Mt. Rubidoux – Riverside CA

My friend Sharon knows the truth about me. She knows that I will go hiking and that I have the ability to do a strenuous hike but she also knows that I don’t really LIKE hiking. I love getting to see the view from the top. I love the camaraderie of hiking with a group of friends and I also love what hiking does for my body. But for some reason it’s just not my “go to” form of exercise.


I am first and foremost a yogi. I practice yoga for about an hour each morning at home. It helps me be more flexible, it gets my blood flowing and my brain active and it also helps me be in a positive mood. After my yoga practice I like to do something else that is complementary to a healthy/happy lifestyle. Sometimes I ride my bike or paddle board. Sometimes I swim or go to a Zumba class. Today I hiked Mt. Rubidoux in Riverside, CA.

I guess it’s not really fair to call what I did today “hiking.” That word brings forth images of climbing over rocks and roots, needing to use my hands to pull myself up higher and I certainly didn’t need to do that! The trail at Mt. Rubidoux is a gentle up hill walk. The 3 mile trail is wide, flat and paved. I was there at 8am and already there was a steady stream of people. I saw folks running, moms pushing strollers, groups of ladies visiting and even a guy walking his gorgeous Iguana!!!!!! That was a first for me!


Mt. Rubidoux is just short of 1400 feet in altitude but from its peak you are awarded a 360 degree view of the surrounding neighborhoods, downtown Riverside and the mountains nearby. The terrain on the mountain is very different from what I am used to in the Pacific Northwest. Here it is very dry and brown. Big rocks poke out of the earth or stack on top of each other. Small scrubby bushes cling to every centimeter of earth in search of water.


The thing that I loved the most about my walk today was how happy everyone was! Many people said hello or morning as we passed. One of the stroller moms gave me directions about how the trail worked. I gave and received exuberant high fives from several people running down from the summit and another person even stopped to help me pick trash out of the bushes! It was definitely a peaceful community feeling.

This is what exercise and being in nature does for us humans. It gives us a chance to remember that we all have a hard time walking up hill! That we are all on this planet together. That we are trying to be healthy and fit. That this is our community, our park and we should work together to keep it clean. And that it’s a good thing to cheer each other on!

I hope you are able to find a little peace in your life today.



Pop Up Yoga in Ventura California

I’m lying on my back in Savasana. The sun is making glowing orbs on the back of my eyelids and warming my face. I can feel the bumpy ground beneath my body and the wind is tickling my toes. A mole is popping his head out of the ground. I can hear him nibbling on grass nearby. I’m surrounded by 40 happy souls and I feel peaceful, relaxed and grateful for Ventura Pop Up Yoga.

I found out about Pop Up Yoga by looking online. They host classes all over town in parks, at the marina and even at a winery! Pop Up Yoga is not connected to any particular studio. Multiple teachers share the instructor role and they offer a practice every day of the week. The coolest thing is that you pay for the class by donation! They believe that yoga should be available and accessible for everyone. So they just ask you to pay what you can afford. Isn’t that great?


(Getting our stretch on!)

We visited Ventura, California this past weekend to dog-sit for some friends. We spent the weekend wandering main street, tasting beer, walking the pier, watching kite boarders sail across the water and we even paddled in the Harbor. But by far, my favorite part of the weekend was yoga at The Cross in Grant Park overlooking the city!



I arrived early and found my spot on the uneven ground. Someone mentioned that they were trying to find a flat spot. And I thought, “Good luck with that. It’s uneven and bumpy. There are small smooth patches, some rough, some dry, some moist. Kind of like life! Is it ever totally smooth? We try to find balance between work, home life, vacation time, spouses, kids, commitments. This ground is a perfect metaphor. You can try to find a flat spot but it’s not likely to happen!


(The view from my spot! It was a little hazy in the morning.)

