Posts Tagged With: road trip

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 9

I feel a little whiney today.  I didn’t sleep so well last night.  My privacy shades didn’t keep out the bright security light so I couldn’t find that deep, delicious REM sleep I need.   I was anxious for daybreak so I could get organized and hit the road.  Yesterday I decided not to head north to Kilispell, Montana as planned to visit Glacier National Park but to stay on I-90 West that would eventually take me right into Seattle.  I’ve never been in this area of the country so it’s all new and beautiful to me and although I swore I would have no deadlines, I feel ready to get to my final destination.  My husband is flying to Seattle to meet me for his 70th birthday with his children and grandson.  My well-planned itinerary feels like its unravelling around the edges a bit but, so what?  I’m gonna follow my nose and keep going left — west.

I’m not sure if I was tired and zoned out or was involved with my murder mystery audio book, but when I noticed a bunch of people at an overlook I joined them.  Whoa!  Welcome to Idaho.  I’ve met some incredible people at these overlooks.  We’re all visitors and every one has a story.   I had to pull into a rest stop to make absolutely sure I was where I was supposed to be.  When I did, I realized I was hungry so  I took a box of crackers and peanut butter over to a picnic table with my maps, etc.  I thought the critters were squirrels.  But, they weren’t.  They were prairie dogs.  Hungry prairie dogs.  They were adorable but I still didn’t share my peanut butter crackers.

You single girls out there – let me tell you the easiest way to meet nice men.  Forget Match or eHarmony, just sit down and look at a map.  They can’t resist – if they’re gentlemen they want to help. Whether you need assistance or not you will meet some really nice people.  So, these two guys who were also laughing at the prairie dogs joined me at the picnic table to see if I needed help and we began talking about Idaho.  They  were headed south to the Tetons after spending the night in Couer d’Alene and highly recommended a stop there.  I was only a couple of hours away and very tired so I decided to take a break, have a hot meal and find a motel for the night.

I had an hour to kill before I could check into my motel room so I stopped for lunch.  I whipped out my atlas while I had a glass of wine waiting for my meal.  A nice older (than me) gentleman came over to see if I needed help.  See, I told you so.  Anyway, we had a nice chat about his dream of visiting Florida and he gave me some information about Idaho. When I checked into my room I took a wonderful hot shower, set up my computer to try to catch up on blogging, emails and messages and took a long nap.  When I got up I was hungry and lazy.  I didn’t want to get dressed up to go to a restaurant so decided to look for a fast food place in the neighborhood.  I found a Panda Express nearby and thought, why not?  Live life large, right?  Try something new.  Not.  By morning my hands were so swollen I couldn’t make a fist and my face was puffy.  Unless you can tolerate loads of MSG, don’t do it.

But, I was clean and comfortable and fed and getting organized.  I’m excited to explore Couer d’Alene tomorrow.

 

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Life, Retirement, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 8

I slept amazingly well considering I was on bear alert and a little on edge.  I waited for daylight so I could go across to the restrooms to get cleaned up and ready for the day. I was hyper-vigilant walking on the path through the bushes and carried my pepper/mace spray in the ready position.  With my quick reflexes and physical acuity I’m sure if I ever had to press the nozzle of the mace it would be pointed in the wrong direction and I’d get it in the face instead of the bear.  At least I wouldn’t be able to see him eating me.

I was reluctant to leave the grandeur of the bay but will savor the beauty and plan to return to Grand Teton National Park as a destination with my sister, hopefully, next year.

Yellowstone National Park is only 18 miles up the road from Coulter Bay Campground.  That was a pleasant surprise and, again, I saved the $30 entrance fee thanks to my Senior Pass.  My plan was to visit Yellowstone then head north to Glacier National Park but cell reception in the Tetons had been patchy to non-existent.  I even had trouble with my GPS so I’m a little anxious about driving to Glacier on secondary roads without any type of cell service in case of emergencies.  A girl’s got to be careful and aware when traveling alone, especially if she can’t call Geico or dial 911 if she’s in trouble. I decided to not think about it until I finished at Yellowstone, having already established a beautiful alternate route to Seattle if needed.

