Seven Storefronts to See on Your Way to Sequoia National Park

Storefronts with Signs Abound

I travel a lot.

I photograph buildings all over the country, but so do you. You even live in some of the places I’ve traveled, and probably have much better pictures of the buildings than I have.

But I bet most of you do not photograph Woodlake, CA. Gotcha, didn’t I?

A Little History of Woodlake

Woodlake began in 1912 as a tourist town nestled away from the beaten path surrounded by the Sierra Nevada foothills. If you head east from Woodlake, you will reach Sequoia National Park. Going through Woodlake is one of the beautiful back ways to get there.

A few of the original 1900s buildings still stand downtown.

This year Woodlake celebrates 75 years of incorporation. Not many of the small towns in Tulare County are incorporated, so it’s a big deal for us. We are having a huge We-R-Woodlake celebration September 23-25th, so things R changin’ round-about Woodlake.

Main Street Woodlake

Woodlake has one north-south main street called Valencia Boulevard, named after a type of orange, which is one of Woodlake’s main crop. The east-west main street which intersects Valencia in the 2016 round-about, is named Naranjo Boulevard (pronounced na rawn’ ho). Some Woodlakers pronounce it (na raw’ no). Naranjos are a different species of oranges.

Three years ago I snapped these pictures before Woodlake underwent a major remodel. One day when the sky is not muddy I’ll go back and do a more thorough job of documenting our buildings and streets as they look now.

Woodlake Hardware Built in 1917 taken in 2013.
This new Woodlake Hardware building was built in 1917. This picture and the article about Morris Bennet, the 92-year-old owner, attracted Arcadia Publishing to me. A random article resulted in a book, Images of America: Woodlake. In this case, a picture was worth 18,000 words, and 210 more pictures.

In 2015 Morris and his children wanted to retire but hung in there until the building and business sold. Oral E. Micham, Inc. thrilled city and surrounding residents when he bought the business. Morris still comes to work. He started in 1940 the year he graduated from Woodlake High School. 🙂

No offence, Baldo. I just think it's funny to have a barbershop named Baldo's.
No offense, Baldo. I think it’s funny to have a barbershop named Baldo’s. Even baldos need a hair cut from time to time. 🙂
This is one of the older buildings in Woodlake. Most of the buildings were brick because of fire danger.
This is one of the older buildings in Woodlake. Most of the buildings built in the early 1900s  were constructed of brick because of fire danger.
Bank of America built a new building when the "brick block" on the corner was torn down in 1961. Newer buildings are stucco.
Bank of America had to move when the  1912 “brick block” on the corner was torn down in 1961. Some of the newer buildings are at least covered in stucco. Bank of America closed in 1985 and Valley Business Bank took over the banking needs in Woodlake some time later.
Notice the original brick. I think they did a creative job of including the past when they update it.
Notice the original brick. I think they did a creative job of including the past when they updated it.
Cinderblock buildings do not burn easily. Dick Edmiston erected this government building in the late 1960s.
Cinderblock buildings do not burn easily either. Dick Edmiston erected this government building in the late 1960s.
The Gongs bought Haury's Market, the Liquor Store and the Theatre in the 1960s and created the General Food Store.
The Gongs bought Haury’s Market, the Liquor Store, and the Theatre in the 1960s and opened the General Food Store. The well-equipped fire station just down the road protects the wood structure. General Food reflects the western motif of the town.

Those are not all the buildings along our main street, Valencia Boulevard, but they are the some of the bigger ones. Several new businesses have come to Woodlake since I took these pictures. Time changes even the small sleepy town of Woodlake, the Western Mayberry.

Click on Image

For more entries in Cee’s B & W Challenge, click on her image.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends.

Other articles you might enjoy about Woodlake.

Two Easy Trails You Should Check Out at the Central Coast

Bob Jones Trail

I wonder if they were placing bets.  :)
They’re so vain. I bet they think this post is about them. They’re so vain. I bet they think this post is about them, about them!

This off the beaten path was for the birds, but I enjoyed it from the Bob Jones Trail in Avila Beach, CA. I’ve never seen any birds line up like this since. 🙂 Avila Beach, pronounced AH-vuh-luh, has a population of approximately 1,627 at the 2010 census.

Bob Jones Trail002

It’s hard to believe Avila Beach is that unpopulated when you hike this trail. Not much level land area exists between the beach and the bluffs, but this trail is flat, leaving the cliffs to the side, and people flock to it, as do other creatures.

