Fall Foliage – the Golden Aspens

Hello friends! Long time no speak. I’m sad to say that my travels have recently been…bleak. Arizona is just too hot to do anything outdoors, I’m afraid. I have, however, been to my fair share of (highly air conditioned) driving excursions—which is what I’d love to share with you today. ( I am skipping the part about the shopping malls I have been to.)

People think that New England is the only place to find fall colors, that Massachusetts fall foliage and Vermont fall foliage are the only places where the trees turn majestic colors to welcome in the new season. Well, those people could not be more wrong! Beautiful fall colors can sneak up on you just about anywhere where there are trees, and sometimes as early as August. Just the other day I saw a lovely maple changing. Arizona and New Mexico fall foliage is absolutely stunning. I plan on driving out the forests around Santa Fe at the end of September when maples really are at their peak. And I’m not going to get a chance this fall, but a few years ago I drove up to southern Colorado and fall foliage in Colorado, against the blue mountains and blue streams, are the image of perfection.

So I’m not knocking Catskills fall foliage or  New England fall foliage or the colors of other northeast towns that become completely covered with oranges, golds, and deep reds—I’m just saying that you shouldn’t forget about the changing colors of the southwest! If you happen to be in Arizona this fall, give me a call and I’ll show you what we’ve got to offer!
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Road Tripping on a…Bus?

It is too expensive to own my car. Insurance, gas, and upkeep take nearly half my paycheck and basically all I ever do is drive back and forth from work; I never do anything exciting anymore even though there are so many fun things to do in DC. (Yes, I got a job, and no, it doesn’t help that I drive a 1982 jalopy.) I’ve decided to sell my car, yet I refuse to believe that that means the end of roadtripping. In fact, I think considering my last cross country excursion, I’m pretty well equipped for any sort of travel!

Here’s my plan: My dad is actually paying for a flight out to Madison to see him (thanks dad!). I’ll be with him for a few days and then take the Madison to Chicago bus (I think it’s Van Gelder Bus Lines). I’ll be in Chicago for 4 days and I’m already got a list of places to visit in Chicago that’s as long as my arm.

Okay, so then some more long bus rides—this time to Denver. Got another long list of places to visit in Colorado, both in Denver and Colorado Springs, and I even found AN AMAZING deal on a shuttle from DEN to COS which is great because…I have a conference for work (my first!!) in Colorado Springs and then they’re paying for my flight back!

Meanwhile, when I get back to D.C., I think I’m going to start to like my car-less life. The Metro goes straight from my apartment to work and I figure that since I work for an environmental lobbying group (yes, I got my dream job J), it’s really the right thing to do. And since I’m new to the area, Greyhound is going to become my new best friend as I explore all the cool places to visit in Washington, D.C. I’ve been there for months and have barely done anything.

Wish me luck!

(P.S. Ryan and I broke up. Last I heard he was working on an Orlando Casino Cruise….It’s a long story, but all I can say is…Good riddance!)
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Martha’s ready to get away again! (just need a little advice…)

I happen to have accrued a lot of vacation days from work. I haven’t taken full vacations for the last 4 years and since we have a cumulative vacation day policy, I’ve got about a month left that I can still take this year. I get a little crazy about it actually. As I was writing that I was thinking, wow, if I don’t take them this year, then next year I’ll have SIX weeks. But I’ve got to break that habit, otherwise I will NEVER GO ANYWHERE, and I’m done living like that!

So I think starting on the Thursday before Memorial Day I’m going to drive up to Oregon for a 2-3 week roadtrip. Why Oregon, you ask? Well, why not? I’ve been reading up on things to do/see in Oregon, so I’m starting to get some ideas for us there and there are also a few places along the way that I’ll check out (like Red Rock Canyon in Nevada). Most of all, I’m going to bring my journal (which is really my laptop) and I’m going to get some writing done. I have drafts of poems and short stories that I’ve written in the past (some as far back as 20 or 30 years ago!) and I’d like to devote some serious time to getting them in better shape to share with the world, in one way or another.

I guess I just want to throw out some of my ideas and see if anyone has suggestions. I’ve heard amazing things about Mt. Hood National Forest and Golden-Silver Falls State Park (is it wrong to choose a place based on it’s name?), so I’d like to make sure that I at least get to these. Other than that, I’m open to suggestions. Maybe also Crater Lake National Park.

Browsing through other people’s trip itineraries online, I’ve come across this trip which looks like a good few days trip around Portland, which is something I’d also like to do. Any other “must do’s” in the area?

I figure that if I do stop at Red Rock Canyon, I’ll go in Vegas while I’m in the area, even though it doesn’t quite fit into the theme of my outdoors traveling itinerary…Though I just checked mapquest and it’s a 20 hour drive from Phoenix to Portland, but that’s going up the California Coast, not going through Nevada as I had wanted and I don’t want to go TOO far out of my way. Has anyone done this trip before?