redefining wanderlust

a life blog by Bekka

Posts for ADVENTURES Category

Mystic and Wild Mushrooms of the PNW

I find mushrooms to be so magical! I remember being fascinated by their sudden appearance in our front lawn and learning about the unique bio-makeup of fungus in school. One of my earlier memories was my dad making sure I knew NOT to eat wild mushrooms on our front lawn and only mushrooms from grocery stores. I love the various formations mushrooms grow in, and I think their spectrum of toxicity is so mystical. Mushrooms are so witchy wonderful and when we were on our Pacific Northwest road trip I had the opportunity to see so many unique mushrooms growing in the wild. I don’t know the names of any of the mushrooms I found, and Bowerbird did try to identify a few although I wouldn’t dare try to eat any without proper mushroom education. If I ever moved to the PNW or Northern California where wild mushrooms flourish, I think I’d become a mushroom hunter, spending my weekends hiking around to see what new fungi I could discover.

The following photos were taken while on a hike up Mt. Ellinor in Washington and a trail in the Redwoods National Forrest.

wild mushroom in the sun

Redwoods Wild Mushrooms

hidden wild mushrooms

Wild Mushrooms Redwoods

nibble mushrooms

redwood mushrooms

redwoods wild mushrooms fungus

flying saucer mushroom

 

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The Unique Characters of the LA Marathon 2016

Being a “Yes!” person can become exhausting, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. One of the things I said yes to last month was volunteering with Students Run LA at the LA Marathon. I was a shutterbug for their team and snapped a lot of great photos of the kids running the marathon. Students Run LA is non-profit organization that helps to train Middle School and High School kids to run the LA Marathon and instill a great sense of accomplishment in them at a really young age. I was seriously impressed by those kids. I wonder what I’d be like now if I had participated in an after-school program like Students Run LA.

LA Marathon 2016 (5)

When I was a teenager I acted out of fear and tended to say “no” to a lot of things. Sadly, missing out on awesome opportunites because I felt I already knew what it would be like. Thankfully as an adult and now being a “yes” person, I know that when you say “yes” you invite so much more greatness into your life. While at the marathon I ended up running into a grade school friend of mine, I felt the buzzing energy of the runners all around me, I learned that runners use trash bags to stay warm, and The Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica is a great staycation destination.

Also, since I did have my camera in hand, I couldn’t help but take photos of the unique charaters of the LA Marathon. This was the first marathon I’ve ever witnessed but it was in Los Angeles, so although not surprised that people were in costume, I was still wildly ammused by them. Unique characters I can now share with you!

LA Marathon Fairy and Elvis

Jesus La Marathon

Jesus LA Marathon

BArefoot La Marathon

What’s more shocking to you, a barefoot man or Jesus? I say the barefoot man. 

 

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Road Trip Adventure from Nor Cal to Oregon : River Trail & Camping Romance

October 18, 2015 | Day 4 of #OntheRoad1015 ( previous day )

We woke up before the sun and filled our bellies with the slim pickings at our motel’s continental breakfast. On this trip I started putting Cheerios in my Yoplait yogurt to make it more filling and fuel me for our adventure. Plus one can never go wrong with a little extra fiber. The Northern California coastline is like no other, especially in the morning when the low clouds and mist of the waves combine to create an ethereal landscape. The soft pastel colors of the sun rise is accented by a pearlescent lining above the sea foam.

Seeing deer signs are not uncommon while on a road trip, but seeing a deer grazing by the road can be unique. When we came upon an Elk sign we figured it was the same thing, until we noticed dozens of Elk all around us, munching on their breakfast right along the road. My car was rolling along at a snail’s pace as we tried to take pictures and not explode with cuteness overwhelm. Then about 20 miles after the Elk party, we saw a perfect “Back to the Future” DeLorean drive past us. Sadly, I couldn’t snap a picture of the car but talk about an insanely cool morning drive!!

