My Trip to The Gold Mine Areas of Northern California

Salmon Swimming Up Stream

My trip to California was so diverse. I have done everything from Disneyland to marking off seeing salmon swim upstream from my bucketlist. I have worked and played hard and met so many wonderful people. Even though I grew up in California I had never been much past north San Francisco. So it was through new eyes that I went on to Redding below the southern tip of the Cascade Mountain Range. Beautiful.

I was very lucky to have my aunt, Patty, as a tour guide through this gold mining country. We went to French Gulch where we saw all the old mining establishments. My aunt took me to a local bar. This place has been in business since the civil war. The proprietor was so nice and showed us all kinds of stuff including ancient log books with bar tabs dated all the way to the day Lincoln was shot . The bar has been in his wife’s family the entire time and the memorabilia is everywhere and MUCH more extensive than most museums. I took my brother back when he came up a few days later.

We also did the surrounding lakes and trails. It struck me

Redding California

how much it all reminded me of East Tennessee. I wanted to go to Lassen and the hot springs there but didn’t get the chance.

I did get to go with my cousins on a bike ride to the newish Sundial Bridge in Redding. So cool with all kinds of trails around the river. We rode and rode. Stopped to sight see a Bald Eagles nest, watch fly fishermen, and just walk a bit. I took my brother here too when he came over.

Whiskey Town and Bandy Creek
Sundial Bridge with Sean

These pictures are all great memories…

Sundial Bridge and Bike Ride with My Cousins

Next a bit on time with family after a very long time…..

Montana de Oro State Park, Osos, California

There was a guest from Quebec, an 18 year old who just graduated from high school and is traveling the entire west coast on his own (so right away he was a kindred spirit), we had gone on a Taco Tuesday taco run and were talking about what sites we enjoyed.

Once we came back to the Hostel with all our goodies a bunch of us were talking about a man I had met a man who found a bunch of raw jade in Montana de Oro that had come down from Big Sur.

So Nicolas (my new-found friend) said, “Well, when does it get dark?” I responded, “When the sun goes down.” He said, “Fine I’ll go look outside.” I shrugged and laughed. When he came back in a minute later, he said, “Okay there is plenty of time. Go get ready, we are going to Montana de Oro.” I sat for a minute, shocked, and then ran up to get ready. I quickly located overalls, Uggs and a sweatshirt. What a drive! Overhanging California Oak the whole way that suddenly opens up to the ocean. So AMAZING. And not on the every day “tourist” visit. We were there for hours. Well into dark. Moss on everything, smooth rocks with stripes, caves with water rushing in and out again, and drift wood. I was so at peace on one hand and excited on the other. This is a great website to tell about it, but it really has to be EXPERIENCED to get the fullness of it.

I’m going to post some pictures, but be prepared there is no picture we took that does this place justice.

Montana de Oro, California

Monterey, California

Monterey, California in the Summer

Monterey is truly one of the most magical settings in the USA. It is wonderful. I go to sleep and wake up to the sounds of sea gulls and sea lions. The above collage was done from my last visit here at the beginning of Sept. I am now here for about a week to enjoy it once more before heading north.

Last time I visited I enjoyed  the world-renowned Monterey Aquarium, the bar Steinbeck hung out at (and it is still owned and operated by the original 102 year old friend of Steinbeck’s), and the Wharf. I am lucky enough to be able to spend time with the staff and “Friends of” The Monterey Hostel. I have had some of my best experiences in California here in Monterey.

When I was here several weeks ago I had the pleasure of hanging out with a great guy from New Zealand, Gus. We took walks along the coast and lots of pictures.

I will add to this post with the pictures I take. This trip I am going to visit Big Sur, Carmel and hopefully Pebble Beach.

For now I am going to go and explore…

A Training Zoo and So Much Other Fun Too…


The train ride to Moorpark was so comfortable. I think I have said in other posts that I am really enjoying the train system in Southern California. I just wish it went to a few other outlining areas. There was a very small Marta system in place when I first left California and it has grown by leaps and bounds so I am sure there will be more and more routes added. It would be great if more native Californians would use the system to encourage the growth.

Anyway, when I arrived at the station I was told to look for a short Asian lady with a hat on and a 2 year attached to her hip. We spotted each other with no problem. Connie the hat wearer!

I have been missing my Marley a lot recently and was so excited to get a bit of a kid fix. Eve is awesome. And I would venture to say she thinks the same of me. We had a time doing everything from playing with their chickens in the backyard to the training zoo to church and bbqs. And then we had art/craft hour and I taught Connie how to make yoga mat bags. She made such a pretty one. I made Eve a purse too. I let her pick out the material and went to making it.

Eve's new purse and key chain...
Connie and her just made yoga mat carrier

The right one is the yoga bag we made for Ryan, Connie’s husband. We were busy bees that last nite.

I gotta say I fell hard for their 2 year old daughter, Eve.. She was with me from the second they picked me up from the train till they finally dropped me off 5 days later at my next couch surfing host’s. Here are a few of our pictures together…

We planted basil. We read books. We went to church together to watch her daddy play guitar on stage. We took walks. We played with her chickens: Pete, Pig, Bok Bok Choy…

My friend Eve...
Pig, Pete and Bok Bok Choy

After church, but before the bbq we went to the Moorpark Training Zoo. The only time I have been to Moorpark, California was 12 years ago when my ex-husband, Travis, had applied for the Moorpark Zoology Training Program. He ultimately didn’t get in but we were able to tour the zoo. So 12 yrs minus 1 day I was back again. This time only as a zoo visitor. It was a lot of fun.

