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Northern California

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Highways, Byways and Staring Up At Giants

Avenue of the Giants // Northern California

I've been taking the solo trip from the Sacramento Valley to visit my family in Crescent City, California for nearly 15 years. Many times, the journey looked a lot like cruise control, I-5 (to 199 to 197 to get back to the northern-most portion of California) and The White Stripes turned all the way up:

"Something better than nothing
Something better than nothing, it's giving up
We all need to do something
Try to keep the truth from showing up"

Avenue of t  he Giants // Northern California
Avenue of t  he Giants // Northern California

Other times, it looked like jetting up I-5 to Highway 20 through the quirky towns spotting the edges of Clear Lake. Eventually, I would hit Highway 101 just north of Ukiah and I would cruise quickly along the winding highway, barely pausing to appreciate the surrounding beauty. Fiona Apple's vibrato reminding me of earlier (and moodier) days:

"And all my armour
Falling down
In a pile at my feet
And my winter giving
Way to warm
As I'm singing him to sleep"

Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway // Northern California
Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway   // Northern California

Lately, however, I've been taking things a little slower. I've been stopping at towns I used to pass by on my way to the destination, getting lost in an area I used to call home and taking back roads and scenic routes that require a bit more time and a greater sense of wonder. I've been turning down the music and rolling down the windows. I've been pulling onto the shoulder turn-outs and staring up at giants.

Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway   // Northern California

On my most recent trip up north (a quick stop-over on my Seattle/Portland CYOP Road Trip), I decided to add a little extra time to my already long trip to take some scenic routes. If you're ever in the area, please do yourself a favor and take the exits for the Avenue of The Giants and the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. It will take you longer to get wherever it is that you're heading, but go slow anyway.

Stop and get out of your car. 

Worry less about the destination.

And keep heading north.

There's more to California (and to the journey) than you might think.



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A Big CYOP Road Trip Thank You

The internet can be a strange place, you know? Yet every time I turn around, I'm rediscovering its awesomeness. For example, when I had a few interview spots to fill in Seattle, you all gave me some amazing suggestions! And holy smokes, did you ever come through with LA and Pacific Northwest food/drink/shop recommendations when I asked.

Though I'll probably be on the road back to California by the time you read this, I'm actually writing from an adorable VRBO studio in Portland (for which I also have the internet to thank) and I'm simply feeling grateful. I'm grateful for those who have offered to let me stay in their homes as I travel. I'm grateful for those of you who have reached out on social media and via email to offer up suggestions and tips. I'm grateful to have all of you listening and supporting the show in such a big way.

I know I haven't been able to respond to all of your emails and suggestions in a timely manner while I'm on the road, but I need you all to know how much your support really means to me. 

So, thank you. Thank you.


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Photo Essay: Fall Camp Vibes

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Photo Essay: Fall Camp Vibes

We took the opportunity to get in one last coastal camping trip this past weekend and we're so glad we did. The weather at Ocean Cove was spectacular, the ab diving was fruitful and the time spent with friends and family was much-appreciated.

While I didn't get a ton of book writing done, I did have a little time to brainstorm and weigh some important options (more on that tomorrow). In between all of that fun stuff and a little relaxation, I also had a chance to take a few photos.

Bottom line: I think fall camping might be my new favorite.

Fall Camp Vibes
Fall camp vibes
Fall camp vibes
Fall camp vibes
Fall camp vibes
Fall camp vibes
Fall camp vibes
Fall camp vibes
Fall camp vibes
Fall camp vibes
Fall camp vibes
Fall camp vibes
Fall camp vibes
Fall camp vibes

The fog did roll in on our last night in camp, leaving everything covered in a fine layer of mist the next day. It makes for a dreamy morning, but packing up to head out was a bit damp. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have caught this quick snap from the drive home.

That Mother Nature sure is something—don't you think?

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p.s. More from last year's visit to Ocean Cove and why we love using it as a place to unplug.

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Off The Grid: Unplugged on Highway 1

Unplugged at Ocean Cove // Highway 1 // Northern California

It's rare we find a place without some connection to outside world. Wherever we go, it seems as though there's always an opportunity to ping off some tower or tap into someone's wifi. Photos, texts, posts, likes, shares, emails—they're all rushing at us a million miles a minute and it's so easy to contribute to the noise. 

I do it all the time.

Recently, I was telling a few friends about this glorious place called Ocean Cove where smart phones go dumb and wifi is a dirty word. 

"It's amazing," I said. "It's so peaceful there because we're not constantly connected."

"You know," one replied with a condescending smirk. "You can always just turn off your phone."

To that, I laughed and said, "Yeah, I don't ever do that."

Unplugged at Ocean Cove // Highway 1 // Northern California

In my defense, I do leave my phone tucked away much of the time when we're adventuring or spending time with loved ones, but maybe I should turn off my phone and shut the laptop more regularly (like Tiffany Shlain). Maybe I shouldn't be scrolling through feeds or sharing things that inspire me quite as much as I do and seek that peaceful feeling instead. I don't really take it all that seriously—the sharing and connectedness—but I do know that the constant flow of information can become tiresome.

We're getting another chance to unplug along Highway 1 this fall and I hope (with my whole heart) Ocean Cove remains a place where we can detach from technology, but I'm considering unplugging more often—no matter where we are. 

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So, tell me: Have you considered a tech break once a week? Do you have no-tech zones in your home? I'd love to know what you all do to unplug from time to time.


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Fall Camping at Ocean Cove

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Let me just note that I am definitely not the authority on camping. While I love chatting with friends around the campfire and waking up to incredible views while still snuggled in my sleeping bag, we just don't get to go camping that often. 

Earlier this month, however, we had a chance to change that.

Enter: Ocean Cove

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Ocean Cove is located along Highway 1 in Sonoma County and is a great place to spend a few fall days days relaxing, eating, abalone diving (if you're into that sort of thing) drinking and laughing -- all while overlooking some of the most beautiful stretches of the California coastline.

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Early fall camping at Ocean Cove is a winner, in my book. I highly recommend checking it out if you have coastal camping plans in your future. 

For more information on the campground click here. To learn more about abalone diving along the Sonoma Coast click here

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What about you? Anyone have a favorite camping spot to share?


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