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OFF I GO! #13, 2014 Trip

Friday, August 29, 2014

With my soul sister Adelaida on my 71st birthday in Ecuador, Feb 23, 2013.

Adelaida and her daughter, my beloved goddaughter Amrita, with dear friends Micaela and her mom Sandra, at their home in Cotacachi
I'VE BOOKED MY FLIGHT to Ecuador, departing San Francisco at 6:00am on September 24 and arriving Quito on September 25 at 1:00pm.

Since I arrive Miami around 8:45pm and depart for Ecuador at 9:45am the next morning I booked a room through for $56!

Hotel Shelley, South Beach, even has an airport shuttle!

Tiger Lily (Kathy's little Mi-Ki, a five-pound furry bundle of sweetness) and I are currently hanging out at Kathy's lovely home while she's off on an Alaskan cruise.

Resting Tiger

I sat Baby Tiger under Big Monkey, a handsome sculpture in Kathy's neighborhood, while we were walking

I've been swimming several times in Kathy's lovely pool, and Vivian came over once to enjoy swimming and lunch with me here.

I also met a Facebook friend, Penny, who came here for lunch. I had a delightful time getting acquainted and I learned about a wonderful parish she is engaged with ever-more now that she has retired from many years of service in social work: Dang my memory -- I forgot to take photos of our coming-together.

These two stately redwoods greet me as I look up while swimming on my back.

Kathy returns tomorrow, Saturday August 30, and has graciously extended an invitation to continue at her place over the next week so we can have some quality time prior to my departure AND she invited me to a fabulous concert Saturday night!

DakhaBrakha, Sept. 6

Then, Sept. 7 Sara and I (and perhaps other friends) will be going to hear New Monsoon in Novato, a group co-founded by Bo Carper, an old friend from Bolinas, CA.

New Monsoon

AND [swoon] Sara invited me on Sept. 13 to see:

Deva Premal, Miten, and Manose

Because she knows how much I wanted to see them and how much I love the music, she got orchestra seats. I'm deeply touched and grateful. The concert is at the Marin Veteran's Memorial Auditorium (a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building which I love -- ).

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NOW, I'm going to share, in no particular order, a few of the things that have been going on since my first sojourn in Sacramento (see the blog,
, "Capital SparkFriends in the Capital!"). This is the proverbial "tip of the iceberg" but will give you a sense of the joy and wonder I've experienced with dear dear friends.
I caught up over breakfast in old Folsom town with the goings-on in the lives of Jon and Amy, the beautiful (inside and out) grown children of a dear old friend:

Dawn and I spent precious time together in her home in Pacifica. It happened that my friend (and ex-stepson, who I first met when he was three years old and I was 20!) John Christensen, a talented jazz trumpeter, was going to be part of a 5-piece group playing in Antioch, East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area along the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta, and we decided to go! Dawn then graciously invited John and I to dinner afterwards, and it was great to catch up with what John is doing. He has a "day job" as a counselor at Diablo Valley College. He also teaches trumpet. Sadly, it doesn't appear that I will have the pleasure of spending time with his wife Maria this time.

Dawn looks radiant

John in the hat is playing the flugelhorn in this piece (with the San Joaquin River in the background)

Two brass, percussion, keyboard

Soulful vocalist Nicky D

Dawn also invited me to attend one of her yoga classes, which was fabulous
...and I attended Noe Valley Ministry with her, where she is very engaged in the life of her church community

Besides having wonderful visits with dear friend Sara, I house sat for her in her home in San Rafael, caring for Maggie Mae (all 12 lbs. of her):

During my house sit, Ricardo, aka Govinda, an old friend who has had a big impact on my life, came to visit. I had last seen him about five years ago in Ecuador. He is originally from Peru and came to the USA to go to university, graduating from UC, Berkeley. We met in 1978 while both working in CA State Government. He introduced me to Yoga, Latin American culture and international travel, three key elements of my life now. We traveled together throughout Europe and South America.

