A Sign of the Times, Vacationing in Coachella Valley

We love spending time visiting Coachella Valley in December, visiting friends and family. Only no one was going in 2020. We had to get out, so we packed up the car and headed west for a two week road trip anyway. In our planning for the trip, we knew some of the things we normally do would not be open. However, our favorite thing to do wherever we vacation, is visit National and State parks. This was still an option.

We stopped in West Texas and Arizona for rest and to visit friends, but our ultimate destination was a vacation rental in Indio central to several parks. Shortly after we arrived, California went on a serious lock-down. We even got an emergency alert on our first hike. That night, we had a nice dinner at one of our favorite outdoor dining spots, then stocked up on groceries. We would spend the rest of our time hiking and picnicking during the day, then cooking meals hunkered down at “home” each night.

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Variations of Violet

In response to Sunday Stills Monthly Color Challenge Views in Violet, I’m scrolling through my photo log recalling experiences where our photography brought variations of the color violet.

The following photos are from Orkas Island, Washington….an absolute dream land. We love the Pacific Northwest and are missing it so much. Here are lavender plants near a harbor restaurant and my favorite pottery place, Orkas Island Pottery (now reopened!)

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Sunday Stills: Passing Time in the Rain

We’ve been contemplating a move to Washington State for the last year and a half. In January 2020, we took a vacation/house hunting trip to North Kitsap County to see if we could tolerate the wet winter. We expected it to rain, and it did….every day for 10 days. We challenged ourselves to find things to do and to not get in a funk (mainly me) over the weather. We figured if we could have fun and stay busy, we might survive a move there. In addition to house hunting, we went to parks, trails, beaches, museums, restaurants and even grocery stores in every town where we looked at houses. Here are a few photos of how we passed the time in the rain.

Kingston, where I have family, is where we started with a short hike at North Kitsap Heritage Park and a long visit in a local museum of nostalgia. There is so much to see at “My Girl Drive In Museum,” which is good because the rain never let up that day.

A light hike in North Kitsap Heritage Park, Kingston, WA
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Rosy Red Travel Memories

Some times we just need a little inspiration from an unexpected source. Thanks to Terri at Second Wind Leisure for the much needed writing prompt. Pandemic + Texas Winter Storm = Pioneer Life…..and serious cabin fever. Now that the power is back, I decided to write a little more about travel, using Terri’s “Rosy Red” theme to help me select a few photographs that I’ve not used in previous blog pieces. Here are a few of my favorites.

While my husband and I were still dating, he spent two years on a project in France. I was still working full time and very involved with aging parents, but I did get to take two glorious trips over there:

Doors of Cathedral Saint Pierre de Montpellier, France
Roses in a vineyard on a hike in the Rhone Valley
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Remembering The White Wave

Over lunch my husband and I were discussing our trip to the grocery store. We couldn’t believe the price of pork tenderloin had doubled since last week, or how many people weren’t wearing masks. “Remember when we used to talk about our vacation plans?” he asked. YES!

The Ombak Putih, aka White Wave, awaits us.

How I long for those discussions and experiences. in addition to talking about what’s for dinner and how long it will be before we get vaccinated. I’m amazed at how focused he can be on on the latter. Cheers to him, for that is the single greatest step back into the world of travel. We don’t just miss traveling, we miss planning it! Suzanne@Picture Retirement covered this phenomenon beautifully in the opening of her blog “Then and Now.” I thank my husband for reminding me to finish blogging about our last international trip – a month long trip that took a year to plan and book. Some of the planning challenges were logistics, shopping and packing for multiple climates and activities, getting vaccinated for tropical climates and achieving fitness goals. I even hired a personal trainer to make sure I was feeling my best while traveling to the other side of the world.

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Bad Ass Beaches

A year ago today, we touched down in Perth, Western Australia for the beginning of our last international adventure (for a while.) As we were planning the trip, I imagined the site seeing and wine tasting we would do in the Margaret River Region, but did not make a connection between the wine region and its proximity to beaches. We were able to do and see so much each day.

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Moving Forward

Plans to move to the Pacific Northwest squashed. Travel and socialization on hold. Definitely haven’t felt like writing. Taking a tip from a fellow blogger, I started looking at photos from last year’s travels. Celebrating 60 and finally embracing my status as a retiree, I was excited about the international travel we booked. But I stopped writing half way through the year. Moving forward, it’s time to write again. I took a writing workshop this week called “Mining Memories” through Thurber House to give myself a “jump” start!

A mob of kangaroos crossing the road in Western Australia.
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