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!

Maybe Vegas isn’t for everyone…

Well, I’m not so sure Las Vegas is for me. I played some slot machines and even tried my luck at Texas Holdem. And you know what? I came out ahead! I wasn’t interested in spending too much money gambling, so I set aside $200, and walked out with $230! While that was fun, and while it does seem like I’ve got a knack for getting down and dirty in the game rooms…I just felt a little out of place. First of all, I don’t drink (at least not more than the occasional glass of wine), and there were so many young people there drinking and drinking and just throwing away their money—I got a little uncomfortable. My mother instinct came through full blown and I had to hold myself back from taking drinks out of hands and putting money back into pockets. The other thing that saddened me was the fact that you can tell who has the serious gambling problems. There are some older folks (my age and older) who look like they haven’t showered in weeks and you just have to wonder how much in their lives they’ve thrown away that got them to this point, where they spend night and day and night and day in a casino. And then I was standing at a Roulette table and some guy got a lucky spin and turned around and kissed me flat on the mouth before I had a chance to protest! Is that what people do in real life? I found it offensive and strange.

I’ve spent most of my time walking up and down The Strip, and that really has been the highlight of Las Vegas. I enjoy peace and quiet and national parks, but I’m a city girl at heart; I always have been. And the lights and the bustle and the diversity of people thrill me to no end. Vegas is so different from anywhere I’ve ever been, and that was exciting. But I kept thinking of the streaked limestone at Valley of Fire State Park, and now I’m aching for more of a natural setting. Maybe even though I love cities, I feel as though this trip is intended to relax me and center me after my divorce. Perhaps deep down I believe that the natural balance around me will kick in and force-balance me, though I suppose that’s probably not the right attitude.

And do I’m ready for the next phase of my trip, for the quiet and the solitude. I’m looking forward to Red Rock Canyon and then the long drive through Nevada and then California and then Oregon, up to Portland. I don’t have specific plans at this point. Will take my time driving up there, will stay at some cheap motels along the way.

Oh, by the way, is it possible to become addicted to massages?? I’m already ready for my next one!

Martha


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City Slicker par excellance

This is seriously the life. I don’t believe that just a few months ago I was in NY trapped in my cubicle for 9 hours a day wondering what the hell I was going to do with my life. Just last night I was in some bar in the middle of nowhere drunk off my ass and singing my lungs out at a karaoke bar—doesn’t sound like the Tim you know? Yeah, me neither.

So want to know where THIS cool guy is as we speak? On a dude ranch in New Mexico. I got my cowboy hat and I smell like shit and I just gorged on a ranch BBQ and now I can’t move. This is truly the beginning of a beautiful life. I’m staying here till they kick me out.

Meanwhile, just to track where I was that brought me here: I was in Albuquerque where I met some guys at this youth hostel who were on their way to this place. I spent a few more days chillin’ in the ‘querq (that doesn’t work, does it?) and now I’ve met up with them at this ranch.

There’s standard backpacker lingo around here. The greeting: Where have you been and where are you going? And the response: I was here. I am going there. Do you want to come? It’s a beautiful world we live in outside the constraints of the 2×4 cubicle.

Before making it down to the ranch, I made a stop at White Sands National Monument which is near the Tularosa Basin. I walked for about 5 miles through magnificent dunes and then went dune sledding (on a toboggan that I borrowed from a 6 year old girl, which was very nice of her). Apparently White Sands is the world’s largest gypsum dune field. I’ve got great pictures that I’ll upload when I’ve got a faster internet connection. I actually just missed the Annual Bataan Memorial Death March, which is something that the Air Force organizes every year to honor the thousands of people who died during a forced march of 60 miles led by Japanese soldiers during World War II. It would’ve been cool to be a part of that…maybe next year. There’s an exhibit now in the Philippines called “The Zen of White Sands” about one man’s experience here. You can see some of his pictures online. I was there!

I plan on picking up some city slicker skills while I’m here. I’d like to deliver a baby calf (remember that?) and learn to chew tobacco. There’re actually going to put me to work here, otherwise I’m just a “tourist” and then I have to pay more.
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