santa Cruz and worked our way into the neighboring mountains. We followed the trees and found ourselves north of the city in a forest of redwoods called Henry Cowell Redwood State Park. The trails went down at steep angles from the road and a fellow hiker warned us of some troublesome yellow jackets in one of the old trees nearby. After carefully winding our way down down down (kinda like going into hypnosis), we arrived at a railroad track. It was still in good condition, so it certainly wasn’t abandoned. We walked along the railroad track for a long while through forests along a ridge, listening to running water far below us, hidden by trees. The smells were fresh and clean and our hike invigorating. Finally, we turned around to come back so we could be out of the forest before dark. Then we heard the train approach. Looking down the track to a bend, we saw it – an old locomotive style train with only two cars turning into our view. Stepping to the side, we saw that the train was loaded with tourists. A fellow stood in front and explained some of the history of these parts in western colloquial languaging. A charming excursion into the past through riding one of the old logging trains. We waved. They waved. Other hikers waved. Everyone was so happy and friendly. We got great exercise climbing back up up up the steep trail to our truck.

We hopped into Aylar and headed back towards town. And then we found another trail nearer to the city which was short but which enabled us to visit the stream we had been traveling alongside for so long. Pretty colored stones rounded by the lapping of waves and rush of water. Animal and bird tracks crisscrossed on a little beach. Now it was getting late and we returned to our RV Park. “Let’s go to the Beach one more time I said,” and we took yet another walk on the beach. We used a different access route and to our surprise found a state run RV Park there! All this time, we could have parked on the beach itself with space between the next trailer and us. If we ever go to Santa Cruz again, we will definitely sign up for a space at the Seacliff State! Geez! I thought to myself “We definitely have to expand our fun cubes again or maybe our magic cubes so we can find these places first!”


The Santa Ynez Valley

Thursday, we decamped and headed south once more. The ride was longer than we were in the mood for, as the previous days had been so filled, we were ready for a lazy rest day. Hours of crowded freeways and long boring stretches don’t count as rest. Finally, we turned off towards Los Olivos and beyond that into the Santa Ynez Valley. Turning this way and that through large horse farms, vineyards, small towns, scrubby desert, and infinite hills of dead grass, we arrived at Nancy Priestly’s place, hidden in a remote canyon. We were first greeted by her two horses, standing just inside the fence next to the road. Soon they were joined by a beautiful but excited barking Doberman. Getting into the gate was a tricky turn for the length of vehicle we had, always our challenge. The next strip was worse; getting up the short but steep hill to the house.

Nancy heard the commotion and soon came striding down the hill in her jeans and free flowing hair to greet us. After welcoming hugs, we debated how to back the RV up the hill into position below the house and under the trees where it would be cool in the daytime. Valiantly we tried, again and again, but we simply did not have the turn radius we needed to do it the way we wanted to. This exhausted all of us, Daniel trying to steer, me trying to holler loud enough when to turn, and Nancy hollering with me. And we were stirring up a lot of dust in the heat – all of us getting a bit grimy. So we made a compromise and backed Shungo up by the side fence. It was level enough there. Whew!

An hour after we arrived, we were finally encamped and able to sit and relax and chat a bit. Nancy introduced us to her dog, Lady Blue. Blue wasn’t happy to see us; she obviously wanted Nancy all to herself. So Nancy gave us some doggie biscuits to offer her. That seemed to tell her we were okay. When I got the chance, I gave her a biscuit and then reached over to touch her with some Quantum Touch energy. She appeared to calm down a little and look at me, so I sent healing energy down her spine while blowing light energy over her. Soon she was totally okay with me and offered her head and body for petting. A little love always goes a long way!

Evening soon came and we watched the magnificent sky above us fill with stars. We could see the Milky Way. The heat of the day turned into a cool evening and I put on my sweater. It kept getting colder and I resisted leaving our fun sharing to go get more layers from the RV. So Nancy offered me her fleece jacket to wear. My, was it warm. Although it was polyester, it was soft and comfortable. I wore it every night I was there. Nancy asked if we thought the area was beautiful. I said that I didn’t like all the dead grass hills. I missed the green of Florida and the eastern part of the country. Nancy laughed and said that she had come here in the spring when the grass was all still green and it was certainly beautiful. When the grass died through the hot dry summer, she felt the same way I did. Then finally, she reframed the scenery as her “golden hills” of California.  I chose to keep her reframe for myself.


