adventure

RV Life #5

The RV got a little break. It took a trip to the shop for a little sprucing up after many miles on the road. A friend joked to me about going the distance so soon while many camp closer to home to practice. Funny we didn’t entertain that thought. We seemed to add distance to each trip. I guess go big or go home was the underlying tone.

I will soon start thinking about spots for 2023 that book up far in advance. Fingers crossed we get some good ones. Maybe I’ll add a few local spots for good measure. Anyway, trip 5 takes me to the Blue Ridge Mountains of north Georgia. My home state but a climb up a mountain to get to the site. It’s a new resort that I have big hopes for. 

A little overcast today but the breeze is nice. Maybe low 80s with a chance of showers this evening. It’s seems pretty quiet right now as most are tucked in their RV’s, lounging by the pool or chilling at the entertainment pavilion. I’m just sitting outside taking in the sights and sounds while unpacking my new fly fans. A game changer in keeping flies away.

I’m not at a woodsy campground this trip. I’m at a more resort-like RV escape. Nice flat paved lots. Squeaky clean bathroom suites. Amenities like drink carts passing by. Food trucks and a staffed bar. Curbside trash pickup. Dog park and dog wash area. All the conveniences of home but the fresh air of sitting outside listening to music while the burgers grill up for dinner. Chit chats with friends add to the ambiance.

As the sun sets it’s time to listen to a live band at the pavilion. With a full belly it’s time to shift gears and relax in a new way. With music to soothe the soul, I will be unwinding for a good nights sleep in a few hours just as the rain sets in. Ah I hear the pitter patter on the roof already. Another soothing sound to me. I almost forgot the camper smells amazing as candles burns to freshen up the place since my doggies are my travel buddies this weekend.

The weekend calls for food trucks, visiting the local town and their shops, sipping on wine at the local wineries, dodging the rain in the forecast, and just unplugging from day to day responsibilities.  Just living my best life on the ridge in the mountains this weekend. The vineyard I visited not once but twice was Ott Vineyards in Ellijay, GA. Great views. Dog-friendly which made it a viable option. And the best part was their wine slushies. Blackberry and mango swirl was absolute heaven in a plastic cup.

In between rain drops I found time to shop in the mountain town of Blue Ridge, GA. A travel buddy wanted some local honey. I wanted to check out what was hiding in the shops. A cute sweatshirt for a souvenir. Trinkets and a sticker for my water bottle. Bigfoot of course being as in the mountains with all the tall tales about Bigfoot.

Until next time my friends. I will leave you with a pic of the ridge overlook as a storm was approaching. Lots of thunder and angry skies overnight led to area flooding but somehow we escaped the brunt of it. You never know what Mother Nature is going to have in store for you when you travel. No pool time for me this trip.

adventure

Sand For Days

As part of my coastal Oregon series, this particular writing is dedicated to the amazing experience I had on the Oregon Sand Dunes. So much fun that I had to write about it in just one post. All by itself.

I really didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t visualize the beauty of the dunes or the depth of how far the dunes stretched. I did however catch a glimpse of the dunes roadside where there was an enormous hill of sand with a four wheeler going down it. I silently thought to myself no way. That is way too high for me.

We were lucky to get on the ATV tour as that was the best way to see the shore and the dunes in what I called the safest option for our trio to navigate the dunes as first timers. 30-40 mph on the climbs and the descents were so fast I didn’t even check the speedometer. 26 miles we rode round trip. Nobody flipped. Nobody got stuck. It was a success. This Bay Bridge photo is hard to capture in a photo meaning the in person view seems 1,000 times nicer. 

So much beauty. Such a thrill ride. One of travel buddies said this is definitely a top 10 experience. I would have to agree. I will definitely find my way back to this coast to tackle the dunes again. Not sure when but I will make time for sure.

