Tag Archives: Folsom

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! 

9 Rounds of glorious sweaty smiles

I’d like to start this post out by acknowledging that although my opinion on nutrition and fitness changes as life presents new chapters, I still try to maintain a well rounded lifestyle.  If it be a new workout, a fresh cooking idea or some crazy cleanse, I generally tend to try anything just for the adventure of it.

For those of you that haven’t seen me through my stages of exploring health, here’s an extreme difference (and never shared before) variations in my fitness.
  

Putting the equally important side of “diet” aside, I’m going to focus on an energetic workout that has added a new element to my routine.

9Round is a specialized program dedicated to providing a unique, fun and challenging workout that guarantees results. It combines “old school boxing” and traditional kickboxing with interval cardiovascular and strength training. You’d think with only 9 rounds that you would get bored of the cylce, but day to day, I rarely did the same thing twice. New, fresh and heart pumping! 
  

Things I love about it:
1. It’s 30 minutes! You arrive, wrap your hands and start your workout. Since they have a bell controlling your rotation, you’re guaranteed 9 rounds of incredible challenges with 30 seconds between each set. Side note, the 30 seconds is not a resting period… Oh no… They call out a fun (ha, ha, ha) element of activity for you to sweat through. Examples: squat jumps, push ups, plank hold, sprints or my personal favorite plank jacks. What’s that? Hold a plank and jump your feet apart and together.
  
2. Class time? Nonsense. During opening hours, you show up when you want and start as soon as the next 3 min bell rings. 30 minutes later, you’re out the door! 
3. You have the option to go around as many times as your little body can endure. 9 rounds and you’re still a champ? Go again!
  
  
4. The beats! We all know music can enhance the mood and increase the vibe, so they let it rock… or hip hop, or old school R&B, funk or classic jams!

5.The coaches are what I consider to be motivational. They set the bar higher than you desire, then applaud you when you exceed it. Fierce, gentle and supportive are the words that come to mind when I think of my 9rounds family.

The top before/after shot is the owner of the 9 Rounds in Folsom, California. Victoria continuously encourages all of her members with an enthusiastic energy that is undeniable… and who wouldn’t want to workout harder for a coach with arms like that!?
  

Don’t live near Folsom? No need to fear, they’re everywhere! Check out the main website at www.9round.com   for other locations and more detail about this superstar program.
Dear Victoria and friends that I call my coaches, you’re unforgettable smiles and welcoming support has made an impression on my daily routine.  Although I’ll be away for some time, I will definitely incorporate your workouts within my fitness from abroad. Cheers to you and your life changing attitude!

Sincerely,
(Appropriately nicknamed)
Free Spirit 



 

Worst tour guide ever?

Once upon a time I went to Munich Germany to experience the ever so popular festivities of Oktoberfest. Who would of known that this event would introduce two of my now dearest friends, Carina and Florian.

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I’m grateful to say that it would take several posts for me to show you all of the connections we’ve had since 2010, including but not limited to Amsterdam, Greece, Costa Rica, Recklinghausen and another Oktoberfest. With that said, let’s just jump to the exciting news that my amazing German bundles-of-joy finally made a visit to California!

Although I had been traveling as well and only arrived 18 hours prior to them, I had been planning a few adventures to show them just a small variety of what Northern California has to offer. Little did I know, my calendar dates were not in line with well… anything.

Could I really be the worst tour guide ever?!

Worst tour guide ever: Spend 4 years bragging about living next to the grand Folsom Lake, just to have them visit during one of the biggest droughts in history.

Redeem the situation by bringing them to a different body of water known as the American River. Sun, water, smiles… Check!

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Worst tour guide ever: Invite them to a big night on the town during the only holiday weekend in which everyone is out of town.

Redeem yourself by taking them on a Johnny Cash tour (they’re huge fans) from the actual “Folsom Prison” to the tracks in which you used to “hear the train uh comin…”.

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Eventually making it to Reno (where Mr.Cash “shot a man… just to watch him die”).

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Worst tour guide ever: Almost run out of gas on the way to your next stop.

Redeem yourself by making sure to point out the stateline… Twice!

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Worst tour guide ever: Register for a “discount motel” without ever seeing it before.

Redeem yourself by bringing out a camera and spending five extra minutes in the room doing, hmm… I don’t know what to call this one.

