Tag Archives: California

Coast to coast and over seas

The trip back to the states included the usual 3 consisting of California, Oklahoma and Florida. In order to catch up quickly I’m going to post some of my favorite photos that Matt and I snagged per state.

As you can imagine, Oklahoma didn’t necessarily provide the best of landscape shots, but Matt was able to capture some wildlife that can easily be overlooked.

You know these lovely ladies, my cousins Lacie and Lana have made random appearences like Hot with a 92% chance of muggyFamily and treats in Oklahoma and Till next time Oklahoma! Check out these comparisons from a few years ago to now.

Moving on to California! Before Matt met me here, I was honored to attend a dear friends wedding. Now when I say “dear friend”, I mean a woman that has shown me the true definition of unconditional love and support. It makes my heart full of joy to see her so happy. Congrats to Liz and Katie! Ps, best Rockabilly wedding ever and a special thanks to my perfect date, Crystal! (you’ve seen her in Jumbled shinaniguns in California and 32 candles on 32 peddles!) Wedding bells put away and Matt finally arriving, it was time to venture around! Of course we hit my hometown of Folsom, but the highlight was Truckee and Lake Tahoe! Here are some of my favorite pictures he took with the rest shown on his site www.stonesharpimagesphotography.comThe Heavenly ski resort provides a gondola ride for all of their participants as well as non skiers to enjoy the epic view of Lake Tahoe. Shall we? We shall!

The above photo is looking back at the Lake and below is what you’ll see as the slow, smooth moving Gondola glides to the top.

Finishing up my visit to the US, I found myslelf all smiles with good ol’ mom. Although it really has nothing to do with this post I feel the need to list a few of my favorite writings that include moments with her. So if you’ve got the time for random reads, I invite you to visit the pasts posts of our time in Cental America when mom was brave enough to venture abroad with me in Puerto de la Libertad and Wrapping up our time in El Salvador. Or maybe you’d be interested in good cry today? Embrace yourself for Not just a dolphin tour, it seems to be a tear jerker.

Getting back to this post, I mainly just wanted to hit the highlights of music, beaches and friends… the perfect combo!

After soaking up time with family, friends and new acquaintances I flew to South Florida to meet back up with Matt.

Intermission: Turns out I traveled straight through the tornados of Atlanta and was held in the airport for two days. Here’s what the terminals look like at 2am with severe weather outside. After 8 canceled flights, 38 hours of wandering the airport and being 130 on the standby list… I finally made it! Our next flight and final stop is home (for now) being the beautiful island of Barbados! 

7 reasons to ride a bike

1. For the health of it! Cardiovascular stimulation is a peice of the pie of fitness (did someone say pie? Mmmmm). Cycling just 20 miles a week reduces your risk of heart disease to less than half that of those who don’t exercise at all.

2. Breath of fresh air, ahhhh. So we don’t leave plastic bottles in the sun due to the cancer-causing toxins released, but what about the interior of your vehicle that bakes all day in the heat? We climb right into the chemical box and drive for hours.  Not to mention our poor environment and the fumes we inhale by simply starting the engine.  I vote to hit the trail and breathe the green.

3.Care to shed a few pounds?
Riding your bike for an hour burns anywhere from 400-700 calories an hour while sitting in your car or on the couch burns a whopping plate of boredom with a side of time to snack. I wonder how many calories you demolish by carrying your bike?

4. Sexy time! The Harvard University found that men over 50 years of age who cycle for at least three hours a week have a 30 percent lower risk of impotence than those who do little exercise. Keep it up! No pun intended.

5. Money hunny. According to research from the University of North Carolina, people who cycle for 30 minutes, five days a week take about half as many sick days as the lazy-o-man.

6. Light bulb! Illinois University found that a five percent increase in cardio fitness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15 percent in mental tests. That’s because cycling helps build new cells in the hippocampus (that funny named region of the brain responsible for memory). Say what?!

7. All the cool kids are doing it! Some of my most fond memories traveling abroad involve me, 2 wheels and happy people! 

Hayden, thanks for the unconditional support in my crazy lifestyle. You’re the type of person everyone wishes they had in their life. Champagne forts, bike rides, sushi love, stupid humor, the list goes on. You’re the best! Plus you always let me win shooting pool (side kiss wink face). So grateful you’re my boy… 

Next stop, Florida! 

Did the bride just arrive in a Uhaul?

World meet Katie, one of my dearest of friends who started this wonderful journey of traveling with me many years ago. Our bus catching, airport sleeping, scary flight surviving, foreign language cherades playing was all prior to this blog. I will say however, it was a huge reason of why it all started. Here’s a fun collage to show you some of our smiles from Vegas to New York, Belize, Mexico and Costa Rica. Although I didn’t think it possible due to her stunning looks and hilarious sense of humor, this incredible woman has found her match. I’m sure Austin, the groom to be, would agree that none hold a candle to Katie’s unconditional way of nurturing those around her and her unstoppable ability to brighten every room. On this day they gathered with family and friends to share their new path as a married couple and I’m so grateful I was there to be a part of it! 

6:00am- Three of us girls arrived to the park with a Uhaul to start the set up. 


A motherly smile is always welcome. Thanks for helping Momma Cathy!

7:30a- I left and returned with a proper coffee for Ms.Katie (Despite the horns, she was one the most angelic Brides I’ve ever worked with). Her wishes: everyone has a good time, there’s enough champagne to go around and to jump in a bounce house with her gown on. 

I asked, “You ordered a bounce house?!” Her reply, “Nope, just something I’d like to do”.

