No, that’s not a Beyonce’ cover. But Bey doesn’t have the lock on the old platitude, “When life gives you lemons….make lemonade!” Which is just what I have been trying to do while navigating the emotional roller coaster of repairs to my home, my transportation, and my worldly possessions, all rolled into one.
I don’t do well in the face of adversity. Oh sure, I have a lot of courage when things are going well. I lived in Manhattan for 10 years, backpacked around the globe alone (including a stretch through Hezbollah territory,) and now travel solo in my RV. Easy to be courageous when one is having fun exploring! But let something go wrong and I fold like a cheap lawn chair. It’s a known character flaw. 😉 So the last two weeks have been a bit bleak and I have been a bit blue. Still, I am reminded daily by my own admission (as well as that of well meaning friends and family,) “It could always be worse.”
When looking for a place to park the Winnie for what I thought was going to be a 3 day camping trip to the Channel Islands, I had to come inland from the coast to keep the cost down. Paying to park along with the camping, boat transportation, and the kayaking excursion, I needed something safe but economical, which landed me in lovely downtown Santa Paula, CA. Just 15 miles in from the beaches of Ventura along Highway 101, Santa Paula lies along the fertile Santa Clara River Valley. It’s Mediterranean climate and fertile soil has earned it the title of “The Citrus Capitol of the World.”
The highway leading up from the coast is lined with lemon and orange orchards, heavily laden with fruit. Rows of strawberries stretch out on both sides of the road between Santa Paula and nearby Oxnard, puncuated with workers bent in half as they move methodically through the fields harvesting the delicate berries by hand. Nearby avocado orchards round out the agricultural influence of the area. Of course this lends itself to a heavy Hispanic population. At the risk of stereotyping, I am awakened by roosters every morning at 4:30am. (Anyone who has spent any time in Mexico will understand the rooster omnipresence.)
The town of Santa Paula is similar in size as the neighboring town where I grew up. Lots of local businesses line the main street which unlike many towns across the west, is still quite vibrant. The best cafes, a couple of small museums, and the only two fitness centers can all be found along Main Street. The locals are quite proud of their new 3 mile bike path.
I’ve managed to keep myself busy over the last two weeks. The blog is now in “real time,” a rare occurrence. 😉 The Winnie and the Tracker are now sporting a gleaming shine, with the help of a little elbow grease and my Quartzsite Big Tent purchase of Wash/Wax All.
I managed a couple of hikes in nearby Santa Clara Canyon. I would like to go back, but there is an angry, unleashed pit bull guarding the avocado farm along the entrance to the trail.
There are beautiful, seemingly endless boat docks to walk in Ventura and Oxnard with a plethora of shops and restaurants, all with views overlooking the picturesque harbor.
But by far, the most entertaining venue has been the Oxnard Strawberry Festival. What a great distraction for the day! Oxnard is California’s largest strawberry producer, supplying 85% of the berries to the US, shipping 10 million pint baskets of strawberries daily during peak season. All proceeds from the Annual Oxnard Strawberry Festival go to fund local charities, scholarships, etc.
All in all, not a bad place to be “broken down” while I wait out the repairs, canceling my down line reservations like cascading dominoes. At least if I have to be “broken down,” the town isn’t the same. Meanwhile, thank goodness for Lemonade….with a shot of tequila and a little salt on the rim!