We’ve all experienced it – that feeling when you’re traveling in a strange town, and you meet someone with a connection to something familiar. I don’t know the name for it. It’s serendipitous when it happens, yes, but what is the feeling? Maybe there’s word for it in a different language. I don’t know.
The best I can describe it right now is the “unexpected joy of connection”. That’s how I felt when I started talking to the woman in a turquoise bandanna and her husband sitting in front of the Chart Room Restaurant in Crescent City, CA waiting for a table. Mike was inside putting his name on the list. I don’t often start a conversation with people in recent years. When I was young, I used to strike up conversations with everyone I met, but now Mike is usually the one much better at that than I am. But I struck up a conversation with this woman. Maybe it was the turquoise bandanna she wore that made her seem so accessible. It’s lucky I wasn’t wearing my own favorite green or red scarf that I like to fold in a triangle and tie under my hair in the back. I would have worried that the people in the restaurant Continue reading The Woman in the Turquoise Bandanna
Interrupting the sequence of this blog (STAY TUNED FOR "The Woman in the Turquoise Bandanna) to bring you late, breaking news. We received our first drive-by smile about an hour ago on US 101 north of Cloverdale. How sweet! The girl in the car waved at our "Smile, blogging on wheels!" sign. Here's to you, sweet young girl.
I always loved the song “They Call the Wind Mariah” made popular in the 50s by Frankie Laine. I hadn’t thought about it for many years, but on July 23, 2016, on top of a mountain in the Klamath Mountain Range, the lyrics leapt right out of their cobwebs in the back of my brain, jumped up to the front, fired some old neurons, and I could almost hear Frankie Laine’s voice:
And now I’m lost; so awful lost;
Not even God can find me.
f you take the “Road Not Taken” as Frost speaks of in his infamous poem, be sure it isn’t a one lane path winding up and down and ‘round and ‘round through a mountain. (Chubby Checker’s twist is not how you want a road to move). Also make sure it isn’t the Bear Camp Road that climbs 4,600 ft traversing the Klamath Mountain Range. Wikipedia describes it thus: “a paved, one-lane road with… Full Article
Adventures are happening faster than I can blog! Here are some quick pictures from this morning in Grants Pass. This afternoon we arrived in Crescent City where it’s wonderfully cool and on the ocean! Tonight I hope to post “The Road We Shouldn’t Have Taken” (or some title close to that.) Hello to everyone we’ve met along our way. Stay tuned.
When most people see our little Scooter, they ask if he’s a Shih tzu, and I tell them he’s part Shih tzu and part Lhasa. Yesterday morning, Oliver’s owner asked if Scooter was a Lhasa because Oliver is, and they sure do look as if they could be brothers. (I believe Lhasas are taller than the Shih tzu breed and their noses are longer.) So this woman saw the Lhasa in Scooter because of her experience – which brings me to a point she told me in our brief conversation about her other experience. Oliver’s owner just happened to have been the Regional Sales Manager, if I understood correctly, for the entire Northwest Region of the telephone company. I believe she said AT & T. (We were both in a hurry to get back on the road, so I’m a bit sketchy about the details.) She apparently retired young and is simply living life, enjoying her grandchildren, helping relatives move, doing whatever she might love to do at this stage of her life.
When I processed that information later as we drove out of Centralia towards Salem, I realized that this conversation had gone straight into the box in my head called, “Re’gret City” (accent on the first syllable). I’m not sad I have this area in my brain reserved for keeping track of all the regrets of my life. I keep “Regret City” there because I love the quote: “Maybe the sole purpose of my existence is to be a warning to others.” That’s not a bad thing. Great inventions of the world, great plays, great philosophical and scientific thoughts have been based on improving on the mistakes others have documented. So I’m documenting this observation:
Being a Sales Manager or anyone in charge of a number of people takes pluck and courage. It takes the ability to look someone in the eye and say “no”. It takes the stamina to endure the stress of perhaps not being liked or the stress of weighty decisions. It takes the ability to think more about the welfare of others than of your own.
I know for a fact that I simply am not able to manage anyone; it’s not in my DNA or in my upbringing. (Sometimes the ability to manage other people or endure the stress of decision making is in conflict with our other gifts.) But the lesson for those of you like me who stand by and let the world chisel pieces from your soul is to take baby steps out of your comfort zone and be brave enough to confront issues head-on and not walk away. You don’t have to do it everyday of your life. You don’t have to do it every year, or even every ten years. But wouldn’t It would be nice if, at the very least, you could do it once! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could look back on your life when someone asks you to think of a time when you were really assertive, that you would have at least one image of you taking control of an issue that matters with dignity, assurance, and effectiveness? If you have already created that moment, inspire us with your story in the comment section.
