Honeymoon Hullabaloo Part 1

We’re back from honeymoon and life is rolling into a nice Christmas stride, thank goodness! The wedding was an incredible whirlwind and marriage is a sweet slice of pie so far. We even survived two hours stranded in the desert when our car broke down on the way from Honeymoon Part 1 in Arizona to Honeymoon Part 2 in Disneyland. By some stroke of luck, we still made it to our hotel on time!  While it rained at home, we were in t-shirts buying too many postcards and cracked open rocks. Hip, hip, Honeymoon!

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After a quick farwell to family we hit the road for Arizona! Most of our time was spent chasing Route 66 and basking in the wide open desert. In proper roadtrip style, a handful of discolored postcards quickly filled the glove box. We didn’t climb the mountain to Sedona until after dark, but the surprise of waking up in the midst of the Red Rocks was worth white-knuckling the steep drive in. I couldn’t wait to see what I’d missed three years ago when Jen and I visited during a freak snow storm and couldn’t see a damn thing. Thankfully this time the weather was fine! Everywhere you turn, whether you’re stopped at a red light or in the grocery store parking lot, Red Rocks tower over you. Sedona is a comforting mix of rugged Southwestern charm and crunchy granola hippie shit. You can buy crystals, visit a spiritual vortex, or get a picture taken of your Aura around almost every corner. I was sold immediately.

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Once we settled into our SPA SUITE at the Sedona Rouge Resort, we took a half-day adventure on the Verde Canyon Railroad. It was one of the most relaxing activities of the entire trip. With our pal Bloody Mary hanging tight, we spotted two bald eagles and a lonely house in the canyon–of course inhabited by ex-Berkeley professors. How come they always get the good recluse spots!? My jealousy seethed straight through our visit to the Jerome Ghost Town a few days later. Jerome was abandoned by excitable copper enthusiasts in the 1950s and is built on a 30% grade. Today, it’s full of amazing junk and is pretty scary to drive around! A super-crowd of holiday tourists drove us quickly out of town and back to Sedona where we overloaded on fancy pizza from Pisa Lisa. In Honeymoon hindsight we should have just had pizza every day and never dined anywhere else. Next time we’ll know better.

 

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I think I’ll be re-living our honeymoon for a while. Deal with it. Two weeks away is A LOT and more time than we’ve ever spent uninterrupted by life stuff. It was GREAT and now I’m so mad we need to have jobs or any obligations that keep us from hanging out. What’s the deal with that? Expect plenty more posts bragging about how much fun we had as a brand new family of jerks out on the open road.

Until next time!

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Weekend Trip: Big Sur

If you’ve got a three day weekend, there’s more than enough time to escape down Highway 1 toward Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, named for the adventurous and kind-hearted daughter of Big Sur’s first wave of Homesteaders. I recommend taking the Slow Coast from San Francisco to Monterey before you rush off to Big Sur. Take your time! You can even stop for Taco Bell on the beach in Pacifica and sleep affordably at The Otter Inn on Cannery Row. We needed a mid-trip break from sleeping in the car and this little hotel with an ocean view saved our lives. Ditch the hotel coffee and run full speed to Bright Coffee on Lighthouse Avenue for quality beverages and some very very tempting artisan home goods browsing.

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Of all the spots to love in Big Sur, my favorite is the Henry Miller Memorial Library. It’s “the place where nothing happens” and where I always take advantage of a little time alone on the porch with the cats. This trip, I didn’t even make it inside! The library is a sanctuary. I use my time there to breathe, reflect, and reset. It feels safe, like home, and I don’t visit half as often as my soul requires. The library is a bookstore, performance venue, and art center devoted to the memory  and spirit of Henry Miller, an American upstart and resident of Big Sur. You don’t need to know anything about him or the story of the library to enjoy it but it definitely helps. Take a moment, donate generously, and have a good sit. Pet a kitty, take a load off, and find a bit of peace.

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The brightest thing I have learned from my travels is that wide open space and the marvel of nature have authentic restorative powers. It’s best not to waste them. When you’re driving around town, plan ahead and take the country route. Roll down the windows and take a look around. Even a short drive down a pretty road can do wonders. Quiet your mind and indulge in the moment as often as you can.

Until next time!

Slow Down, Stay Loose

 

The only time I’ve had my Tarot read was in a dark corner of a company Christmas party last year. The first card she drew was The Hermit, no surprise. The Hermit card represents a conscious choice to separate yourself from others “for a certain purpose where being alone is instrumental.” I have always been drawn to lonely stretches of highway and had fantasies about fully giving in to a life of contemplation. If allowed, I could retreat into myself for years on any number of Big Sur cliffsides like so many slow-rolling, adventurous folks have done before me.

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The days of my most recent roadtrip down the Slow Coast to Big Sur all blend together in the best way. Luckily, the storm took a short break. Mudslides kept us sequestered above Lucia and forced to go slow. I don’t know how many times we drove back and forth throughout the day within the same 18 miles of cliffs, looking for bits of sunshine in which to warm up. I learned that bringing some groceries and a camping grill really can turn a roadtrip around when you wake up too early for anything to be open and want to watch the sun come up with a grilled cheese.

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Here are a few of the rules that help us slow our roll and get in roadtrip mode:

  1. No Bad Days. Bad days are a waste of time on the road. Leave that shit at home and go with the flow. Don’t let life’s little problems get in the way of your appreciation of the journey. Invest in yourself, take a deep breath, and move on.
  2. Chase the view. Most of our driving hours are spent chasing the prettiest view of the sun going up or down. I have yet to capture a decent photo of it and so in these moments I put the camera down and pause to breath, think, and focus.
  3. Be safe. Nature can be a cruel mistress, it is best to listen to her. Don’t get cocky. Along the way we stopped to watch the sunset and sleep. After the sunset, chit-chatting in the cold darkness, we heard a handful of rocks fall down from above. Time to move. The most beautiful places are often the most dangerous. Make sure you’ve got solid footing. This is true on cliffs and in life, so be careful out there folks.
  4. Drink water. You may have to peeside seaside but your body will thank you for staying hydrated. Sunlight and excitement are taxing on the body. Take care of yourself. Like the ocean, you are mostly water so drink up!

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