Go, Kristi!!!

My travels through life and the world.

Days 20-21: Phoenix, AZ July 11, 2014

Filed under: Countryside,Hiking,Tourist attractions,Travel,USA,Writing — Kristi @ 9:50 am

I decided to drive to Phoenix via CA 78 rather than straight using I 10. It’s all about adventure and interstates just don’t seem adventurous. Anyway, it was a bit adventurous, but we’ll get to that later.


I started through a dry mountain scene, which was lovely but windy so not a lot of pictures.


IMG_2462 (800x600)         IMG_2469 (800x600)


But then I got into the sand dunes, which were really cool. I stopped at a pull-off to take some pictures…


IMG_2480 (800x598)


And got stuck in the only patch of sand that was on the parking lot. Luckily just at that moment a Jeep pulled up (with a winch if necessary) and the guys pushed me out. I feel like this was karmic repayment for the overturned Jeep incident last week. In reality I could have dug myself out, but it was nice to not have to as it was 108 degrees. It is also amazing that there happened to be someone at that viewpoint at that time, because I saw almost no cars. So there you go, and here is a picture of the sand pile.


IMG_2481 (800x600)


Then I hit more rocky mountains and my first ever saguaro cacti, there is the picture. When I saw them I started cheering. It was a very exciting moment for me.


IMG_2484 (800x600)          IMG_2497 (800x600)


Then I stopped in Buckeye, AZ to check out the local history museum, which was closed, and the Hobo Joe statue that is very large.


IMG_2513 (600x800)              IMG_2521 (600x800)


It is monsoon season in the south west, which I didn’t realize, so my wettest time was in the desert. On the plus side, it has created some amazing cloud formations.


IMG_2524 (600x800)



Bryan and I did some work at the local Barnes & Noble.


IMG_2529 (800x600)


And then we tried to go see some ruins but it ended up being much too late, so I went the next day to the Sears Kay ruins. They were built by the Hohokam around 900 years ago. This was my first opportunity to see Native American ruins, but definitely not my last. These were really exciting for me and reminded me of my tour of medieval ruins in the UK a couple years ago.


IMG_2541 (800x600)                  IMG_2548 (800x600)


It also afforded excellent views of the valley.


IMG_2553 (800x600)          IMG_2547 (800x600)


This side trip was on my way to the Grand Canyon, which *spoiler alert* is very grand. I think I took roughly 250 pictures, so I’ll have to try to limit the ones I post. I also went to the petrified forest, which was pretty cool. So you have that to look forward to.


Days 17 and 18: Carlsbad, CA July 10, 2014

Filed under: Countryside,Daily Life,Food,Travel,USA,Writing — Kristi @ 6:02 pm

I have some time before my audiobooks download so I think I’ll post about my time with Vicki (my aunt) and Dave in Carlsbad, CA (outside San Diego).


I arrived safely in Carlsbad on July 2 (with only the rear-ending incident to bring me down), and Vicki and I finished a bottle of wine. She made excellent crab enchiladas which we ate out on the back patio. I’m actually shocked that I didn’t take a picture out of their back yard (you can see a little in my work photo), because it is gorgeous!


On July 3 I had the pleasure to go to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It was awesome!


IMG_2370 (800x600)



Because Vicki donates to the zoo, I got a free ticket and a free tram ride. It was cool. I saw all sorts of herbivores plus a cheetah on the trip.



IMG_2389 (800x600)         IMG_2396 (800x600)


Then I went to the big cat enclosures. The picture on the right is a lioness coming back with her Thursday afternoon treat, a white bunny. The photo on the left is the tiger, obviously, who had been stalking a child through the fence, but got disgusted and decided to hang out with me for a little while. 🙂


IMG_2415 (800x600)         IMG_2430 (800x600)


I saw all sorts of other animals, which was cool, but I figure the people reading this have also seen those animals before. The one I was very excited about was the California Condor (I could not get a good picture through the fence). When I was in elementary school I used to always do projects on the condors for science class, I’m really happy they are making a comeback in the wild!


I got back and did some work. Here is my work picture. 🙂


IMG_2448 (800x600)


Then, for the Fourth of July I decided to continue my Fastfood on the Fourth tradition (started in France with my friend Julia, roughly 5 years ago) and had my first In-n-Out Burger experience. These are the two lovely ladies who served me. 🙂 (I got permission to post the picture of them).


IMG_2452 (800x600)           IMG_2451 (800x600)


And for my patriotic spirit I painted my nails (don’t judge, I didn’t have appropriate tools).


IMG_2454 (800x600)


Then I stayed in for a most excellent party, of which I also have no pictures. I’m enjoying my time rather than blogging my time. 🙂


The next day I drove east to Phoenix, so you have cacti, sand, and thunder storms to look forward to in the next post.