I spent precious time with Jnani, including in her catamaran, the Catalyst. These photos really don't give you a sense of the spaciousness of the 46' craft, where Jnani, Annie and I goofed off, ate, and worked:

Jnani going through some papers

Annie waxing poetic, while Jnani and I look on, amazed

"Oh no!" sez Annie. "What have we done now!"
From a group called "Vegetarians Get Together," online Weight Watchers, 26 of us from around the country met in Bellingham, WA in 2002, after becoming online friends. Some of this amazing group of women reunited a couple weeks ago at The Redwood Cafe in Cotati, CA:

Catherine, Sonoma town; Deborah, San Anselmo (Washington, DC in 2002!); me, Maddy, Willits and bringing up the rear, Pamela
I met Catherine for lunch in Sonoma on my way to Sacramento this time. Sadly I forgot to get any photos of the two of us, but I did take a couple shots of the javascript: void(0);world-renowned Sonoma grape crops on the way:


The end

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNOWYOGA 9/9/2014 9:01PM

    This looks like a lot of fun, and I always love your pictures And what a cute puppy! Thanks for sharing them!

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DDOORN 9/4/2014 12:21PM

    Such wonderful people and travels...! So WITH you in spirit! :-)


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READYRISA 9/2/2014 9:35PM

    emoticon and WOW! Congrats on booking your fligh1t to Ecuador..! September 25 will come around really quick! Enjoy and have a wonderful time! Will continue to look forward to your updates and picture blogs***HUGS**** Love, Risa

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SUBMOM2 9/2/2014 11:25AM


Wow, Maha, this has been quite a trip. It seems you've lived with your heart and mind open and you are all the richer for it. Good for you! Keep us posted!


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ME_HERE_NOW 9/1/2014 12:21PM

    i always wonder, are you planning everything in advance or is this all kind of spur of the moment, or a mix of both? i love that you have a huge pool of friends and acquaintances all around, so no matter where you go there is fun, possibly a place to stay, memories, laughs. i aim to someday live life as fully, freely, and joyfully as you do! i feel like i live in a closed up, tiny box and when i read your words it is so full of life, adventure and gratitude - always inspiring my friend! maybe it's the fact that reading ONE of your posts is more lively than i get in 6 months, bahahaha. might need to work on that ;)

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JUST_BREATHE08 8/30/2014 8:53PM

    emoticon Maha!! Thank you for sharing!! emoticon

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GOANNA2 8/30/2014 8:59AM

    So glad you are having a wonderful time
before you go to your other 'home'. Thank you
for sharing the great photos. Please make sure
you stay in touch. Have fun and enjoy each and
every moment. emoticon

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CATS_MEOW_0911 8/30/2014 8:50AM

    What a trip, Maha! And how wonderful to bond with some SparkPeeps.

And YAY for booking your trip to Ecuador!

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    Thank you, MAHA! Loved the run-down. Stay in touch, plz, plz, plz!!!

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PEACEFULONE 8/30/2014 1:46AM

    Wonderful adventures and wonderful friends! Keep on keeping on.

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LILYREDCLOUD 8/29/2014 7:28PM

    Hi, I just stumbled onto your blog and saw you are going to Ecuador. I lived there back in the 1970s and I'm dying to go back. My son was born there but we left when he was 4 months old so he has never seen it. One of these days we will get there. Have a wonderful time!

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I SOLD THE CAMPER. #12, 2014 Trip

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Essentially, I own nothing.


The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

~ Margaret Atwood ~
(morning in the burned house)

I sold Kurma Avatara (Turtle Goddess) yesterday, completing the final step in being able to book my flight for Ecuador in latter September. It was a stressful and bittersweet experience. Thankfully, it seems that the buyers have a true appreciation for the uniqueness of this little camper and will hopefully enjoy many adventures in her, just as I have.

I began shopping for tickets today.

Looking toward the driver's cab, the couch on the left makes out into a twin bed. Two swivel chairs on the right are between the table. Traveling alone, I used the top bunk for storage.

Looking toward the rear window, the refrigerator is on the left and the stove and sink are at the back. The door to the bathrom is on the right opposite the door to enter the camper. I will miss my little home on wheels (like the turtle, who carries her home on her back)!

Interesting about me and possessions. I love Margaret Atwood's poem, because it is essentially about stewardship, and as an expression of my philosophy of stewardship, I have always shared the material possessions entrusted to me.

I continue to revel in the joy of deep friendship and my California family's generosity in supporting me through this part of the journey. I will next post photos of some of the latest of these lovely and love-filled encounters.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REBCCA 8/31/2014 8:01AM

    Your courageous journey in life is an inspiration. Kudos my dear Maha and joy on your next adventure. emoticon

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PEACEFULONE 8/30/2014 1:22AM

    "Travel light in life. Take only what you need: a loving family, good friends, simple pleasures, someone to love, and someone to love you; something to eat, enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink for thirst is a dangerous thing." —Unknown

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." Helen Keller

You have everything you need within you. May you find much peace and happiness with your "family" in Ecuador! I look forward to reading about it.