Northern California - Blanket Fort Adventures

Salmon in a Heart - Blanket Fort Adventures

Golden Bear in Nor Cal - Blanket Fort Adventures

Paul and Babe - Blanket Fort Adventures

We arrived to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park around 9:00am and aside from the park ranger cleaning out the bathrooms, we were first on site. I’ve expressed this on the blog before, but I LOVE being the only couple or person at a place. I enjoy the feeling of privacy and it makes the moment extra special. Even just arriving to an event before everyone else, so I can take in the silence, the electric hum before the world starts up. We took the river trail in Stout Memorial Grove and lost ourselves in nature; looking up at the tall trees, finding wild mushrooms, and letting the birds and river be the soundtrack. After walking along the marked river trail and ending up at the side of the road, we turned around and upon inspecting some interesting moss found an unmarked trail that led right out onto the river. Inside the trail the tall trees created a shadowed canopy and walking out onto the river bed was like opening up the blinds to let the sun shine in; white rocks made the sun brighter and the sky appear bluer. We played along the river for a while and if we weren’t pressed for time, I could have seen us lay down a blanket and read beside the rushing water.

As we walked back to the parking lot, the trail started to fill up with other tourists. We really had the Redwoods all to ourselves.

Redwoods Hike - Blanket Fort Adventures

River Trail Hike - Blanket Fort Adventures

It was 11am by the time we returned to the car and our next stop was Grants Pass, Oregon to grab lunch before heading to our campsite in Bend, Oregon – four and half hours away. The rest of our drive was beautiful and fun, filled with singing and naptime. We were starved by the time we reached Grants Pass. Bowerbird had looked up a cute organic restaurant on Yelp called Ma Mosa’s. The coffee was self-serve and we ate a delicious brown rice bowl filled with black beans, blackened salmon, avocado, tomatoes, corn and some other yummy real food. It’s funny because the bowl is totally something we could make at home but of course, would never taste as good.

Once again, we were trying to beat the sun and get to our campsite before dark, so we made very little stops or detours. I had to be the grump and tell Bowerbird we couldn’t make a 2-hour detour to Crater Lake. When you’re used to packing adventure into every hour while on the road, a 2-hour detour doesn’t seem like that much but it makes a huge difference if you’ll be setting up a tent while there is still light outside. The one stop we made was at a little café at the end of the highway, a mountain range in front of us and the merging freeway running North and South. We darted across the empty highway to the Diamond Lake Junction café in order to use the restroom. I have no idea who would go to this restaurant as there wasn’t a city or town close by, it was basically made for travelers. We went inside and I ordered a muffin and coffee to be able to use the restroom. I went first but as Bowerbird was relieving himself, I talked to the owner/cook/waiter about Time Life magazines and almanacs. The owner was a sponge for knowledge and loved knowing about different decades and history. He looked like he could easily be a member of the Sons of Anarchy and that café might moonlight as a clubhouse.

PNW Road Trip - Blanket Fort Adventures

As we reached our Tumalo State Park campsite the sun was starting to set. This was a very posh campsite and not very far from the bustling city of Bend. We were slightly bummed that the campsite wasn’t as removed from civilization as we had hoped, but while I was setting up our air mattress in the tent, Bowerbird went to Trader Joes to get us dinner and find some fire wood.

This was my favorite night of the entire road trip, aside from the day we got engaged. We sat by the fire drinking red wine and eating French bread with brie. Bowerbird and I talked about our future together, our plans, hopes and fears. We had fun adding wood to the fire and shifting where we sat on the bench depending on where the wind was deciding to blow. I put away my phone and computer, I unplugged for the night and was present in that moment. Sleeping on the air mattress bundled under multiple blankets and sleeping bags I fell asleep instantly in Bowerbird’s arms and we let our bio-clock wake us up instead of our phones. It was perfect, pure bliss.

Campfire at Tumalo Park - Blanket Fort Adventures

Romantic Camping Spread - Blanket Fort Adventures

Camping with Bowerbird - Blanket Fort Adventures

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GA: A Half Day in Athens

Athens, GA – October 19, 2014 / DAY 20 of #ontheroad1014

Our road trip had already been steeped in music history, having gone to the Grand Ol Opry in Nashville and Muscle Shoals in Alabama, so it’s to be expected we hit up Athens, GA as well (or at least that’s what Bowerbird felt). The day we visited Athens, we grabbed an awesome breakfast in Atlanta at the Rosebud café. When we picked the restaurant it was unbeknownst to us that the owner, Ron Eyester, was a contestant on Top Chef Season 12.  After our yummy breakfast I dropped off a few of my postcards, that invited people to tweet me while we were on the road, by the door and Ron was one of the awesome people that said hello!

