Home Sweet Home – back in Phoenix, Arizona, and happy!

I had such an amazing trip, but it is good to be home. I was away for a month—do you believe it?! It flew by so quickly.

Last I left you, I was in Portland, Oregon, museum and park hopping, meeting interesting people, and relaxing. You know, when I used to travel, I’d always come back home a few pounds heavier; but this time, I’m proud to say, that I’ve actually lost a few pounds. For once food wasn’t my focus, but movement and activity. I must’ve walked from one end of Portland to the other, several times! I even went ice skating (at the Lloyd Center Mall) – something I hadn’t done in years! The Oregon Zoo was another blast from my past—when’s the last time I was at a zoo? I can’t even remember!

But it wasn’t all bustle and activity—staying at the Avalon Hotel & Spa, I ended up getting my second, third, and fourth massages of my life. Oh, dear—I really indulged, didn’t I?

But the highlight of it all was Smith Rock State Park, as I knew it would be. Robert was an amazing guide and showed me all there is to see. He’s a rock climber, as are many of the Smith Rock locals, and while he knew there was no way anyone was going to tie me to the side of a mountain, he showed me where some climbers were rappelling and it was quite a sight! The things people can do with (or TO!) their bodies is sometimes breathtaking.

And now I’m back home, and it’s like I’m seeing Phoenix for the first time. It’s not like I went off to see these beautiful things, great cities and the great outdoors, from a place where that doesn’t exist. On the contrary—I’ve got those things so close to my very own home, and rarely even notice them. Well not anymore…Phoenix, Arizona, here I come!
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First stop: Pennsylvania!

I realize I was being a bit close-minded about the east coast. I know that the major cities that I was frustrated with comprise only a small portion of the coast… really I think I was just distressed with my job which was supposed to be an environmental grassroots group but which was so heavily under the influence of big business that it was losing its focus. Anyways, we’re in Ohiopyle in Pennsylvania and I just want to write about my experience in this gorgeous state so far. The Laurel Mountains are a wonder whose majesty left me dumbfounded and hungry for what’s to come in the next months. When we got to Ohiopyle State Park, we immediately met up with this group of very cool people from Denver who were just ending a roadtrip of their out to the east coast. We exchanged email addresses and we got a lot of GREAT info about where to go between here and Colorado. We spent 2 days at Ohiopyle State Park with our new friends. The only word to describe the area is awesome, and not in a totally awesome way, but in a truly awe inspiring way. There was waterfalls all over that made it just seem like water was pouring from all parts of the sky and gathering just before us, and there were waterslides which was crazy fun. The Denver people had A LOT of beers and we all drank and slid, drank and slid and by the end were covered with mud passed out in the sun. today they left early (I don’t know how they got up) and we’re just recuperating a bit at this campsite before we head out. Since Pittsburgh is so close, we’re going to spend the weekend at a friend’s house there. We’re picking Jackie up at the Ross Park Mall (where she works) and then taking her and her Little Sister to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Jackie and I both were Big Sisters together in college so we thought it would be fun to Big Sister together again.

Not that I want to plan to far ahead, but if I want to be in Missouri by the beginning of May, Ryan thinks that we should spend this month exploring Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky, but I also really wanted to go to Minnesota. I have a friend at Lake Maria State Park and I’ve heard beautiful things about that area. Does that make sense? Anyone have any ideas if we have time to head all the way up north before returning to Missouri by May 1?

Ryan says I should include that Kingpin and Silence of the Lambs were both filmed in Pittsburgh. Oh, and Groundhog Day.

Ok, will try and write again soon!

Let the road trip begin !

We are on the road, baby! Wow — is it wrong for me to be in awe of myself? I have totally just broken our apartment contract, drove all my stuff to my parent’s house in Braintree, packed just what I need, filled up my car with gas, made a quick stop at the South Shore Plaza (for a first aid kit), went to pick up Ryan, and now we’re GONE. Gotta get off this East Coast of appearances and commercial crap.

Get ready to be involved in a month-long (or more) journey of a (or my) lifetime! I’ve got my laptop and I’ll be recording our trip from Massachusetts to…somewhere. We’ll just be driving. We know we want to end up at the Rainbow Gathering in Wyoming on July 1st, or earlier to help setup. So actually we’ve got about 3 months, but I may stay with my sister and work for a while in Missouri waitressing or something because Ryan needs to be back in Boston for 2 weeks in the beginning of May. My sister lives near Montauk State Park which is a clear stroke of genius by the hand of my personal guiding goddess, Mother Nature.

I don’t mean to say that the whole east coast has been murdered by the corporate American dream, but somehow the bubble that I’ve created around myself has become stifling and it just NEEDS TO POP already. I need the great outdoors, I need air, I need to BREATHE. We’ve got my tent and we’re going to campsite jump for as long as we can. Also, I’m lucky enough to have Ryan (been together 4 years) and a Rainbow family across the country and we know that if we need a roof above my head, we’ll have one. Check out welcomehome.org to become a part of something truly amazing. Ryan actually is the driving force behind that. He’s been going to Rainbow since he was a kid, so he really does have “family” all over the country.

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