New England autumn road trippin’ dudes! (part 1)


(I am sitting in a cafe at the window surrounded by trees and bushes outside and lots of big green leafy plants indoors.  The sunlight is streaming through canopy onto my face as I watch the sunset over the city.  I love it!)

I post pictures of my life and my travels.  To the outside world these pictures may seem like the perfect little snippets in a whimsical carefree life.  I clearly just do as I please and have endless funds to do whatever I want and travel wherever I want to go whenever I want to.  Every picture is the most stunning perfect place.  My life is perfect and I don’t have a care in the world…..la lee la dee da…

Oh wait… Darn it dudes I must have dozed off and been dreaming!  I am at the tale end of a two week solo road trip.  I have put just over 2,000 miles on my car (not the most I have put on in a two week period), I went 3 days without a shower and I had to seriously budget my money towards the end of this trip.  I was so darn tired yesterday afternoon driving back west that I just started crying from exhaustion.

I have always wanted to visit New England.  I wanted to go to New England in the autumn with the man of my dreams.  We were to drink, hike, stay in a cozy little cabin and just frolic through the country side.  It was to be all peace, love and bubbles…sigh.  Well I have yet to meet Mr. “Even Close to Mr. Right” so I said, “I’m just going to go by myself!”  So reached out to my dear friend Bre who lives in Maine and said I was coming in October!

So a couple of weeks ago I stopped by my folks house to spread out all my stuff and swap out clothes and gear out of my car.  Since I have willingly moved into my vehicle I don’t have the space to spread out my things and pack things well.  I am very lucky to have folks that back me up when I come to them with ideas about my life adventures.  (More about my life inside my tiny house on wheels in an up coming post.)  With my car packed up, a fresh oil change and full tank of gas I set off for the east coast.

I will say it felt odd driving east, especially up to New England.  So many of my trips take place out west.  Driving east I felt like I could dead end my trip in a day and technically I could reach the northern Maine in a day and that is weird to me.   As I drove closer and closer to the Maine border I totally felt a little claustrophobic!  Kind of like, “Dude…where can I go from here?!”  Needless to say that when I drove past the state line and snapped a picture of the Welcome to Maine sign, I let out a yelp excitement!

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I have waited so long to go to New England and I was finally here and was totally stoked.  I arrived at my friends Bre’s parent’s home and was greeted by a big warm hug from my friend.  I told her that I need two things, a drink and a shower!

I showered in an awesome outdoor shower!  I LOVE showering outdoors!  I listened to the waves crash onto the shore as the clouds floated above.  It. Was. Awesome!

After showering, Bre’s dad made me a delicious tasty cocktail.  I cannot remember what was in it but it was fantastic and took the edge off of a semi long drive.

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Sooooo awesome dudes!
Now normally I don’t eat seafood because I live in Ohio and I am never really sure how fresh it is and then there is the whole I don’t eat meat thing.  So why did I choose to eat seafood in New England???  Well for one it is caught fresh out of the ocean usually the same day.  Two, I felt just as bad but did offer up gratitude to the animal and that eased my mental dialogue about ethical fishing.

With all that out of the way I will continue.  ;D

Saturday night Bre and I went out to eat at some place that was good but I cannot remember the name of it.  Oh, she just texted me back, it is Buffleheads!  I kept saying Hufflelumps, and Snuffleupagus and other various nonsense..lol!  Bre worked with the manager previously and she sent over complimentary muscles.  Geez oh Pete’s they were good.  The sauce they were in was light and creamy and dreamy!  After muscles, calamari and some delicious salad I was sooooo ready for bed.  That night I crawled into the lovely guest room bed and fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing on the beach.  Life was so totally hard at that moment (insert eye roll here) lol!

Sunday morning I crept down stairs, made some french press coffee and walked (like 50′) to the rocky shores at the tip of the out cropping my friends live on.  I watched in utter bliss the sun rise over the distant horizon of the Atlantic ocean.  I watched the tide flow into the tide pools and the ocean spray it’s water that had traveled thousands of miles onto the rocks.  I hopped from rock to rock and couldn’t stop taking photos.  I just had my iPhone so they are only semi descent pictures,  Capturing a sunrise with a camera phone isn’t easy but here are a few.

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The next morning we headed out to the Palace Diner for breakfast.  This cool place seats only about 16 people but is a throw back to rail car diners.  The servings are plentiful, the coffee hot and the tunes were pretty good.  I am not a grapefruit fan but they have on the menu a halved grapefruit that they grill for a “hot minute” and then dip in sugar.  Kind of like the salt rim on a margarita glass.  It sure did look good but I didn’t try as I didn’t want to waste it.

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And ladies are totally invited!..(eye roll..)  haha
After breakfast we went apple picking at the super cute Russell Orchard in Ipswich, Massachusetts and then went to lunch and ate lobster rolls at Billy’s Chowder House in Wells, Maine.  Scruuuuumptious but at $20 a pop I had to control myself!  For some reason I thought lobster in the lobster rolls was going to be served warm but it isn’t.  The sliced bread bun is toasted then the cold lobster is served inside of it likened to a hot dog in a bun.  I did take a picture but I had already eaten half of it, sorry.  Hahaha!

IMG_4043 shipyard beer

I drank plenty of Shipyard beer, which is a totally nice accompaniment to seafood, on this trip to Maine.  It is a brewed locally and is quite good especially on the very warm days I spent up in New England!  And with that it is time to go have a beer somewhere.  😀

 

To be continued….

 

~Lori

“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (<— born in Portland ,Maine!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ebb and Flow of Life: Let Them Go (the soul suckers) and Let it Flow (the positive energy).

