I have not yet blogged about the one adventure that I’ve been looking forward to more than any other trip, walking the Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James. It’s a pilgrimage for which there are many routes through Europe. Ever since I watched the 2011 Emilio Estevez film “The Way” starring Martin Sheen, I was hooked.
There are many reasons why I feel a calling to make this pilgrimage. The camino appeals to me by being a retreat for spiritual growth, as portrayed in “The Way”. I’m attracted to the idea of walking through beautiful countryside daily. The milage and a pack make it physically demanding, but you settle up in the next village and maybe enjoy dinner with fellow pilgrims who are from other parts of Europe or the world.
There’s a saying about the Camino. “The first third is for the body, the second third is for the mind, and the last third is for the spirit”
This quote speaks to adjusting to walking the camino on a daily basis. The experience can be a significant physical adjustment. Not used to walking long distance with a weighted pack, many suffer blisters or other injuries. In fact, the blisters can turn a beautiful experience into a painful nightmare and I’ve read plenty of these accounts.
Postponing My Pilgrimage
Chris and I had planned to walk a portion of the French Way this fall, but Chris’s step father was recently diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer. Instead of flying to Europe, we will be flying to Niagara Falls to visit with him in his final days as well as be there to support his mom. Family is first and foremost the priority. The Camino is not going anywhere. Chris and I plan to reschedule the pilgrimage for spring 2017 and likely for a longer length of time.
More on the Camino
In honor of National Dog Day, I'm honoring our best bud, Stewart, and sharing some of my dog friendly travel tips. As long as you have a generally well-behaved dog, there are so many dog-friendly destinations.
Most campsites allow dogs. Where you run into problems is on hiking trails in National and State Parks. Only service dogs are allowed in these instances. Luckily for us, Stewart is now a working service dog and can join us on all trails and facilities.
Idyllwild Loves Dogs
A short drive from San Diego and LA is the small mountain town of Idyllwild. It's a dog-friendly town with lots of patio seating at the restaurants, pet-friendly rentals and the Mountain Paws Pet Boutique that offers biscuits to it's four-legged shoppers. We love visiting throughout the year, predominately for hiking. The temperatures are generally mild throughout the summer and it's the closest So.Cal. destination for snowy weather.
This winter we tried snowshoeing. Even though Stewie has a jacket, it wasn't a very good one. Our baby boy started to shake. What else would a good owner do, but take off his own jacket to wrap his dog and carry him home. We made a trip to Mountain Paws and got him some quality gear, the wool sweater, pictured right.
So consider packing up your pooch for your next adventure.
#nationaldogday #bringfido #Idyllwild #airbnb #followthecurls #curlyvagabond #travelwithdog
Every year Stone Brewing commemorates another year of exceptional beer brewing with a celebration held on my campus, California State University San Marcos. My dear friend, Luci, and I have volunteered for the VIP Brewers Reception the past five years with all the event proceeds donated to four non-profit organizations: San Marcos Boys & Girls Club, Fight ALD, Palomar Family YMCA and Surfrider Foundation. If you should know anything about Stone Brewing outside of brewing strong, hoppy beer, it is that they are charitable. They make significant contributions to support the local community. Since the first Stone Anniversary Celebration, Stone has raised over $1,000,000 for charity.
All volunteers undergo a mandatory Responsible Beverage Server training by the department of Alcohol Beverage Control. We are instructed on the consequences on serving underaged or intoxicated patrons. To some degree, it is pretty serious, but the warning signs of underaged guests are things like wearing tacky jewelery, attempting to speak with a deeper voice, and having acne. So I may have turned away some age appropriate adults for these afflictions. There is absolutely NO drinking for the volunteers. If you are caught, you are immediately removed from the event. Refraining from taking sips from the tap pays off in the end as we have an entire volunteer appreciation event hosted at Stone's World Bistro in Escondido the following month. They basically create another celebration with food and beer tasting just for the volunteers; well worth one night of volunteering. Like I alluded to, Stone is exceptionally generous.
These are brews we poured in years past. This year we poured Mikkeller American Dream Pilsner, which rates well as a pilsner, but this wasn't much of a pilsner drinking crowd. A top favored beer of the evening was definitely our other tap, Maui Imperial Coconut Porter. We had many frequent flyers return for refills as the tasty glasses only allow for 2 ounces at a time, but tastes are unlimited. This is not to be confused with Maui's regular coconut porter. The imperial is not canned or bottled, but you can find it on tap at Urge Gastropub in Oceanside. We learned this from the brewers who attended the event and frequented our tent to drink their own brew.
If you'd like to volunteer at next year's celebration, get in touch with any of the benefiting non-profits, as they recruit all the volunteers. Luci and I have volunteered on behalf of the San Marcos Boys & Girls Club and look forward to this annual tradition.
#StoneBrew #20thanniversary #stonebrewingco #beerfestival #curlyvagabond #followthecurls #MikkellerBrewing #MauiBrewing #charity
Our days in Mammoth begin with a trip to the Looney Bean Coffee Roasting Co., centrally located on Main and Old Mammoth Road in the CVS shopping center. Service isn't fast, but the coffee is quality. Dark roast for me and an Americano for Chris.
With our drinks in hand, we drive a mile down Old Mammoth road to Mammoth Creek Road and park on the gravel parking spaces. This is the Hayden Cabin Museum Trailhead of the Town Loop. Heading east, the trail runs along Mammoth Creek. The trail is paved with off-trail sections down to the creek and to a bridge towards the historic Hayden Cabin.
The path is flat and easy. I even just walked it with flip-flops with no trouble. The trail is popular for dog walking and biking; while a few try fishing for trout.
According the Mammoth Lakes Trail System, Emmett Hayden, a mapmaker from Southern California, acquired a summer cabin lease in 1927 from the Forest Service and "built the structure from local logs and granite, by hand, over the course of 10 summers". Now a museum, the cabin displays historic furnishings, photos and artifacts from Mammoth's brief gold rush in the late 1800s and the decades that followed.
One time when we were walking through, the cabin area was set up with tables and tents for a wedding. Talk about a picturesque spot to tie the knot, next to a log cabin with the bubbling creek on one side and the Sierra mountains on the other.
Overall, the loop is a level, easy hike that displays so much of Mammoth's beauty without exerting too much effort. It's just at the edge of the city center and a lovely walk to start your day.
Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza
Whistler, British Columbia - Epic Hiking
Advice for Camping in Sequoia National Park
#mammoth #mammothlakes #looneybean #haydencabin #townloop #curlyvagabond #followthecurls #easternsierras
The 22nd Annual Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza is August 3-6, 2017 in Mammoth Lakes, CA. Here's what to expect.
Mammoth's Bluesapalooza is 4 days with 100 craft breweries and 15 mainstage blues performers, plus an acoustic stage.
The Pretzel Necklace
This marks our 6th year of attending Bluesapalooza and I've learned a thing or two. For instance, make a pretzel necklace. As the perfect compliment to beer, the classic pretzel will suffice or get creative with other treats like Slim Jims, pictured, or peach ring and Cheez-its. If you forget to make your own, you'll look onto others with envy.
The festival is held at what's called "Sam's Wood Site" a 7-acre wooded venue; dirt ground covered in wood chips. In keeping to it's natural form, the ground is uneven and there's the occasional rock outcropping or boulders. Therefore, I recommend covered-toed shoes. Style it up with some cowboy boots. Those who wore sandals had pretty dirty feet by the end of the day.
You'll see a lot of beer-themed attire
or just general weirdness
We have absolutely no idea why this guy was wearing a speedo, but, of course, we had to take a picture with him. I'm guessing that the notches on his back represent the beers he's tasted, but your guess is as good as mine.
It's a High, Dry Mountain
Just the base of Mammoth Lakes is at 8,000 feet elevation. Festival attendees are warned to pace themselves because high elevation intensifies the effects of alcohol. I have more of a challenge with the dryness. Mammoth Lakes can be exceptionally dry with the daily humidity levels in the teens. I found relief with lip balm and nasal spray. Moisturizer and eye drops also help. Pack a general antihistamine if you are sensitive to dust and pollen. And of course between the high elevation and the beer drinking, it's important to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration and headaches.
Don't forget the music
Allen Stone; photo courtesy of Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza
It's easy to lose track of the music during the grand beer tasting on Saturday, which, new this year, extended into Sunday. Allen Stone wrapped up the Friday performances and he was such a fun performer. Stone's music is definitely not blues and it's hard to distincting describe. His sound has been described as soulful and I'd say funk. One friend described him as similar to the artist, Jamiroquai. Stone was a lively performer wearing goofy high-waisted pants with a voice you just don't expect to come out of that body. I look forward to hearing more from him, but seeing him live is probably best.
Mammoth Brewing After Party
At the close of the festival on Sunday, the party doesn't stop. Steps from the festival and on the edge of the Village is Mammoth Brewing hosting more live music. Keith Greeninger, David Jacobs-Strain, and Bob Beach got the audience dancing with slide guitar blues. The food shouldn't be missed. The farm to plate salad and grass-fed burger are exceptional. The giant jenga game and corn hole provide additional entertainment. We danced, we drank, we played, we ate, and went home happy.
Get the complete line up and tickets
Picturesque Mammoth: A Stroll on Town Loop Trail
Whistler Worthy Beers
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Trombones & Blues Guitar - The Avila Beach Blues Festival
Advice for Camping in Sequoia National Park
#bluesapalooza #followthecurls #mammothfestivalofbeers #mammoth #beer #summer #allenstone #whattowear #whattopack #footwear #outfits #festivalfashion
BC Liquor Store
For the best beer selection, both local and abroad, hit the BC Liquor Store. It's a chain, but we frequented the one located on Lake Placid in Whistler Creek. Ask for Arnie and request for his special collection of rarities in the back. This photo is a collection of his recommendations, a variety of local and Belgium favorites. And the winners? Spinnakers Brewery hailing from Victoria, British Columbia made two top notch brews, Red Fife Hefeweizen, made in the classic German styling and Ciel Nuit, a Dark Sour Saison.
From the left:
Whistler Brewing Company
A picture perfect day in Whistler is taking a beautiful day hike followed by a frosty beer at Whistler Brewing Company. You'll find a wide variety of beers thematic of Whistler's features such as the Peak to Pier Summer Wit (my fave) and Lost Lake IPA. We loved to sit at the bar stools that face out front with a view of snow capped Whistler in the distance, even though it's July. Away from the bustling Village, this is a place frequented by the locals. We met Mike who recommended Wedge Rafting and lent us his phone to make a reservation. Beth from Victoria, traveling with her partner and mom, told us about the Train Wreck hike, which we made sure to do later in the week.
Howe Sound Brewing
Catherine, Anna, and Anahid sitting in front of a replica of Stawaus Chief.
Did I miss any notable brews? If so, leave a message in the comments.
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Victoria - Spinnaker's: So much more than craft beer
Anna Fleming, the Curly Vagabond, roams like a local, searching for adventure, tasty cuisine and the best craft beer; all with a sense of humor and a budget any working stiff could appreciate. Home base is Oceanside, CA in North San Diego County.