Posts Tagged With: California

Coast to coast and over seas

The trip back to the states included the usual 3 consisting of California, Oklahoma and Florida. In order to catch up quickly I’m going to post some of my favorite photos that Matt and I snagged per state. 

As you can imagine, Oklahoma didn’t necessarily provide the best of landscape shots, but Matt was able to capture some wildlife that can easily be overlooked.

You know these lovely ladies, my cousins Lacie and Lana have made random appearences like Hot with a 92% chance of muggyFamily and treats in Oklahoma and Till next time Oklahoma! Check out these comparisons from a few years ago to now.

Moving on to California! Before Matt met me here, I was honored to attend a dear friends wedding. Now when I say “dear friend”, I mean a woman that has shown me the true definition of unconditional love and support. It makes my heart full of joy to see her so happy. Congrats to Liz and Katie! Ps, best Rockabilly wedding ever and a special thanks to my perfect date, Crystal! (you’ve seen her in Jumbled shinaniguns in California and 32 candles on 32 peddles!) Wedding bells put away and Matt finally arriving, it was time to venture around! Of course we hit my hometown of Folsom, but the highlight was Truckee and Lake Tahoe! Here are some of my favorite pictures he took with the rest shown on his site www.stonesharpimagesphotography.comThe Heavenly ski resort provides a gondola ride for all of their participants as well as non skiers to enjoy the epic view of Lake Tahoe. Shall we? We shall!

The above photo is looking back at the Lake and below is what you’ll see as the slow, smooth moving Gondola glides to the top.

Finishing up my visit to the US, I found myslelf all smiles with good ol’ mom. Although it really has nothing to do with this post I feel the need to list a few of my favorite writings that include moments with her. So if you’ve got the time for random reads, I invite you to visit the pasts posts of our time in Cental America when mom was brave enough to venture abroad with me in Puerto de la Libertad and Wrapping up our time in El Salvador. Or maybe you’d be interested in good cry today? Embrace yourself for Not just a dolphin tour, it seems to be a tear jerker.

Getting back to this post, I mainly just wanted to hit the highlights of music, beaches and friends… the perfect combo!

After soaking up time with family, friends and new acquaintances I flew to South Florida to meet back up with Matt.

Intermission: Turns out I traveled straight through the tornados of Atlanta and was held in the airport for two days. Here’s what the terminals look like at 2am with severe weather outside. After 8 canceled flights, 38 hours of wandering the airport and being 130 on the standby list… I finally made it! Our next flight and final stop is home (for now) being the beautiful island of Barbados! 

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7 reasons to ride a bike

1. For the health of it! Cardiovascular stimulation is a peice of the pie of fitness (did someone say pie? Mmmmm). Cycling just 20 miles a week reduces your risk of heart disease to less than half that of those who don’t exercise at all.

2. Breath of fresh air, ahhhh. So we don’t leave plastic bottles in the sun due to the cancer-causing toxins released, but what about the interior of your vehicle that bakes all day in the heat? We climb right into the chemical box and drive for hours.  Not to mention our poor environment and the fumes we inhale by simply starting the engine.  I vote to hit the trail and breathe the green.

3.Care to shed a few pounds?
Riding your bike for an hour burns anywhere from 400-700 calories an hour while sitting in your car or on the couch burns a whopping plate of boredom with a side of time to snack. I wonder how many calories you demolish by carrying your bike?

4. Sexy time! The Harvard University found that men over 50 years of age who cycle for at least three hours a week have a 30 percent lower risk of impotence than those who do little exercise. Keep it up! No pun intended.

5. Money hunny. According to research from the University of North Carolina, people who cycle for 30 minutes, five days a week take about half as many sick days as the lazy-o-man.

6. Light bulb! Illinois University found that a five percent increase in cardio fitness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15 percent in mental tests. That’s because cycling helps build new cells in the hippocampus (that funny named region of the brain responsible for memory). Say what?!

7. All the cool kids are doing it! Some of my most fond memories traveling abroad involve me, 2 wheels and happy people! 

Hayden, thanks for the unconditional support in my crazy lifestyle. You’re the type of person everyone wishes they had in their life. Champagne forts, bike rides, sushi love, stupid humor, the list goes on. You’re the best! Plus you always let me win shooting pool (side kiss wink face). So grateful you’re my boy… 

Next stop, Florida! 

