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.  ūüėÄ

 

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!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Year Plan.

Blessed are those who live out their dreams, that’s the difference between listening to the knock on the door and going to answering it.

(I don’t know who said this but I love it.)


I have a 5 year plan.  I have never had a solid plan, ever.  The biggest plan I ever had was when I packed up my car and planned to drive to California over 4-5 days then attend white water guide school.

Fast forward a decade and I am ready for a change.  I THRIVE ON CHANGE.  I love everything about it.  The excitement of something new, the trials and tribulations that absolutely suck at the time but you realize that it is a HUGE growth moment inside your soul and it is shaking you to the core.  The unknown is what I love most about life.  Who am I going to meet?  Where am I going to go?  What am I going to do a particular day?  Sometimes I just get in my car and take off in a certain direction and just drive for hours, sometimes days.  My last solo trip I had zero idea except that I was first driving to Oregon to see my best friend and from there…whatever I felt like doing, wherever I felt like going in that moment.

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It was my trip to Glacier during the aforementioned road trip that I had a life changing moment.  I wrote before about the massive affect Glacier had on me and then the huge bawling session I had on the side of the road in Black Feet Reservation after leaving GNP.  Saying I wanted to stay out there is a huge understatement.  However I knew I couldn’t move somewhere with a mere $500 in my pocket again like I did California.  I want to continue to travel and explore new places but now, as I am straddling 40 years old, I want a game plan.  A real game plan.  From the moment I decided to move to California to the day I left my parents driveway was just under 2 months.  Now, I have 5 years planned out.

I have a desire to stay laser focused.  Of course there is room for some deviation.  But for the first time in my life what I see in the end is more appealing than what I see in the here and now.

Last year at the end of my trip out west I set a goal for finding a job closer to home by the end of the year.  I did that.  I have saved $70 a month on commuting gas, 16 hours a month on my driving commute.  I can now walk, bike or skateboard to work when the weather is nice.

This year my plan means giving up BIG trips for the next 6-7 months and small trips all together. No buying new gear or household items and cutting waaaay back on frivolous spending.  Going out for coffee once a pay instead of several times a week.  COOKING AT HOME.  Novel concept right?  My excuse was, “It is hard to cook for one person.”  That’s crap.  Today I thought about going out to breakfast, getting an afternoon coffee and ordering Chinese for dinner.  In refraining from all that I saved about $25.  That may not seem like a lot but it is $25 toward my end goal.

I have started a business.  I am working on getting it up and running.  I have begun putting a lot of time and energy into creating it and growing it.  This will bring me closer to my goal.  I have a long way to go as I have financial commitments that must be taken care of first.  But I am focused on “building” my future.

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In this time of self awareness I am growing so darn much.  Spiritually for sure. Namaste dudes ;D  I am more conscious of my body and how I take care of it.  I am dedicating more of my time to a regular meditation practice….Oooooooomm!  I am not a spiritual guru.  I am just me, listening to and for the first time (it’s about time…lol), focusing on myself for the sake of my future…not just the present.

I am totally stoked about my 5 year plan.  Yes, there are days that I have to remind myself out loud, “5 year plan Lori, your doing this for your 5 year plan!!!!!!! Ugggghhhhh!!! For the love of god it’s for your darn 5 year plan!!!”  But in the end I remember and I get excited about all the things to come.

I’ve already accomplished one dream of mine 10 years ago.  Now I have another one.  I am dreamer.  If you have a dream or desire to do something amazing whether it’s relocating to someplace you been dying to live or something small like  developing a self care routine.  Start it.  If not now when?  Make your life happen!

walt
http://www.budgettravel.com
ūüėÄ

~Lori

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

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

Saturday Morning French


Every so often you meet a couple who are genuine, adventurous, loving and totally outgoing.  This I absolutely love!

I pulled up to Borderline Cafe about 6:40am on a chilly, snowy and clear Saturday morning. ¬†To my somewhat amazement I saw this elderly (sorry Bob) gentleman shoveling the sidewalk and I thought maybe he owned the building and was clearing a path for the early morning crowd. ¬†I stepped out of my car to read the sign on the door to see what time the cafe opened. ¬†The gentleman said, “They open at 7…ish. ¬†Sometimes a little before, sometimes a little after.” ¬†I got back into my car and when 7am rolled around I got back out but didn’t see the gentleman. ¬†I walked in and I found a seat on the raised platform by the window and settled in for a delicious breakfast and hot cup of coffee! ¬†A pleasant friendly older lady was sitting at the table next to me and low and behold in walked the gentleman and he sat across from her.

The lady and I started chatting (I can start a conversation with anyone, especially if they look interesting.) ¬†I love older people! ¬†I love hearing where they came from, where they’ve been, what they did for a living and oh, the good stories they have! ¬†And if they are a couple, I absolutely love hearing how they met! ¬†There is a wisdom and an innocence people develop have as they age into their golden years. ¬†Wisdom of knowing how the world works and the innocence of not giving a crap about a lot of things!

She introduced herself as Janet and her husband as Bob or Baaahhhb..lol. ¬†They have been going to the same cafe for breakfast every Saturday morning since it opened in 1994! ¬†They order the same thing, the breakfast quesadilla as of late, and split it between them. ¬†Turns out that Bob does not own the building but he is always out there every Saturday morning either sweeping or shoveling the walkway. ¬†He doesn’t do it because he is related to the owner or for a discounted breakfast, he does it because it keeps him young! ¬†Janet is outgoing and funny as heck in her subtle delivery of stories. ¬†She used to write for the food section of The Plain Dealer. ¬†How cool is that?! ¬†Do to my poor memory and the paper I lost with notes about the couple on it, I cannot say for sure what Bob did for a living, but Bob is very sweet and funny in a way that I appreciate. ¬†He is silly funny! ¬†img_1233

This cute couple met somewhere between 35 -40 years ago. ¬†They have shared many life adventures both big and small. ¬†They asked me my story and I told them of the different places I have lived, things I have done, various outdoor adventures and how the outdoors are my first love. ¬†They asked if I have ever canoed and I spoke of the trip I took to Algonquin up in Canada in 2015. ¬†They did (I believe) a 7 day canoe trip up there! ¬†I really like talking to people and hearing about their travels. ¬†And it is even better when you can share stories with someone who has been there. ¬† ūüėÄ

As we sat there swapping stories I could not help but think of how fortunate they are that they found each other and were able to live such a fun life together.  That they love each other still after all these years and have breakfast in the same spot every Saturday.  I can only hope that one day I will be sitting with my guy at our favorite local breakfast spot, chatting, reading the newspaper, drinking copious amounts of coffee. And when I look up at him and he at me, the beautiful crazy love we still have for each other will be reflected in each others eyes.

Thank you Janet and Bob for being a friendly, inspiring and beautiful couple.

See you soon on a Saturday morning ūüôā

~Lori

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

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

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. ūüėČ

Have a beautiful weekend ūüėÄ

~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 ūüôā
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 ūüėČ

 

 

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! ūüėÄ

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?!?!?! ūüėÄ

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 ūüôā

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 ūüėÄ ¬†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 ūüėÄ ¬†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.  ūüėÄ  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… ūüė¶  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‚äĄ cup of coffee!  5‚äĄ 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 ūüėÄ

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

 

 

California…2006…getting there.


(a multi-part series)

Let me dive right in…but let’s back up a few years…lol

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( not my photo, gauleyrafting.net)

It was early fall, I was laying across the side of the raft, my face toward the warm sun, drifting through a calm section of the Upper Gauley (a river that boasts class V+ rapids in the fall), staring up at the lush green mountains and listening to the water lap across the side of the raft as it carried my friends and I down the river. ¬†I thought to myself, how does one make a living being out here all the time. ¬†How can I do this? ¬†It was the late 90’s and I barely had any college under my belt. ¬†I had zero clue as to what I wanted to do with my life. ¬†All I knew was that I wanted to work outside on the water and among the trees and mountains. ¬†My friends and I had been rafting the Upper Gauley for years. ¬† ¬†Each year I asked myself the same question. ¬†I come from a town where you go to college, get a degree, settle down and have a family. ¬†I didn’t know of a family that did anything super adventurous. ¬†The guidance counselor at my high school was pretty much worthless in helping a student recognize, let alone follow through on a dream that deferred from the small town norm so I was on my own to figure it out and find a way.

