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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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.

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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I’m Home

Well I’m back. I am sure many of you were wondering where the hell had Tim gone to? Well let me cut to the chase. I was sitting in a cafe in Ithaca, NY and well I got up to go to the bathroom and when I returned my laptop was stolen. I couldn’t believe it. I asked everyone in the cafe and no one had saw a thing. Well that was that. No more laptop–no more road journaling and with that I decided to return home. I hitched from Ithaca to Elmira and camped there for the night. After that I scrounged enough money to get a bus to Monsey. From Monsey I got a ride with a trucker to New Paltz and of course once in New Paltz it didn’t take me long to get back to my home.

I had a great experience. Really. I saw many different beautiful things, and experienced a tiny bit of reliance on a higher power. Actually I ended up breaking my long time addiction to caffeine as well.

I’ve decided to lay low for a while and stay in my house on the banks of the Walkill. This time the shallow rushing waters will be enough for me.

Lake Revelation

My trip planner is right. The waters of Lake Cayuga are beautiful. I made it up here using a public bus and after short dining experience at a cafe in Ithaca I decided to flee to the less settled shore line of Lake Cayuga up north. Its beautiful here and restful. I can think about the complexities by removing myself from them until everything seems just simple, just an expression of the divine. Isn’t that what this is about? Expressing the impossible, recanting and collecting thoughts in a manner that is a consolidation of revelation of one’s inner spirit? Thats my trip and yeah I guess I am a floaty and doing some inner traveling right now. So I guess I’ll post this and break.

Elmira, I Think I’ll Stay For A While

The title says it all. Its really nice here. Well most people would find it tough, but there’s something about sticking around the city where Mark Twain wrote most of his books. Something else. The Chemung River flows down the center and provides a nice walk. I feel rested and calm here after my night in a hotel room. I think I’ll check out some of the historical sites here. Maybe even sit in Mark Twain’s office. My travel planner insists its a great tourist site! Will write more later.
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The Pepacton Stop

So I made it to the mighty Pepacton Reservoir–one of the sources for New York City’s water supply. Its beautiful and blue. I hiked from Beaverkill where I was dropped off yesterday and made it here before nightfall. I couldn’t fall asleep, but finally got to rest around 3:30 in the morning. I slept until 9:30. I’ve been looking out at the water now for about an hour. Its calming and quiet. In the distance I see a trout fisherman…

I just closed my eyes for a little, taking in the smell of the wild, of the one source–the energy that I feel deep inside m, inside it all. Its like that when ever I am away from humanity. I wish I could have that same feeling when I’m around people. You know that feeling where no matter what it will all be fine. Its something I need to work on–to build and grow on.

Well, I’ll have to be on the move soon. I need to get to Route 17 and start heading out towards Western NY and maybe up into the Finger Lakes before nightfall. My travel planner should help in finding some good hotels and maybe some wineries if I make it the Finger Lakes.pepacton14.jpg

Pepacton Reservoir

Going West

I feel like I’m going west. Really I’m still in Ulster, in the Catskills. There are many old hotels up here. The Nevele and the old Browns (now an Ashram) all reflect a sort of modern antiquity of lite nostalgia hugging the mountains. Walking through the old town of Ellenville I thought to myself, “how dull life is here, but how perfect.”

I’m after the quiet, the internal respite that is sought, but never found. The autumn colored trees are swaying around me as I write this on a wooden bench, cool fall air touch my cheeks. I think I can get a hitch if I look desperate enough, after all since leaving Mohonk and crossing through Minewaska State park where another mountain lake lies hidden in the sky I made my way all the while sleeping at night outside and that’s where I’ve been the last few nights; in my tent in the woods outside Ellenville. I think its time to go…

Stuck In New Paltz

So I’ve been laid out for a few days. I made it a total 9 plus miles South of Rosendale to the Village of New Paltz. My trip wasn’t easy. I walked along the Rail Trail, which follows the path of the old rail way from farther down state up to Kingston–the capital of Ulster County. The rail trail is a beautiful, easy hike. The trees at this time of the year are covered in their multi colored pastel imagery and the flat trail with its occasional biker is a relaxing sortie into the realm of back pack trekking. My problem came in the form of the black hole called New Paltz. The village has always drawn me, dragged me into its bowels, usually taking some dramatic, climactic event to free me from its drug induced clutches.

I have a few friends in New Paltz and the apartment I am writing in now is theirs. I’ve been here for a few days, stuck in the small apartment overlooking Main Street, which is a gathering for both the “Townies”and college students. There are nine bars on main street and I think my friends dragged me to each one, before finding ourselves back in their apartment. Its a shame I have to move on from this village, there is so much more than drinking to do here, but my trip continues on and now that I am rested from my drinking and my friends all have returned back to work I can move on and truly set myself free from these constraints. My trip planner has come in handy, pointing out with detailed precision my next leg to my journey. Out the window I can see the Mountain chain–The Shawangunks. The odd shaped mountain is called Mohonk. I’ve been there before–many times and today I will begin to go up there. Its about 10 miles from here, but a beautiful hike await me there. Its hills are orange and red now, like a multicolored blanket strewn across the mountains–autumn is in full swing in the midhudson valley.