Visit to L.A. and NCR

Friday, we headed onto the road for the two hour trip south into L.A. I felt the strong need to get some NCR (NeuroCranial Restructuring) as my head had been getting tighter and tighter. I had hit it numerous times, not hard, but each time had created days of pain and tension. I felt a tightening of a “vice grip” on my cranium.  And the progenitor of this method had just moved to L.A. – Dean Howell and his wife Trisha. Dean was a master at getting my head to expand and loosen with just one or a few treatments. Normally, after hitting my head, I’d run to see my local NCR practitioner, Dr. Lew Arrandt in Kendall/Miami. But since there were few practitioners of this art, I’d had to grin and bear the tension and discomfort all along the trip. (For information on Dean Howell and NCR in L.A., plus his schedule dates and times, see http://www.drdeanhowell.com. For information on Dr. Lew Arrandt doing NCR in Kendall/Miami, see http://www.ncrdoctors.com/doctorspages/arrandt/arrandt.htm or, if you can get it directly, http://www.yourhealthdoctor.com.)

The reason we were going to see him now was twofold. One, to get the NCR now, because Dean was preparing to go away on one of his trips around the country (and South America), and we were concerned that we could miss him entirely during our trip to L.A. (next after Nancy’s). Secondly, since we had been invited to stay at his and Trisha’s place, we wanted to check out the feasibility of parking next to their house in their neighborhood to see if it was level enough or if they had enough room. Trisha had told us that they were at the top of a canyon, so we could imagine narrow winding streets and slanting driveways. If it wasn’t feasible, I would want to make a reservation a.s.a.p. with the closest RV Park in L.A. We also wanted to pick up some concrete blocks on the way from a Lowe’s or Home Depot kind of store, to steady the RV like we’d done in Montana and Oregon.

We had “mapquested” their house and had no trouble finding the turns. The only downsides we noticed during our trip were the bumpiness of the roads (more of those concrete slab things) and the congested traffic. We finally eased out of the thick traffic soup onto the canyon road leading to their place. The slope and turns of this broad street would be easy for an RV, even one our size. But when we arrived at the house, we could see no place to park the RV except on the street itself. Along with his sons Derek and Brandon, Dean and Trisha lived in a huge sprawling place – bedrooms and extra cottages, hillside plantings of citrus and other interesting plants, and a pool that was not working and still not quite drained out in preparation for its repair. They had struck a good deal with their landlords in this expensive neighborhood of Brentwood (West L.A.). It seemed that the owners had been in the process of upgrading the place but had run out of money near the end. There was expensive marble in all the bathrooms, but no appliances or towel racks and such, we were told. Trisha and Dean struck a deal where they could finish the place and take their work and purchases off the rent. Rents, like everything else in California, were horrendously expensive after living in Florida. I found myself catching my breath when they mentioned the rent that was a “good deal.”

I got my NCR session and felt much better – ahhhhhh what a little cranial expansion can do! Then we discussed what we could do with the RV. There was no room to park the RV on the street and have our slides out – we would simply be too far into the middle of the road. So we settled on a plan where Daniel would stay in the RV on the street with his slide and the living/dining room slideout (on the house side) and my slide (street side) would remain closed. I would stay in the house in their guest room. They invited us to stay and eat with them and so we joined the whole family for all sorts of delicious creative leftovers plus several new dishes. Trisha is a good cook and there was more than enough for all of us. We laughed and talked until we absolutely had to go. We arrived back at Nancy’s not long before midnight. I fell into bed, appreciating the peace and quiet of this place.


Dog Days and Crystal Nights

Finally Saturday, the big day for the Galexis workshop, had arrived. People began to gather. I met Marlene, Dorit, and others – again seeing faces to go with the names. Kirby showed up with light boxes and crystals in tow. He had an appointment with a client in L.A., and we were fortunate to be able to have him piggy back his trip with being here. For the most part, I stayed out of the hustle and bustle, cheerful as it was, and centered myself, preparing myself to channel. Nancy’s charming cabin atmosphere was changed into a magical workshop space, her crystals seeming to step forward to reflect more light and participate in all the doings.

The time came and I went into trance. You know how there can be things you don’t notice in your normal state of affairs, but when everything goes quiet, they can stand out like a sore thumb? Well, I had had no idea that the wood burning stove sitting near me was going to make snapping noises, or how loud the wall clock ticked. My nervous system is sensitive and sudden noises can pull me out of a deep trance. So it took a lot of effort to retrain myself right on the spot to stay down and out of the way. As usual, a workshop starts out somewhat shallow and wide with gatherings of energies, gradually over the first several minutes aligning and orienting to those present and possibly to those who may listen later. As the energies get deeper and more focused, so do I in my trance. This time it took longer to get where I wanted to be, in that nice and peaceful relaxing place.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Lady Blue started barking alarms and pushing at the door, looking out. I learned later that a couple of young people visiting next door had come by to pet the horses by the road. “My territory!” growled and barked Lady Blue, as Nancy opened the door and the Doberman raced out onto the porch and down the stairs to do her doggy defense duty. This stopped the workshop completely as Galexis simply paused and waited. Nancy followed Blue out to calm her dog or request the children to leave until later. Overall, there must have been a moment or two of silence and then Galexis did something – talk with people there, or whatever. When Nancy returned, everyone must’ve assumed the workshop would continue. It did, but there were more interruptions and perhaps my depth of trance suffered as a result. The shallower I am, the less information can come through. I suspect that even if I were a total trance channel, with my nervous system’s “startle response,” I probably would’ve been pulled out.

Finally, there was the break, the question and answer period and the meditation. I hope things went well for everyone, because there was a lot of quiet in these spaces allowing the participants to go deeper themselves. The workshop went overtime due to the pauses, but few people left. There was a magnificent display of food in the kitchen and adjoining room, a lot of which was bought at the local health food supermarket in town by Nancy, and other donations by Daniel and myself and other participants of the workshop. Daniel showed some crystals and a few were bought. They looked good, lying on the porch, sparkling in the afternoon sunlight and the moving dappled shade of the huge oaks near the house. We had to blow dust off of them because there were wildfires to the south and west and we were unfortunately downwind. This meant that the sky was a shade of blue-beige instead of the crystal clear blue it usually is.

Soon, everyone had his or her plates full and settled around the table in the downstairs bedroom. There was just enough room for us all to have a seat and put our food on the table. What a camaraderie we shared! We laughed and talked about the world, politics, healing, Lazaris and Galexis, spirit guides, esoterica of many different forms, and on and on. We seemed to be totally simpatico on all topics, so we all let our hair down and got very relaxed, open and free with each other. Again, we were encouraged to move to California and do more of these fun events. I shared with everyone how both Lazaris and Starr had told me, in answer to my question about where would be best for me in the USA, “Santa Barbara south.” Here we were, only a half hour from Santa Barbara – getting into the “zone.” Maybe…

After dinner and clean up, several of us moved upstairs to Nancy’s loft, her special meditation area. There, Kirby had set up three light boxes in a row with crystals upon them. One was Nancy’s light box that she had purchased from Kirby with her big crystal on it. Sitting on the second light box was one of Kirby’s big spheres, and finally the piece de resistance; Sha Na Ra sitting on light box number three. We all settled ourselves as comfortably as we could (I speak for myself – it seemed everyone else could use the pillows and sit/lie on their tailbones but for me) around the boxes. By the time twilight had fallen, the lights from the glowing crystals were virtually the only lights in the house. And these were glowing and changing color. It got darker and the lights brighter. Kirby put on some music CD’s that were awesome, enabling me to gently move into the crystals and see things I hadn’t noticed before. Also, I could feel the ancient civilizations in which the crystals participated. I can’t really explain what that was like, but it was cool. Deeper we all went until some people actually fell asleep, their breathing or snoring moving in and out of rhythm with the music. I felt happy and fairly relaxed, but not relaxed enough to fall asleep too. What gratitude I had for being here in this particular place at this particular time. “I’m so lucky. There’s no other place on the planet that I’d rather be.” Strange, but I have seldom felt this. My “warrior” self claimed the present and its power as being THE place to be from now on and I smiled and sank deeper into the soft pillows.

Over a few hours, the music changed and I went through many different spaces. If you are ever lucky enough to be available when Kirby puts on one of his light shows, do NOT miss it! (I mentioned it in an earlier travelogue, but to repeat; if you want to know more about Kirby and his amazing crystals and light labyrinth technology, check out http://www.ancienttechnologies.com/liminal.html) Finally, even Kirby stopped and curled up himself. I left all the contentedly snoring people lying about the lit crystals and tiptoed out through the dark house, down the stairs and over into the RV. Crawling into my own very comfortable bed, I fell asleep right away.


