Hello friends! I know some of you have been wondering where I’ve been. Amazingly, until a couple days ago I hadn’t moved in nearly four months. My last few blog posts were about my time in a special part of Florida… Homosassa/Crystal River… and in particular, the wonderful experiences I had and the special friends I met there. My time was so full that I decided to take a little hiatus from blogging… give myself permission to let it go for awhile, breath and enjoy the days. Letting go of life’s pressures WAS after all, one of the purposes of this journey.
So I kayaked, and did road trips, and spent time with friends, and walked the dogs a LOT! And I worked on other projects, including a “slideshow” from my first fifteen months on the road. THAT was one hellava big task! But it was inspiring, even to me.
After more than 23,000 miles on the road, not to mention hundreds on foot and nearly that many by kayak, I was overwhelmed. More importantly… I was grateful. I was grateful for the gift bestowed on all of us of this great land. I was grateful for the spirit it took to put myself out here. And I was grateful for the vision to see and capture the stunning vistas, and incredible animals, and memorable moments… to share.
I’ve been asked numerous questions while on my journey, the most amusing of which is, “You drive that big thing… YOURSELF?” Honestly, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t. The number one question though, is “Of all the places you’ve been, where were your favorites?”
While working on my slideshow I was inspired to consider this question, pick my favorites, and share my answers with you. Picking my favorites was harder than it might seem, for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s limited to places I’ve been on my journey. The choices may also be skewed by other factors… weather, season, how much time I had in any given place, and what I was able to do with that time. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ve yet to see some of my favorite places, and that some of the places I’ve seen might have been favorites if only I’d had good weather, or more time.
Five favorites seemed like a fair number, but I constantly found myself wanting to add more. And of course… there were an overwhelming number of images from these places to share in one post. My remedy to that is to share a few select images, and the links (in blue) to my writings about these places. By following the links to the pages you will not only see more of the beauty, but read about the experiences as well. I also decided not to limit myself to one “stopover” point, one town, or one park, but rather “areas” that I feel comfortable grouping together as “a place”.
Keep in mind also, that I grew up in Washington State and lived in California for more than fifteen years. Both are amazingly beautiful and diverse states, but neither is on my list simply because they were not in the least bit new to me. They are both well deserving of top honors though, and if you read my posts about them you’ll understand why. (Just type Washington or California in the search bar at the top of my home page.)
So… here we go… in random order;
Upstate New York– I traveled into New York State through the southern tip of Canada (Niagara Falls area), and almost hate to admit how astonished I was as I made my way across the state. From Letchworth State Park, through the Finger Lakes region, and into the Adirondack Mountains. The landscape was lush… the lakes and waterfalls gorgeous!
Read my tales from Upstate New York at these links.
Oregon Coast– Having grown up in Washington the Oregon coastline was not entirely new to me, but I had not seen it since I was young and never in it’s entirety. I did a multi-day side trip to see the northern part of this coastline while I was home in Washington visiting family. Cannon Beach was the first place Jazzy and Sadie ever set foot on a beach, and they LOVED it. They ran and romped and played gleefully in the soft sand and cool breeze.
I traveled the southern part of this coastline when I continued on my journey after more than a month in Washington. My camp spots were almost always within the sound of the surf. The peaceful sound of the waves rolling rhythmically into shore is something I’ll never grow tired of. And of course the dogs loved our crisp morning walks in the sand. I did ride out one of the most brutal storms I’ve endured on this journey while camped along the shore in Gold Beach, but by morning the skies were beautiful, and everything even fresher than the day before!
Read and see more here!
Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks– Where do I begin! Between the stunning vistas, the many hiking trails, and the amazing variety and abundance of wildlife I was in paradise between these two parks. Not only once, but twice I traveled here on my journey. It was so hard to drive away from here that I pushed back my departure three days in a row. 🙂 To put it simply… mountains, lakes, rivers, bison, antelope, and moose. Lots of ’em!
Lots of goodies to see and read about here!
Upper Peninsula of Michigan– I’d always heard how beautiful the “U.P.” is, and I swore one day I’d get there. When the time finally came I wasn’t disappointed. I’m glad I allowed myself ample time to experience this place from west to east. My only regret was leaving before the turning of the autumn leaves. All the more reason to come back one day. One thing that will always stand out to me was having to keep telling myself, while watching the waves crash ashore on Lake Superior, “This is not an ocean!”
Beautiful images and some good stories here…
The Waterways of Florida– I’m writing this post a day after departing Florida for the second time on my journey. Last spring I spent a month traveling throughout the state, mostly under a storm cloud. I made camp in numerous places between the western gulf shores, the Keys, and all the way up the east coast. This time around I spent more than four months hovering south of “old man winter”. Most of that time was spent camped in one place… Nature’s Resort in Homosassa. Before my arrival in Homosassa the longest I camped in one place was a week. (My average stay was 3-4 days!) It was not my intention to stay in one place, but the price was right and there was no shortage of beautiful places to see!
Read all about this marvelous state! (These posts are from spring of 2012 and winter of 2013)
There were several other places vying for the top five spots here, and well worth mentioning. As stated, Washington State… in particular the North Cascades, the Olympic Peninsula, and the San Juan Islands in the Puget Sound. California… the northern coastline, Redwood Forest, Yosemite and Sonoma Valley. Glacier National Park… WOW! Colorado… the entire western two-thirds! Sedona… one of the most unimaginably stunning places I’ve ever seen. Utah… from Arches National Park all the way down through Canyonlands National Park and beyond was breathtaking!! (My posts about all of these places can be accessed through the search bar at the top of my home page.)
While working on the slideshow I was reminded not only of the beautiful places I have been, but also the unforgettable experiences I’ve had along the way. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones will always be at the top of that list. But the list goes on… kayaking amongst groups of dolphin, swimming with Manatee, getting up close with the mountain goats in Glacier National Park, an amazing wolf encounter that left me breathless, witnessing the birth of a baby Llama, rescuing and holding a hawk in Florida, and not only sharing more than 23,000 miles on the road, but hiking hundreds of miles of trails and shores with the two best dogs I know… Jazzy and Sadie.
And of course… spending time with my daughter, Elissa, at numerous beautiful spots across the country is one of those special blessings I could not have done without.