Thank you for all the beautiful photos, music, videos, wisdom and especially the wonderful poems that you have shared on sparkpeople over the last years.
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DOKEYOKEY 8/29/2014 10:30AM

    The ground is not in our possessions, is it?

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ME_HERE_NOW 8/28/2014 7:12PM

    i love you, i love margaret atwood, i love that turtle and wish it as much fun on its adventures as you always have on yours :D i hope the next leg of your journey is rewarding my friend! as always you inspire & excite me!

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    A new leg of the journey begins. Congrats

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CARRAND 8/28/2014 5:46PM

    Wonderful poem!

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DDOORN 8/28/2014 4:05PM

    Oh so envious of such a simple, free-ing approach to life...!

You rock the Spark in such wondrous ways! :-)


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KALIGIRL 8/28/2014 3:22PM

    How wonderful - leaving a treasure in appreciative hands.
Such memories...

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MISS_VIV 8/28/2014 10:01AM

    You own nothing - not quite so sure, my friend. You have it is YOURS. The day, the night and the in between, the earth, the sky and all the heavens are your playground.
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go.

Dr. Seuss

May your journey be bright and wonderful. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/28/2014 10:02:21 AM

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    Enjoyed the poem tremendously, girlfriend! You have had many adventures and now you are starting another. "They" will find you in the presence of wherever you are. I love the Tolkien quote - "Not all those who wander are lost." It is an adjustment that is well worth the move to be less-encumbered.
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CATS_MEOW_0911 8/28/2014 9:26AM

    Aww, little Kurma Avatara will help others have new adventures now!

Ecuador, how exciting! You are a true traveler of life, Maha.

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HEALTHY4ME 8/28/2014 8:13AM

    Amazes me but from what I read here and on your last journey, it doesn't surprise me. Here I am nervous to even let that thought of FT with hubby linger. I want a small house 600 sq ft is fine, but I want roots. Then I will travel. And yet here you go with minimal and are going to have the adventure of your life. ENJOY!!!!

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AZIMAT 8/28/2014 7:05AM

    I remember you in your little home on wheels in the Berkshires. Happy Trails to you.

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GOANNA2 8/28/2014 4:48AM

    So lovely to hear from you Maha. Thanks for sharing
the photos of your campervan and I can understand
how you must feel after selling it. It looks so cosy.
Love the poem too. That pretty much describes you...
Hope you find a reasonably priced ticket and wishing
you safe travels to Equador. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUST_BREATHE08 8/28/2014 12:09AM

    Maha, thank you for sharing your travels, stories and pictures !! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/28/2014 12:10:07 AM

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Capital SparkFriends in the Capital! #11, 2014 Trip

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Definition of "capital" as an adjective -- "excellent or first-rate: a capital fellow or girl, a capital hotel."

I was recently with capital friends Kathy (ATRANSFORMATION) and Vivian (MISS_VIV), each welcoming me into their Sacramento, CA area homes and sharing a gracious spirit of hospitality. The return visit has been a long time coming and I deeply enjoyed the time with them as our friendships grow and deepen. This is the merest glimpse of my time there with these precious friends.

I drove the Dolphin from Marin Co. to visit Kathy and Tiger Lily first, parking in the driveway of her lovely home framed by the stately redwoods.

Tiger Lily, sweetness herself!

Kathy and Tiger Lily bathing in backyard bliss!

Kathy is on the long and arduous journey of reclaiming her life after losing her friend and husband, her life partner. Among other things, we enjoyed quiet time, social time, eating in, eating out, going to the movies for fun...and for greater awareness, and lots of evening walks with Tiger Lily. And Vivian joined us for a swim, dinner and the movies.

The girls know how to eat healthy -- a blueberry, apple, and walnut salad after a swim, before heading to the movies.

I helped Kathy prepare for the memorial party, one year after the accidental death of her beloved husband. It was a beautiful gathering of friends, all reaching out to Kathy in love, enjoying socializing, eating, and drinking. Kathy made a delicious taco buffet, complete with all imaginable trimmings. At the end, we "went on pilgrimage" from Kathy's house to the lovely neighborhood park, where thoughtful neighbors had purchased a bench with a beautiful commemorative plaque.

A few of the guests on the way to the park

The memorial bench, for "...a kind and gentle man who always had a twinkle in his eye."

Christening the bench with "sacred water" from the swimming pool.

Kathy arranged for me to borrow a bike from a neighborhood girlfriend, enabling me to go for a spin each morning before the heat hit. Yippee!

The spectacular trail:

My reward on one of the mornings -- breakfast at the end of the trail at Karen's Bakery and Cafe -- YUM!

Kathy even took me to the infamous Folsom State Prison:

The old prison, still in use

The original guard tower

My time at Vivian's was also overflowing with joy -- we enjoyed the farmer's market, walking the labyrinth, meals in and out, neighborhood walks and she introduced me to her great automotive shop where they prepared the Dolphin to pass the California emissions test.

Morning coffee together at Vivian's; the Dolphin happily resting in her driveway!

Morning in the garden with Vivian


Fun! Kathy gifted me with a pedicure; more adventurous than me, she chose blue! Vivian painted her own toesies!

Vivian's beautiful yard of flowers and veggies

some of the gifts found within the graden's magic:

...and with magical creatures, like Goldilocks!

The Carmichael Farmer's Market:

Two stylin' broads at the Market

Two young ones mesmerized by a musician

I found arepas! These were very similar to the Colombian ones I'm accustomed to.

Vivian relaxing while I eat an arepa!

The beautiful Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center, Citrus Heights, where Vivian and I hiked the lovely trail of the stations of the cross and walked the labyrinth:

A photo of the labyrinth from the Retreat Center Photo Gallery

This is merely the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, in trying to capture the experience of being with two dear friends who reached out to me unconditionally in friendship and love.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLAYINGDRAGONS 8/20/2014 10:19AM

    What fun! Enjoyed the photos and rundown of this piece of the trip.
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CATS_MEOW_0911 8/20/2014 7:29AM

    What an amazing trip, Maha! I'm sure Kathy was appreciative to have you there for the memorial; she was fortunate to have you with her.

I've enjoyed following your travels!

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2WHEELEDSHARON 8/10/2014 12:45PM

    Maha, this is one of the most sweetest things I've read! What wonderful gifts you and your friends are for each other. It makes me very happy for you! Thank you for sharing the stories and photos.
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SNOWYOGA 8/9/2014 12:55AM

    I love your blog, pictures and the yard decorations are really cool. I can never find any that cute! emoticon emoticon

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GYPSYHEART 8/8/2014 10:07AM

    Vivian sent me the link to your blog. So glad she did. I enjoyed your vacation too. Great to see photos of someone I've known from Sparkpeople for years of my being an off and on again Sparker. Vivian is always here for us.

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SUBMOM2 8/7/2014 2:31AM

    What an amazing trip you are having! Thanks for sharing the photos and letting us share in this special journey!


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MTRACHEL 8/6/2014 11:20PM

    I can just feel the love and friendship, especially looking at those toes.

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HIPPICHICK1 8/6/2014 8:15PM

    What a gorgeous assortment of photos. Aren't fab friends just the cat's pyjamas?! :-D

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PEACEFULONE 8/6/2014 1:31AM

    Wonderful blog! It is especially nice to see you with Kathy and Vivian.
Happy trails!

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JUST_BREATHE08 8/5/2014 11:30PM

    Photo's are emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/6/2014 12:41:40 AM

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DDOORN 8/5/2014 10:18PM

    Wow your travels and special times keep on rolling..! What a wonderful summer you're treating yourself too! :-)


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    I didn't know you went to the retreat center! I have walked that labyrinth many a time....

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LOPEYP 8/4/2014 5:56PM

    What a great trip and visit! You are so lucky to meet up with your Sparkies.

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MISS_VIV 8/4/2014 2:28PM

    So beautifully done.. So much so it brought me to tears..
Thank you, thank you for all the joy and love you share on your journey. I am so happy to be able to contribute just a small part to your memories.

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KALIGIRL 8/4/2014 8:08AM

    So happy for you all!

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GOANNA2 8/4/2014 3:58AM

    Always nice to meet up with fellow Sparkers.
Glad you had a great time. emoticon

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MYRNACARRIER 8/4/2014 1:28AM

    Wow, you really are a "tripper". I have been following your trip all along. Just love all the details and pictures. I have always wanted to visit San FRancisco. Must get there sometime soon. Happy traveling. emoticon emoticon

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Oh joy! San Francisco Bay Area and Environs, #10 2014 Trip

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The first stopover in the SF Bay Area, has come and gone and this blog is long overdue. (I am now visiting dear Kathy, ATRANSFORMATION, in Folsom, Sacramento area. Stay tuned for #11 on my Sacramento area sojourn with Kathy and Vivian, MISS_VIV.)

