A perfect Sunday…

walnut grove

Up before dawn, we picked up Peet’s coffee and a bag of Noah’s bagels and hit the road. Exploring north for a photo project, following instinct and a hunch. Dense fog along the Sacramento River, farmlands and orchards. Winter’s chill giving way to sun in the afternoon. Knights Landing, Colusa, Robbins, Rumsey, Guinda—towns with quiet Sunday mornings.

Mary’s chapel and cemetery

Homesteader cemeteries—babies dead before they could walk, sons lost in the two world wars, wives gone in childbirth. A few headstones of those who lived long enough to witness horse-drawn wagons give way to Fords, to hold grandchildren on their knees and pass along a farmer’s hunch of what to expect come spring.

Farmhouse in foreclosure

A sprawling farmhouse off a levee road, fallow fields to the north and hundreds of rose bushes carefully planted to the south. Nobody left to roll marbles across the warped wood floors. A foreclosure sign tacked to a Mediterranean blue front door. Orange trees lining the drive dropping fruit to rot and mold on the damp ground. The stories these walls must hold, lives begun and ended, hopes and dreams born and dashed.

Old barn in foreclosure

Old bridge over floodplain at base of Sutter Buttes

Past walnut orchards, old bridges and fields. Geese honking through the fog, egrets perched on the levee’s edge. Putah creek, Cache Creek, Sacramento river, the base of Sutter Buttes, the ridges of the coastal range. Driving till dusk, our eyes full of this land of plenty.

Tacos from Roberta’s Taqueria in Colusa–YUMM!!

Oaks framing Sutter Buttes
dormant orchard
Old truck in Rumsey, CA
Cache creek from old Rumsey bridge
Three billy goats gruff

You can’t get the same trip in the air

Dec. 22—Reverb 10—Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (prompt author: Tara Hunt)

No air travel for me this year, which seems a little odd. But as my blog title suggests, I guess I prefer being on the road anyway! Smelling sage in the Eastern Sierra after a thunderstorm, the pines in Yosemite, dust from a dirt road north of Bishop—I miss those olfactory sensations at 20,000 feet.

Wind blowing my hair from the open sunroof, Stevie Ray Vaughn belting it out through the speakers and bugs splatting on the windshield. Impromptu stops at roadside hamburger stands for a milkshake, photo ops along Highway 395, watching clouds gather and spill over the mountains.

My feet took me a good distance this year as well—running over the Golden Gate, up the golden hills outside of Vacaville, through the Haight in San Francisco, along farm roads outside of town, down a single track dirt path next to Putah Creek, up to the summit of Mt. Whitney.

In a few days, I’ll be driving north along Hwy 1, visiting the Oceano dunes, Big Sur and Point Lobos. Lots of time for walking, smelling, feeling my way along surf, sand, rocks and sky.

For 2011, more road trips, running, hiking and biking. To where? You’ll just have to stay tuned!