South Meadow Farm
Lavender Hoop by South Meadow Farm
Lavender straight from the Fields
Does it seem like lately there are a lot of “why’s” in your life hanging about in unanswered suspension? Finding answers to the littler “why’s” you encounter can give you a sense of unity and connection to it all.
I know exactly why, out of all the booth’s at the farmer’s market in Chehalis, WA Continue reading It’s Fun to Answer a “Why”
Let’s get back to Thursday, July 14th. (Who says a blog has to be organized, in sequence, timely, or any one of those characteristics that is foreign to so many of us?) I could write about our cute, cozy cabin at Bozeman Hot Springs Campground or the little stream that runs through the camp, or the hot springs that is a unique campground feature, but I want to write about Carrie and the flowers.
Anyone who knows me, knows about my fascination with the Strong Campbell Interest Test (presently called the Strong Interest Inventory). This is a highly respected test used by career counselors to help individuals find their life’s work. As it was explained to me eons ago when I was in my 20’s, the test was based on a unique concept. The hypothesis, as I understand it, was that people who are drawn to certain careers, have similar personal interests. Let’s say you’re interested in Continue reading Carrie and the Flowers
So we're setting up our little tent at Jellystone Campground in Missoula Montana, right? I know, I know. We said no more tenting, but it was getting late and all the hotels were booked because of "The Biggest Bike Travel Celebration Since Bikecentenniel in '76." (We really should check these things out beforehand.) But $30 is a sweet price to pay on the road, plus we just invested in a brand new air mattress and pump, so the dye was cast, and we decided to give tenting a second chance.
Never to be known to roll into a campsite earlier than about 8:00 pm, we were among the last to check in to the cute Yogi Bear Jellystone Lodge. We got our little tent up in the dry camping area (no water or electricity - just some nice rock-less ground), and were just about to put air in the mattress when we remembered the pump needed 4 D-cell batteries. We
raced off to the store in town, but on our way out, we waved to the woman in the tent next to us. (She had gotten her tent up in about 10 min. and was now sitting in a camping chair leisurely reading a book on her tablet.)
When we zoomed back from the store with our batteries and were racing against the setting sun, the woman next to us, having noticed our "BloggingOnWheels" sign on our car, had gone to our website and now asked about it. (This was the first person who had seen our sign and had actually
They would be the last to call themselves pioneers; but I would. We met Nick and Jean at breakfast in the lodge at Bozeman Hot Springs Campground. They were sitting at the table behind us, and as happens over free sausage and pancakes in a lodge that reminds you of your summer camp, people become talkative, and we struck up a conversation. "We're from Minnesota," Jean added to her introduction. "We're from Minnesota," Mike and I chimed in together. (If we had been talking longer before our declaration of our place of origin, we could have guessed where each other was from by the similarity in our accents).
Jean's hooded jacket had the logo of the Minnesota Deer Hunter Association, and we quickly learned that both Nick and Jean were avid
How does it happen that you can meet some people, talk to them for less than 5 minutes, and you know that you could be life-long friends? That’s how it was with DeAnna. She had this really cool hat and was taking off some gloves when she approached to tell us that no dogs are allowed on the lush green grass at the Dwyer Junction Rest Area near Laramie Peak, WY. (Scooter had decided he needed to simply lay down on this cool green carpet. He failed to read the sign saying "No Dogs on the Lawn" and so did we!) Maybe it was DeAnna's hat and her rolled up jeans that made her so approachable. When you think about it, a person has a lot of choices for hats when working out in the sun. You can wear a visor hat or a floppy garden hat or a hat like DeAnna wore. I think it was the wide brim of the khaki hat and the loose strings that suggested an Indiana Jones kind of charm. Her rolled up jeans, while having a practical purpose, really spoke more to her obvious youthful spirit. As we started talking, I asked if she
There should be towering Cathedral doors at the entrance of Canyon Road Artist quarters, and you should have to whisper in reverence when walking around the Pueblo style buildings that house the artists' eclectic works. We had visited here two years ago, and we knew then we had to come back.
Instead of Cathedral doors, at the entrance of Canyon Road are the life-size poignant and stunning bronze sculptures by David McGary. The emotional intensity of McGary's Native American sculptures provoke questions not only of the psychology of Native people, but psychology of each of us. McGary captures moments of nobility, pride, courage, endurance, determination - all cast in bronze to be viewed not as fleeting emotions, but frozen in forged metal to be admired and emulated.
