Arizona’s changing scenery

While fall foliage is perhaps most well-known in New England, that’s not to say that those who live out in the southwestern more desert-y areas of the country are left without beautiful fall colors. And while Phoenix is still unbearably hot for the most, I’m filled with hope (and prayer!) that soon the heat breaks, the cool winds come, and the leaves on the trees start to turn their majestic hues of reds, yellows, and browns. Here are some great places to soak up the best of Autumn in Arizona:

Maybe in a few weeks it’ll be cool enough to venture out for a day hike…in the meantime, stick to your air conditioned car and go for some scenic drives through these areas. Enjoy! Happy Fall!

Martha
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New York Fall Foliage

Sure New York City is mostly cement and buildings, and sure in the winter whatever trees there are have shed their leaves and just look sad. And sure the summer is so hot and sticky (or rainy, like this summer) that whatever trees and flowers there are are overlooked on your run from the train to your air conditioned office. So, now that it’s fall, let’s make sure that we take advantage of the beauty in New York City’s fall colors that is so often overlooked during the rest of the year! There are so many scenic drives, beautiful hikes, botanical gardens, and other New York fall foliage options that can be explored before it gets cold and wet and the train to office dashes begin again!

There are more parks in New York City than people realize. Obviously there’s Central Park and Prospect Park, but there’re so many more, too! Check out Alley Pond Park, Forest Park, High Rock Park, Inwood Hill Park, the Staten Island Greenbelt, and Todt Hill. The best viewing time for these is the end of October through the first half of November. And the best way to appreciate them is with a bike, a picnic, and some good friends (in my opinion at least).

Going to botanical gardens is another way to appreciate the cool weather and changing colors of autumn:

You’ve only got a few months before it starts getting cold…so go have a picnic in the park and enjoy the beautiful weather!
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Indianapolis and Pennsylvania road trip!

So this definitely was NOT my first pick for a travel destination, but Matthew (yes, we’re still together, despite what you thought 🙂 –you know who you are!) is swapping cars with his brother for some reason that I don’t really understand but apparently it was something that they agreed on like 5 years ago. So…I figured I’d come along for the ride. We’ll be driving there, swapping cars, and driving back, staying in Indianapolis maybe but then driving back through Pennsylvania. We want to do some camping in the Poconos and go to Hershey Park. Then we’ll be having a very romantic night and day at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa. We’ll also spend one night in the Laurel Highlands, see of the Frank Lloyd Wright stuff in the area, and then explore some back roads on the way back to New York City. Continue reading

Top Ten Summer Picnic Spots

I came across this article about Memorial Day picnic spots, and since I sort of missed Memorial Day this year (I was on the road), and since there’s no rule that you can’t picnic after Memorial Day (on the contrary), I figured I’d post the Top Ten Picnic Spots now, for the summer.

Just so happens that the first three (of ten!) spots are in my homestate, two of them just south of Phoenix, Arizona and therefore, quite easy for me to get to!

Next on the list is 90 miles north of Phoenix in Sedona, Arizona:

And here are the rest:

So pack and picnic and enjoy the sun! Maybe I’ll see you in Tempe!
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Best Florida Beaches and State Parks

I don’t BELIEVE so much time has passed since I last wrote. I think I last left you on my way to Rainbow, which was so long ago, that I can’t even begin to write about it except to say that it was awesome—a truly beautiful experience in a beautiful place, with beautiful people. I’ll write more about it later. While I was there I wrote in my journal (like the old fashioned paper type) so I’ve got things to say, but not now. Quick update: Ryan and I finally made our way back east to good ol’ Massachusetts (my parents missed me…awwww), but just a week later we got back in the car and drove down to Florida, which maybe isn’t the smartest thing to do I the summer because it’s a freakin’ sauna down there (oh, and it rains quite a bit!) but we’ve been staying cool, camping out a lot where there are cool ocean/gulf breezes, drinking a ton, and crashing at the occasional cheap motel when it’s just too painful.

Meanwhile, I came across some great lists while I was researching where to go next and thought that since summer in Florida stretches on forever, these should be quite up to date even in a few months from now. So here ya go!