8:15a- The rest of the female crew arrived to help prep the venue. Did I mention that Katie designed and produced her entire wedding from handmade crafts to personalized center pieces? She was so organized that she even drew out diagrams for each tables layout. No stress, just clear instructions made with love. Way to designate girl!

Fun proud fact- Katie asked me to draw her seat holder for the adorable wooden swing. Small job, but I was honored.  

9:20a- Decision was made…what pre-wedding moments would be complete without the offering of bubbles!?

11:15a- All done and heading back to the house for hair, makeup and possibly (most likely) another glass of bubbly.
Noon thirty- Just a quick hour later we returned to the park for all final touches before our bride took the stage. This tent was the official bridal headquarters as well as the starting point for sweet Katie to walk the isle.
  

1:30p- I’m left speechless as I watch this beautifully strong woman walk to expand her well deserved happiness. 


In most weddings, what follows is much rejoicing with food, drinks and (let’s admit) a little awkward socializing with semi-strangers. On this day, I looked around and noticed that all were laughing, smiling and for what I could see, truly enjoying one and another’s company… and the cupcakes.

Pssst (to be said in a whisper) notice that’s Hayden? He’s the one you’ll find in several posts around the world with me and that rugged ol’ blue backpack! 

 3:45p- Magic happened! Call it a gift from the universe, perfect timing, coincidence, a blessing… Whatever you want to classify it as… It happened! After lunch a child’s party unloaded right next to us with none other than a bounce house! Our bride got her wish.

How else does a glamorous woman in a gown and tiara enter a bounce house? Only like my girl would… no shame and head first. Katie, you’re the best!


The walk back was a highlite for me as I got to carry “sis”.  This doll is Katie’s daughter that I’ve unofficially adopted into my future plans of travels. I even bought Ava her first passport as my gift at the baby shower. Diapers? Nah… We have priorities. 

Austin,  I’m so grateful that my amazing friend took that random drink of your beer and even more thankful that not only did you laugh, you welcomed her magnetic charm to capture you for a lifetime. Katie, thanks for allowing us to share this special day. You are both quality energy. Love always!


So here it is. I’ve never been married, but I love love…everything about it! I’ve done uncountable amount of wedding hair, attended a large portion of the ceremonies and cry at about every one whether I know them personally or not. I squeal when my friends get engaged and look forward to the joy found at the receptions. Will I ever be a bride? Who knows. All I know is that here in the now, today… I celebrate what is love and the people around me filled with it! Cheers to the open road, a pure heart and a free spirit.

A mirror selfie, really Erika?

Yup.  This solo photo and tiny post is for two main reasons.

#1 – For the friends and family that don’t have facebook or consistent contact with me.  Here’s an idea of how the end of each travel stretch usually looks like.  

#2 – For me.  In years to come, I’d like to look back and recall the way I felt standing there. So many emotions.

You may be able to recognize the exhaustion behind my eyes.  This comes from weeks of walking, drinking, laughing and minimal sleep that I barely acquired on floors, buses, trains and other random surfaces. You might also see the excitement in my smile to be heading west towards the friends and family who I miss dearly. I’m sure you also saw the random trash can behind me.  Just stating the obvious.

The necklace I have on was made by a kiwi that had moved to Santa Catalina Panama to sell her jewelry at Cafe La Buena Vida. The jacket was given to me by Denise in Amsterdam, I bought the shoes in New York City and snagged the scarf in The Netherlands (my original scarf and boots were taken off of a friends porch, hopefully by someone in greater need). The elephant bag in my hand is the replacement for the original one seen in Sisterhood of the traveling bag. It dubs as a grocery sac, airplane carry-on and my purse.

What you don’t see in the photo below is what’s in the bag on my back. There’s a used dirndl that I rolled up in cling wrap to make it as small as possible, a torn plastic bag stuffed with dirty socks and a pair of jeans that smelt like currywurst and beer.  Of course it also contains my toiletries, more clothes, a first aid kit and invisible bricks that make this thing feel like a bag of rocks at times.

Wouldn’t trade any of it.

 

Next stop in sunny(ish) California! I’ll be there for a quick visit with some incredible friends as I repack “Big Blue” (appropriately named by one of my favorite blog followers). You’ll notice my posts will be fewer in the upcoming weeks as my focus has turned towards preparing for the next glorious chapter. 

To be continued…

32 candles on 32 peddles

For my birthday this year, my only request was laughter. Comedy, friends, music… Anything was acceptable as long as smiles were included! Solution? A 15 person bicycle!

Sac Brew Bike is a company located in Sacramento that provides a man powered bike that seats 15 plus a driver. The faster you peddle, the quicker you go. A professional driver (not me) takes your group to designated locations for each pit stop. Saddle up, buckle in and peddle away!

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Side note: The mustaches seen on most of us were grown within seconds using adhesive and slight pressure. More about that later.

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Leave it to me to underestimate the amount of super-friends that would show up rain or shine. With a bike that seats 15 and 18 amazing friends, I was fortunate that three of them had brought their own bikes to meet up with us. Thus, we now have a crew following the beast. I’m secretly thankful this happened as we took turns on the single bike which was just as much fun!

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Back to the staches… We were debating on superhero capes or party hats when my dear friend Liz simply helped the decision and suggested mustaches. Brilliant! You really can’t take yourself serious when rockin the fur below your nose.

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Here are some random photos taken at a few of the pubs. No captions needed…

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Dear birthday-cycle crew, you absolutely made this event most memorable and entertaining… Couldn’t have done it without you (literally, the bike wouldn’t of moved). The laughter and jokes with open minded, mustache wearing friends was exactly what I wished for. Thank you so much for trekking out in the rain and bringing your positive energy in addition. I love you all!

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