Walkabout Wednesday – The Road Traveled

Speaking of road trips, we were speaking of road trips weren’t we? We didn’t make one this year. We had plans to take a road trip to Paradise and tiny hamlet on Lake Michigan with BIL and his family, no RV, just car and motels. Shortly before our scheduled departure date, Superhubs’ diabetes went brittle, again. Our destination resort is some distance from medical care and I was uneasy about the trip so we ended up canceling reservations and deciding on a “staycation” instead. Then, lo and behold, the day before our intended departure date, Hubs tested positive for COVID and 3 days later your truly followed suit. So, no road trips or even staycations this year. I thought perhaps we’d take a short trip down the old memory lane to last fall.

Halloween moon over South Dakota

Barren Optimus Lite

We left South Dakota and our beloved Optimus Lite (our 5th wheel) along with 15 years of life on the road as full-time RVers behind with a grateful prayer and a thankful heart on October 31, 2021.

Cactus bread

Our first stop was Sturgis, SD where we (OK I) indulged in a final taste of that South Dakota delicacy known as “cactus bread.” The next morning Superhubs had his annual cerebral MRI and we headed out.

Ceramic brick wall quilt squares

In all honesty, about the only stops we made or pictures we took were at roadside rests and restaurants. We made the entire 1325 mile trip in 3 days (which is a LOT of driving for a couple of spoonies). Above a quick stop at a rest area in “quilt country” I’m sorry I’ve forgotten what state it was in. There were quilts and quilt art everywhere including this tile display on the exterior walls which I found fabulous enough to warrant a quick pic.

A reminder of my long lost Fall

Ahhhh FALL!

Along the way I was graphically reminded what I have missed so much the past 15 years – FALL! I am such a fall kind of person and it’s such an incredibly short season in most of the states we’ve lived in over the past decade and a half. WOW, I so totally needed that.

Kentucky, the bourbon state?

Finally, we entered the Bourbon State. I always thought Kentucky was the Bluegrass State but apparently, they’ve kind of changed their marketing focus. *insert rolling eyes*

First roadside rest in Kentucky

It is, thankfully, still known as the “Front Porch of the South” and possibly the “horse statue and reference” capital of something I’m sure.

A new view

Finally, after many long months of waiting and working, the plans all finally came together and we watched our first sunset on our new porch.

This week’s walkabout inspired by:

Sunday Stills – Road Trippin – do pop over for some great virtual sightseeing
Marsha’s PPAC #56 where things are going full circle

Til next time ~ Keep you feet on the ground, but keep reaching for the stars ~JP

Walkabout Wednesday – More art, travels and coffee

Today I’m taking us back to River Rock Roasters in Laverkin, Utah. We saw examples of tabletop art last week, and today we’ll take another look.

Big Whirlygigs

Heading into the building, we are greeted by some fun whirlygig wind sculptures. Fascinating to watch and really appropriate for an area where the wind blows every day. The adjacent town, just about a mile south is named “Hurricane” for good reason.

Acrylic resin pour art

The place is half coffee shop, half art gallery for local artists. Nearly everything on the walls is “for sale.” Here two epoxy pour paintings. They reflect light very well (see the ceiling light in the “blue marble”) and have intricate designs and depth.

Enough solitude

And, of course a quote from Royden Card a favorite local artist

Moon in daytime over the Virgin River

Heading out, we must stop and admire the view. I always make it a point to admire a daytime moon and in the crystal clear skies of southern Utah it’s so worth it.

View from I-15

And so, we head on out, leaving the River Rock Roasting Company behind as we resume our travel.

Virgin River Gorge wall

Passing through the Virgin River Gorge the walls of the gorge are massive and steep, prime public land for rock climbers. Captured this little slice of gorge wall looking out of the car window as we went by at 60 mph. 😉

Linking up to Marsha’s PPAC # 55 do pop over and enjoy a bit of horsing around. 🙂

Til next time

~May your Mondays be short and your weekends be long
May your memories be sweet, and your coffee be strong ~JP

Walkabout Wednesday, PPAC and coping with COVID

As you may have deduced from the title, Castle Serenity has been invaded by the dreaded COVID-19. Superhubs and I both tested positive and are sick as the proverbial dogs. Although we are both fully vaccinated and boosted, my pulmonologist is standing by with prescriptions for Paxlovid and, of course, prednisone. *insert raspberry pllllttttt* So our walkabout this week is a quick tour of some chalkboard art found in the Starbucks in Casper Wyoming, which was about all of the town we got to see on our way back to South Dakota due to last summer’s encounter with the Delta variant.