From Associatedcontent.com: The Best State Parks to Visit in Central Florida During the Summer:

From Placesaroundflorida.com: Best Florida Beaches:

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Almost in Wyoming

I don’t believe that I’ve been traveling for as long as I have and had not heard of couchsurfing until last week. So first of all, Ryan finally came back from Boston and flew into Kansas City, Missouri where I was dutifully waiting to pick him up, it was late and I had made my first couchsurfing arrangements and we went and stayed at the Leehy’s—an elderly couple who keep a guest room available for travelers passing through town. I love this concept and I can’t wait to get home (wherever that may end up being) and opening up my couch for crashing. The next day we woke up really early and drove straight to Omaha where we stopped back at Tiff’s (twice in one month, Tiff—and you say I never visit…!). I told her about couchsurfing and she’s now signed up to have random travelers crash at her place.
Tomorrow we leave from here and head straight home to Pinedale, Wyoming for the Rainbow Gathering. Came across Karin Zirk’s blog which gives over important info on the hows and wheres of the Gathering this year. Apparently it’s cold at night and the cops are already on our case—but that’s not something Rainbow warriors can’t handle, right? And about the cold, before we left Kansas City, we stopped at Metro North Shopping Center and bought some extra hats, scarves, and blankets. We spend a crapload of money—but it is for family after all!
Looks as though the Gathering is just near Bridger-Teton National Forest.
I can’t wait to be home! See you there!

Chillin’ in Montauk State Park

The other day I was in Montauk State Park (again), just walking and writing and thinking. Ryan will be meeting me here in a few days and then we’ll be off to Wyoming for Rainbow. And I hate to fast forward like this, but pretty soon I’ll be returning back to the big city—maybe. I mean, I quit my job so I don’t have plans, but the more I try and escape to the woods and mountains, the more I find myself missing my family and friends who, as luck would have it, live in (or near) big cities. So I was happy to come across this article in USA Today called 10 great leafy getaways tucked away in the big city.

So, if you’re a city dweller needing respite from the hustle and bustle around you, try finding solace in these tucked away getaways:

  1. Golden Gate Park – San Francisco, California
  2. Teardrop Park, Battery Park City – New York City, along the Hudson River
  3. Millennium Park – Chicago, Illinois
  4. Zilker Metropolitan Park – Austin, Texas
  5. Balboa Park – San Diego, California
  6. Boston Common – Boston, Massachusetts
  7. Constitution Gardens – Washington, D.C.
  8. Gas Works Park – Seattle, Washington
  9. Loring Park – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  10. George Washington Memorial Park – Jackson, Wyoming

Why Central Park – NYC is not on the list… I’m not sure. As well as the Boston Public Garden. But it’s still a nice list. Hope it helps you city folk!

Solo roadtrip: So far so good!

I find so much comfort in my daily routine, waking up in my home, going to the office, and returning home, that I was worried about changing that routine for the duration of a 3 week roadtrip. But something tells me I’ve got nothing to worry about. So far I’m adjusting quite well to life on the road. Of course, it’s only been a few days. My drive up to Las Vegas was phenomenal. I made a spontaneous decision on the way up to stop at Lake Mead National Recreational Area (home of the famous Hoover Dam), and while I had already gone out of my way, I decided to drive through Valley of Fire State Park, which had come highly recommended. And WOW, it was all worth it—what a beautiful state I’m in! The blue of the sky against the red rocks and the tan dunes—apparently Red Rock Canyon is more spectacular in terms of the color contrasts, so I’ll be seeing that tomorrow on my way out of here (I know I’m doing this area a little out of order…). I actually got to the Hoover Dam just in time for a tour that was leaving from the Visitors Center and we had a lovely tour guide who said she enjoyed all my questions! And then I joined another family who was renting a boat out on Lake Mead – Lake Mead is the largest man-made lake in the U.S.; it’s twice the size of Rhode Island!

So how did I have time to do all of this BEFORE I even got to Las Vegas? I woke up at 4 a.m.! I just couldn’t sleep. (You’ll understand when you’re older.)

The Venetian is a beautiful hotel, and I got there hot and exhausted and my room and the view were welcome sites. I’ve never been to Venice, so I suppose this is the next best thing, right? Cirque de Soleil was good, though, to be honest, not really my style. The music was a bit loud and while it is neat to see the amazing things that the human body can do (and the guts that people have!), I think the ballet is more beautiful and shows off just as much physical splendor. Also, there were 2 young girls in the row behind me who were screaming and cheering every 5 minutes and they gave me a headache.

Yesterday I walked around a lot – actually I just realized that my massage starts in 15 minutes. I’ll continue later… My first professional massage – wish me luck!


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What to do this summer?

My parents want to know what I want to do this summer. I used to go to day camp and then became a day camp counselor, but last summer I said that I was never going to do that again, but don’t really know what else there is to do.

We always spend a week in Philadelphia visiting my grandparents and I’m thinking maybe I can stay up there with them for more time. I wonder whether I could get a job at the African American Museum in Philadelphia…that would be really cool. And I know that the Eastern State Penitentiary sounds really morbid, but my grandfather used to work there and it’s a pretty cool museum too. It’s not like I’m sooo into museums, but…I hate to be such a teenage stereotype…but I need SOMETHING to put on my college apps. I’m like looking for some sort of experience that’ll set me apart. And since I want to apply to UPenn early decision, maybe it’ll look good if I start acting loyal to philly. Maybe I can even stay all summer with my grandparents. And if those jobs don’t work out (b/c I have no idea if they’re accepting) then Im just I can just volunteer. SOMEWHERE. Even in a hospital.

Meanwhile, I haven’t written in a while. First of all Ricky and I broke up. he ended up being such an ass. he’s graduating this year and doesn’t want to feel “tied down” with a highschool girlfriend when he starts college, but said that we should still definitely keep dating until graduation. Are you fucking kidding me??? I told him to go to hell and I was cool calm and collected and then cried my eyes out when I got back to my dorm room and I haven’t spoken to him since, but I know I’m not the only one who thinks he’s a jerk so that of course makes me feel better.

Also, not much to say here, but our family trip to Stone Mountain State Park ended up being pretty cool (considering the circumstances, y’know, being a family trip and all). We went rock climbing which I’m good at and camped out and it was…fine I’ll admit it…fun.
Flip-flop, flip-flop…seriously that’s how I feel lately. I feel like a yo-yo (that’s a better metaphor), every day I feel high as a kite and then down in the dumps. jesus lacee stop acting like a drama queen, right? argh.

So speaking of rock climbing, I just heard about the UNCW climbing wall. it’s in Wilmington right near school, so I need to find out my info and then get my butt back in shape.

At least my parents are happy that Ricky is out of the picture.


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Putting the Me in Utah

I decided I would simply hitch a ride to wherever the next car out was going. There were a lot of families with kids at the ranch so i just had to find someone with room in their car and not too much food smushed into back seat cushions. Well… two out of three ain’t bad, right? It’s not like my pants were so clean to start with anyways. I honestly can’t even remember their last name, but this very nice family was going back home to Salt Lake City, which sounded to me like a nice enough spot—why the hell not?

So I turned in my spurs, said goodbye to Sandy (did I even tell you about the horse that saved my life?) and Mike and then voila—off I go, turning the last 3 weeks into a mirage, the only traces remaining is the stench that I just can’t seem to shake.

Utah, Utah – there must be a song about Utah, though I can’t think of any.

I’m at a youth hostel now in Salt Lake City, explored a bit this evening, and now I desperately need a map so I can figure out where I’m going tomorrow morning. I’ve barely used my tent and since the weather out here is so perfect right now, I want to go somewhere where I can sleep under the stars. Ok, google maps…

Okay, there is A LOT to do here. I’m thinking I’ll start at Capitol Reef National Park, and then go over to Arches National Park, then down to Canyonlands National Park — that makes the most sense I think, but then Zion National Park is totally in the opposite direction, as is Bryce Canyon National Park, so maybe that doesn’t make sense. Bear with me…

Okay, this is better: Zion National Park (long bus ride from Salt Lake City, I think) to Bryce Canyon to Canyonlands and then to Arches and I’ll skip Capitol Reef.

Okay cool, I’m going to Zion tomorrow!

Wow, was just browsing and see that you can ride a bobsled at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City. And I’m kinda interested in visiting the Historic Temple Square here in Salt Lake. Maybe I should stay in SLC for a few days?

Why am I starting to stress out over this? What happened to relaxed Tim who didn’t give a damn about planning. I need to sign off and go to bed. In the morning, wherever and whenever I’m in the mood to go to, I’ll go.


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