Our Instructor today is Margeaux who has just opened a new studio called Yoga Casita in Santa Paula. As she leads us through the practice I can’t help but notice how tall she is! (A model maybe?) I’m guessing she is about 5’11” and looks very athletic – I bet she surfs! I know, I’m supposed to be focusing inward but I can’t it. This is my monkey mind at work. I also notice she’s very good at holding space for quiet. That’s something that I struggle with when I teach. I always want to fill the quiet time with talk – but not Margeaux. As we hold poses for five breaths she is quiet – allowing us to focus on ourselves.


(Can you say Trikonasana?)

Most of all, what I loved about today is this: There we were – about forty of us, all different sizes, shapes, skin colors, religions and backgrounds and yet for this short moment – one hour of our day –  we were One. We moved as one, breathed as one and radiated peace and harmony out into the world from our hill top aerie. I had at least five people say hello to me and smile and say welcome! Yoga does that. It brings people together. To breathe, stretch, love each other, look inside and BE.

So here I am….having the ultimate California yoga experience. I am on a hill, overlooking beautiful Pierpont Bay and the white sandy beaches of Ventura, California. I feel welcomed. I feel happy. I feel Yoga. Welcome to California Dawn!



Breitenbush Hot Springs, Canada

I sat in the steaming hot water up to my shoulders my back against the smooth rock wall, watching the rain drip down from the pine tree and huckleberry branches overhead, making slow circle art that expanded across the surface of the rock lined pool. I could hear the river rushing below the hill and feel my worries start to melt away as my skin turned pink and my gaze became more and more unfocused and relaxed.


(The middle pool)

I had heard of Breitenbush before but I had never been here. I’ve been to nearby Bagby and Harrison hot springs up in Canada. I event stopped at some small hot springs in Wyoming. But Breitenbush hot springs is on a whole new level!

Breitenbush is located an hour east of Salem, Oregon just out of Detroit. The spring sits back off the main road about 10 miles. There is no cell service, no wifi and nothing better to do than eat some glorious food, sleep and relax and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs that flow out of the ground.


What blew me away was that the price of your stay at Breitenbush covers everything! 3 delicious vegetarian meals, as much soaking in the springs as you can handle, use of the wet sauna and also various wellness classes – FREE.! That’s right. Free. One price for everything.


(The cabin I shared for the night)

I attended a fantastic yoga class while I was at Breitenbush. Rob looked to be about 24 years old. (Young enough to be my son!) He had long wavy blonde hair pulled back into a pony tail, a very quiet and relaxed attitude and a gorgeous, muscled, slim body. He looked like he practiced a lot! He led us through a slow Ashtanga practice that incorporated long-held poses. It was slow and gentle but it was challenging! It was the kind of practice that made me want to work harder, be more focussed and be a better yogi!  It was exactly what I needed after 5 days of driving across the country!


(The sanctuary where we practiced yoga)

I had left Franklin, Tennessee five days before. I was averaging 9 hours per day behind the wheel. I wanted to make it across to the west coast as quickly as possible. I had driven through snow, over mountain passes and through long flat stretches where it was just me and the truckers. And driving a mini cooper amongst 18-wheelers affords a brand new kind of stress and awareness – let me tell you!

I really needed Breitenbush. I needed the yoga to stretch out my stiff hips and back. I needed the hot springs that made my muscles melt and my brain relax. I needed the healthy food after days of fast food. And I needed the connection with people. I had been alone for the whole trip and visiting with the other hippies made me feel right at home!

So if you’re ever driving through the middle of Oregon on the back roads take a little detour and check it out. I promise you’ll be glad you did. I’m already planning when I can go back again! Namaste Peeps!


Sailing to Windward in the Bahamas

My boyfriend and I just got back from a 10 day sail to the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas! I should really say that we survived a trip to the Abacos! Our boat is little. It’s an F27 Trimaran.  I’ve tried to explain to people that it may sound luxurious and romantic but it’s a lot like camping on the water and a whole lot of work! There were some lovely moments in the trip but the REAL story is that this trip kicked our butts, tested our relationship, taught us a lot about what we do and don’t enjoy and we were very glad to make it back in one piece!