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Worst tour guide ever: Describe the perfect beach… just to arrive at a full parking lot and an over populated coastline.

Redeem yourself with a walk through the gorgeous greenery of North Lake Tahoe to a lesser known beach. Classic panoramic views and sandy toes… Check!

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Worst tour guide ever: Get them really excited about the huge Gondola ride, stand in line, get to the ticket booth and find out it has doubled in price since last time you were there!

Redeem yourself by taking a night walk lit by fireworks and stumble upon what appears to be a huge bike?! Photo time!

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Worst tour guide ever: Take them to a country bar explaining the art of line-dancing and prepare them for tall cowboy hats, only to walk in to an empty bar with a dj playing pop and hip-hop music all night.

Redeeming yourself isn’t as necessary here, because with energetic music and quality people… fun just follows.

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Worst tour guide ever: Drive them to San Francisco not realizing there were a dozen festivals happening which means, extreme traffic and no parking…anywhere!

Redeeming happened with a refreshing walk across the popular Golden Gate Bridge.

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To conclude the possibility of me being the worst tour guide ever, I’ll close with the defense that when you combine genuine people with a true desire for a good time… No tour guide, weather disasters or other unexpected fault can tarnish a beautiful memory. Honored to have been a host and now sad to see them go, I’ll simply look forward to the next glorious time we meet again. Fingers crossed, I’m not the guide.

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I want to recognize several fabulous people that you see in the post above.
Hayden, (who met Florian in Greece and Carina in Amsteredam) thank you for opening your home, loaning your truck and being the best second worst tour guide with me!
Michelle and Nick, (met Carina and Hayden in Costa Rica) your lovely Truckee home and energetic night out in Reno absolutely enhanced our time together, thank you for all of the love!
Nate, (who was in Germany with me, but didn’t get to meet these guys till now) thanks for being so flexible, your hospitality didn’t go unnoticed!
Ian, (who met their friends Denise and Ioni in Argentina) I’m so thankful we got to celebrate your birthday with you this year!
Mike, (met Carina in Amsterdam) so glad you brought another smile to the table.
Crystal, thanks for making time to come out and finally meet the duo I’ve been telling you about. Ps, you doing the worm made the night!

The Folsom Farmers Market

If you’ve been following long enough, you’ll know it’s very likely to find me in a local market sampling any and every thing that’s offered. I love food.

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This round of staying in California placed me living a short distance from the local farmers market. For the first time I was a tourist in my home town as I chatted small talk with the venders every Saturday morning. Walk with me (or kidnap some friends and jog with me)!

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I apologize to the non vegetarians out there as I didn’t get close ups of any animal products. Take my word, there were definitely quality hunks of meat out there and I’m not talking about the guys who came to the market still dressed in their gym clothes.

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This stand sells goodies from under the sea. Fresh fish, smoked items and unique treats such as salmon bacon and fish jerky were a just a few of the options.

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All the way from The Netherlands (one of my favorite European countries) is Marga. With vegan treats and energy boosting snacks, she greeted me with a familiar accent. I replied with the only sentence I know in her language, “Klink ik nederlands?”, which translates “Do I sound Dutch?”. She responded with a giggle and said, “Not really. WellI I guess a little bit since I understood you!”.
Her website offers nutrient packed snacks and details of how it all started. Check her out at www.commonkettle.com

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A special thanks to Teresa. As if her tasty jam wasn’t enjoyable enough, the supportive conversation was something I looked forward to each week. Ps, apricot is amazing if you ever get the chance to order from her!

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Nita, side by side with her daughter, was always eager to divi out the samples (I’m sure because they were confident that you couldn’t resist another bite). From gooey caramel enhanced rice Krispy treats to peanut butter brownies, self discipline was a must when passing by this stand!

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Peel’d has a brilliant idea that is beng loved around the Sacramento area. Each day they juice a fresh new batch of smoothies and bring the amazing flavors out to the market. I know most of you savvy little health nuts out there have a juicer or Vitamix, but this little backpacker doesn’t have room to lug those appliances around. Instead, I choose over worn clothes, trail mix, and a half empty first aid kit.
With that said, this trip I’ve been spoiled with a fresh juice every Weekend. Glorious! If you’re jealous and would love these juicy deliveries to your doorstep, check out their website at www.getpeeld.com.
To Tim and my peel’d friends, your greetings every week spoke in volumes and have still left an imprint on my Saturday morning experiences, much gratitude to the dozens of samples (that you knew I had already tried) and the gifted bottles that I enjoyed to the last drop!

