Archives for posts with tag: woman traveling alone

July 3, 2017 – New Brunswick:

Well, yesterday, Stacey and I decided to drive from Bangor, Maine as far as we wanted to into New Brunswick (Canada) toward Nova Scotia until we got tired or ran out of time, and then drive back to our non-cancelable hotel room in Bangor. And, we did just that… via the back roads…and it took F-O-R-E-V-E-R! These roads are rough, to say the least! Couple that with the s-l-o-w speed limits and the unchanging views and one gets a little stir crazy and feeling like you entered the Twilight Zone or a black hole where the wheels on the car are moving but you aren’t! Been there a great deal in my Canada travels. Love the people, though!

The one thing that keeps my interest is the clouds while driving from Maine to New Brunswick and back. They are very heavy, many different types in one single view and low to the ground. The other part that brightened our day was the Canadian Border Crossing grilling! These dudes are intense!

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Canadian Border crossing on backroad Highway 1.

Pretty intense! “Why do you want to drive across the border to turn around and come back?” And it didn’t stop there.

I just answered, “Because I’ve never been to New Brunswick before and that’s what I do…go places I’ve never been to before!”

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However, there was the nicest man who greeted us at the US Border Crossing with the more intense younger dude behind him scrutinizing our ever glance. I answered all the man’s questions before he had a chance to ask as I’d been down this road before with the last four crossings! 2017-7-3 NB7

July 4, 2017 – Nova Scotia:

This morning, July 4th, we checked out of the Bangor, Maine hotel and headed, quite excitedly, for Nova Scotia (via New Brunswick via the quickest land route. On the drive, we had such a great time catching up and chatting, that I forgot to get gas! My brother texted me and when it showed up on my Bluetooth, I noticed the time and looked at the gas gauge. The light was on and I had no idea how long it’d been on! This area of Maine is quite desolate and I was getting concerned about our gas situation when an exit sign appeared. As has been my experience in my travels, not all exits have facilities of any kind!

Exit 276 on Trans Canada Highway 2 will forever be my favorite place in Maine! I can’t even remember the name of the town where it was but we not only got the gas pumped for us but met this group of wonderful men sitting around a table drinking coffee and telling lies! Of course, Stacey and I had to join in! We stood there for the longest time getting to know them, hugged and said we’d see them on the “come around” tomorrow…and we will!

We got caught in the time warp thing again as soon as we crossed the Canadian Border again. Dang! I was glad to hear Stacey say that she’d felt it too because I was beginning to wonder if it was just me. Thank GOD for Stacey!

It took EIGHT HOURS to drive from Bangor to Nova Scotia only to find out how slow it is to get around this province. There’s no fast way to do anything here and I believe it would take a person at least two weeks to see it all. I hear tell there are about a million people living in Nova Scotia. Hmmmm. Not sure where on them marshlands they be living but I ain’t got no authority to discount that population number and don’t care to because I do believe I saw every one of them on the roads as we struggled our way off and on this road and that just to get to our hotel in Halifax only to find out we’d need two weeks to see the area and all we had was about a half of a day.

So, we jumped back into the truck (really? again?) and drove to see the closest historic area called Peggy’s Cove where there is an old lighthouse. It didn’t appear to be that far from our hotel by looking at the map but it took us an hour to get there (expanded to much longer considering the time warp factor)! It only took us about forty minutes to get back. Hmmm.

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Rainbow on drive from Halifax to Peggy’s Cove!

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Adorable Churches all on the drive to Peggy’s Cove

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Finally, I see water!

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The roof  of this church in Peggy’s Cove seemed to glow. This is photo is not altered!

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Quaint fishing village in Peggy’s Cove

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Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse

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Flowers in the rocks!

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The rocks, rain and sunset.

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Stacey & the lighthouse

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Village shop in Peggy’s Cove

Tomorrow? We start to drive back to Georgia. It’ll be a test of every bit of fortitude we can muster to get this done in the time allotted, but knowing Stacey and me, we’ll get ‘er done! July 5th? Albany, NY or bust!