 


It’s spring and the flowers and trees are blooming with renewed life and the smell of fresh cut grass is in the air!  The sun, holy cow the sun is back baby!!  This is a great time for a little self realization.   Here’s mine… (please read this with sincerity, humor and a learning curve.)

Lately (as in the past few years)  I’ve been periodically stuck in others negative energy and have intermittently lost my focus.  It isn’t their fault, it’s mine.  I’m not talking about just one person.  I’m talking about a few people who have been in my life for a little while now.  This solid meditation practice that I have can sometimes disappear when I need it most, into thin air just like a ghost!  (#iloverhyming 😆)

What happens when you get caught up in others negative energy and why does it happen?  Well first let’s talk about why.

Dudes, I am a helper.  I want to help you cross the street, open a jar of pickles for you, get you through a life crisis, tell you your fly is down, listen to your problems, meditate with you, tuck your shirt tag in, make you smile on a particularly crappy day, hug you, do your dishes, hangout with you when I just want to go to bed, get you through the moment with fresh brewed coffee and LOTS of nature.  I will listen to you until I’m blue in the face.  And sometimes I become romantically involved because I fall for the tragedy aaaand I feel needed by you. (<–I know what my issues are…lol)

But guess what?!?!?!  I’m not a therapist.  I know right?.. You totally thought I was😆.  I don’t have a license, a certificate nor anything of the sort.   When I finally do wake up and realize that the line between being a good friend and getting involved too deeply (a.k.a. therapist/and or lover) has been crossed, well it’s too late.  I’m already all in.  When in reality I’m not in at all.  I’m on the sidelines of their life and I’m only called into the game when the score is so darn low and they just need a body because the star player is exhausted from trying too hard to prove to everyone they are awesome but they aren’t that awesome because they are clearly losing the game.  (Obvious tidbit: Star player being themselves, the soul sucker.)

So why are these types of people attracted to me?  Well I have been told it is because I’m optimistic, carefree, fun loving, kind, strong and independent.  (also I like to be needed [bad I know])  There is something they see in me that they are missing in their own life and they will suck you dry until they can get their hands on just a piece of your whimsical free lovin’ soul.  They will prey upon your “helper” personality because it temporarily relieves them of their own internal hellish crisis.

Here’s what’s obvious but I feel needs to be said.  You can’t bring anyone happiness if they aren’t happy with themselves or aren’t willing to receive it.  

Total “duh” moment I know…🙄

 

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“If you watch how nature deals with adversity, continually renewing itself, you can’t help but learn.” ~Bernie Siegel, M.D.

This is where the soul suckers come in.  But first the definition (this is my own made up definition so don’t go all “legal” on me..lol) of a Soul Sucker: one who depletes you of your positive energy so they may live in happiness for the moment before returning to lives they are not happy with and the negative energy that surrounds them.  Soul suckers are either too proud or too stuck or both, to want to change themselves for the better.  They see no way out of the situation and therefore they cling onto others.   Helpers are the “pill” they pop to get them through the day.
Now I’m not saying these people are total and complete turds.  Some have been through very very very rough times.  However that does not give anyone the “I have free pass to act like this because my past is so tragic” card.  Everyone has a past and a lot have one that was not fair but that does not excuse horrible or bad behavior over an extended period of time.  Soul suckers don’t want to be soul suckers.  These are people that are so stuck in their own junk that they don’t feel as if there is a way out and they morph into soul suckers.

I’m not telling anyone how to overcome fear, grief, loss, loneliness, abandonment or depression.  I have just finally realized that don’t have the tools nor the education to help beyond a listening ear for a short period of time.  When someone keeps telling you the same story or the same “oh woe is me” tale, it’s time to go.  (The only thing I want on repeat is my favorite song while attempting to lift weights. 😜)  No one should deplete your positive vibes.

Keep those positive vibes rollin’!

  Go ahead people, share those positive vibes but know when to move on or else your positive will turn to negative and it can take some time before your higher energy frequency returns.  And don’t worry about that person after you choose to cut those ties.   Wish them love, peace and clarity and release them.  They will either find peace or find another person with a high positive energy level to prey upon because they aren’t yet ready (consciously or subconsciously) to seek the true help they so really do need.  (we all need help, some just more than others.)

Obvious tidbit:  I am not perfect.  I have my own issues to deal with.  I have total crappy moments that can last several days!  Think of mid-winter, no sun (and you’ve forgotten there ever was one), period, no date nor prospect of one on the horizon and/or the need to eat so I may hibernate all winter like a bear.  Yes, bad moments can last. I myself went through a super very very very crappy time forever ago and it affected my life in many ways.  It was horrible and it took a loooong time to come to terms with, but I never intentionally hurt anyone.

What I’m saying here is that you have to keep yourself in the forefront at all times.  Being around that negative energy can make you do things you never thought you would.  This is why I say they suck you dry because it’s then, when you have nothing left, that you surrender to their lip service.   You believe what they say.  You enter their world of perpetual sadness and selfishness.  When you do reach your breaking point you are so ready to let go and you see the light and run towards it full speed ahead.  But don’t think you’ll get there scott free.  There are still feelings of “what if”,  abandonment, loneliness, shame and just feeling bummed.  Don’t fear my peeps.  If you are a naturally happy loving person you’ll sooner rather than later realize that you feel better when they aren’t in your sphere.  You’ll want to surround yourself with positive people and those positive people will only lift your spirits higher.   Which brings me to this:  If someone doesn’t voluntarily celebrate you and your accomplishments and dreams, then see ya later alligator.  If you have to convince someone to spend time with you, then ciao dude I gotta go.  If someone can’t make the effort to be there for/with you if they are sure they won’t be getting anything in return then take that red flag and haul butt as far away from them as possible.

You have to know when to hold em’know  when to fold em’, know when to walk away and know when to run…thank you Kenny Rogers!!!!!

These are hard lessons people!  The heart is complex strong willed organ and sometimes your head has to step in and say,  “Look stupid, Brain here, I can’t take much more of this and the rest of us, muscles, bones and nerves need a break!”

Does this mean that you give up on those soul sucking people?  NO WAY DUDE!   You keep them in your meditations and prayers but only wishing them mental clarity, love and peace.  No dwelling on what was or what could have been if only things were different.  MOVE ON.  By keeping the negative energy around you, you block the positive from coming in.  Like the old saying, “misery loves company.”

One day you will be able to be friends with these people.  You’ll be able to put the past aside and embrace them.  For right now though they are not contributing to your life in a positive way.  It’s like being at a bakery, everything tastes so good until it makes you sick.

I choose to divert my path towards positive energy.  Maybe one day they will rejoin you on your path, your positive path.

Until then keep your mind free of negative clutter, embrace positive people, love like a wild person, point your face towards the sun and let it flow flow flow.  Recreate yourself, renew yourself, put yourself first, make amends where needed and move forward.

Love, peace and everything in between,

Lori

“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadworth Longfellow (clearly this dude practiced meditation!)

 

What I am good at, according to me ;)


Cooking is not one of them.  I have the most highly sensitive smoke detector on this earth.  Or…even the smoke detector does not like my cooking.  And it’s not even really cooking for Pete’s sake.  It is grilled “cheese” and fried “pet chicken” eggs.  Gosh darn it, I was sage-ing my place tonight, you know to get rid it of bad energy and possibly not so nice spirits that may be lurking around a 100 year old building, and the darn smoke detector went off.  I. Mean. Really?

So no, if it involves the stove or the freakin’ oven for that matter, I am not good at it.

So things I am good at.

Optimism 😀  Totally 9.9999999999 times out of 10 I will see the bright side of things.  Dude, why get upset.  What is done, is done.  Learn, grow, move forward in a positive direction.

People.  I LOVE people.  I love hearing their stories, their awesome experiences and most of all, how a couple that has been married for a loooong time, has met.

Which leads me to this random tangent.

My folks, Donnie and Gina met one night while my dad was sitting on the stoop of a house with is good buddy Nick Perazola.  Walking down the street towards them was my ma and her friend whose name escapes me.  I am not sure who wore what color but as the story goes they had on matching Penn State sweatshirts.  The only difference being one was white with blue lettering and the other was blue with white lettering.  HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!  Talk about yin, yang.  Married almost 50 years (this year on September 21) and together over 54 years, they are good at marriage.  They love and fight like hell.  But they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Okay back to the list of things I am good at….

I can love like no other.  When I am with you, I am with you.  But don’t be mistaken…..I am also totally great at being without you.  Life is what it is.  The ups and downs, the rivers and oceans, the canyons and ravines.  I find my way around them because if you don’t, you’ll be just a mere shell of a being.   But it is better to navigate with a partner 😀

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My picture…somewhere over Utah.  By train 2010.  

I am not good at finishing an apartment.  I have lived here for over 2 years and I have never painted nor have I bought more than one kitchen chair for my kitchen table.  Maybe I will buy another chair when I settle down with my guy.  (I haven’t met him yet…hehehehe!)  Or maybe I have and it’s all on the universes timing.  Who the hell knows.

I am good at getting myself mentally and physically lost in the woods.  I know myself well enough that if I don’t get out of town and deep into the woods I start to be “not so nice.”

I am good at Halloween decorating..just ask my sister Lisa.

I am good at amazing stupid joke telling…just ask my sister Lana.

I am good at reminding my brother that his “big man status” at work is no match for him succumbing to his three little sisters who won’t let him forget he is still out numbered.  ;D

I am not good at following through…on reupholstering this awesome vintage chair that I bought at an estate sale 4 years ago.  Still the same hideous fabric since the day I bought it.

I am good at collecting driftwood.  A piece has to have some artful effect on me.  I have to look at it and imagine it’s journey and what it went through to get to that beach.  The pieces I do have dance with one another.  🙂

Acceptance.  I am good at that.  Didn’t used to be but I am now.  I accept the good, bad and the ugly.

I am verrrrrry good at road tripping!  Probably my first love.  It’d be pretty cool to have a dog and dude to road trip with.  Any takers?!

Adventuring.  I am goooood at that.  Any takers?!

~Lori

“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

British Accent, sore muscles and red wine….lol


(this post is to be read with a British accent)      

Birmingham, England                                                                                                                                       October 24, 1885

Dearest Everyone who reads this blog,

I am writing to tell you about the oh so very exciting life I lead.   PLEASE DO NOT BE JEALOUS OF THE FOLLOWING POST!  (it will be hard but you’ll get through it)

I worked out on Saturday morning, it was leg and core day and I was feeling in tip top form. Quite  wonderful that I was able to exercise my right to perform other exercises apart from taking turns around the garden with my sister Jane!

I then went to work with a client.  (On the weekends I help people organize their homes and offices.)  After working with the client I went to do some light bouldering at local crag if you will.  Now, let me say that I am not the best climber, nor the worst but it is nice to be outside in the elements by one’s self.  However, even though I was climbing by myself there were people who were hiking by and some stopped to watch me.  Seriously.  No one wants to watch me climb.  I am not very good but I work at it… 60% of the year, okay maybe 50%.  Lol…  I keep ear buds in my ears so I don’t have to listen to people ask questions.  I mean if you circle back around I will be stuck on the same crux that I was 30 minutes ago and you’ll think to yourself, “She stinks…let’s keep hiking.”  Not very exciting to watch after all eh?!  lol…  Needless to say I am still working on the same problem.