Mystery of the Night

Bang! I startled awake, my heart racing. Then we heard another loud knock coming from the innards of the RV. I got up with my flashlight and stood by Daniel’s door. “What do you think THAT is?” I asked. “I have no idea,” he said. We couldn’t sense exactly where the sound was coming from, but perhaps it was some small animal such as a rat exploring the trailer workings under the floor. Another knock and clunk, and I was soon standing outside in the now cold night with my flashlight scanning what I could see under the trailer. If it had been an animal, chances are it would have continued to move or run away. But then, I thought, maybe it has “frozen” to become invisible to me, the predator so it won’t move until I leave. I waited, shivering, but there was no new noise. Reluctantly, I came back inside. Then we both heard another clunky clunk and silence. Daniel thought that maybe something was going on with the plumbing. He put on his bathrobe and walked over to the plumbing connections at the house and turned them off. We waited. Just as we thought we must’ve addressed the noise, a small one happened again. Silence. Finally, we agreed that we were not going to figure this one out and that, noise or not, we were just going to have to go on to bed and try to get some sleep if that were possible. It was well after 1 am at this point and I was dead tired, so perhaps that would help me sleep through all of this.

Then I heard one of the horses whinny loudly and kick the fence. Again I went outside. Both horses were close to the RV, next to the fence, and kicking it. I was annoyed at the horses and told them to go to sleep with an angry mood. This didn’t waver them and so I shooed them away. They moved back but looked at me like I had just majorly offended them, which I probably had. But I was cranky from exhaustion. I reentered the RV and crawled back into bed, laying there awake, listening and waiting. Finally I drifted off and was awakened by another noise, milder, quieter. Then, exhaustion took over and I fell asleep. Another noise came and I barely lifted into awareness of it, dropping down into sleep that was undisturbed until morning.

I woke up listening to the cheerful birds outside. It was Sunday morning on the late side, and I had enjoyed enough sleep to feel rested. I waited for a while, but decided to check if Daniel was awake. I tiptoed to his door and surprise! He had dressed and gone. I dressed and went over to the house, which was the scene for a goodbye party and breakfast. Darn! I missed out on some fun! Kirby and Dorit were leaving and we helped them take stuff down the stairs to the cars. The little birds were still scampering along the ground chirping. They looked like some kind of genetic cross between a robin and a cardinal, and sounded more like a cardinal. No one knew what they were called.

I told Nancy about our strange midnight noise and how the horses were whinnying and kicking the fence. She told me that they did that one time when there was a huge snake around and scared it away. So I immediately felt that perhaps I had misjudged the horses. While Nancy was getting ready to leave too – she had a workshop in Santa Barbara for the day – I went outside and over to the fence where the two horses stood. I tried to tune into them the best I could and they seemed a little annoyed at me. I apologized for my rude behavior and their attitude changed to a “that’s the way it is” approach. Their response? Food! They insisted. Was this to mollify them or maybe buy their favor? In Ohio, the healing horses said it, and now here it is again. I said I’d do what I could and went in and got apples for them.

After Nancy left for her workshop, we had the place to ourselves. Finally, a day to relax and catch up on laundry and chores! In the afternoon, we exchanged healings with each other. Nancy returned around dinnertime and we shared leftovers. Afterwards, I channeled for her. It had been a very satisfying day.

The next day was another channel workday. After I was done with the afternoon sessions, Nancy, Daniel and I hopped into Aylar and tooled around the Santa Ynez Valley. Nancy was still hopeful that we might like this place enough to move here. She wanted to show us some places; after all she’s a real estate agent and knows the ins and outs of the place. I insisted that I needed to walk and exercise or my sacrum, which was edging out of place and beginning to hurt, wouldn’t correct itself and come back into alignment. One of the worst things you can do to an unstable Sacro-Iliac joint is sit a lot, and that was exactly what a channeling day was – sitting. So she said we could go here or there if we could see other places first. However, it seemed that there was way more Nancy wanted us to see than what we had time for. We drove through the local small towns, some with a theme. There didn’t seem to be much available for housing. It seems that the horse and wine country was controlled by the very few. Celebrities and high-powered executives of major companies lived here, and sat on the Santa Barbara County zoning board. So no developments could get in. Nothing for the average person. We saw the only new buildings going up were mansions for celebs. As one approached the coast and edged out of the valley, there were more trees.

