2017 Ramblings

As much as I enjoy sharing my annual inspiration, I truly love these travel posts. (smile) There’s something about looking ahead at all the fabulous adventures that just makes my heart beat a little faster!

Vik beach, Iceland2016 Review

I did pretty well for my 2016 travel list. I did visit White Sands National Monument in New Mexico (see below), ventured on a South Dakota road trip with my family, and spent plenty of great quality time in California with my niece. Although I did not mark off all of my Arizona Bucket List, I did make it to a couple locations so maybe this year I’ll see the rest! I also didn’t make it to Santa Fe or San Francisco. One day…

What’s interesting is that I ended up in Iceland (see above) last year. Of all the places I had in mind while writing last year’s post, Iceland wasn’t one of them. But it turned out to be the perfect location to celebrate my brother’s 40th birthday. I’m still working on editing photos, but I will definitely be sharing more adventures on the blog this year! (In writing this post I’ve only just realized how far behind I am in travel stories πŸ˜•Β  )


White Sands National Monument, New Mexico2017 Destinations

Arizona: I really want to finish off that bucket list – namely the slot canyons (e.g., Antelope Canyon) and Chocolate Falls.

California: As always, I want to spend as much time with my friend and niece as possible, but I would also like to take some time this year to drive up to Big Sur. I hear such wonderful things about the area, I think it’s time to make it happen!

Alaska: My dad is officially retiring this year and has requested that we all join him on a family cruise to Alaska to celebrate. As I’ve kinda wanted to do this forever, I’m totally on board!

Ireland: This is the year of the solo tour. I’ve traveled all over the world, but never have I ever traveled totally by myself. Someone’s either been with me from the start or I’ve met someone at my destination (even if they were total strangers). I’ve wanted to go solo for some time now, but it hasn’t worked out for one reason or another. This year, however, is my year. I have a nice little cottage on the coast all booked and ready to go and I am unbelievably excited! Here’s to a week of peace, quiet, and breathtaking landscapes! (smile)

What are your travel plans for the year??

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Wednesday Wisdom (8.10)

Joshua Tree National Park, Vince Lombardi quote

The last week or so I’ve felt like my life has been totally out of my control. Everything I’ve purposefully tried to do has fallen apart and it seems the only things that do work out are obligations foisted upon me by outside forces. It’s been incredibly frustrating.

I’m not really sure how to regain control of the situation (or as much control as any one of us can have). I dream of living a more purposeful life, but the reality is much more difficult to come by. Instead I keep daydreaming about a weekend escape, just by myself. I think I’m going to have to make that happen… I need a “reset” weekend.

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Getty Steps

Last week I found myself at one of the prettiest museums I’ve visited on the west coast – the Getty. The weather was perfect, the buildings begging to be photographed, and plenty of photographs to be seen! (smile) I was very proud of myself for remembering to check upcoming topics for this photo challenge so I could take more purposeful photos – and it really added an element of fun!
This week’s topic is “steps: indoors or outdoors.”


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Joshua Tree Revisited

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Back in March some friends and I decided to take an impromptu camping trip over to Joshua Tree National Park. Of all the National Parks I’ve been lucky enough to visit, I’d say Joshua Tree easily makes the top 3 just by virtue of being the strangest, most surreal park of them all (which is saying quite a bit after Yellowstone). So of course I was more than happy to take the opportunity to visit – and camp – in such an awesome place – this time with a proper camera! (smile)

Joshua Tree National Park, California

If you’d like the official info on the park, I’d suggest checking out my first post on the park. This post is mostly just a photo journey through two deserts and an incredibly diverse landscape that is rumored to have inspired Dr. Suess’s The Lorax. Actually, that last tidbit there really kind of sums it up perfectly…

The Cholla Cactus Garden. Absolutely gorgeous area near sunset!

Cottonwood Spring near sunrise. We actually camped at this campsite and it was magical πŸ™‚

This area is on the map as Barker Dam. It was a nice, easy walk and interesting to see some of the historic development.

The rocks are by my far my favorite part! It’s just so surreal how they seem to pop up out of the ground so abruptly and haphazardly. Skull rock (shown above) is a definite hot spot, but it pays to know what angle you’re looking for!

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Ready to go yet? πŸ™‚ If you have the chance, I would definitely say go for it! (The Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain are also nearby – just sayin’.)

Climbing Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain, Imperial County, California, art, desert

I’d seen photos of Salvation Mountain for years, especially on Instagram, and had always wanted to go. I knew it was in California, but only recently discovered that it was just off I-10 on the way to L.A. from Phoenix. To think I’ve been driving right by it all these years! So when a camping trip to Joshua Tree NP came up last month, I seized the opportunity to have a bit of a weird and wonderful road trip with a stop by this lovely attraction.

Salvation Mountain is the brainchild of Leonard Knight. Located just east of the Salton Sea (and about 30 minutes south from I-10) in Imperial County, CA, this outdoor artwork is 50 feet high and 150 feet across, made of local adobe clay, and has one glorious and profound theme – love.

The mountain is maintained largely through the efforts of volunteers who show up with paint, brushes, and a helping heart. A public charity was established in 2012 to help with maintenance and preservation of this unique gem – Salvation Mountain, Inc.

You can follow the yellow brick road up the mountain and you can also wander through the connecting “grotto” to see various other works. All the colors were so vibrant even on a cloudy day, I can’t imagine how beautiful they must be in the desert sun!

Personally, I admit that I wanted to visit Salvation Mountain because it did just seem so weird and colorful and fun. It was a location that demanded to be seen and, well, photographed. What I didn’t expect was the sense of joy and peace that I felt while there. I was like a child roaming some oddly fantastical museum/playground. It’s kind of hard to describe really. It made me want to pick up a brush and help preserve this desert beauty and, frankly, if I hadn’t been on a bit of a schedule with the camping trip, I probably would’ve done just that. The people who were there doing maintenance were super friendly and more than happy to spend a few minutes talking about the history and goings on of the project. And although it is a very Christian-themed space, it didn’t actually feel overwhelming. It just felt, well, loving. (smile)

Salvation Mountain, Imperial County, California, art, desert

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Squiggly Lines

Salvation Mountain art installation southern California

Salvation Mountain art installation southern California

I only recently discovered where Salvation Mountain was located, but as soon as I saw it on a map I knew I had to go see it in person. It’s an art installation in southern California, a bit off the beaten track, but close enough to I-10 to make it a worthwhile detour. I’ll share a bit more about it later, but these were the first images to come to mind when I saw today’s black and white challenge theme “crooked and squiggly lines,” so here they are! (smile)


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