We had a great guide and we even did some bowl rides at the end. It is hard to explain but you ride the dunes sideways up and down like you were in a bowl. You have to hit the right speed and maintain or your could roll! Just an exhilarating experience. This is also very different from the straight up climb to the straight down descent where you actually can’t see what is ahead of you when you then begin this descent.

This adventure covers the dunes and plenty of play time riding. From the natural bumps or jumps on the main road trail to the coolness of passers by. Everyone added flair to their personal rides with cool flags, political flags, neon lights, and so on.  Our adventure also covered the trip to the ocean to ride along the water. This was another breathtaking sight to see. The large ocean waves were just feet away pounding the shore while you zipped by. There was a fog in the air making the visibility low but the air was cool and crisp off the water. 

This adventure comes with a few $$$ on the review but if you take into account gas prices, the equipment used on the terrain and the guide it is well worth it. The family that owned our rental company was super focused on customer service which I also appreciated.

Can’t wait to come back to this coast and hit more spots along the way. Such a beautiful place to spend some time off the grid.

adventure, family

College Is Fast Approaching

9 weeks on the road this summer. From Florida to New York and everything in between. Then for giggles clear across the country to Oregon. Sometimes the same route more than once but with different stops along the way.

Travel by plane. Travel by car. Travel by train. Travel by RV. We utilized Uber. We took advantage of Turo. We took many unconventional paths. We lived so much through our experiences. Turo and Uber were our app-worthy summer accomplishments. We even had some time to use bikes. So many memories. So many hiccups along the way. I wouldn’t change a thing. 

Good company.

Great experiences.

Countless fun.

So many photos.

It wasn’t always easy, but it was always workable with a positive attitude and a lot of flexibility. Work. Play. Recover. A delicate balancing act for some. A day in the life for me. I will never get to hit rewind on these months I just lived. Knowing that made me forge ahead to cram as much into the calendar as as humanly and financially possible.

Sometimes I had to plan and then re-plan. Things didn’t always go smoothly. I lived. I learned. I outlasted. Summer 2022 is in the rear view. So many college campuses were scouted out. Many highs. Many lows. Some visits at the surface level while others more in-depth. The process is real. The decisions are hard. The challenge is ahead.

My youngest will choose soon. Where to go. What she wants to be as an adult. I will become less needed. I will be an empty nester. A title I don’t really care for but yet one I will look forward to at the same time. As I earn that new title I will embark on new journeys and adventures. Maybe not criss-crossing the county in a summer but maybe exploring cities I’ve never been or getting back into putting stamps on my passport.

I’m adjusting to what’s ahead while enjoying what’s in front of me. Years become months. Those months turn into weeks. Before you know it, days are in front of us. Don’t waste the minutes. Value them. Cherish them. Enjoy them. I know I am.

As my mom always says: live life to the fullest. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

For now I wait for the day to come that she decides where she heads off to beyond her days of high school. Close by? A neighboring state? Across the country? Another country?

adventure

Car + People + Train

Last year I put the car on the boat and lived a new experience in Cape May, New Jersey on the ferry. A short trip but fun. This year I opted for yet another adventure. The car train.

We loaded up in Lorton, Virginia just outside of DC and travelled south to Sanford, Florida. An interesting way to get to the beach but so glad I had the opportunity to give this mode of travel a try.

Party of three. Change of plans party of four.

I didn’t have an expectation. This is the best way to start any trip. I was looking forward to trying something new. Coach class we went. The car was checked in for 3pm. Humans loaded at 3:30pm. Train was in motion at 4:23pm.

We traveled over bridges. We had spectacular water views. We had horns that blew when we passed through towns. It was exciting. I even got a kick out of the back ends of life. We had sunshine but we also saw raindrops. We pass many many trees. We passed corn fields and other working farm land.

The back ends of buildings we normally never see is what I referred to above as the back end of life. The junky cars. The unpainted walls. The old dock doors that are now sealed up. Trash. Woods. Swampy areas. You name it. I feel like I saw it. From the big military plane at Quantico to the boat zipping through the waterway.

