Category Archives: Journey

Journey Summary

journey 1

Home-> Atlanta


journey 2


Journey 3

Google maps has a limited number of stops (who knew?) so I had to put this into 3 maps, but this mosaic shows the entire journey:  almost 7800 miles!!

Maps: 1) Home->Atlanta, 2) Atlanta->Deadwood, Deadwood-> Home





Pausing for Perspective

dry creekI had a wonderful, soul-renewing visit to the Apple Farm. I did some de-cluttering coaching, we cooked, gardened, hiked and talked deeply of many things. There’s a new, young generation of farmers remodeling some of the old cabins, setting down roots, raising their kids in that idyllic environment, which is heartening to see. It’s not a life for everyone — the investment that you make there is not typical.  The land will not be sold, perhaps for many generations, and if you “sell” your cabin, there’s not the equity gain as most Americans would expect. What there is, is beautiful, private and very very inexpensive. I took a look at Ukiah, which is a town I could probably live in. I threatened to take a month there and show up every day until my friend’s environment is how I think she wants it. Such a competent, effective woman who just has Too Much Stuff.

Looking forward to my Oakland sojourn, which I think will work out great. Got the info and keys for that (thank you thank you Ellen) and crashed with my brother and his wife at their new condo in San Bruno. It’s really nice to see them in a place where nobody will be able to throw them out (they are SF gentrification refugees). Since they both still work in the City and she doesn’t drive, their life is more complicated, but they work it out.

Then the long familiar drive down I-5 just in time to limp through Friday night traffic to Los Alamitos. Such a joy to see my friend though. (bows at her incredible ability to control her environment) And catch up here.

End of this phase of the Journey


Gravenstein apples

After boasting about my supreme knowledge of Sacramento hotels, picked a rather seedy one. They don’t even give you a coffeemaker unless you ASK for one at the desk. Excuse me? Out of here in a few minutes and on up to Pomo Tierre in very southern Humboldt County, on the heavenly Hwy 128 from Cloverdale to the sea. PT is a communal apple farm (their Gravenstein apple juice is the BEST). (Hey, I have a car, I could take some south!) Founded in 1969 and very well thought out. Happy folks. Good folks. I have spent a lot of renewing time there and purposely saved this visit for the end of this phase of the Journey. Which it is. I’m back in CA and my days of ceaseless driving are over for the moment. I will keep at this journal, but signing off for a couple of days. I want to thank you, my small audience of goodwill, for listening to these rambles, joys, complaints, etc. Knowing you’re there has helped me so very much.

California or Bust


Bonneville Salt Flats

After complaining about having to drive through the salt flats — they did THIS. Whoa. Beauty everywhere.


Woke up extra early.  According to @CHP-Truckee there aren’t any restrictions over the Donner pass right now, and since my friend in Reno is not going to be around this weekend, just going to push on to Sacramento. Haven’t been there since I retired! I certainly know the hotels. I have been thinking a lot about the end of the Journey in this phase. When you’re driving, mono-tasked, like this, you aren’t that productive, physically — all you can do to eat clean (shout out to  Bella’s Restaurant and Expresso  Wells, NV), and hit the fitness room. Mentally, it’s different. A limitless, restless landscape. It’s definitely what I needed when I left. Now, I feel ready to be grounded again. At least sequentially grounded.

Puzzling things about hotels: why do the nicest have no microwaves and no kleenex? Why don’t the glass plates in microwaves ever fit right? Why do certain lamps/outlets just not work? Why is this always the one on the desk? Why are fans So Noisy? Has anyone else draped towels over these unbelievably numerous and bright time/indichator lights? (I am a person trying to sleep, not a plane coming in for a landing!) And who the hell designs some of these shower spigots?

I started my list of “Things I Will Not Miss”. This is going to be very helpful.

