Category Archives: Northern California

My Undying Fascination with Trees

Greetings! And thank you for spending some of your moments here with me in my little corner of the world. Seriously, thank you!

My fascination with trees. Not sure where it started, but I do remember being on Bourne Park, in Ipswich Suffolk, and there was this one tree. I remember even as a little girl, I would have to touch it. Once on the way in, once on the way out. I have always been attracted to trees. They are majestic, living creatures. I have always wondered the stories they save. Everything about trees is fascinating to me.

So this is my blog post on the random subject of trees. I always photograph them (along with other random subjects such as keyholes, locks, doors, bridges and gates…….) All photos on this blog are mine. Some I can’t even remember where I took them but as memories creep in, I will post what I can recall. Each grouping of photos is preceded by a quote, another one of my random collections.

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” (Warren Buffett)

Photo on left is my dad, on one of his and mums summer adventures. The one on rat right is my son Joe, on his hammock somewhere near Flagstaff Az.

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. “(Robert H. Schuller)

This is one of my favorite photos, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. It was in Yellowstone Park, one of the seasons first snows.

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“We never look deeply into the quality of a tree; we never really touch it, feel its solidity, its rough bark, and hear the sound that is part of the tree. Not the sound of wind through the leaves not the breeze of a morning the flutters the leaves, but is own sound, the sound of the trunk and the silent sound of the roots
(Jiddu Krishnamurti)

All these were taken at Sequoia National Park in Western California. I went twice in six months as I found it surreal.

“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.”  (Albert Einstein)

(Left to right) Hwy 20 from Ukiah to The Coast in Northern California, next is same, sidewalk near Budapest, Hungary. The bottom two is some random drive on the California Coast.

“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.” (Chad Sugg)

Left is in Charleston, SC. The right is on the Cali/Oregon coastal walk.

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now, “(Chinese Proverb)

Multnomah Falls, Oregon. Some forest I found. Sequoia, Sequoia and this was the tree I was talking about (bottom right) is in Bourne Park, in Ipswich

Random post I realize. Who writes an entire blog post about trees? I guess I do. Hope you got a smile or some small pearl you can take with you on your journey.

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

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Five Years of Travel

Greetings! And welcome to my newly revamped little corner of the world. This is a place I share my adventures, my stories, my photography, my books in progress, (I really am writing books…..) and whatever else crosses my path on this wonderful journey we call life. I admit, I haven’t been the most reliable blogger, but it took me a few months to settle some of my life down before I could get on with this new phase. I have spent several weeks organizing my Lightroom library, trying my best to forge a friendship with my MacBook, trying to figure out where the heck I’ve been, and relocating yet again (am in Northern Arizona until end of November right before I leave for Italy but thats a whole other blog post…..)  For those of you who are new, welcome! And for you faithful who have patiently waited for me to rev it up again….welcome back.

I plan on posting a new blog every Wednesday morning, about 9am MST. I have a lengthy list of subjects as I have learned (and continue to learn and save those little pearls!) about how to travel far and cheap, (did you know you can fly from Denver to Paris one way for less than $200?) minimalist packing and how it works well, many many destinations, my year journey to plan and prepare to go abroad for three months next year (yes, on my own. Yes, backpack only….. yes I’m planning on writing a book while I’m gone as well so stay tuned) So? Please add your name to my email list for reminders on new posts, leave a comment with suggestions or your thoughts on any given subject, I’m sure this will be entertaining, and hopefully educational on some level.

I absolutely love to travel, anywhere and at anytime. It is my true passion. There is nothing I love more than going someplace new. I keep it simple, pack light, and bring a journal and a camera. I have many adventures to share and even more in the planning phase. Alas, that gainful employment is necessary, but it also affords me to take off (after much  sacrificing, saving, cutting back, and throwing odd dollars and change in a jar). I started basically traveling for a living with my profession, that being a Family Nurse Practitioner. I work in Family Practice which is very demanding, and I prefer to go to places where I can treat the poor and homeless. It has sent me to some very interesting places. About five years ago I started working this way, and about four years ago I started truly downsizing. At this point, my belongings are in a storage unit, I gave up my rented home, and gave away my car. I basically live out of a little more than a suitcase, hence; my blog name.

I love planes, trains, long car trips being the driver, walking,  buses, trams and trolleys. I have had major trips abroad, I have taken day trips in my car, and everything  in between. I was reminded recently, (when I was whining about wanting to get up and go again) that I am a very well traveled person. Am I really? I started a list, started gathering photos off of Lightroom (thousands and thousands) and realized that during the past five years of traveling with my vocation, mini side trips, well planned tours, sporadic long weekends, and not needing much of an excuse to take off and go……the list of places is long. Surprisingly long. So as I sit here writing about it today and having a VERY difficult time picking out photos, I feel completely thankful. I also feel extremely excited, as the feet are getting restless again……

So this is what this week’s blog is about. Five years of travel. There are individual blogs planned for the major destinations (San Francisco, U.S. East Coast, Budapest, Prague, London, the South, and a blog post dedicated to the different doors of the world that I seem to be obsessed with plus more I’m sure) Keep in mind, I work full time, sometimes VERY full time, but I have truly mastered the art of capitalizing on cheap flights, holiday days off of work, creative planning, minimal packing, and just not making excuses and just GOING. So get a tasty cold beverage, find a comfy place to sit, and get a taste of the past five years. It has been quite the journey! (and if I can do it, being a single mom, working very full time, living on a very tight budget……then I truly believe that anyone can…..you just have to WANT to!)