So here are a few photos and reflections on the magical SF Bay Area and environs, with some beloved friends. One unfortunate photos omission is a sail boat race that Diana enjoyed being a part of, invited by our friend, Ira. Kaveri and I watched the race on the SF Bay and the four of us had dinner together at the Golden Gate Yacht Club afterwards.

Diana and I loved the day at Land's End coastal trail, Ocean Beach, and The Cliff House:

Another dear friend, Tricia, swooped me up to visit one of San Francisco's fine museums, the Legion of Honor, to enjoy two impressionist exhibits and lunch in the museum cafe:

BTW, this is a Paul Gauguin self-portrait

Beloved Annie came by Jnani's place to take Diana and I on a day trip to Bolinas:

Annie and Diana

Diana the goof-off!

Annie took the scenic route to the Golden Gate through The Presidio

A canopy of eucalyptus lines the roadway

For 218 years the Presidio served as an Army base for three nations; it is now a National Park

Aerial view (from the internet)

On the way to Bolinas, a wonderful mural in Fairfax in what used to be Good Earth Market (it has moved to a larger space)

Hi Annie!

Ahhhh...first view of the Bolinas Lagoon

The Lagoon

Bolinas Bay

The Lagoon dumping into the Bay

LOVE this natural food store!

Bolinas Peoples Store mascot perhaps?

We did lots of hiking on the mesa

Diana and Annie on the trail

Yoga sister Kaveri joined me'n'Diana for lunch at Jnani's:

A profound thought, I'm sure

Next up, five days at a wonderful cabin with Diana and Dawn:

Crossing the "new" San Francisco Bay Bridge

Old and new bridge (from the internet)

Crossing Altamont Pass

On the way to the cabin Dawn checking out produce at a fruit stand in the San Joaquin Valley, known as the "food basket of the world."

Finally we arrive to the cabin in Arnold, 4000' elevation, NE California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains:

Somehow, "cabin" seemed like a rather humble description to me

Dawn brewing the morning coffee

An aside, speaking of coffee -- at the Big Trees Supermarket in Arnold I happened upon this coffee, which flooded me with memories of travel through the Andes to Chanchamayo, in the high jungle of Peru with Ricardo, a dear friend who had two brothers living there. We stayed with one and every morning we would toast some of the world-renowned coffee from a neighbor, a coffee grower, manually grind it, and brew an exquisite cup of coffee.

That's Diana outside our bathroom; each of us had an upstairs bedroom

Diana enjoying breakfast on the back deck

Dawn reading the Chronicle on the back deck

The first afternoon we walked down to the private lake which pertains to the housing association; Dawn swam every day; I got in the water, but didn't swim

Diana taking a picture at the lake

We went to Calaveras Big Trees State Park twice; the first day we finished the hike with a picnic sitting on a huge rock in the middle of a creek

The second visit was to the North Grove. The majestic Sequoias, such as the one behind Dawn and Diana, are awe-inspiring

A staircase up to a slice of a downed Sequoia

Leaving the park we crossed the Stanislaus River

And last but not least, a gathering of beloveds at the lovely home of Katherine and Duane:

Katherine, Diana, Duane, Jnani

Mochi, a very important member of the family

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARJORIE368 7/15/2014 1:20AM

    Wow!! I do not know which pic I liked best. What a amazing journey! Thank you for sharing :-) emoticon

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JWALKFORFUN 7/11/2014 3:07PM

    Just beautiful, I will have to head out that way again, may be just what I need. emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 7/10/2014 10:46AM

    Now THAT'S a TREE!! WOW!

