Starting in the bullion dunes of Guadalupe Beach, here are places David and the children visited as they became a family, with links and quotes from This is US.
La Purisima Mission - Lompoc, CA
An old lady wearing rags ran by and told us to be at the bell tower at noon, “The pirates are coming.”
Flag Is Up Farms - Solvang, CA
We drove alone down the lane and parked next to a building with a big barn near it. The lot was empty. There were no people. We may have trespassed, but we trespassed as a family.
Ostrich Land - Solvang, CA
A fist-sized head topped a neck longer than my arm attached to a body of feather covered racing wheels. Ostriches did not survive 15 million years on smarts. They survived on speed. Natural selection couldn’t catch them.
Elephant Seals - San Simeon Beach
On the beach south of Hearst Castle we stood quietly in the area marked “Colored People” and watched elephant seals in the sand below the hard, rising dune.
River Inn - Big Sur, CA
We walked in the river and found the benches in the river we wanted. The water was so clear it was like seeing stones and fish in slanted air.
Monterey Bay Aquarium - Monterey, CA
They put their hands in the water, rubbing the backs of the manta rays in the shallow sand bottom pool.
We stood and watched waves from Japan blend with sand. We inhaled the sweet salt and watched pelicans flying in formation ten inches off the water and this is why you adopted three children even if you didn’t know what you were doing.
Cal Poly Dairy Science - SLO, CA
They didn’t call it farming anymore, they called it Dairy Science. I took two little hands in mine...
CircleBarB Ranch - Goleta, CA
Since meeting Maribel at McDonald’s we’ve returned to Santa Barbara every year to celebrate a birthday, sail, or ride horses in the hills.
Photo credits: Except for the dunes photo, taken by the author, all photos are from the respective web links.