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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Alone on the road: South Dakota to Missouri

It’s been a long time…
Ryan flew back to Boston last week for his training and left me with the car and I drove by myself from Custer State Park to my sister’s house in Missouri, which was about 1000 miles. I did stop for a day in Omaha to visit my friend Tiffany who’s been begging me to come visit for years. And now I’m finally at Juliette’s!

Juliette is my sister and I love her so so so much and I’m so happy to be here! We’re 11 months apart and grew up as best friends, but over the last few years since she’s moved to Salem, I’ve barely seen her. She had a bit of a fight with our parents so doesn’t like to come back east so often…loooong story.

Anyways, she’s an artist and a musician and just keeps picking up new instruments and skills. I got the book smarts and she got the arts smarts (well, she really got both). What can you do?

I’ll be here for a few weeks until I head out to Wyoming for the Rainbow Gathering so have really just been taking it easy. She took me to Montauk State Park which is practically in her back yard and since Mark Twain National Forest is so close, we’ll probably be spending some time there as well.

Juliette just made me blackberry tea and we’re going to go sit out on the porch. laters!
(Ryan I miss you!)
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Romantic New York City, part II

I figure I should start with this: New York is a romantic city. And I’m not just talking about the Marriott Marquis and the Empire State Building. Here are some more creative, romantic ideas:

  1. Besides for the above, I recommend taking the MTA #7 Train. It travels out of Manhattan and through Queens through different ethnic neighborhoods. Go hungry and get on and off the train, sampling different cuisines as you go. It’s a fun, romantic excursion, giving you a chance to spend quality time together as well as distractions around you (if you need to fall back on them during your date).
  2. The Chelsea Market is another unique date place, and with the smells of fresh baked cookies and gourmet foods all around, you’ll never want to leave. The National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) was established in this area in the 1890s and the Oreo cookie factory is now a block-sized market with food, flowers, art, and shows. We went the other day and sampled some delicious samosas and had fresh squeezed OJ. yum yum.
  3. Another unique hot spot is the Jazz Museum in Harlem. There’s something about Jazz history that I find romantic. The Harlem Renaissance, Duke Ellington, African American culture—I find it all beautiful. And Matthew’s grandfather played with Willie Smith and Matthew grew up in the Afro American music scene, so he’s particularly passionate about this museum and the whole subject in general.
  4. Coney Island Boardwalk, Brighton Beach, and the New York Aquarium. Matthew planned those other days, but this one was on me. My dad grew up in Brooklyn so I know these places by heart. We spent the whole day (a Sunday, since believe it or not, Matthew actually works) walking around, eating cotton candy, and relaxing on the beach.
  5. Top of the Rock – Rockefeller Center Observation Deck. Ok, so maybe it’s just as cheesy as the Empire State Building, but it’s a little more unique. Also, once you’re in Rockefeller Center you can also do the NBC Studio Tour. (Go 30Rock!) Put all those things together and you’ve got yourself a romantic outing!

So there you have it. I can be happy and in love and I can give practical advice! Who would’ve thought!

P.S. For a great list of free things going on in NYC, check this out


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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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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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Solo roadtrip: So far so good!

I find so much comfort in my daily routine, waking up in my home, going to the office, and returning home, that I was worried about changing that routine for the duration of a 3 week roadtrip. But something tells me I’ve got nothing to worry about. So far I’m adjusting quite well to life on the road. Of course, it’s only been a few days. My drive up to Las Vegas was phenomenal. I made a spontaneous decision on the way up to stop at Lake Mead National Recreational Area (home of the famous Hoover Dam), and while I had already gone out of my way, I decided to drive through Valley of Fire State Park, which had come highly recommended. And WOW, it was all worth it—what a beautiful state I’m in! The blue of the sky against the red rocks and the tan dunes—apparently Red Rock Canyon is more spectacular in terms of the color contrasts, so I’ll be seeing that tomorrow on my way out of here (I know I’m doing this area a little out of order…). I actually got to the Hoover Dam just in time for a tour that was leaving from the Visitors Center and we had a lovely tour guide who said she enjoyed all my questions! And then I joined another family who was renting a boat out on Lake Mead – Lake Mead is the largest man-made lake in the U.S.; it’s twice the size of Rhode Island!

So how did I have time to do all of this BEFORE I even got to Las Vegas? I woke up at 4 a.m.! I just couldn’t sleep. (You’ll understand when you’re older.)

The Venetian is a beautiful hotel, and I got there hot and exhausted and my room and the view were welcome sites. I’ve never been to Venice, so I suppose this is the next best thing, right? Cirque de Soleil was good, though, to be honest, not really my style. The music was a bit loud and while it is neat to see the amazing things that the human body can do (and the guts that people have!), I think the ballet is more beautiful and shows off just as much physical splendor. Also, there were 2 young girls in the row behind me who were screaming and cheering every 5 minutes and they gave me a headache.

Yesterday I walked around a lot – actually I just realized that my massage starts in 15 minutes. I’ll continue later… My first professional massage – wish me luck!


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Romantic New York City

Where did I last leave you? I feel like I haven’t written in ages, and in that time, so much has happened! I’m back in New Jersey for just another week, but somehow it’s really not so bad—especially since I’ve spent most of my days (and nights 🙂 ) up in the Bronx (much to my parents’ chagrin). We went to the Guggenheim Museum, which was pretty funky, and then to the Central Park Zoo because I love zoos and it was so GORGEOUS outside and romantic. I love New York and can’t wait to have this park be my back yard! I’ll be in Spanish Harlem which seems like an awesome neighborhood—I’m moving into an apartment with two acquaintances—I was told maybe it wasn’t so smart to live with best friends, but it just so happens that 2 of my best friends live on my same street but cross town, so it’s an easy walk or bus ride. I’ve been studying maps and trying to learn more about the geography of NYC.

Matthew knows so much about NYC, what’s free, when and where, but also all of the newest bars and clubs and somehow he gets himself (and me) in. Seriously, I’m pulling clothes from my freshman and sophomore years of college when I used to dress up to party (I kinda chilled as parties got repetitive) –thank god I still fit in them. But I’m just having so much fun.

Yesterday we went to Zabars and then sat in Central Park for hours and hours with yummy food and blankets and books. I was wearing a silly looking floppy hat and huge sunglasses and ….am I boring you? I feel like I’m transmitting useful info about my whereabouts, but maybe it’s coming off as puppy love babble to you. I’ll write more later when I’ve organized my thoughts.


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