Rural passengers, 1950s vibes, and Walter the failed botanist in Ukiah, CA

Nice things people on Yelp had to say about Ukiah, a rustic town in Mendocino County with a population of 16,000: “The air is always sparkling clear (unless there are forest fires). Every night we can go outside and look up and feel as though we are camping in the Sierras—billions of stars! There areContinue reading “Rural passengers, 1950s vibes, and Walter the failed botanist in Ukiah, CA”

Ride with Me: Exploring California’s Rustic, Woodsy Towns

Ride along this week as we step foot into the snow globe town of Shasta City. Later we’ll let notes from a gently strummed harp seep into our souls as we stare out at a view of the state’s largest lake (in California’s Lake County). We’ll soak in the bucolic, woodsy calm of a townContinue reading “Ride with Me: Exploring California’s Rustic, Woodsy Towns”

Coastal Redwoods, Cathartically Empty Roads, and the Erudite Cat Caller in Santa Cruz, CA

I love all the redwoods. I love the transcendentalist feel. Driving by the beach I saw screaming, sunburned teens plummeting down the Big Dipper Roller Coaster; sea lions being cute and blubbery out on the pier, with no regard for their neighbors’ personal space; people in bikinis playing volleyball in the sand. I wrote thisContinue reading “Coastal Redwoods, Cathartically Empty Roads, and the Erudite Cat Caller in Santa Cruz, CA”

Ride with Me: Endless Vineyards, the Joys of Reading, and Goat Alarm Clocks in Santa Rosa, CA

I’d set out to Santa Rosa–a city that Sonoma Magazine described as “the kind of place where natural bounty serves as a muse for utopian dreams, sleepy residential streets hide ambitious farm-to-table kitchens, abandoned buildings are resurrected as art galleries, and the corner coffeeshop turns nightlife hot spot with craft-beers on tap, all to theContinue reading “Ride with Me: Endless Vineyards, the Joys of Reading, and Goat Alarm Clocks in Santa Rosa, CA”

The Bucolic Life for Me: Exploring California’s Central Valley, Part 1

In general terms, the Central Valley encompasses the land-locked farm towns of California, spanning from Redding down to Visalia. Back when I first started to compile this entry, I wanted to know how the locals felt about living here. Did it suit their needs? Had they lived anywhere else? What made it special? One passengerContinue reading “The Bucolic Life for Me: Exploring California’s Central Valley, Part 1”

Deluged Passengers and Flooded Freeways: Driving Lyft on a Rainy Day

“I like it when it rains hard. It sounds like white noise everywhere, which is like silence but not empty.” – Mark Haddon Picking people up in the rain can feel dramatic sometimes, like taking part in a scene from a rom-com. Often passengers run to the car– hoods on, umbrellas overhead. Once inside theyContinue reading “Deluged Passengers and Flooded Freeways: Driving Lyft on a Rainy Day”

Ride with Me: California Desert Towns

The Desert Life for Me “You’re going where?” friends ask me when they find out where I’m headed. “Mojave,” I reply.  “Like the Mojave Desert?” “The town of Mojave,” I clarify. “It’s not too far from the desert though.” Some people respond with “Oh–cool;” others with, “Oh– why?” My answer: I’m headed to this townContinue reading “Ride with Me: California Desert Towns”

Ride with Me: Logger Vibes, a Curious Cat, and the Girl who Raved in Eureka and Arcata, CA

Eureka, CA  I’m on my way up to Eureka, a town of 27,000 in northern California’s Humboldt County.  Just outside Garberville off Highway 101 N, a gargantuan tree lays toppled on the side of the road. I stop the car to explore it; a closer look shows me that it has been carved out and convertedContinue reading “Ride with Me: Logger Vibes, a Curious Cat, and the Girl who Raved in Eureka and Arcata, CA”

Ride with Me: California Gold Rush Towns

Towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills, or “the Gold Rush towns,” were among my favorite getaways in the state. Many of them conjure the feeling of having been transported back in time. What they may lack in cultural variety, they more than make up for in their almost complete serenity, opportunities to connect with nature,Continue reading “Ride with Me: California Gold Rush Towns”

The poke bowl couple, Salvadoran beaches, and car crash meet cutes

I’m walking past a small group of cows on a bucolic hike, and my heart rate is elevated. I’m irrationally afraid that one of them will charge me. Luckily, I’m able to calmly remind myself that there have been close to zero reported cases of a feral cow attacking a human (as far as IContinue reading “The poke bowl couple, Salvadoran beaches, and car crash meet cutes”