Taken with my iPhone, this coyote looked hungry.  Maybe I was just imagining it because I was hungry.  He left the water without grabbing a duck-to-go.
Taken with my iPhone, this coyote looked hungry. Maybe I was just imagining it because I was hungry. He left the water without grabbing a duck-to-go.

This was another shot from the Bob Jones Trail, which meanders three miles around a golf course in Avila Beach ( about a half mile from the beach), along San Luis Obispo Creek, past a housing community and general store and restaurant, inland to Ontario Road. which is the road that comes off the Highway 101.

Bob Jones Trail Starts Here

People park their cars and ride or bike the trail with and without extra small people and animals in tow. It’s usually fairly crowded so even Puppy Girl knows to stay on the right side of the center line. Bicyclists are usually courteous enough to call out, “On your left,” as they approach you.

"Woah there baby.  Wait for Mama!!!  Watch out for that killer white dog!!"
“Woah there baby. Wait for Mama!!! Watch out for that killer white dog!!”

This is the beginning of the trail at Ontario Road. You can see the parking lot across the street.

Bob Jones Trail030

It’s a great place for families to escape the heat of the Central Valley in the summer and the fog and cold in the winter. It was 95 degrees there last week but my advice is to always take a sweatshirt. You never know.

Shell Beach Bluff Trail

Just up the road between Pismo Beach and Avila Beach, off Ontario Road is the Shell Beach Bluff Trail with mansions on one side and the ocean on the other.

Travel, San Luis Obispo County, California, Shell Beach

This does not look like a trail, walkers are gently guided onto a fenced path. No one accidentally wanders into the front yards of these homes.

Travel, San Luis Obispo County, California, Shell Beach

The Shell Beach Bluff Trail trail starts at a parking lot on Indio Drive and winds down to the beach if you go off the paved path.

Travel, San Luis Obispo County, California, Shell Beach

It’s easy walking for both people and pets. Warning: the trail that leads on down to the beach is not so easy-going. 🙂

Travel, San Luis Obispo County, California, Shell Beach

I had trouble keeping my camera focused on the trail. Sorry! I’m not sure what to do with that white cord. We swiveled around at the start of the downward trail and kept on the paved path back up to Indio Road again.

Travel, San Luis Obispo County, California, Shell Beach

If you are in the market for one of these beauties on Indio Drive, they are quite reasonably priced at about 1.6 million to start. We chose to stay in our trailer at the KOA Park on Ontario Road. 🙂

Travel, San Luis Obispo County, California, Shell Beach

Happy trails to you. If you enjoyed this be sure to visit Cee Neuner for more fun photos Click here.

CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.
CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.

9 Reasons Certain Relationships Grow Online

Why Relationships Grow Online

Relationships grow online for the same reasons they grow offline. If you practice effective relationship principals your online friend list will grow, too. We vanity bloggers usually blog for the relationships we build

Hobby bloggers do not usually sell anything but online blogging personas. They might review restaurants or make-up, or have fun with flags. Sometimes they get perks or press passes from businesses in their hobby niche. They all work very hard to watch their relationships grow online. 


I planned a trip to Australia for the sole purpose of meeting with two of my long-time blogging friends. I enjoyed three weeks with one and several days with the other. We cement relationships with some bloggers and not others. With millions of bloggers worldwide to choose from, what is it that draws us to one person, not another?

Why are some relationships set in stone?

Blogging friends meet

Here are some of the reasons my relationships grow online. What can you add to the list?