On the way to Yellowstone I passed the Continental Divide for the first time this trip.  An elevation of 7,988 feet may not seem like much to most people, but I’m from Florida where the elevation of my home is 6 feet.  I checked Wikipedia for a refresher on the “Continantal Divide” since it’s been about 100 years since my last geography class. If you’re interested, America’s Continental Divide:

is the principal, and largely mountainoushydrological divide of the Americas. The Continental Divide extends from the Bering Strait to the Strait of Magellan, and separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain into the Atlantic Ocean (including those that drain into the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea) and, along the northernmost reaches of the Divide, those river systems that drain into the Arctic Ocean

Of course my first stop in Yellowstone was to see Old Faithful.  I only had to wait about 10 minutes for its eruption and it looked exactly like the old newsreels and pictures you’ve seen.  What made it especially exciting were the hundreds of people from all over the world waiting with me and the “oohs” and “aahs” as the geyser took off.  I stopped in the Travel Center to get my National Parks Passbook stamped, wrote some postcards to the grandkids and continued my exploration.

So I  moseyed and meandered through Yellowstone for a couple of hours observing waterfalls, geysers and hot springs.  So beautiful.  It’s funny …  I packed my clothes and equipment for kayaking and hiking adventures but my heart led me to continue driving and exploring, observing the beauty around me.  I entered Yellowstone from Wyoming and exited the park to West Yellowstone, Montana.  I had a late lunch at the Bullwinkle Saloon.  An adorable restaurant but $18 for a cheeseburger?  Oh wait, that included a Blue Moon and the tip. I finally had a wi-fi connection so I called home to let everyone know I was OK, caught up with emails and messages.  Wait, maybe I had two Blue Moons.  OK, $18 isn’t so bad. I checked my Allstays app (don’t leave home without it) and my atlas and decided it would be foolhardy to attempt Glacier National Park this trip.  I did not feel prepared or comfortable continuing without cell service or warmer clothes that were stored in my rooftop carrier and I’d rather be beaten than try to get the duffel down from there after the fiasco with my kayak. So, on to Plan B – just keep driving west.

I passed through Billings and Bozeman looking for a place to stay and finally gave up and decided to boondock at a WalMart in Butte, Montana.  I had a leisurely dinner at a local restaurant and spent a comfortable night tucked away between two giant RV units. Unfortunately, I parked under a security light and gave up a little bit of comfort for the safety of the big boys parked on either side of me.  It was a long day filled with wonders.

 

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

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.

 

 

 

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

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 6

I ended Day 5 at Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area.  Camping at a recreation area is very different from camping in a state or national park.  You pay admittance ($10 in this instance) and just drive to wherever you want to overnight.  Lake Ogallala is gorgeous.  I parked right on the beach under the trees and prepared for the night. After unloading my kayak, chair, cooler and other items I drove to the only restaurant in the rec area.  It was 4:00 but I  thought I would treat myself to a cocktail and a hot meal.  The sign read that the kitchen didn’t open until 5:00.  OK, I’ll sit at the bar and enjoy a glass of wine until it opens.  I ordered my wine and told the bartender I’d just sit and keep her company for an hour until I could order dinner.  She said, “Nope, that’ll be two hours”.  Well, I had crossed into another time zone and it was actually 3:00.  So, now I’m two zones away from home and I’m a little confused because I don’t know how to re-set my fit bit watch and I’ve been deducting an hour every time I glance at it.  OK, so now I’ll deduct two hours.  But I’m still hungry.  I bought a bag of Doritos and a bag of Cheetos (actually the first junk food since I began my trip – hooray for me!) and returned to the lake.

I inflated my kayak and had a wonderful paddle on Lake Ogallala.  I decided I’d do an early morning paddle so I left the kayak inflated, sat down to write, read, drink some wine (I always carry a bottle for happy hour), plan the next day’s route, munch on junk food  and watch the sun set.  Stunning.