So strap yourselves in, and here’s a thumbnail of some of the adventures I’ve had over the past five years. Some planned. Some not. Had to save for some, and others just filled up the car, made a sandwich, grabbed my camera and went.

PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY, CALIFORNIA

I have gotten to drive the Pacific Coast Highway three times…..This is definitely a “have to” for anyone and everyone. It’s endless, gorgeously breathtaking, and a peaceful way to spend a few days. There is no wrong place to stop. It’s all fascinating.

SCOTLAND

I experienced Scotland with my mum, including pubs, kilts, William Wallace, Celebration of the Haggis (delish!) and spending the afternoon at a Scottish Sheep Farm.

WINE COUNTRY, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Wine Country in Northern Cali….what can you say? It’s everything that you’ve heard. Miles of winding roads and vineyards as far as the eye can see.

WALES

Experienced a taste of Wales, and this is one quirky place! The language, the street signs are an adventure in itself. This is one country I would love to thoroughly explore. Put it on the list!

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA

I had a four day weekend and a total of $500 to spend. Total. (Airfare, Accomodation, food and extras) and went to Victoria, British Columbia. Rode in a little puddle jumper airplane, walked for miles, ate great food, and took too many photos to count. Fascinating place. Highly recommend. Thanks to a $188 flight, AirBnB, and Groupon, the total weekend cost me $496 total. Gotta love minimalist traveling!

SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NAT’L PARKS

Had the opportunity to visit Sequoia National Park twice. The giant Sequoia trees are literally majestic, extreme, and fascinating. I got to go there once with my son which made it really awesome. I drove straight through the park and experienced life above the clouds at Kings Canyon National Park.

MULTNOMAH FALLS, OREGON

I got to drive up to Portland and see Multnomah Falls. This place is pure magic and you feel the strength and incredible beauty of Mother Nature as you stand in front of this magnificent sight.

NORTHERN CALI

I spent the longest time I’ve ever spent at one assignment in Ukiah, California, a total of 16 months which translates into 500 consecutive nights in a hotel room. It was worth it as I experienced coastal sights that took your breath away, lighthouses, and towns that I fell in love with including Ft Bragg and Glass Beach and Mendocino.

SAN FRANCISCO 

I was an hour and a half from San Francisco so I got to go there a couple of times. Fresh sourdough bread, the Golden Gate Bridge and trolley cars.

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UNITED KINGDOM

London with my mum along with Chester, York, Stratford Upon Avon, Windsor (where both Her Majesty the Queen and the leader of Ireland were at the time, so there were flags everywhere) and Bath. And I got to see my beloved Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park.

IPSWICH, SUFFOLK, ENGLAND

Mum and I got to go back to our hometown of Ipswich, England.

MENDOCINO, CALI

Mendocino deserves another mention. Northern Cali.

CAPITOLA AND THE DEPOT INN

My favorite Bed and Breakfast: Depot Hill and Capitola

RANDOM FINDS

Random drives to find some “pretty”.

YELLOWSTONE NAT’L PARK

Drove through Yellowstone National Park on the way to work assignment in NewTown, North Dakota.

EAST COAST

Experienced the East Coast when I was on assignment in Middletown, CT.

ZION UTAH

Zion in Utah

MONTERREY CALIFORNIA 

Monterrey California was very cool. Eating seafood out of paper as you walked. Everything was pretty. And when I saw the interesting mileage sign? This is the day I decided I should experience Dubrovnik, Croatia. Which I added to my three month Euro trip next year.

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

I needed to go someplace and I needed someplace that 1) required a passport and 2) was as cheap as possible. So I headed off to Hungary! My sister decided to come with which was an extra and unexpected blessing! Will have its very own blog post as just far too much happened!!

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC 

2nd leg of that impromptu sister trip was Prague, Czech Republic. We both decided we could live here. Again, a specific blog about this fascinating place! Can’t wait to go back!

CHARLESTON AND SAVANNAH 

The South, Charleston, Hilton Head and Savannah and yes, I broke my arm…..

There were definitely more side trips, but I’m sure you get the picture. I have traveled far and wide with what I had at the time and the list turned out to be surprisingly long. Very humbling.

This was kind of like a list. There will be more specific posts coming I promise, at least 12 are in the works as I type this.
I have pretty extreme plans coming up for the next 12 months. I plan on working hard, saving all I can and making all of this happen. So please stay tuned. I will be posting one time per month about my year plan to travel Europe next year for three months with a backpack. A lot goes into doing something like this at my age, so I am starting now. I also have a trip planned in December and another in April. I realized I can’t wait anymore. Time isn’t waiting for me.

So my time is now.

Thank you so much for spending your moments with me! Please leave a comment so I can know you stopped by.

Until next week……..as always…….be kind.

Cheers,

Polley93

12 Months of Adventure

Greetings! And welcome to my blog of randomness. I have been working hard on this “nook” of mine, to give it a bit of a facelift, and to create a format with weekly postings (finally!) It is long overdue, and no more start and stops, do-overs, and mini blog comas. My life has been full these past few months, and as many of us do, I had this on the list for the infamous “new year”. But honestly? That is just a glorified and fancy way to label “procrastination” so I decided to start now. So, as always, I appreciate you stopping by. Grab a beverage of your choice, sit in a comfy chair, and read on……..

There has been much going on and much to share. I have a very lengthy list of subjects, Minimalism, Solo travel, Travel hacks and ways to go to amazing places very cost effectively, how to pack small, light, even carry on only, how to find air deals,  and many trips etc to cover, so let’s just call this the start of something good, or at least better than it has been in the past.

After I “reasonably” learned how to get around this new MacBook (on my “want” list for years have had it now for months but only now got the courage to dive in……oh brother!) and got Lightroom “reasonably” functioning, I sat down and started making a list of blog subjects. The first one, (and I literally stopped at that) was the places I have gone over the past 12 months or so. I didn’t realize how many places I have been until I started scrolling through photos and making a list that ended up to be very lengthy. I work full-time, as a Family Nurse Practitioner working at a rural clinic up here in Northern California for the time being, so it’s not like I have a ton of time, but I have become a master at “squeezing” an additional day or two off hooked to a holiday weekend, living extremely frugal, saving as much as possible so that I can get on a plane or getting in a car just as much as I possibly can. Those that know me know that I am no stranger to getting in a car to travel umpteen hours just to be in a forest, sit along a coastline, take a few photos, and drive umpteen hours back……..I have been known to sleep in my car!

So this first blog post (first of many I might add) is just a smorgasbord of my very amateur photography in places I have been fortunate enough to experience over the past 12 calendar months. Its been random, and most of it very unplanned. My Adventures range from packing a sandwich and a full tank of gas to anywhere, to a trip to get a passport stamp with the location in Canada being simply due to the cheapest air ticket I could find, to adding a couple of days in San Francisco to a Medical conference just because, to a well thought out and planned excursion to Europe to two cities I have never been to. Each of these will have a blog post just for that one place or experience, but this is just a broad overview of it all.

The above makes it sound like I am rolling in money and let me assure you that I am most definitely not. I have lived my life as a single mother with many challenges that all have been overcome. I struggle just like we all do. I gave up my rented house in Tucson, Arizona, gave my car to my son, stored what I own, and took a job where I travel to remote locations to serve the poorer rural areas. I live in hotel rooms, and very simply.  live on a 100% cash basis. No credit whatsoever. So even though you are about to go on a “cliff notes” of sorts of my adventures, please keep in mind that it took me sacrifice, and planning to make any of this happen. In short, I haven’t made a bunch of excuses, I just found a way. I have restless feet, a serious and incurable case of wanderlust, and travel and finding new experiences and adventure is definitely my passion.

So, let’s begin……..

Started off in the beautiful southern Arizona desert……You either love it, or you hate it, but to me? There is nothing quite like it. I find it peaceful, beautiful, and raw.

I try to go to Sedona and Flagstaff Az as much as possible…… Sedona is like stepping into a postcard, and Flagstaff is like stepping back into a simpler time. I love them both.

I pit stop in San Diego California as much as possible…..simply love that town! The beaches, the food, the USS Navy presence, and the bazillion memories I have made there.

Conference in San Francisco that I added a couple of days to…..brought my daughter along and my brother was working out there which made it all the more fun. SF is simply awesome for a short visit, lots to do, eclectic architecture, and clam chowder to die for.

Ventured up the entire California Coastline…… The Pacific Coast Highway has got to ve one of the most majestic drives in this whole country. It’s simply breathtaking. This is but a small taste as I could go on and on and on about the six days I took to drive up that entire coast. I have been fortunate enough to have been able to do it twice now. And I would most certainly do it again.

Started living amongst the California Vineyards……who knew? Incredibly fortunate to be able to live in an area that I would never in a million years be able to afford to do it on my own. It is majestic, peaceful, wineries everywhere, skies that are endless, surrounded by forests and a coastline just an hour away. Truly magical here.

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Experienced a little European Dutch right in the heart of California….one of the coolest little secrets I found. Sovang, California. Just a few pages out of a Dutch history book. With architecture, food, wine, and traditions.

Found Lighthouses……my favorite.

Went to Victoria, British Columbia on a whim due to a $180 round trip airfare. I figured the rest out as I went. Stayed in an airBnB, flew in a puddle jumper airplane, went with a backpack only, walked everywhere. It was quite the adventure.

Denver…..beautiful city with beautiful seasons…….and family!

Portland…. or the outskirts of Portland I should say. When the rain takes a just a little break it really is a gorgeous place.

Sequoia National Park……times two….This was one of my all time favorite places. To stand amidst the giant trees is something you just have to experience. No picture or story can do it justice. It’s like taking a step back in time. It is very silent, and spiritual. I was blessed to be able to meet my son there and its a weekend I will not soon forget.

Kings Canyon National Park…….driving above the clouds…..literally.

Mendocino, California, This is a storybook kind of place. The coastline is breathtaking, there is a water cave to find, if you are there at the right time you can see miles and miles of Lillies. It’s small, but worth a visit for sure.

Northern Calif Coastline, Glass Beach…..This area was a landfill about a century ago. I guess Mother Nature didn’t appreciate the garbage being placed in her ocean, so she took the glass…..smoothed it out, and gently placed it back on the beach. This small beach is literally covered in small smooth colored shards of smooth glass. I found it amazing.

Budapest, Hungary, Wow! Who knew? I found literally a flash sale with a traveling company at the beginning of the year. RT airfare via Swiss Air from SF through Zürich, Switzerland to Budapest, then a bus to Prague. All accommodations. Daily breakfast. Four extra excursions (city tours, outlying villages, and another country, Slovakia!! For a total of…….wait for it…….$1450. I kid you not. This beautiful city and total experience  needs a post of its own. And once I can figure out how to get all the photos from my Canon camera to this Mac…..I will do just that. Until then, these are iPhone photos, which aren’t half bad.

