I hope all our Fillies attending the Romance Writer’s of America National Conference are having a great time in Florida. I figured this would be a good time to share some of my summer travels.

We’ve been jaunting all over California this summer. We started off with a bang by heading to San Jose to take our teens to the Van’s Warp Tour concert; twelve stages, eighty bands, a day full of music mayhem. The next day we took our tone-deaf, sunburned selves to the Winchester Mystery House, the 160-bedroom, 40-bathroom mansion built by the Winchester Rifle heiress. Believing she was haunted by all the spirits gunned down by Winchester rifles, and that the only way to please them was to keep building on her house, she started with a little three-bedroom farmhouse in 1884, and ended with house that covered 4.5 acres at the time of her death in 1922.  A house with stairways to the ceiling, doors to nowhere and countless other oddities to fool the spirits. Can you believe the house was declared uninhabitable after her death and was appraised for $5000. Mary did a post about the house a while back: Haunted Winchester Mystery House.

We then headed to Santa Cruz for the Fourth of July and decided to make spending the fourth on the coast a new family tradition—watching fireworks over the bay was amazing. Boats in the harbor and people on the beach were lighting up the sky nonstop from dusk to midnight. We’d never seen anything like it—amazing. Just as cool, a pod of dolphins had taken up residence in a cove right along the Santa Cruz Warf, I’m talking five feet from shore, getting up close and personal with swimmers and surfers. Better than Sea World 🙂

We then spent a couple days driving down the coast, though due the unseasonably wet and overcast weather, we didn’t get any pictures of the beaches 🙁

Of course, we made it home in time for 110-degree heat. Thankfully, we were only home to repack and head for the mountains. *happy sigh* I had seriously forgotten how much I love the Sierras. We spent a couple days at the Bass Lake resort, the perfect place to really sit back, unwind and recharge the batteries. This was the view from our deck. Check out the diving platform out on the lake.

They’ve got bike trails, boat rentals, a sweet beach to kick back on. We’re all pining to go back! We also celebrated my hubby’s birthday. Here’s a pic of my men, Tanner, Steve and Ethan.

Ethan does not travel without instruments—in fact, that’s his mini-car-guitar, literally stays in the truck. We get live music, all the time 😀

After some relaxation by the lake, we hit the trails for the main attraction—Yosemite’s waterfalls. It had been a couple years since we’d made it to Yosemite (for shame!), and I swear those giant trees have soul-soothing properties. I made the hubby promise to haul me back up there ever couple months  😉

The picture below I took of Bridal Veil Falls. You can so see how it garnered the name—the wind sweeping the water away from the rock to look like a bride’s veil.

Yosemite Falls is my favorite, this is a view from pretty far up the trail—my favorite view—where you can see all three tiers.

Those who want to get right up on the base of the fall can climb over the rocks—see the kid in the white shirt heading for the edge below—that’s Tanner.

When you reach the base, you can really feel the force of that water, the gust of wind and heavy spray in the air.

Definitely the highlight of my summer, and worth the mountain of laundry I was faced with once we unloaded on the home front.

How about the rest of y’all?  Taken any getaways this summer? Care to share any highlights?  Any place you haven’t been that’s on the MUST DO list?

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  1. The mystery house is actually on my to do list!

    We finally got to Hawaii a few years ago after my husband spent several years convincing me I would get there. We were supposed to leave two days after 9/11. Needless to say, we didn’t get there. We are going back for our anniversary to cover Maui since we have already done the Big Island and Kauai. We hike, stay in small hidden places, and eat well because we walk it all off!

    One unexpected short weekend getaway we had was to Charlottesville, Va. My husband had never seen Monticello and wanted to go. Me, I grew up in DC so had seen everything with all the relatives and friends coming in. BUT, we got there and it turned out to be GARDEN weekend so we got into all those amazing yards and estates…just stunning and so unexpected. We stated at an early 1880s B and B.

    Laundry? We are those folks who “light pack” for trips and do our laundry on the road. Nothing like finding places to stay based on washer/dryer privileges. But then we don’t have teenagers in the house either.

    Which btw, love the fact you have music on the road.

    Well, I have been chatty enough this morning! Thanks for the post and pictures!

    Peace, Julie

  2. Oh, wow, Julie–I wanna travel with you!! 😀 Charlottesville sounds amazing. I have an aunt and uncle who live on Kauai, have since before I was born and I’ve still never been to the islands. My mom has a few times…minus children, of course. We are planning to take our boys next year, while they still wanna hang out with us 😉

    Thanks for sharing!!

  3. What a wonderful trip. We lived in Sacramento for two years. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of free time. We need to go back out. We did go to Yosemite and made several trips to Monterey. LOVED the aquarium. We had young children so didn’t do a lot we would have liked to. We have been on many great trips. This June we went to The Everglades, Key West and the Dry Tortugas. We didn’t have much time, but added Fort Jefferson Dry Tortugas National Park. A bit pricey since the only way to get there is to fly or by boat. There are several ferries that take you out for the day. It is 70 miles from Key West and is a 2 1/2 hour ride. They provide breakfast,lunch, and snorkle gear for those who want it. There is primative camping available on the beach. We chose to go now because if the oil makes it to the keys, some of the most beautiful reef areas will be destroyed and may never recover. We didn’t have the time we would have liked to spen and the weather was HOT – 105 to 115 with heat index every day. There is a reason you don’t do Florida in summer, as those at RWA are probably discovering.

