OK, I’m probably dating myself by asking you if you remember this song by the Mamas and the Papas. They were a great 60’s hippie band. This tune was inspired by them touring, and missing their beloved, sunny California. I can empathize with them. I too love CA and have visited there several times.

The 4 of us recently toured Northern CA. To celebrate Bryan’s graduation from Penn and because both he and James are re-locating away from us this summer, we wanted to have at least one more family vacation. While I hope that this isn’t our last one together, we don’t know what the future holds. It’s a bit poignant.
Elizabeth Barker Author & Speaker in Northern CA
Bryan was granted a 5 year scholarship to University of VA for his PhD. He’s now a long 5/6 hour drive away. James accepted a re-location offer with his employer to help them open their new office in San Diego, CA. He will be moving soon.

We visited the majestic Yosemite National Park, (that Ansel Adams made famous with so many of his photos), Napa and Sonoma wine country, and explored the various parts of San Francisco. The temperature difference from the park and SF vs. the valleys was a difference of 70/75 degrees to a scorching 102 degrees in the valley! That’s a change of scenery alright.
Elizabeth Barker Author at the Golden Gate Bridge
While it was nice to be in the vibrant bustle of a major city like San Francisco, what we all enjoyed most was the peacefulness and natural beauty of driving through the huge park and the serenity of sitting at wineries and vineyards. Whenever I visit and experience nature’s splendors such as these, it immediately humbles me. It causes me to reflect on life. How lucky am I to be a 20 yr cancer survivor, to enjoy this? And, how thankful I am to have my family with me, all of us healthy.

When I was undergoing the harsh chemo treatments and the boys were little, we used to love to take walks in our local Valley Green Park. Walking outdoors in the park helped calm me of my fear of the disease and dying, and also made me feel healthy despite my chemo fatigue. I had read even back then how important it is to have the mind, body & spirit connection of positive thinking and actions for the best treatment outcome. Walking with my loved ones in this park several times per week did me a world of good – mentally and physically.

After enduring a life threatening event or illness, people often say that they gain a new perspective on reality. After 20+ years, I can still attest to this. Enjoying the wonder of the outdoors still takes me back to those difficult days. It reminds me how grateful I was then, and am now, to be able to breathe deeply, feel the warm sun on my face and to inhale the goodness of life. Enjoy the scenic photos.
James and Elizabeth Barker
Author Liz Barker and husband Northern CA Mountains
Author Liz Barker and sons James and Bryan