Prague, Czech Republic. Stage II of my random Europe excursion. I felt like I was in a story book. The architecture alone literally took your breath away. I found it friendly and a true adventure! As above, trying to figure out the photo thing and this will be an upcoming stand alone blog post……it certainly deserves it.

Wow……just wow. As I sit here I am truly humbled. I find it amazing that any of this was even possible and when I look back at it all, I realize why it was all possible. Because I quit making excuses.

I quit saying I don’t have the time.

I quit saying I don’t have the money.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

I quit being picky about where to go and I just went. Sometimes it was $5, an afternoon, and a box of crackers keeping me company on the passenger seat. Sometimes it was scrimping and saving every week to make a bigger excursion possible. But whatever I was capable of doing, wherever I was capable of going, I just went. To anywhere. I encourage any of you reading this to do the same if you want to experience whatever, wherever for whatever reason you choose. You just have to do it.

Next year is a year in the making. Up to this point, I have plans to go to Savanna, Charleston and Hilton Head in March with sister for birthday week. We have committed to going somewhere for a week every year together. Time is fleeing and no more waiting. It is pretty amazing that we met a wonderful couple in Prague that lives in Hilton Head and we have plans for some beers and a Catch up as they went on to Poland. Love how paths cross and new friends are found no matter where you go.

Well! Success! Blog has been rebooted! I so appreciate you if you eyes have reached this far. If you have liked what you have read/seen, please leave a comment or some kind of sign that you were here, I already appreciate you so much!

I will be posting new blog entries every Sunday. No particular order. If there is a place, an excursion that has been mentioned, or a subject you are particularly fond of or curious about, please let me know and I can put it at the top of the ever-growing list.

Until next week, stay curious, and be kind…….always,

Polley93

aka Tink

Lighthouses, The Human Need for Hope and John Mayer

Greetings! And, as always, thank you for spending some of your moments here with me as my brain goes rambling down the road to unknown destinations. I sit here in the hotel room I have lived in since New Year’s and John Mayer is on shuffle. It brought me back to still yet another “must get out of room” moment, and I took off in the car for the coast with my friend John playing in the car. He is truly one of the best artists to have blaring loudly in the car as you drive to absolutely nowhere. So I thought I would share that day with those of you who chose to stop by for a visit.

Grabbed my camera, made a sandwich, packed some grapes and stopped for a coffee and started driving west. The coastline is only about 50 miles or less from me but the road to get there is…….interesting. Pretty? Yes, but interesting

Drove down the PCH toward Mendocino and took a random right turn. Lo and behold there was a sign….

LIGHTHOUSE ———— THIS WAY —————->>>>>>>>>>

The day was INCREDIBLY windy and got worse when I got out of the car. But pulled my hoodie over my head and started walking. And walking. And walking some more.

Now, I’m not  a small person I’m 5’10” and I had some difficulty standing upright. The wind was brutal, strong To take photos I had to literally back up against something to be able to be somewhat still. The wind was cold, and cut through my Shawshank Redemption sweatshirt that I purposely leave in the trunk of the car for things and times like these. I questioned the logic of this, and should I actually do this on some windy narrow dirt path that I wasn’t even sure would lead to anything? But?

LIGHTHOUSE —————– THIS WAY ——————>>>>>>>>>> so onward I went.

Amazing the simple things that can be so beautiful if you just slow down Take that breath And notice. The fast paced and technology overload is lying to us that life is all scheduled, hectic, stressful and cluttered. The gale forced winds that were cutting through my clothes reminded me exactly of this. A sense of urgency.

Not so. Stop. Slow down. Tuck your phone in a drawer. Notice.

I kept braving the elements, head down and focusing on each step and then I looked up and saw her. My lighthouse.

I think many of us love lighthouses. They are mysterious, majestic, different, and all offer the same human element that we all crave.

Hope.

A beacon in the night. A light in the dark. A warm place to rest your soul. A strong stance, weathering the test of time, of storm, of weather, of tide. It symbolizes the endurance of the human spirit. To stand strong. To face the challenge. To realize the sun will peek her head through those storm clouds. That this storm won’t last forever, but you can do it. Yes you can You can weather the storm. We all can.

Yes lighthouses They say all those things to me. I suppose that’s why I continually find them. And continually seek them out no matter what coastline I happen to be on.

Yes, the storms come. And? They will keep coming. The waters will get choppy. The winds will try to knock you down. You will get tired. You will question whether you can get through or not. You will look around and see nothing but crashing waves.

But hold on. Baby step your way through. Borrow my life mantra of “just keep doing the next right thing”, and the waves will lessen. The storm will calm. The clouds will part.

And you will find your lighthouse.

IMG_8827As always, I truly thank you for stopping here at my rambling thoughts and random photography hideaway. The moments you spend here are appreciated, as they can never be replaced. Thank you for spending them here with me.

Until next time………Be kind………..Always.

Polley93

Traveling Solo, Adventures and The Land of the Giant Trees

Greetings! And, as always, thank you for spending your moments with me.

Adventure. What is it? In my world, it can be anything you want it to be. I love to travel. I also need to work. So my life has become somewhat of a balancing act. Over the past few years I have learned that Adventure can be anywhere, doing anything, meeting anyone, and for me? It has been solo. Nothing I love more than just taking off to some new place with a camera and capturing its flavor, its personality, and its people.