  4. Love the pictures. We haven’t ever been on a family vacation. I keep hoping that maybe we can take one before all the kids leave the nest. I think I’d take them to Colorado and visit some of the old mining towns. 🙂 Of course, they would probably all want to go to the ocean.

    It looks like you had a wonderful time.

  5. Stacey, what gorgeous beautiful pictures! Made me feel as it I were right there. I envy you the relaxing trip. One of these days I’m going to treat myself and take that trip I always wanted. I’d love to see Alaska and Montana before I get too old to enjoy it.

    Hope you savor the experience for a long time to come. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  6. wow–sounds like a great trip!
    love those waterfall pics!
    i bet it was just roaring close up

    so cool that you get live music on the road 🙂
    nice that you could enjoy a family trip with 2 teenage boys in tow, lol

    good to hear from you
    any books on the horizon any time soon?? 🙂

  7. What gorgeous pictures. I live in the east but was able to visit out west a couple of times when my husband’s father was alive but I’ve never made it to Yosemite and would love to.

  8. What a great summer, Stacey. A Californian myself, these are many of my favorites. Winchester Mystery house made me feel I’m not quite as nutso as I thought, and Yosemite is, well, it’s where God Himself lives.

    We’re off on a wagon-train trip around the Tetons soon, and yes, I will be regaling WildFlower Junction with pix and babbles about my adventure.


  9. Oh I love your pics… the waterfall is beautiful! I went on my first vacation in too many years to count… My sister took my nephews, my mother, & me to the San Diego Zoo and Six Flags Magic Mountain… Loved the Zoo, but of course we go the week California is having a major heat wave and it was beastly… just walking to the entrance of Six Flags we were soaked… it was nice to visit soemplace new, but I could have done without the heat and humidity…

  10. Thank you Stacey, I have a picture of myself taken when I was a pre-teen in front of Bridal Veil falls and I could not remember where it was.

    My husband and I visited our daughter and her husband in Colorado in June. They live year round in a cabin in the moutains. One place we visited was Seven Falls. It is privately owned but very beautiful and worth paying to see.

    One of our drives/hikes took us along the South Platte River where there is an old hotel. It is boarded up awaiting iut’s fate but as it was once a railroad hotel I am sure it saw many interesting stories. It made me think that it would be a good setting for a book. Not far away stands a monument to a railroad man who is credidted with saving the people on a train, with the words “tell my wife my last thoughts were of her”. It is a beautiful area.

  11. Beautiful pictures, Stacey. Now, next year you can make the trip to the other side of the Sierra. That’s where I live. The Eastern Sierra is the best. We have 14,000 ft peaks and Mammoth Ski area. All great places to see. Or take a pack trip. We do the tourist thing so our summers are taken up. Vacation has to be in winter. The US has so very many really great places to visit. I don’t see how anyone could see all of them, but we can sure try.

  12. Hi Patricia! We love the Monterey Aquarium too! It was a yearly trip when our boys were small. It was a tough call between Santa Cruz Boardwalk and Monterey–but the boys had never been to the Boardwalk. Glad you were able to see Fort Jefferson Dry Tortugas National Park–so sad about all the damage being done to our reefs 🙁

    Thanks for sharing!

  13. Hi Linda! Oooh, Alaska would gorgeous. My hubby’s wife and brother went last year and their pictures were amazing—far more camera skill I posses *g*

    We hadn’t gone on a trip for a couple years–always something, ya know. This year we said to heck with it, we’re just going to get in the truck and go where we can reach *ggg*

  14. Hi Tabitha! LOL. Ya know, the hubby and I always say we had kids for the sheer entertainment value 😉 They make everything so much more fun–not that they don’t have monster moments, but don’t we all *g*. At 15 and 16 they’re a blast. We’ll be dragging them along as long as they’ll let us.

    I do have book on the Horizon…well, on my hard drive…so the Horizon is still a tad distant, but I’m working on a set of three *g* Thanks for asking! ((hugs))

  15. LOL, Tanya! I’ll be honest with you, I felt right at home in that topsy-tervy house. Steve and Tanner were creeped out by it, but Ethan and I decided we’d happily move right in 😉

    Can’t wait to hear about your wagon-train trip!!!

  16. Thanks, Colleen! Sounds like a fun trip–the San Diego Zoo is huge 🙂 Vallejo can be brutal–I swear that mountain pass holds heat like no body’s business 😉

  17. How cool, Connie! Glad I could help 😀

    Sounds like a great trip–beautiful country, and wow, some heart-tugging history about the railroad man. Thanks for sharing!!

  18. Hey Mary J! My hubby looooves Mammoth. They have his favorite mountain bike trails. He keeps saying he’s going to drag me along next time ’cause I’d love the area…gonna have to take him up on that 😀

    Thanks for sharing!!

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