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Posts tagged ‘Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park’

Traveling “That Ribbon of Highway”

Traveling “That Ribbon of Highway” (Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge:  This Land Is My Land, 2 Verses)

Coral Reef National Park 259I have always liked Woody Guthrie’s ballad “This Land Is Your Land” that he wrote in 1940.  I was aware of the song from the 1960s when Peter, Paul & Mary sang it.  It moved me in great part because of the intimacy of the lyrics.  The beauty of this great country is truly yours, mine, ours, there for all to appreciate.  Even as a kid, I was aware that not everyone took the time to admire all the beauty around us. But it is always there.

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Coral Reef National Park 288As an adult, I travel by car as often as possible because it allows me a closer connection to the myriad of landscapes across the country.  I like the sense of freedom and solitude such drives give me.  Since the roads—paved or not—stretch from coast to coast across all terrains, I can visit most anywhere.  I prefer country roads over city streets, because there I am more apt to see nature, get the feel for the open road, and glimpse the vast panoramas of land and sky.

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Here—with a little creative editing—is my favorite verse from the Guthrie’s song.

“As I was [traveling] that ribbon of highway

I saw above me the endless skyway. . . .

While all around me a voice was sounding

This land was made for you and me.”

The photos are from some of my recent travels, demonstrating the freedom, beauty and diversity of American highways.  I live in California and am often drawn to the Southwest for some adventures as well.  What are your favorite places to be out on the open road, on “that ribbon of highway”?

CALIFORNIA HIGHWAYS

Yosemite National Park

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Sequoia National Park

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Kings Canyon National Park

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Eastern Sierra

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Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

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See Canyon, Near Avila Beach

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Big Sur Hills & Coastline

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SOME MIDWESTERN HIGHWAYS

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MO & KS drive to Dodge City 004

Drive to KC in rain 004

BOSQUE DE APACHE, NEW MEXICO, HIGHWAYS

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SAUGARO NATIONAL PARK, ARIZONA, HIGHWAYS

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COLORADO HIGHWAYS

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CO national mon 2 & River Park 062

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CO national mon 2 & River Park 127

Pam Day 2 & Garden of the Gods 048

UTAH HIGHWAYS

Coral Reef National Park

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Canyonlands National Park, Needles

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Canyonlands Needles & I 70 216

Canyonlands Needles & I 70 217

Canyonlands Needles & I 70 293

Zion & Kolob Canyons National Park

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A LITTLE SIDE NOTE

As an adult, while I truly love the great beauty and diversity of this land of ours, I am equally aware of our country’s problems.  Guthrie was aware of the discrepancies in society as well, motivating a satirical if not cynical view to “This Land Is Your Land.”  He wrote the famed lyrics, in part, as a political protest.  Bruce Springsteen performed the song live in the 1980s, acknowledging the harsh realities evident in society that some say question the validity of the lyrics.  But through all the problems, the beauty and potential of America still shine through.  As Springsteen says in his opening comments, it’s “about one of the most beautiful songs ever written about America.” 

Getting Ready for the Holidays: A Little Nature Trip

Mom and Dad yellow flowersThis holiday season has been a bit more challenging than past years.  It is the first year after both Mom and Dad have died.  Their absence is felt more this year than ever.  Last year, I was able to focus on Dad:  decorate his room, visit him over the holidays, and even arrange a small family get-together.  Those activities plus my usual minimal decorating plans at home and festivities with friends kept me busy enough to not dwell on missing Mom.

But this year was different.  Dad was gone too, so I could not keep myself busy around him.  I was down and not really looking forward to Christmas.  Even though it is my favorite holiday.  I knew I needed to do something to help me embrace the sorrow, reflect on memories, and find a way to adjust to what Christmas will be now.  For me, those needs said I better take a nature trip somewhere, anywhere!  Nature always helps me reconnect with life, love, spirituality.

It was early December and even though a small rain storm was expected, I decided I would head to the coast.  I figured a drive down the Big Sur Coastline with some stops at the beach and in a coastal redwood state park or two would help me get ready for the holidays.  I was right.

Dad with camera big surMOM AND LILACSThis specific trip was a drive Dad and I had enjoyed together in the past, so it was like he was with me.  Mom too, actually, since she came along on the Nature trips sometimes and would have loved the fall colors and occasional flowers and birds I saw along the way.  I brought memories of our good times together home with me from that trip.  Mom and Dad—before they moved into the assisted care facility—would come visit me in Bakersfield in early December every year.  The rain was even part of the good memories, as Mom and Dad often got stuck in rain on the drive up or back home.  But we never let the rain stop us.

Once I got home, I started slowly pulling out not just Mom’s treasured Christmas decorations that I could no long use to decorate her room, but also more of my holiday treasures from past years.  Each new box I explored raised more good memories surrounding ornaments and decorations and tangled lights and being tired after fussing with pulling out the boxes.

The trip did its job.  Getting Christmas back, even with the sad bittersweet memories of Mom and Dad, started with my Nature Trip.  Here are the photos from that trip as my little gift to you.  If you need a break from the hustle and bustle, the hectic craziness of the season, take a minute to stroll through nature and remember the good times.  Merry Christmas!

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My trip started in the rain, as I cut over to the coast from Bakersfield, California.  There were even some flowers for Mom.

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IMG_4036My first official stop on this little impromptu trip was to drive up See Canyon Road.  This isolated mostly paved road is roughly 13 miles that climb from the very bottom of the canyon all the way to the tip top.  It is situated between San Luis Obispo and Avila Beach.  This destination was not as desolate and lonely as it had been years ago, but it still gave a feeling of being alone in nature and being on top of the world, gazing out to Morro Bay Rock maybe 20 miles distant.  Fall’s muted colors were still lingering even on this mostly gray day.

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A stop at Avila Beach was restful.  The dense cloud cover meant there would be no wondrous sunset, but the lapping waves and wading birds always put on a good show.

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IMG_4123The next day I headed for my favorite stretch of the California Highway System:  Highway 1, traveling south from Monterey to enjoy the Big Sur Coastline.  There was a bit of rain, lots clouds, and occasional wind gusts, so a good sunset was not expected.  But the coastal drive was still mesmerizing.

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IMG_4229A short drive through Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park offered time for quiet reflection and some good views of coastal redwoods and the Pfeiffer Creek.

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IMG_4308Back on the road again, continuing south on Highway 1, I headed from one coastal redwood state park to the next.  The sun kept trying to blaze its way through the rain and cloud cover.  It was not a typical sunset, but the spotlight effect was pretty dramatic.

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IMG_4351Limekiln State Park was my last stop of the day, for a very short visit.  It was late in the day and rain was threatening again.  And this is a very little state park.  Technically, it is no longer part of the state park system due to budget cuts.  But the solitude, the beauty, and muted colors of the redwoods and some fall foliage were still priceless.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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