Coffee and inspiration, always a winning combination

I love these quotes and the creative decorative drawings on the chalkboard.

Inspired by Marsha’s PPAC # 53

Til next time ~Stay safe, stay sanitized and choose wisely ~JP

A World of Beaches – a Sunday Stills retrospective

For Terri’s Sunday Stills Beautiful Beaches. I began this challenge thinking, “oh I got THIS I am a beach kind of person.” I was rather surprised to find that most of my photos are of oceans and sunrise/sunsets over said oceans but not nearly as many shots of actual beaches as I expected. That being said, I did come up with a variety of beaches from around the world. So let’s dive in and get ourselves a dose of “Vitamin Sea.”

“One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.”

~Anne Morrow-Lindberg

Watching clouds form at Lake Tahoe

Nothing soothes the soul like sand and water. Here watching clouds form over lake Tahoe.

South Jetty Beach, Florence Oregon

A vast expanse of white beach at South Jetty Beach near Florence, Oregon. No crowds, blue skies, white waves – what more could you ask for?

Resort Beach near Kapaa Island of Kauai

Oh yeah, color that’s what you could ask for color ;-). Here palms and landscaping mix and mingle with with natural sand and coral at a resort beach near Kapaa, Hawaii.

Beach at Kaikoura, NZ

Finally, the beach at Kaikoura, NZ. Snowcapped mountains in the distance, rocky shoreline, fur seal posing for his portrait. Ahhhh *insert sigh*

Til next time ~All that is gold does not glitter – JP

Walkabout Wednesday – Willamette Hatchery

During our trip to Oregon last year we visited the Fish Hatchery near Oakridge, Oregon. The hatchery raises rainbow trout and chinook salmon for release into the Willamette River system. They also have a sturgeon pond some of which are over 50 years old and 10 feet in length.

Upon arrival, we discovered that, like most entertainment venues in the area, the hatchery was closed. But, the public areas remained open so we had the opportunity to take a short hike through the wooded areas and the exterior portions of the hatchery.

Salmon Sculpture

A tribute to the might salmon, a carved wood and driftwood sculpture erected over the base of a burned out tree.

Bighorn Sheep – Cool Dude!

A wood carving of a bighorn sheep, playing it cool in the summer sun. It was exceedingly bright the day we visited and shades were absolutely essential. No, those are not my sunglasses. 😉

Eagle carrying a salmon

When does a map become art? Often in my opinion but here it’s obvious. This magnificent carved wood map of the Willamette River System was too long to capture in one shot and appears to be made of a single plank of wood.

Map of Willamette River System

The rest of the carved river map. I love the way the wood whorls, knots and grain give the carving such depth.

Leaping salmon Batman

Ultimately, we made our way to the salmon pools where fingerling hatchery salmon are already practicing jumping the falls. At this stage they are about two inches long. We stood watching their antics until the relentless summer sun finally sent us dragging ourselves back to the car, the air-conditioned, cool and inviting car.

Inspiration for this post brought to you by Marsha’s PPAC #52

Til next time ~Stay cool hippies ~JP

Walkabout Wednesday – Westfir Oregon and some Public Art

Western Tiger Swallowtail on a HUGE buddelia

We quickly acclimated ourselves to the local flora and fauna and spent many days watching the Western Tiger Swallowtail butterflies cavort among the profuse blossoms of the biggest buddleia (butterfly bush) I have ever seen .

Look at those pinecones

We enjoyed some meals at an adorable little cafe which was about the only restaurant in town that was open for dine-in. Friendly staff and good food. I adore the hand painted mural on the concrete walls and check out the size of those pinecones!

More than a mouthful

The lumber country feel of the place was both fun and soothing. This hand-made wood sign would have been perfectly at home hanging over a camp cook’s stove.

More mural art

More of the forest mural on the concrete block walls.

