Beautiful

Visions along the way

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Looking across Lake Amador at the Mountain

Looking across Lake Amador at the Mountain

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Lovely driving this part of California from Susanville to Sierraville. I considered a detour to Lassen NP but decided to wait as my 62nd birthday will be soon and that means a Senior Pass.  Delicious foods and salads in Quincy in Plumas County on the Feather River. Seems to be the kinda town I like, artsy, historic, dog friendly and scenic.

Wildlife Preserve

Wildlife Preserve

I favored a visit to Sierra Hot Spring in Sierraville, CA. I was involved in Sierra in its early days having frequented Harbin Hot Springs throughout the 70’s and 80s scrubbing and cleaning, hammering, painting, sweeping, gardening and so forth. Harbin took over what had been the Campbell Rebirthing Center and created Sierra Hot Springs. In the beginning at Sierra we soaked in bathtubs and stayed in tents; now there are charming soaking pools, the lodge is open for those seeking a room and unlike Harbin, Sierra has remained relaxed and peaceful, that’s why I choose it for a visit over Habrin. The waters soothed my dry skin and eased tensions and worries, bringing me some grounding and comfort. I was able to stop and enjoy the sun, the sounds of animals and wind and although it was silly I found myself rescuing scores of bugs from the warm pool and sweeping up huge gobs of dead ones with the skimmer. The camping area is well dispersed for privacy and relaxation with nature and I enjoyed the long walk to the pools. I sat on the deck by the Lodge gazing at the neighboring farmland, the garden, the cats and resident dog, the healthy mountain pines and sounds of water, listening to gentle chatter of other visitors including a talented young man singing and playing his guitar.  I would continue to frequent the Springs except visitor pets are not permitted nor provided for. A stuffiness in hospitality is the common norm with no offerings of alternatives, no doggy day care, no affordable pet sitting, no special areas for pets, no dates or times to allow travelers with pets.

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Sure, maybe all these things like pets and children can be annoying. The numbers of pets accompanying their families full or part-time is escalating. I’ve suspected it is one of the reasons I’ve seen sold out RV Parks and campgrounds with travelers spilling out to parking lots, casinos and wilderness locations while the area hotels, motels and resorts remain unfilled. Many towns are instituting a no pet policy along with no RV parking, national parks, state parks are hopeless for a solo traveler with pets unless you really love parking lots and pavement. I’ve seen a ridiculous amount of banishment signs posted in pristine areas:  no dogs, no bikes, no fishing, no camping, no boaters, no horses, no stopping, no entrance, no vehicles, no beverages, no food or drink, no picnicking, no children, no entrance, no sitting, no hiking…. to name a few. Is it really so difficult to design and implement workable policies and/or to offer affordable welcoming options for travelers, campers and wanderers? I expect to see signs saying, no viewing, no looking at scenery; deposit your money in slot and go away, it’s almost this way now in areas of CA where you must pay a fee to stop at a viewpoint to see the view.

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It’s too crowded, there are gorgeous areas that are unfrequented yet everyone jams in and packs the highly advertised and flaunted locations. Fine, these locations seek the tourist dollar but can turn unreasonably hotty-toddy. I don’t want to harp on the past when one could travel with pets and kids and it was an adventure not riddled with banishments and troublemakers, with mandates and thrashers. I loved Canada with its wide open spaces and the northern states with friendly people.  I know things change. There is plenty of abuse, disregard and harm to the environment as well as an overabundance of hardships. It adds to my depression and frustration, I’m not at ease in the madness. Being alive is not synonymous with ease or peace, it’s more struggle, isolation and loneliness. This one time my friend was caring for my dogs so I was able to visit again at Sierra. Although I enjoyed my visit it hurt my heart as here was a living reminder of how I failed to open my pet & art friendly B&B. That failure was not by lack of hard work or expertise, not by lack of desire, drive or clientele but by loss of support; the deaths of my partners and the withdrawal of my philanthropist relative who was funding this dream.  I try to adjust to loss, to accept emptiness and failure and to live in the moment. I try. I mention this as I understand what it’s like when the path is relentlessly unkind and stifling. I have the freedom and means to travel, a few that care deeply about me and a place to come back to. I am very fortunate but I also know that there is a tipping point at which a human is merely waiting for the end. I didn’t stay long at Sierra as I felt responsible to return to my dogs, I could hear Mason saying he missed me.
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The very last part of returning to Placerville turned out to be the most difficult. Hwy 49 was steep, with tight hairpin turns and aggressive heavy traffic. Several times trucks came closer than an inch from smashing my little LT. I was sweating and shaking from the effort of squeezing along the edge and enduring the nasty drivers esp the biggest of the trucks. These drivers were cursing and bellowing at the river folk and throngs of people trying to enjoy their day. It was really terrible. No patience here, no going slow, no welcome acceptance and valuing each other, it’s was a madness, an evil, I think, when time, money, stress and pressure have overwhelmed concern for one another.

OK, today’s song a very unusual Asian rendition of the Kingston Trio’s I’m Going Home 

And an original performance: I’m Going Home

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