WordWave is Crashing on our Shores

I am super excited about and volunteering for WordWave. This three-day literary festival held next weekend, at the Tallac Historic Site, will feature oral storytelling, author readings, vendors, panels on craft, a Maker’s station and a novel writing camp for kids. Ticketed events include a steampunk ball, workshops, agent sessions and even a hike. The entire schedule is online at www.TahoeWordWave.com.

What an incredible event for our town. I hope you can attend!

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My Photo in 50th Anniversary Book

I received an awesome request regarding this photo.

Hi Denise – The City of South Lake Tahoe is creating a commemorative book for the 50th Anniversary.  We would like to include your photo in the book of Mayor Hal Cole and Jamie Anderson.  Would you allow the use of the image in the book?  We will provide photo credit to you. Thank you! Tracy Franklin, City of South Lake Tahoe, Public Information Officer
What an honor this is for me.

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Wild Flour Bread Bakery...

This delectable and delightful place is only open four days a week (F-M) so we missed it when we tried before but there was no way I was leaving this area without visiting.

Located in Sonoma's first historical district, Freestone, CA (pop. 32), Wild Flour does something to you, right upon entering. I actually felt giddy.
Wild Flour Bread features brick oven baked sourdough breads, scones, biscotti and coffee drinks. Working with a wood fired brick oven we produce beautiful hard crust breads that our customers come from miles around to taste. At 8am we open with 4 breads only, our sticky bun, cheese fougasse, goat flat bread and either the Bohemian (apricot, orange and pecan) or the Egyptian (pear, fig and candied ginger) and 1 or 2 out of 4 or 5 daily kinds of our whipping cream scones which have become a daily sellout with flavors like apricot, white chocolate, ginger or double chocolate, espresso, hazelnut.
By 10:30 AM we usually have the remaining breads arrive by the hundreds (we make up to 900 loaves daily and sell only in our bakery!) and the remaining kinds of scones. Generally we have 10 to 12 kinds of bread daily. Each day the variety of breads changes. Like wine tasting we sample all of our breads so that you can experience a huge variety of tastes, and it's fun!
This was truly the most unique and tasty scone I have ever eaten.
We took home a loaf the Fougasse: shitake mushrooms, onion, garlic, jack, swiss and smoked gouda cheeses- a taste sensation. YUM.

After fueling up, we strolled through their spectacular garden. While it was abundant with vegetables, I was drawn to the flowers that grew there.

I am eager to return to this gastronomic treasure chest. What a neat little place worth exploring!

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"The End of Your Life Book Club"...

We chose to have a lazy day by the bay for our final day. After strolling the harbor, doing some laundry and tidying up, we set up our beach chairs and read.

I had been trying to read The End of Your Life Book Club for some time. The story of a man and his mom reading together, while she endures chemo for an incurable cancer, struck me as difficult until I really delved into it. This is one of those books that will continue to permeate my mind, making me like it more and more. I really recommend it. It was the perfect read for this day.

“That's one of the amazing things great books like this do -
they don't just get you to see the world differently,
they get you to look at people, the people all around you, differently.”
― Will Schwalbe (talking not about his own book)

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A Coastal Hike & A Little Town

Without the usual morning fog, we started our day early. The harbor, in which we are camped, was picturesque and so peaceful.

Our first stop was Shell Beach for tidepooling.
We then embarked on a diverse coastal trail. We ambled through unique foliage and gazed over imposing cliffs.

We marveled at all we observed.

Our picnic spot, at 350' overlooking Goat Rock, was one of our favorites.
The Monarch migration has begun and I was mesmerized.

Wanting to experience a little local history, we headed inland to Duncans Mills. Beverages and YUM was found at Gold Coast Coffee and Bakery before we strolled through the picturesque village.
In 1877, two brothers, Samuel and Alexander Duncan, established a sawmill here. The mills sent lumber to the growing city of San Francisco.
Starting in the 1870s, the narrow-gauge North Pacific Coast Railroad ran through Duncans Mills. After being sold several times, the railroad ceased operation in the 1930s. The town slowly faded, until a 1976 restoration project, associated with the celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial, brought about a period of building restoration and business re-vitalization. Today, Duncans Mills resembles the way it was originally built. It has an authentic Northwestern Pacific Railroad Depot and several original cars from the old railroad line. We enjoyed this step back in time.
Dinner back at Porto Bodega RV, overlooking the harbor, was the perfect end to our day. Man do we love having gravel in our travel.

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The Children's Bell Tower...

Located down an unassuming meandering path, behind Bodega Bay's Community Garden, stands a memorial.

Before I even arrived at the tower, I noticed bells in the adjacent trees and knew this was going to be a powerful place.
I have never forgotten the story of Nicholas Green. Maybe because he was the same age as our older son, or maybe because it is just such an incredible tale of loss and selflessness. If you don't recall the story, in 1994, while on a family holiday in Italy, seven year old Nicholas was asleep in the family's car. While on a road, criminals mistook the Greens as jewelers and tried to rob them with gunfire. Nicholas was shot and died the next day.