Days 14-16: The Pacific Coast Hwy and Santa Barbara July 5, 2014

Filed under: Countryside,Tourist attractions,Travel,USA,Writing — Kristi @ 9:44 am

After leaving San Francisco I had 2 days to reach my friend in Santa Barbara so I decided to drive down the coast road (CA 1) the whole way. First, I met with a high school friend for breakfast in Pacifica. Excellent pancakes!

IMG_2307 (600x800)


Then I headed south. It was a beautiful day and I decided that I wanted to camp on the coast near Big Sur. Here are some pictures of the road, it was gorgeous, amazing, and very very curvy!


IMG_2312 (800x600)         IMG_2313 (800x600)

IMG_2320 (800x600)



I had a bit of an adventure. I checked out the campgrounds in the area I wanted to camp and they were all full. Unfortunately I didn’t decide that I wanted to do this until the last minute, so it was too late to make reservations. One very helpful lady at the campground said that I could turn up a particular road into the mountains (I don’t remember the name), park on a turnout, and just pitch my tent. So I did. Here was my campsite for the evening.





IMG_2332 (800x600)         IMG_2333 (800x600)



I did actually get a couple hours of work it, it was VERY sunny!




IMG_2329 (800x600)


A nice German woman named Lena stopped by to ask for directions and decided to stay, so I had some company. Then the fog came rolling in. It looked pretty cool.





IMG_2344 (800x600)



In fact, the fog didn’t leave until the next afternoon, so this is the drive for about 15 minutes the next day…


IMG_2347 (800x600)



Until I came upon this.


IMG_2350 (800x631)  (I gave this picture to insurance)


About 10 minutes into my drive I met Jonathan, who had flipped the Jeep but was relatively unharmed. Luckily he had been going slow or he would have ended up over the cliff and in the Pacific. Anyway, I stayed with him until the tow truck arrived, helped him get a rental car, and sent him on his way. We ended up spending about 4 hours together, and I had company for a short part of my drive, which was nice. He made it safely back to Indiana.


And I made it safely to Santa Barbara, and Elise! We hung out, had excellent Mexican food, and then did some sightseeing at the pier and in the mountains.





IMG_2356 (800x600)         IMG_2360 (800x600)


The next morning we went to the Santa Barbara Mission, which is still an active Franciscan monastery. As you can see in the second picture, I almost became a monk, but I was too short for the habit. 🙂


IMG_2365 (800x600)         IMG_2368 (600x800)


Then I headed out full of Backyard Bowls’ quinoa with cashew milk, a very California kind of breakfast, I think and into LA traffic. Honestly, it wasn’t so bad except I was rear-ended, which was startling, but did no damage. I made it safely to Carlsbad, CA with no further incidents.


Days 6-7 – Portland June 24, 2014

Filed under: Food,Hiking,USA,Writing — Kristi @ 7:36 am

I don’t actually have a lot to post about the last two days, mostly because I kept forgetting my camera.


Sunday we had breakfast at Pine State Biscuits. I had some of the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had, then we checked out of the apartment and went to the Saturday Market on the waterfront. We hung out with my aunt and uncle and then went out to dinner with my cousins. Finally, I met up with my friend Monica (there is a picture of us below somewhere), and drank wine.


Yesterday (Monday) was a bit more exciting. My day started out with productivity! I met up with a friend who teaches in the area and we had a Write-In. Here is my writing picture for the day.




See how diligent we are? This was at a nice coffee shop on Park Avenue.


Then Monica and I decided to do the 4T trail (the 4 Ts are actually: train, trail, tram, and trolly), which allowed me to see a lot of the city including a 4 mile hike. I forgot my camera, but Monica sent me a few pictures.


trail         tram

Tramview         tramview1


We finished up the day with street food (I got Ethiopian, which I have missed since David’s Place closed in Iowa City) and a nice, long dip in the hot tub. I’ve been doing a LOT of hiking and my hip muscles were really starting to hurt. The hot water was lovely!


And that’s it. Today I’m heading to the redwood forest so I won’t have internet for a couple days, and tomorrow to Aunt Kristi’s house in the mountains!


It’s been a while May 29, 2014

Filed under: Countryside,Tourist attractions,Travel,USA,Writing — Kristi @ 3:41 pm

It has been almost two years since I posted an update. I’m not good at keeping up with things like this. I was never even a good journal writer. I am going to try to be better, though.


In the next couple months I will be really focusing on writing my dissertation, but I will be going on an epic roadtrip. Every day I will take a picture of my writing backdrop as I work my way around the country. I’m also planning on connecting this blog to a personal webpage that will be more focused on my work (research, teaching, etc.)


Here is my anticipated route. It should take about 4 weeks and will hopefully take me through amazing scenery. I’m really looking forward to  being on the open road. 🙂


See you soon!


Route Map