Meditative ski slopes

If you’re like me (which is probably in general not something to aspire to…), you like skiing, but hate the skiing experience. Sometimes I go out to Hunter Mountain, which is pretty close by, and then regret it almost immediately. Basically: I HATE CROWDS. I HATE COMMERCIAL SKI SLOPES. I HATE SKI SCHOOLS THAT CROWD MY MOUNTAIN. Yeah, that’s right, I get a little possessive. I usually drive for hours or even days to get to the slope of my choice, spend a crapload of money, and then can barely move as I get pushed down the icy, well-too-worn slopes. This winter, I’ve got one roadtrip planned and my goal is to find some empty slopes where not only can I ski in peace, but I can meditate and relax. Is it possible? We shall see.

Here’s a list I’ve found so far, posted a year ago on ForbesTraveler.com – but doesn’t the fact that it’s already been advertised as “crowd-free” for one year mean that all the crowd-avoiders will be there, thus making it a bit crowded? Well, maybe you’ve got insight—please let me know if you know of more crowdless slopes. (Though I understand if you don’t want to share—publicizing them would sort of defeat the purpose, right?)

Enjoy! Hopefully I won’t see you out there – you know what I mean.
(Thank you, forbestraveler.com for the list.)

Good Info on Skiing in General

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Ghost Towns, USA

I’m baaaaack! And I appreciate all of your emails of concern. I did not get eaten by mountain lions, as one of my very humorous readers asked. In fact, I am, sadly, back in New Paltz, the land of the living dead as I like to think. Back to the cubicle, back to grind. Gotta build up the cash stacks before my next adventure…I’m thinking somewhere colder this time. The northwest, Alaska, or I may even *gasp* cross the border into Canada.

There is so much I haven’t told you about the remainder of my Southwest/Midwest journey. It will take time, my friends, for me to put it all in words. And so, in celebration of Halloween Month (that’s what we called it as kids), I thought I’d share a bit about my Ghost Town travels. These totally came out of nowhere. I was hanging out with some completely random people in Colorado and they brought me around on their ghost town tour. We also went to the Ghost Town Museum near Denver. A rollicking good time was had by all.

First, what IS a ghost town, you ask? Well, wikipedia will tell you that it is “a town or city that has been abandoned, usually because the economic activity that supported it has failed, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as flood or war.” But I would add, that a ghost town is an isolated, desolate, haunted area. Many of the places on this list I’m about to make used to be near railroads, but were abandoned when people moved out to the highways. Some were old mining camps. But all of them are spooky. mooo hooo hahaha! (That was my spooky cackle.)

Here are some ideas for Halloween fun if you happen to find yourselves out in the middle of nowhere in Colarado. The key to a good ghost town experience is to go with the right people. You have to be in the mood to pretend to be scared (because shhhh…they’re not really scary.)

And if you happen to be in California, take the “walk you’ll never forget”—the Calico Ghost Walk, a 90 minutes after-dark tour of the Calico Ghost Town in Yermo (Barstow).

Happy Halloween!
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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

Vermont Fall Foliage and More

Today is Labor Day and its time to plan this falls activities. Fall Foliage Trips are perfect for this year’s economy. For most of us, there are great Fall Foliage destinations within a tank of gas. Here are some favorites:

New England Fall Foliage

Mid-Atlantic Region

Rockies

And last but not least, for our fans in the South – Virginia Fall Foliage is at its best in the Western part of the state, in the Shenandoah, Blue Ridge and (further south) Smoky Mountains.

Rescued by some Moabites

I can’t even count the number of National Parks I’ve been in since I started my journey, the number of nights I’ve unzipped my tent and pulled my sleeping bag out so I could sleep under the starry night, the number of amazing people I’ve met who have taken me in for a night or shared some food or a shower (I mean, let me use their shower…we didn’t actually share…). And it’s on this last point (the people, not the shower) that I want to talk about now.

My most recent stop was at Canyonlands National Park which was beautiful. I hiked around for a few days and was just getting more and more tired by the second. I definitely should have stopped when I started feeling this way and should have headed right back to civilization. But I didn’t because I’m a trooper and I wasn’t going to let tiredness get the best of me. But then I must’ve passed out or something, because I woke up in the back of a pick up truck. There was another guy back there with me (his wife was driving) who told me that I was found outside my tent at the campground, unconscious. The guy suspected that I was dehydrated and they were bringing me to a hospital in Moab for an IV. Which they did, before bringing me to their tiny little home in Moab, right near Arches National Park for the night.

Let me just say: I am not a religious guy. I believe that there are some higher powers (maybe God), and I went to Sunday School when I was kid even though my parents were atheists. I have never thought much about Christianity or about Christian goodness, but these last few days, I have experienced it first hand.

Bob and Risa Berry and their 5 children took me into their home for three days, and it seemed as though this was something they were used to—taking in stragglers who they’ve found half dead in the parks. Two kids cleared out their room and moved in with the other 3 kids during that time and I got a room and access to a kitchen and bookcases filled with books until I recovered, from what was nothing more serious than exhaustion. Every night I had dinner with the Berrys and then the family sang hymns before bedtime that I was invited to as well. I felt like I was in a Christian children’s bible storyland.

I became particularly close with a nine year old boy, Johnny, who showed me all his secret hideouts on their vast woodland property and a treehouse that he and his 2 older brothers had built by themselves.

One day I went with Risa to the Dan O’Laurie Museum which helped me get a better understanding of the Moab region, which is known as a mountain biker’s paradise. So another day I actually went on a beautiful tour of the area with Bob on two of their bikes (does anyone work in Moab??).

And now I feel as strong as an ox. I’m going to do something I don’t usually do: I’m going to rent a car (even though gas will cost me my food for the next week). Apparently there are some scenic drives along the Colorado River that’ll bring me to Colorado. Probably just rent for the day and then get back on my own two feet!

Tim Groome is back!

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Attack of the falling veils!

I swear to god I was looking up the Bridal Veil Falls and not playing out some sort of childhood wedding fantasy…and I came across the fact that Bridal Veil Falls is a really unoriginal name for waterfalls in America, as there are quite a few. The one I was looking at is in Nantahala National Forest which is not as close to school as I thought it was. So I got distracted and read about all the Bridal Veil Falls in the country…oh, procrastination!

The most famous Bridal Veils are at Niagara Falls. It’s the smallest of the three major falls, but still looks beautiful (never been, but looking at gorgeous pictures). The Cave of the Winds tour (not really a cave) brings you 20 feet away from Bridal Veil Falls. I want to go!!!

There’s the Bridal Veil Falls State Park on the Historic Columbia River Scenic Highway in Oregon. I’ve actually been to the Columbia River Gorge, like when I was 6, my mom took me to visit a college friend of hers. So there are pictures of me in front of some waterfall, but don’t know which one, and neither does my mom.

Utah has it’s own Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon (called bridal veil park).

There are Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite National Park.

I thought maybe I was being really ditzy and that maybe Bridal Veil Falls is like a specific type of falls, I dunno something to do with rock formation or atmospheric something or other. but they’re just pretty falls that look like a veil.

Wikipedia has a huge list. Here is a sampling:

I dunno. Maybe that’ll be of some use to someone. Ok, gotta do my hoooooooooomeeeeewooooork! Stop distracting me!


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Ahhhhhhh… blissful travels

Greetings friends. I am at peace. I have been…injected it seems…with such soaring heights of tranquility that I’m afraid to operate heavy machinery. (which is why Ryan is driving…we just stopped at an internet café…somewhere. wow, I have no idea where we are.) I have this huge goofy smile ahhhhh

I feel like I just came back from a spa. The Lake Maria State Park spa, yeah.

Meanwhile, Ryan was supposed to go back to Boston for some training thingy, but they pushed it off till June 1st which is good b/c he soooo didn’t want to leave MN. And that works out perfectly b/c now we’ve got two more weeks to get to my sister’s. I definitely need to look at a map. I’m smart, I swear, but when it comes to geography I’m a complete airhead.

