Homer's Travels: Leap Day Blues And The March To Weirdness

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Leap Day Blues And The March To Weirdness

Friday was 29 February, Leap Day. By some strange coincidence the Wife's school had the day off due to some Religious Education Conference. We planned to make it a nice day and go out for lunch and do some errands. Well, it didn't quite turn out as we planned.

We woke up to a bleary overcast sky and we both woke up a little obsessed with the house. We had planned to sell our house here in California and use the proceeds to buy a house in Nebraska. We are also planning to go to Omaha in early April for some job interviews and to look at houses. There's the rub. Our current house has had so few interested parties that we are concerned that the house won't sell in time. Meanwhile a house the Wife has been really interested in went off the market. So now we think if we find a house in April we will have to make a bid immediately. So I became obsessed with figuring out where we were going to get the additional $50K we would need to buy a house without selling our current house first. The Wife was obsessed about getting the house that she wants. Our worries and anxieties fed off each other all day.

Fortunately for us all this worrying and fretting manifested itself by us both being blah and it never turned into the grumpies. We went around all day going "waaaa! ... waaaa waaaa!" It was pretty pathetic but we kept it civil.

The day wasn't all bad as we did get out and did some errands and we had a good lunch at
Zoey's Cafe, a small restaurant tucked back in an alley off of main street. The place has a Mediterranean feel and is cozy and intimate. We ate out on the small balcony. I was actually surprised how much I liked the food. Very good and very satisfying.

So, what do I do after a blah day punctuated by periods of anxiety? I watch a 36 year old Russian Sci-Fi movie. We started watching "
Solaris" at around 7:30. The Wife survived about 40 minutes before she'd had enough and went upstairs. I stuck it out and watched about 120 minutes of the 165 minute film. I couldn't take it. The acting was stiff. The reaction of the characters to absurd situations didn't make sense. There were stretches, several minutes long, where nothing happened. They say this movie has a cult following. After watching it for two hours I suspect it's a suicide cult. A perfect end to my waaa-waaa Leap Day.

Saturday started out very much like Friday. I was a little blah, though not as much as Friday, and it was still overcast. We'd decided a few days back that we needed to get back on the road so we'd decided to go to our fall-back destination: Cambria. We headed up the road and my blahs faded away as the clouds broke up and let the sun shine through.

We stopped at Harmony to look around there some more. We were there
last year and we decided to stop one last time. There were more flowers in bloom and the place looked really nice. The chapel, that had been closed, appears to be reopening. They've refinished the doors and a room in the closed restaurant across from the chapel has been cleaned up so it could be used as a small reception hall. Very nice. The wife bought a vase at the pottery shop. I bought a T-Shirt. I added the best pictures to my Harmony Set on Flickr.

We drove into Cambria, parked the car, and started in on the stores. We hit two of the Wife's favorite places. She ended up buying some decorative Cannisters at one of the stores. I'm not sure I like them but they're ok. We followed the shopping with lunch at our customary restaurant, the Main Street Grill.

After lunch we headed up the short hill behind the town to visit Nitt Witt Ridge. We were met by Mike, the owner and tour guide of Nitt Witt Ridge. He is obviously excited about the place and is full of information. This led to a very interesting tour of Art Beal's masterpiece home. You start with a four minute video about the place - actually a video segment from the early 80's show Real People. Art Beal, also known as Der Tinkerpaw and Captain Nitt Witt, was quite a character. His creation is really hard to describe. The place was built over a 50 year period by Cambria's garbage collector and it appears that a lot of Cambria's garbage ended up in Art Beal's house. It's a mish-mash of competing styles and folk art. The place fell into disrepair after the death of Mr. Beal. Many neighbors wanted it torn down. Then it was declared a California Historical Landmark (#939). It's unfortunate that there is no state, county, or city funding to help restore and maintain the place. It is all done with tour fees and volunteer work. If you're going to be in the area, make a reservation to tour the place, it's worth it. Some pictures are here.

After Nitt Witt Ridge we hit a few more stores, including a funky new place called
Dirty Laundry that sold some crazy novelties (The "J" will be getting a little surprise - props for her religion class).

We left town and crossed over to the 101 via CA-46, one of the most beautiful roads around. The road takes you over the green hills, through Ranches and Vineyards, offering sights of the ocean all the way south to Morro Bay. The views were spectacular on Saturday.

On the way south we stopped in San Luis Obispo. After the wackiness that was Nitt Witt Ridge, we wanted to stop at another quirky landmark - Bubblegum Alley. We'd used a computer in a Cambria internet cafe to get the address and we made our way into the very interesting downtown area in search for weirdness and boy, did we find it. The narrow alley is pretty gross. Both walls are completely covered in chewed bubblegum. Not much more to say about that except
here are some pictures.

Our last stop on the way home was a scenic overlook that I've passed many times. There is an
old abandoned bridge that I wanted to photograph. I finally got to do it. Here are some photos.

The day ended well. We were both tired but in good spirits. The only issue I had was a bad case of accelerator foot - I could hardly walk when I got home. Saturday was a perfect balance to the blahness we were stuck in on Friday. I'm sure I will worry about the house move a lot more between now and the end of summer but everything will be all right if I can find some weird place to go to every now and then.


  1. I love the central coast. Haven't been there in far too long. Must figure out a way to get back soon.

    If you can, before you leave, try to get up to SLO on Thursday for their farmer's market, if you haven't been. Six blocks long and usually a bit smoky from all the barbecuing going on, it's fantastic.

  2. That gum alley is grooooossss!
    People are weird. :)

    I think you need a vehicle with cruise....

  3. GH: I agree, the central coast is a nice drive. I will look into the SLO farmers market. Being a Thursday, though, it will be hard to do with the wife.

    JaG: The alley was a little gross. I did resist the urge to contribute to it an just took pictures.

    The sad thing is my car has cruise. Why I didn't use it is a mystery.