First, just call me ‘Basse’. That gets my attention. My first name is Mark, but almost no one uses that to get my attention.
Next: Why Basecamp Monterey? Well, I moved to this part of California about 6 years ago and immediately set out to explore the places that all of us have heard about all of our lives: Big Sur, Monterey, the redwoods, coastal highway, the Sierra, Mojave, Yosemite and on and on.
And, as long as I can remember, I’ve always (1) taken pictures wherever I go and (2) gotten a big kick out of sharing those pictures with others. So along comes the internet and blogging and it occurred to me that I live next one of the best known travel destinations in the world and I need to start doing again what I’ve always enjoyed and start sharing it with others. Who hasn’t heard of Big Sur? Who hasn’t seen images of the iconic Bixby Bridge or seen those commercials where the beautiful car is driving along the winding coastal roads of Hwy 1 with the blue Pacific along the cliffs below? By the way, it really is that beautiful.
So I came full circle and started blogging about my travels. I started real close to home (Point Lobos State Park) and have slowly radiated outward to more distant reaches of California (Death Valley). And while most travel bloggers experience the big wide world, I have reasoned that California is a world unto itself and is practically bottomless when it comes to beautiful and exciting places to see.
Our home is near Monterey, and that’s the basecamp for my travels. Get it?
I write about what I experience and take pictures of what I see. It’s really pretty simple.
I live on a ranch in Carmel Valley with Susan and about 12 horses, 5 dogs and a never ending assortment of wildlife from turkeys to coyotes, deer and the occasional rattlesnake. Even the less occasional Mountain Lion. (unless you own goats: mountain lion magnet)
I could easily write a blog just about ranch life because there’s never a dull moment. Horses have a unique ability to break whatever it was you just fixed last week. And then there’s the compost shed, which is a demonstration site for managing manure in an environmentally responsible way and has attracted visitors from as far away as Australia. A rafter* of Turkeys strolling through the yard, Red Shouldered hawks squawking overhead and coyotes howling in the fields just behind the house.
And then there are the fires.
Two years in a row we’ve been threatened with fires in the neighborhood. September 2015 it came up fast (arson) and got within about 600 yards of the house. It’s a little unnerving when the CalFire guys pulls into your driveway at 6 A.M., looks around your house and says ‘OK, this is defensible.’
Then in 2016 there was the big one in Big Sur. 132,000 acres, $229 million dollars, 5000 firefighters and support crews at one point, and the life of a bulldozer operator. All because some jackass decided that the fire warnings didn’t apply to him. Evacuated the horses (cost Susan 10 staples in the head) and it got within a few miles of the ranch as well. Fire crews from Corona and Oakland parked in front of the house for a few weeks. Brush crews clearing the front yard. Working from home for a week because if you left to go to work they wouldn’t let you back in.
Like I said, never a dull moment.
Susan is a freelance web developer (deep under the hood with WordPress, Php and Java) and I’m a multimedia producer at The Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. I’ve been tooling around multimedia since I was the AV nerd in 4th grade. Can’t help myself.
Why write this blog?
The motivation behind doing the blog has many roots. I like to joke that writing a blog keeps me out of bars and guitar stores.
But I’m really hoping that readers may be inspired to come to California and see in person what I write about. That they’ll read what I write and see themselves in that experience and stop thinking about it, just by a damn ticket and experience it for themselves.
Go beyond the desktop travelogue and get out of the chair or from behind that desk or away from that screen and just get outside, damnit.
They’ll read that you can get outdoors and experience this amazing wilderness (or even the wilderness near your neighborhood) without having to backpack 15 miles or rappel off a cliff.
There are many other things to see around the world, and I’ve got them in my sights. But California really is that special, that unique and that diverse. And that accessible.
So enjoy what I write, but keep in mind there’s just no substitute for actually being there. Just buy a damn ticket.