Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Wishes for New and Old Traditions

What is your Tradition?  

I am grateful to have experienced many opportunities through other people’s traditions.  

Finding California Gold, miners searched in mountains, I simply walked in Santa Cruz - Photo by DW 

Perhaps I am looking for the same traditions I learned as a young girlI am curious of what other people do.  Out with the old saying, “Curiosity killed the cat” – and I learn by watching and listening to people around me.  

Definition of Tradition

Internet searches with the keyword “tradition” receives 140,000,000 results.  The dictionary meaning of tradition has four descriptions:

a : an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)
b : a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
: cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
: characteristic manner, method, or style 

Traditions, not Habits

Remember that traditions are different from habits, or behavior patterns acquired by frequent repetition (as written in the dictionary). Traditions and information are passed to you through the years by your family and community.    

You may create new traditions to pass to people too.  Family ancestors are a part of us and our traditions. 

Individual Traditions

One lesson I have learned from spending time with people is that everyone has individual traditions – and very important to each one of us. 

I have learned a great deal from sitting down and listening to people, actually listening to their thoughts, actions, and behaviors.

Escape to my walking trail - Photo by DW
 My own Traditions

I cherish my own traditions. I grew up eating buckwheat pancakes on a cold, holiday morning (raised in the Midwest) – and I combine this with new traditions like going to unusual places to explore on walks by the ocean after eating my buckwheat pancakes. 

Instead of resolutions this year - What tradition do you follow or have you made?  

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2013 ~ let go of the challenges last year ~ grateful to have an angel on my shoulder ~ and I am ready for the New Year ~ Smiles! The Fun Tour Guru

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Silicon Valley Story: Includes Traffic, LinkedIn Buildings

When I am in traffic on Highway 101 (the San Francisco bay area inner freeway) I find myself fighting my negative thoughts of traffic that I face.    I really do love this region – even with moments like this – laughing, I am repeating this out loud over and over until the traffic clears up.  

I remember something I read from an entrepreneur blog  this morning  - even though Silicon Valley is an open place to share – there are certain ideas we embrace that are found and shared only by the token (millions) few who live here.

I have not been as active writing – I am active gathering more stories.  I did want to share my new addition – I was grateful to attend a meeting on LinkedIn campus.  They have their branding present on the main building now.   The last picture I took in 2011 was of their front sign only. They now have their sign on the building. The professional place where people connect and link in to each other online. One of our favorites companies right now...

I finish my inbound trips returning to Silicon Valley by reading the following paragraph from

Mary Bowden Carroll “Ten Years in Paradise” (1903) :

Silicon Valley is a place of legend and hyperbole. Promoters have lauded it as “the center of a progressive force for global change" through technology. Social activists claim it to be “a place of warped and unrealistic financial expectations - where success is measured in terms of dollars, not personal happiness.” 

For most of its residents Silicon Valley is simply an exciting and challenging place to work and live surrounded by spectacular scenery with an unbeatable climate. They just have to share these considerable benefits with a large number of fellow residents, all of whom seem to want to travel on the same freeway at the same time.

Silicon Valley spills into Santa Cruz to San Francisco and beyond even to Sacramento~ sharing our story ~  The Fun Tour Guru

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

San Juan Bautista Coastal Hills in California

I like to stop and close my eyes and imagine the people past and future that walk the same sidewalks I do when I am in other regions. When I look at my pictures, I think about the shared stories they have. This picture (below) is in the coastal hills less than 2 hours south of San Francisco and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge. This is minutes away from urban Santa Clara, San Jose and Silicon Valley, yet so different.

This picture was taken on an October day when I was working as a volunteer with our state historical park.  I stood up to stretch my legs and turned around and saw this scene

"the background drop of the historical town is a cloud puff in the blue sky hanging over the California coastal hills with a white fence meandering up the hill."

I am a painter with a canvas to share. I now understand why John Steinbeck wrote so many stories about growing up in this region. 

