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Do you ever go on road trips?


As a child, we traveled almost everywhere by car. My parents would load up our station wagon complete with its ‘faux’ wooden panels and my sister, brother and I would argue about who would have to sit in the middle first.


Tanaya Lake in Yosemite.  I’m on the left 🙂

Most of our road trips involved camping throughout the state of California.  I have great memories of sitting by the campfire, my mom making chicken and dumplings on the camp stove, dirty feet that had to be washed before walking into the tent and most of all, just having fun.

Now that I am grown, road trips are still a part of my life.  While I take many with my own family, I also go on a special road trip each year with my mother.


For those of you who have followed my blog for awhile, you have undoubtedly participated in our road trip adventures.  In fact, I am often asked where our next destination will be.

Every year, we both sit down and decide where our next adventure lies.  The goal is to explore different regions of the United States by car.

We typically fly into one city and days later, end up several states away.  Our road trips have taken us to a variety of fun places and experiences including:


Touring a horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky.


Walking through the grounds of an old plantation in Savannah, Georgia.


Observing an old Amish farmer, throwing manure onto his corn field.


Strolling through the streets of Charleston, South Carolina and admiring the lovely window boxes.


Touring Mackinac Island in Michigan and coming back with several pounds of fudge.


Visiting some beautiful botanical gardens like Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin.


Exploring lighthouses, including the one at Point Betsie, Michigan.


Of course, wherever we go, I am always on the lookout for new gardens to visit, which I love to share with you.

As we hit the road, I blog about each day’s adventures – usually daily.

My bag is almost packed and I am finishing up a few things before I go, which leads me to the question that many of you have been asking:

“Where are we going?”

Earlier this year, I asked you for some suggestions and mentioned five different options we were considering, which you can read here.  

I’ll be back on Wednesday, to let you know what region we decided to visit!

Do you like to travel?  How about traveling by car?


I love taking road trips and over the past several years, my mother and I embark on an annual road trip in our continuing mission to learn about the different regions of the United States.



Both my mother and I are native Californians and now Arizona is our home.  So, our cultural journey has been decidely West Coast and Southwestern.

As a result, we enjoy learning and experiencing the varied sub-cultures that each region of the U.S. has, from its food, history, gardens and people.

Interesting past experiences include:

-Walking into the living room of our bed & breakfast in Indiana Amish country to find two old Amish women watching the royal wedding of William & Kate.

– Touring thoroughbred horse farms and participating at a bourbon tasting at distillery in Kentucky.

– Learning what ‘Kentucky burgoo’ tastes like and deciding to pass on trying ‘dandelion gravy’ in Amish country.

– Seeing the actual kitchen where the recipe of Kentucky Fried Chicken was developed.

I could go on and on, but it’s time to decide where our road trip this year will take us.


We have several options to choose from and you may think that this is funny, but I drag out my kid’s United States puzzle to see where we have been and to help us decide where to go.

This is where we have traveled in the past few years.

So for this year’s trip, here are our options:

Option 1: Oregon and Washington.  
I have been to Seattle and Spokane, Washington, but have never traveled to Oregon.  

Options for this trip would include visiting Portland, Oregon and driving up to Seattle, visiting the San Juan Islands and going on up into Canada to Victoria and Vancouver before driving over to Spokane where we have family who live there.

Option 2: Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

We would land in Birmingham, Alabama and drive through Nashiville & Memphis, Tennessee before heading to Little Rock, Arkansas and ending up in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Option 3: Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota.

I’ve never traveled to any of these states and would love to see Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore.  

Option 4: Louisiana, Arkansas, eastern Texas and Oklahoma.

I am anxious to visit the vibrant cities of Texas such as Austin and San Antonio and visit some of my fellow garden blogger friends who live there.  

My grandmother was born in Louisiana and that would be a fun place to visit with a stop in New Orleans.  For this option, we would also visit Little Rock, Arkansas and Tulsa, Oklahoma.


Option 5: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.



Okay, I realize that this is a lot of states to see, but they are small, so we would be able to fit them all into a road trip.  I have visited parts of New Hampshire and Vermont, but would like to see the other states in the Northeast.

So, those are the options we have to choose from.  We will be traveling in early May and our trip will last approximately 8 – 9 days.  

**Do you have a favorite option?  I’d love to hear your recommendations!

No matter where we visit this year, we hope to eventually fulfill all of the options listed above.

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Baby Watch Update:

Not yet, but very, very soon!  The doctor says that the baby is settled as low as he can be, which is a good thing.  

I honestly think that it is harder waiting for your grandchild to be born than your own children.  


Okay, on second thought, not really – being pregnant for 9+ months and not being able to see your feet, much less tie your own shoes – I think waiting for your own baby is harder, but not by much!

Do you live in an area that has been affected by drought?


You may be surprised at the answer.  Periods of drought aren’t uncommon for those of us who live in the Western United States, but more recently drought has expanded to some other areas that may surprise you.


Drought tolerant gardening is rapidly becoming a very popular way to garden.  Contrary to what some people may think, drought tolerant gardens are low-maintenance, easy to care for, use far less resources and can be beautiful.

Agave, mesquite and salvias.

Drought tolerant gardens are a great choice for any landscape because they are much more self-sufficient and sustainable than other landscapes. Even if drought has not affected your area, that doesn’t mean that it won’t in the future. 


*This week, I will be doing a series of radio interviews about drought tolerant gardening for radio stations in Oregon, Texas and Alabama. 
I must admit to being a little nervous since I have not done a radio interview before and I have four to do this week.  I think that it should be easier than being on TV since I don’t have to worry about what I’m wearing or if my hair is messed up 😉 

Agave, saguaro, wildflowers and yucca.
No matter if you live in California where many areas are experiencing exceptional drought, the Southwest or wherever you live, the principles of drought tolerant gardening are the same.

Landscape filled with drought tolerant plants and limited amount of grass.
I recently shared 10 tips for drought tolerant gardens in an article for Birds & Blooms where I serve as the garden blogger, which you can read here.

Whether you implement 1 or all of the 10 tips, you will be increasing the sustainability of your landscape.


I encourage you to take a little time to read the 10 tips and then come back later this week, when I will share with some of my favorite drought tolerant plants.

Wish me luck on my first radio interview tomorrow.  I’ll let you know how it goes…

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For more information on drought tolerant gardening, click here.

Well, I made it home after visiting five states in 8 days.  


One of the things that I enjoy most about my annual road trips is discovering the people, places, history, food and gardens of the different regions of the United States.


My road trip, this year, took me to parts of the South.




I walked through the streets of Charleston, South Carolina and seeing historical places where events of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War played out.


I peeked over ornate gates to see hidden gardens in this beautiful city.


This native Southern Californian who grew up along the Pacific coast, dipped my toes in the Atlantic Ocean on Tybee Island.


I enjoyed visiting many of the 22 historical squares of Savannah, Georgia where many of the buildings survived the Civil War.


I found that Spanish moss really does hang from the trees down South, although it isn’t Spanish or a moss.
(It is actually a bromeliad and related to the pineapple).


An unplanned visit to the University of South Carolina yielded discoveries of beautiful gardens, including this herb/vegetable garden.


Smaller highways led us to small towns with tiny police stations.


Driving through North Carolina proved that spring has indeed sprung with the vision of flowering dogwoods everywhere.


Small roadside markets in Tennessee tempted us with their wares including boiled peanuts, toe jam and frog jam on our way toward the Smoky Mountains.


The gardens of the University of Tennessee had much to delight this horticulturist, including their kitchen garden.


A visit to Kentucky horse country led to the unforgettable experience of feeding thoroughbreds peppermint candies (with their trainer’s permission, of course).


Discovering the world of horse racing was very exciting even though I wasn’t betting.


I spent the night in a jail.  Seriously, it was a bed & breakfast that was located inside the old county jail in Bardstown, KY.  
I did sleep in a regular bedroom and not this jail cell 😉


The last day of our Southern journey took me to a bourbon distillery where I tasted my first and last bourbon.


On our way to the airport in Louisville, we took an unexpected detour to Fort Knox as our GPS guided us there in our search of a UPS store to mail home our souvenirs.

The South is a wonderful place to visit and I made a few other discoveries while I was there:

– Southerners are the friendliest people.  Strangers wave to you on the side of the road as you pass.  When they ask you how you are doing, they really want to know.

– Their regional dishes have names like ‘Kentucky Burgoo’ and ‘The Big Brown’.  But, the servers are happy to explain to you what they are.

– Sweet tea is very sweet.

– The food is fabulous and fried chicken is served just about everywhere (after all, Col. Sanders created his ‘Original’ fried chicken recipe in Kentucky).

For those of you who followed along with me on my journey, thank you!

It’s time to hit the road again…


Every year, I go on a trip with my mother, exploring different parts of the United States.  We fly into one city, rent a car, travel from town to town for 8 days and then leave from another city.


I love traveling and like to explore and learn about other regions of our country.  As a native of Southern California and current resident of Arizona, my regional experience has quite a western slant.  So, what better way to learn more about the people, food, customs and gardens in other regions then to ‘hit the road’?


Half of the fun of our annual road trip, is planning on where we will go.

First, look at maps of where we had already been.  Then we try to plan our route so that we see new areas.


Three years ago, we visited the following places:


We drove the Blue Ridge Parkway, visited colonial Williamsburg, our nation’s capitol, Pennsylvania Amish country, Philadelphia and NewYork City.


Two years ago, we visited parts of the Midwest:



View Larger Map





We began in Michigan, visiting the town of Holland, then traveled onto Indiana Amish country, seeing Lincoln’s house and tomb in Springfield, viewing the Mississippi River in Hannibal, MO – the inspiration for Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” and finishing up in Joplin.


Last year’s trip focused on the Northeast:



View Larger Map





We began in Columbus, OH, visiting a friend and then traveling on to Ohio Amish country, Niagara Falls, the Finger Lakes of NY, the beautiful mountains of Vermont and left from Manchester, NH.


This year’s trip is focused on exploring areas further down South: 



View Larger Map



We are beginning our journey in Savannah, GA.  Then we are traveling through South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.


I have been to North Carolina and Georgia before, but the other states are new to me.  I do have some southern roots from the state of Kentucky and we might try to visit some old family grave sites.


For those of you who have read my blog for some time; you know that I do like to ‘take you along with me’ on my trips.  


I will be blogging from the road and sharing with you my adventures.


We leave on Wednesday!!!