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

Just a Rock

Here I am back writing about the Oregon coast again. This time it’s focused on a rock adventure. Before this trip it seemed like just a rock in the water. One I saw online in pictures. Never had a plan to go visit but since I was in the area I added it to the itinerary. Who doesn’t want to visit the Pacific Ocean? However after visiting Haystack Rock In person, I would say it’s spectacular and just different than an average visit to the beaches I’ve visited in the past.

Now that I have made the trip to Haystack Rock I can explain its beauty. The weather was nice for the day however as soon as we approached the ocean the cloud cover was upon us. As we made the trek to the beach all you could see was a silhouette in the distance. Much more faded almost seeming miles away compared to the photo above. It was almost a shadow in the fog similar to one from a movie scene.

We were not discouraged. We kept going toward the rock. As we neared the glimpse became clearer. See above photo where more than a silhouette is visible. From the rocks on the water that were small and grew bigger to the big formations off the shore, I was mesmerized by it all. It was all picturesque. The birds in their natural habitat added to the beauty as they flew around or moved from rock to rock. Some even just floated.

The waves hit the rocks with a force. The sound of the ocean was present. There were plenty of people visiting on this foggy day. I heard many accents and languages around me. The sand had small amounts of seaweed and the water was cold but not frigid. One of the girls in the traveling trio seemed to attract sand fleas or some sort of bug that nipped at her feet. For that reason alone she kept her distance from the water’s edge.

All in all it was a great view to experience. The drive from Portland was a little boring but you can can solve the boredom issue with a good song playlist. While in the little beach town we had a great sandwich at a shop by the entrance to the beach. It was an over packed sandwich but it tasted yummy before we drove back to the city.

This post shall conclude my excursions while checking out the outdoorsy state of Oregon. I hope you enjoyed traveling with me virtually. Wonder where I will blog from next?

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

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.

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.