Birds and Blooms and Winding Roads

April 20, 2018

At least once a year, Catching Happiness turns briefly into a travel blog. Travel makes me happy and I always return refreshed and inspired, though also, in some cases, tired.

For the past three years, I’ve been meeting my teacher friend Kerri during her spring break. We’ve meandered in Florida and the Southwest, and this year was supposed to be my turn to visit her in Seattle. However, my dad has been recovering from a serious bout of flu and bronchitis that put him in the ICU, so I decided that if I went west, I needed to see him. We adjusted our plans so that I could have a quick visit with both my parents before we set out on the road.

Even though I was born and raised in California, with one exception, I don’t recall visiting the areas we traveled through. And certainly not during springtime since previous trips took place mostly during summer breaks or other school and work holidays. All I can say Is, wow, California, you look good in spring.

I couldn’t get enough of the rocky coastline, pounding surf, birds, wildflowers, mysterious winding roads, giant redwoods…but I get ahead of myself. I won’t bore (or torture) you with the entire road trip, but I’ll share highlights of our explorations.

After we left my mom’s, we started our road trip in Redding with a stop at one of my favorite places, the Sundial Bridge and McConnell Botanical Gardens.

One small section of the mosaic fountain area

After that, we drove to Eureka, stopping to take photos at every opportunity. Kerri’s a serious photographer, so while she searched for the perfect shot or set up her tripod, I snapped my own photos or soaked up the difference in climate and geography. Eastern redbuds bloomed all over, a pretty splash of pink in the landscape.

We asked the man at the front desk of the hotel where to watch the sunset, and he said Patrick’s Point:

Good choice.

Sunset at Patrick's Point
Next morning, we had planned to hike to the Punta Gorda Lighthouse, but after a two-hour drive on steep, twisty, and extremely potholed roads, we opted not to take our small rental car through the running water crossing the road.

On the return drive, we dawdled even more than usual, photographing the fog, the flowers, the rolling hillsides, the zebras (why?), and anything else that captured our fancy. We explored tide pools on the beach, collected a pocketful of shells and rocks, photographed a friendly-looking seal. Good thing we missed our hike, because part of the sole of one of my hiking boots came off while we were on the beach.


Hello, there

An interesting road sign:

Say what, now?!
I’m still sorting through the more-than-700 photos I took, as well as sorting through the experiences, interesting facts, and memories we made. Next week, we’ll visit the Avenue of the Giants, the Medocino Coast Botanical Gardens and more. I hope you’ll come back to explore with me!

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  1. Sounds like a nice trip. I will certainly be back next week! I remember seeing zebras at the Hearst castle a few years ago. Weird.

    1. Glad you'll be back! I know, weird. Kerri did some research, and found that the zebras live on a private farm and were adopted from an exotic animal farm. Sadly, there used to be three, but someone shot one of them!

  2. Dear Kathy - beautiful pictures and sounds like such a delightful time. Enjoy it friend. Hugs!