There’s one problem with camping in a recreation area – no facilities. Well, there was a vault toilet but yuck, no.  I used my female urination device for the first time and it worked great although my sister-in-law’s method of outdoor peeing worked even better.  Thank you, Lisa. Contact me if you want her method.  I don’t mean to be offensive but these are things girls must think about when camping. I had a very comfortable night except that my eye started draining. After cleaning it with a washcloth and water, it began to feel better and by morning the pain was gone and the swelling under control.  Whew!

No kayaking in the morning.  The lake was shrouded in mist.  I sat on the dock dangling my feet in the icy water while making some phone calls. The setting was quiet and mysterious and I started thinking about Stephen King’s, “The Mist”.  I got extra spooked when I heard a splash and promptly pulled my feet out of the water and up into a lotus position but reminded myself that there are no sharks or alligators in Lake Ogallala.  It still creeped me out until I saw a large fish jump, wiggle and splash.  It was a trout or a bass maybe and would explain why I saw a bunch of people fishing yesterday.

I had a heck of a time deflating the kayak and getting it back up into the rooftop carrier.  I brought a one step stool but I still wasn’t tall enough to position it, zip the carrier and tie it down.  There was no one around to help so I just did a half-assed job and went on my merry way. I stopped at the Visitor Center to clean up, change clothes, a little makeup (hopeless since I didn’t want anything applied around my eyes), comb and style(?) my hair, etc. The hell with it.  I was anxious to find Wyoming.

The rest of Day 6 was glorious.  I entered Wyoming early and was so enthralled with the scenery I passed right through Cheyenne and Laramie without really noticing. My plan was to stop and explore some cowboy stuff but I decided I was more interested in the countryside than tourist attractions so I kept driving west on Interstate 80 until I discovered a byway through the Medicine Bow Mountains.  It took me two hours off my route but was so worth it.

 

I then got desperately lost but eventually found Rawlins, WY and decided that I would boondock for the first time at the local WalMart.  Many of the camping blogs I read recommend staying at the WalMart lots because they’re safe and convenient.  There are security cameras and lights and I was encouraged that there were at least 20 RVs, campers and trucks parked in the overnight parking area.  I know it sounds odd to boondock in a WalMart lot but if it’s good enough for the big boys with quarter million $ RVs, it’s good enough for me.  WalMart loves overnight campers because they buy their supplies from the store, buy gas, etc.  Whatever you may think about WalMart, they are cordial and supportive of their overnight campers.

I stopped for dinner at the Days Inn restaurant next door because I was exhausted and didn’t have the energy to look for any other restaurants.  I had one of the most delicious cheeseburgers I’ve ever eaten.  Perhaps I was just extremely hungry having only eaten leftover Cheetos and a couple of energy bars all day.  I parked between two huge RVs and in the morning the lot looked like a regular campground. I felt secure and had a comfortable night.  I can’t wait for Day 7 – Grand Teton National Park.

 

 

Categories: Camping, Kayaking, Life, Retirement, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 5

Oh boy.  I woke up at 3:30 with a lot of itching and pain in my eye.  I almost vomited when I saw the monster in my mirror.  My eye was mostly swollen shut and my cheek was red and puffy.  Uh oh.  What to do?  I have a well-stocked first aid kit but nothing for this.  (Note to self: add antibiotic eye drops to kit.)  I’m in the middle of nowhere – York, Nebraska without a clue.   At 5 a.m.  I called the front desk to ask about a walk-in clinic or an ER but the clerk didn’t know anything so I tried to imagine what a pioneer woman would do.  I’m never sure whether to use heat or cold for swelling so I used both alternating a warm compress with ice. I took a hot shower and let the water drum against the swelling.  It felt better but without makeup I looked like hell.  If it’s not better by the afternoon I thought, I’ll track down a pharmacy or a clinic wherever I happen to be.   Although I felt and looked like Quasimodo I’ll probably never see anyone I run into today again.  So, as long as I don’t scare any small children or animals I’m just going to enjoy my day and forget about my appearance.

OK, first stop Fort Kearny.  I was disappointed.  The fort was an outpost for travelers heading west on the Oregon Trail, where they could stop and re-supply.  There were no battles fought there.  There are a few outbuildings standing and the wooden palisades surrounding the fort.  The clerk in the Visitor Center was a young man who didn’t know the history of the fort or the surrounding area so I left after buying a couple of postcards for the grandkids.

Then I headed to Gothenburg, the Pony Express Capital of Nebraska. The station in the park was used as a fur trading post along the Oregon Trail before becoming a Pony Express station.  It’s hard to imagine in todays world of cell phones, internet, email and text messaging that the only way to communicate in the early days of the country was through brave young men riding relay, galloping between stations picking up and dropping off saddlebags full of mail.  Hostile Indians, brutal weather, robbers – Pony Express riders were tough, courageous and resourceful.  The station is now a museum.  I bought postcards for the kids and placed them in an original mailbag attached to the front door.  My imagination was  deliciously satisfied.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hit the jackpot at the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park in North Platte, Nebraska. Buffalo Bill Cody’s Scout’s Rest Ranch was fascinating; the mansion, the grounds, the barn and all the artifacts from his long life as an Army scout and buffalo hunter and then as a world reknown showman traveling with his Wild West Show throughout the US and Europe.  It was a gorgeous day and I spent a happy couple of hours looking around and plugging the holes in my memory with details of the life and times of Buffalo Bill Cody, a bigger than life icon of the wild west. I imagined living in those rooms that look so small by today’s standards but was a mansion in the 19th century.  The rooms are furnished with elegance and style.  Bill’s wife and daughters were women of culture and intelligence and strength but it was still a difficult life.  Two of his children died from scarlet fever in that house so although it is a beautiful place it is filled with ghosts.   The spring house and a small cabin were interesting.  The huge barn holds a collection of the posters from Buffalo Bills Wild West Show and many of of his wagons, tools and rifles.   I saw my first buffalo. My eye still hurts and I’m still in the middle of who knows where? But, I had a great day and I’m very happy.

 

 

I regretfully left Scout’s Rest Ranch but still needed to find a place to spend the night.  Ogalalla.  I love saying that.  So I decided I would try to camp at  Ogalalla State Recreation Area   More about that tomorrow.

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

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 4

I woke up excited knowing I would be entering Nebraska today.  Up til now I’ve been traveling through states I’ve already visited.  My real wild west adventure begins when I cross the border into Nebraska.

At 12:15 I was in Iowa.  Iowa? And 25 minutes later I crossed into Nebraska.  I guess I just clipped the corner of Iowa.  The land undulates;  not hills and valleys but  waves and the crops are healthy and green and beautiful.  Planted in checkerboard patterns, the fields are tidy and neat.  I have no idea what kinds of trees I’m seeing.  There are  varieties of firs I’ve never seen before – some are fluffy and lacy and some spikey and dangerous looking.   I never imagined so many shades of green.  From lime to almost black.    I drove through miles and miles of wide open country, blue skies and green fields and woods.  We live in an amazing country and I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to see it.

My first stop was at the Lewis and Clark Center in Nebraska City.  I’ve always been amazed at the bravery of the men and women who trail blazed the west and when I was a kid daydreamed of running away to be a pioneer.  I know now it wasn’t nearly as glamorous “Wagon Train” made it appear.

I had lunch at a cute little restaurant in Nebraska City and took a doggy bag with me for dinner. My eye was itching and sore. Back in the car I decided to just head toward Fort Kearney and stop at a motel mid-afternoon to reorganize, blog, relax and take a long, hot shower.  What I didn’t realize is that in Nebraska there are long stretches of highway with no exits and the exits that exist do not have the convenient gas stations, restaurants, etc. that I take for granted.  So I’m very cautious about keeping my gas tank filled and peeing whenever and wherever I can, even if I don’t have to “go”.  I drove and drove and drove and finally located a motel in York, Nebraska and had a very comfortable night. I took some aspirin for my itchy, sore eye and swore I would not allow any physical ailments to slow me down.  I’m anticipating great things tomorrow.

