Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Last Artful Journey - A Travel Diary of Sorts...

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I've been meaning to share about my time at An Artful Journey, but Life has begun to take hold and making time to share my experience of what might be the last journey* has been a challenge...

I am trying not to let Life intrude on the magic that happened during the retreat, magic that always happens and, often, travels back home with me, if only for a few days, but Life seems to be rearing it's head these days.

But then I realized that sharing this special time will help to keep it alive for me and help me to recapture some of that magic, so I will share what pictures I have of my trip and marinate in the memories of each day, as much as I can. Please join me, won't you?

DAY ONE - On The Road Again

To begin, I have to admit that while I like a road trip, driving to the Presentation Center, where An Artful Journey is held, has always been a bit of a challenge for me! Mapping directions has never been easy due to the location of the Presentation Center and getting home can often be tricky, mostly because I refuse to drive along the 5 highway, which is dull and barren to me. Unfortunately, this year was no exception due to so many of my things still packed away due to my move to a new home, which meant this:

I could not find my old directions for getting to the retreat or for getting home!

Luckily, my dear boyfriend figured out a route to get to the retreat in way that felt safe and familiar and a map for getting home, which sounded a bit different than previous trips, but I was willing to try it out. The day finally came that I was on the road again, with a few pit stops planned. First up - a stop in my beloved Ventura:

At the corner of Main Street and N. Chestnut Street in lovely downtown Ventura, California...

I left a little earlier than previous trips so I could make it to Downtown Los Gatos for a little window shopping and a meet-up with friends made at last years retreat. Since I left early, I made it to Ventura in less than an hour and stopped for a restroom break. Near the parking lot, I saw this:

Community gardening in Ventura, California

It will be fun to see how this community garden develops in future trips to Ventura, which are bound to happen, as I love Ventura so much!

Then I was back on the road, driving along the 101 freeway, leaving the seaside and heading toward the mountains and farmlands...though there was rain forecast for the day, I had nothing but clear blue skies like this:

Driving away from the shore toward mountains and farmland on the 101 freeway...

It was so beautiful to be driving in such gorgeous weather!

My next pit stop was for gas at the Betteravia exit from the 101 freeway, which I stopped at during my drive last year. They have a restuarant next to the gas station I use for a gas fill-up:

That's "Pappy's Diner"! It's located off the 101 freeway at the Betteravia exit and it looks like a hoot! On my way back, they often have a large metal grill smoking away and it smells wonderful, but I am usually in a big hurry to get home, so I have yet to try the food here. It does seem to get good reviews if this link to Yelp is any indication...maybe I can talk my dear boyfriend into driving here for some BBQ one day - he does love BBQ! ;) However, it looks like it's located in the middle of nowhere:

View from the gas station before heading back on the road - lots of farmland in Santa Maria...

After this, my next stop would be for a quick lunch at McDonald's, but I missed the exit I meant to take for the McDonald's I stopped at last year. But you know how McDonald's is - there was another one at the next exit in a little town called Gonzales. This location was playing JAZZ music (and you know I love Jazz music!) with CNN playing on the TV screens...this stop might have seemed like a small town, but it sure felt 'big-city' sophisticated to me!

The Gonzales water tower near the 101 freeway and the sign of the "Golden Arches", where I had a quick bite

My next stop would be Downtown Los Gatos to meet friends I met at last years retreat, Briana and Karen, where we would do a little window shopping before we all headed to the Presentation Center to check in...

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And that is where I will leave you, dear blog readers! I will share my newest discoveries from Downtown Los Gatos, along with my visit to a special hardware store that keeps baby chicks, so be sure to stay tuned for more of my trip!

* - Though Cindy Woods, the creator of An Artful Journey, has talked about this year being the last retreat, it might come back again in another form - who knows?!?


Kathryn Hansen said...

Road trips in California are wonderful...sounds like fun so far!!

Glenda Hoagland said...

Wonderful post. I felt as if I was riding in the car with you.