Posts Tagged With: cross country

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 7

The WalMart parking lot looked like a campground (without the amenities) when I woke up after a comfortable and secure night.  No wonder they allow campers.  We re-stock, fill up with gas, buy coffee and donuts before heading out.  I purchased a few supplies then filled up with gas and met a delightful clerk who seeing my Florida tags wanted to talk about his dream of moving to Key Largo.   After I helped him clean up the coffee I spilled on his counter and register, he suggested I might enjoy the Great Sky Road byway to the Grand Teton National Park plus it would save me about 40 minutes.  I took his advice and enjoyed an incredible drive.

 

I arrived at the Grand Teton National Park at noon.  Entrance to the park was free due to my “America the Beautiful” National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. So, that saved me $30.  I’m telling you, this pass is the best bargain around.  For a $10 fee I have a lifetime membership to all national parks, monuments, etc.  Many state parks also honor the pass and will provide 50% off camping.  Beginning August 28, 2017 the fee will go up to $80.  Still a bargain, but get your pass now and save $70!  This is definitely one of the benefits of getting older.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are no words to describe the beauty of the Grand Tetons.  Just imagine “breathtaking”.  I was told by several people to arrive before noon to get a campsite.  The Coulter Bay Campground had openings and by the time I checked in the campground was almost full.  When I left the next morning at 8 a.m. , campers were already lined up to nab a site although the campground doesn’t open till 9:00 A.M.  So, plan an early arrival.  I’m not sure if you can reserve a campsite in advance since I’m flying by the seat of my pants and I’m not making any reservations anywhere.

There is no wi-fi reception except for occasional “iffy” reception in the laundramat and in the restaurant’s bar.  So, I had a couple of martinis while catching up on emails & phone calls.  For $4 I took a hot shower at the laundramat — it felt delicious.

 

There are “Bear Aware” signs everywhere and the ranger assured me there was a bear box on my campsite, not that this Miami Beach girl knows what to do with a bear box.  I set up my camp leaving my propane stove on the table with a bottle of water, a can of soup, a spoon and being careful to put all my food or anything that smelled into the bear box, I walked down to the lake to sit and read for a while.  When I returned from the lake I found my stove and dinner gone and a citation.  Apparently I wasn’t “Bear Aware” enough. The ranger stored my stove, supplies and can of soup in the box.  I assumed that bears can’t smell food sealed inside aluminum cans but I guess they can smell EVERYTHING! I didn’t use any lotions or potions after my shower and even hesitated to use deodorant, but nothing is going to scare me that much.

I was VERY careful and aware the rest of the evening.  I enjoyed a little wine and appetizers while I planned my route for the next day then had dinner and made an extra trip to the bear-proof garbage bin. I prepared for the night and was safely ensconced in my SUV bed before dark with my pepper/mace spray within easy reach although I don’t think bears can get into a locked SUV.  Maybe.  I don’t know.  I’m obviously not a bear expert.

 

 

 

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Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Retirement, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 3

Leaving Tennessee on a beautiful morning, the woods were so lush and moist they looked edible.  I drove narrow winding back roads to get to the highway leading to Missouri.  I wanted to get past St. Louis by the end of the day, about 300 miles.

I was listening to a really good audiobook mystery and must have zoned out.  I looked up and saw a sign for Paducah.  Wait a minute.  Paducah?  Hell, I didn’t even know I was in Kentucky.  Well, one of the most famous quilt stores in the country is in Paducah as well as the National Quilt Museum but I’ve already visited both so once I confirmed that I was indeed supposed to travel through a little tip of Kentucky to get to St. Louis, I decided to just keep driving. But then something very strange happened.

I must have gone into a fugue state because I regained consciousness standing at the check-out register at Hancock’s of Paducah with several yards of Kaffe Fassett fabric in my arms.  Hmmm.  How’d that happen?

Back on the road I continued listening to my mystery and wondering why I wasn’t hungry.  Driving a car probably doesn’t qualify as a high energy workout so I was grateful that I wasn’t junk food bingeing as I usually do when I’m driving.  Normally I convince myself that if I’m vacationing so are my fat cells and Doritos, BBQ Fritos, popcorn & beef jerky calories don’t count.

I jerked out of my food-related reverie when I noticed a sign telling me I was in Indiana. That can’t be right. By the time I found an exit to pull over to check with Siri on my GPS I was in Missouri. I began to believe that my car has an automatic pilot.  I also believe in guardian angels.

I was a little intimidated anticipating driving through St. Louis but it was a piece of cake. I stopped for coffee to figure out where I was going to spend the night.  I located Graham Cave State Park near Danville, MO and decided to camp there.  I actually drove down a dirt road to find the park and was getting a little spooked but finally found the ranger station.  This campground is on the honor system.  You pick up an envelope, locate a site you like, put your $$ in the envelope and drop it off when you leave.  It’s a very pretty little campground with confusing shower and bath facilities.  There are two separate rooms – one for the toilets and one for the showers.  Naturally I kept walking into the wrong one to meet my needs but met some really nice women in both   All in all, another comfortable night and I was packed up and ready to go by 6:15 a.m. because I wanted to check out the prehistoric cave before leaving the park.

The cave was occupied 8,000 – 10,000 years ago but do you think I could find it?  No.  At 6:30 in the morning there was no one around to ask.  I tried three times to follow the signs to the cave but the only trail I could locate was through the woods for 1/4 mile and I just didn’t feel comfortable trekking through the woods alone.  So exploring the cave will have to wait for another visit.

I’ll be in Nebraska tomorrow.

 

 

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Life, Quilting, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America

Don’t lie.  Tell the truth.  At some point in your life you’ve wanted to run away. When you were a kid maybe you wanted to run away from school or siblings or parents. As an adult perhaps you wanted to disappear from responsibilities or relationships.  I think we’ve all dreamed of running away to be free of some challenge we don’t want to face.

Personally, I wanted to run away to be a cowboy.  Not a cowgirl because I didn’t want to wear a stupid cowgirl skirt like Dale Evans.  7bb1c95f5b52b94d7d3a68f0dcc759f9--cowgirl-images-dale-evans

Get lost Tonto!  I wanted to be the Lone Ranger’s sidekick.  I wanted to gamble with Maverick, ride with the Cartwrights, fly with Sky King, shoot with the Rifleman, right wrongs with Cheyenne and Sugarfoot, Johnny Yuma, Wyatt Earp,  Bat Masterson, et al.

bonanza

Well, after all these years I’m finally doing it.  I’m running toward my childhood dreams of the Wild West.  I’ve packed my car and will be taking the ultimate roadtrip solo.  From Port Charlotte, FL to Seattle, WA.  I will be SUV camping in state and national parks along the way with only myself and my audio books for company, my travel apps and Atlas to guide me and 50 years of imagining, dreaming and planning.

Many of my friends and family are appalled that I’m driving across the country by myself, flying by the seat of my pants, following my nose, drifting with the wind. I’ve made no reservations for campsites or hotel rooms because I don’t know how far I will drive each day or how long I will tarry at various locations.  What they don’t realize is that I have spent months poring over my maps and brochures from state tourism bureaus and Chambers of Commerce and have made this trip numerous times in my mind.  I want no schedules or appointments, no time limits or responsibilities.

So, if you’ve ever dreamed of running away you’re welcome to join me. I will describe what I see and feel along the way – – Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, a little bit of Illinois, Missouri, a tiny bit of Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Hi, ho Silver, away!

lone ranger

 

 

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Life, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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