California Road Trip 2018 … Getting there!

Left Coast Travel, Musings, Nature, North America, Out and About, Photography, Uncategorized

On my way to California this July, I spent the first night in Ashland. This small town is about halfway point between Portland and  Santa Rosa. The entire distance is around 650 miles, one way. While it’s possible to drive it all in one day, I prefer to take two days for the trip and check out places along the road.

“Relax! I am, after all, on vacation!”

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It was hot and smoky in town, from a nearby wildfire. Lithia Park appeared deserted. The sun’s bright orange glow was reflected in Ashland Creek. I didn’t stay out for very long because my eyes started to burn from the air pollution.

Sunday morning I continued my journey.

There really are beautiful mountains hidden in this hazy air

On the outskirts of Redding, yet another wildfire was raging. I-5 was eerily empty. I stopped for lunch and coffee in nearby Anderson. While walking back to my car, I saw a tanker plane heading towards the Carr Fire.

Air tanker headed towards the Carr Fire!

Crape Myrtle in Anderson, California

A fragrant eucalyptus tree grove near Dunnigan made for a relaxing break!

During my exploration of this eucalyptus grove, the sound of leaves crunching under my feet must have startled a sunbathing lizard. He quickly scampered off into the dark opening of a hollow tree stump, but not before I managed to snap a few quick pictures of him.

Refreshed, I continued on my way with only about 100 miles to go!

By the time I reached Vallejo, I got stuck in a massive traffic jam along Highway 37. Turns out there were car races at Sears Point that weekend, and everybody seemed to have left the venue just as I passed through.

The saving grace was that this two-lane highway runs straight through the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. For years the slough has been getting restored, and the  stop and go traffic gave me a chance to see that the restoration efforts have been successful. Egrets, herons and all kinds of small shorebirds were wading through the mudflats, and several red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures soared high above.

Truth be told, I was thankful for this traffic mess! I was getting tired, and the slow pace was perfect. We were all stuck right there with nowhere to go, and fortunately none of the drivers lost their temper!!

Finally, I arrived in Santa Rosa late afternoon. My friend and puppies were waiting for me at the house. We headed straight to East West Cafe for dinner. East West is one of my favorite places to eat in Santa Rosa and they have the absolutely best lemonade ever!

Freshly squeezed and not too sweet! Perfect lemonade!

Local jazz band playing at East West Cafe

After dinner, we went back home to hang out with the puppy dogs, sit under the blooming wisteria, relax, and catch up with each others lives and enjoying a glass of champagne!

Meet sweet Rosie, the foster dog who had just arrived from Greece!

One thing’s for sure! I slept really well that night!
And the trip turned out to be a fantastic one!

Do you like to go on road trips?

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My passions in life are vegetarian cooking, gardening, photography, writing, good books, traveling and nature. Thanks for stopping by, Sabine

18 thoughts on “California Road Trip 2018 … Getting there!”

    • I would have loved to take Rosie home, but I’m not quite ready to take responsibility for a dog right now. Plus with rescue dogs there are rules that have to be followed. The dragonflies at the pond were amazing. Dozens of them lying in wait at water’s edge and flying just above the water surface. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many at one time! 😊


  1. I adore road trips! In fact, we’re on a short one right now. Thanks for sharing, Sabine. Will there be more photos to come from this adventure?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m amazed by not only the pictures Sabine but by the fact you originally thought you could drive 650 miles in one day – what a trooper you are! I’ve not been on a long road trip in many years and that was with my parents. Unfortunately, I’m not a long-distance driver and I don’t like to drive on the expressway, so that limits where I go. I used to go on the expressway more, but people drive at least 20 miles over the speed limit. I went up to Northern Michigan one year, and decided to stop at the Detroit Zoo on the way home and had to take the I-696 expressway – I am sure people drove 30 miles over the speed limit. My heart was in my mouth the entire time. The picture you showed of the eucalyptus tree grove near Dunnigan was incredible looking how you captured the trees in the photos and I want to plant a kiss on Rosie’s nose. 🙂

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    • Linda, drivers are crazy just about everywhere these days! I simply try to stay out of their way, plus there’s always the option of passing me. To me, getting to my destination safely trumps everything else even if it means “annoying” the tailgater who maybe should have left the house a little earlier. Also, the journey of getting to one’s destination is a big part of the fun! The eucalyptus grove was wonderful! And so fragrant!
      And I’m happy to report that Rosie has her own new family now, complete with another Brittney spaniel as a friend! 💖
      Thanks for always reading and commenting Linda! 🙋

      Liked by 1 person

      • It used to be easier to drive – it seems that we have so much construction that driving is a challenge no matter where you go. That eucalyptus grove looked wonderful and I liked how you took the picture – very nice. I’m glad Rosie has a new family and another Brittney spaniel for a new friend – she was such a cutie, that I knew someone would be happy to scoop her up and love her. I enjoy your posts very much Sabine.

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      • You’re welcome Sabine – I enjoy reading about your adventures and seeing your photos. I am glad that Tom Peace sent me a link from your blog and I discovered you. Yes, we resign ourselves as that is all we can do truthfully.

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  3. I loved these photos, especially the close ups of the blue dragonfly resting on a rock. Those flighty fellows are difficult to capture in a photo. It sounds like a delightful vacation, Sabine. Personally, I don’t mind short road trips where we can take our time and stop like you did. I don’t like to drive though, so I prefer to be the passenger who gets to see the view.

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    • You should have seen how many dragon flies were skimming across the surface of the pond! My phone was acting up so I couldn’t take a video! I love to drive, especially if I’m not in a hurry. A change of scenery is always nice, even if it’s close to home! Have a good week LuAnne!

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  4. Great photos! I loved the tree with the peeling bark whatever it is. You always get good shots of wildlife. I do miss road trips and enjoyed them most when it was just me and the dog traveling. It’s almost meditative. I like going at my own speed and stopping where I want and when I want. That was part of the fun for you as well, I’m sure. Of course, Rosie might have made me change my mind about getting another dog. 😉

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    • Thanks Marlene! The peeling bark tree is a eucalyptus tree! They smell divinely! It’s like sticking your nose into a bag of cough drops! 😉 I found Rosie tempting, but the rescue organization has very strict procedures and with all our stuff going on it wouldn’t have been good timing. Plus it complicates traveling. Our past dogs always hated having to go to the kennel. 🙋

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