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Did the bride just arrive in a Uhaul?

World meet Katie, one of my dearest of friends who started this wonderful journey of traveling with me many years ago. Our bus catching, airport sleeping, scary flight surviving, foreign language cherades playing was all prior to this blog. I will say however, it was a huge reason of why it all started. Here’s a fun collage to show you some of our smiles from Vegas to New York, Belize, Mexico and Costa Rica. Although I didn’t think it possible due to her stunning looks and hilarious sense of humor, this incredible woman has found her match. I’m sure Austin, the groom to be, would agree that none hold a candle to Katie’s unconditional way of nurturing those around her and her unstoppable ability to brighten every room. On this day they gathered with family and friends to share their new path as a married couple and I’m so grateful I was there to be a part of it! 

6:00am- Three of us girls arrived to the park with a Uhaul to start the set up. 


A motherly smile is always welcome. Thanks for helping Momma Cathy!

7:30a- I left and returned with a proper coffee for Ms.Katie (Despite the horns, she was one the most angelic Brides I’ve ever worked with). Her wishes: everyone has a good time, there’s enough champagne to go around and to jump in a bounce house with her gown on. 

I asked, “You ordered a bounce house?!” Her reply, “Nope, just something I’d like to do”.

8:15a- The rest of the female crew arrived to help prep the venue. Did I mention that Katie designed and produced her entire wedding from handmade crafts to personalized center pieces? She was so organized that she even drew out diagrams for each tables layout. No stress, just clear instructions made with love. Way to designate girl!

Fun proud fact- Katie asked me to draw her seat holder for the adorable wooden swing. Small job, but I was honored.  

9:20a- Decision was made…what pre-wedding moments would be complete without the offering of bubbles!?

11:15a- All done and heading back to the house for hair, makeup and possibly (most likely) another glass of bubbly.
Noon thirty- Just a quick hour later we returned to the park for all final touches before our bride took the stage. This tent was the official bridal headquarters as well as the starting point for sweet Katie to walk the isle.
  

1:30p- I’m left speechless as I watch this beautifully strong woman walk to expand her well deserved happiness. 


In most weddings, what follows is much rejoicing with food, drinks and (let’s admit) a little awkward socializing with semi-strangers. On this day, I looked around and noticed that all were laughing, smiling and for what I could see, truly enjoying one and another’s company… and the cupcakes.

Pssst (to be said in a whisper) notice that’s Hayden? He’s the one you’ll find in several posts around the world with me and that rugged ol’ blue backpack! 

 3:45p- Magic happened! Call it a gift from the universe, perfect timing, coincidence, a blessing… Whatever you want to classify it as… It happened! After lunch a child’s party unloaded right next to us with none other than a bounce house! Our bride got her wish.

How else does a glamorous woman in a gown and tiara enter a bounce house? Only like my girl would… no shame and head first. Katie, you’re the best!


The walk back was a highlite for me as I got to carry “sis”.  This doll is Katie’s daughter that I’ve unofficially adopted into my future plans of travels. I even bought Ava her first passport as my gift at the baby shower. Diapers? Nah… We have priorities. 

Austin,  I’m so grateful that my amazing friend took that random drink of your beer and even more thankful that not only did you laugh, you welcomed her magnetic charm to capture you for a lifetime. Katie, thanks for allowing us to share this special day. You are both quality energy. Love always!


So here it is. I’ve never been married, but I love love…everything about it! I’ve done uncountable amount of wedding hair, attended a large portion of the ceremonies and cry at about every one whether I know them personally or not. I squeal when my friends get engaged and look forward to the joy found at the receptions. Will I ever be a bride? Who knows. All I know is that here in the now, today… I celebrate what is love and the people around me filled with it! Cheers to the open road, a pure heart and a free spirit.

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A mirror selfie, really Erika?

Yup.  This solo photo and tiny post is for two main reasons.

#1 – For the friends and family that don’t have facebook or consistent contact with me.  Here’s an idea of how the end of each travel stretch usually looks like.  

#2 – For me.  In years to come, I’d like to look back and recall the way I felt standing there. So many emotions.