Sunday morningI awoke in crazy arse pain!  I mean it was painful to sit down, stand up, climb stairs, hang pictures, laugh, breath.  Weirdly I had no problem eating, my buccinator muscles are in top form!  :/  I felt like the Tin Man who needed the oil can.  Except I needed massage and a beer!  I decided to take a rest day and not workout at all.  I organized a client and then my friend and I went to a movie and I almost fell asleep a few times through out it.  I felt I owed it to him to stay awake as he paid for the tickets!  Bloody hell people…. it is quite difficult being 29 years of age.  Okay, that is a lie…I am somewhere between 31 and 100 years of age.  I am not narrowing it down for you anymore.  You don’t deserve to know the truth.

Now it is Monday evening.  I stopped at the market and then came home where I proceeded not to use a single darn ingredient I bought 20 minutes prior. I opened a bottle of delicious red wine and made vegan nachos.  Vegan cheese still sucks.  This brand melted better but was still absolutely tasteless.  One good thing that I learned is that if you mix vegan sour cream with buffalo sauce that combo will mask the bad taste of crappy vegan cheese!!!

Now I am off to bed where I will toss and turn waking up to dry a mouth and two very dry eyes WISHING I would have bought that humidifier I saw on Amazon for $30 a week ago!  I will get up at 4:15am, press snooze twice and then finally crawl out of bed and get me arse to the gym.  I will literally look like the walking dead.  If any of you don’t watch it on the television feel free to meet me at the gym and you can see a live performance! Lol…

Your loving sister and dead poet,

Lori and Henry (Wadsworth Longfellow)  He gives to people and thinks it is cool.

 

 

 

Where I left a bit of my spirit. Extraordinary Montana: Part 3


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The love of my life right now

I nestled into my warm sleeping bag on a very crisp (puffy jacket kind of crisp morning!) making sure I was tucked below the rocks far enough so no one from the road could see me.  The rock ledge was just wide enough for me to lay.  In this spot I spent a few mornings drawing, writing, napping and sitting in wonderment about this little spot I found.  My mind instantly stopped racing about all the things I wanted to do and see while in Glacier.  In an instant, nature stopped me in my tracks and erased all other things from my mind.  The flow of the swiftly moving water came around the bend pillowing over a few large embedded rocks and then dramatically slowed down as if to lazily pool in the curve of the river.  That is where I was tucked.  Into the curve of the river where the water took it’s time dancing around the eddies hanging out before moving on down stream.  I so wanted to jump in!  Just to be one with the river for a brief moment.  I could picture myself being alive 150 years ago, laying in this same spot.  No cars going by up above on the road, just me in the water swimming and being free…

 

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The water here is so clear and crisp.  If I had the guts I would have taken a dip but it was very cold in the mornings and I was happy and comfy in my sleeping bag.

I listened, I mean really listened, to the beautiful sounds of nature all around me.  The flowing water, chipmunks scurrying, all sorts of birds who were busy calling out into the morning and the wind blowing through the river valley.  Imagine the most picturesque nature montage from a movie then times that by a million.

There are some things I want to hold sacred so I am going to end this post here.  I do not want to provide details to exactly where along the road this place is.  Maybe one day you will go there with me. 😉

Have a beautiful weekend 😀

~Lori

“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Extraordinary Montana part 2! Respite and testing bear spray…seriously dudes…lol

 

 

 

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Morning on Lake McDonald 🙂
Goooood Moooorrrrrnning everyone!!!!!!  That is how I felt waking up to this view a few weeks ago.  Excited and hungry for exploration!

Glacier is stuck in time in the most beautiful of ways.  Established as a park in 1910 Glacier has quite the impressive stats.  Here are a few facts about Glacier NP courtesy of the NPS website.

History

  • Established as a park on May 11, 1910
  • Established as Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park in 1932
  • Established as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1974

Water

  • Number of named lakes: 131
  • Total number of lakes: 762
  • Largest lake: Lake McDonald at 9.4 miles long; 1.5 miles wide; 464 feet deep; 6,823 acres
  • Number of streams: 563

Land

  • Elevation at Logan Pass: 6,646 feet / 2,025 m)
  • Number of mountains: 175
  • Highest mountain: Mt. Cleveland at 10,448 ft / 3,190 m)
  • Number of glaciers: 25 named; all shrinking in size
  • Largest glacier: Blackfoot Glacier 0.7 sq. miles

Plants and Animals

  • Number of fish species : 24
  • Number of species of mammals: 71
  • Number of species of birds: 276 documented
  • Number of species of plants: 1,132 vascular and 858 non-vascular

Most impressive my friends…Most impressive!  Lake McDonald is TWICE as deep as the great Lake Erie!  Crazy when you think about that, eh?!  I cannot say enough great things about all the friendly, patient and knowledgeable people who work in this amazing national park!

I arrived in northwestern Montana in the very late hours of the night.  I didn’t want to spend $200 on a hotel room so that night I slept in my car in the cute quiet neighborhood of Whitefish.
(Side note:  I have GOT to find a way to convert my little car into a comfortable place to sleep!)
After I woke up and nabbed a much needed cup of coffee, I headed straight to the west entrance of Glacier.  I was a bit early and if you are the dishonest sort then you can drive right past the self-registration area and into the park.  I however can be honest to a fault so I patiently waited for the park rangers to open the drive-up windows and spent the well worth it $80 for my year-long national park pass.  I get so excited about theses things!  I feel like I have some magical SUPER power that no one else has (except for the thousands of others with same pass… lol) like this is a ticket to my all dreams and adventures!  A national park pass is my ticket, the national parks are what I dream about!

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Dudes I slept in my car…no judgement…lol!
My folks have been here numerous times and told me of a few great places that I absolutely had to check out.  My friends Dingo and El Cap also gave me a few must see places so I did have some idea of where I wanted to go.  This park is so huge and the suggestions were only a fraction of what the park has to offer one’s senses!  I wandered on in and came upon Lake McDonald first and couldn’t believe the size of that sucker!  HUGE!  Surrounded by glacial mountains, big pines and whispy cloads floating above.  I pulled over to snap a few pics and really man I could have stayed there all day!   Seriously people, it would take years to really discover this park on your own.  Not just because there is SOOOOO much to see but also because each place that you stop to see along the way just captivates you and you want to spend a lot of time there.  Spend time to take pics, watch the wildlife, listen to the music of the streams, feel the wind and soak it all in nice and slowly.  Kind of like savoring a great cannoli combined with a delicious cup of coffee…Mmmm!  Well it is breakfast time here and I’m hungry 😉

 

 

I drove around for a little bit and after about an hour was I dying to brush my teeth, shower and rest in a comfy bed.  Sometimes when traveling I just need to lay my head in a bed.  I would never give up camping, hammock or tent, but sometimes you should find respite in a space bigger than a little tent!  I stumbled upon Lake McDonald Lodge.  It is this giant beautiful inn that takes you back in time with all the carved wood work, nooks and crannies that give this place a sense of mystery.  I inquired about vacancy but the cheapest room on short notice was $250.  I was so tired and in of a deep cleaning that I almost said, “Heck why not?”  However,  my practical side took over and convinced me to find some place cheaper.  The lady at the desk gave me a list of all the inns in the park and I called every single one of them.  I finally found a spot at the Village Inn at Apgar.  Now keep in mind I was super tired, in need of a shower and a solid nights sleep and therefore was a bit cranky when I found out a few things the lady didn’t mention on the phone about the hotel.  I checked in and they gave me my card to a first floor room.  It was cute and quaint but it didn’t have a/c (there was a box fan in the closet) nor a telephone in case of an emergency.  The manager actually told me that if I needed help immediately then I should bang on my wall to alert my neighbors.  I was like, really dude?!  You only get cell service if you have Verizon.  I did complain a little because none of this was mentioned when I booked the room via telephone.  (When traveling alone it is always safety first.)  So after a bit of battle they gave me a room on the second floor that was less noisy and a bit more secure.  I didn’t want anyone crawling through my first floor window.  (The windows have flimsy locks.)

After I showered and scrubbed my teeth I was ready for an ice-cold beer and snacks. I was way too tired to put any effort into eating a proper dinner so I moseyed on down to the little market and picked up a six-pack of local IPA brew, some sugar snap peas and cheese.  (I fell of the vegan wagon after an amazing french dessert in Oregon…but I am back on it and my body is happy again!)

 OH. MY. STARS.!  That was exactly what I needed!  I settled into my chair out on the balcony and just zoned out for quite a bit…lol.  How could you not?!  I was also inspired to share a video for the first time.  Yikes!  But here ya go!

 

 

(side note: this guy running the coffee shop this morning as the best playlists.  I don’t even need ear plugs!)

After vlogging (is that even a word for video blogging?..lol), I crawled into a nice big comfy bed with comfy pillows and totally drifted into a deep deep slumber.  HEAVEN dudes, heaven!  I woke up so wide-eyed and refreshed that I did not want to leave my hotel room for the next several days but at $180 a night , I did just that but not before brewing TWO cups of coffee simultaneously!!!  For an obsessed coffee lover like me I was so stoked that I had a cup of coffee in each hand.  I drank those two and then brewed two more!  BLISS!  While drinking my coffees…hahaha, I took a time lapse video.

 

The clouds were sparse but still it was fun to tinker around with time lapse.  I really could have stayed there for days on end.  Oh, to have unlimited funds and live the life of luxury but I don’t want nice hotels and comfy beds all the time.  I want to feel the elements and sleep under the stars, I much prefer that.  After that I packed up my room and crossed the parking lot to a giant wooded area designated for camping.  To pop my tent was only $20 a night.  There weren’t any showers but there were nice bathrooms and potable water.  Hahaha!  I spent that night testing out bear spray.  Note to anyone who has never sprayed bear spray before.  DO NOT spray it toward a tree!  Even if you are good ten feet away because that stuff comes out like a canon, bounces off the tree and right into your eyes and throat!  My eyes burned a little for the next half hour and I swear my throat was going to peel off in layers.  The lessons we learn while out on adventure! 😀

Up next, the alluring beautiful spot I found along the McDonald River.

~Lori

“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

 

 

 

Extraordinary MONTANA!!! (part one)


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Clark Fork River, Montana

Let me take a moment to express my feelings…..

It has taken me way too long to write about Montana but honestly I was totally bummed about being back.  I had this really crappy moment when I was leaving Glacier.  I woke up on a crisp sunlit morning, neatly packed up my tent, loaded the rest of the stuff in my car and started driving to my new found favorite spot along McDonald Creek just north of McDonald Lake.  I was just about there when I felt a strong urge to leave and move on to my next destination.  So I turned the car around and said to myself, “I don’t want to rush my time here.  I don’t want to try and see everything in one fell swoop.”  I knew I’d be coming back Glacier sooner rather than later so I felt that it was a good time to leave.  I drove along Route 2 down the south end of the park and into the east end.  The southeast end of the park is beautiful with rolling landscapes of tall grasses and subtle views (compared to the stark ones of Going To The Sun Road) and way less traveled than other parts of the park.  This long winding quiet road allowed me ample time to get lost in my thoughts and desires about this magical, humbling, nurturing place I just spent the past several days in.  Glacier is a place that resets every part of your being.  It is pure and lovely, towering and intimidating, patient and raw.  Glacier will make you fall in love, threaten you with crazy storms and then it will wrap it’s arms around you with it’s wild, raw and free loving energy.  I fell in love with Glacier…hard…I fell in love fast.  I hated to be leaving but knew it was time to go.  That wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning.

Driving down route 2 to East Glacier I just started crying, sobbing buckets of tears.  Screaming in my head, “I KNOW I AM NOT READY TO STAY BUT I AM NOT READY TO GO HOME EITHER!!!!!!!!!!”   I was just done.  DONE in every sense of the word.  I just wanted to wander off into the woods, follow the rivers, find a great place to take a nap and wake up with all the answers.  I wanted to drive back up to Bowman Lake, dive into it’s crystal clear cold waters and just SCREEEEAAAMMMM.  Scream so loud that the fish scattered and the mountains trembled.   I pulled off the road somewhere in Black Feet Nation and just sat there staring out into nothing, wishing like heck I could fast forward to the place in time where I am ready to be ready.  Five to seven years ago I would have just given my notice to my boss, had someone pack  up my apartment and just stay.  Now I am in a different place.  This place of making a life that I can take on the road.  I don’t want a house, land or permanent address.  I want the country to be my home and the landscape of this wondrous land to be my life’s work….

Now back to the beginning…

Sometimes you experience moments and are happy you are by yourself.  Then there are some moments that are so EXTRAORDINARY that you wish you had someone by your side to share it with because you want someone to feel what you just felt.  Whether that someone be a lover, friend, niece or nephew, anyone to just to soak in that moment with you.  The emotion, the beauty, the chills flowing all over your body!  I had two of those moments on my travels this past month!  TWO!  I also experienced many many other great moments…how lucky am I?!?!?! 😀

Montana:  (facts courtesy of  http://www.50states.com/facts/montana.htm, except #10….that’s mine own fact!)

  1. Montana is the only state with a triple divide allowing water to flow into the Pacific, Atlantic, and Hudson Bay. This phenomenon occurs at Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.
  2. Home to more elk, deer and antelope than people.
  3.  Has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48.
  4. It’s river and streams provide water for THREE oceans!!!
  5. Has the largest variety of mammals than any other state.
  6. It has the largest migratory elk herd in the United States.
  7. Montana means mountains in Spanish.
  8. At Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge it is possible to see up to 1,700 nesting pelicans.
  9. 46 out of Montana’s 56 counties are considered “frontier counties” with an average population of 6 or fewer people per square mile.
  10. So far THE MOST BEAUTIFUL STATE I have ever been to.

After I had five wonderful days with my best friend Shannon I was anxious to get on the road and travel to my homeland.  I was born in Great Falls, Montana.  I was a wee baby when we moved away but that is where I drew my first breaths and they have stayed with me all this time.

I never thought that I would be able to live in a state that is land locked.  I learned that the hard way living in Florida for a short time and although Gainesville is nice, it was torture living inland!  Never again.  And that is why when I lived in Venice and San Francisco, CA I had to be with in walking distance to the ocean or no more than a 10 minute drive.  Same goes for here in Ohio.  The country is beautiful for a little Sunday drive with its little farms and back roads but nothing is more beautiful than the wide open waters of the Pacific Ocean and Lake Erie!

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Somewhere outside Butte, MT

Well…until I hit Montana.  Montana with it’s wide rivers, towering mountains, cloud shadows on the rolling hills and glacial lakes!  I cried when I experienced this beauty.  I was driving out of Butte, Montana when I hit a thunderstorm.  The rain was pouring down and dark clouds hovered above but all the while the sun was still shining.  A rainbow that was so bright, arced high above the mountains.  Between the rainbow and the sun the rain looked like crystals flickering to the ground.  That my friends, I have never seen anywhere else.  I cried.  I was soooooo contently happy and overcome with peace that I had to pull over just watch it for a while.  This happened many times while driving through Montana.  It really is one of the last frontier states and it’s vast openness is unsurpassed by any other state in the lower forty eight.

Montana rivers are huge.  I am talking wide, with clear rushing waters that just BEG you to go swimming in them.  One of my goals this trip was to swim in as many bodies of water as possible!  So I did!  I was driving into Montana moseying along down the road when I spotted a nice cool river to take a dip in.  Now Montana has great rivers for fishing and they have fishing access points all along the rivers.  Lots of fly fishing happening up there.  So when I came upon my first access point I pulled off and there was one camper and one car.  The only person I saw was a cute fly fisherman from Vermont (didn’t get his name…shucks!)  So I scurried down to a spot where the water pools and waded over to two giant rocks.  I saw the cute “fly” guy (hahaha) but had to wait until he made his way down stream so I could get in.  Yes, I swam in my t-shirt, bra and underwear that time and it was AWESOME!!!  Clear sparkling waters, tall pines and gorgeous river rock.  Gosh I felt SOOOO free!

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So nice to cool off after driving for several hours!

Look at that technique!  Lol…  I came up with a way to take pictures while traveling solo.  Setting a timer was not conducive to getting a decent candid shot.  I cannot pose for anything and when I try I look ridiculous!  :p  So I set up my flexible tripod ($5 on amazon), hooked my phone up, set the camera to video that way I could record and swim around for as long as I wanted.  This way I wouldn’t have to rush out trying to get in the frame and not look like a dork!    When finished, I just played the video, paused it on a shot I thought was cool and screen shot it.  Wahla!!!  Last time I traveled out west it was with a disposable camera…lol!   But hey dudes I took some great pics without knowing if they were going  to be good or not!  Technology man…it’s a love hate relationship 🙂

But with Montana….it is just pure love!

To be continued…

~Lori

“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon…We’re going down like the Titanic!…..


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Oh Oregon…I like you but need a better sign!

Dudes I am writing from Glacier National Park in beautiful northern Montana!!!!  I will dedicate like a 1,000 posts to this leg of my trip a little later ;D  First up…wonderful Oregon!

I was so totally stoked to visit one of my super best friends Shannon residing in The Dalles, OR!  Shannon and I have been friends for nearly 20 years and even though we go through spouts of not seeing each other we always pick up right where we left off!

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Oh Oregon…I like you but need a better sign!  Dinner at Southland Whiskey Kitchen, Portland

Shannon moved to Oregon to take a great job and be with her boyfriend Matthew about 3 years ago and it has taken me this long to visit!  (I will not say that she never ONCE came to visit me in California!)  Oh wait… I just did…. >(

Anyways… What didn’t we do while I was in visiting?!  First off let me tell you that Shannon and Matt have a sick view from their backyard!

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Yeah….that’s from Shannon’s backyard!

 

I got to hangout, chat, workout and chill with my friend Shannon 😀  Also her friend Dave was in town for a wedding so it was a Cleveland reunion!  #216love

Here is what I didn’t know about Oregon… the eastern part of the state is dry, dry and dry!  As an Ohio gal, I thought ALL of Oregon was covered in giant towering pines and lush forest ground!  Yeah, no.  As I drove across the country I was able to see how the landscaped changed over the course of beautiful endless miles.  It’s not that I expected each state to be a certain way, I just didn’t realize that drastic of a contrast to what I had in my mind about eastern Washington and Oregon.

With that said The Dalles is beautiful!  Hood River is beautiful!  All in all it is a great chunk of land that offers endless outdoor activities to take part in.  For instance: horseback riding (we didn’t this time but Shannon has horses so it’s on the list for next time), paddleboarding, sailing, hiking Mt. Hood, jogging along the river path and SO MUCH MORE!!!

I went sailing for the first time and whoa dude….crazy cool and crazy scary at times!  Especially when your BFF almost literally slips right into the water and you think, “yep this ship (boat) is totally going to capsize!!!!

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That’s the boat.  Some fun facts that maybe one should know before the going sailing for the first time…MATTHEW!!!!….lol!

  1. Boat’s really do not sink without human error.
  2. You can cut the power of the sail (by dropping it) if crap hits the fan.
  3. There is a 6 foot 1500lb KEEL that is preventing that effing boat from tipping so far over that is goes UNDER water!!!!
  4. Sit facing HIGH side so you’re not turned around looking LOW side and thinking, “Oh POOOOOOOOOP  we’re going to Titanic the S%#T out of this boat!
  5. You can trust some dude named Matthew….because even though he’s only been sailing for a year…he know’s his stuff.
  6. 5-6 knots feels like 100mph!

After I survived sailing…lol, the next day we kept things low key and went for a jog along the Columbia River.  Just beautiful!  Then the next next day we drove to Portland tocheck out that very cool city, hiked Mt. Hood and paddled boarded ALLLLLLLL the way to Washington!  (the Columbia River averages a mile in width so it wasn’t that far.)

Did we do some drinking…yes but it was all because we prefaced it with a great workout!

I had a fabulous time in Oregon but sadly it was time for me to wander on 😀  I said my goodbyes (why does’t that look like goodbye is spelled right? LOL) and moseyed my way to Montana!

Thank you Shannon for being such and amazing, wonderful, adventurous and crazy friend!  I miss ya already!

~Lori

“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Life (for a couple weeks anyways) on the road :)

 

Do you see that cloud?!  That cloud is a map of the United States, Canada and part of Mexico.  How awesome is that?!  I saw this cloud as I was driving through Montana, the state where I born.  😀  Yes, I was just a baby when we moved but none the less I can claim to be a native!

FINALLY the time has come for me to be on VACATION!!!  You know how you count down the days until your vacation starts but once it arrives it seems like some sort of dream?  That’s what it totally felt like for me.  It didn’t actually hit me that I was on vacation until I was driving out of Ohio.  This trip is taking me through the northern part of the U.S.A.  There are 2 main destinations on this trip. 1.  To see one of my very best friends Shannon and 2. To finally make it up to Glacier National Park!  Shannon lives in Oregon and even when I lived in California I never made it up to Oregon.  Although… I did almost move there post whitewater rafting accident but decided on staying in California.  Good decision?… who knows?!

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Open road and a semi buggy windshield…lol
People kept asking me, “Why don’t you just fly?”  Great question people but the answer leaves a lot of people shaking and scratching their heads in disbelief.  I actually LOVE LOVE LOVE driving across country!  People then asked, “Someone is driving with you, right?”  Nope!  I have driven across country solo a few times before so it isn’t anything new nor is it scary to me.  People say flying is so much quicker, flying is so much cheaper and my personal favorite, driving is so boring.  Okay, okay… the first two are true.  Flying is way quicker and much cheaper but the third is SO not true for me.  Then people ask me if I get lonely out on the road.  It is very seldom that I get lonely while road tripping.  Would I love to have an amazing, adventurous, spontaneous and fun loving boyfriend to travel with?  Um…yeah!  It would be so great to share experience, the cost of everything, the driving, the set up of tents, picture taking and such but I’m sure as heck not going to wait around for Mr. Right to show up just so I can travel the way I love to travel!