My boyfriend tried to warn me. For about a month before we left he kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to sail over the gulf stream in our boat? Would I really be ok camping on our small boat for an undecided amount of time? He’d been to the Bahamas before in a small boat so he knew exactly what we were in for. I assured him I would be fine! I’m a rugged wilderness girl! I can handle it! I also had total faith in him and knew he wouldn’t put me in an unsafe situation. What I didn’t realize was exactly how wild and vast the passages would be!

We set out on that first day to cross the Gulf Stream from West Palm Beach to West End. The weather looked good except that the wind was coming from the exact same direction we were sailing! As anyone who sails knows, going directly into the wind is bumpy, wet and uncomfortable and for 50 miles we crashed into wave after wave covering our foul weather gear (YES we wore our foulies on the way to the Bahamas!)  in salt crystals! And it continued like that for the first 3 days!


(Day 3 of sailing into the wind!)

It was exhausting and frustrating! But there was good along with the bad. Eventually the wind and weather calmed down and we had a few enjoyable days of sailing. My favorite stop was at Manjack Cay. I had been longing to spend some time on the beach – after all that’s what you go to the Bahamas for right? We pulled our tri up onto the pristine white sandy beach just as a small nurse shark swam in front of our boat patrolling the shallows. We spent the afternoon walking the beach and checking out the marine life.


(Maravilla on the beach at Manjack Cay – soooo dreamy!)


( I imagined these Rays as a courting pair – her leading slowly and him waiting for his chance!)


(A sea slug(? )That didn’t like me touching him(?) and squirted purple ink!)


(Sand so deep and soft it felt like walking in deep snow – except warmer! There were no footprints but mine!)

Later that evening we were greeted by Brenda who was staying on a neighboring trimaran. She invited us to a full moon party that evening on another part of the island. It was at that moment that I realized what it feels like to be a part of the sailing community! It didn’t matter what kind of boat we had, how big our motor was, or if we were grumpy or kind. We belonged! We were sailors and we were welcome and invited! We spent a lovely evening meeting other sailors with all kinds of boats from big Catamarans to gaff-rigged Schooners. We visited by the fire and even howled at the full moon!

Luckily during our ten days out at sea we didn’t have any major difficulties. Having an engineer as a boyfriend is a very good thing because he can fix anything and doesn’t give up easily! Even if he has to almost hang off the boat to get to it!


I made sure to take some time for yoga as well. Yoga is how I stay fit and flexible and it helps me remain calm and focussed. It allows me to let go of any negative energy I’m holding and I had a lot of it on those long 6 or 8 hour sailing days! It was not easy on a small boat but I was able to practice on the outside nets a couple of mornings and even did a little practice in the cabin!


(Lots of time for meditation on a long passage!)

No one can talk about the Bahamas without mentioning how beautiful it is! There were portions of the ocean that were so bright that it looked like someone was shining a light from underneath the water! Sand so white and soft that it felt like baby powder, water so clear you can see all the way to the bottom!


The water is so blue that it doesn’t even look real!


(This is my favorite photo from the whole trip! Yes, it really is that lovely!)


(Water so clear you can see everything on the bottom! Looks like a Monet!)

As we began to sail back toward home from the Bahamas my mind was turning over and over thinking about my experiences out there. What had I learned? How did I feel about sailing – especially long passages with not much to do? How rugged was I? Did I feel like a success?

I had a lovely time. I am proud of myself for sailing upwind multiple days in a row and being a good sport. I’m a good partner to have on a boat. I can grind up the main, raise the jib, act as the Windlass over and over until we get a good grip on some sand. I can spend all day in the sun and wind and still smile at the end of the day. I can swim and snorkel and hike and walk beaches to explore each and every new place we see. I can cook and keep the boat clean. I can use a camp shower in an open cockpit. I am brave and adventurous and strong.

But, I also learned that I’m a little older than I used to be. Things are not as easy for me physically as they were a few years ago. I enjoy some comforts like refrigeration and a stove. I prefer shorter sailing days and more time for exploration on land. I learned that the ocean is a wild and dangerous place and that you have to be rugged to sail on those deep blue inky depths that swell and roll and push you around. And I also learned that I would like to have a boat with standing head room and maybe even an electric windlass! LOL.

Fair winds and Following Seas to all of my sailing sisters out there! Go get em and be safe out there!


The REAL Pirates of the Caribbean

It’s easy to tell the difference between the Pirates of St. Thomas and the Tourists. The tourists wander around in groups of three or four, they look a bit confused, are usually overweight and their skin is shiny and pink from exposure to sunshine. They wear new designer clothing and smell of sweat, sunscreen and bug spray. The Pirates on the other hand, roam around individually. They swagger slowly and confidently in an “island time” gait. Their skin is tanned and leathery from years in the sun, their hair is pulled back and their clothing is worn and faded. Pirates smell mostly of Rum.


(Cruzan Rum is made on the nearby island of St. Croix)

Latitude 18 is a pirate haven dive bar in Red Hook on the east end of St. Thomas. The bar stools are starting to come apart at the seams, the rain leaks in through the roof and the dock out back won’t last much longer as holes work their way through the plywood! But the Rum flows freely, there is live music every night and the locals love coming here!


(Red Hook Bay looking east toward St. John in the distance)

We were in St. Thomas to see if we had what it takes to become Pirates. We had the idea that maybe we could buy a charter boat company of our own, run it as Captain and First Mate and earn our living taking tourists out to the beautiful beaches of St. John.

We met our first Pirate at Latitude 18 – and by Pirate I mean those intrepid souls who love it here so much that they would do anything to live here – including work multiple jobs, put up with whiny cruise ship tourists, serve, clean and by hook or crook eke out a living.

Taylor is a 19-year-old red-headed elfin girl with a personality the size of Montana! She has a mega watt smile and the energy to accomplish everything she chooses to do in life! Taylor came to St. Thomas for a visit and loved it so much that she moved back and has now purchased her own boat for $1,000! She has at least two jobs. She works as first mate for a charter captain and she also helps with the Airbnb boats that we rented as our accommodation for the week.


(The boat next to ours. Great use for an old book huh?)

Jeremy is Taylor’s boss and he is a Pirate with a capital P! Jeremy had the genius idea to buy older, run down boats and turn them into rooms for rent! Of course, because the boats are older they tend to have a few problems – A halyard acting as mast rigging, a few holes in the deck, a rudder that flops back and forth with the tide and even a boat with no motor. But that’s ok because they’re not really boats anymore. They are rooms for rent and they are the cheapest to be had on the Island so they are rented all the time! Genius, I’m telling you! I wish I’d thought of it!

We were eating lunch on our first day and a man leaned in really close to my Boyfriend and said, “You must be Barry?!” (The Arrrggghhh was implied!) We both leaned back and took in the sight of grey hair sticking up at all angles from a tanned head, wearing only a pair of trunks,  a gravelly voice ( I might have imagined an eye patch) and a huge bleeding gash across his nose! Pirate to the bone! Captain Pat turned out to the be the broker we were supposed to meet the next day to look at the charter business. But at the time we had no idea how this stranger knew who we were! News travels fast between Pirates!


(Salomon Beach on St. John – I could live right here! It’s breathtaking!)

It’s easy to see why these folks work so hard to live here. It is unbelievably beautiful! The beaches are white and the water is the perfect shade of blue. The terrain is hilly and green and makes a wonderful contrast to the flat open ocean. It’s a dream really. Everyone wants to vacation in a place like this. It’s not a far stretch from wanting a vacation to figuring out how to live here to make it your home!


(The view from the beach bar on Tortola – Cane Garden Bay Beach)


(Two friends swimming along at Honeymoon Beach on St. John)


(Cane Garden Bay – I could walk this beach all day!)

We were able to visit St. Thomas, St. John and also Tortola in the British Virgin Islands during our short trip. They are all amazingly beautiful and fun. The people were welcoming and friendly but it turns out we don’t quite have what it takes to be Pirates yet. It was a close thing though…..We planned and schemed and tried to figure out what we could sell, trade or borrow to be able to make a living here. But in the end we realized that we still want to travel.

We’re not ready to settle down – Not even for THIS place. Wanderlust runs strong in us. We still have other places we want to see – beauty to be uncovered. We’re still tourists who want to go to The Bahamas next. But I predict that we will be back to the US Virgin Islands. It’s just too pretty a place to ignore.


(A sunburned tourist trying to look like a local!)

Saying Goodbye to Georgia

As I come to the end of my time in coastal Georgia and begin looking forward to the next adventure, I can’t help but feel a little sad that I’m leaving. I have never felt so welcomed and “at home” as I have here. It’s actually a little overwhelming how quickly I’ve fallen in love with this area. But when you have family nearby, friends who make you feel like you belong and all of the natural beauty that abounds nearby – you’d be crazy NOT to be sad.

We landed in Brunswick, Georgia in December of last year after a month long escapade to Gibraltar and Spain. We came to Brunswick partly because my boyfriend’s parents live here and partly because we really liked the area when we visited last Thanksgiving. We thought we’d check out the area a little more to see if living here could work for us. Unfortunately, things have not turned out as we hoped so we are on our way again soon heading in a new direction!

The thing I will miss the most is not a thing at all – it is the people. Everyone here has been so nice! When you travel as much as I do, you always wonder if you’ll “fit in,” if people will like you and mostly if you’ll be able to find work! Luckily, I found all of that here! People here are just generally friendly. People smile, wave and say hello. Folks ask if you’re new to the area and recommend places to eat and things to see. And then there is the customary “yes ma’am.” I hear in every store, gas station or check out line. Being polite is a way of life here.  I love that.


I will also miss the beaches. In Washington State a beach is usually a rocky, cold section of shoreline that is difficult to walk on and smelly. In coastal Georgia you have mile after mile of gorgeous sandy beaches where families lounge, birds look for food to steal and folks walk hand in hand watching the waves roll in.  My favorite beach is on Cumberland Island. Cumberland is a National Seashore so it is unspoiled and uninhabited. It is littered only by the occasional horseshoe crab shell or wild horse dropping. My second favorite beach is East Beach on St. Simons Island because of it’s shallow tide pools and friendly dogs that are allowed to play here. Third on my list is Driftwood beach on Jekyll Island where you can walk among the sun paled driftwood that feel like dinosaur bones that have been washed ashore.


I will miss the FOOD! Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE food. I will plan my day around where I can have lunch or even make a special trip out of my way to pick up some special delicacy that is on my mind. I love diners, dives, taverns and hole-in-the-wall eateries. In fact, since we’ve been in Georgia I’ve put on a few extra unwanted pounds. (grimace) There is so much good food here! Barbeque (This should be a category unto itself but I don’t have that much time!), hush puppies, sweet tea, boiled peanuts, peach cider, pecan rolls, key lime wafers, apple pie, she crab soup, freshly caught peel and eat shrimp…..I could go on and on……Is it almost dinner time? LOL

I will miss the Trees! They grow some serious trees here in the south. And I mean the kind of tree that makes you stand at it’s base with your jaw dropped open. Some of these trees are so majestic that you simply can not take them all in! Some of the Live Oaks here are said to be close to 400 years old! They grown huge and strong and spread their branches out in all directions as if they are stretching like we do each morning when we wake. People get married under these trees. Some are protected by barriers and signs warning people not to climb them. Which is really hard because that’s exactly what you want to do – climb up into it’s branches and just sit for awhile and maybe even read a book.


And last but not least I will miss St. Simons Island. It’s hard to explain why I will miss this Island. But I’ll give it a try. St. Simons just has a certain “feeling” about it. Every time I drive over the causeway onto the Island I can feel myself relax. I love the way the trees hang over the road waving their spanish moss jewelry at me. I love seeing the bicycle paths everywhere and people using them! I love that there is a beach access on almost every other road. I love that there is a slower pace here and that I can find everything I need from a Harris Teeter (that’s a local grocery store) to a Starbucks! I love that everyone here speaks slower and with a southern drawl – and they look you in the eye when they talk to you! It’s just a great place this island. If you’ve never been here – come on down for a visit. I think you’ll love it just as much as I do!

