Places That Matter

As we meet people curious about our lifestyle, we are often asked “Where is your favorite place?”  There are too many variables for that question to have a simple answer. We have been blessed to see wonderful places reflecting geology, history, science and personal achievement. But I do have a very short list of “places that matter,” those I wish everyone could visit because of the impact they had on my soul.

wall pictureThe place that may always top my list of “places that matter” is Manzanar, the WWII Japanese Internment Camp Historic Site near Lone Pine, California. I wrote about it in the Highs and Lows blog post from November, 2014. It is interesting that my write up on Manzanar was really quite brief given the profound way that I remember it.

P1020221Another “place that matters” by my definition was Little Big Horn Battlefield. I wrote about our visit there in Montana Days Off – Week 2 from September, 2015. Seeing grave markers at Last Stand Hill and then scattered in pairs across the vast battlefield was sobering.

fullsizeoutput_3d17This week we visited another “place that matters.” We traveled to Bandon, to the Washed Ashore art gallery and workshop. The organization’s mission is to build and exhibit art to educate about plastic pollution in our oceans.


These volunteers are “regulars.”

Since 2010, more than 10,000 volunteers have cleaned 300 miles of Pacific coast beaches, collecting more than 38,000 pounds of petroleum based debris, generally plastic. Ninety five percent of the debris was used to make more than 60 sculptures.



The clear plastic water bottles with the blue rings are from the Beijing Olympics.


fullsizeoutput_3d0dIt was immensely sad that so much recognizable garbage ends up in our oceans. It was also inspiring that one woman, Angela Pozzi, concerned about the beaches near her hometown of Bandon, Oregon started this mission of awareness to change individual habits.


Jelly fish made pretty much entirely of plastic water bottles….

P1100757A few of the sculptures are on display at the exhibition hall in Bandon. Others are on display throughout the country. Right now they are in Ames Iowa, Tacoma Washington, Washington DC and Richmond Virginia. Their website at gives current information.  I encourage you to visit in Bandon, or see the exhibits around the country if you ever have the chance.

fullsizeoutput_3d15At the Washed Ashore exhibit hall I learned about 28,000 plastic ducks, turtles, frogs and beavers that were lost at sea in 1992. In the intervening years they have been found all over the world giving scientists valuable information about currents and the connectedness of our oceans.


fullsizeoutput_3d14The book about the toys and their movement, Moby Duck ,will be on my summer reading list!  There was also an NPR Interview with the author, Donovan Hohn, if you are interested…. but not THAT interested!

I appreciate seeing theses “places that matter.”  I just hope good will come from each sad tale.

About Serene

Former full time RVers, transitioned to homeowners and travelers. We've still got a map to finish! Home is the Phoenix area desert and a small cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.
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4 Responses to Places That Matter

  1. Jim Gell says:

    What a wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing this. Cathy and I met you briefly at an Anoka County Park outside Minneapolis where we were visiting a niece. We had the Blue green semi and Randy showed me how to backflush our water softener for the first time.

    It looks like we almost crossed paths again. We were just in Crescent City, CA a few days ago and took a ride in the smart car as far as House Rock on the southern Oregon Coast. We were getting a little behind schedule for our trip to Alaska, so we headed over to I 5 at Grants Pass when we left Crescent City instead of taking 101 up through Brandon. We are now in Puyallup, WA installing a new washing machine before heading up the Cassiar to Alaska.

    Your blog is inspiring and very much appreciated. It makes me wish we had had made time to chat more in Minneapolis. Until we get to do that, we will just need to settle with continuing to enjoy your great blog posts.

    Safe travels,

    • Serene says:

      Yes, Jim. We remember you. We also remember that park as being so great except for the humidity and monster mosquitos! Thanks for your kind words about the blog and post. I enjoy doing it and am glad people enjoy reading it.

      We would be happy to meet up again. I often post after the fact so take a look at our future plans tab once in a while to see if and when we might be near each other. I hope your trip to Alaska is fun and memorable, in a good way!

  2. Cheryl Goldstein says:

    So glad you got to Bandon. It really left an impression on me too. Not sure I can ever use plastic grocery bags again – not that I used them very often.
    Here’s wishing you the opportunity to see many more places that matter.
    Your friends at Landmark Adventures.

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