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SNOWYOGA 7/10/2014 2:38AM

    Sounds amazing and loved your pictures too! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BILLYCRASH 7/9/2014 8:59AM

  Hey Val,

Some really great pictures, especially the staircase to the Sequoia...hope to visit the Sequoias one day...You are a super lady, thanks for sharing your adventures...Take care, Later

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GOANNA2 7/9/2014 4:12AM

    Oh, WOW! What an amazing time with good friends.
Doesn't get any better than that, does it?
Thank you for taking us along and sharing your
amazing photos. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PEACEFULONE 7/9/2014 1:25AM

    Wonderful! Wonderful! It was fun to read about your amazing trip. A great adventure with great friends-life doesn't get any better! Enjoy! Looking forward to the next installment. More happy trails...
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SUBMOM2 7/9/2014 1:13AM

    Great photos! You've made me realize there's so much of California I've yet to explore. Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

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EOSTAR_45 7/9/2014 12:15AM


What an adventure. Lots of amazing sights. So glad you are having a wonderful time. Pretty Awesome!

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DDOORN 7/8/2014 11:45PM

    Adventures with friends...could we ever get enough? Highly doubtful! :-)

What a GORGEOUS "cabin"!

Recently enjoyed a ride w/ MI Sparker WMUGRAD! :-)


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MISS_VIV 7/8/2014 11:31PM

    again, you have done a remarkable job with the pictures. Enjoyed every minute of it.


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JUST_BREATHE08 7/8/2014 11:18PM

    Absoluting emoticon!!! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 7/8/2014 9:04PM

    Amazing pics, amazing friends -- you are clearly having a marvellous time!!

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/8/2014 7:28PM

    Wow! What a great photo spread... although nothing matches BEING there, thanks for taking us along virtually! emoticon

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MELYROD18 7/8/2014 6:06PM

    emoticon THANK YOU FOR SHARING. emoticon

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We have arrived! #9 2014 Trip

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I would say I'm into the third chapter of this adventure, one being Little Rock to San Diego, where I rendezvoused with Diana, two being the trip up the California coast to San Francisco with Diana, and three, the stopover in the SF Bay Area. Four will be a visit to Sacramento area friends. Five? Not sure which chapter Ecuador will be! So, to finish chapter two:

The beach near our Carpenteria camp site.

Cruising Carpenteria Thursday afternoon

Reynaldo's had DELICIOUS flan!

Grape cultivation has been significant in this area for many years.

Beautiful tile work depiction

We finally discover why Steve made that statement abot Carpenteria (Blog #8)

Jnani, Diana and I spent Thursday and Friday nights at Carpenteria State Park before Jnani continued on to Los Angeles and we completed the journey to the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday.

Jnani brought a big tent to sleep in. None of us had a clue how to set it up. I saw that the family next to us had a similar tent, so I walked over and said to the young dad, "And who put up this tent?!" The fellow hesitated, and I added, "because he is obviously a Tent Installation Specialist, and we need help badly!" He then broke out in a smile and said he and his son had, but that he was afraid I was a park employee the way I asked with such authority. I laughed and asked for their help. Shay and son Lucas, about 13 years old, came over with me and helped us find the front zippered door, which we couldn't even find (DUH!). They went back for a hammer for the stakes and proceeded to enthusiastically put up the tent (with our assistance). was born. Shay's wife Jennifer came over, as well as 10-year old Carly, during the tent raising and thus another friendship was born.

Lucas and Shay (in ballcap) figuring things out

Diana helps out

Jnani tripping the light fantastic as Lucas surveys the progress

The next morning with coffee-in-hand -- yay! That's the tent of our new friends in the background

NOW the story gets really good!!! Since we didn't have a prior reservation, and since California State Parks tend to get totally booked in the summer, and ESPECIALLY on the weekends, and since it was FRIDAY morning we were told we had to move, since our site was pre-reserved for the weekend. WAAAAH! We were told that if we wanted to stay another night, we'd have to enter the lottery and see if our name was drawn. So Diana and I went over to the ranger station and added our name to the list. After a long wait, our name was called! But the space available was on the other side of the campground, probably 1/2 mile away.

We went back to Jnani with the news. Her response -- "Let's schlep the raised tent on top of my car to the new site!" I'm thinkin', "OMG, Jnani's at it again"(she's brilliant, and a VERY creative and non-linear thinker)! So I head over to talk to Shay and Lucas and see if I can enlist their help in this kooky project. I didn't mention that Shay is actually a state parks ranger himself and runs a park in the desert region of California. He's young though (late 30s?) and appreciates our thinking *out of the box* and said, "Let's do it!" So, off we go, embarking with them upon another joint project!

Jnani and Diana stablizing it on top of Jnani's vintage Honda

The show begins! That's Shay in the tank top holding on the the tent. We attracted a GREAT deal of attention all along the way. Campers shooting pictures, laughing, wishing us success, calling others to look at the sight, etc. It was indeed a sight to behold!