We saw a show and my favorite part was the beaver. I am so excited about working with beavers in Poland and I was engrossed with the show.

I was upset a bit about how small and cage-like their living areas are. But I was told that these animals are not able to be kept at a zoo. They have  to have constant one on one care. It was fun to go and to see all the work the students do.

Moorpark Zoo Training Center

After all the fun with the family and breakfasts with friends and a BBQ, Connie and I went out for a couple of drinks on Saturday nite. We went to the downtown local pub called Jekyll n Hyde’s.

It closed at midnight which was a bit strange, but we had a lot of fun. Got to talk a lot and just get to know one another a bit. It was an eclectic place and we think we saw a woman only wearing her nightgown. But the beer was cold and the music nice….

Jekyll n Hyde's downtown Moorpark, California...not really a mecca of night life. O and that is a picture of me with a can of SPAM coverd Macadamian Nuts. SO GROSS!

The night of our Nite Out I was getting ready and I heard everyone in the hallway talking about getting an umbrella. I came out to see what was going on to find out that a VERY UNCOMMON July rain was happening. It lasted 5 minutes, but I was able to catch all the excitement with my camera…

Five minute July rain in Moorpark, California

Oh and before we left Moorpark I had to hit my new all time favorite fast stop eatery…..Sonic Taco!

before the big event
The great guys at Moorpark Sonic Taco...

Then it was time to move on…. Santa Barbara  was the next stop…

I was very lucky that Connie offered to drive me to Santa Barbara. Especiallty cause that gave me a bit more time with Eve and to enjoy talking with Connie. She made lunch and snacks for all three of us and we set off. After driving for a half hour or so we stopped in Ventura. I love it there. We went to several consignment shops and then on to the beach to eat our lunch… place

After lunch we went on to Santa Barbara. It was only about 20 miles more and it was a beautiful drive. Once there we stopped by my new host’s home to drop off my luggage and then headed on to the beach. It was very cool, because my new hosts make specialty tea and Connie and her mom make specialty Kimchi so they were able to barter their foods. I love this couch surfing stuff.

Once we dropped off my stuff we headed to the beach at Santa Barbara. We relaxed and played.  Eve was so excited. Fun to be had by each of us.

Santa Barbara beach with Connie and Eve

It was very bittersweet to say goodbye to Eve and Connie. I will miss them a lot. This is a great and fun family that I think in a different setting I would always be friends with.

To end this post I am going to put one of my all time favorite pictures of Eve. It is with my luggage as we were getting ready for the trip north. She looks so taken aback when I came to take a picture of her by my stuff at the car. She is still in her pjs and looks so guilty. She isn’t guilty of anything but caring about me. She has gone into their cabinets and got out some V8 juice < which I like a lot> and goldfish and was unzipping my luggage to put them in as a gift. It made me feel soooooooooooo great!!

Eve "sneaking" V8 and Goldfish into my luggage....I love her!

Next stop… Santa Barbara

Reconnecting with Family…

Visit with my family…

Aunt Babe just would not smile for the picture LMAO!

I am finally leaving southern California. I have been here since May 1st. I came to So Cal first to be able to spend time with my brother. We didn’t get to spend as much time as I was hoping cause he had a medical scare, but we did get to hang out a bit.

I have visited friends and family and places of my youth, but I am now ready to start the next phase of my journey. We of southern California have a bit of an ego. My ex husband was unable to comprehend how we, native southern Californians, say that there is So Cal then Los Angeles. Then Northern California. As if there is no central California. Well is there?

I’ve always been taught anything above San Fransisco is really Oregon anyway. So that would make LA central California. Well I have found out over the years this might be a SLIGHT exaggeration. So, I am going to be in what is truly Central California for the next several weeks.It is, and there is NO disputing this, some of the prettiest areas of California.

I got to Moorpark last Thursday. It is about an hour North of LA and about 30 miles from Ventura and the beaches. I wanted to reconnect with my Great Aunt Babe. I simply adore her. She is my grandmother’s sister. My grandmother had other favorites of us grandchildren, but my Aunt Babe always made me feel like the most precious person in the world. I love her with all my heart and have hoped through the years that I got one more chance to hug her and tell her how much she means to me and my life. Thankfully I got that chance.

My cousin, Lisa and her beautiful girls, picked Aunt Babe up in Camarillo and then came to get me at the home I where I was couch surfing in Moorpark. I truly felt no time had really past. We went to eat locally and were all comfortable and talking over one another right away. I loved reminiscing with Lisa about what bratty kids we were, our mothers were sisters and both are deceased, and how we have been paid back by our kids. SMILES…

I’m so happy that we got the chance to connect. I have my cousins on my FB, the great connector, and we will continue our relationship, but it was especially wonderful to have the opportunity to love on my Aunt Babe at least one more time in her life.

Casey and Madi my cousins
Aunt Babe and Cousin Lisa

Next post…my fun in Moorpark…