Greetings! And as always, thank you for spending your time here with me. For those of you that know me, no explanation necessary, for those of you who don’t? I am a traveling Family Nurse Practitioner who prefers to practice in outlying areas searching out both the poor and the homeless. I have had amazing experiences thus far, have been as far as New Town North Dakota, and Hartford Connecticut, worked in prisons, Indian reservations, have been in big cities and in the middle of nowhere. Each place I take treasures and experiences with me, and feel I have learned more by the experiences than I have with any of the many letters I have earned after my name. I am on my way up to Ukiah California, which is a couple hours north of San Francisco, just barely south of the Redwood Forest and about an hour from the coastline and right smack in the middle of wine country. I’ve never been, so I will count this as an adventure. I have no earthly clue what I’m getting myself into, but I usually don’t. But? As I continue to collect birthday candles, I have found that experience is the best teacher, and I love the experiences! I will be there until late June. Of course, I will supply you with stories, as I usually end up having many to share.
All of the photos on this site are my own, and for the most part unfiltered as they haven’t been put through LightRoom yet. Some aren’t as nice as I would like them to be, but was looking mainly for the shot and not perfection. I’m constantly improving my craft and at best, at this point, I am a novice.
How can I travel alone so many ask me. I get the “Oh I wish I could do what you do’s” a lot. I have an upcoming post on “Traveling solo Hacks” which I will post after I get done with this trip. It’s at least on the infamous “to do” list, which, as always, is lengthy. I’m always up to something random.
I planned hotel stops along the way and planned a vague route (basically find the PCH and go North was the extent of my plan short of hotel bookings en route which I really wasn’t even sure where they were – gotta love GPS) and decided I would just find stuff along the way. I mean, if I look to the left and see ocean, and am going straight ahead, I figure I am headed in the right direction, right? So I packed my rental (a new Jeep Cherokee) in Tucson Arizona, on Christmas Day, for what I believed I would need and use for the next six months and took off the day after Christmas Day. On the passenger seat was my journal, pen and camera. Playlist created, ten hours worth entitled “Cali Road Trip”, put it on shuffle, grabbed some coffee, and headed out about 3:30am due to insomnia. First Stop? San Diego. Who doesn’t love San Diego?
Sunset Cliffs and spent some time in the Military Cemetery at Point Loma, one of my favorite places. Such a beautiful and peaceful place. No matter how you feel politically, there is some kind of reverence and honor when you stand upon ground like that and read row upon row of gravestones of those who died for something, or someone, or some sense of commitment and honor. It was quiet. It was peaceful. And yes, I shed tears. I always do.
The area I stayed in overnight was in a beautiful area which gave me quite a few random photo ops. I just wandered around by myself, met people, and took pictures enjoying the beautiful cool air. There’s just something about being by yourself without a plan. You don’t have to look for a thing…..things just find you.
From San Diego my next hotel stop would be in Morro Bay California, about 340 miles up the coast. With a pitstop in some random place I found on a google search. A settlement from the Dutch from the 1800’s that has stayed true to European culture and Dutch everything. Sovang, California.
Solvang was very quaint. Tons of places to eat, shop and just hang out. It was totally European and made me miss all things Europe. Yes, I’m American, but a lot of me is British and it’s places like this that literally make me want to hop on the closest plane to Heathrow……….pastries galore (my mother would have felt like she was in heaven) and all things Denmark…..wooden clogs and windmills included for blocks and blocks… a wonderful way to spend the day and a perfect place for a getaway for whatever reason. Highly recommend. I just walked around, music on my head, taking pictures…..my usual drill……
After Solvang, I was headed to Morro Bay, but just HAD to stop at Pismo Beach and see the Monarch Butterfly Grove, its one of two places that Monarch butterflies come for winter. It was simply amazing, there were so many butterflies that it looked like there were none. These pictures simply did NOT do that experience justice.
BUTTERFLY GROVE, PISMO BEACH, CALIFORNIA
I moved onto Morro Bay , found my hotel room that was FREEZING….but great coffee so its all good.I spent the afternoon walking around by the water. Felt great to actually have to wear a jacket and scarf. Found some authentic fish and chips, even wrapped up in newspaper! Walked and ate and talked to the fisherman on their boats off of the dock. Amazing stories and beautiful view.
MORRO BAY, CALIFORNIA
The next day I traveled from Morro Bay to Monterey where I would be spending two days to fully explore that area. I had some issues at the hotel, had to wait a bit, but practiced my favorite…..”Kindness” and wow! They fed me for free, and upgraded my room to this suite thing that had wooden patio furniture right outside my front door and beyond that? The Pacific Ocean.
OUTSIDE MY HOTEL ROOM DOOR, MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA
Spent an entire day just simply exploring in Monterey.
CANNERY ROW AND FISHERMAN’S WHARF, MONTEREY, CALI
Now, for anyone that’s driven the PCH, you know that this stretch of road can be extreme. Hairpin turns, and breathtaking scenery all at the same time. (and much patience following a motorcycle mama…..in a Harley leather cut that could not maintain anything over 20mph….oh well….good excuse to take in the scenery) So many crazy stops in between. Cumbria and small towns including Big Sur….Boardwalks, random highway pull outs, trails off the road leading to who knows where, Elephant Seal season, and anything else I could find…… too many to name. I just stopped a lot.
ELEPHANT SEAL BEACH (a total crack up! Stayed here for quite awhile….)
Honestly, not too sure where I was at this point. I kept seeing things, finding trails hiking down and stopping to take it all in.
PIGEON POINT LIGHTHOUSE (yes, I love lighthouses)
Sunset on a blanket somewhere……..
Always managed to find a way to watch the sun go down…..and the first lines of this song always resounded in my head…..
“I dig my toes into the sand,
The ocean looks like a thousand diamonds, strewn against a blue blanket
I lean against the wind…….pretend that I am weightless,
And in this moment? I am happy……..happy”
(Incubus. Wish You Were Here) (not an unspoken wish, just the name of the song)
More randomness, again, not sure where I was, just very happy to be wherever. I have learned to be just fine with my own company, to not have much of a plan, and just find things, hidden treasures, anywhere and everywhere. Everything has its own sense of beauty if you just take a breath and notice.
I left the coastline, managed my way through San Francisco up Highway 1, and arrived at my destination; Ukiah California. Much different than I had anticipated. Extremely green, hilly, fresh air, and wineries EVERYWHERE.
I’m here until late June and have a list of weekend adventures planned once the weather starts to welcome spring. Coastlines, Glass Beach, Steam trains through the Redwoods…….
Thank you for stopping by….please leave a comment if you enjoyed this post, have ever traveled the PCH yourself or whatever and let me know you were here, and until next time?