Dinner last night at Jocko's was so good! Kim had made reservations for 6 PM, but the place is so consistently busy that we still had to wait almost an hour for a table! We didn't mind, because Kim and Steve reassured us that it was worth it, and we were able to chat a bit while we enjoyed a couple of beverages. This was on a Tuesday night, so you can imagine what it's like on the weekends! Anytime the locals frequent a place this much, you can figure it's pretty good....
And man, was it ever! The steaks are cooked in an oak pit barbecue, and they're thick and tender and flavorful. I got a small spencer steak, which is a cut I'd never heard of. It's basically a rib-eye without the bone, and it had so much flavor. Even though I got a small, I couldn't eat the whole thing. We had plenty to take home, that's for sure!
It was just a great place, and we thanked Kim and Steve for recommending it. I would have to say that it's the most flavor-filled steak I've ever had. Ken has some mad grill skills, but he hasn't yet made an oak pit barbecue in the back yard!
Today we spent the day on Lopez Lake, the county park and lake where Kim and Steve go to fish. They have a really nice bass boat, and have come to enjoy and love the fishing lifestyle. We set up "camp" at an inlet, and since the boat isn't made to haul four people around all the time, we took turns.
Ken and Steve went first--don't they look great, all manly and nautical and stuff? Ha ha! Unfortunately, the fishing wasn't good, and Steve was only able to hook what he calls bait fish, i.e., the little tiny ones.
Lopez Lake is really beautiful, with a lot of terrain that we don't see in Indiana. There aren't huge mountains, but there are some pretty big hills. The grass is all brown at the moment, but the scrub oaks are nice and green. The tan of the grass is broken by large sections of green trees, and you can tell that it's a very diverse habitat.
While the guys were out, Kim and I sat back at camp and looked through her Sibley's book (one of the bibles of birders), while she told me about some of the birds she's seen in the area. I was hoping that I'd get to see some that I hadn't seen before, and I did! (More in a moment.)
When the guys got back, we had lunch, and Kim and I laughed about how being out on the water for some reason makes us absolutely ravenous. I really don't know what causes that, but it seems like when I'm around water or spend any time in a boat, I just love having a pickanick (as Yogi Bear would say)!
Then it was our turn. I have to say that Kim handles the boat extremely well--very impressive! We headed off, and went slowly along the shoreline. We started seeing several waterbirds, and since we don't go out on any lakes at home, I'm not very familiar with waterbirds, so I did get to see several new ones! A lot of cormorants and terns, and although I've seen brown pelicans in Florida, we saw a couple today, and Kim said that's very rare around here--she's never seen a brown pelican on this lake. The most exciting sighting of the day (so far) was when I spotted a large bird up in a tree, and we realized it was an osprey. Kim and Steve had seen him before, but it was a fun sighting for me. It got even better when I spotted his nest nearby, and it was exactly as described in Sibley's--a loose nest of twigs, usually in a dead tree, hanging out over the water. Sweet! It was pretty cool to do this with Kim, someone who loves birding as much as,if not more, than I do. Both Ken and Steve have gotten pretty indulgent with us, and they're starting to recognize certain birds, but Kim and I actually stalked one of the birds that we saw for about ten minutes, because we couldn't quite figure out what it was. We still don't know what it was, but it was something duck-like. It was neat to share that with her!
After Kim and I got back to the dock, we picked up Ken and headed down the other way, while Steve fished from shore. As we were heading back, we noticed a boat with people looking up at the hill, one guy with binoculars. We figured there was something there, and as we watched we saw this little fella wander out of the trees and into an open area. Well, he or she probably wasn't all that little! As we watched, it went back into a stand of trees, and came out into an open area again, then started climbing down a rocky hill towards the shore. It seemed a little spooked, or just wary, and started climbing back up the hill. I was able to get several decent pictures.
Steve had seen a bear at this lake a couple of years ago, but Kimberley never had, so she was thrilled--especially since she had witnesses! I've seen bears in the wild, in Minnesota, Georgia, and Montana, but it had been quite a while, so it was a really great nature sighting. The bear was walking along, and every so often, would turn his or her face to us like, "What are you looking at? Leave me alone!" When we reported the bear to the ranger, he said that there has been a bear and two cubs seen frequently lately--but this one definitely didn't have cubs. He said they're getting a couple of cubs per year. Go cubs! Ha ha!
One thing that we all had to shake our heads at...there was a large family on the shore near us, and while I didn't see them doing this, Steve said that they were tossing cans and bottles up into the scrub and trees. Steve said, "Not only were they doing that, they were teaching their kids to do the same thing." How true, and isn't that sickening? Ken and Steve had walked along earlier and picked up trash along this little stretch of beach, and we all zipped our trash up in baggies and took it with us. I really can't understand why anyone would go out into a beautiful place and pollute it, and that goes for noise pollution as well--there were some really loud and obnoxious boats out there. I sure wish people would stop, look around them, and listen to the sounds and sights that surround them. There is some pretty amazing and beautiful stuff to see. On our way out, we saw four mule deer just laying in the tall grass by the side of the road. Why on earth would anyone want to befoul the habitat of these animals? I just don't get it, and I never will. I'm glad I didn't see those people throwing cans up into the scrub. As you all know, that is one of my pet peeves, and it might have struck me the wrong way. I really didn't want to rumble today. <grin>
So it was just a great day. A little windy, but gorgeous blue skies and perfect temperatures. I'm so glad we got to go out on the lake with Kim and Steve, so they could show us where they fish regularly, and share a little of one of their passions with us. It's a beautiful place, and I understand why they love going so much. I hated that the fishing was crummy today, but Steve and Kim live to fish another day!
Tonight we're eating here, and I suspect there will be a little Wii in our future. Tomorrow morning, we're off to San Diego, much of our route along the coast. It should be some more great scenery, and more of Ken and Beth's excellent adventures! See ya on the road!