Rosebud Breakfas

From Rosebud we drove over to the Martin Luther King Memorial Center also in Atlanta, it was extremely important to me that we explore the history of the civil rights movement while on our trip. We were going to go to Montgomery, AL before we went to New Orleans but my Atlanta friends told me it was better to experience the Martin Luther King historical sites instead. I’m glad they had suggested the memorial center; I was filled with sadness, joy and humility as I walked through the center seeing relics of segregation and reading Dr. Kings story. Next to the memorial center is Ebenezer Church, the spiritual home to Martin Luther King where he was baptized and was a minister till his passing. Inside the church, they play his speeches and sermons, Bowerbird and I sat for a while in a pew listening to his powerful words until it was time for us to head to Athens.

MLK Memorial Center

Now, I was completely oblivious to the Athens roots many of my favorite musical acts had come from, like the B-52’s, REM, Of Montreal, and Drive by Truckers. But Bowerbird knew about that Athens’ sound and wanted to see the city that gave birth to it. I made my own Athens artists playlist that’s below and there is definitely a common note. Seeing Drive by Truckers or Lucero while in the South was another goal of the trip, but their tour schedule never synched with our road scheduled. To add insult to injury, when we drove into Downtown Athens and found a parking spot, it happened to be right across a music venue advertising Drive by Truckers would be playing October 31.

Georgia Theater Athens GA

Athens is about an hour and a half away from Atlanta. We arrived just around the same time our breakfast was wearing off, 1:00 pm. We didn’t know where we were going, only that we wanted to explore, so we just started walking in a general direction down one of the streets. In our aimless wandering I spotted a sign saying “This Is It”, since at the moment I needed a restroom in my life, I took the sign as a sign that this was the place to go. Eventually, we came across an interesting area on Washington, where Low Yo Yo Record store and Clocked diner are located. First we grabbed a quick snack at Clocked, a colorful retro dinner that looks like it could be the post-party destination for a Love Shack rager. Then it was on to crate digging at Low Yo Yo, Bowerbird found a lot of records he wanted to purchase but because we were on a road trip we were afraid of buying vinyl and then leaving it in the car. The potential damage of goods just left in the car to be warmed up by the sun prevented us from many wine and vinyl purchases.

Clocked Cafe and Diner

Bowerbird and the shop owner geeked out over a few obscure bands. I picked up a silly bookmarker at the worlds tiniest art gallery located in a closet at the back of the store. We bought a few CDs as we didn’t bring any of our own music on the road; a bad idea for one’s data plan. And after about an hour and a half worth of record window shopping, we continued on to wander the streets of downtown Athens.

Low Yo Yo records in Athens, GA

We hopped into a few other vintage and record stores before settling into a pub/coffee shop that was located across from the college. There were a lot of students in there and since I had my backpack on me, I felt like blending in with the locals and busting out my laptop. While on the road I had every intention of blogging on a regular basis, little did I know that isn’t exactly easy when one’s sleeping arrangements doesn’t have wifi or my only downtime is right before bed at midnight (brain dead). So with our bit of downtime, I ordered a hard cider and wrote a blog post, TN:  Johnny Cash & Nashville.

Shopping in Athens GA

We headed back to Atlanta around 6:00pm and had every intention of grabbing dinner in the city, until an accident caused the highway to shut down and our hour and half drive turned into three and half hours. I felt terrible as our ETA kept changing and we had friends waiting for us in Atlanta. We got to our friends place around 10:00pm where they fed us Trader Joes quinoa stir-fry, we watched The Walking Dead, and went to bed.

If you’re visiting Atlanta, I highly suggest taking a day trip to Athens. It has a small town feel but a lot of unique shops and character. If it wasn’t a Sunday, Bowerbird and I might have tried to find a college rager to crash.

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Road Trip Adventure from SF to REDWOODS / Drive Thru Tree & Rainbows!

October 17, 2015 | Pt. 2 of  Day 3 of #ontheroad1015 ( previous post )

When we left San Francisco for the Redwoods it was noon and gloomy. Our goal that day was to get to the Redwoods, to a specific camping spot Bowerbird had picked out, and spend the night in our tent. Unfortunately, time and weather were not on our side. By the end of the day, as the sun was setting, we were still 45 minutes away from the campsite. Slightly defeated, we decided to stop in Arcata and book a hotel. Fun fact, Arcata has a pretty decent Pho restaurant. We filled our bellies with warm bowls of Pho and were asleep in our hotel room by 10:00 pm.  Although Arcata is a sweet little city, its lights were still consumed by the night. Once we realized how dark it can be up north, we were incredibly happy to have booked a hotel room instead of committing to camping. Growing up in the city it’s easy to forget what true darkness looks like; the kind of darkness where a flashlight only illuminates your feet.

Although October 17th was mostly a driving day, we ended up having a lot of fun in the car. We stopped in a little town called Hopland to get lunch, but nothing looked appetizing, so we just enjoyed it’s old creepy architecture and were on our way. During a portion of the drive, we picked up a Mary Jane radio station that played folk songs singing about good ole’ bud and green thumbs. We also drove through a tree! The best part of the day was all the rainbows we saw, because of the sprinkling weather it seemed around every bend was a brilliant rainbow.  We counted eleven rainbows in all and since I’m a numerology nerd, eleven is the doubled meaning of one that symbolizes new beginnings and purity. As we only got engaged a few days before the rainbow phenomena; I’m totally reading into the meaning of eleven.

hopland Old Barn _ Hopsland

The best rainbow photo I took that day was when we pulled over for gas. This rainbow had a complete arch over the mountain tops across from us.

Rainbow Arch Redwood California

This is one of the few times my vlog covers more of the day than my photos or story telling could. A day in the car with me is a mixture of karaoke, dancing, dream casting, and spiritual discussion on the meaning of life. In this vlog you’ll mostly witness dancing.

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Road Trip Adventure in Northern California : Mission to the San Francisco’s Ferry Building

October 17, 2015 | Pt. 1 of  Day 3 of #ontheroad1015 ( previous post )

After an amazing night out with Bowerbird’s pal drinking and eating at Cavalier, I had to wake up early the next morning to do some work. While Bowerbird slept, I got ready for the day and followed up on emails and scheduled content for my clients. After Bowerbird woke up he decided to be a sweetheart and walk over to Blue Bottle coffee down the street and pick us up some good black brew, he left and I continued to work. Twenty minutes later, he returned to the hotel room frustrated as he couldn’t find the coffee shop. We both hate google maps and how it decides to change directions on a whim or decide to say you’ve arrived when you’re still 500 feet away from your destination. So I understood his frustration and pulled out my phone in order to get a better sense of where the coffee shop was on the map. Staring out our hotel window, together we finally figured out where Blue Bottle was located. So he went down for round two of mission “Blue Bottle Coffee”. I continued to work.

Twenty minutes later, Bowerbird returns even more aggravated and stressed. He had waited in the long line at Blue Bottle, only to discover his wallet was missing at the crash register. When he got back to the hotel room, the wallet was fortunately left on the bed and obviously our blue bottle experience was not going well. Bowerbird ate a Luna bar as we both sipped on crappy hotel room coffee, waiting for me to finish working and we could grab a bite at Cowgirl Creamery. One of the most delicious cheese makers EVER!

On the walk to the Ferry Building - San Francisco StorySpam spotted on our walk to Blue Bottle Coffee

Our friend had told us that the Blue Bottle location next to our hotel was the absolute best, so hoping third times the charm, after I was done working we walked to Blue Bottle together. The line was ridiculously long and as time was running out, we decided to give up and just walk to Cowgirl Creamery inside the Ferry Building. It’s important for me to note that there is no parking in San Francisco. It’s not a very street parking friendly city, so we decided to walk everywhere in order to save money. We had decided to leave our car parked at the hotel and just be charged for hotel overnight parking. And since I didn’t want to pay for any additional hours outside of our hotel stay, it was really important we left the parking structure by check-out time (noon).

On the walk to the Ferry Building - San Francisco Story

On the walk to the Ferry Building - San Francisco Story
On the walk to the Ferry Building - San Francisco Story

The Ferry Building was a 25 to 30-minute walk from our hotel. I love the architecture in San Francisco. I feel like the city was built for me! The entire city was interesting and captivating, the wires and cranes. I could wander around that city for days. The Ferry Building was AWESOME!! I have yet to visit Grand Central Market in Downtown LA, but I have a feeling it might be like the Ferry Building. Vendors were pushing large carts filled with fresh produce. I snapped a blurry photo of a man holding two ginormous heads of lettuce up to his ears as he moved through the crowd. There was an entire section devoted to mushrooms. I was completely awe-struck and falling in mad foodie love.

We found Cowgirl Creamery and order a grilled cheese and cheese platter. While I waited for the food, Bowerbird hopped on over to Blue Bottle to stand in line for coffee. At this point, there was no way we were leaving San Francisco, let alone go on in our day, with our proper *caffeination from flipping Blue Bottle. I found him in line and we devoured our warm grilled cheese. I honestly don’t remember what it tasted like, but I’ll assume good. Then I abandoned Bowerbird to explore the Ferry Building more and drop off my fun postcards.  I fell in love with this adorable cake and sweets shop called Miette, where I picked up my nieces and nephew gummy brains and pumpkins for Halloween. By the way, I’m terrible at buying souvenirs and feel I’m failing as an aunt, but more on that later.

Dan and the mushrooms at the Ferry Building

Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Plate

New friend at the Ferry BuildingAfter Bowerbird had our coffees we headed outside to scarf down the rest of our cheese platter, because as I looked at the clock we only had 30 minutes before check out. Oh and our hotel is a 30 minute walk away!! I feel like Bowerbird and I are pro-sightseers, we try to absorb as much of our atmosphere as possible, like dry thirsty sponges that found a puddle in the desert. So we walked back through the Ferry Building making mental notes of our surrounding and snapped a few photos of it from across the street, then we walked as fast as our legs could carry us. We only stopped if the intersection was red, throwing caution to the wind if only the hand was red. Checking my phone periodically to see what our estimated time of arrival was, just as we gained time we lost it because we stopped to take pictures of the architecture. We managed to get to our hotel, out of breath, ten minutes before check out. Running up to our hotel room, I grabbed my client’s products to shoot in the lobby and Bowerbird took our bags down to the car.  We were back on the road by 12:15pm.

On the walk to the Ferry Building - San Francisco Story

On the walk to the Ferry Building - San Francisco Story

Please check out the vlog I made of our adventure to the Ferry Building. I still dream of that hall of wonders.

*caffienation – is not a real word, but it is today!

photoshopped together

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NO MORE VLOGS for #ONTHEROAD1014

When Bowerbird and I headed out for our month long road trip across the country in October of 2014, I had purchased a new camera and was all excited to start vlogging. Vlogging is a form of blogging, but using video. Basically, home movies for the whole internet to view. Unfortunately, after our first week on the road, I thought the camera was broken, although it wasn’t, and only recorded clips on my cell phone. But that’s the thing, they are just clips – there isn’t enough material for me to create actual vlogs/ video diaries of the day. Sadly, I will have to keep the odds and ends of footage just to myself and family. Since I really don’t know how else to share it, if you have any idea’s feel free to comment below.

But like all failures, it opened the door to a great learning experience. Vlogging for the first time, while going on one of the biggest adventures of my life, helped me to build up the courage to vlog more. Over this last year, I’ve filmed and edited 25 vlogs. I’ve become comfortable walking around and talking into a little handheld camera, it might seem strange, but then this is my life and vlogging is fun for me!

I love to share my life, my story, and selfishly (as long as the internet doesn’t crash) in the future I get to look back at all this documentation of my life and just smile! Dementia isn’t an urban legend, especially in my family, so how wonderful would it be to have a collection of stories for my brain to return too. Reference points to jog a lost thought back into place.

Here is the playlist of videos I’ve made thus far covering the October 2014 road trip. Don’t worry though! Lots of blog posts are still coming, I have tons of photos. I’m a total dork, because I only thought the video recording portion of my camera was broken.