  1. My Need: I have a need and someone helps me out. When I started blogging five years ago, I knew nothing but how to put one word after another, followed by a few deletes. I am always grateful to those many bloggers who took pity on my and helped me out. I was almost clingy when someone followed me even if they were only doing it to get people to follow them back.
  2. Your Need: You have an urgent need, and I know how to help. Nothing makes relationships grow online better than being asked to help and then having the answer. That person then comes to you more and more because it is hard to know who to trust in the blogosphere. I am ashamed to say that I probably let some of my friends down when I first started because I did not know enough to help them. I remember Eric first started emailing me asking me all kinds of questions. He was a great photographer and he was older than I was and probably lonely. His photographs were good, and he was so sweet with tons of great experiences. He needed a grammar and spelling check. I did not have the heart to tell him that. We are not still in touch, and I feel bad about that.
  3. Humor: He or she makes my day. I laugh till my sides hurt, then I laugh some more. When I visited Carol, she read Badfish’s posts out loud. We both had tears running down our faces. Then I tell hubby to cheer him up. Soon we are friends online on several social media accounts, often. Everyone has their favorites. So it’s good to be on as many as you have time to maintain. I warn you, though, if you don’t continue to post your blog posts on social media those friends will quit reading your posts, and simply like your photos. Soon the friendship dissipates.
  4. They chase me. I’m commenting on someone else’s post, and they comment on my comment. I’m flattered. I check them out. Ralph has been my best long-time friend for this. I call him MFR, My Favorite Ralph. He found me making a comment on someone else’s blog and started a conversation. That was probably a little rude. We did not do it long. His friends have become some of my best friends over the years. Don’t worry I’m going to give you my list. You can’t find all their comments on this blog because it is more didactic and less personal than my Streaming Thoughts blog. I changed the name to Traveling & Blogging Near and Far.
  5. They read every post I write and make comments. This is a sure bet for me. I love those people. Do I need to say more? You write, your read, you discuss, you quote in your next post. That was Autty Jade for me and her blog, A Day in the Brine and  The Cotton Boll Conspiracy. My new friend Hugh engaged in real conversations, not just “beautiful picture.” Carol’s friend Denzil is great at conversation, too. Now granted, these new friends probably do not read every post, but we have a connection. I have spent time studying their blogs. I remember when I first started blogging. Ralph was looking for a place to live after his partner died. Hundreds of women were telling him that they liked a total dump of a place. I couldn’t let him buy that one! I read every post that Ralph wrote and every comment. (I had about two followers at the time.) I’ve spent hours on Carol’s blog and The Adventures of Justin Beaver
  6. They follow me. It has to be more than that. If I have to chase them down to try to figure out why they followed me, we probably won’t become friends. If they leave a comment, I’ll respond, and I’ll check them out. If they do it again and again, I figure they like me. I’m sold. But over the years I’ve lost touch. I have more people following me than I can possibly connect to in a year, and my list is short compared to pro bloggers. The difference is that most pro bloggers send out email lists to hundreds of people and they might only connect with a few of them, just like we do. It takes more than a follow. Debby of DK Writer taught me so much recently about starting an instant friendship. She connected with me on three different social media accounts. Retweeted everything I wrote, and sent me stickers on messenger. WOW! 
  7. We do something together. This is huge for me. Taking a class is the easiest. Sending Manny, my stuffed bear, to various bloggers to take pictures and use him in their posts and mine is huge. He hasn’t gone anywhere for a while, by the way.
  8. Guest posting and interviews, featuring blogs are huge relationship cementers for me. Those who featured me and those I featured are still friends of mine four years after the post was published. To apply for an interview on this blog click here.
  9. Visiting  This is probably the biggest relationship cementer. The pull to be with the bloggers you like is irresistible. I’m going to Queensland, Australia December 27 through January 16. I’d love to meet my Australian friends if you have time and we can work it out. YES, I know Australia is a big place! 🙂

What is it for you that has cemented those firm friendships over the internet?

If you already did a post on this topic, please paste the link in the Just Write comment box. I love giving you the credit, and I’ll visit your blog.

More importantly, so will others. 🙂 If you see a post you like in my comment box, please pay them a surprise visit!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with someone YOU care about.

Warning: Why Blogging May Be Life Changing

As I have researched for Because of Blogging and for Transformational Blogging, I hear lots of stories about what happened to bloggers as a result of their blog. Here is my question for you today.

Because of Blogging TBJ

When you started blogging, where did you think the blogging experience would lead you?

Follow-up Question

Where has blogging led you and how has it changed your life?

Related Posts

Please share this post with any bloggers you know. If you have a post about this topic, please link it in a comment box. Or leave your comment directly in the box. Thanks for being part of Just Write!

Cycling Grandma Shares Reasons for Self-Publishing

Lisa Winkler, online at CyclingGrandma, and I have been blogging friends for about four years. She wrote a book, On the Trail of the Ancestors: A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America, which I read, discussed, and then reviewed on my blog, Streaming Thoughts.


When I heard that she had published another book, I asked Lisa if she would allow me to interview her for my new blog, Just Write, and I was thrilled that she agreed.

Lisa cycled in Tuscany
Lisa cycled in Tuscany

Hi Lisa, welcome to Just Write, a blog for writers, bloggers and photographers to have a place to share and have a cup of coffee together. Glad you could take a few minutes to sit down. I don’t think you do that often!

I’m so proud of you, Lisa. You just published your second book. That’s quite an accomplishment! In light of that let me ask my first question.

What is the ONE thing that you do; that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes as a blogger and author, so far?

