We live approximately 30 miles inland from the coast, but given that California offers 840 miles of general coastal views, we construct our lives to take advantage of as much access as possible.

San Diego County

Swami’s Reef, Encinitas, CA

We may not always be in a position to spend the day on the sand, but our weekly paths typically offer at least a viewing. I absolutely require salt air and ocean waves to rebalance.

I wonder. I’m a Pisces–does that tie me to the ocean for regular infusions of well-being?

Seal Beach, CA

This is the first summer in many years that we simply aren’t able to fit in a true beach “vacation,” where we spend at least a week doing nothing more than enjoying sand and surf.

Newport Beach, California

Although we vacationed at Newport Beach for many years before we were grandparents, the last several years have been particularly joyful as we’ve been able to share our vacation with Sophia and Karina, giving them many of the same experiences I enjoyed as a child with my own grandparents when they stayed a week or more at the beach each summer.

La Jolla Cove, San Diego

I’m telling myself that with the abundance of shark sightings this spring it might be more difficult to be at ease with the girls at play in the ocean.

I am skilled at finding rationalizations to assuage disappointment.

Hollywood Beach, Oxnard, California

The shark population has increased, including 15 great whites caught on camera near Capistrano Beach in Dana Point mid-May. This may become more the norm as warmer water could be pushing them closer to shore, but in general, experts point to a thriving ecosystem after protections have been placed on sharks, seals and sea lions for several decades.

California beachgoers typically aren’t very concerned. Huntington Beach was alive and kicking with swimmers and surfers when I met with a friend at the Hyatt Regency across the street yesterday. We stayed off the sand, but it was a wonderful day for walking…and 20 degrees cooler than our inland heatwave temperatures.

Huntington Beach, California

Monterey Bay, California

Further up the state the beaches and access change and may not be what I think of as swimming beaches, but they are gorgeous. These are the views conducive to sitting with a glass of wine and enjoying the sunset.

Pacific Grove, California

In May we boarded the train at Los Angeles’ iconic Union Station with the final stop in Oakland. We can drive to visit our son and daughter-in-law in under six hours, but approximately ten hours offers a wonderfully relaxing way to travel and provides breathtaking views.

Not everything needs to be experienced with urgency!

I took plenty of reading material, but spent most of my time staring out the window, enjoying parts of the coastline we don’t see from the highway when we drive.

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Later this summer my mother and I will be taking the Coast Starlight to a wedding in a suburb of  Portland, Oregon.  I’m sure I’ll be eager to share many observations, especially with a trip that puts us on a schedule of approximately 29 hours of staring out the window.

We are ready for the adventure.

Train travel may be too slow for many, but let me take in these views and just enjoy the journey!

We should enjoy the journey every day, don’t you agree?

I believe I’m content almost anywhere I find myself, but I admit to being a little more buoyant with plenty of salt water.

Welcome summer!






65 thoughts on “#lifeintheslowlane

  1. I have never taken the train in the US but many times in Europe. I love Highway 1, but unfortunately it is going to be closed for a long time. We live in such a beautiful area.

    • The Hwy 1 closure you’re speaking of is really frustrating for those of us waiting to visit, but I cannot imagine how it feels to those of you who live in the vicinity, Gerlinde. We are actually leaving tomorrow morning for a family reunion in Morro Bay. We had to switch from a yearly gathering in Big Sur to Morro Bay because in the last few years between fires, slides and then road repair we just couldn’t all get there in a timely fashion. I miss the area very much! You do live in one of the most beautiful parts of the state and I think that anyone who reads my blog at all knows that I enjoy visiting the different regions and highlighting as much of the beauty and diversity as I can. I’m so glad you stopped by to add your voice. 🙂

  2. What a lovely post! We’ve driven the California Coast from San Francisco through Monterey to L.A. ~ it’s gorgeous! Glad you’ve had a chance to “soak it all in” on the train.

    • Someday if I can resurrect memory from a very long time ago I will have to share on this blog about the time we left Eureka, CA at the top of the state and decided to drive Hwy 1 in our motorhome. OMG! We were crazy! All those twists, turns and cliffs, with two very young children, one motion sick and the other with a fever from tonsillitis. LOL! I know it was a beautiful drive but I think my eyes were closed most of the way. 🙂

    • It really helps that about half my family lives San Francisco and north, and many more live in Orange and San Diego County beach cities. The incentive to visit them is very high. 🙂

  3. I agree entirely with you Debra, we should all slow down a little and enjoy the view. It is worrying about the number of sharks rising. A shame you can’t spend a week at the beach this year, but being such a short distance away must mean you can make a spur of the moment decision to just drive there for the day. The seaside is one thing I miss, as here in Bavaria the nearest coast would be a very long drive… 8 hours perhaps?! Have a wonderful summer Debra!

