How I Love Thee, Let Me Count The Ways….

I was getting ready to start a new post based on a link the store Hobby Lobby posted on facebook.  They like to have Show-And-Tell Sundays where fans post the current projects they are working on (& for them, hopefully with supplies from the store !).

At any given time I have a dozen or more projects going that range from unassembled quilt pieces, barely started cross-stitch pieces, a scattered mess of rubber stamps, a bag full of old photos that haven’t been attended to in decades and on and on and on.

But currently, I am working on a project that is also nearly a year old.  I have been trying to put together a scrapbook for my vacations- the crafty kind that has puffy stickers, and stamps and colorful paper.  Thinking about posting this project for Hobby Lobby is what led to what eventually came out as a completely different blog post.  Why I fell in love with California. 

In the past, when someone said California to me my first keyword thoughts would have been

  1.        Beaches
  2.        Bikinis
  3.        Crime/Smog
  4.        Hollywood
  5.        Sequoias
  6.       Arnold Schwarzenegger

Nothing which is exceptionally attractive to make me want to travel that far.  (Wisconsin to California approximately 2,500 miles).  That was until last August, I vacationed on the West Coast for the first time.  In the past I would never have thought I would be attracted to California in any way.  In fact, the only reason that I wanted to set foot in that state was because of the two Soviet submarines that are on display in San Diego and Long Beach.  The quote, “You don’t know what you’re missing,” surely applied to me up to that point in my life!

I fell in love with California like I never thought I would have !  I’m not the sort of person who likes to lie out in the sun on the beach in near nakedness.  However, to see and touch the Pacific Ocean with my own hands on Laguna Beach was like taking some sort of magical elixir that absorbed though my skin and into my very soul. 

The first time I saw the Ocean was actually in San Diego, but I keep thinking it was Lake Michigan.  It wasn’t until I saw the cliffs and protruding rock formations that I realized the white capped waves were rolling up on shore in front of me from places as far away as Japan & Siberia. 

I wanted to stop at every beach on the Pacific Coast Highway, but sadly we didn’t.  I took 3,270 pictures total on my trip which also included Oregon and Seattle. 

What made California so beautiful is how the beaches melted into the slope of mountain sides.  I’ve seen the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia in early Fall, and the Superstition Mountains in Arizona.  It’s hard because they are both so different to choose which one I like the best.  California has a bit of both.  I saw cacti on the sides sometimes as well as trees and vineyards.

(This is just outside of San Simeon- no color correction or photoshop- this is how the camera took the picture. Looks almost fake)

One part of the trip that I call my favorite was horseback riding in Carmel at the Holman Ranch.  Particularly special about this ranch is that their trail horses are actually rescued horses.  These animals that have outlasted their usefulness and were green lighted for the grave were bought and nurtured by the staff at the Holman Ranch.  Now the horses are star tour guides taking tourists to such picturesque settings like up mountain sides, though the vineyards and along the rolling foothills.

These photos show the elevation of how high we were on the mountain side.



Riding on the rim in order to get back down.

This is one of my most favorite pictures on the trip. I wish the resolution was better when posted here.

This beach is just north of San Francisco, but sadly I can't remember the name



Progressing farther north we came across the giant redwood trees.  We didn’t hit Sequoia National Forest, but there were plenty of similar giant Red Wood locations.  We stopped at the Trees of Mystery park.  These huge trees are about 250 feet tall or equal to a 25 story building and can be 30 feet around.  I could have easily spent days and days among these trees.  Even growing up in the Midwest and being used to trees this is something to see that can’t be imagined. 



The  progression of beaches, mountains and trees felt like a vacation that was three for the price of one.  I wish I could have had a video camera strapped to my arm so I could re-live the entire journey.  I’m glad that my first experience with California was along the coast where I could keep in touch with nature.  I suppose that further inland is just as nice, such as the capital, Disneyland, Hollywood, the Pez museum, etc.

Next time Chris takes me to California I want to go horseback riding on the beach, go to the Santa Monica Pier, sleep on the Queen Mary (with a window overlooking the Scorpion submarine), go whale watching and maybe go to Hollywood.  I’m sure we could find many other things to do over and over and always keep it new each time.