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Life, Retirement, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 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 – Day 1

  • Twin size mattress/bed in back of car – check
  • Two plastic containers for kitchen supplies and miscellaneous stuff – check
  • Duffel bag with travel clothes – check
  • Bath supplies/makeup – check
  • Lotions/potions/pills, etc. – check
  • Afghan, pillows, rechargeable fan – check
  • Gallon bag of home made travel mix – check
  • Gallon of water and Tervis tumbler – check
  • Breakfast supplies/French press/coffee/creamer & energy bars – check
  • Computer/Kindle/iPhone and cords – check
  • Shoes/hiking boots – check
  • Maps, Atlas, brochures, planner, notebooks, pens – check
  • Money, credit cards – check
  • Cold weather clothes & bedding in rooftop carrier – check
  • Inflatable kayak in rooftop carrier – check
  • Extra folding chair & tent in rooftop carrier – check
  • New tires and oil change – check

 

 

OK – I’m ready to boogie.

My first day on the road was the usual mundane drive from Port Charlotte, FL to Atlanta, Georgia that I’ve made so many times to visit my daughter and her family.  Just getting out of Florida is a major accomplishment and boring.  But, since this is MY roadtrip and MY adventure and MY journey of discovery, I stopped to explore a sign I’ve passed a hundred times near Bushnell, Florida,  “Dade Battlefield Historic State Park”.  I’m a bit of a Civil War buff and always thought this was the site of a Civil War battle.  No, it’s the site of a battle fought during the Second Seminole War.

When you drive through the gates you enter a beautiful,  dark green canopied landscape.  Serene. Mysterious.  In December 1835, 108 US troops and officers were marching from Tampa to reinforce Fort King in Ocala when they were attacked by 180 Seminole warriors.  All but three of the soldiers were killed. The Visitor Center is small but provides a 12-minute video explaining the history of the war and the battle, with artifacts, exhibits, weapons and a gift shop.  You can also walk the trail that features interpretive signs and monuments.  Well worth a stop if you’re traveling on I-75 near Bushnell.  I’m a native Floridian and found it fascinating.

I arrived in Atlanta two hours later than expected but was welcomed by my joyous grandson, a wonderful New York strip dinner and a comfortable bed.

Not bad for day 1 of my Great Escape.

 

 

 

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

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

Sisters Camping Trip # 3 – Preparation

Casita

So, the Princess and I survived our first two camping adventures without hurting each other.  I always try mightily to back my Casita travel trailer into our camp site but I echo Blanche DuBois (A Streetcar Named Desire), “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” when I fail miserably.  My job is to sweat and cuss and try and try again to back the camper in the right direction.  Yes, I know you have to turn the wheel in the opposite direction from where you want the trailer to go. The Princess’ job is to stand around looking adorable with an an imploring look & pleading smile while nearby campers rush to volunteer to back the trailer in for us.  I guess it takes a village.  Whatever.

sa4

This time we’re heading to St. George Island State Park in the Florida panhandle.  We’ll camp on the beach and explore Apalachicola and other coastal towns.  We’ll eat lots of seafood — shrimp, oysters, mullet, etc.  It’s going to be cold (30’s-40’s at night) so walks on the beach may mean bundling up in several layers. Picture two female Pillsbury dough boys and pray we don’t trip.  “We’ve fallen and we can’t get up.”

I’ve prepared and frozen two meals, chili one night and chicken cacciatore for another night.  I plan to store them in the freezer compartment to help keep the refrigerator cold, then use my slow cooker to defrost and heat up our dinner when we’re ready.  I’m buying steaks & Idaho potatoes for our first night. Since we don’t have a very good track record with grilling on an outdoor fire, I’ll buy New York strips instead of rib eyes just in case our dreams go up in smoke (again).  The Princess is responsible for cocktails and appetizers for the trip and local restaurants and bars will fill in the gaps.weenie

I live in southwest Florida and the Princess lives in central Florida so we coordinate our departure times and meet at the confluence of I-75 and the Florida Turnpike in Wildwood.   Her husband transfers her luggage (matching pieces of course) to my car and off we go.

I’ll let you know when we get there.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Family, Humor, Life, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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