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Fun and adventure in the western C States

By now, you probably know that traveling/exploring is my thing. As much as our budget will allow, anyway. After our Boston-to-Sacramento move last summer, we’ve slowed down a bit, but here are a few of our latest adventures in sightseeing.

In April, we celebrated a belated anniversary (22 years!) in Stinson Beach, California. This little town—population 600—is nestled in a gorgeous cove on the Pacific Ocean in Marin County, about 20 miles north of San Francisco on Highway 1. It backs up to Mt. Tamalpais and Muir Woods.

Stinson Beach with old log on sand

Stinson Beach, looking northwest toward Bolinas

view of the mountains from a park in town

A view of the mountains from a town park near the beach

cottage living room

The cozy cottage we rented up the hill, with a view of the ocean

Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach after the weather cleared

While there, we drove up the coast a few miles to the adorable town of Bolinas, which sits just off the northern tip of Stinson. You could wade across, but there’s no bridge, so the drive is about 20 minutes around the inlet, where we saw seals lounging on a sandbar.

homes on a green hill in Bolinas

Homes in Bolinas

row boat in the water

An inlet in Bolinas, just off the northern tip of Stinson Beach

Gwen on edge of rock at ocean

Bolinas, just up the coast from Stinson Beach

Mid-May, we flew to Colorado for a friend’s retirement from the Air Force. Colorado Springs never disappoints, with its towering peaks, thick forest, and red rock. We even got snow! On Friday, we ran through our little rental home’s neighborhood and happened upon a back entrance to the Garden of the Gods (GOTG) park.

Gwen in Garden of the Gods park

Garden of the Gods, camera facing southwest toward Pikes Peak and Manitou Springs

red rock and a green field in GOTG

More Garden of the Gods

On Saturday, we hiked through Red Rock Canyon Open Space with friends, only a mile or two from GOTG, with fabulous views.

view of mountains and red rocks

A view of GOTG (top right on horizon) from the Red Rock Canyon Open Space

red rock surrounded by trees

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Last summer, while waiting to close on our house, we hung out for a week in Redding, California (among other places). Since my oldest son had gone back to college for the summer term, he missed out. So, during his short pre-internship stay at home at the end of May, we took him north to see the amazing volcano that rises 14,179 feet above sea level at the southern end of the Cascade Mountain Range (i.e. Mt. Shasta).

hills and mountain over a lake

Mt. Shasta peeking over the hills around Lake Siskiyou

Gwen in front of Mt. Shasta view

Closer to Mt. Shasta on a hike up Spring Hill

Mt. Shasta framed by trees

Shasta framed by pine and manzanita from Spring Hill

We also checked out the impressive Sundial Bridge over the Sacramento River in the heart of Redding at Turtle Bay.

Sundial bridge over the Sacramento River

Looking west toward the Sundial Bridge (taken July 2016)

Sundial Bridge, facing north

On the Sundial Bridge, facing north (taken July 2016)

spire of the bridge

Spire of the bridge from below

Sacramento River, facing west

Looking west from the bridge, up the Sacramento River

Been on any cool trips lately? Have any fun travel plans for summer?

Rocky Mountain Highlights

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

I love teaching workshops. Not only do I get to meet some really neat authors and talk about my favorite piece of software ever, but sometimes I even get to play tourist (like on my March trip to California). My weekend visit to Colorado Springs was no exception.

Eight years ago I spent a month in “The Springs” when my husband was there for training. The boys and I explored most of the city’s nooks and crannies, we all drove to the top of Pike’s Peak just to experience 14000 feet, and we checked out the Air Force Academy’s pretty campus and famous chapel.

CS is a beautiful city flanked on one side by the magnificent Rocky Mountains, and on the other side by the endless expanse of prairie stretching into Kansas, so I was excited to get in a little exploring during my trip.

I stayed with my friend Donnell Ann Bell—author of Deadly Recall and The Past Came Hunting—so I got to check out her neighborhood on my evening run, and eat at one of their favorite restaurants in Old Colorado Town.

Her daughter took me on a morning hike in North Cheyenne Cañon Park where we went to the top of Mt. Cutler (about 7300 feet) and visited Helen Hunt Falls (not *that* Helen Hunt).

Then Donnell and her husband indulged me with a trip to Garden of the Gods. This park—which was deeded to the city by the Perkins family with the stipulation that it always be free of charge to the public—is a must-see if you go to Colorado Springs.

So, yeah, the workshop went really well. Feedback was good. I made some new friends. And I got to see more than the inside of a conference room.

Thanks to the Pike’s Peak Romance Writers and Donnell Ann Bell for showing me such a great time! Below are a few more pics from my fabulous trip. (Click any photo for a larger version.)