Salinas River State Beach

The smoke is finally starting to clear here in California’s vast Central Valley but at the peak of the smoke problem Cristy and I just had to go find some clean air.  We decided to head to the beach!  Our favorite beaches are near Monterey.    Monterey Bay has numerous beaches and wildlife so is one of our favorites.  Plus it’s fairly close to us.

We trekked down I-5 to Highway 156 and over the hills.  The Diablo Range specifically.  On the way we stopped at Casa De Fruta for some snacks to take with us to the beach.  It’s a good bathroom stop along the way too.  If you have kids its a great stop with a small train, petting zoo, and lots of stuff to help the kids expend their energy.

We continued on to the coast and stopped at Sand City Beach near, you guessed it, Sand City.  We actually park in a large shopping center just before Sand City.  We got on the Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail and walked the short distance to the beach.   We walked up the beach a bit and then set up our chairs in a spot next to the cliffs that was sheltered from the wind.  Although it was forecast to be 104F back at our home, the high temperature in Monterey was forecast to be 69F.  At the moment it was only 59F!   But we had brought our jackets and the view under the coastal fog was wonderful.  And the air was spectacular.  It was the first non-smokey air we’d had in weeks.  We just kicked back, watched the little ground squirrels (beach squirrels I guess) scurry around us looking for scraps.  I tossed them a couple of raw almonds.  SCORE!  We also watched the paragliders silently soar along the cliff sides.

The ONLY thing we don’t about this beach is it tends to have a lot of seaweed and associated seaweed smells.  So we decided to move along.  We drove north towards Moss Landing to see we we could find a better beach.  Just as I was approaching the Moss Landing city limits I saw a sign for Salinas River State Beach so I decided to turn off and check it out.   To our surprise the parking lot only had 7 or 8 cars in it.  We unpacked our chairs and walked down the sandy trail over the hill to the beach.  We walked a short distance along the beach and set up our chairs.  At this point the fog was starting to break up and the warm sunshine felt good.

We decided we had sat enough for the day and took our chairs back to the car.  I noticed a sign for a nature trail so we decided to walk down it to see what that was all about.  So glad we did the views of the backside of the dunes were stunning.  Dozens of varieties of flowers, sea grasses, and succulents lined the trail.  We walked down it for about a mile before taking a side trail that lead over the dunes back to the beach.  This section of the beach was entirely deserted except for one jogger and later a train of horses and riders.  It was absolutely wonderful and we’ll definitely be back to this beach.

We walked back down the beach to where we first entered the beach earlier and headed back to the truck.  We then drove up across Elkhorn Slough to a small marina and had dinner at the Pacific Grill.  We had lovely views of the slough and the sea otters and kayakers that were out on it as we had dinner.  After dinner we just sat in the truck and watched the otters and kayakers on the slough until the sun sunk into the re-forming fog.  All in all a wonderful day!

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California Is On Fire

Not all of it.  But it may seem like it from the news reports.  And the smoke in our area is intense.  Please pray for the firefighters who are battling these blazes and for the people who have been displaced and lost homes.

Here is a map of the fires.

For Sale: Six Chuter P3 Lite

It’s official!  My Six Chuter P3 Lite is for sale.  The machine is running great.  I’ve really enjoyed flying it.  However, I’ve really been wanting a travel trailer to take my wife camping.  Now if I were made of money, I would just buy a travel trailer, no problem.  Since I am not, I will have to sell something to buy something.  This absolutely will NOT be the end of my flying career.  I will probably go back to a powered paraglider at some point.  But for now, in this season of life, we’re really looking to travel and camp.  And we don’t want to wait for “someday”.   You can check out my last blog post for that.

So all that out of the way here are the details:

Six Chuter P3 Lite and Continental Cargo trailer offered as a package: $13,000

I’ll link to the For Sale flyer here

Just so you know, I’m going to keep flying this little beastie until it sells.  It ain’t going to be sitting around collecting dust!

Lastly I just want to say what a great team Six Chuter is.  They have bent over backwards to help me with any issue that has cropped up.  Even if that issue was only in my head.  They provide EXCELLENT factory support and you couldn’t find a better bunch of guys and gals to deal with.

 

On “Not Waiting Until Someday”

One of the discussions my wife and I have from time to time is that we don’t want to wait until “someday” to do things.  Mainly travel and seeing the country.  I remember my parents having the same discussions except someday never came for my mother.  Mom and Dad got to travel a bit but didn’t get to see the country like they wanted.  I’m making plans for an early retirement but again, that’s someday.

To help bring someday a little closer I have come to a decision.  It’s not an easy one for me to make.  If you know me or have read this blog much you KNOW how big a part of my life aviation is.  For over 25 years aviation has been a part of who I am.  But it’s not a part of who my wife is.  And she’s an even bigger part of who I am.  I have decided to sell my powered parachute and trailer and begin the process of buying a smaller travel trailer that I can tow with my truck.  As much as I enjoy flying, I think I would enjoy weekend trips and camping with her even more.

I used to feel sorry for the pilots I knew that seemingly one day decided to just sell their airplane and buy a motorhome.  I couldn’t understand their motivations.  I remember declaring “I’ll never do that!”  Well… I’m ready to do that.  Now, this doesn’t mean we’ve given up our dream of big truck, big 5th wheel trailer to travel in full-time.  That will still happen… someday.  But for the here and now, we’ll settle for a somewhat smaller dream.

I just have to figure out how to break it to the guys at Six Chuter.  They have been wonderful at helping me through every issue I’ve encountered and all issues appear to be ironed out now.  Someone is going be buying themselves a wonderful machine!  I’ll be coming up with a “For Sale” post on this blog soon.

Union Valley Reservoir

Last weekend Cristy and I took a day trip up to Union Valley Reservoir in the Crystal Basin area of the El Dorado National Forest.  It’s located just southwest of Lake Tahoe at about 4000 foot elevation in the Sierra Nevada mountains.   We wanted to hike, stroll really, a bike path that runs along the shoreline of the reservoir.  More info on the path is located on Trailink.com.

We stopped for lunch first at a pho restaurant in Pollack Pines (this was nothing to write home about).  The atmosphere and wait staff was great but the food was just a little bland for our tastes.  Maybe they tone it down for their clientele, I don’t know.  There are better options in the area for food so I won’t say much more about this place.

After lunch we made our way down the winding road that leads to the trail head at Jones Fork Campground.  All the day use parking was taken up but I was able to squeeze my truck onto the side of the road.  We walked through the small campground and started down the bike path.  It was really a gorgeous walk.  The path is paved asphalt so walking was really easy.  There are interpretive signs along the way that explain what Union Valley Reservoir is for, why it was built, why it’s called that etc.  (If you really want to know, ask me!)

We walked down to the boat launch area at Fashoda Campground and then crossed over to the beach on the other side of the peninsula.  This was a large sandy beach set aside for swimming.  There are lots of rocks in the sand on the edges of the beach so watch your toes!  It was too tempting to just sit in the shade in the sand rather than hike on so we just kicked back, watched the boats on the lake and talked.  After an hour or so we decided we better head back.  After we still have to drive 2.5 hours to get home.

Union Valley Reservoir is a gem in the Sierras.  We were there on a Saturday and while all the camgrounds were full, there was not a lot of people there.  We never saw another soul on the bike path when we were walking it.  I’d really love to go back here and camp some time.

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An Awesome Week!

So I’ve been going through some of the blogs and YouTube channels I follow.  I’ve been enjoying all the amazing adventures these folks seem to have on a daily basis.  So I want to tell you about my adventures this week!  First of all, on Monday I got up and went to work!!  Isn’t that amazing!  It was so much fun I didn’t have any time to take any selfies.  After an AMAZING day at work I went home and… ate dinner with my family!!  I know, awesome right?!!  We Netflixed and watched re-runs of Person of Interest which was AMAZING!  But that’s not all, just before bed… I hope you’re sitting down… I took… A SHOWER!!

It was AMAZING!!

So yeah, my tongue is firmly in my cheek as I write this.  It’s okay to have regular days.  You don’t have to live up to the artificial expectations you see in social media.  They aren’t having as much fun as they appear to be.  You can have fun in the here and now and you don’t have to tell the world about it.  (Even though I just did)  ((Well, all 5 of the people who actually subscribe to my blog and have made it this far once they found out there’s no pictures)).

Get out of social media.  Read a book.  Take a walk.  Just live in the moment and enjoy it.  You don’t have to brag about it to your (so-called) friends.  And don’t believe the hype you see on social media.  It isn’t what it appears to be.

Just…            live.

Powered Parachute Setup and Teardown

A friend has expressed interest in flying powered parachutes.  To help him understand the setup and tear down process I’ve created a couple of videos that illustrate this process.

In the above video, I made reference to deferring the flight until later.  Here is that flight, which I flew the next morning.

 

And here is the pack up procedure for the Six Chuter P3 Lite.