    • You’re right about our interest in pursuing some spontaneity regarding seaside visits, Cathy. I think it’s been years since we’ve had such a busy summer in front of us and I may be reacting to that a little bit! I sometimes think it’s funny that although we are a retired couple and can travel or do things any time of year, there’s something in me that still “feels” summer as a time for relaxing and vacationing much like I did all the years as a student. LOL!

    • We also live in a very high density population area and so often I remark that it’s a good thing we also have the beauty to offset the heavy traffic and congestion. LOL! That’s probably why I head to the ocean as often as I do. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by, Klarisabet.

  4. I’ve entered a part of my life when I would gladly live as a traveler, without urgency to return to work and responsibility…. But with a strong urgency to appreciate and share. So thank you so much for sharing what I cannot travel. 🙂

    • Our travels aren’t very broad or extensive, Colleen, but we try to make the most of what is close at hand. I no longer have work to hold me back, but I often hold myself back with taking on too many additional responsibilities! Train travel does force me to slow down, and that often really calls to me! Thank you for your very thoughtful comment, my friend.

      • My husband and I both want to try train traveling. We think it would be a fantastic way to travel. We love to explore what is close at hand. But will gladly explore more, given the opportunity 😉 And you are always welcome. 🙂

  5. Dear Debra, I could not agree with you more. We should, indeed, enjoy the journey every day, and no day is better to start this the one we are in. 🙂 I LOVED this! Your slide show is a vicarious journey for me and I look forward to the possibility of more when you take your long trip up the coast to Portland. In-the-meantime, I’ll look at your lovely beaches another time or two, remember visiting some of these myself, and enjoy our lovely day here. 🙂

    • Thank you, my dear friend, for your enthusiasm for the areas that bring me so much contentment. It does please me that you have visited parts of Southern California that are so familiar to me. I still feel a little stab that I didn’t know you then! I do believe that one thing we routinely share is the pleasure of finding any “wild” or open spaces in our own home vicinities and finding refreshment there. I am always glad that we share in that way. 🙂

  6. I always love your pictures, Debra, and I’m always up for an adventure. Thanks for broadening my view of adventure to include traveling by train! Sounds delightful.

    • Thank you, my friend. You’d enjoy long-distance train travel for the free time it offers. Lots of time to read and just look out the window!

  7. To my surprise, I could identify just about every one of those beaches before scrolling to read your captions. My family didn’t actually spend that much time at the beach when I was growing up, but the views do sort of get into your psyche and stay there. I guess there is still a lot of California in me.
    And you would love our beaches up this way.

    • I am certain I’d like everything about Washington, Lori. The train we’re taking to Portland also extends to Seattle, and we’ve thought we might like to do that sometime, rent a car and then just explore! I’m sure that will happen. It makes me smile to know you recognized the California beaches so easily. The beach towns along the oceanfronts don’t change entirely, but the cities themselves are rapidly expanding with more and more condominiums and large housing structures. I think you’d notice many changes, and as you can predict, not all for the better. The population growth in these beach cities is hard for me to imagine! I’m thankful for the California Coastal Commission continuing to keep it open for us…at least for now!

      • I took the Coast Starlight from LA to Seattle in 2001, a year before moving up here. It was a lot of fun. CFL and I want to take it southbound sometime, but if we do, we’ll upgrade to a sleeper. I didn’t get much sleep back then sitting upright in a coach car… and I’m older now…

        • We’ve been upgrading to the business car and it seems really doable. I’ll report back and let you know how that goes! I could be singing a different tune. 🙂

  8. Debra, just looking at your pictures makes me feel 20 degrees cooler as I sit here at my desk at work. The last few days have been way too hot and the beach looks like the perfect place to be. If not for the fact that I have work to be done around the house this weekend, I would definitely take the drive to relax and cool off. Hope to see you soon!

    • The one thing you can comfort yourself with, Catherine, is that everyone will be heading to the beach and there won’t be any place to park! You’re better off waiting until it cools off a little. I miss you! Hope to see you soon as well. ox

    • Andra told me you guys were moving, and it sounds so lovely. We’re going to be at a family wedding in Hillsboro on the 17th of July and arriving just a bit before the wedding. We’re probably on the train at least as long as we’re in the vicinity, but we will be back, certainly! One of my friends, now a Californian, has tempted me for the last two years to vacation on Oregon’s coast. She knows me well, and has given me every reason to want to visit for myself. I’m so glad you have been able to make that move!