Owner of Caffe Greco - Michael Lerner
We knew we were at the same place we had been on our last visit because we
Blogging on wheels with a dog would be easy for a Cirque du Solei performer - not so much for this writer. So hang on for pictures of yesterday's visit to Santa Fe and a chat with the affable artist David Jonason and with the 80 year old owner of Cafe Greco , Michael Lerner.. As soon as Scooter's nap is over, we'll be on it 🙂 Cheers from Billie on the road somewhere in Wyoming.
It was late '69, early 1970 when I saw Flagstaff for the first time. I'll never forget it. It was dusk and the sun was setting in a purple haze behind the mountain. I was in the car and remember that the view actually took my breath away.I always knew Flagstaff had a quaint looking downtown area, and yesterday we found it in the historic district. That's were we came across a unique restaurant, not only for the food, but for the decor. Initially, it was the colored umbrellas outside that drew us in to "The Toasted Owl" on 12 S. Mikes Pike. I hadn't realized that this was a vegan restaurant nor that every table in the cafe is a different vintage type table which, according to my husband Mike, are all for sale. This restaurant is teeming with owls, not real ones, of course, but every kind of owl-themed art you can think of. (It's always charming when you have a theme). Apparently people come to the restaurant not only for the food, but to buy these antique owl objects.(A bubbly blonde waitress came over to get a embroidered crewel
It wouldn’t have been so bad. The weather in Flagstaff was great last night – probably 60 or so. The rate for the tent site was only $25, and the people at the Woody Mountain Campground and RV Park could not have been more genuinely friendly. (The woman checking us in was closing at 7:00 pm when we came zooming in, but stayed open to make Mike a huge ham sandwich in the Woody Mountain little campground store !)
So it might have all worked out if it hadn’t been for the air mattress! It was the leak that did us in (mostly) – that and crawling in and out of the tent on bodies that never kept up with Yoga lessons – well, let’s face it, on bodies that never actually took a Yoga lesson.
But in spite of the leaking mattress and crawling around, we were working it out. We decided to put our comfy comforter on top of the air mattress which was about 1/4 filled and to sleep on the comforter.That should cushion the rocks, we reasoned. We had two small “throws” to put on top of us. By 1:30 though, the air mattress was 0% filled, and even though Mike seemed to be sleeping ok, I hadn’t been that lucky. Finally, I gave up on wrestling with the rocks and for control of Continue reading For Sale, Road Trip Tent, Used Once!
Among one of the worst phrases in the English language is the phrase, "The course has been taken". While that phrase may serve us well and give us comfort after a rocket has been launched or in the middle of a haircut, in situations where there is still the option of turning back or changing courses, we probably should seriously consider doing so. Never being one to hesitate changing my mind about anything, we have changed our course. After going up the amazingly beautiful Pacific Coast, stopping at Hobson State Beach in Seacliff, CA and having supper in the quaint beachside town of Carpentaria, we were going to head up to Seatle. However: news flash - hotel rooms have
skyrocketed in price since our last road trip two years ago (almost double) and we decided tenting in Big Bear might be the answer. (more about finding a campsite in Big Bear in the next blog).
So the lesson of this blog is simply: instead of deciding that the "course has been taken" and you have to stoically stick to it, consider instead the Chinese proverb: "He who continues to travelon the wrong road, is truly unwise." (or something like that). See you next posting.
The first step to take when you embark on a business road trip is to get a sign. Of course, if you’re a plumber exclusively serving the community of West Allis,Wisconsin, your sign might not be relevant in Eugene, Oregon. However, if your domain name is something like “BloggingOnWheels.com.” a sign on your car would seem to be a perfect marketing tool. And it would be if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t wait until two days before your road trip to visit the Fast Signs store and get one!