Ryan just told me we’re already on our way to Badlands National Park and then to Custer State Park…and yeah, that does sound familiar. I’m not even joking. when I say I’ve been in a daze, I meant it! I’ve been in a daze for days. ha.

He even already booked a hostel. So that’s cool, Badlands here we come!

I’m so rude, I didn’t even ask how all of you are doing. I hope you’re all well!


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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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Getting in touch with my inner Cowboy

Yeehaw!
It was my goal to become head wrangler and I am proud to announce that I have achieved that title. After much persistence and insistence (begging, really), I came out on top!

Mike: Tim, you may not be head wrangler without years of experience.
Tim: Please, Mike, Please.
Mike: No. Stop bothering me.
Tim: Please, Mike, Please.
Mike: If I let you accompany the head wrangler for a day will you shut up and leave me alone?
Tim: Yes.
Mike: Fine. Shut up and leave me alone.

And THAT’S how I became head wrangler!

Meanwhile, I’ve spent most of the last 2 weeks feeding pigs, washing dishes, and pretending to be important, but I’ve also taken a few excursions from the ranch. Last week I went to Eagle Ranch where I went on a guided tour of how pistachio nuts are grown and processed—and anyone who knows me knows that I was totally in my element. Combine ranches and pistachios and you’ve got one happy guy.

There’s a genre of museums that I didn’t know about til now and because of my recent ranch escapades, I’ve got a newfound appreciation for: the ranch museum. I went to the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum as well as the Ghost Ranch Living Museum. There are a bunch more though, that either highlight the history of ranch life or are museums of local arts and crafts work that’s housed in a ranch. The Spring River Park and Zoo I hear is good too—there’s a ranch there with Texas longhorns (my new best friends) on display.

The culture out here is so rich and I feel so privileged to be a part of it. I seriously keep thinking of my cubicle…

It’s not like the east coast doesn’t have a rich history and culture of its own, but somehow, now, after being out here in the wild west, it just seems so bland. Almost European in nature compared to out here on rich American soil.

Dude, I was born to live on a dude ranch. Maybe I’ll stay here forever…

Musings and Travels

Greetings from the open road! We finished up last week in West Virginia, chilling in the countryside with some beautiful people. Sometimes all you need is to be around the right people in the right place and things just seem to fall into place. Not that things were bad before, but somehow I feel like the air around me has cleared. Like I breathed in some special aura that decluttered my thoughts and realigned my chi and completely centered myself. I can breathe easier—and isn’t that why I headed out on this trip? City anxieties were just getting me down, weighing me down.

Earlier this week we were in Indiana Dunes State Park and National Lakeshore which was beautiful. We camped out 4 nights in a row, 3 in the park and once at a campground we found along the highway on our drive up to Indiana.

We’re actually in Chicago now (I know I keep complaining about big city life, and yet, I can’t pull myself away!). We’re really just here to refuel and restock (not that I’m defensive or anything…). We already went to The Plaza Shopping Center in Evergreen b/c I needed a new watch and Ryan needed new pants (haha—I’m laughing thinking about it. When we went white water rafting, he jumped out screaming “watch this corkscrew” but all I heard was “watch this – ” b/c then he splashed so hard into the water and when he popped up, his pants must’ve gotten stuck on a rock and ripped all the way down his leg. He’s been wearing them for the last week with a makeshift sewing job (done by me!) and he looks ridiculous.).

Tomorrow we’re going to the Museum of Contemporary Art and then we’re gonna get back on the road for a loooong time and go to Lake Maria State Park where we’re finally going to see Aly, Tess, and Greenie (more Rainbow friends)! They don’t have internet and since we’ll be staying with them for a week or so, you may not hear from me for a while…

Wait I was about to sign off, but I just want to say that things with Ryan are going so so well. Not that I was worried at all, but I know that other people were, saying things like, “Once you travel with someone you learn all about their dark side” or something like that, so either Ryan just doesn’t have a dark side or he’s doing a damn good job at hiding it from me. Obviously he’s got one, but it’s nothing I can’t handle!


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