What then happened was extraordinary and unheard of in Italy. The family donated little Nicholas' organs.
The children's bell tower is 18 feet high, three tubular steel pyramids from which hang 140 bells, almost all of them sent by Italians: school bells, church bells, ships' bells, mining bells, cow bells. The centerpiece is a majestic bell, thirty inches high, from the Marinelli foundry in Italy, which has been making bells for the papacy for a thousand years. Nicholas' name and the names of the seven recipients are on it, and Pope John Paul II went to the foundry to bless it. Whenever the wind blows, as it often does on this exposed coast, the bells chime, sometimes a few at a time, emphasizing the solitude of the surroundings, sometimes an entire orchestra, sounding like happy children at play. Then the sound fades away, and the children are gone.
Nicholas' seven recipients are like many others who need a transplant - a mother who had never seen her baby's face clearly; a diabetic who had been repeatedly in comas; a boy of 15, wasting away with a heart disease, who was only the same size as a seven year old; a keen sportsman whose vision was gradually darkening; and two children hooked up to dialysis machines several hours a week. Then there was Maria Pia, a vivacious 19-year old girl who the night Nicholas was shot was dying too. Now, against all odds, she's healthy, is married and has two children, one of whom is called Nicholas.
Thomas Campbell said, "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." Nicholas has been with me since 1994. There is a peacefulness seeing this memorial to all lost children. They are in our hearts, always.

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"The Birds" and Bodega...

We decided to play extreme tourists and go on a movie trail. In 1961, director Alfred Hitchcock was looking for a remote area, free of interference from trees and mountains, giving him open and clear shots of sky to film his next thriller. Bodega and Bodega Bay fit the bill, and almost three years later, The Birds was released.

The Birds (1963), was Hitchcock's first horror film and Tippi Hedren's first movie. It was about a wealthy San Francisco socialite who pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness. Yep, quality storyline for certain.
We began in the tiny hamlet of Bodega. The Potter School (1873) was a public school with classes for grades 1- 8 on the first floor. The upstairs functioned as a multi-use room and community hall. In 1961, the condemned building was sold at auction. In 1962, Hitchcock use the school in his movie. The crew had to shore it up for filming. The old school sat vacant and condemned until 1966 when Tom and Mary Taylor purchased it. With the help of their three children, they lovingly restored the Italianate structure to its original splendor. The 6,000 square foot space is still owned by the Taylor family. The old school serves as a residence for three generations of their family. Yes, they still live here. Wild!

Saint Teresa of Avila Church, constructed in 1860 by shipbuilders, is a Roman Catholic wooden church with a steeple sitting on a hilltop overlooking Bodega Highway. The church, located directly next to the schoolhouse, is where Hitchcock attended services while filming and is also seen in the movie.
Interestingly, the film did not finish with the words The End because Hitchcock wanted to give the impression of unending terror. It worked! I still get unnerved when a flock of ravens 'caw' at me.
Coffee and a delicious snack were had at the Bodega Country Store. This quaint place has been serving Sonoma west county for 160 years. Today it houses the largest Hitchcock Collection and serves the community as a Good store in a small town. What a cool space to relax and learn even more about the history of this place.
We continued our tour, closer to home. How interesting is this? California Registered Historical Landmark No. 833: Bodega Bay and Harbor "Discovered in 1602-03 by the expedition of Vizcaino. It was named by Bodega in his survey of 1775. The harbor was used in 1790 by Colnett and by the Kusov expeditions in 1809 and 1811 . The Russian-American company and their Aleut hunters used the bay as an outpost until 1841. Stephen Smith took control in 1843. Pioneer ships of many nations used Bodega Bay as an anchorage."
Fish & Chips have been our meal of choice. This was pretty tasty.

A unique discovery, to us, was the American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos. Easily identified by its large, orange, pouched bill. Distinguished from Brown Pelican by its much larger size and its color--white rather than brown, it is one of the biggest birds present in North America (it may have a wingspan of as much as 9.5 feet, making it as large or larger than our biggest birds of prey). Wow, right?
Next month is the start of Crab Season. These crab pots are everywhere. The anticipation is growing!
I am a sucker for photo opportunities that involve a cut out. Steve is a great sport. This just seemed the right end for our day's tourism.

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An Explore of Fort Ross...

We pulled up camp this morning for our relocation, 106 miles south of Fort Bragg to Bodega Bay. While traveling, we stopped at Fort Ross State Park for an incredible history lesson.

Since 1906, Fort Ross has been a California State Park, one of the oldest in the Park System. The Fort, itself, was almost 100 years old at that time.
The history of this amazing place is way more intense than I could share here. I highly recommend everyone learn this California lesson.
Briefly, in 1812, Russian and Alaskan explorers established the Fort here at Metini, a centuries-old Kashaya Pomo coastal village. The Russian-American Company established colonies from Kodiak Island to Sitka, as well as Hawaii. When they expanded, they needed a California site that could serve as a trading base and a provider of supplies to Alaska.

The Russians here contributed greatly to California's scientific knowledge. Their voyages expanded the study of geography, cartography, ethnography, etc. And the results gained from being on the sea brought about many early charts of California's north coast.
Much history took place on this wave-cut marine terrace. This was merely another glimpse into those who came before us.

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