My journey … 55 years from 31 January 1955 to today …

First THANK YOU to all my friends who sent me cards, emails, and Facebook messages for my FIFTY FIFTH BIRTHDAY xxxxx

I also updated my ‘Thanks’ Page on this blog, so that you can see the other special people – besides yourself – who have been supporting me on this journey.
I know it’s going to be a memorable birthday and I am counting my blessings. Thank you for making it even more special by reading this blog.

My journey … 55 years from 31 January 1955 to today …

First THANK YOU to all my friends who sent me cards, emails, and Facebook messages. I have my wish of 55 greetings .. and am still counting.  One very special person to thank is my friend in Massachusetts, Amy, who sent me a care package containing British tea bags! And also FIFTY BIRTHDAY CARDS, each one in its own envelope, each with a heart or animal sticker on the back xxxxx

I also updated my ‘Thanks’ Page on this blog, if you’d like to see the other special people – besides yourself – who have been supporting me on this journey.

I’m off to the Sunday morning service at the Episcopal Church in Willits now. More later …… I know it’s going to be a memorable birthday and I am counting my blessings. Thank you for making it even more special by reading this blog.

Redwood Forest Foundation

Carole is buying three Redwood trees

At the end of the meeting on Saturday, Lin Barrett was selling a truck full of small Redwood trees to raise funds for Redwood Forest Foundation Inc (RFFI).

Lin told Carole about how 70,000 baby trees came to be available for planting due to the demise of a local lumber company. The cessation of clear cutting in recent years followed by loss of demand for lumber has meant that there is little need to re-plant. Therefore the baby trees that were ordered a year or more in advance had no where to go (for full article go to the Press Democrat)

Thanks to the efforts of Lin and other RFFI friends, it looks like all the trees have found a happy home.
For more information and photos on what happened with the trees on Saturday, click here to be taken to the RFFI website article.

REDWOOD FUTURES: Jan.29 & 30 at Mendocino College

Friday, January 29th, 6-9 pm:

Mike Fay will present his National Geographic video Climbing the Redwood Giants
Center Theater, Mendocino College, Ukiah, California

Saturday, January 30th, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Menocino Futures Initiative
Center Theater, Mendocino College, Ukiah, California
RSVP required. For more information, email Susan Strom at and see

Carole Brown's photo of Redwoods on Christmas morn 2010

See more photos at The YesWeCan CamperVan’s Facebook Page at

Inspiring examples: Captain Vineyards

Today we met Susan Captain, founder of Captain Vineyards, as guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Moraga Garden Club.

What an inspiration!  She wowed the audience with her passion for wine and for working hard and following her dreams. We loved her sensitivity to the environment and were delighted to hear her talk of questioning established methods for wine growing, such as when and how to add fertilizers. Using traditional manual methods to plant and pick her grapes, she obtains a very high yield from less than three acres.

We look forward to interviewing Susan next Monday 25th and to finding out more about her vineyard and how she is building a sustainable business in harmony with the environment.
If you have any questions for our interview on sustainable farming, creating a small vineyard, establishing a woman owned business, living your dreams, etc, please post them below, so we can include them in our interview. THANK YOU.

Keep tuned for more news and photos.

2009 harvest of the Petite Syrah at Captain Vineyards

SAD DAY for the world

It’s a sad day today, as our home state of Massachusetts, sees the senate seat that was held for nearly half a century by Edward Kennedy, taken over by a Republican who apparently has some inhumane sounding beliefs, according to today’s New York Times article entitled G.O.P. Senate Victory Stuns Democrats ….

…. Scott Brown supports waterboarding as an interrogation technique for terrorism suspects, opposes a federal cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions and opposes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants unless they leave the country. It was a sharp swing of the pendulum, but even Democratic voters said they wanted the Obama administration to change direction……

And he opposes the Health Bill, of course!

To make matters worse, the new senator shares my family name (Carole “the Van driver” Brown – aargh!!!).


Where there are rainbows ….

"There is HOPE" photograph copyright 2010 Carole Brown

Stormy weather

"OH MY GOD" photograph copyright 2010 Carole Brown

This photo was taken on Monday 18 Jan, 2010 in the Californian central valley between Stockton and Discovery Bay, as we traveled west on the way back to Moraga from Arnold. It was a forewarning of the mad winds and torrential rain that was to come the next few days!

See for more information on this cloud type, called Mammatus, rarely seen in western USA.

Cloudy skies and storms ahead

As I sit in a ski lodge in the Bear Valley area of California, reading some of my friends posts on Facebook, I am not so happy today. It’s cloudy here and a big storm is on the way, but that is nothing compared to the one that humanity is facing. So far on this blog, I have been talking of the small things in life a lot of the time, like my travels, the van, the terrain, etc.

Today I am feeling different. Maybe because I am tuning into like minded individuals who are concerned about the same environmental issues that first came into my mind when I was a teenager 40 years ago. Things which felt so dismal and out of my control then, that the only way I could cope was by ignoring them for many years. Instead I hid in the corporate world of status and success from the late 70s until the mid 90s, thinking that if I made a comfortable life for myself I would be okay. But that solved nothing.

Now all these years later, things are worse than they were then: the world population has more than doubled, resources are drying up and Co2 is rising all the time. Yet there is something different that gives me hope. I am no longer feeling alone and powerless. Through social media, I can connect with others and not be a lone voice in the wilderness. This morning, I am meeting some new people on-line, introduced through my Facebook friends. People whose websites and blogs talk about what really happened at the Copenhagen Summit, speak of the danger that the human species is facing and who hope to raise awareness and motivate the kinds of behavioral change that we as a race need to make.

This past week my thoughts have been returning to the troubling question:
How can so many people still continue to focus on the minutiae of daily living and apparently not see what is staring us in the face – that essential resources like water and air will not be sufficient for our needs and that our human race is an endangered species?

As I look around the ski resort it seems very much ‘business as usual’  … but who am I to make assumptions! Who knows what is in another person’s head or heart, on their radar or in their consciousness?  Maybe they are just doing what I was (and will no doubt do again): closing their eyes and their senses to the world around us and enjoying play time, as the only way of coping that they know how?

“A storm is approaching”, the weather channel said last night. A big snow storm with incredibly high winds (100 miles per hour, I must have misheard, must have, surely). My mind wonders …..
What would happen if the storm that is forecast is even bigger? How would we all cope if it’s a white-out later today and if no-one can leave to go back to their comfy accommodations? What if the power goes, if we are all stranded here and have to share the resources? Will we befriend each other and share our water and food, will we converse and consider ways to minimize our consumption, will we collaborate to find a way forward … or will our ‘flight or fight’ instinct bypass our frontal lobes and our reptilian brains come to the fore in a battle of survival of the fittest?

(by Carole Brown, the Van’s driver)

Sun in the valley

It’s been a beautiful sunny day in the wine growing region north of Ukiah, northern California today and unusually warm for January. I have been visiting the Parducci vineyard to learn about what it means to be a carbon neutral business. I spoke with Kelly about the steps they took to reach this status. Later I’ll be posting a recording of our talk. Until then, I hope the sun is shining on you!