You may be able to recognize the exhaustion behind my eyes.  This comes from weeks of walking, drinking, laughing and minimal sleep that I barely acquired on floors, buses, trains and other random surfaces. You might also see the excitement in my smile to be heading west towards the friends and family who I miss dearly. I’m sure you also saw the random trash can behind me.  Just stating the obvious.

The necklace I have on was made by a kiwi that had moved to Santa Catalina Panama to sell her jewelry at Cafe La Buena Vida. The jacket was given to me by Denise in Amsterdam, I bought the shoes in New York City and snagged the scarf in The Netherlands (my original scarf and boots were taken off of a friends porch, hopefully by someone in greater need). The elephant bag in my hand is the replacement for the original one seen in Sisterhood of the traveling bag. It dubs as a grocery sac, airplane carry-on and my purse.

What you don’t see in the photo below is what’s in the bag on my back. There’s a used dirndl that I rolled up in cling wrap to make it as small as possible, a torn plastic bag stuffed with dirty socks and a pair of jeans that smelt like currywurst and beer.  Of course it also contains my toiletries, more clothes, a first aid kit and invisible bricks that make this thing feel like a bag of rocks at times.

Wouldn’t trade any of it.

 

Next stop in sunny(ish) California! I’ll be there for a quick visit with some incredible friends as I repack “Big Blue” (appropriately named by one of my favorite blog followers). You’ll notice my posts will be fewer in the upcoming weeks as my focus has turned towards preparing for the next glorious chapter. 

To be continued…

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32 candles on 32 peddles

For my birthday this year, my only request was laughter. Comedy, friends, music… Anything was acceptable as long as smiles were included! Solution? A 15 person bicycle!

Sac Brew Bike is a company located in Sacramento that provides a man powered bike that seats 15 plus a driver. The faster you peddle, the quicker you go. A professional driver (not me) takes your group to designated locations for each pit stop. Saddle up, buckle in and peddle away!

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Side note: The mustaches seen on most of us were grown within seconds using adhesive and slight pressure. More about that later.

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Leave it to me to underestimate the amount of super-friends that would show up rain or shine. With a bike that seats 15 and 18 amazing friends, I was fortunate that three of them had brought their own bikes to meet up with us. Thus, we now have a crew following the beast. I’m secretly thankful this happened as we took turns on the single bike which was just as much fun!

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Back to the staches… We were debating on superhero capes or party hats when my dear friend Liz simply helped the decision and suggested mustaches. Brilliant! You really can’t take yourself serious when rockin the fur below your nose.

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Here are some random photos taken at a few of the pubs. No captions needed…

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Dear birthday-cycle crew, you absolutely made this event most memorable and entertaining… Couldn’t have done it without you (literally, the bike wouldn’t of moved). The laughter and jokes with open minded, mustache wearing friends was exactly what I wished for. Thank you so much for trekking out in the rain and bringing your positive energy in addition. I love you all!

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The Raiders just keep on giving…

Since the Raiders lost during my “birthday” game (seen in “A day in silver and black”) it was felt to attend one more in high hopes for them to redeem themselves. Before I even try to drag this post out, let me just lay it out there. We got demolished. I mean, they generously sacrificed yet another win to allow the visiting team to feel welcome. I just can’t get over how unselfish the Oakland Raiders truly are!

Let’s make this post quick, fun and painless.

Instead of driving, Hayden and I decided to take the route that required no wheels. The first transfer required light rail, a regional transit system, from our home town of Folsom to the main Sacramento train station. Once arriving there, we hopped over to Amtrak that would take all the way to the Oakland colesium!

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Finally arriving to Oakland, we exited the tracks to cross a bridge before entering the sea of black and silver. Tailgaters are already in motion on this side of the gates! Can you spot the flag being carried under us?

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Trucks, food, friends and reunions. Yes please!

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Here are two sets of “last game/this game” photos.

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Football time! Today the Raiders are playing/donating a win to the Denver Broncos.

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Well look here… A foreign color sitting right next to me. Clearly he didn’t get the silver and black memo. Ooh, game on buddy!

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Lucky for Tom, his mustache and fun conversation made up for his choice of team.

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Here’s the last photo I took of the charitable event before we decided to beat the crowds back home.

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So when I say “beat the crowds”, what I meant was join the herd of like-minded fans.

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Waiting for the train… Game over.

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Worst tour guide ever?

Once upon a time I went to Munich Germany to experience the ever so popular festivities of Oktoberfest. Who would of known that this event would introduce two of my now dearest friends, Carina and Florian.

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I’m grateful to say that it would take several posts for me to show you all of the connections we’ve had since 2010, including but not limited to Amsterdam, Greece, Costa Rica, Recklinghausen and another Oktoberfest. With that said, let’s just jump to the exciting news that my amazing German bundles-of-joy finally made a visit to California!

Although I had been traveling as well and only arrived 18 hours prior to them, I had been planning a few adventures to show them just a small variety of what Northern California has to offer. Little did I know, my calendar dates were not in line with well… anything.

Could I really be the worst tour guide ever?!

Worst tour guide ever: Spend 4 years bragging about living next to the grand Folsom Lake, just to have them visit during one of the biggest droughts in history.

Redeem the situation by bringing them to a different body of water known as the American River. Sun, water, smiles… Check!

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Worst tour guide ever: Invite them to a big night on the town during the only holiday weekend in which everyone is out of town.

Redeem yourself by taking them on a Johnny Cash tour (they’re huge fans) from the actual “Folsom Prison” to the tracks in which you used to “hear the train uh comin…”.

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Eventually making it to Reno (where Mr.Cash “shot a man… just to watch him die”).

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Worst tour guide ever: Almost run out of gas on the way to your next stop.

Redeem yourself by making sure to point out the stateline… Twice!

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Worst tour guide ever: Register for a “discount motel” without ever seeing it before.

Redeem yourself by bringing out a camera and spending five extra minutes in the room doing, hmm… I don’t know what to call this one.

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Worst tour guide ever: Describe the perfect beach… just to arrive at a full parking lot and an over populated coastline.

Redeem yourself with a walk through the gorgeous greenery of North Lake Tahoe to a lesser known beach. Classic panoramic views and sandy toes… Check!

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Worst tour guide ever: Get them really excited about the huge Gondola ride, stand in line, get to the ticket booth and find out it has doubled in price since last time you were there!

Redeem yourself by taking a night walk lit by fireworks and stumble upon what appears to be a huge bike?! Photo time!

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Worst tour guide ever: Take them to a country bar explaining the art of line-dancing and prepare them for tall cowboy hats, only to walk in to an empty bar with a dj playing pop and hip-hop music all night.

Redeeming yourself isn’t as necessary here, because with energetic music and quality people… fun just follows.

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Worst tour guide ever: Drive them to San Francisco not realizing there were a dozen festivals happening which means, extreme traffic and no parking…anywhere!

Redeeming happened with a refreshing walk across the popular Golden Gate Bridge.

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To conclude the possibility of me being the worst tour guide ever, I’ll close with the defense that when you combine genuine people with a true desire for a good time… No tour guide, weather disasters or other unexpected fault can tarnish a beautiful memory. Honored to have been a host and now sad to see them go, I’ll simply look forward to the next glorious time we meet again. Fingers crossed, I’m not the guide.

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I want to recognize several fabulous people that you see in the post above.
Hayden, (who met Florian in Greece and Carina in Amsteredam) thank you for opening your home, loaning your truck and being the best second worst tour guide with me!
Michelle and Nick, (met Carina and Hayden in Costa Rica) your lovely Truckee home and energetic night out in Reno absolutely enhanced our time together, thank you for all of the love!
Nate, (who was in Germany with me, but didn’t get to meet these guys till now) thanks for being so flexible, your hospitality didn’t go unnoticed!
Ian, (who met their friends Denise and Ioni in Argentina) I’m so thankful we got to celebrate your birthday with you this year!
Mike, (met Carina in Amsterdam) so glad you brought another smile to the table.
Crystal, thanks for making time to come out and finally meet the duo I’ve been telling you about. Ps, you doing the worm made the night!

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The Folsom Farmers Market

If you’ve been following long enough, you’ll know it’s very likely to find me in a local market sampling any and every thing that’s offered. I love food.

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This round of staying in California placed me living a short distance from the local farmers market. For the first time I was a tourist in my home town as I chatted small talk with the venders every Saturday morning. Walk with me (or kidnap some friends and jog with me)!

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I apologize to the non vegetarians out there as I didn’t get close ups of any animal products. Take my word, there were definitely quality hunks of meat out there and I’m not talking about the guys who came to the market still dressed in their gym clothes.

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This stand sells goodies from under the sea. Fresh fish, smoked items and unique treats such as salmon bacon and fish jerky were a just a few of the options.

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All the way from The Netherlands (one of my favorite European countries) is Marga. With vegan treats and energy boosting snacks, she greeted me with a familiar accent. I replied with the only sentence I know in her language, “Klink ik nederlands?”, which translates “Do I sound Dutch?”. She responded with a giggle and said, “Not really. WellI I guess a little bit since I understood you!”.
Her website offers nutrient packed snacks and details of how it all started. Check her out at www.commonkettle.com

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A special thanks to Teresa. As if her tasty jam wasn’t enjoyable enough, the supportive conversation was something I looked forward to each week. Ps, apricot is amazing if you ever get the chance to order from her!

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Nita, side by side with her daughter, was always eager to divi out the samples (I’m sure because they were confident that you couldn’t resist another bite). From gooey caramel enhanced rice Krispy treats to peanut butter brownies, self discipline was a must when passing by this stand!

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Peel’d has a brilliant idea that is beng loved around the Sacramento area. Each day they juice a fresh new batch of smoothies and bring the amazing flavors out to the market. I know most of you savvy little health nuts out there have a juicer or Vitamix, but this little backpacker doesn’t have room to lug those appliances around. Instead, I choose over worn clothes, trail mix, and a half empty first aid kit.
With that said, this trip I’ve been spoiled with a fresh juice every Weekend. Glorious! If you’re jealous and would love these juicy deliveries to your doorstep, check out their website at www.getpeeld.com.
To Tim and my peel’d friends, your greetings every week spoke in volumes and have still left an imprint on my Saturday morning experiences, much gratitude to the dozens of samples (that you knew I had already tried) and the gifted bottles that I enjoyed to the last drop!

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I didn’t get to know this lovely lady as well as the others, but Nicole’s creativity and passion towards organic dog food stood out to me. Add animals to the list of things that I don’t backpack with, but if you have a healthy pup at home, feel free to look her up at www.inthedoghousetreats.com

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If I could remember the exact words these folks spoke to me I’d share them with the world to brighten the day. Their supportive compliments fueled my traveling fire and the mini bag of granola traveled with me well! Thanks again!

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Usually my market posts are crammed with fruit and veggies, but this round the vibrant people and homemade goodies took over. I don’t want to leave out the vendors that kept my counter piled high with rainbow colored edibles from the earth. Thank you for the abundance of plants grown in your backyard!

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Categories: Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Folsom Lake, no swimsuit needed.

When I tell people I’m from California, I usually get a response questioning my ability to surf and/or if I can see the ocean from my house. Considering I grew up in the Central Valley, my “surf” was behind a boat on one of the many lakes and rivers. Folsom lake specifically was a huge part of my childhood as it was just a bike ride away. With the slightest glimpse of the Spring’s sun, we would be packed up and headed for the water. 20140209-090718.jpg

To see more of sunshine playtime in California check out the post, “Jumbled July Shenanigans in California”.

Back to Folsom Lake. So, how did this aquatic social park get here? Before the massive body of water, there was a dainty little town that was home to 2,500 Mormon immigrants seeking riches after settlers struck gold in the nearby city of Coloma. Developed in 1848, it lasted only 100 years before the city was flooded for the Folson Dam project that created the lake we know today.

Thank you internet for this photo of the historic town during it’s prime.

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After 2 consecutive dry seasons, Folsom Lake is at a record low of only 17% capacity. Below is a comparison of the dam when the lake was full and one of the present state of drought.20140209-091200.jpg

With levels this low, the lost city from the 1800’s has revealed evidence of it’s once thriving existence. Now that you can walk miles of what usually is underwater, we decided to head out to see the city we had been swimming over for years. (Recognize these boys? Mike and Hayden were my amusing partners in crime during the last adventure in Europe).
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Here, you can see old roads and remaining stones from what could of been a local home, saloon or school.20140209-093627.jpg

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If you’ve ever enjoyed a summer on this lake, you’ve seen at least one of your friends (if not you, yourself) dive in after a phone, a pair of sunglasses, keys, watch… pretty much anything that doesn’t float. I can only imagine how many of these were found during the early days of the drought. On this excurssion, we were lucky to see older items that had been discovered and placed on display for the public to view.

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Luckily I’m writing this post with rain hitting the windows and predicted snow fall in the mountains. We’re all hoping for the return of a lake in the near future, so I’ll leave this post with one of my favorite night photos I took on Folsom Lake years ago after a day of play in the sun. !

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Jumbled July shenanigans in California

When some think of California they picture the long haired surfers living on a beach or possibly downtown Hollywood being packed with movie stars. Although that does makes up a small portion of this magnificent state, let me welcome you to Northern California and the natural beauty that comes with it!

This trip back was short and sweet, so I’d like to recap multiple visits. Simply click on any link below and viola, you’ll be directed to previous posts that go into detail of those magical destinations!

My hometown of Folsom. Yes, where the prison is from the Johnny Cash song.

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A day in the bay of San Francisco!

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Green + Sand + Blue = Lake Tahoe!

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Downtown in the capital city of Sacramento.

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River rafting (aka “floating”) down the American River.

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Here’s a direct link to last years July celebrations including house boating and a cattle drive parade!

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This July in California I was invited to several small gatherings that allowed me to pack in a variety of adventures.

I’ll start by recapping Yosemite with a few of my favorite photos. If you missed any of the detailed posts about this national park, click here.

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For this 4th of July, I headed back to the houseboat on Lake Oroville to celebrate the day of America’s independence! What do you do while stuck (to be said with sarcasm) on a boat for a few days with great people? Play, eat, swim, nap, drink and play!

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Check it out, my cup is a blog fan!

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20130720-152833.jpgWhen waking up on the final day, my dear friend Crystal and I thought a yoga session was the perfect way to rise with the bright sun!

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After thoroughly enjoying the natural beauty of the outdoors, I returned to town to partake in a few backyard events. Considering California broke heat records this year, I’ll start with pool parties and bbq’s!

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Recognize this little red headed doll? That’s my cousin from Oklahoma that I wrote about during the tornado’s last month. Now he gets to see California blue sky, 100 degree weather and play with “Keka’s” friends!

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This lovely couple is at the top of my “I want to be like you when I grown up” list. Maureen (aka Mo) and I have been friends since the days of finger paint, hair scrunchies and snack packs. Ben is her equally incredible husband that makes up the other half of this power duo. Ever wonder how many married couples still express their love through patience, consideration and open communication? Well, meet the Hillel’s and their newest addition (one of my favorite mini buddies) Cora.

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Themed Parties! This one is called “White Trash” or “Redneck”. The Urban dictionary defines this group as uneducated persons that comes from the backwoods with little awareness of the modern world with moral failings. An individual that may or may not be poor, but is monumentally ignorant and quite possibly stupid.
Spam carving contest, arm wrestling and a whipped cream Twinkie hunt leads to duck tape prizes and dancing. Notice the can stacks? It’s a game in which each time you finish a beer, you tape it to the bottom of your “stick”. (Clearly I don’t mine losing that game).

Why we base an entire gathering celebrating this with costumes, games and prizes? I’m still trying to figure it out myself…

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Moving on to a more “classy”” portion of my trip was visiting one of my favorite restaurants.

Sushi! For the sake of the fans out there, I’m going to share Mikunis and its enormous growth in popularity over the past 20 years. When I used to come here as a little girl, there were a few chairs in front of the chef and a couple tables that crowded a small dining area. With quality food and the dedication from the owner Taro, it has now expanded to a well known and award winning hotspot. Their menu website is also worth checking out if you’re in the need of growling stomach and a salivating mouth.

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The large wheel is for the “grown-ups” to spin on their birthday. Prizes range from a bag if rice up to $100 gift card! I’ve spun this wheel every year since my 9th birthday and now have a collection of mugs, t-shirts and chopsticks. This summer, I was thrilled to watch Cora spin on her first birthday… Special.

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Hungry yet?

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I’ve done an abundance of hair to replenish some travel funds and I did the annual dig through my storage unit to repack for future weather changes. I’ve gotten to hug old friends and make some new ones. Now I’m off to Florida to love on my dear mother!

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my life? Well, I do.

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