I was antsy now. Time was running out for a walk and I had to come back and eat dinner before my evening channeling appointments began. So when it became obvious that a hike or walk was simply not part of the tour time, we walked around Solvang, one of the small touristy cities. Stores were closed for the most part, but I didn’t want to shop. Nancy pointed out a house that now belonged to Dolly Parton – a humble looking thing. But then, even small houses were very very expensive compared to Florida real estate prices. Walking on hard flat surfaces like sidewalks and streets didn’t help my sacrum. It was hurting now. Nancy volunteered a preserve near her house for a view of what wild California looked like. It was interesting, but there was no time to walk up and down any inclines. We rushed back for dinner after taking a picture of the typical countryside in her county.


Santa Barbara

Tuesday, we packed for the day and Daniel, Nancy and I drove down to visit Lori in Santa Barbara. Lori had lived on the East Coast but had moved to Santa Barbara upon her divorce. I asked her if she liked living here and she told me “I never knew I could be this happy!” Needless to say, she was sold on the place and wanted to sell us on it too. We were seriously considering it because of two readings I had had where I asked for my best places in the country to live. One reading was from Lazaris, the other from Starr earlier in the year (see Travelogue #5, the Intensive with Starr). Both had used the exact-same expression, “Santa Barbara south.” Indeed, as we approached the city, I felt a happy inner energy touch me.

We found Lori’s condo and found it warm and inviting. There was just enough room for parking, a few plants and a nice little patio where one could relax and have a little sun with one’s tea. Lori also had a cat, and for a while I was concerned, since Daniel tends to be allergic. The cat was shy and hid in the closet, but Lori found him and we said hello to him. A beautiful big-eyed Himalayan, Angel had a powerful presence. He was definitely a “familiar” (companion to a witch or magician) and Lori shared with us how she found Angel or rather, how Angel found her (what usually happens!) Angel had been abused and traumatized but is now, as Lori says, “a thriving Sirius light being.”

We appreciated the warmth of the sun and the day too. The sky was blue and the beach called us, so we walked on the public beach looking at the gulls flying overhead and the sandpipers doing their synchronized group speed walk in and out of the moving surf. Later, we traveled up into the surrounding mountains and enjoyed the phenomenal view of the valley of Santa Barbara plus the seashore. We drove through gorgeous neighborhoods and frequently saw wonderful scenic views. But we realized that we couldn ’t simply afford these great places. Prices for real estate here was at least four times that of South Florida, so I spent some time in sticker shock. Nancy is a real estate agent and between her and Lori, they knew the prettiest and nicest areas to live in. So while Lori stayed in the condo, Daniel, Nancy and I explored various neighborhoods culminating in Montecito (just east of Santa Barbara). Hidden in the woods, the homes were beautiful and some whole blocks felt magical. Fragrant herbs and shrubs under the many oak trees made the picture complete. What a joy it must be to live in such beauty and feelings of harmony!

It was sunset by the time we returned to Lori’s place. Shortly thereafter, Harvey and Patsy showed up. Presently, we had all 6 of us around the table and fabulous potluck food to choose from. Another night of magicians – will the joy ever increase! What fun we had sharing each other’s points of view and stories of life. I was so happy to find that Daniel was not allergic to Angel and never got stuffed up the entire evening. Daniel and I were encouraged over and over again to move here, and I found it appealing, although I still didn’t know what to do with the sticker shock. What one can do, Lori told me, is to purchase a place with an interest-only mortgage, assuming that the value of the property will only go up (as it has consistently for decades). Perhaps then later, refinancing or selling and doing it over again is the next option. Still I didn’t want to think about those logistics right now. I was feeling great, however and was warm enough – yea! It was certainly warmer here than in the Santa Ynez Valley. And Nancy shared that there were hot springs in the mountains and great hiking trails leading up to them. Everyone was trying to entice us to move here – an encouragement Daniel and I found hard to resist.

The three of us arrived back late at the ranch only to find to our surprise the strangest insect we’d ever seen in our lives. I grabbed the camera and took many pictures until I felt I had captured most of the bizarreness of the creature. It must have been 3 inches long and so I was glad it was docile. Maybe the cold night air kept it from moving quickly. The next day I looked it up in an Audubon insect guide and found we’d seen a Jerusalem Cricket. Crickets are good omens, right? And Jerusalem is a center of three spiritual faiths.  Maybe there’s a message somewhere for us about being here? (Google “Jerusalem Cricket” and see all the fascinating pictures and info that comes up!)