Tennis court chaos in radically gentrifying Cayucos

May 15, 2019

Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” to be posted weekly includes the notes, thoughts, and opinions of an original American voice: author Dell Franklin. 


I was returning from yoga the other morning when I spotted this very attractive young woman in what seemed a spandex body suit, ball cap sprouting a pony tail, pushing a pram while jogging and at the same time studying a smart phone while her Golden retriever, leashed to the pram, trotted along, tongue hanging out. I do not want to know this woman. Nor do I want to know her husband. But I do want to have a talk with her dog about its situation. I fear for the child in the pram.

Wilbur, my 12 year old brown Lab, and I were walking along Ash Avenue when we approached the tennis courts and two huge Malmute huskies and another dog charged across the courts and sprung up against the cyclone fence and commenced barking viciously at Wilbur, who quickly sprung at the fence and delivered some blood-curdling threats of his own. It was pretty loud and maniacal and scary and I  begged Wilbur to stop, not wanting his heart to be taxed, when a blond woman around 40 with irregularly bulbous lips and a swollen face stepped forward behind the dogs and very sternly said, “Isn’t there a leash law in town? Why isn’t your dog on a leash?”

As her husband, a hefty dude in pleated shorts and tank-top looked on, I said to his wife. “I’ve got thirty years of time and grade here in Cayucos, and what the hell are your dogs doing on a goddam tennis court? It’s not a dog park. It’s unsanitary. Get your goddam asses off it and don’t tell me what to do with my goddam dog!”

“Now you wait a minute,” she began, and that’s when I went ape-shit, accompanying Wilbur as we lunged and frothed at the fence, and I began cussing the two in vilest terms. I warned the husband of dire and wrathful consequences as he stepped into the fray. Their eyes bulged with incomprehensibility. Rendered speechless at my assault, they quickly gathered their dogs and fled.

Wilbur and I made our ways around the corner of Ash and D street along the courts, and by the time we arrived in the parking lot between the courts and the local swimming pool, they were all in their high-end SUV and pealing away, perhaps surmising that I, dressed in my Cayucos Thrift Store dog walking rags, was a crazy homeless 75 year old packing heat or a butcher knife.

I haven’t seen them since, but I’ve been looking for them.

Maybe I’ll come across them in the old and maybe last institution in town–besides the Cayucos Tavern–the Cayucos Supermarket, which is not really a super market, but a smallish neighborhood grocery store of all the essentials that has been run by Bill and Marty for decades and recently sold to new owners who promise to give it an internal face life as well as a new deli now that Don Sherwood has moved his previous magnificent deli and fine meats downtown.

I will miss Bill (for years our Cayucos Fire Chief and a good one) and his dry sense of humor and ability to take a joke about himself, and my decades long attack on the 1947 plaid short-sleeve shirts wife Marty buys him and which he wears every day without changing styles. Bill never changed anything and insisted on keeping the same employees over the years and was even too good hearted to fire the occasional bad ones, until it became perilous.

The new owners are cleaning the place up, but I fear they will cater to the new breed moving in—a deli full of over-priced effete salads and Whole Foods-like specialty items with San Francisco prices for those who research, investigate, count and fret over every morsel they ingest into their pampered systems. We’re talking wine and brie and kale and low this and lite that, the kind of finicky folks who torture waiters in high-end restaurants over cholesterol levels and make a big deal over sipping that waiters first pouring of wine.

The old time locals will be testing them for hijacked prices and the usual catering to those who live by the trappings of affluence and demand that their desires are met at the price of flushing out those of us who eat anything and slosh around in bars and can no longer afford to live in this paradise by the sea, much less nibble brie alongside a glass of $40 wine from the copious vineyards popping up everywhere.


Sheez Del. Are the shroomz kicking in? I nearly moved to Cayucos 25 years ago… because of it’s old California ethos. As far as I’m concerned, it’s still there and it will be hard to make any substantive changes going forward…. with the exception of the few golden retriever owners. Back when, it was central valley folks in wife beater shirts. Choose your poison my good man. You’re just a bit too provincial and effete in your own right. And sadly…. you’re not funny. Just cranky.


And I thought nit-wit ridge was in Cambria. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)


This may be the best and most relatable article I have ever read on this website. Well done!

Btw, were the huskies on leashes?


Personally I miss the “valley rats” as we called them. They either came on the weekends or over the summer break to their small cottages and then left the town to locals. Every third house was lived in, but every yard was played on :-) It was a sleepy-leashless-dog town.

Now it has been descended upon from the north and south. Those cottages knocked down, but for 1 wall and “remodeled” to the edge of the property line.

They bring their city rules with them and NEVER leave. I feel for you Dell.

Speaking of Spandex; can we now turn our attention to Old Creek Road and get the bicycles off it? A dangerous eyesore for sure.


What a hoot! My 12 year black Lab’ experience’s the same chit from the latest rage in dogs here in Medford, Pitbull’s! Rather than bark back, growl or otherwise acknowledge their existence, he just lifts his tail, increases his high steppin’ gate and grins (I swear, he grins) as we walk on by… Love your story Dell! Nice to have some everyday reality mixed in with some good humor here CCN.


I have missed the “Rogue Voice” and it is great to read the quality of writing of Dell Franklin. I am looking forward to part two.


This isn’t the point of the article, I know, but why the hell does seemingly every person now have a dog permanently attached to them wherever they go? This dog craze is just annoying.


Try it out sometime and you’ll find out exactly why dogs are attached at the hip for some… it’s just so very nice to see another creature looking at you without contempt, judgement, expectations (real or otherwise) and meeting you at the door with pure unadulterated love. My dog? He showed me that wagging his tail solved more problems then shaking my fist at someone ever has or could.


Join the discussion…Totally agree…. If there’s no dogs in heaven I don’t wanna go.


Why dogs in the grocery store and HomeDepot?


Read the true story about Shep of Fort Benton, Montana. This is why humans love their canine friends and visa versa.


get used to it….some people don’t getit

Ben Daho

Well, the Chumash Indians weren’t too happy when It went from Paradise to a paved town with residents bragging about how tough they were and how they threatened a resident.