Driving across this amazing land is a privilege and I am so lucky to be able live here as a free citizen and experience all the different landscapes these states have to offer!  What other country in the world can you experience all the different types of climate?  Between Friday and today I drove though a temperate humid climate, desert climate and temperate rain forest climate and that took less than 5 days!

So let me start this journey with you…

I woke up Friday the 30th of July and headed out of Ohio.  I packed only what could fit in the hatchback of my car.  I like to keep things neat and tidy when I travel!  Clutter in the car equals clutter in the mind…. and me no like clutter…LOL!  Heading out of Ohio was uneventful as was Indiana and Illinois (both beautiful in their own right.)  Although it took me a while to get through both states due to construction.  I looked at google maps ahead of time and wow…what a difference 10 years makes!  10 years ago there really wasn’t a google maps.  I headed to the west coast (to live) with an actual paper map!  I still love paper maps and almost prefer them because I think paper maps take a skill that is long lost on the newer generations.  Skills such as cardinal directions, legends and topography interpretation.  Now google maps tells ya the quickest route, traffic and construction!

About 12 years ago I drove the northern route out to the Badlands of South Dakota and then up through Wyoming and the lower part of Montana.  I took the almost the same route this time because it was the quickest and I really wanted to get out to Oregon.  I am going to mosey my way back through Washington and Montana once I leave Oregon. Wisconsin and Minnesota are so beautiful!  Rolling farms, views that go on forever and just the simplicity of the land.  Driving though those two states is very calming.

 

Minnesota and Wisconsin

I was SOOOOO excited to see Caribou Coffee that I literally screamed aloud when I saw the sign on the highway!  My girlfriends and I always used to go to Caribou when they were open in Ohio.  Caribou had such a friendly and cabin cozy atmosphere and it has yet to be rivaled by any coffee shop in the Cleveland area.  Erie Island is awesome and my new favorite but definitely not as cozy or friendly as Caribou Coffee… 😦  The giant load on the truck looks like a huge wheel of cheese and since I was stuck in a little bit of traffic in the cheese state capitol of the U.S. I thought I’d snap a funny picture!  lol…  I also love that there is a city somewhere in Minnesota called Blue Earth!  It sounds like it would be a cool place to visit!

I spent the night at a KOA in Minnesota and it was nice to wake up a take a warm shower.  Props to the KOA I stayed at because the shower heads were amazing!!!  I will say that this KOA was next to a highway and it was awfully loud.  I ended up going into my car in the middle of the night just to dampen the noise.  Ever since I started hammock camping I really dislike sleeping on the hard ground.  The car didn’t offer a better nights sleep either.  Oh well…that’s life on the road!

 

South Dakota

 

South Dakota will always be one of the most sacred and beautiful places to me.  12 years ago I traveled to The Badlands in South Dakota on a sort of spiritual pilgrimage.  I was searching for a spiritual practice and started reading a book called Black Elk Speaks.  This book opened my eyes and my heart and was the reason that I traveled to The Badlands.  The rest of that story I will keep to myself for now….I am sure I will share later!

Dudes…when you get to western Minnesota you will see your first sign for Wall Drug.  Then for the next 400 or so miles there will be a crap ton of billboards of all shapes and sizes advertising a free doughnut and a 5⊄ cup of coffee!  5⊄ cup of coffee?????? Heck YES PLEASE!!!!  Well the coffee if 5 cents if you sit down in the restaurant.  I bought mine to go as I have already wandered around Wall Drug before and it is very touristy and very crowded.  Definitely a must see if you have never been out that way!  You almost feel like a jerk if you don’t stop by because they goad you with cute and welcoming signs for 400 hundred miles!  I don’t want to dampen their efforts…so I always stop by when I am in the neighborhood 😀

After I left South Dakota I cut through the upper northeast corner of Wyoming.  Wyoming so much to see and I definitely recommend getting out there to visit but on this trip I took the quickest way to Oregon.

I am going to skip over my drive through Montana as I will be spending a majority of my time there and will write about it at length later.  I am heading out of Oregon tomorrow morning and making my way there!  I cannot wait!!!!

Next up Oregon!  To be continued….

~Lori

“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling…

 

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I woke up with the sun filtering through the canopy of trees dripping with morning dew.  That morning was peaceful, beautiful and quiet with exception of the fellow forest animal and insect dwellers scurrying around.  Just how I like to wake up, with trees all around and the promise of something amazing happening that day.

Several years ago I took my first solo trip out west.  I had just read a book that inspired me to take off  to seek and explore areas of this amazing country that I never had been.  Well I am about to do that again.  This time it isn’t a book that is getting me out there.  It is the story of me.  What I believe, think, FEEL, LOVE, admire.  My desire to drive countless hours and nestle in to the backdrop of this land that I love.  I am going to different places I have never been.  I am going to wake up to new vistas, hear new sounds and meet new people.  I am going to snap pictures of beautiful places and faces.  I am going to write.  I am going to listen to the stories of the locals.  I am going to laugh with people I meet.

Most importantly I am going to meditate.  I am going to reflect upon my life and where it is going.  What I need, want, cannot live without, what I can live without.  What makes me happy.  What makes me peaceful inside.  I am going to take my trusty dirt stained yoga mat and roll it out on ridges, rocks, hills and mountains.  I am going to take in the morning air and send copious amounts of gratitude out into the universe.

I love the open road…to be continued..

~Lori

“Give what you have.  To someone, it may better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow