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Saturday, August 6, 2011

30 days - 5,000 miles - 850 photos

 SoCal beach with sister Nancy

Many miles have gone by since Taos.... my last post. I hightailed it to Laguna Niguel to visit my sister and nephew, staying one night at Flagstaff and then a fantastic drive on I-40 stopping at Williams, Kingman and Needles (hot hot hot) and then driving across the Mojave Desert to Barstow. It was my first time on that route and I found the desert powerful, stark and extremely warm. I stopped by a BLM Visitor Center in Needles to see how the Desert Plan was going. Bill tells me the tortoises are having problems with the wind generators. Silly me, I thought it was the hawks. I accidentally got some windshield cleaner on the hood of the car and it immediately sizzled and dried up into an ugly mess. Probably could have fried an egg.

 Huevos at the Pine Tree Cafe in Williams, AZ

I'm not much for shopping and I basically detest the fashions of the day that are foisted upon us by the corporate powers that be Macy's, but I had a stroke of luck in Williams. Cowboy boots in my size! And one of those cute, little hipster hats for Katy in straw. Then I had my second, delicious plate of huevos rancheros at the ___________?  You can take a train from Williams up to the Grand Canyon. That might be a beautiful way to go.

I once worked for a highway paving company when Bill and I lived in Bishop, CA and we paved between Bishop and Victorville. I guess that would have been 1978 or so. This was the first time I'd been back in that area since. It is still desert between the two towns but, once you hit Victorville, you are in LA Land. What a shock it was from the emptiness of the desert. I just sort of kept up with the flow and made my way to my nephew's house. Whew.

My arrival in California signaled the end of the vacation and the beginning of touching base with family and friends all over the state. It also signaled the end of having time to write this blog up until now. I'm in Eureka, CA at the moment taking a big breath. I dropped Bill at the SF airport this morning after spending a week with him from Tahoe to Sacramento to Brisbane where we stayed on a friend's boat for two nights. Bill packs it in. We sailed both on Lake Tahoe and SF Bay, hiked into a very lush meadow near Hwy 88 plus visited a big wildlife refuge on the south bay - Don Edwards - and went up to Santa Cruz to see Katy who is working at an arts summer camp. Poor boy is back in DC and not looking forward to going back to work.

 Santa Barbara digs

Did I mention Santa Barbara? What great weather I hit. My friends found me a cute, 1950's motel right near the beach with a good pool. I ended up attending a clarinet master class at a very prestigious summer music academy up in the hills where the ritzy stuff is. It was such a contrast from the Guthrie Festival and it was extremely exhilarating. I also stayed with a friend in Santa Ynez and enjoyed the beauty of the wine country.

 Santa Ynez

All of these places and these wonderful friends deserve a full blog on their own and maybe I'll be able to go back and tell some tales but, for now, I am bringing you up to date on my travels. Today I drove north from San Francisco. Hot and sunny along the Russian and the Eel rivers. The woods were fragrant as I drove the old, scenic highway. Hit fog around Rio Dell. That will be my dual experience for the next week - foggy in town, hot at the river. I love it! I am home.