50,000-59,999 SparkPoints
VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

Title: Trundling up the California Coast #8 2014 Trip

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I'm entering the near past, not to dwell there (of course), but simply to begin to bring you up to the present. I left off in Blog #7 having arrived to San Diego to reunite with my soul sister, Diana and continue up the coast to San Francisco to rendezvous with Dawn and other friends. Dawn, Diana and I met when we all lived and taught at the Integral Yoga Institute in the early and mid-80s. We became best friends then, inseparable, and known by some as The Three Sisters.

After spending a good portion of Monday, June 16 on necessary chores like grocery shopping and getting the oil changed in San Diego, we finally got on the road just in time for commute hour traffic. In spite of this we made it to San Onofre State Beach, the first camping site we reserved, before dark for the first two nights of our journey north.

San Onofre State Beach

As good luck would have it, we began talking to our cordial neighbor Rich, an artist who has a gallery and lives in Carmel, and this was the beginning of a lovely connection which grew during our 2.5 days and 2 nights there. His pal Steve, also an artist, was set to arrive early the next morning, though only Rich was participating in a Pleinair event there. Steve lives in Carpenteria. (We asked him about Carpenteria State Beach and his response was that it's the safest beach in the world. We puzzled over this, but it later became clear to us.) Steve's intention for the trip was to fish. And fish he did. He landed quite a catch the following day and we pooled our food resources, and had a delightful dinner together, with Steve's fishing and cooking skills the main component of the feast.

Diana watching an artist in the Pleinair event.

Diana and Rich clowning around.

Rich (L) and Steve (R) getting the propane burners going

Sitting down to the feast

Rich told us a funny story. A new head to the CA Parks System decided some years ago to single-handedly eliminate nude beaches in state parks, beaches which had existed for decades and generations. There was one at San Onofre. Signs were put up by the Parks System prohibiting nude bathing, but they always disappeared. Finally a disgruntled nude bather took a sign, managed to climb to a very precarious cliff mesa and posted it in a place no one could get to, nor could they read the sign easily. Many years later, it still remains perched in that hilarious spot:

Nudity in the State Park System is prohibited.

After walks on the beach and a nice bike ride for me, we said goodbye to our new friends and continued on our way Wednesday, landing at Faria Beach Park in Ventura County for the night. We were parked less than 20 feet from the pounding surf and loved the sound show, which acted as a lullaby for us.

Faria Beach Park

The next morning, Thursday the 19th, we headed the further short distance to the sweet little town of Carpenteria and Carpenteria State Beach, just south of Santa Barbara.

Diana had tried to book reservations there online to no avail. Rich and Steve told us that only about 1/2 of the reservations are held by Reserve America, the agency that does the online booking. The others are held for people driving in without reservations. We lucked out and got a great spot for the night.

We had been in touch with another dear friend, Jnani who lives in San Francisco, a health professional who had to be in Los Angeles over the weekend to teach a program at Loyola University. She drove down from the City and met us at Carpenteria State Beach Thursday afternoon, shortly after we returned from the wonderful downtown Farmers' Market.

Jnani and Diana at sunset on the beach.

I'll finish the trek to San Francisco with Blog #9.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HICKOK-HALEY 6/29/2014 4:19PM

    Your blog brings back good memories. My family, Aunt and Uncle who lived in Santa Barbara, and my Cousins camped at Carpenteria often. Back in those days it was easy to reserve a spot. Love your pics!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DAISY443 6/27/2014 9:46AM

    You continue to amaze!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 6/26/2014 9:35AM

    TOTALLY AMAZING PICS. Thanks for sharing your journey. emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
ME_HERE_NOW 6/26/2014 8:42AM

    i love your adventurous spirit, your willingness to make new friends everywhere you go, and your connection with the sand and sea! you inspire me!

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 6/26/2014 8:19AM

    Super pics, super trip . . . such a carefree life you work hard to create for yourself!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 6/26/2014 8:07AM

    What a wonderful trip - love the photos!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    There is nothing like sleeping next to the surf. So glad for you!
emoticon Happy trails!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    What a wonderful trip.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 6/26/2014 3:20AM

    I just love reading about your adventures. It is
so nice to have friends that you can meet up with
and catch up as though time and space didn't exist.
Keep enjoying your travels. I wish I could be there.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JACKIEWALKS4FUN 6/25/2014 11:47PM

    Beautiful, I really should head out there again, such a wonder adventure you are having. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUST_BREATHE08 6/25/2014 10:47PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon so much for sharing!! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOKEYOKEY 6/25/2014 10:38PM

    What a grand adventure! I am so happy for you to be living in these soulful connections.

Report Inappropriate Comment

San Francisco or bust! #7 2014 Trip

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

This is the San Francisco digs (near Geary and Presidio) of dear friend Jnani, where Diana and I are currently hanging out. Jnani is in southern California for the week teaching at Loyola University and visiting friends.

We spent yesterday cruising some old haunts in Haight Ashbury, and enjoying the wi fi, coffee and food at The People's Cafe across the street from Jammin' In Haight.

Let's backtrack and bring you up-to-date since Blog #6, I left that wonderful park in Ramona, CA Sunday to head to San Diego and rendezvous with Diana who had flown in from Maui. But FIRST I enjoyed what was supposed to be a six-mile bike ride, but turned out to be 17 miles (one wrong turn is all it takes!).

Needless to say I had no trouble justifying blackberry crepes and a soy latte at Packard's, a delightful cafe in Ramona which serves purdy much all organic, before returning to the park for the getaway to San Diego.

Kathy [ATRANSFORMATION] sent me the wonderful autographed tee for my birthday last year after a conceret, because she knows how much I too love the group/concept, Playing for Change.

These flowers were all over the place, and I so enjoyed them during my bike ride.

FINALLY, I made it to Diana's friend Paul's house Sunday afternoon. Here were are clowning after being reunited (with perhaps a two+ year gap since our last meeting).

Diana and Paul, just before Diana and I took off for the journey north.

Next I'll add some glimpses at our adventures traveling up the Calfiornia coast camping!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 6/27/2014 9:35AM

    Such super people you are surrounding yourself with...! Not to mention glorious views & experiences as well...!


Report Inappropriate Comment
BILL60 6/25/2014 8:30AM

    Super. Thank you for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 6/25/2014 8:05AM

    Wonderful trip!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 6/25/2014 7:06AM

    So nice to hear you are in California. Thanks for
sharing the lovely photos. You are looking happy
and healthy. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MTRACHEL 6/24/2014 11:23PM

    Well, it's so nice to catch up with you today!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUST_BREATHE08 6/24/2014 11:22PM

    Absolutely emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 6/24/2014 10:20PM

    Your happiness shines through your lovely smile! Glad that you are having such a wonderful trip! Looking forward to more blogs.
emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 6/24/2014 10:06PM

    Totally awesome pics. Hope you are enjoying being home in the city.
Much love. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
HEALTHY4ME 6/24/2014 9:17PM

    Awesome and please if you do see ATRANSFORMATION please please give her a hug from me. She is such a nice person and we talked a lot about her mum, my mum and I just wish her peace and happiness.
The pics are great and you look great, wow one wrong turn and whew that's a lot of miles!
Still think you would love the monks in Cape Breton NS Canada LOL

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 6/24/2014 8:51PM

    Lovely part of the world with good friends . . . can't be beat!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    How fun!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GRANDMABABA 6/24/2014 6:29PM

    What a fun trip!

Report Inappropriate Comment

Friends and Dos Picos County Park #6 2014 Trip

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I traveled on the famous Route 66 to my old Hawaii-now-Arizona friend Sam's, in Topock, AZ, arriving a week ago.

Scenery along the way

I shot this quickie as we got his rebuilt Mitsubishi Montero (Sam's a master mechanic) to go to the Topock Marsh to watch the sunset.

The white van in the background is the long bed cargo van I traded him in 2009 for my camper! He was living in Roundup, Montana then, a hour from Billings. I drove my van there, which I had bought new in 2001 and used for the sweater project that I ran out of Ecuador. It had over 100,000 miles. The camper, a 1984, had 50,000 miles when we made the trade. I've put about 20,000 miles more onn it.

After arriving Sam got the A/C fixed in the cab (the camper area A/C works fine) and helped with other assorted glitches. Thanks Sam!

The Topock Marsh is one of the larger birding sites in the Lower Colorado River Valley, found from south of Hoover Dam to the Colorado River Delta.

Another (blurry) shot of Sam

Needles was named after "The Needles", a group of pointed rocks on the Arizona side of the river. The large Mohave Native American community shares the nearby Fort Mojave Indian Reservation and the town. Needles is a gateway to the Mojave National Preserve.

Here we are having lunch at a hole-in-the-wall spot in Needles, California (basically just across the Colorado from Topock, Arizona), where the chile relleno was absolutely delicious!

Here is a sunrise shot from the front of Sam's place.

Sam's 90-in-July year-old mom, Mama J as I call her, lives with him. She is amazing -- sharp as a tack, walks with an erect spine and spoils her little chihuahua, Piggy, rotten. Sam lovingly assists her as needed and they have an incredible relationship. Actually, you could clearly say that they take care of each other!

The front of their place looks out onto expanses of protected Mojave Desert land, which will never be built on.

I don't think I could ever get used to the climate in this desert. It got up to 116 and doesn't cool down at night like it does in the high desert. I absolutely melted when I went outdoors between about 1:00pm and gotta' get outdoor stuff done early or late.

A rather poor shot of the Colorado River at a marina yesterday morning, Saturday, as I got back on the road from Sam's, crossing into my native state of California.

Scenery on the road to Ramona, where I'm writing this from. Ramona is in San Diego County in southern California. Crossing the mountains, the elevation reached about 4500' and the climate changed -- ahhhhh.

Today is Father's Day...yesterday I was looking for a place to camp...without ANY success. I was getting worried. A few locals said to try Dos Picos (Two Peaks) County Park, so I drove the few miles out of the way to check availability.

My heart fell, though, when I saw the "FULL" sign as I entered the ranger's park station. I decided to give it my best shot. First I showed the young ranger at the desk my vintage camper, which he definitely appreciated. Then I "talked him up," mentioning that this intrepid 72-year old (aka me!) is making a solo cross-country road trip and that I'm getting anxious, out on the road alone with "no room at the inns." And for effect, I did a fake "WAAAH! -- don't you hate to hear a grown woman cry!"

He paused with a smile, then said to hold on while he radioed his supervisor. The head ranger appeared a few minutes later and said he would give special dispensation for me to camp in the unmarked space #45 (nine is my favorite number!), normally reserved for fire-fighting vehicles. The park has 75 spaces and every one of them is full. I was chanting all the way up the road, and sure enough the Mother heard me! It's glorious here -- lower elevation (about 1,500') but still chilly at night and lovely in the daytime. It's 8:00am now...I've been up since 5:00am and I watched the the sunrise, after watching the moonrise last night. Here are a few shots of Los Picos, an NOW I must get out on my bicycle and do more exploring!

Camp Site #45!

And I even had hook-ups (electricity and water)!

Used my hotplate on the picnic table to fix dinner last night

Here I've added some leftover brown rice and the Trader Joe's Soyaki Sauce which friend Connie gifted me, kicking the taste up a notch

Accompanied it with a yummy salad -- romaine, feta, kalamata olives, and sliced organic California strawberries, with a drizzle of my balsamic vinaigrette.

How's this for a theme song:

ANNIE OAKLEY aka me (lol)

Got no GPS, got no iPhone,
Still I think I'm a lucky girl.
I've got the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

Got no mansion, but I've got some wheels,
And I'm happy with what I got.
I've got the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

Sunshine gives me a lovely day,
Moonlight gives me the Milky Way.

Got no checkbooks, got no banks,
Still, I'd like to express my thanks.
I've got the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

And with the sun in the morning
And the moon in the evening
I'm alright.

Got no butler, got no maid.
Still I think I've been overpaid,
I've got the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

Got no silver, got no gold,
What you've got can't be bought or sold.
I've got the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

Sunshine gives me a lovely day,
Moonlight gives me the Milky Way.

Got no heirlooms for my kin,
Made no will but when I cash in
I'll leave the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

And with the sun in the morning
And the moon in the evening
I'm alright.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTRACHEL 6/24/2014 11:26PM

    loving your journey, sun in the morning, sometimes moon in the morning. PS I live north of Roundup, MT and work there once a week!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Ha Ha , loving your journey!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 6/21/2014 5:08PM

    Loving your narratives on the wonderful places you are camping. Your poetry and songs are soooooooooo sweet.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUSANNAH31 6/20/2014 2:20PM

    It looks like you are having a wonderful time.
The scenery is outstanding!
And now you can enjoy California - your old home.

Hugs to you...

Report Inappropriate Comment
BILLYCRASH 6/19/2014 1:36PM

  Hey Val, In case you don't recognize the "billycrash" it's Bill from the Library, that's an old railroad nick-name from long ago...any how, happy to be on your BLOG...and read of your adventures. You take care of yourself and have a good time!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Great pics! I was at my dads probably only 40 minutes from Ramona! And we would've put you up just fine… Glad you made it to California. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DAISY443 6/18/2014 2:58PM

    Wonderful in so many ways!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 6/17/2014 8:28AM

    Thank goodness for your special dispensation!
Wonderful trip...

Report Inappropriate Comment
HIPPICHICK1 6/17/2014 8:05AM

    It's amazing what a few prayers will do!
Love the pics, love the song and love you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SNOWYOGA 6/16/2014 11:32PM

    Thank you so much! This was really good and love the pictures and emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUST_BREATHE08 6/15/2014 11:19PM

    Loved the pictures, the poem and Sam looks pretty good, too! emoticon emoticon for sharing! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 6/15/2014 11:11PM

    What a beautiful poem Maha. YEs the Universe
heard you and you got the lovely spot to stay at.
You are reminding us that we don't need much
to appreciate life and living. Thanks for sharing
your journey and beautiful photos. Happy trails!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 6/15/2014 8:50PM

    Whew! How glorious is THAT?!? :-)

Time to drag myself outta the dumps & put myself back out into the world!

Thx Maha' for the reminder of what I'm missing out there, wheels or no-wheels, the whole world awaits...


Report Inappropriate Comment
CONNIECHANTS 6/15/2014 1:18PM

    AWESOME!!! So glad you found such a lovely spot to camp last night! You go girl! Love the pics & travel log - nice to see what I've been hearing about! And connect a face to 'Sam'! Your song/poem is Wonderful! Love & miss you!
Have a great time with Diana & Dawn - please give them each a hug from me.
Wishing you a wonderful journey along the coast! Just thinking of that wonderful ocean air makes me nostalgic!! Hugs & Much Love, Connie emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/15/2014 1:20:18 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUBMOM2 6/15/2014 12:52PM

    I love your theme song, and I am so happy that you are able to treasure the true riches in life. Thanks for the wonderful photos. It's been great sharing this journey with you!


Report Inappropriate Comment


Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 6/15/2014 12:37PM

    Happy trails dear Maha!
Thanks for the update. I really enjoy traveling vicariously with you.
emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
HEALTHY4ME 6/15/2014 12:12PM

    Awesome and love the pictures, so cool that Mama J walks so erect something I am trying hard to rectify. and love the poem. Hubby still wants to RV full time and you make me think about it, but still need a home base for me...
Have a great trip you are so awesome!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ELRIDDICK 6/15/2014 11:17AM

  Thanks for sharing

Report Inappropriate Comment

Miscellaneous trip shots #5 2014 Trip

Saturday, June 14, 2014

It's a sunny, warm morning in Brawley. I'm on my bicycle at 6:00am and decided to come to Starbucks to post some of the photos that have "fallen by the wayside."

There were dozens of these in New Mexico:

They are about 50 miles west of Socorro, the VLA (Very Large Array) - a series of 27 (yes, twenty-seven!) 230-ton radio astronomy dishes, arranged in a flexibly Y configuration. Using astronomical interferometry, the array is the equivalent of a single dish up to 22 miles in diameter. The Carl Sagan film Contact was filmed there (the other dishes for the film were added using computer-generated imagery).

The plains are the site of the Very Large Array. The plains were chosen for the observatory because of their isolated location away from large population centers, and the partial shielding effect of the surrounding mountain ranges. The edges of the plains have sites of archaeological interest such as a prehistoric rockshelter known as Bat Cave.

Other sites in the area include a ghost town called Old Horse Springs and the Ake Site, a prehistoric occupation site. The Ake Site is particularly important for the age and length of its use by prehistoric peoples. It has been dated during the Clovis period between 10,999 BC and 8000 BC, and during the Folsom period between 7999 BC and 5999 BC, making it among the oldest sites in the American Southwest.

To boldly go....

US Highway 60, New Mexico

Sacred Heart Church, Quemado, NM

Some photos of Tonto Natural Bridge Park, Payson, Arizona:

Enjoying an apple under that gorgeous tree!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAISY443 6/18/2014 3:01PM

    I am enjoying your trip very much!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BILL60 6/15/2014 8:47AM

    Great photos. Thank you for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 6/15/2014 6:14AM

    Thanks you for sharing the photos of your trip.
So glad you are having a great time. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUST_BREATHE08 6/14/2014 11:15PM

    emoticon Loved each picture. Thank you! Namaste. Light & Love.....Enjoy!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    emoticon What a wonderful trip. You are traveling completely alone, right? If I am correct, who's taking the pictures of you?

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 6/14/2014 11:37AM

    Awesome, awesome..............You are such a strong woman.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUBMOM2 6/14/2014 11:31AM

    Love these! So glad you are having a great trip!!

Report Inappropriate Comment

More bicycling in the high desert #4 2014 Trip

Friday, June 13, 2014

Well, it has been a rather challenging day, because after I left my friend's place in Topock, AZ my cell phone died. I'm in Brawley now for the night. It's in the Imperial Valley, part of the "agricultural basket" of California. I went to a Radio Shack, but after 1.5 hours they decided they couldn't help me (long story), although after polishing my cell battery a few times, the phone did boot. On to more pleasant considerations, as I sit in a Starbucks and enjoy the A/C.

I stayed at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, AZ last week. It was an amazing environment. I can't capture with words or images how much I enjoyed the time there. I rode my bike extensively around the grounds and lagoons and horse stables. The elevation is about 3200' so the weather was quite lovely.

They planted this wonderful stand of evergreens (juniper?) at the approach to the ranger's station.

With my affinity for the red-tail hawk, of course I had to find a spot in that section!

Here I am tucked in and ready to make dinner.

One of the lagoons.

With the reeds, it's a habitat for many varieties of birds. It's mating season for the great blue heron.

The stables, but I didn't get any horses.

That's all for now folks...just a little snippet of one of the many adventures on this ever-eventful trip.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAISY443 6/18/2014 3:02PM

    Sigh! Feeling jealous!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MAW_OH 6/18/2014 1:43AM

    Beautiful! I have now heard of places I never heard of before! Thanks for sharing !

Report Inappropriate Comment
HIPPICHICK1 6/14/2014 9:26AM

    Gorgeous photos. Sounds like a great trip!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BILL60 6/14/2014 7:16AM

    Sounds like a great adventure. Thank you for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
LOPEYP 6/14/2014 7:14AM

    What a beautiful area! Enjoy your trip!!

Report Inappropriate Comment


Report Inappropriate Comment
CONNIECHANTS 6/14/2014 2:38AM

    Sorry to hear about your cell phone - hope you can get your 'life-line' reconnected soon! Definitely a necessary item on a trip like this! Looking forward to talking with you again soon! Love & Many Blessings. Connie emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUST_BREATHE08 6/13/2014 11:33PM

    emoticon Beautiful!! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/14/2014 1:42:04 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUBMOM2 6/13/2014 10:35PM

    Hi Maha,

Thanks for the great photos. So glad you've made it to the Golden State!


Report Inappropriate Comment
BILLB000 6/13/2014 10:31PM

    Love the photos. Such an adventure, Maha. I would go crazy without my cell phone. Sounds like you handled that crisis well. :-)

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 6/13/2014 10:31PM

    Looks like a very comfortable, place to camp and spend some time off the highway. So glad that Brawley has a Starbucks....and A.C. I am sure there isn't anyone in Arizona that does NOT have AC.. The elevation gave you a much deserved respite from the deserts you have been through. Hope that Brawley gives you many photo ops.......You are doing a great job of keeping us up on your travels.

Much love emoticon emoticon

And BOO for Radio Shack.... emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/13/2014 10:31:55 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 6/13/2014 10:23PM

    What a lovely lovely spot -- and I'd choose red tail hawk too (have a picture in my office . . . ).

Report Inappropriate Comment
ROX525 6/13/2014 10:02PM

    On vacation with my DH in New Mexico and Arizona so far and have seen at least a dozen bicyclists touring. We are in awe of you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MCFITZ2 6/13/2014 9:53PM

    Very different from Tucson where our dd and her family are.
Have a sil in Payson. Haven't been there yet.
Thank you for sharing the photos.

Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 Last Page