Coach was nice. Reclining seats. Tray tables that extended. Outlets to charge your electronics. Foot rest to prop your feet and plenty of space. I wish flying gave you this much comfort and amenities. Security was not what I expected which I suppose could be concerning. There were all types of people riding the train this day.

Food service until 11pm. Bathrooms on the level below. Continental breakfast at 6am. I almost forgot to mention I rode on the second level. The full range of windows. One of the best features to see the states in a very different way. 

I definitely give the car train a two thumbs up for a varied travel experience.  I will now look forward to another travel adventure thanks to this good experience. If I was to offer suggestions I would stronger encourage you to bring your own food/meal. Only meal options are microwaved in the upper level. Ramen noodles, hotdogs, mac and cheese to name a few. No fresh fruit or prepped salad option. Not a show stopper just a forward thought for others.

celebrations, dare to be different

50 and a half

Year fifty has been nifty thus far or maybe shifty or maybe drifty.

I started out with such big plans for my big celebration year. The planning even involved the year leading up to the big 5-0. Some items are crossed off the list. Some are sitting on the sidelines for now. 

No matter what big plans were dreamed up it seems like I’m really just seizing the moments with a new appreciation on life. The not waiting to do. The not wondering what others think. The not finding reasons to not do while I can do. The biggest reflection of that was my summer of 2022.

I planned. I shifted. I completely changed things up. I added. I deleted. I winged it all. I took chances that sometimes I wouldn’t because my stable brain would say no. When I reflect I sigh big and am ever thankful. Summer of 2022 was about new kinds of risks. New to me. Some scary. Some just different.

Appreciative of the the time. The places. The people. The experiences. The spontaneity. The memories. The knowledge. All of it. I grew by leaps and bounds and stretched to new limits. I had to trust and rely on myself more than ever.

From a random concert experience with my 83 year old mom to a cross country trek with my youngest to the Pacific Northwest. I have written about many stories but not all stories. During these glorious days there have also been sad and trying days.

Loss of time with loved ones. Challenges that many will never face emotionally. Financial investments that went down the toilet. Let downs in many forms. Takers trying to suck joy from your being. Balancing work deadlines among the chaos. Also those casting judgment for living my best life. 

The good. The bad. The ugly. Everything in between and tangled in my web of life. Everyday we have a choice to live life to the fullest. Everyday we have a choice to move or sit idle. Everyday we have a choice to do or not do. I may do more than others but it’s always a choice. A choice I make. One day I may be confined to a chair or couch. That day I won’t have a choice. Today I have the choice thus you won’t find me wasting time on the coach wondering about what ifs. I will just be off doing.

As I hit 50 and one half I think I am settled in who I am. Who I will become. Who I won’t be. The quiet confidence of being me is what I enjoy most about flipping the calendar to the year 51 and beyond. I get to choose my adventure. My timelines. My companions.

I get to choose where to spend my money. I get to choose my hobbies. I get to decide what is next for me. I can support the dreams of others if want to. Some may judge. Others may be envious. Some might sit by and watch from their couch. That’s okay. It’s not their story. It’s my story.

I write and live my story in the public eye. That is my choice as well. One day my writings will be all that is left when my story stops being written. But just because the writing stops doesn’t mean the living won’t continue. My stories will continue to breathe life to others. They may even spur an adventure bug in those who read them. My photos. My words. My spirit will be carried on to others virtually.

Purposefully designed. A seed of sorts planted in the World Wide Web. My farming of life online. From seed to flower in my own special way. Fifty has been a great year to reflect, adjust and appreciate where I am. Who I am. What potential is still untapped. 

I’ve paused enough this year to see inside me for who I am. Now the fun will begin. Again. And again. Until the end. Signing off at 50 and a half. Looking forward to years 60-66-72-80-85-90-94-95-99. All of these numbers have significance. Let’s see which ones I hit.