 

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Road Trip Adventure in Northern California : All The Signs in San Francisco

October 16, 2015 | Day 2 of #OntheRoad1015 ( previous day )

In Monterey, I woke up early to finish work for a client and write a blog post from the road recapping our engagement story. When Bowerbird woke up we headed down for the complimentary breakfast that was delicious and can be seen in my vlog of the day. We tried to head up to San Francisco as quickly as possible so we’d get a decent amount of exploring time in, but swiftness was not on our side. My over documenting / trying to take pictures of a product for one of my clients was slowing us down.

Once we were on the road, stress levels dropped and we just listened to the radio. San Francisco is only a couple hours from Monterey, so we arrived around 1:00ish. I had never been to SF and had no idea what to expect but I instantly feel in love with the architecture and signs. I took a lot of picture of signs. We had Spoke Art, a gallery that is friends with Thinkspace Gallery, in our GPS and made them our first destination. When I drive into a city I like to just have a destination in mind to make my center point, everything else is relative to “this place”. Usually, that place is our hotel or Airbnb but if I haven’t booked it yet – it could just be any location.

San Francisco Road Trip

When we arrived to Spoke Art I was completely turned around, the rolling streets and tall buildings had me totally disoriented. The gallery was showing new work by Stella Im Hultberg, who I adore! It’s always nice when a good show is going on while you’re in town. Spoke’s gallery assistant gave us a lot of great tips on other shows around the area, but we really wanted to make sure to see city hall. Since we parked in an expensive and awkward garage, we decided to make our next ‘center point’ the hotel and back into the vehicle we went.

We stayed at the historic Pickwick hotel, the room booked through hotel.com aka my favorite app of all time. Coincidentally, the hotel was RIGHT NEXT to the restaurant Bowerbird’s friend had booked dinner reservations, so I knew it was meant to be. SF parking is a little intense, not as bad as Seattle, but we knew this was a city made for walking. Once throwing down are things, we had 3 hours to explore before meeting up for drinks and that meant shoving as much site seeing in as possible.

San Francisco Road Trip

San Francisco Road Trip

First stop was Vacation an awesome store with reasonably priced vintage and a super cool vibe. We chatted with the Shop Girl and her friend (I think one of them was the owner / co-owner) about crazy musicians and for directions to our next destination, City Hall. The interesting thing I noticed about San Francisco or at least the part we were exploring, was this insane dichotomy of social classes. One street would feel totally safe, while the next one over Bowerbird and I would make a note to not walk down again.  We were right in the heart of San Francisco and in retrospect I guess it wasn’t much different than walking around Downtown LA and stumbling onto skid row.

San Francisco Road Trip

City Hall was stunning! I wouldn’t have thought to go there except a friend of mine showed me the beautiful architecture inside. We walked around the hall and observed newlyweds getting their pictures taken. If I were to get a court house wedding, San Francisco City Hall is the one to get hitched in.

By the time we had shopped and visited City Hall we were a thirty-minute walk away from the bar we were to meet up with Bowerbird’s friend. Walking as fast as our legs could carry us, I spotted a Hearst H outside a very opulent looking building and it stopped me dead in my tracks. Another Hearst Building! We went inside very quickly and found out there was a bar underneath it called Local Edition. I was in love. Meeting up with Bowerbird’s pal Mr. M and being introduced to his girlfriend was such a warm way to spend our San Francisco evening. Mr. M was super excited about our engagement and “put it on my tab” was his new tagline. I feel blessed by the generosity of our friends. Anyways, he had told us initially he wanted to take us to Local Edition, but the line there for a drink is ridiculous. That didn’t stop my desire to see this place, so I politely insisted we go.

San Francisco Road Trip

San Francisco Road Trip

Once down inside the bar and below the Hearst Building, I was in awe. Old newspapers were used as décor and vintage typewriters were affixed along the wall. I let Bowerbird and Mr. M stand in line for cocktails as I ogled typewriters and squeezed behind groups of people to get a closer look at the headlines on the wall. I had perma-smile taking it all in and wondering around the bar like a total tourist. By the time they finally got our cocktails we had to suck them down in 15 mins and walk on over to our dinner reservations at The Cavalier. Dinner was amazing and all my pictures from inside the restaurant suck due to the lighting. We ate and drank till we could go on no more.

It’s funny how all my photos of SF from this day are of signs or building. I was on a total typography high.

San Francisco Road Trip

San Francisco Road Trip

San Francisco Road Trip

Please check out my vlog of the day up on YouTube.

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SC : Charleston Pit Stop at Magnolia Gardens

October 17, 2014 | Day 16 of #ontheroad1014

With belly’s aching from the delicious meal we indulged in the night before at Husk, we rolled out of our Charleston hotel bed around 10 am and leisurely headed straight for Atlanta. We were planning on getting to Atlanta by 5:00pm, but as we drove down the freeway, I spotted a sign for Magnolia Gardens. A running joke with Bowerbird is the fact that if he hadn’t come along, my mother and I would end up in a Grey Gardens situation. The fact this historic landmark of Magnolia Gardens had ‘gardens’ in the name, made me chuckle and want to visit this place. So with no previous knowledge of this plantation, we just followed signs leading to the home.

Magnolia Gardens Road Trip

A ticket into the property included access to their petting zoo and a tour of the home. An authentic Southern plantation, whose original building was burned down during the Civil War, was steeped with a fascinating history. The tour guides were very descriptive in explaining the family from their financial history to romantic entanglements. Known for its stunning gardens on the property, the owner John Drayton planted the romantic gardens in order to please his wife. What a romantic! Also, I’m not sure if it was John Drayton’s sisters or daughters, but two women associated with the property were prolific abolitionists.

Magnolia Gardens Road Trip

Although we were visiting the plantation during October, the grounds felt like a forever Spring. Beautiful flowers were in bloom, Spanish moss hung down from strong tall trees, and the property was slow enough that at times it felt like Bowerbird and I were the only ones there. Bowerbird and I spent a lot of time in the petting zoo, playing with deer, petting pigs, and chatting up the onsite zoologist who explained how this petting zoo was a rescue. Many of the animals onsite were wounded at one point and are now unable to go back into the wild. We had planned on Magnolia Gardens only being a quick stop but ended up exploring the grounds and petting zoo till closing time. There was a wedding being set up for the evening and can’t lie, I’m jealous of those that have Magnolia Gardens as a wedding venue option. We left Charleston around 5:00pm, picked up coffee at a local place, and then OFFICIALLY headed out to Atlanta; arriving in the city around 10:00pm. It was really cool too because the local college radio station was playing a band Bowerbird had recently opened for back in LA, Xeno & Oaklander.

Magnolia Gardens Road Trip

I miss the cute animals and the beautiful grounds of Magnolia Gardens, and am so thankful to be introduced to this gem without even looking.

Magnolia Gardens Road Trip

more photos after the jump

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GA : Little 5 Points Halloween Parade

little 5 points parade

October 18, 2014 | Day 17  – #ontheroad1014

One of the fun things about traveling during October is seeing all the different Halloween festivities. Last year, we got to see how Halloween was celebrated across the country from Kentucky to Lousiana. Luckily, when we were in Atlanta we got to experience their annual Little 5 Points Halloween parade. It’s a pretty big deal for that part of town, it seems like everyone dresses up and goes out to see it. A middle school friend of mine, who now lives in Los Angeles, at the time lived in Atlanta and turned us on to the event.

Earlier in the afternoon we had parked our car near an Urban Outfitters to explore the cool hipster shops nearby. We discovered the gnarliest antique shop, it seriously deserves its own post. But anyways, where we were was only a thirty-minute walk to the parade and I knew it would be foolish to try and find parking closer. We weren’t the only ones walking to the parade either,  the streets were filled with people! A mixture of characters in personality and costume, most of the time we were walking behind a “Robin Sparkles“.  When we arrived at the parade’s main street, there was no doubt we were in the right place,  people were sitting on top of buildings and holding themselves up on street signs. Every inch of sidewalk was taken up by a spectator.

Thankfully, we had a local to meet up with because I think I would have been insanely overwhelmed if I was on my own. We met her and her friends up on a hill for a great view of crazy floats. Trucks with trailers were decked out with riders in DIY costumes. My friend even gave me the lowdown on different floats, the small business that were behind it or who it was in memory of. You could really tell this was an event for a fun thriving community. As tomorrow is Halloween I figured this would be the perfect time to share my photos from the parade.

Atlanta Halloween Parade Atlanta Halloween Parade Atlanta Halloween Parade Atlanta Halloween Parade Atlanta Halloween Parade

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