Spring, friends, family

An interesting phenomenon happens when you drive from Warren, VT to Pittsburgh, PA in 3 days – spring gets compressed. We left home with snow on the ground, noticed budding blossoms upstate NY and found color exploding – Bang! Screaming yellow forsythia! – over every hill crest and around every bend throughout north central PA. By the time we got to OH, the colorful part of spring was behind us, and farmers were busy readying their fields.

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The plan

Ha! You were thinking we might have one!

We really enjoyed our approach to adventure planning (others might call it non-planning), well honed on last year’s adventure. We set an intention to explore one or two areas of the country, then connect them up. As we go along.

Neither one of us has ever been to the Southern UT/Northern AZ canyons, so we’ve set aside the month of May – after the snows, before the heat and crowds – to hike, bike and generally check out this gorgeous and unique terrain that is so unlike New England.  We’ll know when we’re done, and at that point, we’ll likely head north as the temps turn into summer. We’d like to see Glacier National Park. Then, we’ll likely head to the left coast, visiting friends and family, looking for music jams and enjoying fun places until it’s time to come back to New England.

Unlike last year, this adventure will require some ‘re-positioning.’ We most enjoy poking around slowly, following the wind and sound of blues. For the first few weeks this year, we’ll travel slightly longer days in a more or less direct line to Moab, threatening to visit any friends and family that may be along that line.

Of course, we’ll adapt as we go along…

Land Between the Lakes

It was time for a different kind of adventure for us – chill. In the past month alone, we’d been awed and inspired by the beauty of Roosevelt, Badlands and Rocky Mountain National Parks as well as the Black Hills of SD and high peaks area of CO. We’re still giggling about our serendipitous and crazy visits to Carhenge and The  City Museum in St Louis. We thoroughly enjoyed visits with old and new friends and family in SD, CO and MO. We were thrilled to join two jam sessions in CO. And we were acutely aware that a major, 3-day jam in Memphis was just 2 weeks away. We needed to take a short break from adventuring and take some practice time.

Drawing a line on the (virtual) map from St Louis to Nashville, where we planned to visit Doug’s cousins, we saw a major splotch of green – the Land Between the Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area. Sounds nice. And the old man (Doug) gets a senior discount! We laid a course.

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Based on a limited sample of 5, our impression is that our National Parks are located in gorgeous places worthy of a visit, well operated and maintained, and extremely popular. As we approached Rocky Mountain National Park (known by locals as Rocky Park) after the kiddos had gone back to school, we expected diminished crowds and lots of options. Ha! A few days before we expected to arrive, we checked the on-line reservation system and found that of the 3 campgrounds remaining open in September, there was exactly 1 site available, at Moraine Park. We booked it, not expecting much. Turns out… it may have been the most beautiful campsite in the park!

The last available campsite...
The last available campsite…

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Simply Superior, part 1, east

A quick scan of the pantry revealed that we were getting low on grains. As Vermont-hippy-vegetarians, grains are of course a mainstay of our diet and we needed to find a natural food store to replenish. I googled it and found two natural food stores in the UP, the nearest an organic grocery in downtown Sault (pronounced Soo) Ste Marie, the other a coop in Marquette, a few days west. We’d gone back and forth on whether or not to visit The Soo, another post-industrial-turned-tourist city, but nevertheless we needed food and we set a course…

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NW Michigan, aka Jula’s Corner

Recall from a previous post, we put friends’ recommendations for places to visit in MI on a map and tried to visit most of them. Jula, a friend from VT, suggested several, including 3 in NW MI – amazingly varied, totally cool places to visit. Thanks Jula, you nailed it!

jula's corner

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The Beauty of Acadia

There is a beauty in Acadia National Park that is special and naturally lifts the spirit.  Mountains rise dramatically from the sea and host a number of ponds and lakes, rivers, trails, rock formations, and a wide variety of gorgeous, natural landscape arrangements all over the island. We were fortunate to spend four delightful days in the Park in advance of the full tourist season.

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