Some people tend to think an adventure is a well thought out, planned, financed trip of some kind. Vacation time, hundreds or thousands of dollars and packing a week ahead. For me? Adventure could mean a five dollar bill and an hour. I have day trips. These are basically getting in the car, taking roads, traveling for four hours, and having GPS guide me home. Half the time I couldn’t even tell you where I’ve been. A weekend trip is 200 miles or less. An overnight someplace. A three-day weekend means I can go as far as 500 miles. Two nights stay. These are solo and I bring my own food.

I have been asked more times than I would care to admit, the same questions. How can you travel alone? Why do you like to do such random things? And, how can you  afford this? Well, I will try to answer those.

How can I travel alone? Well, if I didn’t travel alone for the most part, I wouldn’t travel at all! I have been single for a very long time and have learned that being solo is no excuse for not getting out there and finding what this world has to offer. I look at it as a benefit. No compromising on the where to go, what to do, and cost. If the trip is successful or a dismal failure, it is all up to me. I keep safety factors in mind, and thus far, I have done well.

Why do I like to do such random things? Oh heavens!! Two words for you….WHY NOT? Life has no road map, and therefore, I tend to not have one either on my travels. I have met the most fascinating people, have seen the most amazing things, and have learned life lessons not from a book. I highly suggest (if you have any) getting over your fears, inhibitions, and just GO. You will be so glad you did. Get out of the proverbial box!!

How can I afford to do this? How can I afford NOT to do this? Most of my trips are extremely cheap. It’s a tank of gas, sandwiches and food I bring, and my cameras. If I have to stay overnight for a weekend, I use my infamous hotels.com and find someplace very reasonable. Every tenth night is free. I pay myself a weekly allowance out of the money I work damn hard to make, but I usually don’t spend too much, so when it adds up? I go. My international trips take a little more planning, but I go on those too (next one is October of this year…..passport stamps…..yay!!)

I was fortunate enough to have a three-day weekend, and since I am working in Northern California, I want to experience as much as I can while I’m out here. I decided to go to Sequoia National Park, about 400 miles away. The trip there was very bizarre. Getting through Oakland was no fun. It was flat and nothing forest-like. I was about 100 miles away and was seriously wondering if I was going the right way! How can giant trees be growing around where it was so FLAT?

But? I found Three Rivers, and I was there. I was committed to driving to the park and catching a glimpse of these huge trees before I settled in for the night, so off I went. The park was ten minutes from my motel, and THE TREES were about an hour up the mountain. Oh my…..how glad I was that I went!

Never had I seen things so ginormous. I mean the pictures surely do not do these magnificent statements of nature justice. The forest was silent. Misty. Serene. It was very emotional. All the stress, the traffic, the patients, the drama, the cell phones and computers and demands were? Gone. Just gone. There was this overwhelming nothingness. Just nothing. Just pure air, occasional chirp of a bird. The random quiet “shush” of a breeze, and these towering, magnificent, amazing creatures of nature.

I ventured back to my motel, settled in and slept like a baby. I got up early and had a plan to just be gone. All day. To find what I could find. And to drive to the end of the road. I was amazed at the sprinkle of color I found along the way.

I knew from what I read about these huge trees that the largest tree in the WORLD was right here in this park. It isn’t the tallest, nor is it the widest, but it has the larges MASS of any tree in the world. His name is “General Sherman” and I began my quest to find him. It took quite a hike, and at 7000 feet no less, but I did. He was so big I just stood there for a good long time just staring.

General Sherman is over 2000 years old. TWO THOUSAND YEARS. I wish I could hear his stories…….

After you get through Sequoia, which is a LONG LONG WAY, you enter into another National Park, Kings Canyon. I literally drove through clouds at 5mph, on hairpin turns that were literally 180 degrees, up the mountain range and down the other side. It was literally breathtaking and no way any photo captures its majesty.

The rushing water of King’s River, the huge mountain peaks, the sheer mighty proud stance of the granite and shale mountain sheers. It was just almost too much. I would stop at a turnout to get a photo or get a better view, and if there was anyone there, or someone who would stop, we would all be doing the same thing. Just standing there, looking, still and silent. It was surreal.

I drove to the end of the road. Literally. It was called “end of the road”, I’m kicking myself now for not getting a picture!

I turned back around and just enjoyed the drive. And spent my time going slowly through the land of these beautiful giants.

If you have never been, this is definitely bucket-list worthy. I kid you not. Life changing. Makes you really understand just how small we are. Very, very small. I’m so thankful we had presidents in the past who realized we needed to preserve our wonderful lands and make them National Parks. They are pristine, spotless, peaceful, untouched, raw and real. This is a must see.

As always, I appreciate your time. I may repeat myself but I truly believe that time is our most precious life gift. You can’t replace it, buy more of it, or barter for an extension. Once you spend your moments, they are gone. So spend your moments wisely, and on those who matter. And for now? I thank you for spending your moments with me.

Feel free to leave a question, comment, criticism or like.

Until next time………be kind………always,

Polley93

Wknd in Mendocino

Greetings!

A wonderful thing happened the week of both mine and my sister’s birthdays. She flew out here to Northern Cali from Phoenix for a three day weekend. I decided to take her to the coast, a welcome different view from the desert. After an evening dinner at a nearby restaurant, drinking “grouchy old men” drinks (not kidding and they were awesome), we got some sleep and headed out the next morning. A couple hour drive through the twisty, turny, hairpin turn mountain road……and we reached the big water.

First stop, my beloved Glass Beach. I love this place for a lot of reasons, but mostly for the surf. It curls, its a beautiful color and it is simply pure peace.

We headed north on the Pacific Coast Highway to the quaint little coastal town of Mendocino. It is small and quirky, right on the water with lots to do and awesome streets to venture down. But first? Our hotel.

I found it on my BFF hotels.com and had a credit so I got a night at this place for a song. So thankful it only  cost a total of $22……the gardens were absolutely gorgeous, but the room itself was somewhat of a cross between the Eagles rendition of “Hotel California” and a room straight out of “The Shining”…..I kid you not. It was a one time experience for sure! Creepy. It was supposed to have a dining room, a lounge and bar, and a spa. The only thing we got was a 15% discount coupon for breakfast that was about five miles away. No dining. No bar. No spa. All we could do was laugh. A lot. I kept thinking I was gonna see a set of twins down the long hallway, and yes…..I must admit…..I whispered “all work and no play makes jack a very full boy all work and no play makes jack a very dull boy……..etc” yeah….that happened.

Flowers! Flowers! Everywhere! It was such a great environment for writing. Fresh. Full of color. Everything blooming. Combined with a cool ocean breeze.

The coastline is very difficult to describe, and quite honestly? Pictures simply do not do it justice. The environment, the ocean breeze, the salt in the air, the smell of things blooming, the sound of the surf. It almost puts your whole soul into somewhat of a trance. One must experience this at least once in a lifetime!

We took long strolls down little dirt paths along unfenced cliffs. We found a water cave that was really cool, and very beautiful. I actually caught the water spray and colors coming out with the wave!

We took a different path and found an endless journey of lillies. They were nowhere else, just in this one area, but they went on as far as the eye could see.

The Town of Mendocino is very quaint. The architecture of the buildings was truly unique. Every road lead to another surprise. Markets, restaurants, mom and pop kind of shops, luxury shops, sprinkled with artists and their easels and friendly people literally from all over the world. Lots of accents around.

Another scene, another flower lines alley, another garden, another peek at the coastline, every time a corner was turned.

It was a weekend VERY well spent.

Although the area is beautiful, the food was great, the hikes were therapeutic, and the big water was her usual amazing self, the best part of the weekend was my sister. To reconnect, to share the time, to laugh uncontrollably, to talk and cry, to share and support, and to reconfirm what is truly most important in this life is the memory I will tuck away and keep forever from this weekend. Truly special.

As always, thank you for spending your moments with me here on my simple blog. I am working on a potential plan for an extreme trip in October which I am truly excited about. For now I will keep quiet until things are sealed and cemented.

Until then, I will live in my hotel room, with my few things, and find my adventures in this magical land of northern California for a few more months. I have a list of areas here that I will explore and post about. So stay tuned! Remember, everything can be an adventure if you choose to make it so!

Until next time……be kind……always.

Polley93

A Full Tank and 12 Hours Later

Greetings! Welcome to a new week and  a new blog post. Last week I asked for suggestions as I have a lengthy list of prospective subjects, places, etc that I plan to post about, and from the responses I received, the winning subject was to write about the place where I currently am. So? Here goes.

As you probably know, and if you do not, I am a Family Nurse Practitioner, and I travel with a company who finds me locations to work. These are usually outpatient clinics, and usually in random areas, some of them way in the middle of nowhere some are in the city. This one that I currently am, is a little bit of both. The town is called Ukiah, it is in northern California, 100 miles north of San Francisco on highway 101. I was hired to work in a clinic serving nine Indian Tribes. The clinic itself is, in a word, awesome. The people I work with are positive and fun, welcoming, skilled, and make a work day fly by. The care given here is complete and thorough. Yes, I am very thankful. I will be here for six months, at least until late June. Afterward is yet to be determined, and that is just how I like it. It forces me to be in the mindset of “this is temporary, so make every day count.”

This area surely gets its fair share of rain in the winter season, and after two weeks of non-stop, Saturday came, and oh my GOODNESS….there was the sun. I packed my camera and lenses, a blanket, a sweatshirt, a lunch, and got in the car. I sat in the drivers seat, cued up one of my infamous “Road Trip Playlists”, as usual, no map and no compass. I went north the last time I had a free weekend day, and so this time? I headed south on the 101.

I passed through some small towns, the one that i recall was called “Hopland”, I am sorry now I didn’t stop as it looked very quaint with old buildings, and quite small and full of personality. I am told that it is a concentrated area of wine vineyards there, which definitely makes it on a “must return” list. I passed through Santa Rosa and headed right……yeah you got it……toward the big water.

Yes, I sat on the picnic table pictured above, with some food I brought with me and a cup of coffee I found at a roadside coffee hut on the way right north of a place called Bodega Bay. It was very cool, not cold, breezy and a sweatshirt was plenty. I did bring my journal, and spent at least an hour there in the quiet, writing. What I wouldn’t give to just be able to write! Ahhhh but oh that gainful employment thing!!

I had all day, so I was in no hurry. I had never driven this road before, every turn was new, every curve revealed a new scene.

I spent an hour watching a huge river empty out into the ocean. It was such a clash of nature. I looked left and saw hills, trees, and  river full of fish, with boats and fisherman collecting the catch of the day. I looked right and saw the endless Pacific Ocean. And you could actually see a line drawn clearly in the water. River on the left, Ocean on the right. It was something that made me just watch from my parked car on the side of the winding road when I pulled over to the side.