Lucas and Shay runnning beside the car, hanging on to the tent, about 1/3 of the way there.

Lucas, Diana, me, Shay, Jnani -- all VERY happy with our success! Another park ranger appeared. We were fearful he would reprimand us, but instead he said he just came to give Shay and Lucas a ride back to their tent and he took the group photos!

I had led the way on the circuitous journey on my bike

The Pacific from our new digs

Jnani built an awesome campfire which we enjoyed Friday evening

Early Saturday morning, the three of us enjoying the beach

Jnani clowning around in the surf

All good things must come to an end, but we're milking our time together to the max! (A toast with my morning coffee.)

Diana is an excellennt driver, and helped considerably with that chore!

We have arrived
we are home
in the here
in the now
-- Gatha for the In and Out Breath by Thich Nhat Hanh

-- Calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIPPICHICK1 7/8/2014 4:36PM

    What a joyous adventure you are having! Awesome!!

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BILLB000 7/7/2014 9:19AM

    Your blogs continue to be fun and inspiring Maha. I love reading them. I feel like I am there with you on this fabulous journey. I will be sad when you trip is over! emoticon

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DAISY443 6/27/2014 9:43AM


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DDOORN 6/27/2014 9:33AM

    What wonderful, heartfelt adventures!

Just gotta get out there again (only once before to San Diego in '09) one of these days to get me a piece of that west coast! :-)


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GOANNA2 6/27/2014 3:53AM

    Thank you Maha! Your blogs are so inspiring.
Thanks for the photos. Really loved the tent
story. Enjoy your time in the City by the Bay.

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JUST_BREATHE08 6/26/2014 7:30PM

    Each Blog is better than the day before!! emoticon Maha, thank you for sharing. What an Adventure!!

Comment edited on: 6/26/2014 7:31:09 PM

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BILLYCRASH 6/26/2014 3:29PM

  Hey Val forgot to mention everyone here at library says HELLO! They have the floor tore up again from Circulation, over in the computer lab (where u use to sit) up to Star Bucks and in front of circulation over to the browsing section...its a mess...will send u a picture, maybe, if I can figure how to do it...later

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WATERMELLEN 6/26/2014 3:20PM

    Love that tent moving adventure! And: what a gorgeous beach.

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BILLYCRASH 6/26/2014 2:53PM

  Looks like you are having a great time Val, you are something else...enjoy your pictures, thanks for sharing your adventures...later

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CRYSTALJEM 6/26/2014 1:55PM

    Loved this! I was rolling on the floor. We have habit of settling into our reserved campsite and then deciding we like a different one more for any number of reasons. We have also loaded our tent onto the top of our car and toodled off to our new spot.

Keep thinking outside the box and loving the journey for all you can. :)

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PEACEFULONE 6/26/2014 1:30PM

    Wow, what a beautiful view of the ocean from your campsite! Glad that all is going so well and you are having a fabulous vacation! Thank you for sharing. Happy trails dear Maha!

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MISS_VIV 6/26/2014 12:51PM

    Camping stories are always good for a laugh. I can recall a few, but none involve moving a tent across the campground. I guess I haven't started to live yet. Oh my friend, you are living a truly enlightened life...

Continued blessings.


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    Alan and I did the same thing one time! It was hysterical!!! Only we arrived at the campground at Salt Point around midnight, had only one flashlight, and when we finally got the tent up, we'd put the rain fly over the zipper. We had to blow up the QUEEN SIZED mattress manually, because Alan had forgotten the pump. Throw in some wine and the two of us trying to get that inflated mattress through the skinny door, having it be bigger than the tent itself, and you can imagine how hard we were laughing at 3 AM. In the morning, when we had to move we were so humiliated when we realized there were people right next to us that we hadn't seen in the middle of the night. But evidently they had not only seen, but heard, us. We just threw that tent on the back of the truck and drove away.

We then carried the tent about a quarter of a mile off road to a walk-in campsite which was lovely. And worth all the humiliation and effort. Looks like your campsite was equally as beautiful. I think it's pretty darn funny to hear someone else with a similar story! Another good laugh for the memory bank!

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CONNIECHANTS 6/26/2014 11:34AM

    Thanks for the update! The photos added a great deal and loved the tent story! Wonderful that great friends are making new friends along the way! Looks like you've had a great time on your trek! Love to All! Connie emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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