Moving day in only about a week away. As I pack my backpack and look forward to the next stop on my yoga gypsy journey I know that I will always have a warm spot in my heart for coastal Georgia. It’s lovely here and I hope to come back sooner rather than later. Thanks Y’all for your love and support. BIG HUGS!



Yoga Gypsy Travel Musts!

As a person who loves to travel, I am constantly refining what I bring, how I pack and what gear works best for me. And as we all know, it’s easier to travel as lightly as possible. In the last 12 months I have been to Italy, Belize and Thailand. So here are my tips for what to bring when you travel.

Only a Backpack. You don’t need anything bigger. It should be able to hold a weeks worth of clothes, your toiletry kit and any emergency gear you may need. I currently use a 26 Liter Marmot bag. I love this bag because of the way it zips. If you lay this bag down you can zip it all the way open from top to bottom just like a suitcase. My old backpack only opened at the top and I had to dig all the way to the bottom to reach things – no bueno. My Marmot also has 3 external expandable storage compartments and one zipper compartment. Inside there is also a laptop compartment and another zipper compartment.

Although this bag has gone with me to Italy, Belize and Thailand I do wish it was just a little bit bigger. Maybe about 36 Liters. But then, I am a girl and I do have trouble limiting my clothing choices sometimes! It’s a work in progress people!

My Favorite Yoga Mat. I love my Manduka Yoga Mat. I have had this mat for about 4 yeas now and it has no signs of wear at all. It has just the right amount of cushion and rolls up perfectly to fit in the storage straps on the side of my backpack! I know it’s extra weight to bring a yoga mat with you but I find that it’s worth it. I can roll my mat out in my hotel room, in a park or where ever I may be. It’s like bringing a little piece of home with me AND it reminds me to practice.

A Well Stocked Toiletries Bag. When I travel I want to make sure that I have everything I need. Of course, sometimes you will stay with friends and they have soap and shampoo but it’s always a good idea to bring your own just in case. You never know when you or a fellow traveler might need a band-aid, or a bit of lotion. Of course bring the basics: deodorant, shampoo, a razor etc….but remember to keep the bag small because it’s going to take up room in your backpack. Keep makeup to a minimum.

Good Walking Shoes. I really learned my lesson here. when I went to Italy I wanted to have “cute” shoes. So right before I left on my trip I went out and bought a pair of black slip-on walking shoes. They were a famous brand known to all sports lovers so I thought I would good. About two days into the trip the shoes started cutting into my heels and made walking miserable! So my advice is to forget cute shoes – go for COMFORT! Especially if you are going to be touring and walking a lot! No one is going to remember your shoes but you will sure remember if your feet were killing you the whole time!

Versatile Clothing. The more function clothing has the better. I bring pants that can roll up into Capri length. Shirts that can be layered, Swimming shorts that can be worn for hiking etc. Consider fabrics as well. Denim jeans takes forever to dry if you are hand washing your own things. Opt for easy lightweight layers and a fleece jacket for warmth. Pay attention to the customs in the area you will be traveling. Shorts and tank tops are not acceptable in many places of worship so be sure to bring something modest (covering your shoulders and knees). Women may also need to bring a scarf to cover their head.

A Good Attitude. As a women who has travelled alone I find that a good attitude and a smile are great things to bring with you. Most people are friendly and want to help. A smile goes a long way. Learning a bit of the language is helpful also. On my recent trip to Italy I spent the day alone in Florence and wanted to get my hair cut. I went into a salon and was treated with great respect. The hair dresser spoke little English and I spoke very little Italian but I got the best cut and style I’ve ever had. In fact, when our tour leader saw me my hair was the first thing she noticed! She said even Italian women have a hard time getting what they wanted at the salon. I told her I just trusted him to take good care of me. It’s one of my favorite memories of Italy! Be kind, smile and ask for help, ask questions, be brave – you can do it!

That’s it for now. Up next will be a quick tutorial about what I actually pack in my backpack. Until then remember to Live Simply, Breathe Deeply & Travel Lightly!


This is Italy – those awful shoes!