The adventurously awesome travel blog of a woman, her dog, and a punk cat.

nomadic travel, photography, insights along the way

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Northern California

It’s a beautiful Morning here in San Francisco, California. My life is so unreal right now, that I have to remind myself sometimes that it’s actually really happening and not just a wonderful dream It’s been an amazing journey, scary at times, but mostly amazing. I  will look back on time with fond memories ,and a big smile on my face. Southern California is  nice,  but Northern California makes my heart sing. The ragged coast line and sweeping views of the pacific ocean are gorgeous. Big Sur is breathtaking. That said, I still prefer the Maine coast. Maine just has that salt of the earth quality that doesn’t exist here on the west coast, at least not that I have seen. San Francisco is a cool city, but it has nothing on Boston, and it is way more expensive!

Today is the first day of spring and with it’s arrival brings me closer to decision time. I  started this journey believing that I would be heading back to New England in the spring and most likely settling in the Portland, Maine area. I have been hearing how great Portland Oregon is, and in the back of my mind I wonder if maybe I should go there and see if it is a place I want to hang my hat for awhile. It’s a big decision and one I don’t want to make based on emotions. The old heart strings are pulling pretty hard to go home. I am also feeling the need to get out of my little camper and into normal housing for a bit. The camper is great, and has all the comforts of home, but man the smallness is driving me nuts the last week or so.  I think even just a temporary rental would do me some good. Just to have rooms to wander into out of would be wonderful!!

Anyway…. my plan is to travel a bit further up the California coast, and see where it leads. It maybe that I get to Portland,  and I love it so much that staying will be easy. This part of the journey is going to be interesting… I will leave you with photos of Big Sur. If you haven’t visited Big Sur, put  it on your bucket list it’s amazing

 

 

 

 

 

Nice Light

Light right light is everything in a photo, and I waited an hour for the light in this shot to be just right. I don’t do a whole lot in Lightroom or Photoshop with my photos, so what you see is what I saw. For me photography is about putting the viewer in that moment with you.  When I was out last night there was another photographer snapping away. We were talking afterwards and he asked me if I was into HDR. I told him my camera has built in HDR,  but I haven’t ever used it. His jaw hit the ground, and he went on a tangent about the virtues of HDR  The big thing with photography is HDR, High Dynamic Range. Maybe I have only seen bad examples of HDR,  but they just don’t look natural to me . Some go so far in post that it no longer looks like a photograph.  I guess I am just a minimalist 🙂  I might be missing something and I may try it one of these times , and then I will eat my words. Until then, this photo is a truly organic sunset from Pismo Beach, California. I hope you like itpismo sunset1

California Dreamin

Have you ever heard of Pismo Beach, California? Me either, but boy am I glad I found it. It’s a beautiful and quaint  small coastal community with cute little touristy shops. It’s about 45 minutes or so north of Santa Barbra. I was too tired yesterday to shoot much but I did get this one decent shot from the beach.pismo I had two pretty rough days of travel, to get here, and much of it was mind numbing and  boring. Driving through mostly desert land is about as exciting as you would imagine. Looking to your left you see nothingness, look to the right more of the same; look ahead straight bland road. I left Sedona on Sunday morning to find the route I planned to take was closed I think due to an accident. I was re-routed and later on ran into delays on that route due to an accident. The delay on the new route had no work around and cost me hours, and since I was in the middle of nowhere there was nowhere to stay. For the first time ever I considered pulling over in a rest stop and just crashing for the night. Thinking of this conjured up images of one eyed, uni-brow weirdos lurking in the bushes, so I inched my way along the dark road along with everyone else. Eventually I spotted a sign for Travel Lodge.  I pulled off the exit, and found the motel. I didn’t expect the Ritz, but this Travel Lodge  was the  prostitute mecca of central California. I considered just  sleeping  in the camper in the parking lot as I couldn’t settle in but but again images of one eyed weirdos popped in my head. Eventually I drifted off. The next day brought gusty winds for the first two hours of the ride to Pismo. Driving a camper in high wind is not fun, and  when you add in getting pushed over my trucks wind surge, well let’s just say there was a lot of swearing and stopping to take a break. Eventually I traveled into the area where wind was not as much of an issue. The rest of the ride was uneventful, thank God!!

My site in Pismo is just across the street from the beach, and a really beautiful beach at that. The park the  won’t allow me to take the camper off the truck. The reason is they are afraid a kid will play around it and it will fall over on them. Um….it would take a mighty big kid to knock over camper, but OK…I have my bike anyway and I can get to everything by bike pretty easily. I am kind of happy to just be relaxing and not driving for a few days anyway. I leave here Friday and will follow route 1 up the coast. I originally wanted to stay in Big Sur, but no sites to be found, so I plan on just getting up early and will hopefully be there for sunrise and spend a little time. I booked on night in an RV park 15 minutes outside of San Francisco. Some RV parks out this way are really pricey , this one $75.00  per night, but cheaper than a hotel.

The Southwest

What an amazing week  I have had. I left Austin last Wednesday and spent  a few days in southern New Mexico before hitting Sedona, AZ. I visited Ruidoso, New Mexico which reminded me a bit of North Conway New Hampshire as it is also a mountain ski village, yes part of New Mexico gets snow, and enough to ski. Once I hit Sedona the similarity to New England ended. New England has nothing like Sedona, but I wish it did.  Sedona scenery is as amazing as the energy that emanates for the gorgeous red rocks. I could probably  spend a month hiking and exploring, and never hit the same trail twice. It is a real outdoor lovers paradise. I originally planned on spending a few weeks here but the RV park is pretty booked, and I was luck that they could squeeze me in for  seven nights .  I hoped to head for Zion but everything is booked, so onto plan “B”…I am heading to the California coast and will see which way the wind blows. I think they have dried out from the recent rain…I am off on Sunday. I will update  the blog  from the west coast. Until then,  here are my favorite pics from New Mexico and Sedona.

 

 

Austin A Bit Like Boston

Austin, is a mini Boston. I am a city girl through and through, so I loved Austin. In fact, other than Asheville, NC,  Austin is the only southern city that I thought maybe I could relocate here. I would miss the seasons, and the ocean is far away; so there would have to be something pretty amazing to make me commit to life in Austin, but never say never…

Austin’s motto is keep it weird but honestly I didn’t see anything all that weird. It is a very laid back and open minded place with a lot of artists and music, but weird…unless I missed something not so much. The weirdest thing I ran into is a few of the highway routes have loop at the end of it, which made me think that they went in a loop around the city, but they just go straight away from the city, no loop… The only other truly weird thing I found was Bat Bridge. Thousands of migratory Mexican Bats make their home under the bridge, and every evening at dusk they fly out for a night of bug eating in the hill country. Going to watch the bats fly out at dusk is a tourist attraction, and I was among the hundreds of people who showed up to watch. It wasn’t as dramatic as I expected but it was pretty cool. I thought if Bat Bridge was in Boston they would probably try and find a way to get rid of them, but in Austin they have a bit of a cult following.

Austin is a rapidly growing city, and they don’t have a very good transit system so traffic can be bad. I’m used to Boston traffic , so I didn’t mind driving around too much. Austin has an excellent bike system, so that was my favorite way to see the city. I also took and excellent city tour for twenty five dollars, it was the best city tour I have ever taken. I learned a lot about the history of the different neighborhoods. Downtown has a totally different vibe at night, and the music scene is very good. I think there is 250 different venues. I attempted Texas 2 step which could not get the hang of, but it was fun. I am heading for New Mexico tomorrow, March 1st. I will update my blog from there is a few days. I have more shot of Austin that I need to go through but here are a few for now

Hill Country

I arrived in the Austin , TX area last Thursday, and since then Texas has surprised me at every turn. I always assumed Texas was flat plains and wide open, but  that turn out not to be true. The Texas terrain differs depending on your location and Austin is part of hill country The roads are windy twisty and fun to drive, and they get more so the further into hill country you travel. Today Buddy and  I hiked up  Enchanted Rock, which is a massive , well rock that rises approximately 425 feet above the surrounding terrain . It is not a gradual incline so you do feel it a bit but the views are awesome. I took a cool panorama video which I can’t seem to upload to word press right now, but trust me the view from the summit is pretty cool. These shots are from the trail going up and on top of the rock.

As for Austin, it is a very cool city, almost as cool as Boston:) I have explored the city and scoped out some locations for shooting so I will be going out to shoot , and posting pics. I booked here until the 3rd so plenty of time to shoot and explore. Bye for now

N’ Orleans

N’ Orleans
I am fighting a cold so this will be a quick post. I do have picks that I will post when I’m feeling better.
Next to Asheville, NC, N’Orleans was my favorite stop. Yes, it is loud, and crowed, and you find yourself drinking more often the normal, but when in Rome… I was warned by a few people that New Orleans was too dangerous, and to steer clear, but I never felt unsafe in the city. The only time I felt unsafe here is when my neighbor knocked on my door told me there was a Tornado in the area. This ended up not being true, and the campground has safety shelters in place if there ever was. We were under a Tornado watch all day, but all we had was a lot of wind and wild rains. I was thankful the camper was on the truck because it was really getting rocky. Otherwise, Loved N’ Orleans , and the people I met, true locals, and fun people to hang out with. The music scene is everywhere! Pretty much everyone is a musician or and artist.

The RV park was surprisingly nice, and the staff was fantastic, I enjoyed using the shuttle service from the park to the French Quarter. It was really nice being driven around. I am heading towards Texas most likely tomorrow unless I am still feeling crappy. We’ll see:)

Gulf Shore

Just a quick video shot on my phone. Sorry about the crappy camera work. I didn’t really plan on posting it, but Buddy insisted.I made a typo in the credits. It says ” staring Buddy” instead of “starring” oh well…The next video will be better.

Update From The Road

I am currently in Summderdale Alabama, which is a small town just 20 minutes from  the Gulf Coast, and 30 minutes from Mobile. I haven’t explored much as I arrived late on Thursday, and yesterday was errands, a mountain of laundry, and just a little exploring around town. I am surprised how hilly Alabama is. I thought being close to the coast it would be rather flat like Edisto, and Charleston, SC is, but its pretty and hilly. Driving along rural routes you pass farmlands  with horses, cows and homes with goats in the front yard. In many ways this part of Alabama has ghe look and feel of New Hampsire.

One big difference I have noticed in the people I have met so far is they are more reserved, and not nearly as friendly as the people I met in South Carolina. I found this a bit surprising. It’s not that they people are not nice, they are very nice but they just don’t chat you up like they way they do in Edisto. I guess I had just gotten used to that.

The campground is a Granny and Grampy campground, but it’s ok, because I don’t plan on hanging around much. I will say they have the best showers, and plenty of steamy hot water which is awesome! I also have the best TV reception that I have every had from my digital antenna, 31 channels, but I am in the bible belt, so half of those channels are telling me that Jesus still loves me, thanks big guy. I was able to take the camper off the truck yesterday which made me very happy. The month in Edisto the camper was on the whole time, and let me tell you it sucks having to bring the camper everywhere you go. I am looking forward to getting out today to explore by myself. Mobile looks like and interesting little city, and they have Mardi Gras too, and claim they are the be the original Mardi Gras not New Orleans. I love Buddy and Phoenix, but they are two of the neediest pets ever, and being with them 24/ 7 is a bit much especially in such a small space. I need a little alone time, so I am heading into Mobile tonight with my camera.

My thoughts on the RV life and travel at this point… I am really glad that I am making this journey. It’s surprising how content I can be in such a small space most of the time, and my camper is super cozy. There are moments when the smallness makes me nuts, but overall I am pretty content. Homesickness creeps in, and then back out again… I am missing the snow, and the New England accent. Southern accents get on my nerves after awhile, and I like snow what can I say… but I still am having fun, so I will keep calm and RV on. In fact I am already dreaming on a newer and bigger truck camper. Little things like clean sheets on the bed are a huge comfort thing now, so laundry services at the campgrounds are essential, as are bathrooms and showers. Finding familiar stores like Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s is also a huge comfort. Buddy is much calmer and seems to almost be enjoying the traveling to different spots now. His favorite spot so far was Edisto for sure, so many sights and scents, and a quiet beach to run on. My favorite places where Asheville, NC, and Edisto Island, Charleston, not so much snobby and expensive as hell. It’s pretty, but the snobby vibe kind of ruins it. Where to from here? Most likely New Orleans if I can find a sight. If not I will probably head to Austin , TX, but not before exploring Mobile and the gulf coast with my camera.