It took many years of monumental mistakes, wrong turns, changing majors several times and chasing after a career I had absolutely zero desire to pursue in order to make the decision to just follow my own path.

The year that I decided to change my life was 2006. ¬†It was a beautiful February day. ¬†I was sitting in math class at the local community college attempting nursing school for the ump-teenth time. ¬†Staring out the window I could see big beautiful snow flakes falling¬†outside in the courtyard. ¬†Snow flakes so big and fluffy that they need their own zip code. ¬†These flakes fell so slow like they were in slow motion and were dancing their way down from the sky. ¬† I thought to myself, I don’t want to be in an effing classroom. ¬†I don’t want to be a nurse, I don’t want to live out my life in Ohio without experiencing something bigger first. ¬†I had dreams damn it and I¬†needed to make them happen! ¬†So I promptly stood up and started walking out of the classroom. ¬†The professor stopped me and asked, “Where are you going? ¬†We have a quiz at the end of class.” ¬†I responded, “I understand. ¬†Good luck everyone.” ¬†And with that I walked straight to the registrars office and withdrew from all my classes. ¬†I¬†NEVER EVER¬†felt so free in my entire life. ¬†I drove home and immediately started planning my move out west to become a whitewater rafting guide.

I wanted to go somewhere I had never been before. ¬†I wanted to experience new attitudes, people, places, natural areas and different ways of living. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I love my mid-west values of hard work and family but my ideals never aligned with the closed mindedness of small town USA. ¬†I craved new ideas and fresh faces.

As I was searching the internet I came across a rafting company in Colorado. ¬†I have always wanted to live in Colorado. ¬†Everything about the place is exciting and beautiful to me. ¬†Huge mountains, rushing rivers and cute mountain men! ¬†Sign me up! ¬†The whitewater training school I found was ¬†DVORAK’S RAFTING. ¬†This place sounded very intense to me. ¬†Just what I wanted! ¬†But then thoughts from years ago started drifting in and out of my head of conversations I had with my neighbor David ¬†when I was living in Columbus attending Ohio State. ¬†David was an older gentleman who traveled a lot. ¬†When he was gone my sister and I would cat sit for him and in turn he would bring us home little gifts. ¬†I remember telling him how I always wanted to live in California. ¬†I dreamed of Yosemite, Joshua Tree and the Pacific Ocean. ¬†He said he was leaving on a trip there soon and I was so envious. ¬†Upon his return he brought me back postcards that showed different parts of the state. ¬†Little did I know but the seed was planted.

My guide school search continued until I found a great friendly company on the Kings River near Sequoia National Park. ¬†Zephyr Whitewater. ¬†California won out in the end. ¬†I saved money to pay for guide school and two months later with only belongings that could fit in the trunk of my car and $500 I set off for the mountains out west. ¬†My dreams of living on the river among the trees were becoming a reality!!! ¬†The sun would shine upon my face everyday and my “office view” would be amazing. ¬†I had never in my life felt so sure of anything, ever.

My family threw me a going away party and gave me gifts including $300 in BP gas card money. ¬†(little did any of us know that there aren’t any BP gas stations west of Indiana…at least not then…hahaha)

Finally the day after I turned 29 I packed up the last of my things into my car. ¬†I had said good bye to everyone. ¬†My mom and I had a moment before she left for work so it was my dad who was the last one to see me get on the road. ¬†I get my adventurous spirit from him I guess. ¬†When I wake up in the wee hours of the morning and take off on a random road trips, that is my dad. ¬†I remember not being able to let go of him. ¬†Crying and crying because I would miss him so much and desperately wanting him to go on that cross country adventure with me… ¬†after all I am my father’s daughter when it comes to road tripping, among other things. ¬†ūüėÄ ¬†My fearlessness and take no bull attitude comes from my mother and her mother, Italians…

Finally my dad crying and chuckling said, “You can’t leave if you don’t let go.” ¬†So I let go…

~Lori

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

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.