Thanks, Marsha. It took courage to self-publish my first book, On the Trail of the Ancestors: A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America. I had invested a lot of time and passion into the book and thought I’d be able to get an agent, a publisher, etc. I self-published because I believed in the story but unless you self-promote to death, you don’t get much sales. It’s been a very slow process. But once I self-published my first book, I felt more comfortable doing the others.

I get that. I always feel better just finishing a project. Then it’s exciting to hear from people who read it. So, you had one book under your belt and felt encouraged to finish another. You probably had the idea for Amanda at Bat for a long time before you started writing it. I’m sure it took a while to develop.

What is one opportunity that you attribute to publishing your new book?

Amanda at Bat

Once again, I knew I was going to self-publish Amanda at Bat.  I’d submitted it many times over the years and it has been developed through a couple of writing workshops. I felt it was time for it to launch. I’m so grateful that my friend Stella Sormani agreed to illustrate it.

Submitting to publishers takes a lot of time, and is a completely different skill than writing the book. That task is daunting, coupled with the unsettling rejection letters that come to all authors at some time in their careers. Many of us are turning to self-publishing. I am no artist, either! Illustrations overwhelm me, and they are so important for children’s books. Stella did a great job, simple, but expressive. I haven’t been to any writing workshops, but I did take an online class on writing children’s picture books through the Australian Writers’ Centre with my blogging friend, Carol Sherritt.

What concerns or obstacles have you overcome in your writing career?

I’ve reached an age where I am going to write what I want to write! That said, I am sensitive to not using my children’s or grandchildren’s names as they’ve asked me not to write about them. It does limit my writing at times but that’s life!

Yeah, it’s nice to feel the freedom to write what you want to write. I hear what you are saying about writing about friends and family. People who have authors as friends may feel that they have to step on eggshells. It’s good that you are careful! Nobody wants to be exposed in a bad light.

Tell me about something that you are not good at.

Gee, just one thing? I am not good with technology. I can use my computer and I blog but I know I only use a fraction of the tools available to me on my phone. I know I could learn—but just don’t seem to have the interest or patience.  I’m not good at book design and happy to allow a professional to do that.

Hahaha. I agree that is a loaded question! There are so many details to bringing a book together for publication.

How do you balance your time between your personal and career/blogging life?

Bear on Lisa's porch

I wish I could say I had the discipline to write every day. I don’t.  Family, a bike ride, travel, errands and such all distract me.

Like having a bear visit you on your patio? That was quite a story! It sounds like you are comfortable with your choices, and that you keep your life in balance.

If your blog or writing career ended today, what would be the legacy that you hope you left behind?

Wow! What a question. I hope my blog and book readers have enjoyed my writing and have gotten something from it that may resonate. I’ve donated my books to libraries where I hope people might find them in the future!

That is a generous gesture, Lisa. It’s probably a good marketing tip for other self-published writers as well. I think some traditional publishing companies do that as well. I know mine did.

Tell me a bit about more Amanda at Bat. Why did you write it?

I wrote many children’s books when my kids were small. I received my Masters in Education with a focus in children’s literature and was inspired by all the wonderful literature I read. I suppose every parent thinks they have stories to tell. Children’s writing is very hard! You have to tell a story in as few words as possible.  Amanda is really based on a real person, who like Amanda, is short, born in December, and whose last name is at the end of the alphabet. Her mother was annoyed when she played on a T-ball team that the batting order seemed unfair. I’ve been working on the story for many years. It was originally published in the last issue of a children’s on-line magazine and was a bit longer than it is now.

Are there any overall themes in the story?

It’s about fairness, solving your problems, and speaking up for yourself. I hope other children will see a bit of themselves in Amanda.

All kids worry a great deal about fairness, don’t they, Lisa? They are like the fairness police in a world that is not always fair. I can see where your book would be VERY helpful, especially for teachers to read just before kids go out on recess! Recess was the one place where my fourth graders had the most difficulties in school.

Lisa, this draws our interview to a close. I want to thank you again for being with me today. This was fun! I feel that I’ve gotten to know you a bit better, and I hope that those who read this interview will feel the same way, and will share your book as well as this article.


Lisa Winkler

Lisa K. Winkler writes and blogs from New Jersey. She grew up on a poultry farm in Connecticut and worked as a newspaper reporter and magazine journalist. She’s now writing family histories as a personal historian. Read more about Lisa here

Your Turn

If you enjoyed this post, please forward it to your friends, especially teachers and parents or grandparents with young children. If you read Lisa’s book and write a review, please put a link to your blog in the comment section of this post, so others can find it.

cup of coffee

Thanks again for joining us here at Just Write for a cup of coffee and another great interview with our guest author, Lisa Winkler.