engaging lately…{12}

Because you asked for it, I’ve got postcards from the West to share!

All pictures in this post were taken by my kids. They have better phones with better cameras, and half the time I don’t have mine on me. So, silver linings to teens + phones, I s’pose…

First + foremost: I love going to my brother’s. In the past year, it’s become my home away from home. This Wednesday marks the last treatment of his 9-round, 12-month targeted immunotherapy plan. A year! It’s been a year! Here’s to Matt.

But back to the start:

We took the long way around to California this time…not just because we took a different route (as planned), but because Google Maps was wonky last Friday. Like, officially!

I wouldn’t have thought it possible.

(Troy thought it was me and my map skills at first. I know he did.)

It was a beautiful, new (to us) drive and worth the comments from the backseat: “This feels longer than usual.” “Are you sure this is right?” “What are we doing?” (I didn’t admit to picking a route that added 4 hours to the trip, but I think it’s safe to say we all truly enjoyed it.) We drove through small Colorado towns like this one, through the San Juan mountain range, over Wolf Creek Pass, around Durango, through the Navajo Nation*, northern New Mexico, and on to Flagstaff and the Arizona desert (where I have every intention of returning).

*We didn’t take any photos on Navajo land. It would have felt…wrong. The level of poverty…living conditions…men walking along the side of the highway, presumably from the mini mart (the only structure in sight for miles). We could only talk about the why of all that.

For the record, that historic 66 Motel I was looking forward to? Umm…we don’t recommend it.

I’d never stopped to think that the Arizona desert would be…could be… so different from Nevada’s, but it definitely is. And I far prefer it. More small towns, more small businesses, more flora, friendlier and more talkative people. While Nevada has always felt like a place to get through, Arizona feels like an invitation to explore. Believe it or not, on the other side of the state you can actually see a difference when you cross the state line.

When I asked my family about their favorite day in California, they all said the trip to Catalina Island, which was a surprise my brother gifted to us. (The 90-minute, seasick ferry trip was worth every minute.) (Fortunately, the waters were calmer coming back!) The bonus? We saw 3 gray whales on their migration route, and while we couldn’t capture a picture in time, it was a thrill to see from afar.

An overview of Santa Catalina Island:

photo credit: pacifcsandiego.com

And a few shots from our day:

We also explored Little Italy with the cousins, and while they were in school, we traipsed up and down the coast…the little beach towns along Highway 101 are my favorite place to while away the days. Though I’ll always love Seaside Papery on Coronado Island, Solo in Solana Beach is my new favorite haunt. And just about a year ago, Matt and I ate the best lunch ever at Naked Cafe, so I had to put that on repeat. (Check out their menu for great combinations to make at home! Especially the Meditation Bowls.)

Along with family dinners around Matt’s table, açaí superfood bowls (so much better than a fro-yo stand), morning walks, and pool time for kids/daily calls and texts with our realtor back in Colorado, this beautiful girl was a highlight for me:

Special thanks to Little E for taking this picture!

She’s a loggerhead sea turtle, rescued as a juvenile at a New Jersey power plant in 2013, and now a resident of Birch Aquarium, part of Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA. She was found with a missing section of shell, abnormal curvature of her spine, and paralyzed back flippers. You can read here how a 3-D ‘print job’ provides support, and hopefully repair, to her shell as she grows.

(Birch Aquarium is a science-based facility so they don’t name their animals, they explain.)

I could have watched her all day. Even now, I can’t stop…

Isn’t she something?

And that…instead of goodbyes…seems like a better way to wrap up a fantastic week, in a place that we love, with people we love.

See you on Monday when we check in with our words.

‘Til then, I hope you are happily weekending!

7 thoughts on “engaging lately…{12}

Add yours

  1. oh Carolyn – what a stunning set of postcards! How wonderful to be able to travel as a family and see each other face-to-face. So many memories. so many smiles!


  2. Sometimes, the road less traveled is the best one of all! (And I think you just proved that life can be much better without technology!) What a fun trip! (But that turtle… she is glorious!)


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