California Fires

It’s fire season in California again. I can only remember a handful of big fires growing up in this state as a kid. Now this is the new norm every year from probably about June-December. The Forest Service has even taken the monumental position of closing the Forests because if another fire kicks off they don’t have the resources to evacuate people and put out the fire. (Everyone is ok!) It’s crazy times. It’s devastating and dangerous for many; my family being impacted this time by the Caldor Fire. This photo was taken at a reservoir called Stumpy Meadows when the smoke from the Dixie fire was wafting over. If you glance quickly it looks like cool fog…

It’s been a while since I posted. I hope all of my friends out there are well. It seems many of us aren’t traveling much for many reasons COVID likely being one of them. Take care everyone. Happy Travels.

Mendocino in the Fall

Fall in Mendocino means mushrooms.  Mendocino is surrounded by ocean, redwoods, and hills therefore the fall colors do not blaze as brightly here as they do on the drive through the wine country to get there from Sacramento.

Mushroom hunting

My husband and I dream of owning property here one day.  But, in the meantime it really does not get any better than camping at MacKerricher State Park.  It is $35 per night and one is surrounded by Redwoods, ocean, Cleone Lake, mushrooms, curious seals, deer, wine cork stealing bunnies, and even a Giant Whale Skeleton on display for kids.



She is smart enough to sniff and walk away!

Looking for seals or wayward sailors


After realizing she looks a lot like a seal with legs

MacKerricher is my favorite campsite in California located in one of the prettiest areas of California.  MacKerricher sits just north of Fort Bragg.  Fort Bragg is a tough old logging town which is finding its footing with breweries, shops, and tourism.  Fort Bragg has newly renovated its famed Glass Beach formed from years of waves crashing against an old garbage site.  My favorite place to visit in Fort Bragg is the Mendocino Botanical Gardens.  It is and will remain my happy place.

Just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road is the village of Mendocino.  This iconic village is where Eric and I got married five years ago!  (Happy Anniversary to us!)  We relived the big day by having dinner at our favorite restaurant 955 Ukiah Street Restaurant.  The next day we picked up a baguette from Cafe Beaujolais and picnicked on the ocean.

Just north of MacKericher is a beach near Pacific Star Winery where the tide pooling is stellar.  A nice little blue grab game out to assert his domain.


Mr. Blue Crab


Not that you can tell with the iPhone but those are seals out there lounging in the sunshine




Low tide allows for shenanigans like this

The amazing part about the Pacific Ocean is that we left weather in the 40’s and found clear weather in the 60’s on the ocean.  The weather is typically the opposite of what is happening in the Sacramento Valley.

Happy Fall everyone. I am trying to hang on to the last bit of it before winter takes hold.  Is it cold and wintery where you are already?

Remnants of an old dock at MacKerricher

For further Mendocino and Mushroom adventures click here.

Fall in Sacramento means visiting Apple Hill

Apple Hill is an institution in Northern California.  My relatives are from the area so I went to Apple Hill religiously growing up.  So, as soon as the weather starts to turn, my mind immediately goes to a visit to Apple Hill for Apple Donuts and Apple Cider.

Situated in the Sierra Foothills near Placerville, California Apple Hill started as a place perfectly situated to grow apples.  Well, most apple farms create small bake shops to cater to the people coming up for boxes of apples.  Like most things these days it has now blossomed in to more.  (Wineries, breweries, fishing holes, xmas trees, pumpkin patches, and more.)

While things keep changing one things remains the same.  Folks, may I introduce you to the one the only, Apple Donut.  Enjoy warm fresh out of the oven or cool on your day drive to leaf peep.  Whatever your preference ensure you stop in for a spell.

Is it just me or is this an insane amount of donuts?

Caramel apple anyone?

Pretty aren’t they?


This cracks me up to think about.  But, I actually have two previous posts about donuts.  Click here to see posts on Voodoo Donut in Portland and Maui Donuts!  I’m going on a diet!

Something new, Something old?

Last weekend I went to Wright’s Beach in Bodega Bay camping again.  My husband and I and Amelia, the bulldog, go there as often as we can primarily in winter since it’s too cold to camp anywhere else.  We had a primo site with a full 100% view of the glorious beach and ocean.  The weather was clear and probably 72 degrees.  Camping really does not get any better than Wright’s Beach.  It seriously doesn’t.  While sitting together staring out at the ocean in a very contented state I posed the following question, “Are we missing out by coming here all the time and not trying somewhere new?”

I pose that question to you.  Do you love to return to the same places over and over again because you love them and they hold sentimental value to you?  Or do you return to them because they are convenient?  Or perhaps you return to them as we did last weekend because we have found a gold mine of a camp site knowing other places will pale in comparison?  Or perhaps you like to try something new every time for the excitement?

Tell me your thoughts on returning to the beloved spots versus branching out and trying something new each time!



Travel from the comfort of your couch

Travel related books give me inspiration when I am not able to get away.  Below are a few books I have enjoyed over the years for one reason or another.  What do you love to read in between adventures?  What has provided you with travel related inspiration when the boss won’t give you time off or your check book won’t balance?  How do you fill the times in between traveling?

 Give me the world

Leila Hadley

Inspirational story of a young woman traveling on her own and with her small son in a time where this was not the norm.

California Camping: A complete guide to more than 1400 tent and Rv campgrounds

Tom Stienstra

Our bible when looking for somewhere new to drag our little canned ham trailer.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Jules Verne

Everyone loves this story and movie.  It’s an exciting, funny, interesting read even today.

The Art of Happiness
Dalai Lama

While this book may not be a traditional travel novel per se it helps get me in the right state of mind for planning a trip, taking a trip, or returning home to the real world after a trip.

This is San Francisco

M. Sasek

I love the art deco vibe of this book about one of the greatest cities on earth.

Dawn of Art: The Chauvet Cave
Jean-Marie Chauvet
Eliette Brunel Deschamps
Christian Hillaire

I saw one slide of Chauvet Cave when I was in Community College which inspired me to purchase this book.  It in turn prompted a visit to the cave in France in 2010.  History and art meet in this beautiful photo book.

The Arabian Nights

Various Authors and versions

Various enjoyable fables told by the brilliant Princess Shahrazad will spark your imagination into traveling throughout the Arab world.


Winter Camping on the Beach in California

I have likely mentioned in previous posts how glorious living in California can be, politics, traffic, and just general weirdness aside. One reason California is awesome is that it affords us the opportunity to winter camp on the beach. Those outside of California will probably visualize me with braids in my hair and a flower crown. The reality was I was in rain boots, a Northface beanie, long underwear, and a rainproof jacket pretty much 100% of the time. Choose the visual you would prefer friends.

We tried something new this year and went to Doran Beach in Bodega Bay for crab season. Normally we camp at Wright’s Beach but we decided to shake it up a bit. Doran was delightful with a flat, dry, and convenient camp area. The ocean is on one side of the camp site and Bodega Bay is on the other. The ocean break wont break your neck on this beach so kids and dogs can play in the water if they are brave enough to tackle the cold.

Friends took over multiple campsites and had a good old fashion crab feed in the rain. Mother Nature was kind enough to make the days dry and the nights a sailor’s nightmare. The foghorn tooting every five seconds grew tiresome but eventually one fails to hear it any longer. Regardless, my rain boots and I had a great time getting out of town for some post-Thanksgiving camping.