The road trip from San Francisco to Death Valley is full of picturesque scenes at every corner. I did this road trip during the early summer months and the journey was as beautiful as the destinations. I stopped at several places before spending a night at Mammoth Lakes on my first day and reached Death Valley the next day at night. I switched into vacation mode the moment I reached Long Barn on CA state route 108. The road was blanketed in mist, a mystery that unfolded slowly. So if you are a California road trip aficionado or are just curious, join me virtually on this super scenic California road trip to Death Valley.
I visited Winters in California in July, one late afternoon to witness a sunflower studded summer sunset. Needless to say, every picture that I captured through my camera is like poetry in a frame. If you live in and around the San Francisco Bay Area, then these fields of blooming sunflowers in Winters are a must-see. Woodland or Dixon in Yolo County too are good options to see these beautiful and blooming sunflower fields in northern California, early July being the best time to visit. Understandably, the sunflowers have become a tourist attraction in Yolo County.
The Upper and Lower Mesa Falls on the way to the Yellowstone National Park from Idaho is a must-see place for nature lovers. Wrapped in wilderness and calm, the Mesa falls will instantly uplift your mood anytime. On our long drive to West Yellowstone from Idaho, I loved the short trip to Mesa Falls deep in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and enjoyed a short hike from the Upper Mesa Falls to the Lower Mesa Falls.
I can’t breathe
I couldn’t breathe when you uprooted me
To the shores of an alien land
Shackled on boats 400 years back
From the cradle of humanity
I couldn’t breathe when you worked me to death
In the sugar and cotton plantations
So that you could colonise the “new world”
The land of the Algonquian and Iroquois
A beautiful public garden with numerous meandering paths by the Pacific Ocean, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens presents the visitor with blooming flowers and sumptuous ocean views. A must visit place in any trip to Mendocino in northern California, especially in the summer. I visited the gardens during one such memorable trip and here I am writing down a memoir complemented by a photo essay. Allow me to fill your screen with flowers – the living poems!
The Memory of Flowers!
When our vision meets a flower, magic ensues. The color of the flower or the fragrance can transport us to so many worlds. Our mind can quickly take a leap to many years back and we could sit beside the favorite flower pot in our childhood home. The smell of the rose can make our love-smitten moments alive that were lived decades ago. Perhaps we can conjure a future moment laden with beauty and poetry just like the flowers. A scope of infinite possibility to dwell in beauty spontaneously. A dynamic event, hard to reproduce or predict. Today, while walking down a known and habitual lane for my morning walk, I saw spring unfurled in almost every corner, and to my surprise, a completely unpredicted event happened. A few blooming flowers whisked my mind away to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg.
It’s a rainy Saturday morning today in San Jose, California. Night lamps are still on and the lights from them are reflected on the wet courtyard. I can see the raindrops making tiny circles and then disappearing. The valley afar is hiding behind the cloud. Unmindfully, I switched on my phone and saw the count. Total deaths, 64,625 in the world as of now from the novel coronavirus. The omnipresence of death everywhere! Behind each number, there was a life, a story, dreams, and wisdom. Now all gone. The fleeting thoughts and lasting realities of their final hour remained unknown. A big wave from the ocean of death is sweeping the world. All together we are caught in a sudden strangeness.
Washed in refreshing greens, the morning arrived. I greeted the morning with smiles and eyes full of gratitude. And then without wasting much of my time, I dressed up and rushed out of my room to relish every bit of the morning glory. I saw tendrils of mist were streaming over the Great Smoky Mountains afar under a cobalt sky. The moment aroused a whole orchestra of emotions in me. So I decided to spend some time contemplating with a cup of coffee at McKinley Edwards Inn in Bryson City, my refuge at the time.
My wintry wandering this year took me to a city, not primarily of painters, poets or prophets but of businesses, industries, and traders. I tried to feel the pulse of the city and ended up with happy vibes brimming with the beauty of a different kind. History draped houses, canals, lakes, and a large port give this city a unique character that settles comfortably into one’s memory and steps forth like old pals at the mention of Hamburg, the Hanseatic harbor city.