HAPPY TALES AND TRAILS, UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

Well, that R&R in Lake Placid, NY wasn’t all that when you consider that the fire alarms kept going off and on from the first afternoon and into the evening, and AGAIN in the second afternoon  until the early morning hours of my second night. I was already ragged and they knew it at the front desk…I’d told them…from the hectic drive from Thunder Bay to North Bay.

I kept thinking that it must have been a short in the electrical system for the fire alarms because it started each time we had a downpour each afternoon and night. By the time I checked out, I wanted some money back. The facilities were overrated and chair cushions were embarrassingly in need of cleaning. The worst part was that the Manager said she knew what they looked like! Heck! I would have NEVER have admitted that to a customer paying $116, $134 & $164 for each respective night! I got one good nights sleep…the last one. She gave me a whopping $50 credit.

I’ll say this about that…I’ll drive up the road a little farther up the road to find a Mom & Pop place if there isn’t a decent Motel 6! Enough of this “privileges” points crap! Ain’t no privileges when Motel 6 can give me more bang for my buck than their cheapest chain and it’ll be cleaner too!

Can you tell I was under impressed with Lake Placid? Ugh! Too much of everything with too little quality.

Getting out of town was a good thing for me because I’d be seeing old new territory of Vermont. I’ve loved driving the backroads of Vermont several times in the past of the north/south variety but this time, I was headed east. Burlington, Vermont airport was programed in Tom and we were picking up my next travel buddy, Stacey.

How incredible, I thought, as I headed toward the ferry, that I’d have three different loved ones join me this year for three different parts of my journey! I’ve never had company before and this feels great!

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Upper New York Backroads!

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Love ’em!

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UHH! What’s that?

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This house on the NY side of Lake Champlain definitely has a story to tell!

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Lake Whoabegone? LOL Nah! Lake Champlain!

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Waiting for the Ferry on the NY side!

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Peaceful, huh?

Then, like magic, I’m across this body of water (Lake Champlain) and in Vermont headed for the airport…on the backroads, of course!

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Love this sculpture in the Burlington, VT airport!

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Here she comes!

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YAY! Passenger #3!

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Somewhere in Vermont!

Tomorrow? Bangor, Maine to explore the Maine Coastline and whatever else we want to do until we get over to Nova Scotia! Oh, there’s so much to see and so little time!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

To recap how the color of the rivers have changed from Alberta in western Canada to North Bay in the eastern part has gone from very clear green to red and now to brackish (they call it black) rivers. I remember seeing that brackish color in the mountains near Montreal and wondered what was wrong with the water! Apparently, it just is what it is!

Seeing the Great Lakes from the Canadian side is quite impressive much like the difference between seeing Niagara Falls from the US side versus the Canadian side. No contest! Canadians got the better view of both, for sure! So why in the heck are they so aggressive in their driving techniques? They blow the horn for anything and everything and I’ve decided those horn blowing Canadians need to drive in Los Angeles for a week and get this crap outta their systems in the middle of some real aggressive driving traffic! Blow your horn there, suckers!

Today, hopefully my last Canadian driver rant, a young woman blew her horn at me as I slowed down for a red light. I threw my hands up in the air as if to say, “What?” She drove dangerously around me on a sharp curve on the wrong side of the road and tried to get between me and the car in front of me, almost ramming my truck…just to turn right a block away. I think her passenger saw me taking pictures of her tag. Take this!

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Thank goodness that the five hour drive today wasn’t anywhere as bad as yesterdays drive. Yesterday was the “lick that hit Uncle Dick,” as my BFF would say. I was more than ready to get back to the US and I’ve been in so many different driving conditions, circumstances and insanity but nothing like this Canada Trans Highway 17! Done!

I have driven straight through from the cabin to Flagstaff, Arizona in twenty-four hours…about 1800 miles. This cross-Canada 1700 mile trip from Medicine Hat, Alberta to North Bay, Ontario has taken me (driving time only) took twice as long! No joke! So, if you’re interested in driving across Canada on Highway 17, buy Depends, food, gas every single time you see a station as you won’t see many (learned this in my childhood riding the backroads…only roads de jour…with Dad), get some great rock and roll music to push you past those moments when you don’t have radio or cell service (like those last 200 miles yesterday), maybe a good audio book and lots of whatever your non-alcholic stress fix is like dark chocolate, and, finally maybe something to block out the honkers and obnoxious drivers like good meds.

Other than that, lay back and embrace the tsunami of the drive. Lord knows I kept making myself embrace the journey and those of you who know me well know I did because there aren’t any dead bodies along Canada Trans 17…including mine. I’m still trying to recover from yesterday. Thank goodness, my hotel room was ready early and I’m in for the night.

The good news about todays drive is that the farms were back. Second to trains, I love old barns, which like everything else on this drive, appears way to fast to catch much on film. I did get one or two good views of the lakes.

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Old barns! Love ’em!

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River?

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Marshlands?

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Those bright yellow flowers again.

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Farmhouse

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North Bay, Ontario older building

Tomorrow? Kanata, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Last stop before I got to Lake Placid, NY for my R&R before picking up my next co-pilot, Stacey! She and I will explore the northeastern states on the Atlantic coast and Nova Scotia, so keep watching! It’s bound to get real with the two of us in the same car! Talk about “Squirrel!”

HAPPY TAILS, TAIL OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

It was much like crossing a state line in the United States when I crossed over from Saskatchewan into Ontario. Boy, what a difference a day makes! I thought I’d been transported back to my mountains in northeast Georgia when I saw forests, mountains, rock outcroppings, lakes, rivers, creeks and rain…all the things I love about living there.

Although I’m taking the southernmost route across Canada, I hope you find out more about our northern neighbors by looking at a good map of this outstanding, enormous, vastly diverse country that I’m only able to take a quick look at this time around. It’s full of lakes, s rivers, forests, mountains, wildlife,  and adventures beyond compare. Every single region I’ve traveled through is teeming with all these things including historical events tied to our own country’s history like the Hudson Bay Company! Next time I explore Canada, I hope to include British Columbia and a more northern route across some of the regions I took this year.

However, those first hundred miles or so, I must say I was worried when all I saw was the same.

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Ugh. If this is all there is, then I’ll keep dancing!

But then, forests started popping up like mushrooms and brought a big smile to my face!

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Light at the end of the tunnel!

Then lakes appeared! They call this area Lake in the Woods. We call this area in the US Land of Lakes!

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Lakes!

Diagonal Pink rock outcropping in horizontal rock bed? Way too cool!

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Rock outcroppings!

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They look like ones on the way through Chattanooga!

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More lakes than you can count!

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Pink rock outcroppings!

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO, CANADA!

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Thunder Bay’s view of Lake Superior! Pretty cool, huh?

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Classic homes!

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Diverse architecture!

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Great food and people!

I had other thoughts for today’s blog but now that I’m full of a beef rib and salad from Montana’s Cookhouse, I’ve forgotten!

Tomorrow? I drive to Saut Ste. Marie, Ontario which also sits on the north sides of Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Erie of the Great Lakes! I plan on getting an earlier start tomorrow so I can have more time exploring.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

 

This is how I started my journey this morning…practicing my selfie lessons my Jenni taught me! Boy, do I ever look different tonight!

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Jenni taught me selfie art!

If you saw pictures from Idaho, Montana and Oklahoma, then you saw Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba! I dated a man from Saskatchewan a couple of decades ago who was born there and ran away from home at fourteen and never looked back because it had nothing there. I didn’t see anything either and their main road, Hwy. 1 is a divided highway with cross traffic access, variable speed limits ranging from 35 MPH to 68 MPH…give or take translation from MPH to KPH!

It took about twelve hours to drive from Medicine Hat to Winnipeg. Gotta just say it was some of the most boring drive I’ve ever done on my 130,000+ miles driving the  backroads of the US and eastern Canada.

DO’s and DON’Ts:

DO:     Get great audio book to keep you occupied and lots of caffeine to keep you awake on this drive. It’s not a hard drive but a pain. I was lucky to find a great rock n’ roll radio station that helped me push through it. GPS only works until you get to a certain point where the highway was changed and GPS doesn’t know about it. Also, the only time I’ve ever gotten lost was trying to find my hotel in Winnipeg which is buried in the middle of a tiny strip mall between the Dollar General and a bar!

DON’T:    NEVER pay with a credit card at the gas pumps like we do in US. It will eat your credit card and it’s impossible to cancel transaction at the pump. Pump your gas (sometimes a paid employee will pump it) and then you go inside to pay much like we did up until the 1980’s here in states. Don’t rely on GPS alone. Get a current map of areas you want to visit. Even Google screwed up my directions!

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This is what all of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba look like!

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I even got excited to see a train but that really doesn’t count because I love trains.

Was worried that all the Canadian Geese were in Georgia! Guess I don’t have to worry about that any more! If I’d known the Canadians wanted their snow birds back, I’d have packed up as many as I could and brought them back on this trip! They’re aggressive and nasty! The geese not the Canadians!

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Only in Canada will 5:00 traffic stop on both sides of a busy street for a gaggle of Canadian Geese!

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Really?

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Still? The light green, people! This would never happen in Atlanta!

Tomorrow? Thunder Bay. Let’s see how that rolls.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

We finally made it here today and it’s been a dream come true for us both but only one of us knew how outstanding the whole park and surrounding areas are. The great news is that now both of us know! Even though the “Going-to-the-Sun” Road isn’t open yet (probably not until July but they really don’t know when because of snow), we drove up about fourteen miles along the West side of Glacier.

But before we even get to Glacier National Park, we drive from Kalispell, Montana because it’s one of the prettiest drives anywhere and especially with such a magnificent destination awaiting our arrival!

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Driving from Kalispell to Glacier National West Gate seeing these mountains is life changing!

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Yeah!

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Truly majestic!

Jenni was a happy young woman when we got to the Park entrance! She looks so cute in this chair!

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Inside the Park, we drove up to Lake McDonald Lodge built in early 1900’s.

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Lake McDonald Lodge (front)

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Lake McDonald Lodge Great Room at entrance

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Lake McDonald Lodge (back facing lake) where Montana and I had our picture taken last year. (tear)

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Lake McDonald

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Cabins for rent overlooking Snyder Creek

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Rushing waters of Snyder Creek emptying into Lake McDonald

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Montana in Montana resting at Lake McDonald one year ago!

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Raging waters that feed Lake McDonald near McDonald Falls!

Tomorrow? More Glacier but from the East side! St. Mary’s, for sure!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK! JUST DO IT!

Every inch of this trip has been absolutely incredible… better than even MY wildest dreams! I’ve been blessed with new kindred spirit chirrens and friends at every turn and  I feel like I’m flying and it feels GREAT!

We headed for Nevada City and its twin Virginia City, Montana this morning as they are   places I always wanted to visit but never made could make it there. This year…it WAS going to happen!

The Old West towns of Virginia City and Nevada City sprung up in the mid-1800 as gold rush boom towns which, like most, petered out after the gold stopped flowing. After years of abandonment, it was the Boveys who took Nevada City under their wings to restore. And, as a cowgirl at heart, I wanted to immerse myself in the history of these towns. What we ended up doing was meeting some truly incredible people as we meandered through these “frozen-in-time-towns.”

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IDAHO just south of Montana

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These hills looked like velvet!

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Rocks, baby!

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They looked like sheep scattered on the mountains!

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NEVADA CITY & VIRGINIA CITY OR BUST!

NEVADA CITY, MONTANA:

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Railroad cars from that time

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This passenger car looked kinda spooky!

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Frozen in time for sure!

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Old soda fountain

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VIRGINIA CITY, MONTANA:

Bale of Hay Saloon touts itself as being the oldest watering hole in the US! We met new friends here (Hi guys!) and told tales for hours! It was great fun! I think I’m in love with this town!

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VIRGINIA CITY: BALE OF HAY SALOON…OUR FIRST STOP!

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Inside  the Bale of Hay Saloon

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Telephone company!

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Inside Telephone Company

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Not made for looks! Made for warmth!

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Yeah! Cowgirl Heaven!

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New chirred! Evelyn Schmelling–psychic poet. Welcome aboard!

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I asked her to write a poem for me. This made all three of us cry. It was definitely from Ava. Evelyn didn’t know about Ava at the time she wrote it! Yup. Got me another one!

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Way to top off our visit was with this sign! Loved it!

And, if today hadn’t already been the most outstanding adventure so far…for me…EVER, Jenni and I saw a rainbow around the setting sun! I’m so glad she was with me to see it and capture the best picture of it possible with her phone camera. If you look closely, you’ll see two layers of color above the mountain. My camera couldn’t even come close. We were both in shock and awe of this Post Script to our day and the prelude of our tomorrows hiking at Glacier National Park!

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Tomorrows? Three days of exploring and hiking Glacier National Park! The bitter sweet part of these next days is how wonderful it is to have my girl, Jenni, experience it with me but the other is that she goes home as I head toward Canada. “Healing road” was the name of the album I bought in Taos. And that it has been for all of us who venture out to find love in our hearts for our great country and the wonderment of its backroads!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

Montana in Montana at Glacier National Park 6/2016:

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They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I hope these wet your whistle enough to get you out on our country’s backroads to find me some more treasures to discover!

Here’s one of my top two…Flaming Gorge, Utah. The turn off to Flaming Gorge overlook is at the Red Canyon Lodge marker. This is where Montana and I stayed in one of their cabins last year with the “not much snow” (by their measurements) of six inches! It was cozy and I’ll come back  for sure!

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RED CANYON LODGE

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VIEW BEHIND RED CANYON LODGE

This is what awaits you when you drive past the Lodge and boy is it worth it! Majestic!

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FLAMING GORGE (GREEN RIVER) TO LEFT

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SNOW CAPPED MOUNTAINS PEEPING OVER THE GORGE

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ME HOLDING ON FOR DEAR LIFE!

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FLAMING GORGE UPSTREAM (TO RIGHT)

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PERSPECTIVE: GORGE IS 4000′ WIDE & 1700′ DEEP. THESE TREES WERE ON A LEDGE JUST ABOUT 2O’ DOWN FROM ME. (STRAIGHT DOWN)

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GOING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN 

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SHEEP CREEK GEOLOGICAL TURNOUT IS A MUST!

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SHEEP CREEK

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SHEEP CREEK

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SHEEP CREEK

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SHEEP CREEK

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SHEEP CREEK

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AND MORE SHEEP CREEK

We took our time through the park driving the Sheep Creek Geological turn out (you must look closely for the sign) because I just gotta have my rock fix! Awesomeness!

We grabbed a late lunch in Green River, Utah and headed for Idaho for the night. Of course we took the back roads to Pocatello, Idaho and it’s a road worth taking again. Who knew Idaho was that lush with green pastures, cattle, horses, goats, sheep and huge ranches? Too dark for any of my pictures to turn out but it was magnificent.

Tomorrow? Virginia City, Ovando and, finally,Missoula where my husband lives…COSTCO! We gotta get more water and healthy snacks for hiking Glacier National for three days!

HAPPY TAILS, TAILS OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

Montana with me last year at Flaming Gorge with her happy tail! Dang, I sure miss that crazy lil mutt!

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There’s no greater thrill to me than to have someone as special as my daughter’s dearest friend with me on this healing journey. She has been with me on this adventure of pain, sorrow, grief, recovery and healing now for 5+ years. I love her dearly and our bond of friendship, understanding and trust grows as we help each other find peace with Ava’s decision to leave this planet. Thank you, Ava, for giving Jenni and I each other to share these most intimate of grief moments with each other and to help pull each other out of the mire.

For me, I always felt traveling was an important part of my retirement years; however, after Ava’s passing, I couldn’t even leave my house to get groceries until last year when I forced myself to go West to visit my favorite people and places again. I’d promised Jenni I’d take her on a trip to see the redwood forest where God lives and we did that very thing last year. This year, I’d promised to take her to all my favorite National Parks with the best for last…Flaming Gorge, WY and Glacier National Park, MT. and that’s exactly what we’re doing and loving every second of the backroads drive!

Today, we started at Bryce Canyon (not one of my favorites) because it’s not far from where Jenni lives and she needed to see what beauty was in her own back yard.

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Rainbow Overlook (last stop)

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Great geologic anomalies unique to Bryce

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Caves?

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Depth of the view is breathtaking

Then came the heart pounding part for me. I was most excited to share this with her just knowing she was going to feel the presence of a higher power and glory in these backroads headed for Flaming Gorge through Ashley National Forest and beyond where the roads continuously seem to disappear and reappear magically with every turn; where terrain, vegetation and geologic wonderment are around every bend in the road.

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Roads appear to disappear

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And come back with a BANG!

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Then leave again

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Wonderful little towns with surprises like this family rending a caboose for a vacation in the middle of nowhere!

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Then changes

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Jenni & I were so excited to find this view around the bend!

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Pretty magnificent!

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Then back again!

Tomorrow? Flaming Gorge, of course, and I can’t wait! It’s in my top two! I’m saving the best for last!

HAPPY TAILS (Montana is certainly with us on this trip), TALES OR TRAILS!

 

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Montana sure enjoyed being in the mountains! 

Wow! I had to go into hybernati0n to get back up to speed to even write about the last two days of my trip home! I didn’t feel like I was all that exhausted until I stopped! It’s like the old joke about the guy who keeps hitting his head against the wall and won’t stop. A fellow asks him why he doesn’t quit it and his reply is, “It doesn’t hurt until I stop!”

I knew I had a great deal to process once I got home and I understood I’d be tired but what caught me unawares was how mentally wiped out I’d become from all the hard work I’d done in pushing my way to a new level of grief healing. Don’t get me wrong! I loved every minute of my 2016 Great Adventure (except for the Lebanese LA restaurant thang and a couple of others) because I was focused, determined and motivated to my quest of how I wanted to live the rest of my life…or the third chapter. I’m still not sure of all the details as I’m still processing but going west annually is definitely in my future!

As this journey has been about contrasts…before and after Ava’s death; before and after my journey; west vs. east; desert mountains vs. Smokey Mountains; water vs. drought…I thought I’d post a couple of photos that struck me from my last day on the road that focus on the differences between the far west and the near east of US.

On the back roads in the west, I witnessed a great deal of drought; a great deal of wasted water irrigating to artificially stimulate growth with more moisture lost in evaporation than plants benefited in extreme arid climates; dry creek beds; river and lake levels atrociously low (Walker Lake in NV is 181 feet below normal per Wikipedia and Lake Mead is at a record low) yet Las Vegas continues to pump millions of gallons of water into artificial lakes, fountains and entertainment venues causing the drought to worsen; more strip mining than you’d ever think; outrageous heat (triple digits); very dry air; no green vegetation save cacti and succulents; 75 MPH speed limits and California’s aggressive drivers.

Walker Lake, NV

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Outside of Tonapah, NV

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On the back roads in the east, I found Tennessee to have the most aggressive drivers (mostly between Memphis and Nashville); not as much evidence of strip mining as I’d seen before; full rivers, creeks and lakes; moist air and normal temps (high 80’s) and lots of vegetation. I was even glad to see the Kudzu!

NC mountains close to home!

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My father raised us all to be very mindful of the earth and our need to protect it. I’m sad to say that my generation hasn’t appeared to do a very good job of that and it’s only going to get worse because society has moved into the instant gratification mindset and I’m afraid the new generation doesn’t care or understand  about the long term ramifications of such a lifestyle not only on them but on our precious earth.

As my children are gone and I have no grandchildren, it’s really up to those of you who do have them to teach the next generation to love Mother Earth and help resuscitate her back to a healthy normal!

HAPPY TAILS!