Unless you actually think long and seriously about how to represent your company to the anticipated hordes of people you’ll meet, you might end up hating the sign you just spent $86 for as I did after receiving the finished product. You’ll then might end up texting two friends and your daughter telling them you hate your new sign for some reason or the other. In my case, it was because the message I chose for the sign sounded to me to be too pushy and non-inclusive. Well, yes, you’re right. I am the one who gave the printer the text, “Smile, we may be blogging about you,” but when the words actually slapped themselves onto to the driver and passenger doors of our little Prius, they seemed just too much like a command to me. If people smile at me, I want them to do it on their own volition without the fear or hope that they’ll be mentioned in a blog. And then there was that “finding the best in America” part. Given the we are a global family , shouldn’t I have put, “finding the best of the world” Of course, our road trip is only in the US, but still. Luckily, for my husband’s sanity, my friends both said they liked the sign and the message was positive, not nationalistic as I suggested. My daughter also assured me in a text, as delicately as she could muster, I suppose, that the sign should stay -her exact words being, “It’s cute. You’re crazy “
So in signs as in life, just remember “Think long and hard about the words you use to “represent”. And if you see our car around Carpenteria,CA tomorrow headed for “who knows where,” honk 3 times, and wave out the window and we’ll know you’re following our blog! Peace!
What IS the Small Business Road Trip?
What IS the business road trip? The business road trip is the (hopefully not delusional) idea that a small business can work, play, and see America at the same time. We're just following the Google corporate model of combining work and play with "see America" as thought de jour.) In our particular case, the business road trip is a husband, wife, and their dog little Scooter packing up their Prius with computers (3 of them), a suitcase full of product (200 copies of “Lucky, the Left Pawed Puppy,” and a couple of cases of our "Presidential Solitaire”) taking to the “open road,” and blogging about it. For those who weren’t born in the 40’s (OMG) the translation of Open Road is this: You don’t exactly know where you’re going, when you’re going to get there or when you’re coming home.
We have a tent and a LaQuinta ‘Frequent Stay-er’ Card (better known by LaQuinta as a “Returns Card”.) So we’ll be off now. Stay Tuned for our next posts: “First Get a Sign,” “How to Lose a Pound a Day on Your Road Trip,” and “Why We Take Risks.” If you subscribe to our blog you can vicariously experience our adventures of meeting new people, staying in new places, and hopefully selling our goods – which will also be a new experience). “Vicarious” might be the best way to go on this trip.
Remember, “ Smile,” someone may be blogging about YOU!
Along our way up and down the coast (we’ve abandoned the pop-up trailer: see previous posting) we decided to review small businesses that we fell in love with – all serendipitous encounters of the best kind.
So, we had sandwiches packed in the cooler on our way back to California and were getting hungry around the exit to Coburg, OR. We started driving through a delightful little residential/antique shop area and stopped at a cool, shady park, and were surprised to see two hammocks hung between the posts of the shelter in the park. They looked like well-made hammocks, but yet our hearts were sorrowful that perhaps this was the only way a couple who was homeless had to sleep. Our sorrow was eased quickly as my husband looked over to the bikes that were chained next to the hammocks – expensive long trek road bikes
After we finished lunch and walked the dog, we started to drive away, but right next door to the park was a house with an open patio where the sign read Ice Cream and Photo Gallery. We had to stop for that! It turns out that this park is a common stopover for bicycle riders to snooze at mid-day before they finish the day’s ride. Walt who owns the quaint ice cream store was quite friendly, and the ice cream great as well. He is a professional photographer with a little extra time to sell ice cream. If you’re near Coburg and need a break, get off the highway and tell Walt you were sent by a blogger from 2015!
I didn’t know what a pop-up was either, Now I’m writing to you from one. A pop-up is a camping trailer and doing business from one might not be for you and your business. (I’m not sure it is for mine, but we’re giving this a whirl.) Would I like to have one of those top-of-the-line motor homes to do for our “on-the-road” business tour? Of course,
“Yes!,” but only under one condition – that a new Mercedes
with conscientious environmental gas usage would be in our budget. (Sometimes old environmentalists just can’t do the gas-guzzling thing. “It’s a moral imperative” as the character Chris Knight says to Mitch in the old movie, “Real Genius”)
Right now I am blogging to you from inside “The Enterprise,” getting ready to post this blog and then on to my 2nd blog. After that, I’ll put in some hours doing my paid online job scoring student essays.
Meanwhile my husband is out hiking the hills around Valencia, CA with his son Steve on Steve’s 30th birthday.
But tonight I swim in a beautiful pool and tomorrow we take off headed north (maybe) to San Francisco where my book “Lucky, the Left Pawed Puppy” is in Lefty’s store on Pier 39. Meanwhile, in the evenings, Mike and I will be working on our new app which will connect to our blog “In Love and War: Love Letters from Vietnam” blog and our soon-to-be-released audio book “Spoken Stories”.
So, if you see a tan Toyota pulling the pop-up in these pictures, just give us a wave!
Cheers from Billie, Mike, and Scooter – on the road with Language Rocks.