  9. Sounds wonderful and enticing! We haven’t been to the beach in 2 years and it’s only 3 hours away. There is a peacefulness about it. We love it best in the fall after the kids go back to school.

    • I do think that fall beach time is probably ideal here, too, Kate. The crowds are really a bit overwhelming in the summer. When we plan around the grandchildren we do summer intentionally because of school, but in the summer even parking becomes a big challenge.

  10. We have family in Newport Beach and used to visit often when all the kids were young. Your photos are gorgeous. Though we live inland (San Jose) I agree that the ocean air is amazingly restorative.

    I’ve also taken that long train ride, and unless things have vastly improved, may I suggest bringing along your own favorite foods. Enjoy!

    • For twenty years we rented the same beach house in Newport Beach, owned by a wonderful family friend who passed away about five years ago. We used to tease him that we were returning to “our” house. After he died and we began renting other places it was never quite the same, but I do have a soft spot for that particular stretch of the ocean–just some wonderful memories. My mom and I have been talking about what we would do for our meals on the train. From LA to Oakland I just snacked, but to Portland, perhaps we’d better pack with a little more intention, huh? 🙂

  11. Interesting that this post appears near the same time as my latest beach walk. Ah yes … our in-sync nature strikes again. 🙂

    Your sharks are a national story, so they have been on our news as well. The news may keep people out of the water, but hopefully not away from the beach itself. Are local businesses suffering?

    A train for a leisurely ride and view along the coast seems like a great idea. Thanks for sharing the photos … and enjoy the ride to Portland.

    • I noted the same, Frank, when you posted ahead of me. Your beach walks have been so pleasurable for me to read. There is a peacefulness on a beach walk that is quite unique in my experience.

      The sharks aren’t affecting much of anything at all. In fact, most people really don’t care at all and seem annoyed when asked to leave the water. There were reports a couple of weeks ago describing photographers throwing chum off the sides of boats attracting sharks to the area. Isn’t that special! LOL!

      • Why am I not surprised that some are throwing chum into the water? Good to know that most of life is continuing as normal. I did see a news report that the numbers in surfing classes are down, therefore why I asked about the businesses as a whole.

  12. Hope all is well with you and yours Debra 🙂 I can’t wait to see your post (s) from your trip to Oregon! But I really enjoyed your tales from the beach and the images. I especially like the one of the gulls playing with the surf 🙂

    • Thank you, Martin. I’m really looking forward to our train travel in July and hope to have some photos to support the posts. You’ll be interested (and sad for me, presumably!) to learn that somehow, and i have NO idea how, my camera lens shattered this weekend. We were out of town, but I cannot imagine how this happened. I have yet to decide what I will do! Not an inexpensive solution in sight! -(

      • That’s awful news Debra 😦 Never had that happen in 50 years of photography! Normally it’s the electronics in the lens that pack up (I have had that on one kit zoom). Unfortunately, as you say, there are no cheap solutions. If we were closer I could lend you a camera/lens to tide you over! If you were thinking ‘new camera’ last year perhaps this is a nudge down that road?

        I decided to buy a Fuji X-Pro2 with a 50mm lens back in January. I intended to use it for general photography – carrying the Canon 5D and lenses around all the time is a lot of weight on my back! But it’s such a fun (and challenging) camera to use that I haven’t taken the 5D anywhere since!

        • Thank you, Martin. I have comforted myself with the idea that maybe it’s time to see what’s out there. It’s been awhile since I’ve purchased any new equipment! I know what you mean about the weight of some of the cameras. I often think I should purchase something I could carry with me. I have some research to do! 🙂

  13. Debra!!! Ohhhhhhh…summer is the season when I most miss living in Southern California! I never feel more land-locked than when we’re greeted with a wave of humidity and mosquitoes in July/August here in Kansas City…you’re going to have to enjoy the salt water and sunshine for me!

    • I’m sure it is difficult, Stacey! Once it becomes a part of you it is hard to give up beach time, and it probably only really becomes a factor in the summer with heat and humidity! Wish I could whisk you here for a little break, but you do have your priorities right now with that precious little guy. It’s so nice to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by, my friend.

  14. I think California’s coastline is one of the states many great pleasures. And I can understand why you would regularly take advantage of it as much as possible. Being a Pisces myself I know how well I feel near water and the ocean. Enjoy your trip along to coast to Oregon. I am sure it’s going to be a gorgeous ride.

    • Thank you, Otto. I’m looking forward to the trip to Oregon and I’m hoping it continues to be as scenic as we experienced from Los Angeles to Oakland. The coastline is beautiful and for me, I tend to focus on the benefits of living close enough to enjoy it often, softening the effects of living in such a high density population area with all the chaos that entails! I take the good with the “not so good” and try to make the most of it.

      On another note, you would understand my angst…We were out of town this weekend and I cannot imagine HOW, but my primary camera lens shattered! I don’t have any idea what happened. I’m still in shock…and not sure what I will do by way of replacing. First time this has ever happened to me. If I’d dropped it I’d understand, but I didn’t. Oh well…not the biggest problem I could have, but a setback, nonetheless. 😦

  15. Glorious pictures Debra, thank you for bringing back fond memories. We are train addicts, living about 10 min walk from the station in Totnes and use it by preference whenever we can. Part of the journey east follows the Devon coast and the views from the train windows nearly match California’s coastline ….. nearly….

    • I love that you describe yourself as a “train addict,” Philip. I am quickly finding that I, too, lean in this direction. My husband has been using light rail often this past year to visit a family member in a neighboring county–anything to avoid the freeway! I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos and that they evoke fond memories.

  16. Dear Debra, I grew up out in the country. Our 20 acres had a wide stream/creek flowing through them. It meandered down to the Missouri River. Each summer day, I sat by the creek and read or napped, dreamed or meditated.

    I’m not a Pisces (an Aries!), but I do love water–the taste and smell and sound and touch and sight of it. So I can appreciate your wanting to be near the ocean. I’ve been by the ocean only once in my life. The Atlantic in South Carolina. I’d love to take a vacation and find a cabin by the ocean and walk through the waves lapping the shore.

    Thank you for sharing these photographs and for your own meandering through your thoughts and upcoming visits. I’m so happy for you that peace, slowly but surely, is taking up residence in your heart and mind. Memories heal and comfort. Peace.

    • What a beautiful description of your childhood memories, Dee. I think those early imprints by a stream, or creek, river or ocean stay in our memories and always elicit a longing for the feeling that accompanied us in happy times, or under stress, helped relieve the pressure with the sights and sounds. It is so nice to see you responding and I hope that means you are doing well. And thank you for remembering me in the loss of my dad. I spent time with my mother today and we enjoy talking about him and sharing our best memories. Remembering, and talking about our thoughts and feelings is a good thing she and I can share. ox

      • Dear Debra, I am doing really well. I’ve started a new writing project and have decided to do stream-of-consciousness with no going back to edit as I write. I’ll just do as I did with Dulcy’s book: sit down each day, begin where I left off the previous day, and write the words given to me.

        I started blogging again back in late April and writing the postings and receiving comments has spurred me on to this new manuscript. My life is good. I feel fortunate and blessed.

        I’m so glad your and your mother can share your memories. They bring such comfort. Peace.

  17. Nice to have a catch up with you, Debbie. 🙂 🙂 I need my ocean fixes too. Inland must be stifling at this time of year. We’re back to rains here in the UK but I’m escaping to the Algarve for a swift recharge next week. Oregon sounds like a grand trip! I’ve heard it’s very beautiful so worth the time spent I’m sure. Have a wonderful trip! 🙂

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  19. The Monterey Bay photograph was my favorite, Debra. Your weeks of vacations as adults without kids sound lovely! Those weeks with your granddaughters are valuable. You could always have three day vacations with your husband, too.
    Just a thought and suggestion.
    I love my times with my grandchildren but almost all of my vacations are usually spent going to the lake and staying this year with my brother and sister in law, spending moments with my Mom, from 8am – 2 pm. My grandies tell people it is so I help my Mom to remember her real life and to teach them elderly people need others. They sometimes come up one or two at a time. We just finished a week, came home to see my oldest daughter get married for the first time. Just sending you peaceful and caring thoughts. Thank you 💐 for stopping by my blog often pushing like. Smiles, Robin

    • You have a wonderful family surrounding you, Robin. My granddaughters have a close relationship with my mother, and it is a joy to see the love exchanged. I don’t think it’s always easy, and I can see that you have quite a busy schedule balancing your family life as well, but I know it also brings you joy.

  20. We all need to slow down at times, certainly more often than we do. Personally I couldn’t stay away from an ocean for very long. Some very special about the waves coming in from a far, the freshness in the air, wet feet and wind in the hair.

  21. The Monterey Bay and Pacific Grove are such gorgeous photographs, Debra. 😊 I wrote a longer comment which did leave my perspective on having grandchildren and how valuable your time together is! ❤

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    • I LOVE San Diego! I am happy that I have family in the city and a ready excuse to visit as often as possible! I haven’t yet been to the Oregon Coast but we have recently been talking about it. Because my son and daughter-in-law and baby grandson live in the Bay Area, we don’t end up further north too often!

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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