Sunday, November 22, 2009

David and Sherrie's Excellent Adventure, Part I

Today the Darling Man and I are celebrating our second anniversary in fine style: As I type, he softly snores at the other end of the sofa.

No, really. This is FINE! We have spent the last five days on the road, enjoying perfect travel weather and a wide variety of sights, but we are tired and our behinds are car-weary and it's really quite lovely to just sit still.

Let's catch up, shall we?

Tuesday morning, 17th November, 7:15 am. Car is loaded. Travelers are occupying the front seats. Departure is delayed four minutes whilst the windshield defrosts. See below.

It was definitely cold. Windshield defrosted, we headed west, hopeful that our weather fortunes would improve, at least temperature-wise. There were some icy patches on Monarch Pass, just west of town, but as we descended to the Gunnison Valley the roads were clear.

And then it got REALLY cold.

Yes, that's the temperature gauge in the DM's car. A second before I took this shot it read 1 degree... warming trend continued from this point. We're not sure if the temperature never fell to zero or if the gauge just doesn't go lower than 1. I guess we'll have to wait until February or so back home to find out.

The first day was our longest, drive-wise. We hauled ourselves all the way to Springdale, Utah, at the mouth of Zion National Park, arriving about supper time. Very brief stops in Green River for fuel and lunch, and at the San Rafael Swell for a leg stretch. (And a few obligatory fuel-and-bathroom stops, of course.)

The Swell is... well, swell.

Places like southern Utah make me really regret being a geologic illiterate. I spend an awful lot of time exclaiming, "Look at THAT! How do you suppose it formed?"

After our crazy-long day we rewarded ourselves with an entire day off to do a "highlights" exploration of Zion National Park. It was fun to be back in the Park just a month after my previous trip, and to share it this time with David. Friend Sandy played hooky from work to run around with us, which made the day extra-fabulous. Sandy and I both managed to squeak in brief breaks for sketching in the afternoon, thereby declaring our adventure (at least to ourselves) "productive."

Sandy and Sherrie on the Canyon Overlook trail.

Cresting the Canyon Overlook. This is not a difficult or long trail, and I highly recommend it. (Especially if you've only a short time in the Park.)

Drawing along the River Walk trail.

The next day we made the short hop from Springdale to.... Las Vegas. Yup. We went to Vegas. We walked up and down The Strip (twice), visited (among other "attractions") "MnMs World" and overdosed on the smell of cheap chocolate and four floors of plastic MnM paraphernalia, lost $4.00 at the penny slots, people-watched like mad and bought the second piece for our new collection of tacky shot glasses. (The first one we bought in Springdale.) We took not one photo. As the DM eloquently described: we were there to take in the vibe, and then take a shower to wash it all off and get the heck out of town. Which we did.

I wish I could remember where we saw this wind farm. There was more than one. I liked the white mills against brown hills and blue sky. Didn't get any particularly good shots as we raced by on the interstate, but....

From Vegas we drove to Fresno, California, through haze and dust and wind. Many, many, many miles of corporate agriculture, which I found oppressive and a bit alarming. Probably didn't help that we watched "Surviving the Dust Bowl" just a few nights before we left. All day I thought about how fortunate and happy we are to have our friends at Weathervane Farm growing organic local produce "just for us."

Yesterday afternoon we arrived at our home base for the next three weeks... Soquel, California, near Santa Cruz. The journey was great, but we are happy to be more or less stationary for a while. This morning we did a little exploring of our new neighborhood, and wound up at "Pleasure Point" watching surfers. The morning was hazy and chilly, but now the sky is blue and the sun is shining with enthusiasm.

Surfers, not waterfowl. Although we did see gulls, cormorants, and pelicans.

Tomorrow the next phase of our adventure begins... we'll try to settle down to a little art-and-music-making, then head out in the evening to a house concert in nearby Bonny Doon. (Chapman Stick player, of course.) I'm twitchy to get some images and ideas down on paper, and David's looking forward to "sketching out" pieces for a new CD. Stay tuned!


  1. Sherrie, you are back in my old stomping grounds! Take a big whiff of sea air and sunshine for me. Don't know what kind of music David's into, but have you all hooked in to Jeff Emrey's house concert series in Fulton? Some aMAZing musicians in an intimate venue. For nature, see if the elephant seals are breeding (north of Santa Cruz). They are like fast-moving bundles of jello in full-fledged fang fights. e-me if you want more.


  2. have a good relaxing time!

    i love seeing photos of Zion, the landscape always looks gorgeous :)

  3. Louella! Who knew? It's another beautiful sunny day so far... and I'm spending entirely too much time in front of the computer, as usual! Catching up after all those days on the road... and then (I tell myself).. no more! Will ask after elephant seals. Our friends (we're housesitting) mentioned as they went out the door that they've been regularly seeing dolphins near here... and I'm twitchy as all get out to go to the aquarium. Already three weeks isn't time enough... Will be in touch for details!

    Jennifer... get out of that rain where you are and in to the desert.. I think you would love it. Hoard your pence! :-)

  4. Yay! So glad you're there and had a good if grueling trip. I can't believe you didn't take any shots of Vegas though, and no sketching there either. Really--all of the wonders go unrecorded.... Look for sea lions at the state park on the Monterey Peninsula just south of Monterey. (Can't remember the name of it.) Also monarchs wintering at Pacific Grove. Have fun!
    Hugs, Susan (and Richard too)