House sitting in Scotland.

I was very lucky to land a 3 week house sit in Scotland this last May in a little coastal fishing village called Portnockie. Taking care of a beautiful border collie named Jesse ! So, as anyone reading my blog could see I was also in Ireland. My 3 posts previous to this are about Ireland. I had decided to make a 6 week trip of it. Spending 2 weeks in Ireland and 4 weeks in Scotland. Loved both countries. Here is the house I stayed in in Scotland with the adorable dog Jesse who was very sweet and smart and a great walking companion . Also, a couple photos of the village and the view from my bedroom window . Ocean was just across the road.

Portnockie is a very small , old fishing village in an extremely beautiful location. The coastline is beautiful and rugged in parts. Crumbling castles hanging off of cliffs. Green, green hills all around.

The owner of the house left me a car so I was able to see quite a bit altho many days I just enjoyed a long walk along the Moray trail which runs 72 miles along the beautiful Scottish coast.

People in Scotland are so friendly and helpful. Anytime I ever asked for directions or some information , whoever I asked would go out of their way to help me out.

The house sit was small but nice. Right across the street from the cliffs that go along the beautiful Moray coastline and a super sweet beach to walk on as well.

Having a car was great as I was able to explore some cute little villages along the coast and would sometimes run into surprises , such as ancient crumbling castles, ancient graveyards and such.

I loved Scotland and will be posting more photos and info about it in next post.

Irish islands

Ireland of course is an island and it is surrounded by smaller islands. Some inhabited and some not. While in Ireland I went to 4 islands The first one off of Doolin was one of a group of Aran islands and I wrote about it here. /https://sueswanderings.com/2019/05/26/ireland-part-1-in-doolin/

Another one we went to that you can actually walk onto was Abbey island at Derrynane bay. I wrote about that one herehttps://sueswanderings.com/2019/06/16/derrynane-bay-ireland

We also went to Skellig Michael islands however we did not get to embark on the island as it was nesting season which made for seeing thousands or birds.

The magnificent Skellig Islands lie 8 miles (12 km) off the coast of Portmagee in South West Kerry. Rising majestically from the sea, Skellig Michael towers 714ft. (218 metres) above sea level. On the summit of this awe-inspiring rock you will find a remarkably well preserved sixth century monastic settlement. On the spectacular Small Skelligs 23,000 pairs of gannet nest on every available ledge making it the second largest gannet colony in the world. A visit to this major tourist attraction may well be the highlight of your holiday.

Photos of the boat ride out to Skellig Michael.

Lots of Gannets
This is a Gannet

Tons of birds on these islands and flying all around them and in the water.

covered in birds

My favorite island was Blasket Island .

The Blasket Islands
This rugged group of six islands (Na Blascaodai) off the tip of Dingle Peninsula seems particularly close to the soul of Ireland. The population of Great Blasket Island (An Blascaod Mór), home to as many as 160 people, dwindled until the government moved the last handful of residents to the mainland in 1953. Life here was hard. Each family had a cow, a few sheep, and a plot of potatoes. They cut their peat from the high ridge and harvested fish from the sea. There was no priest, pub, or doctor. Because they were not entirely dependent upon the potato, they survived the famine relatively unscathed. These people formed the most traditional Irish community of the 20th century—the symbol of ancient Gaelic culture.

A special closeness to an island—combined with a knack for vivid storytelling—is inspirational. From this primitive but proud fishing/farming community came three writers of international repute whose Gaelic work—basically tales of life on Great Blasket Island—is translated into many languages. You’ll find Peig (by Peig Sayers), Twenty Years a-Growing (Maurice O’Sullivan), and The Islander (Thomas O’Crohan) in shops everywhere.

The island’s café and hostel have closed down, and today Great Blasket is little more than a ghost town overrun with rabbits on a peaceful, grassy, three-mile-long poem.

This island made me feel like I was in the Caribbean as the color was so Caribbean blue and clear . Only difference is that it is a bit colder. Not an island you will see people sunbathing and swimming on . You can spend the night here in one of 2 rustic cabins. You need to bring what you need as they only have the little cafe for snacks and coffee. No electricity either. But, I imagine the star gazing would be amazing if you can catch it on a clear night !!

There is a couple who stays all summer and runs the little cafe and cleans the cottages. There is also this lady who stays all summer and collects and spins wool from the island sheep. Making scarves and hats. I bought a hat from her.

If you get to Ireland I would highly suggest going to some of these islands.

Yes, we had dolphins following us out to the Blasket Islands !!

Derrynane bay, Ireland.

Derrynane bay is on the Ring of Kerry in Ireland . We spent the morning trying to decide where to go for the day. So glad we picked Derrynane bay. It was a wonderful place to wander about all day . Complete with amazing beach , ancient abbey island, and a fairy forest . Beautiful day exploring this gorgeous area.

On the western edge of Darrynane Bay lies Abbey Island. To reach this island, one just has to walk across the beach, which is very recommendable as numerous ancient treasures can be found here. One of them being the ruins of a former monastry with a graveyard.
In the other direction Derrynane House, a former mansion, surrounded by diverse gardens can be explored. Daniel O’Connell (often also referred to as the Liberator), a politician who fought for equal rights for the opressed Catholics in the 19th century, grew up in this house.

Derrynane is one of the most alluring locations in Ireland. The terrain varies from rugged shoreline to gently rolling mountains. The sheltered harbour of Derrynane was once the haunt of pirates and buccaneers from Daniel O’ Connell’s time. The area still offers great adventures with the opportunity to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery and activities imaginable. From walking and hiking treks to horse riding on Derrynane Beach, archaeology sites galore to fairy trails, there is an abundance of thrills for everyone.

Ireland , Kenmare area.

Driving around the ring of Kerry

After leaving Doolin which I wrote about in my last post , I met with some friends in Kenmare where we spent 5 nights. Still a small town but much bigger then Doolin. Kenmare is also a gateway to the ring of Kerry which is an impressively beautiful area. Having a car we were able to see quite a lot. I think the best way to see all that Ireland has to offer is with a car.

Sally and I enjoying the scenery on ring of Kerry drive

Hiking at Glenanchaquin park was a treat. It had it all. Rolling green hills, waterfalls, lakes and sweeping views.

And now a well deserved cup of coffee after a beautiful hike.

Another wonderful day in Ireland 🍀

Ireland. Part 1 , in Doolin.

Awhile back I picked up a house sit in Scotland for a few weeks in May. Have always wanted to go to Ireland to so decided to go there first for about 2 weeks. I really ❤️ Love Ireland!! Amazingly beautiful, green country with very friendly people and the music is amazing. Being a music lover I was told to be sure to go to Doolin. Doolin is a small village in county Clare with only a few hundred people living there. It is also a gateway to the Aran islands. Doolin is the heart and soul of traditional Irish music. Although a very small village there are 4 pubs and all have music nightly most months of the year.

For a taste of a pub session click on this link.

I stayed in a cute hostel in Doolin called Aille river hostel. Center of town on a beautiful river.

Aille river hostel

The cliffs of moher are a major attraction in the area and are majestic to say the least. You can take a bus to cliffs of Moher from Doolin and then hike back. About a 7 mile awesomely beautiful hike. Lots of birds can be seen as well as the elusive Puffin which I am sorry to say I did not get to see. Here are some photos of the cliffs and of Doolin.

Nesting birds all along the cliffs.
Doolin
Doolin
Music in Doolin at MCDERMOTS pub.
Music at Gus OConners pub. This guy sang some great traditional Irish songs.

I mentioned the Aran islands. There are 3 islands and many of the 1200 occupants can be heard speaking the old Gaelic language. I went to the smallest island one day and spent the day walking around. You can take a buggy ride or rent a bike as well. Very few cars on the island. I saw one hotel and a hostel. Here are some photos of the isle Inisher.

More of Ireland in my next post. After Doolin I met up with some friends in Kenmare . We went on some great hikes in Kenmare and in Dingle as well as driving the ring of Kerry and the Dingle way.

Nevada roads off the beaten path.

This fall I had the opportunity to drive thru Nevada a few times on my way to and from Utah. Some of the roads in Nevada are very quiet . Highway 50 is one of those. Also Highway 93 and 375. There is not a lot to see on these highways. However if you love old ghost towns, small out of the way towns, and just exploring along empty roads then you may enjoy some of the drives across the state of Nevada. Some of Highway 50 I have already covered here in this posting:

https://sueswanderings.com/2018/11/13/small-towns-in-nevada-and-graveyard-musings/.

The International . The only place in town for dinner on a Sunday in Austin , Nevada on highway 50.

In March I once again went to Utah to house sit and you can read a little about Southern Utah here https://sueswanderings.com/2018/11/30/housesitting-in-st-george-utah-and-visit-to-snow-canyon-state-park/

and here https://sueswanderings.com/2018/11/10/best-friends-animal-society-utah/

It Is a long drive across Nevada to get to Utah so I always try to find someplace new to explore. This time I went along the extraterrestrial Highway. Or as it is also called Area 51

The Unusual Is Our Usual on Route 375

ALIEN HIGHWAY

In the belly of Nevada, surrounded by miles of undeveloped desert, lies a mystery that involves the alleged home of recovered alien spacecraft, extraterrestrial technology, and maybe even a few little green men on the federal payroll.

On this Extraterrestrial Highway road trip, you’ll run adjacent to Area 51 and a secret military base within Nellis Test and Training Range — so secret the government did not acknowledge its existence until 2013. As part of an active military base, it is patrolled and guarded by some of the heaviest security on Earth or anywhere else. That means what it’s NOT is a tourist attraction. Be sure to obey all posted signs and don’t even think about trespassing. You will be caught and you will be prosecuted. And let’s be real, no selfie is worth that kind of headache.

However it is an interesting drive that starts at the junction of NV 93 and 375. First stop is small shop welcoming you to the alien highway with alien beef jerky, nuts , drinks and other treats to stock up on for the drive.

Stock up for the drive on jerky and drinks.

From here there is not much else till you get to the Little ALE Inn. I found this to be a worthy stop for a beer and a veggie burger. The bartender has lived here for quite a few years. He was passing thru and decided to stay so he has some great alien stories. Not much here but a hotel , bar and restaurant. I think about 50 people live here. And lots of cows. Don’t drive this highway at night for fear of cows on the road or even Aliens.

One of the things I realy love about driving thru Nevada is the quietness of many of the highways and the views ! Here are some scenes from Nevada Highway 50 and 93 and 6 .

If you like quite highways with not much except some beautiful views here and there and a small town or 2 then you may also enjoy some of the highways of Nevada. Lots to explore here !!

Cool places near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Recently I spent a month in Santa Fe, New Mexico and although I ended sick with pneumonia for a good part of my time there I did manage a few days out and about. I did an earlier post about Santa Fe here;

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/sueswanderings.com/1726

Now I want to show you a few places I went just outside of Santa Fe. First was the little artistic town of Madrid. Madrid is a small town that is about 30 miles out of Santa Fe on the Turquoise trail . Nestled on the northeast side of the Sandia Mountains is Madrid, New Mexico. Sitting midway along The Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, Madrid is categorized as a ghost towneven though this small village of about 400 residents is bustling during the summer months with shops, restaurants, and galleries catering to the many visitors along this ancient path.h

Driving into Madrid

I found Madrid to be a quirky little town with some quirky and interesting people , little colorful art shops, a few restaurants and bars. I happened to go on a Sunday which was a great pick as the main Saloon in town had live music. Met some very friendly people here at the Mine shaft tavern which happened to have a great little blues band playing.

And this duo was playing across the street at the Hollar restaurant.

Lots of colorful little art shops in Madrid.

I definitely enjoyed Madrid. The rest of the Turquoise trail was not quite as exciting . The drive into Madrid was beautiful though from Santa Fe.

Another day trip from Santa Fe that I would highly recommend for the beauty of the area is Georgia O’Keefe’s ghost ranch. You can learn more about that here. https://www.ghostranch.org/

I and the doggies did a 3 mile hike at the property and Wow !! What beautiful scenery there. Of course it was the inspiration for a lot of O’Keefe’s art work. Here are some photos of Ghost ranch and of our hike.

Chispa and Bean enjoying a hike at Ghost ranch
Quite a few movies were filmed here at this location .

Beautiful area with cabins to stay over in and a campground that looked pretty nice. I would love to go back and camp for a couple nights in the lovely campground. To watch the sunset over those colorful rocks would be truly amazing.

And last but not least. One of my favorite day trips was to Ojo Caliente hot springs which is about an hour drive from Santa Fe but well worth it and a great place to relax for the day. https://www.ojospa.com/ 

I love a good Hot springs and Ojo Caliente did not let me down. Many pools to choose from with varying temperatures, beautiful background, sauna, hiking trails, complete with a wine bar and a restaurant for after. Really a great place to spend the day.



Had I not gotten sick with pneumonia I would have done a lot more exploring of Santa Fe and surrounding towns. I guess I will just have to go back one day !!

Santa Fe, New Mexico house sit.

Santa Fe is known as the City Different and within one visit, you will know why. Santa Fe embodies a rich history, melding Hispanic, Anglo and Native American cultures whose influences are apparent in everything from the architecture, the food, the art and on. Remember, we’re seated at an elevation of 7,000 feet, so come and partake of 320 sunny days per year.

Santa Fe is definitely one of the most unique cities in the U.S. It kind of feels like you are in Mexico. Adobe houses are the standard and Coyote fences. Turquoise Jewelry, Chiles , spicy southwest food, Very old historic building abound. Beautiful area as well, surrounded by mountains.

So, I was very excited to get a month long house sit in Santa Fe for the month of January. Started out good , however I was surprised to see so much snow and such cold temperatures. Apparently it is unusual for Santa Fe to get this much snow. Of course I am only talking 5 inches in each storm that has passed thru since I have been here , however Santa fe is not prepared for snow. I don’t think they have but a couple of snowplows and most people do not have snow tires on their vehicles.

I am taking care of two lovely dogs named Chispa and Bean in a cute , colorful house very near to downtown Santa Fe.

When I arrived the whole downtown was lit up with Beautiful and colorful Christmas lights !!!

I did get to town to wander around and look at all the lovely Indian Jewelry and lots of great shops in Santa Fe and do a little hiking with the dogs before I got sick. I also made it twice to 10000 waves. A very nice spa . https://tenthousandwaves.com

Then I got sick. What I thought was the flu turned out to be Pneumonia so I have now been stuck in the house , feeling totally crappy for about 12 days. Actually , starting to feel somewhat better and my time is ticking out. I hope to d0 some more sightseeing in the next 2 weeks that I have left here. There are some small towns nearby that I really wanted to explore. So, hopefully will make another post soon about the small, eclectic, artist town of Madrid. Meanwhile , here are a few more photos of beautiful Santa Fe.


Truckee, California.

Well, where do I start.  Truckee is my home town. I moved here when I was 20 years old from the big city of Los Angeles. Never did like city living and I always knew I would live in the mountains one day. Moved here with my friend Sandy who I met while working at Sequoia National park.

Truckee was a very small town in 1975 when we moved here. Population about 3,000. Still small but population is more around 15,000 now . With tons of tourists. Yes, Truckee is a tourist town, not far from San Francisco Bay Area. Why is it such a tourist town? Skiing, hiking, lakes, rivers, river rafting, camping, great music, especially in summer, great restaurants, arts shops, etc.. Lots to do for the outdoor type person. Lake Tahoe is 15 minutes away. It is an area of great beauty. I love it here and I also Love the feeling of community that we have in Truckee. The kind of place where you know a lot of people and people are always helping each other out. 

The downfalls of living in Truckee? Cost of living is very high. I know many will say, well, so it is here as well. But, in Truckee everything is a bit more. Like gas averages around $4.00 a gallon consistently. Food cost more. Rent is high if you are lucky to find a place to rent.  The other downfall would be the massive amount of tourists we get now. And one last downfall would be the snow! It snows a lot in Truckee . Of course that would not be a downfall if you are into skiing, or boarding. In fact many people move here for the snow. And it is beautiful. nothing like fresh snow and blue skies !

I will do some more postings about Truckee but for now here are some photos of Truckee, Ca. and surrounding area. 

soda springs
Snow at the Soda Springs post office. Pretty much buried.
Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe
Donner Lake in Truckee
Donner lake
Truckee River

I will leave you with this https://www.biglifemag.com/a-town-we-love-truckee-ca/

Housesitting in St. George Utah and visit to Snow Canyon state park.

I recently had a 10 day house sit in St. George , Utah.  Well, actually the house was about 20 – 25 miles out of St. George closer to a town called Vejo. Vejo is very small and known for its pie store !

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Famous pie store in Vejo

The house that I house sat at was out in the country and in a very beautiful location. The setting was so nice with a big back yard complete with lounge chairs and a hot tub overlooking the river. I took care of 3 very quirky dogs. Why do I say quirky?? All elderly and deaf. 4 cats live here as well although I did not see much of one who is feral. The dogs are Scooter who is lying next to the cats, Reese the herding mix and Mr Bean , the little black one.  Mr Bean was very demanding and would bark when he wanted something such as outside, inside, on couch , off couch, on bed, off bed and especially when he wanted his breakfast at around 5:00 a.m !!! If he weren’t so incredibly cute, he could be a royal pain. However, his cuteness won me over. Reese was the only one who I could take on walks. He and I walked several times to the reservoir which was a 3 mile round trip walk and around the neighborhood . The setting here was so lovely, I never felt the need to go into town (St. George) except for once to pick up my groceries for the stay. I did however, go to Snow Canyon State park twice and what a treat that place is !!!

Image 11-29-18 at 5.52 PM
Scooter with 2 of the 4 cats , Reese, Mr Bean

Image 11-29-18 at 5.37 PM
Beautiful home in the country

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wild turkeys come thru the yard most every day.

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walking to the reservoir with Reese

Snow Canyon State Park is a state park of Utah, USA, featuring a canyon carved from the red and white Navajo sandstone in the Red Mountains. The park is located near Ivins, Utah and St. George in Washington.

Snow canyon state park was just a few miles from the house and a beautiful place to hike. I went there twice and spent all day wandering around its colorful rocks.

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one hike I went on in a canyon was tough walking due to a sand floor much like walking on the beach only not firm from the water.

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Lots of lava rocks as well as sandstone.

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All in all , I really enjoyed this house sit , the area, the house and the quirky pets.