That's Morro Rock. A nationally protected reserve for Peregrine Falcons. Used to be a volcano they say.

We’re staying a third night in Morro Bay tonight, expecting a seal kit to arrive to repair that pesky water leak that it turns out is from a very small cracked seal in the pump for the Webasto heater. The Webasto heater is a diesel fired burner that is in line with the coolant that circulates from the motor into the coach, and warms the inside, including the defroster- just like your vehicle. The difference in Bussie is that we can run the Webasto and circulate warm water to #1 Heat up the inside of the coach, and #2 preheat the diesel motor on a cold day- all without starting the bus motor. It uses much less fuel than a 500 horsepower diesel motor! Well, that little seal took a few tries to identify, but it should be fixed in a matter of hours once the part arrives via FedEx.

Ethan is always the first to get into wherever we are. No fear, not even of cold water!

We’re staying in a clean little RV park that’s situated right on the beach- we walk to the ocean front within 5 minutes- and most of that time is spent crossing the wide beach. It’s been foggy and mostly overcast, local news says it’s currently 20 degrees cooler than normal temps, it’s 62 degrees this morning. Yesterdays low tide was at 4:40am and guess who was there? Lauren, Dad and Anya (some of us went along under duress).

The flash from the camera defies the utter darkness along the shoreline and floating rain that you see clearly here. It's about 4:45am and we're on the hunt bu flashlight. The next morning, the group went a little later and was assisted by some natural light.

We made our way along the waterline searching what Morro Bay is famous for: sand dollars. It was easier to find them than the previous day when the water was up and there were more people around, but we didn’t uncover the motherlode. [This morning Kelly went with Lauren, Meila and Ethan- and apparently hit the jackpot. Meila said “the bag was so heavy it hurt my fingers” – and she’s one of our toughest!] They left quickly again to drive into town and fish from the pier with Ethan’s sturdy deep sea line he picked up in town yesterday…. Yesterday was the first day of home schooling… Kelly unceremoniously kick started the kids (figuratively, Shirley (our adoption social worker))  to begin the teaching season.

What the first day of home school looked like for Lauren- situated next to the beach towels, laptop and the beach was just 5 minutes away.

Home school for Trevor ended up obscured from the little kids in his bunk, about 5 feet above the floor- this is of course after his nap following an early morning surfing session.

Simon was put out most of the day because she didn’t get to his lesson- and he like the other kids, are hungry to learn and I think, get things under control with a schedule. While I was distracted by the bus repair, she single handedly taught and then led the field trip to the local wildlife sanctuary. Hm. After they had been, Kelly described it as a gift shop with some animals at the end- and they were totally unsupervised. But! The kids liked the seals, and the seals liked the fish, and it was only 50 cents for a bag of fish. They fed 8 bags. Kelly figures they got out of there for about $300 less than if we’d been to Sea World, and there was no line to feed the seals. Also on display- sharks, moray eels, starfish...

Safely behind the unsupervised feeding area fence, Anya prepares to befriend the seals. The sign on the railing says: HOLD BAGS BEHIND FENCE - SEALS WILL JUMP AND STEAL BAGS - YOU COULD BE SCRATCHED

Last night was a standard family meal- burgers on the grill with a campfire and a few roasted marshmallows.  We wrapped up the night by looking over some old, and not so old photos that pulled out some interesting feelings… The day we left I walked through the house with the camera and video recorded what we left behind. Knowing we’d be gone for so long, and not having a formal list of what we owned I thought it would be in our best interest to know what was there- fire, flood, other catastrophe? Kelly laughed as I strolled through the halls and bedrooms, but last night it paid off in an unexpected way. As we watched the clip that walked through the upstairs hallway into the bathroom and then into the basement I felt like I was watching someone else’s home. The bus feels very comfortably like our home right now. The girls remarked about how HUGE the bathroom was! They also pined to return home to their bedrooms and friends, and it was perhaps the first step of realizing what we really do have at home, and how fortunate they are. (We’ve been trying to tell them for years) We also watched a clip of Zeke- the dog we left behind- and although no one shed a tear, they miss him. We did briefly talk about how things would have been very different if he were here- especially in that Las Vegas heat that almost killed us a few weeks ago- it was a good decision to leave him behind.  Kelly laughed that the other day when she cleaned- she could clean our whole house now, in less than an hour- and that included the bathroom and mopping the floor! So, there are advantages to Bussie, also. I like it here. I wonder what it will feel like to return to our home, having missed an entire winter? Will we get the seasonal resident fever and go back and forth - surf to mountains? I do miss friendships and a comfortable routine, but even more I appreciate this family and feel so fortunate to be jammed into a bus and have such a great family around me. And Lauren can’t run to her room and hide, and Trevor can’t go hang out with friends, and Ethan can still disappear without a trace for hours…. It seems greedy of me, but it will pay off for everyone in the end. Today, house number signs to send out, bus repair at hand, maybe even letter the side of the bus we’re driving to answer the question that keeps coming up. What are we doing? What’s inside that bus?