Chambers Railroad Bridge

While driving here and there, we stopped at some of the covered bridges. The Chambers Railroad Bridge is the only remaining covered railroad bridge west of the Mississippi. It was constructed in 1925 by lumberman J.H. Chambers to transport logs across the Coast Fork Willamette River. In the 1950s, the railroad was sold and the bridge, no longer in use, it began to decay. By 2006, the bridge had experienced significant structural damage

The City of Cottage Grove raised grants, awards, and funds from many sources to repair and refurbish the once grand bridge. The bridge was dismantled, rebuilt, and restored on-site; and in November 2011, it reopened. Original material was reused when feasible and the rebuilding was done as historically accurate as possible. Interpretive panels were installed along with iron artwork depicting the steam engines that once passed through. Today, this former “bridge to nowhere” in the middle of Cottage Grove, Oregon, is a beautiful tribute to the past, a historical triumph, and a proud testament to the power of hard work and imagination.

Linking up to Marsha’s PPAC this week do come on over and see some great art.

Til next time ~Not All Who Wander Are Lost ~JP

Urban Beauty – a Sunday Stills Perspective

For Terri’s Sunday Stills Challenge where our prompt this week is “urban.” OK, wow, this is interesting. I’m kind of the anti-urbanite. I don’t really like cities and as much as I do love theater, symphony and ballet, I abhor traffic, light pollution, asphalt and crowds. I don’t even like going into “town” to Lexington, Kentucky. A small city of approximately 320,000. Still, I have visited many, many urban areas in several countries. One thing I have found the world over is that beauty is there, you just have to look for it.

Penny alley Mt. Home ID

Here Penny Alley in Mountain Home, ID. The alley walls run for about three blocks and are covered by various forms of art from this hand print exhibition to:

Penny alley Mt. Home ID

this more intricate reminder that adventure is out there, and so is beauty.

Kyoto Japan

Here in Kyoto Japan, a mural discreetly conceals a pedestrian walk way between stores.

Osaka Japan

In Osaka Japan, I simply looked down to find these beautifully cast decorative manhole covers.

Tianmu Taiwan

Here in Tianmu Taiwan the Little Free Library makes for an adorable and friendly bit of urban art.

Christchurch, NZ

Here a fabulous bit of storefront art in Christ Church, NZ. I couldn’t quite get a shot of the home next door but if you look behind the gate to the left of the screen, you’ll see some fanciful graffiti art.

Wellington NZ

And finally, I’m going to close with a small excerpt from one of the few cities in the world that I have ever truly enjoyed every minute of my stay in. Wellington, NZ. The blend of old and modern architecture, the ethnic diversity, the art, the ocean, the public transportation, the people, combined to put it on the very short list of “cities” I would consider living in.

Also linking up to Marsha’s PPAC Public Art Challenge

Hope you enjoyed this mini world tour of urban art, that’s all from Castle Serenity for this week.

Til next time ~ There is beauty everywhere for those who are willing to look for it ~JP

Sunday Stills and Weekend Coffee Share in the July heat

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings! Come in, grab your favorite cuppa and let’s visit a bit with Natalie at the Weekend Coffee Share and Terri at Sunday Stills. Our Sunday Stills prompt is “angle” and I found oh so many on our recent adventures.

Last week, we visited Mountain Home, Idaho and took a mini tour of Penny Alley which is a local alleyway that has been dedicated to dozens of urban murals in this tiny rural town. According to the local brochure “in 2016 a group of local artists came together to transform a nearly 320 foot stretch of alleyway in the city’s downtown into an outdoor art gallery featuring a collage of different works of art painted on the walls of local businesses.” We spent a sunny (yeah read that HOT!!!) morning walking the alley, snapping pics, and eating outdoors.

It’s business hours so a lot of this collage is blocked but still sooo worth the look. I can totally dig the wild angles in the dream catcher. Dude!

Adventure is out there!!! LOOK at all the angles in the mural, each sun ray had it’s own design. Plus, it’s purple … and pink! 🙂

I considered cropping this shot but wanted to keep the “OMG this is the alley of actual working businesses” feel. I like the lines of the bricks through the murals and the way the angles are broken up with curves and blending of the individual pictures in the mural.

I particularly love this. Maybe it’s the quote, I am a John Muir fan, or maybe it’s the scene, or maybe it’s the style. This shot is not pixelated, the rough “texture” is intentional. Up close it rather resembles one of those photos transferred to canvas texture. However it was done the result is much in keeping with the alley-feel. I shot this from a straight-on angle with my hinney squeezed up against the far alley wall, stupid camera phone. ;-p

After a long stroll we made our way back to the car through a little craft fair. It was fun to see the offerings. We returned to our hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool, splashing, relaxing and practicing that wonderous vacation ritual of napping. So many great angles in the rock water feature.

Hope you’re staying cool in your part of the world. We’re enduring another round of record breaking heat here in the west and midwest USA. To read a bit more about Spoonies and summer, check out Magical Mundanities Episode 3 –Summer Spoons.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Magical Mundanities Episode 3 — Summer Spoons

Buddleia gone wild

In the early morning I step outside. The air is already heavy with heat. Summer is in full swing. Blackberries and blueberries hang gravid with sweet juice, begging for harvest. Yellow squash and bright red tomatoes peek through verdant leaves. Wild roses are faded and dry in the heat while marigolds and buddleia proliferate wildly much to the delight of the cavorting swallowtails. All the sweet abundance of Summer.

But with the sweet, comes the bitter. Sweltering heat brings fatigue, enough to crush the body and soul. Discontent and maudlin anxiety taunt me with reminders of all I can no longer do. I step outside into the heat of afternoon and see the dull haze, the bane of forest dwellers everywhere, wild fires. It is hard to breathe through the acrid smell that fills the valley. There will be no evening stroll along the river tonight.

This is deep summer for a Spoonie. Equal portions of bitter and sweet, joy and sorrow. I cannot change the heat, the fatigue, or the fires. All I can change is how I react to it. So for today, and probably tomorrow, I will stay sequestered indoors with windows closed and A/C on until the smoke passes. I will read, and write, craft, and rest. And I will be grateful for the precious, magical moments of my life. I missed so many moments, days frittered away in anger and impatience, back before I knew that life is lived in those tiny moments of grace, filled with joy and laughter, and strung carefully together into the journey of a lifetime.

In a few days we venture on to our next destination but for now it is enough to know that we are still relatively safe from the distant fires, my health will return, and the berries will make an excellent topping for shortcakes.

Abundance of blackberries

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Magical Mundanities — Episode 2 — Spoonie Travel in a Pandemic World

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings to another episode of Magical Mundanities where this Spoonie seeks to find the magic in a mundane world.

After returning from a short trip to visit grandkids and wrap up pre-retirement details with the home office, we had three weeks to rest, recuperate, see doctors, repack our suitcases and pack up our tiny home for storage before heading out on the “big trip of being somewhere else.” This is the first significant road trip we’ve taken in several years.

Butterfly on a purple coneflower bids me farewell in South Dakota

We left South Dakota on a sunny day. The weather had been mostly hot and sunny for the weeks prior to our departure and we were looking forward to some cooler temps.

Spoonie travel requires some adjustments. We discovered early on that traveling by car is no less draining than travel by air, and it TAKES LONGER! Bear in mind that neither of us travels well these days, we’re out of shape. We took the drive in easy steps traversing no more than 350 miles of state highways per day. We stopped at virtually every roadside rest and touristy place along the way (aka restrooms).

Independence Rock — along the Oregon Trail — Alcova, WY

We loosely followed the Oregon Trail most of the trip and picked up fascinating tidbits about the pioneers and their perils, as well as the Eisenhower Highway Act which connected this vast country. The story goes that when Eisenhower was a young Army officer, he participated in a cross country convoy from New York to California. The trek took 62 days and Eisenhower later wrote that this was when he first envisioned a cross country highway system.

The road was long, the journey arduous although certainly not a patch on what the pioneers or post WWI travelers must have gone through. Breaks became less frequent and fatigue crushed the mind, body and soul of these two spoonies. Wyoming holds many, many hundred miles of, well, nothing. At all. I have always said though that if you LOOK for beauty, you’ll find it. Above, during a brief break at an otherwise unremarkable rest area, thistles behind a dilapidated parking lot.

Penny Wall, Mountain Home, Idaho

Finally after three days of bone crushing travel fatigue, we stopped for a two-night R&R in the little town of Mountain Home, Idaho. While there we took in some local sites like “Penny Alley” which encompasses an alley full of murals. More on that later.

Hand Mural – Penny Alley — Mountain Home, Idaho

For now, if we were having coffee at the Weekend Coffee Share, I’d tell you that our travels have been full of tiny steps and beautiful moments, and some fairly huge stumbling blocks as well. I’d remind you that you have but to open your eyes to see the beauty around you, and “those who do not believe in magic will never find it.”

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP