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

Koosah Falls

While out west, I wanted to go on a hike with big trees and hopefully catch a water fall along the the trail. The choice was Koosah Falls just a little east of Eugene, Oregon.

The drive was a bit boring but the water running along the road was a spectacular view. The view just went on for miles and miles. There was a small stretch where it seemed many were building small cottages on the bank. However the size may have been small in footprint but the cost was probably very high based on the extravagant designs. Nonetheless the road trip was full of things to observe.

Once we arrived at the trail we headed up the right side to the falls. The cool breeze was amazing as the weather showed up at 102 degrees. With the tree coverage from the tall pines and the chilly mist off the water the right side trail was the perfect start to our hike.

As we trekked up the hillside there were many photo ops. The scenery was just so beautiful but even the photos don’t do the landscape justice. The blue water was such a vibrant blue in spots. We caught a few rainbows in the mist of the falls. The water was crystal clear in the pool areas. It was almost like Christmas in July as the whole woods smelled amazing. Pine trees everywhere left the scent of Christmas in the air. It was absolutely divine.

If you look close to the photo above you will see the hint of the rainbow. Again the picture doesn’t do the actual lived experience justice. After making the climb up the right we continued north a bit and crossed a bridge to go down the opposite side.

The descent was a slightly different experience. It was a lot warmer on this side. More sunshine beating down on you and less mist coming your way. Good thing I was going down. However the photos from this side yielded different views and I’m so glad I made the loop trek.

After we finished the trail down we ended up in the pool that feeds the reservoir. Another bridge and a short climb to reach the end of the loop. This path allowed us to see a few fishing in the lower area with less rapids as well as some large log dam areas caused by downed trees. The overall hike was one of my favorites to date. A gradual incline. Not too strenuous but had so many rewards along the way. As I close out I will share a few more photos for you to enjoy.

Oregon is a great place to opt outside. Just read some of my Oregon blog series and you will soon see why.

adventure

Cruisin’

For the first time in a long time, our family went on a full-fledged vacation together. It took several reschedulings, but we made it out on the Anthem of the Seas this past summer.

I had never been on a cruise. I have friends who swear by cruising as a travel way of life. After making my way around the Caribbean and coming back to land, I will say that cruising is it’s own kind of thing. I can see why people love it, for sure.

Here are some of my ups and downs of cruising:

The biggest plus…It’s all done for you. We come from a restaurant family. When we go on vacation, we generally always pick a place to stay with a kitchen and cook for ourselves. On the cruise, I loved never having to cook or clean up. Just grab a plate, have some food, and away you go. It was an amazing break. It helped us all to actually relax. No laundry to do. Even the bed was made each day. Bonus was ordering coffee to be brought to the room at 6 am each day. Which leads me to my next cruising kudo…

The water, of course. Our cabin had a balcony. I don’t think I would go on a cruise without it. Waking up, rolling out of bed for coffee delivery then taking 10 steps to sit on the balcony and watch the water, the rainbows, the dolphins, all of it. It was soothing at all times of the day and always the perfect view.

Endless entertainment. There was always something going on..usually many things from early morning yoga to late night ballroom dancing. I loaded my app with activities I might be interested in, from trivia at all hours to Elton John tribute performers, to a pretty amazing ice show (yup, an ice rink on a ship!). We played mini-golf and rode the water slide. Even a roving piano player who fit into elevators. I don’t drink, but drinking sure is a way of life on cruises. So was gambling (which I also skipped). And shopping, which didn’t really hold much charm on the ship. But the shows and activities were interesting. You could see the ship was designed to appeal to many different people and interests. (Kids clubs, teen events, adult pools, etc.) There were lots of families on board, and people of all ages. There was also a tour group of about 500 teens from Brazil who were quite busy taking insta-photos most of the time. So, you can customize things as you see fit, doing as much or as little as you like. We went to the gym each day, walked on the deck, grabbed a water for trivia, and just took it all in.

Learning as we go… There are so many little quirks to watch. People who are clearly cruising pros had towel clips to claim their deck chairs first thing in the morning. Cute little magnets for their doors signifying events or celebrations. The carpets in the elevators change to remind you what day it is. All the little lingo things that make cruising unique. It’s interesting as a lifelong learner and observer.

I also love the towel creations. I seriously looked forward to this each day.

As for the downs, there was just one major limitation…

Ports of call. We had a lot of fun doing some excursions. Swimming with the pigs in the Bahamas, kayaking and snorkeling in Haiti, but the strange thing is that I don’t feel like I can say I’ve been to either of those places. Whether it’s for ease of movement or to keep your dollars going to the cruise line, you don’t just get to traipse around the island at your ports. In our case, there was no way to leave the Haitian port of Labadee and the Bahamas stop was the cruise company’s “private island.” Both were nice breaks, but just sort of surprising to a person who likes to go to little local spots when visiting a place. Each spot felt like its own little cruise line amusement park. Not good or bad necessarily, just interesting.

Would I go again? Probably, but I don’t think it would be a regular thing. It was quite the opportunity to relax. I might hop a cruise with a few friends just to get away and have it all taken care of. You can really focus on just chilling and not worrying about pretty much anything. After you book it, the work required is minimal which is a break from the research-intensive part of travel (which I enjoy). I’d love to see what they do on a more upscale cruise line (even Disney!)

Chalk it up in the experience books.

adventure

Paddle N Float

Went on a family adventure to kayak the Broad River outside Athens, Georgia. It was a great balance between paddle and float with a few surprises along the way.

The start might be my favorite part. You get your kayak and slide down a hillside covered in a tarp to the bank of the river. Such a fun way to start an adventure. I could do that every day. It’s also fun to watch others come down the hill. The shrieks. The smiles. The giggles. The no hands and so on.

On to the launch of the kayaks. Easier for some than others but a little feeling of relief when you don’t dump out fo the kayak. Off we go. Paddle. Float. Lay back in the saddle and float with your head to the sky. Paddle. Float some more. Four hours of excitement, nature, and peace. Just you to move your kayak at your pace. Unless somebody towed you.

From the fish jumping nearby to the many turtles you see sunbathing, you are immersed in nature. You can stare at the swirls in the water one minute and move past a rock or even a log in the next minute. Shallow water to deep water. Sand banks, small beach like banks, and cool rocks to have a snack on.

Then there are the rapids. Some big. Some small. They are trickier to manage In some areas compared to others. Some big sections have audiences watching to see if you take a spill. And yes my kiddo did. Pure shock for her but hilarious to witness. Nobody was hurt which is also good.

Then you can get stuck on a rock covered in moss. Slick is an understatement. You use all your muscles to unwedge your kayak. It’s exhausting. And normally rapids follow that you just paddle hard through. We had a great experience, but exhausting.

After the four hours you climb out at a marked bank and load your kayak onto a bus with a kayak carrier. You sit for the 6 or so miles back with wet strangers all chatting about their day on the river.

Unplug. Connect in nature. Enjoy the sunshine. Maybe listen to a little music on your float while catching a few rays. Today was a little sunshine and a little cloud cover. A perfect mix for a day outside.

Time to dry off and conquer something else later in the day. What adventure can you tackle within an hour of your home? Go get to adventuring.

adventure

Just a Girl In the City

There I was In the city.

The Big Apple kind of city.

The city where dreams are made of.

The hustle and bustle had returned after the pandemic. Lots of people. Lots of noise. Lots of chaos. Just what a big city should offer its visitors. 

Today I was a tourist. My first big observation was the smell. The strong scent of weed. The pungent stinky smell. One time. Two times. At every corner. On the clothing of the passers by. So much of that unique stink. I actually said to myself I think I’m going to get high walking down the street. The group I was with concurred. Such a weird time for me, but it’s today’s world and it’s the reality in some places. Should I really be surprised?

The sounds of horns. Long honks. Short taps of beep beep. Then the full on horn blast of a bus. New York City’s finest drivers together make such a unique symphony. I’m sure somebody has recorded these sounds but it’s like no other. Well maybe Los Angeles. Today I rode the tour bus around the city and took in the sights and the sounds.

What a special perspective. I saw sights from a perch of sorts. I enjoyed the fresh air, which was pleasant in comparison to street level. I smelled the gourmet restaurants to the stink of trash as it was trash day today. Pizza in little Italy. Purses in Chinatown. Neon lights at night. Homeless around each corner.

Bikes. Cars. Buses. Trains. Motorcycles. Zoom. Zoom. Electric bikes weaving in and out of traffic. Fedex and UPS trucks staged as food truck variations for local drop off was oh so intriguing. Skate boards. Scooters. So much excitement. So much chaos among the city blocks. Sirens for ambulances and fire trucks every few minutes. 

The boys in blue. Mounted on horses. Standing on the corner welcoming tourists with a smile. The fully dressed out tactical units guarding a subway stop. I felt like I was in a movie at that corner or greatly underdressed for a shootout. 

A short visit to city. An awakening of sorts. Back to my home base of suburbia. I live the simpler life. Many days may pass before I see a fire truck, ambulance or even homeless people. Such a contrast to my day in the city.

Despite the chaos, New York City has green space. From Bryant Park to small waterfront areas to Central Park. Hidden gems within the city. All set up for community. Concerts. Ping pong ball in the park. Small tables and chair to sip coffee. My favorite was the Bryant Park library where you picked up a book and just enjoyed the time. These are the things you don’t find in suburbia.

Off to see another city just across the water. Hello New Jersey. Time to test out the Jersey pizza.