I love the variety of landscapes I find in Northern California.  This is my backyard. 

San Juan Bautista, San Benito County CA - Photo Credit: D West

Insiders tip:  Behind the first hill you see in the picture lies the San Benito Wine Trail where I remember some of my favorite wineries. 

What do you see in the picture?  

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My wish to all of my USA friends and family for a warm, safe, and Happy Thanksgiving!  

And, I am sending positive thoughts to everyone else (globally) this week. 

Thank you!  ~ The Fun Tour Guru 

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

Editor's note:  Happy Birthday to our Bay Bridge!  75  years ago on November 12, 1936.

This picture with the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge is unusual and want to share with everyone.

My table view in San Francisco - Oct 2012 by DWest

Of course the Golden Gate Bridge is popular with tourists visiting San Francisco – we sometimes forget the stories of our other bridge ~ San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.  With everyone going into the city from the East Bay region now, the San Francisco Travel website says this bridge has become the third busiest in the country, carrying more than 250,000 vehicles daily.

If you are riding with someone else and look closely, you will see the new parts of The Bay Bridge – or what we call 'the seismic retrofit project' - it is estimated total of $6.3 billion dollars making it one of the largest public works projects in US history. (cost is taken from the Bay Bridge website)

Unusual Bay Bridge story:

A troll looks over this bridge.  The Bay Bridge troll story was first made public when the San Francisco Chronicle  ran the story on Jan. 15, 1990.  The troll, a symbol of protection, appeared on the Bay Bridge after the 1989 earthquake by iron workers without official knowledge and consent of Caltrans during repairs of the bridge. The troll is 18-inches with a spud wrench  and welded to the iron below the upper deck on the north side of the bridge.  Yes,  they do have plans to relocate the troll when the original east span is taken away.

View of Bay Bridge and Treasure Island 2010 by DWest

Best Sightseeing:

  • For fabulous views of the city of San Francisco, take the Treasure Island exit from The Bay Bridge. Although there is no pedestrian access to this bridge, Treasure Island is accessible by bus if you don't have a car available.
  • For great views of the Bay Bridge, follow the Embarcadero water front.

Don't forget the Bay Bridge in your sightseeing trips ~ The Fun Tour Guru  

Find more details and updates of the seismic retrofit at the Bay Bridge website

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chasing Mavericks, Santa Cruz CA - 5 Stars

Santa Cruz, CA:  I give Chasing Mavericks the movie - 5 stars.

I went to see the movie, Chasing Mavericks, that was released on Friday, Oct. 26.  It is the story of a local surfer legend in Santa Cruz, Jay Moriaty. I really enjoyed it and would like to see it again on the big screen!   

I talked with people as I was walking out after the movie who shared my enthusiasm.  This is rare for me to stop and talk to strangers about a movie as I leave. There is something about the movie which pulls at you.

Surfing in Santa Cruz - by DW
I was concerned after I watched this movie review by Don Sanchez (local ABC news - San Francisco) who gave it a "half a bucket of pop corn."  Sanchez mentioned the waves were the stars and said the remaining movie didn't have much dialogue and was slow moving.

I disagree.

I do agree about pictures of the huge waves were stars - the plus is that you become acquainted with a sample of people from this town which is so different from Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and Sacramento. 

I share many discoveries of this small beach town every chance I get. I escape the city-life and find places to relax and talk with the locals in Santa Cruz to learn about this "other life" that surrounds the world of surfing.  Everyone goes to work - there is always time to catch a few waves before going home.  And, the movie features recent events so many people remember.

This movie gives an in depth look at this simple, local community life in this favorite beach town which I am spellbound with each I visit.   It is fresh look showcasing the genuine life of people in Santa Cruz.  The story-telling of surfing life is one that has not been shown. 

Chasing Mavericks - Santa Cruz CA by DW
The Second Message 

The movie provides a lesson of how to stay focused, patient,  and resilient when your are enroute to accomplishing what you want to achieve.  Achievements are different for everyone.  Moriaty had many chances to drop his goal to ride the big one (wave) - he stayed on his path and achieved what he wanted to do in a short amount of time without a huge expense.  He found people who helped in their own ways along the path.

Santa Cruz is well known globally - as the town grows during the summer months with visitors - yet I find an unusual ambience with each visit. 

If you want to visit the same sights as you see in the movie - you may find information from Santa Cruz website.

Live Like Jay!

Be sure to go see this movie - and share your thoughts here! The Fun Tour Guru

[Ad] Buy the DVD now.


Monday, October 22, 2012

My Day as a Park Champion at San Juan Bautista State Historical Park CA

A working vacation?  It is fun and everyone (regardless of age, gender, race) is able to participate.  My advice is to keep it simple like I did and volunteer for a half day.  California has a great state parks program to choose from.

My radio alarm turned on at 6 a.m. My sleepy body said, "On no, this is Sunday, should I really get up and drive 60 miles so I may transition into a gardener and painter or roll over and fall back to sleep?"

I staggered out of bed and found my way through the early morning autumn darkness into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. I knew if I found some way to overcome this initial lazy thought – today would produce:

Adventure. Exercise. Learn. New friends. Fun. 


Park Champions - Gardeners - Working Together - by DW
I read newsletters from California State Parks Foundation about activities and things to do.  I follow the list of state parks in need of 
Park Champions and signed up to help with San Juan Bautista State Historical ParkYes, this is an unusual, fun way to give back to the community.  I admit when the day arrived, it was very difficult to climb out of my warm blankets on my bed and get ready.

We worked together painting this fence!
Even though I have spent time on my Grandfather's farm, I have never had a garden of my own and I have limited painting experience.   Our State Park officials are eager to show you how – I found all you have to do is bring a hat, wear close toe shoes, have a re-usable water bottle, bring a favorite sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen) – work gloves if you have them, and a smile.  

Park Champions at San Juan Bautista Historical Park - CA by DW
Our Park Officials provide tools, training, more water, lots of energy and their own wonderful smiles. Plus, they are so appreciative to have people to join them in care-taking of resources.

I found my way into this small group of strangers of all ages in the early morning with one common pledge – to help clean up this fabulous State Historical Park  I have shared with you in other stories.  Although we had our smart phones to post pictures and share – we escaped sitting behind the computer finding so many surprises during the day.

I remembered two things as I worked.  One is from the movie, Karate Kid, about building patience and strength through everyday work.  The other as the history enthusiast, I remember all of the different Work Progress Administration projects completed during President Roosevelt’s New Deal programs.  Why not hire people to work on projects like these?  This begins rebuilding our country's infrastructure while providing paid jobs to people - the same people who buy things. 

Working behind the scenes as State Park Champions - by DW
I am grateful I got out of bed yesterday and volunteered as a Park Champion and helped take care of one of my favorite places I go – San Juan Bautista State Historical Park. I have gained new skills of gardening, white-washing a fence, and met a fabulous group of people at the same time. Fun! Of course, I slept well through the night afterwards! 

I continue to share pictures and stories of this day as a Park Champion ~ working at San Juan Bautista Historical Park. ~ The Fun Tour Guru

 Do you want to be a part of a fun volunteer group work day? Contact us.

 Let us know below comments of your favorite volunteer work!

Monday, October 15, 2012

At the Top: Santa Cruz CA Beach Boardwalk Roller Coaster

Today's travel tip:  Don't delay your plans. You never know what may happen in the future.  If you want to go somewhere special - make your plans and go. 

These are some fun pictures of the Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, CA. I am lucky to be 30 minutes away and I take off and head "over the hill" every chance I get. 

What happens in the split second you reach the top of Roller Coaster?  Please share your story with me - I enjoy reading your comments! 

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk - Giant Dipper 2012 by DW

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk - DW

Giant Dipper Roller Coaster Santa Cruz CA - DW

Unusual roller coaster pictures from Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk ~ The Fun Tour Guru

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