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?

Clearing my head in Maine

I had just been through a horrible divorce that left me feeling broken, distant, and confused. I thought that I had had life all sorted out, until this bombshell landed on me leaving me unsure of what to do next. After some months of sitting in my new apartment all alone, my friends forced me out to some neighborhood bars and restaurants. I started feeling myself reawaken from my deep despair, but somehow felt like I needed to get out and do some exploring on my own in order to completely regain independence and realize that I could in fact live on my own once again. And that’s when I decided it was time for me to plan that trip I never took, to Maine, a place that had always seemed like a beautiful place to visit, but that no one ever wanted to go to with me.

I flew there (from my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona) and rented a car at the airport. I had decided that I would split my time between woodsy nature and beaches. It was June, so I knew I’d be able to appreciate both of these two magical worlds. The first stop I made was at Moosehead Lake. I had rented a little cabin on the lake where I stayed for 2 nights. I spent my days swimming and jogging through the area (I was so out of shape—it felt great to get some energy back!) and my evenings bundled up in my cabin reading one of the many books that I brought at South Portland’s The Maine Mall (my real first stop after I landed in Maine!). Next I went to Baxter State Park where I spent the day hiking with a crowd that I had met in the visitor’s center. From there I went to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor. Acadia National Park really was the ideal place for me, nestled amongst mountains and lakes with hiking and bike trails, but also included the beautiful Sand Beach which provided the coastal relaxing that I had only read in my books.

That was just the beginning of my beach run. I was feeling life coursing through my veins once again and I couldn’t wait to hit the beaches. I had been meeting such interesting people along my way and knew that the crowd would change as my surroundings changed, and I couldn’t wait to see who I would meet next. The beaches in Maine are perfect. I drove up and down the coast, stopping for a few hours or a few days (whatever I was in the mood for!) at Old Orchard Beach, Hills Beach, Ferry Beach State Park, and Popham Beach. I wish you could hear the tone of my thoughts as I type those beaches out. I suppose you could call it wistful? Relaxed? Maybe even happy. I ended the last day of my 12 day trip at Lake St. George State Park where I island hopped and celebrated the nature that was around me.

I think I’m going to do this every year. Maybe not Maine, but somewhere. I’ve always wanted to travel on my own, and I finally did!

Related Travel Guide Topics: