The Colors of Santa Rosa...

Anytime I visit during spring, it is a cacophony of colors. I love it so. This weekend did not disappoint.

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead.”
-A.A. Milne

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Coffee & Cherries...

We are drawn to unique treasures found in almost all cities. This beacon calls all Highway 99 drivers to this hub of Dala horses and lingonberry jam... Kingsburg's 60,000-gallon Swedish folk art-painted coffee pot that rises 122 feet into the sky. The roadside attraction is actually the city's water tower, and was remade into its current aesthetic 30+ years ago. We love it.

While Danish-founded Solvang may be the first place many SoCal travelers visit to satisfy Scandinavian cravings, just a few hours east in Fresno County lies Kingsburg, a small town with a big Swedish background. Less than a century ago, almost one hundred percent of the town's population was Swedish-American, a result of a nineteenth-century migration of Swedish immigrants from Michigan, and their descendents keep that legacy alive today by designing buildings in Swedish-style architecture, painting them bright colors (also a Swedish convention), and taking pride in serving some of the best Swedish pancakes in Southern or Central California (the biscuits and gravy weren't bad either).

What a darling place to stretch our legs and feel like we were somewhere other than California.

As we continued on the road-less-traveled (by us) the farm stands, along the our route in the Sacramento Delta region, called to us.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward;
but it is the journey that matters,
in the end.”
– Ernest Hemingway

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Friends & Fun in Tehachapi...

I have been coming here since my college girlfriend, Leslie, moved here in 1995. As we strolled its darling avenues, I kept praising it all for how it has evolved over the years.

Steve proclaimed, "You're tickled with Tehachapi!" Indeed I was.
Previously known as 'Old Town', Tehachapi was established in the 1860s. It is now registered as California Historical Landmark #643 for being the oldest settlement in the Tehachapi Valley.
We delighted in the 80° weather while appreciating the town's murals which are meant to beautify the downtown area, showcase the history of the area for local residents, and serve as a historical guide for visitors to Tehachapi. We thought they met their goal brilliantly.

The day concluded in the company of our amazing friends, Leslie and her mom, Barbara. These women have been a huge part of my life since 1981 and even though just a brief evening, I am content (though next time it will be way longer).

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A Brief Visit to Fallbrook...

We made a detour to explore this cute local town. The community of Fallbrook began in 1869, when the Vital Reche family settled here. They named the new community after their former homestead in Pennsylvania.

The history here is very diverse and includes mining with 461 nearby mines. In the early 1900s, San Diego County was a cornucopia of gems. In recent years, top-notch finds have helped restore the region’s splendor.
Unfortunately all the museums were closed, so we plan to return for a very thorough explore one day.
Oak trees were the original primary trees in Fallbrook. Olives became a major crop by the 1920s and continued through World War II, but were eventually phased out in favor of the present avocado and floral industry. In April, the town hosts an Avocado Festival... we are so there next year.
As you may know, one of my favorite items from my youth was my VW Thing. Seeing this one made me long for mine.
Mi Cosa... my thing... so clever.

Treasures can be found almost everywhere.

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NEW Shingles Vaccine...

For something fun to do, Steve and I walked the two miles to our local pharmacy to get vaccinated against shingles.

Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common complication from shingles. CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix (recombinant zoster vaccine), separated by 2 to 6 months, to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. We were called to let us know our coveted second shot was waiting for us, so off we went. I feel healthier already.

Vaccines are the tugboats of preventive health.”
-William Foege, eliminated smallpox during the 1970s. 

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Wine Wonderment with David & Karen...

Our friends are generous wine club members at Wiens and they invited us to a very special afternoon. Though this winery has been in Temecula since 2005, this was our first foray into their Big Reds.

And what a foray it was. We were treated to a seated tasting in the exclusive Cellar Room which included a flight of Reserve and limited production red wines. WOW.
 “The juice of the grape
is the liquid quintessence
of concentrated sunbeams.” 
― Thomas Love Peacock
What an idyllic way to spend a rainy afternoon (any afternoon for that matter). We 💗 our friends! We are so dang lucky.

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Family & Music: The Gathering

When we knew what our return to Southern California schedule was going to be, we planned a family meet-up in San Juan Capistrano.

Several generations gathered at Trevor's At The Tracks for delightful al fresco dining.
And great nephew loving!
I loved my food choice- the Fig & Fungi Flatbread. Fig Tapenade, Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Balsamic Glaze and glorious SoCal sunshine. Yum.
After lunch, we strolled to The Swallow's Inn where Steve's oldest brother was playing with his band. It was the perfect coming together of a plan with this being the first time Steve's mom has ever seen her very talented boy play live! What a total blast.
In addition to all the musical magic, I got to party with my sister-in-law. Yeehaw!

Rocking music. Family Fun. SoCal Sunshine... What a day!

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Diverse Reading on the Road...

When we travel, I never have as much time for reading as I'd like, but this trip allowed me to finish three very diverse and highly recommended (by me) books.

The entire time I read Less, I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed it. It is ultimately a love story but a travel journal as well.
I love hats and this book showed me the history of this unique fashion accessory.
Charlotte's Web demands a read, every now and then. What a lovely story of friendship and sacrifice. Wow.

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road.
They are the destination, and the journey.
They are home.
– Anna Quindlen in How Reading Changed My Life

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Horseshoes & Ferries...

We began the day in search of an incredible natural vista. We found it at Horseshoe Bend.

The name was inspired by its unusual shape, a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River located just four miles southwest of Page.

Horseshoe Bend’s rock walls have a variety of minerals, including hematite, platinum, and garnet. The overlook is 4,200 feet above sea level, and the Colorado River is 3,200 feet above sea level, which gives this scenic view a breathtaking 1,000 foot drop. What a spectacular stop on our day of exploring.

Wanting to experience history in a unique setting, we ventured afar to Lees Ferry, with some interesting stops along the way.
Our first stop was at Navajo Bridge, an historic landmark (1929). At the time of its opening, it was the highest steel arch bridge in the world and made traveling between Utah and Arizona much easier. No longer did travelers have to contend with the moods of the Colorado River at Lees Ferry (discussed below).

In the early 1870s, Mormon pioneers from Utah began to expand their settlements into northern Arizona. Nearly 600 miles of deep canyons along the Colorado River stood in their way. One of the only places a wagon could reach the river from both north and south was at the mouth of Glen Canyon. Since the area was accessible and was a natural corridor between Utah and Arizona, a ferry was established there in 1873.
Named after the first ferry operator, John D. Lee, Lees Ferry became an important route for pioneers, settlers and local traffic. 

Different ferryboats and pioneers, miners, Indians, and tourists crossed here for 55 years. Of special interest is Charles H. Spencer’s attempt to extract gold from the clay hills here in 1910. Two of the stone buildings, a steam boiler, and the remains of a sunken paddlewheel steamboat remain from his efforts.

In addition to the history, natural beauty was found amongst the ruins.

We camped in the shadow of the Vermillion Cliffs. The perfect end to our 20 day adventure. We head home with amazing memories of all we have seen, done and experienced. What a trip!

“Traveling—it leaves you speechless,
then turns you into a storyteller.”
-Ibn Battuta

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