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I didn’t get to know this lovely lady as well as the others, but Nicole’s creativity and passion towards organic dog food stood out to me. Add animals to the list of things that I don’t backpack with, but if you have a healthy pup at home, feel free to look her up at www.inthedoghousetreats.com

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If I could remember the exact words these folks spoke to me I’d share them with the world to brighten the day. Their supportive compliments fueled my traveling fire and the mini bag of granola traveled with me well! Thanks again!

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Usually my market posts are crammed with fruit and veggies, but this round the vibrant people and homemade goodies took over. I don’t want to leave out the vendors that kept my counter piled high with rainbow colored edibles from the earth. Thank you for the abundance of plants grown in your backyard!

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It all starts with a “Hello”.

Ok ok, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted but I’ve got wonderful reasons why. Let me catch you up on just a portion of last months beautiful connections and reunions Ive gotten to experience.

First up, we have an outstanding host turned friend that took me in while trekking New Zealand. From Wellington, I bring you (again) Regina! Here we were in new Zealand followed by a photo of us now!

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Her and her husband Mike came to the states in the beginning of a backpacking journey through North and South America. My heart is filled with excitement knowing the path they’re about to experience. Congrats my friends!

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On this night, we went down to Sutter street with Freya (you read about her in the previous post) to show them the popular walk of Folsom.
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Handstand shot? Of course! Thanks to the help of my world traveling buddies, we created a tri-friendstand! Any guess on how many attempts to capture this photo? Maybe 2, 3… or 30, nobody was counting.
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Moving on to these fine gentlemen who were introduced to me during my pre-Eurotrip training (I didn’t like beer and was soon to be standing on benches in Munich at one of the worlds largest beer festivals… I needed help). I then got to put my practice to purpose and reunited with them at Oktoberfest!
I met the fine couple (who’s expecting their first baby) at the same Oktoberfest and proceeded to “Proast!” with them for the following 3 years in Munich

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Now we all reconnect in California for some quality bowling and catch up time!

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Then there’s the unforgettable Marshall. We met poolside in Vegas and began to randomly chat about travels, shocking right? We took the day after and walked the strip coming to the conclusion that, indeed someday we would reunite abroad.

Sure enough, just months later we high-fived at a pub in Amsterdam before starting our road trip through Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and The Czech Republic. If you were following back then, I’m sure you can recall some of the adventures, one of my favorites being Salzburg done in 24 hours.

Fun friend fact: Marshall also got to meet Simon, the Dutch guy I climbed Machu Picchu with (whom I originally met in Argentina). As well as Denise, my dear friend that I met in Spain, reunited with in Argentina and visit every year in The Netherlands. Not to mention, he met the German couple from the bowling pictures above at Oktoberfest last year!

Now, he makes his way to California with his beautiful girlfriend Jaquiline for a west coast visit.

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Who else does he get introduced too? Mike and Hayden, who also got to meet Denise and Simon abroad. Bringing all of my worldy friends together…. One by one!

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The following is a conversation from a hostel room near Lake Tekapo that started this wonderful friendship:
“Erika. Yep, what’s yours?”.
“No, that’s my name. I was asking for yours”.
“It’s Erika, I already told you”… this name game went on for far too long before we realized that we were both named Erika (or Erica, if you ask her). The two of us were traveling alone in the middle of New Zealand which brought a beautiful opportunity to carpool south. Hundreds of miles in a car that barely fit us and our backpacks, we ended our journey sharing a a hostel in Queenstown.

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Erica, being from New York and me a California girl, we joked about the day we’d reunite. 2 years later and over 6000 miles away, a great magnetic pull finds us side by side again, and how convenient… she needed a haircut!

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It’s connections like this that remind me how powerful a smile and “hello” can truly be. Would if she was hadn’t of asked my name? What would the outcome had been if I was too shy to respond?
As I finished the haircut, we dreamt of the the location for our next reunion. It was then that I realized yet again, just how fortunate I really am.