I may have gotten through my 4000 track playlist  — or pushed something wrong. And all my passwords reset. I think I may have entered an alternate track, ala “Life After Life”. So WOULD I? Go back and do it right if I could? I’d be giving up stuff too.

elko to sacto



Officially Fall in Utah


Salt Lake City Museum of            Natural History

I’ve been amazed how the color palette changes with the State Line. Into Utah, and here come the red tones in the earth. I have never set foot in Salt Lake City before, and got a lucky break when my hotel deal app turned up the Marriott adjacent to the university campus, right down the hill from the Museum of Natural History, which I’d decided to visit. A gorgeous building, celebrating the geological layers of the surrounding cliffs. A stunning view, also, of the city below–with a winter storm coming in.  Cool dinosaurs too!  And an informative exhibit about the Vikings. If it’s not too cold this AM, I’d like to go to the arboretum before taking off for Nevada. I’ve been dodging the snow since Yellowstone, and Donner pass might still be a problem, but I’m watching the status.

It was a tremendous relief to walk into that museum and see student and faculty types and others who might not automatically roll their eyes at CA plates. Not that anyone was the slightest bit rude to me in flyover country. But there is the holding of breath. One of the absolute wickedest things that is happening in this wicked era is a denigration of education. Yesterday, at that sad Kmart in Rock Springs, I found socks and a warm shirt (I think I can prick off the “Margaritaville” stitching (LOL)) and told the cashier I was sorry the store was closing. “It’ll be empty for years now,” she said grimly. So do you stay and rot in Rock Springs because some clown fears that you’ll be converted to “liberal” if you learn anything about the world?

slc to elko



Wind River

wind river

Wind River Gorge

The campground where I ended up (was it Tuesday?) was off the grid, about 30 miles from the East Entrance to Yellowstone. Which was, when I got up there, closed due to snow. There was only supposed to be an inch, but they’d obviously got more than that. There were glorious hints of beauty to be found beyond, but that will have to wait for another trip. (I DID see a buffalo!) Reluctantly, I turned around and headed south to Rock Springs. I remember the lauded short story cycle of that name by Richard Ford. The people of Wyoming in general look more lean and wizened than other Americans. There is also an intoxicating emptiness, which I am sure also exists in Alaska. You do feel it. I am not sure I could make it here, but I’ve enjoyed my trip through this yellow, light brown and green land. And, says Idyll, the eternal Pollyanna, if I’d gotten through the gate I wouldn’t have seen the Wind River, which was just lovely.

“Life after Life” is going well — a bit bleak. That generation that lived through both World wars really did see hell on earth.  My media schedule is an hour or so of music to get underway, then literature, then podcasts to keep me going in the afternoon.

I have a short day to Salt Lake City today, and I think I need to get an oil change and have the tires checked. There is, sadly, no Target here, but I might be able to get a serious sweatshirt (I’ve been wearing all my thin layers) at the going-out-of-business Kmart.


Today, I get back to Utah then, and soon California, where memories and comfort and (some) anguish loom. I am getting into negative mental tracks again about the ex.  Rounds of “I can’t believe he did that to me.” that I try like hell to get past. Mile after mile. Seeing friends who have known us throughout our marriage will be tough. But also healing. Changing the dressing on the wound. If I was back home, I’d be going to my dentist appointment that I made 6 months ago, never dreaming.

This has been a long siege of one-hotel-night-stands though, and they do get grueling. I will be at the apple farm Sunday. So ready to get off the road.

Screenshot from 2017-09-22 10:15:50


(almost dead in) Deadwood


Cadillac Jack’s

“Almost dead” is an exaggeration, but the allergy thing morphed into something wicked like the flu and I limped into Deadwood for sure. Then spent the afternoon and all night in bed. Also the fire alarm went off TWICE. This is a casino. Staying here for the (cheap) nice rooms, but otherwise — it’s a casino. When I checked in, the woman asked me what brought me to Deadwood. “A fan of the show,” I said. “Are you an anthropologist?” she asked me, which, in my delirium struck me as funny.

I’m feeling 90% recovered this morning. The Black Hills are lovely. I have a black hills gold ring from my mom that’s very dear to me. The change in scenery was especially welcome after driving through the flat, yellow prairies all day. I would have gone to a couple museums here had I been well yesterday. I will just visit the Mt Moriah cemetery on my way out of town (where Wild Bill, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock are buried) and then off to an AirBNB cabin on the outskirts of Yosemite, where it is supposed to get a little snow tonight. I am a little anxious about this, but the Subaru will do fine. Snow!  It was 75 degrees yesterday.

Started “Life after Life” (Atkinson) on tape yesterday. So many people have said they enjoyed it.