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15 April 2006 - Saturday

    Our original itinerary had planned for us to make it to the West Coast by today and here we were, actually a day early.  Both of us spent most of the morning with more visiting as well as enjoying the luxury of having the time to check our email and clean up the interior of the van.  Shortly before noon we said our fair-wells and headed north along the Pacific Coast Highway.  Today we would drive to San Luis Obispo to meet with another gen-cousin Dottie Rhodes. Around Oxnard we drove through an agricultural area were we saw field after field of strawberries just beginning to ripen.  As we proceeded north we enjoyed many wonderful sights of the Pacific Ocean afforded along this highway.   At the small town of Summerland we stopped for 

Camper-van meets the Pacific Ocean

sandwiches.  As we sat outside in the sun enjoying our meal we could almost think of this as a vacation rather than the genealogy trip we had been on for the past two weeks.  Just above Santa Barbara we entered the Santa Maria Valley, a landscape of lush green hills dotted with bushy trees located in the heart of California's Central Coast and is nestled in the foothills of Santa Barbara County wine country.  We tried to imagine how the first settlers felt about this place.  Could they have believed that they had actually found the Garden of Eden?  Near Los Almos we viewed acre after acre of well-tended vineyards.

      Soon we arrived in San Luis Obispo or as the natives prefer just SLO (pronounced “slow”).       Here we met Dottie who maintained a quite lively household as she had three of her grandchildren   living   with her.   Chance, age 16, along   with   his   two   younger  

Siblings,  the  twins, Cameo and Buddy.  Dottie’s husband George Rhodes, whom we were to meet later in the evening, was presently in the hospital.  Almost immediately our conversation was directed at Dottie’s efforts to document our Rhodes family line.  She pulled out records and pictures for us to look at.  Of which we took many digital images to take with us.  When Tom discovered that Chance was a talented guitar player he retrieved his own guitar that was our traveling companion for the past 3,000 miles and had become known as “Jethro.”  

Chanse and Tom – guitar pickin’ cousins

     As evening came upon us Dottie served us a nice roast beef dinner.  This was one of the few times on our trip where we had actually sat down and had a dinner family style, and having the kids with us made it more special.  Before we ate the six of us joined hands and said a blessing of thanks.   After dinner we visited George at the hospital  and Dottie drove us around to see some of the locality.  SLO is a vibrant college town of about 60,000 being the home of the California Poly Technical University.  Around 9:00 pm we turned in for the night amid the sounds of all things croaking frogs.

Buddy, Chanse, Dottie, & Cameo

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