It really is amazing how fantastic some normal things can be, if you just take the time, pull over to the side of the road, breathe deep that fresh air you are surrounded by, and notice. Just notice. Life is such a hectic journey at times. Always a list of “to do’s”, always a response of “I’ve just been so busy’s”. But what I have learned, is that we all have the same 24 hours and everything is a choice. If you don’t stop and notice? Then you have simply chosen not to. I had a list as long as my arm to get completed that Saturday. And yet what did I do? Did my life fall apart? Did my I go into overdraft fees? Did I lose out on sleep or not get the laundry done or get fired or end world peace? Or…….did I just act on a spontaneous moment and have at least a dozen beautiful pictures in my mind forever, meet a few strangers that made me smile, got to decompress, let all the tightness and stress of the week go. Yes……choose “B”….

And then let’s talk about that coast line. Of course……I had to find a lighthouse.

There’s just something very cool about lighthouses. They are a beacon of hope in the night…..and have always spoken to me in a very strange way. Perhaps it was my years growing up on sailing barges with my Grandad in England……I have seen lighthouses all over the place, both coastlines and in Europe. And they always make me stop. Wonder, Imagine. I simply love them.

The Ocean will always be a miracle. There is just something almost magical about the ocean. The sound of the waves crashing upon the shore, and the smaller shoosh of the waves slipping back away to return to the big water. If you aren’t captivated by the shoreline and the ocean, no matter where in the world you may live, I would seriously wonder…..I think I could sit on a shoreline for hours and hours. And not do a thing. The sheer power of the water is enough to make me realize just how very small we are. It is when I am standing on a shoreline that all the “bigness” of all the BS going on in the world today, simply melts away into the big pile of nothing that it is. We are small. The Universe is big. Everything’s going to be ok. Truly.

And a few more……..

And a few more…….

So that was my Saturday. Started in Ukiah, drove south through Santa Rosa, over to Bodega Bay, and headed north clear up to Fort Bragg.  The first day of sunshine in two weeks. A huge catch up day planned with the infamous a million things to do and a list that would give anyone a migraine.  but instead? Took advantage of the sunshine. Spent 12 hours driving up roads I’ve never driven on. I spent a total of $12. Took 115 pictures, and kept 67 of them. The list all got done, the earth still rotated, the world still continued on. I’m a speck of sand on a huge ocean beach. Taking a day completely off, for no reason, with no plan, just didn’t change too much!

Except for me. My peace of mind. My energy level. My outlook. It was worth it.

Moments. We all have the same amount. Life will come and grab your moments. Steal them away in the night. Work will demand of you. Responsibilities will always be lurking. Debts will remain. Needs will always present. But by stopping. Noticing. Collecting moments for your self and tucking them away, although won’t make that work, those responsibilities, those debts disappear. No…..they will be waiting.

But? They really CAN wait

Thank you, as always, for spending some of your moments with me. We may not stand on the same piece of carpet, but nonetheless, I do appreciate your time. Feel free to share my blog, press “like” or leave a comment. Would love to hear from you.

Until next time……..be kind……always,

Polley93

A Hidden Gem

Greetings! And as always, thank you for sharing your moments here with me. As you know if you have read any of my posts, I can be a random person, always looking for something to learn, someone to meet, somewhere to go, a new adventure to experience. As I traveled from Tucson Arizona to Ukiah California, I took the Pacific Coast Highway and took five or six days to inch my way up and photograph the journey. (see catherinescottage.net – that was to be my last post on that blog site). When I planned the trip I tried to gauge miles and booked hotels on the way. The last night on that journey, I cashed in my hotels.com free night credit and decided to splurge on a nicer hotel than usual. I had no idea the town it was in, as honestly?  have never heard of it. But wowza! What a find!!

CAPITOLA, CALIFORNIA

Capitola is a dot on the map, right off of the 101 and just south of Santa Rosa. I didn’t choose this due to the location, I found the hotel and it happened to be there. I originally looked for a hotel that was quiet, unique, and pretty. I found a bed and breakfast that looked kind of like a Beauty and the Beast location, all fancy and fairy tale like. And it just happened to be in the quaintest little beach town. The town of “Capitola, California.

The board walks, the quaint little streets, the coastal strolls, the pubs and restaurants. This will definitely be on my places to return to. Lo and behold I found an English pub, ran by a couple of Brits that were almost as crazy as I am! They made me an original Steak and Kidney pie, treated me to a pint and I watched English footie for a couple of hours. Heaven.

And now for the hotel, which was more of a Bed and Breakfast. Twelve rooms total.

THE DEPOT INN

The front door was locked and it was opened by a young woman who was in a typical black and white European style skirt and blouse. She knew already who I was and showed me right in. She took a personal interest in everything I was there for. The entry room and parlor was very European. With special touches every where you looked.

She showed me every nook and cranny of the place, and handed me a big golden key. It really did feel like a fairy tale. My room was at the top of the stairs. “The Stratford upon Avon” suite.

The room was simply amazing. I mean….perfect. Down to the toiletries in the bathroom. A steam shower with rain spout. A fireplace. A window seat. It was just so pretty, made me feel like a princess. I went out to explore the town before the sun went down and to take some pictures, that’s when I found the English pub and hung out for a bit. Returned to the hotel with cordials and port waiting? Seriously? That was a first for me! Also local wines to choose from in fancy crystal wine glasses.

Let me tell you, it was one of the best night’s sleep I have ever had. With cracked windows, sea breezes and a fireplace throughout the night. The bed was one of those that gives you a big hug with covers just heavy enough to wrap you up and hold you comfortably. Didn’t even turn the tv on. It was just too perfect.

I was asked what time I would like breakfast and I said 8am since I needed to hit the road to get to my final destination. When I walked downstairs I was greeted with a hot cup of coffee and a chair pulled out and waiting for me.

The breakfast wasn’t anything I would have ever ordered. Eggs Benedict with hollandaise with avocados and some other stuff….I thought…..O. M. G. Runny eggs? avocados? But I promised myself I would not turn anything down,and this is the year for trying everything before I judge.

So I ate it.

And honestly? It was one of the best meals I have ever had. Lesson Learned.

I’m all about being financially wise and pinching pennies to get the most mileage out of every experience I can. But once in a while it is ok to step outside of reality and be in a scene from Beauty and the Beast…..if just for a night.

Well worth it. Depot Inn, in Capitola California. If you ever get a chance, treat yourself. It was totally worth it!

Sidenote: Each of us has a journey, a path. Most of our stories are not easy. The image we project is usually our best side, our happy place. But there is always some kind of a challenge, struggle, mountain to climb. Each of us is different. With that being said, don’t judge your fellow brother or sister you pass along your journey. You never know what the faces you pass are struggling with. Financial issues, family issues, homelessness, loneliness, mental illness…..whatever. As you know I carry my infamous ziploc baggies full of the hotel toiletries i save, a $5 bill, playing cards, chewing gum, a pair of socks, and whatever else I find, along with a handwritten note with a positive message of “hang in there”. I give them out to anyone I pass along my way holding up one of those infamous cardboard signs. I’m forever writing “love notes” in my random spare time, to anyone, or no one, and leave them everywhere. Airport bathrooms, grocery store shelves, park benches with a “To you. Yes You. If you are reading this, this is for you” on the front of a colorful envelope.

My point is this. I’m nobody special, and I do have my own struggles. But?  It’s what I can do. With what I have. Where I am. Kindness is contagious. Kindness is free. You may not ever know if you have truly made a difference. But I do know, that paths cross for a reason. And this Universe has a magical way of placing us where we are supposed to be and finding what we are supposed to find. A word of encouragement, an act of kindness, goes a long way. I know it does with me. It starts a magical effect and by being kind? It encourages another to be kind. So…..pay for the next person in line if you are able. Carry groceries. Open doors. Give up your seat on the train or subway. SMILE. This world needs more kindness. And that is not dependant upon zip code.

Until next time…..As always…….be kind,

Polley93

Random Exploring

Greetings! And welcome to still yet another one of Tink’s infamous “do-overs”. Being the occasional airhead I can be, I locked myself out of my main blog site, and after several attempts, emails, and a very near complete breakdown, I just threw in the towel. This? Will be my  main blog site from this point forward. It will receive an overhaul eventually. Check out the previous blog (catherinescottage.net) if you haven’t, but from this point on……COME HERE!!

Lifeinasuitcase.net

The past weekend was the first two days of sunshine since I’ve been here in the Ukiah, California area. I packed my cameras, journal, grabbed a scarf and my keys and started driving. I have learned that you don’t need much of a plan to find extraordinary things. I work much better without a map. Just go. GPS will always get me home. I knew the coast was 60 miles away. What I didn’t know……was it took two and a half hours to get there!

Drove through hairpin Forest roads, looked out over some of the most beautiful and rugged scenery. Not too sure where the ocean was….but surely I was headed in the right direction?

The Forest abruptly ended and all of a sudden I saw a “Welcome to Fort Bragg” sign. What a quaint and pretty town! Saw the “big water” and that’s how I spent the rest of my day. Found the infamous “Glass Beach” and spent hours just walking, climbing, and being in awe of what Mother Nature is capable of. This is a place that was used as a landfill…..literally a garbage dump some hundred years ago. Well…..Mother Nature said no way…..took all that garage…..took the glass….spent some time softening, smoothing out, and shining up the glass shards….and then gently laid them back upon her beach. Simply amazing.

Walked along a very long coastal walk, not sure how far I went, I just know that my legs were killing me!! Absolutely breathtaking views.

Made my way back to my infamous hotel room, that I will call home for the next six months. Got up the next morning, and decided I wanted to see some Redwoods. The main super huge Redwoods is about a four hour drive from here, and considering it took me almost three to drive 60 miles (no straight roads from here I’m afraid) I found something a little closer. Not the super huge Redwoods, but an amazing hike nonetheless.

There is so much beauty around us, no matter our zip code. I have had comments such as “oh how I wish I could do what you do”. Well? You can. All this cost me was time, and a tank of gas. I brought my own sandwich. Creating your own adventures is just that. Creating your own adventures. There is an adventure in absolutely anything, anywhere and any time if you choose to look at it that way. No sense in sitting around for a weekend if there is something to discover right down the very road from where you are. We only go around once…..make it count.

As always, thank you for spending your time here with me. Time is valuable, as once it is spent, it is gone. So, thank you for investing a few moments of your day with me.

If you liked what you read, or looked at, (all photos are mine, unedited and raw) please leave a comment, or a like, or follow this blog via email. I have a super long list of places I will explore, some need a passport stamp, some just need a sandwich and a tank of gas. As in my world? It’s ALL an adventure.

As always…….be kind. Until next time…..

Polley93