A BIRTHDAY ROAD TRIP

In 2007, the movie Into the Wild was released and became an instant favorite of mine. It was the first place I ever saw Salvation Mountain: a giant, colorful, sculpture-like work of folk art in the middle of the desert. I’ve been trying to see it in person ever since, but the timing hasn’t quite worked out. Until now!

We spent my birthday driving out to the mountain, taking in the totally surreal, slightly absurd beauty of it, and then making the trek home. Ruby came too! Despite the awful weather (100 + degrees), we had a very successful outing that resulted in the photos below and a sleepy puppy who snored on my lap the entire drive home.

DSC_4964

DSC_4966

DSC_5030

DSC_5182

Selfie game, strong.

DSC_5014

DSC_4973

DSC_5023

DSC_5185

DSC_5138DSC_5139

DSC_5156

DSC_5122DSC_5317

DSC_5325

DSC_5022

DSC_5331

DSC_5213DSC_5257

DSC_5278DSC_5032

Obviously there is a lot of religious imagery here, and I’m not a terribly religious person. What I like about Salvation Mountain is the message of love. For Leonard Knight (the man who spent years building the mountain out of adobe clay, straw, and lead free paint) the idea of spreading love and beauty is tied very closely to God, but for me it was more about experiencing the creative spirit of the place, rather than the religious spirit.

Huge thanks to other M for making the trek, putting up with me all weekend, and helping me FINALLY cross this trip off my bucket list!

 

SMALL ADVENTURES: ARROYO BURRO BEACH

For Valentine’s Day, the other M and I drove up to Santa Barbara specifically to visit Arroyo Burro Beach (a.k.a. Henry’s Beach). This beach is special because it allows dogs, both on and off leash. We’ve been wanting to take Ruby for a long time so it was really a gift for all three of us. She got to play in the sand and the ocean with other dogs (two things she’s never experienced before, to our knowledge) and we got to relax and take a mini vacation. Everyone wins!

At first, she was a little unsure so we stuck to sniffing rocks.

DSC_2166

Did I say sniffing? I meant climbing.

DSC_2175

Then she started to loosen up a bit and have fun. Look at that puppy smile!

DSC_2244

We went a little closer to the water…

DSC_2343 copy

And then a little closer…

DSC_2252

NOPE! TOO CLOSE! Ruby is not a water dog.

DSC_2263

We stayed safely on the sand for the rest of the afternoon.

DSC_2305

Then went to our hotel and promptly passed out from all the excitement.

DSC_2382

We made a spontaneous return to the beach the next morning because Ruby had such a great time sniffing and digging around. She even made some dog friends, which is a big deal for her because she isn’t super social.

DSC_2390

It was low tide and the water wasn’t as scary. We climbed more rocks and sniffed every single one of them.

DSC_2457

DSC_2510

After a while, we gave the water another try…

DSC_2512

But she still wasn’t feeling it.

DSC_2521

So we chased some birds instead!

DSC_2522

Then went home with a very happy, very tired little pup.

DSC_2531

DSC_2247

If you ever make the trip to Henry’s Beach, you can have peace of mind knowing it now comes endorsed by these two humans and a beagle.

Small Adventures: Daphneyland

The other M’s birthday was last week and we celebrated by going on a volunteering mini-adventure to Daphneyland (a basset hound rescue ranch) in Acton, CA. He is obsessed with basset hounds, so I thought it would be nice to simultaneously better our community and give him the opportunity to hang out with his favorite big, slobbery pups!

IMG_3600

Daphneyland is kind of magical. It’s a big open property where basset hounds run around, sleep, and howl in enjoyment all day long. They take incredibly meticulous care of them there – they currently have 5 different specialty diets depending on the needs of the hound. On average, a basset hound in a regular home environment will live about 12-14 years. At Daphneyland, they regularly see them reach 18. Daphney, the rescue’s namesake, was almost 21 when she passed away. How crazy is that!?

DSC_1464

DSC_1494

This is Traveler. He’s been on TV with Betty White!

DSC_1480

M had a special place in his heart for this girl. Her name is Valentine and oh boy, is she a singer! She was talking the whole time we were there and it was absolutely precious.

DSC_1420

Here she is howling from her bed:

DSC_1404

This is Norman! They joked that he’s paralyzed, but doesn’t know it because he gets around quicker than a lot of the hounds with 4 fully functioning legs! He’d come up and gently press his head against you when he wanted attention. So sweet!

DSC_1436

 

DSC_1462

DSC_1437

I was reading the other day that sometimes, during the holiday season, animal rescues get overlooked because everyone is so focused on helping other humans. Don’t get me wrong, aid for humanity is a beautiful thing, but let’s try not to forget our four-legged pals along the way.

Here’s my buddy Ashby, soaking up the sunshine:

DSC_1430

We left covered in slobbery love and didn’t mind one bit.

If you can spare a few dollars, a chew toy, or a blanket, visit Daphneyland’s website to make a donation! To inquire about adopting any of the basset hounds you see here (or to find out who else is currently available), click here.

 

Small Adventures: A Northridge Mountaintop

In college, my friends and I opted out of Friday classes so we could stay home and make silly music videos instead. When we got tired of music videos we would hop in a car and drive, usually pretty aimlessly. We didn’t do anything special, really. Played loud music, danced like idiots, and got out and explored Boston in a very casual way.

Those small weekday adventures are some of my favorite memories. I might not be in college anymore, and my friends might be spread out across the country, but I want to continue to appreciate the small, daily adventures in life. Taking a quick break from my regular schedule is very calming and lets me see things from a fresh perspective when I get back. So I’m going to start documenting them from time to time and posting about them here, in the new Small Adventures category.

Last night, after a very long day for both of us, the other M and I needed to blow off some steam. So we did what anyone would do: picked up our trusty hound, Ruby, and took to the mountains of Northridge!

DSC_7942 (2)

DSC_8010 (3)

(This Mexican blanket is from Tribe and True Studio – it’s my new favorite blanket and it’s on sale right now!)

DSC_8152

Northridge was used as the neighborhood in the movie E.T., so a lot of the exterior shots were filmed here. This trail can be seen in the movie! There’s a park nearby that the locals have dubbed “E.T. Park” – remember the scene where Elliot and company ride their bikes through a park and down a hill? Remember that weird caterpillar jungle gym they pass by? It’s still there!

DSC_7944

DSC_8209 (1)

Pictured above: my yellow, orange, green, and pink graphic hair clip! I’m pleased to say that it held up very well in nature (and looks great, amiright!?) Available for purchase in the shop section!

DSC_8063 (2)

A little nature and a lot of sunset were the perfect cure for a couple of overwhelming days. It was a nice reminder that you don’t need to go far for a small adventure, sometimes they’re in your own backyard. Only downside was that we didn’t see any aliens. Next time we’ll bring the Reese’s Pieces.