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Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs for 469 miles.

Its northern extent begins in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and ends at Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina. However you choose to approach the trip, the drive alone is worth the visit, full of dynamic scenic overlooks and without the distraction of bill boards and major towns.

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Anna of Prince Edward Island

“Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them– that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”
― L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables, a book by Lucy Maud Montgomery about a spirited, stubborn girl ahead of her time, helped soften the edges I encountered while growing up. See I grew up in my dreams. Always creating worlds and exploring the colorful ones I found in books.

The tales of Anne took place on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Until my life took me down the unlikely road to PEI, her world was imaginary in the sense that it could only exist in my dreams and in the movies.

Yet, here we are, and the real deal is as grand as I hoped for. We drove across the Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick, which happens to be the longest bridge in the world over ice covered waters (google:)) at a solid 12.9 km (8 mi). We drove from one coast to the other to find our camping spot, passing pristine farmlands and idyllic cottages set on gently rolling hills. It felt like this may be a spot where time can stand still, where you can catch your breath.

We copied the atmosphere and took our chill leisurely time exploring the coastlines and areas set aside as the Prince Edward Island National Park. Of course a trip to Green Gables and the fictional town of Avonlea was on the docket. My inner child shed frequent tears of joy over the reality of being there, a place that was so so important to my childhood. What a precious time.

I have to say now in recollecting, how absolutely magical it feels to see one of your childhood dreams all the way through. I met my wide eyed younger self; a self that believes and hopes and dreams of things greater than landing on the moon. What a cool person to know again.

On that note, since I’m an Anne and it feels like me, I will leave you with one last line from Anne of Green Gables.

“There’s such a lot of different Anne’s in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.” 

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Bay of Fundy

From the United States to Canada, we made our way around the Bay of Fundy, where you can witness a daily tidal range up to 55 feet, the largest in the world.

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Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, located on Mount Desert Island in Maine, rises out of the Atlantic Ocean to a summit elevation of 1,530 ft. Inland trails bring you to mountain summits with ocean views; Coastal trails have you navigating rocky shorelines of black, gray and pink granite, the wind fragrant with fish, salt and pine.

We camped at Blackwood Campground located within the park and a few minutes’ drive from the bustling town of Bar Harbor. It was that time of year again, nearly summer when schools are out, and parks are busy. This was very evident in Bar Harbor where sidewalks are crowded, restaurants are overflowing and cross sections showcase a dangerous and awkward dance between pedestrians and vehicle traffic. No one knows what they are doing, where they are going, everyone is in a happy oblivion that I imagine the locals love to hate.

At this point in our trip we no longer had the luxury of the “off season.” Fortunately, though, this means we finally got to experience nature alongside great weather. Thus, with gobs of magic sunlight, we were outside running, hiking the island’s endless coastal trails and making our way up the inland peaks. Notably, we ventured out to Bass Harbor Lighthouse and hiked up the “Beehive” trail to summit Mt. Champlain at an elevation of 1,058 ft.

The island is small and it was an easy and worthwhile outing to drive around. Local businesses are the theme throughout. Vintage book stores, nautical art shops, local hardware stores, ice cream parlors, etc. The architecture is what my mom would call “rustic-y,” with wood frame houses, painted shutters and ribbed steel roofs. In Acadia, even the dilapidated buildings are picturesque. In town, store fronts are predominately painted white and resemble houses with planter boxes hanging from the windows.

We left Acadia National Park, feeling the Maine vibe, which we took all the way to the furthest point east in the United States, Lubec, Maine.  This would also be our last city in the States before we jump ship and get cozy with Canada.

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New Hampshire Backpacking Disaster

You know you’re nuts when sleeping in your trailer, which gets new scenery every few days, starts feeling ordinary. After months on the road, we had a craving to bring out the tent and spend a night on the ground.

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Vermont: the Green Dream

We knew we would love Vermont.

It has maple syrup, tons of craft breweries, very few Walmart’s and ZERO billboards. Vermont is one of 4 states that bans their use. No one trying to sell their business with gigantic pictures of greasy meat or confounding slogans and no lawyers to distract you into crashing your car so you can use their services. Instead there are acres upon acres of trees and grass land, farmhouses, and a plethora of local businesses. You immediately recognize it as “normal”, what normal should be anyway.

Vermont is one of 4 states that bans their use. No one trying to sell their business with gigantic pictures of greasy meat or confounding slogans and no lawyers to distract you into crashing your car so you can use their services. Instead there are acres upon acres of trees and grass land, farmhouses, and a plethora of local businesses. You immediately recognize it as “normal”, what normal should be anyway.

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A Sweet Stop in Savannah, Georgia

We had a sweet 24-hours in Savannah, Georgia.

We parked it at the Savannah, Georgia visitor center, a fantastic find as it is only $8 per night to park your trailer downtown. With limited time, we were quickly turned onto the 10,000 steps self-guided tour through town (a map is provided in the Visitor Center). We began in the morning and found our way around the city, stopping at several of the block parks which are punctuated by manicured gardens, fountains and monuments.

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Florida the Sunshine State

We spent an entire month in Florida but not on purpose.

We were trapped by the delusions that set in with too much sun. You begin to fear leaving for if you do the next place might rain, or be cold or run out of rum.

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Route 61 Blues Highway

We recently traveled a portion of Route 61, famously known as The Blues Highway.

Along this route, from New Orleans to Memphis , blues, jazz, soul, and gospel has poured and spread out like rain over the flat Mississippi Delta. After the Civil War and up through the Civil Rights Movement, social temperatures were hot, new voices emerged and were heard for the first time through music, lyrics and rhythm.

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Lafayette Bayou Run

We took a boat trip into the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge near Lafayette, Louisiana and it didn’t quite work out as we hoped. Life!

After New Orleans we wanted to head out into the wild to see alligators, birds and water bogged Cyprus trees. We found a reputable guide, who was lovely to spend a few hours with and took off into the swamp.  Unfortunately, we chose to venture out on the weekend of a big bass tournament. So imagine rush hour on water. This really did the trick to scare off all wildlife in the area.  In other words, here are some beautiful pictures of Cyprus trees. Better luck next time.

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Mardi Gras Homecoming

New Orleans was the first place I called home outside of Denver.

It was my first experience in the art of adapting. My prerequisite for personal space had to diminish in order to survive in a city that is so open, free and outgoing. It is not just the town of Bourbon Street and bachelor parties, it is a city that has survived crippling storms and kept its lifeblood of music, art and culture flowing. It is boisterous and fearless, and it is hard working because there is work to be done.

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Hot Springs, Arkansas, A Quick Dip

It had been thousands of miles, a dozen towns and 2 oceans since our last bath.

Living on the road means showers only, and often it’s just the stream of water from our kettle. This means a chance at full immersion is worth a stop and a write-up.

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Eureka Springs Music & Landslides

There is a palpable spirit living it up in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Like any interesting spirit it has layers. It is culture and it is music which have been mixed in with catastrophic geological events staged on a precarious hillside.

This town “happened” to us. We had followed our own yellow brick road meant to loop us through cities around North America and get us back home in a year, but our stop in Eureka Springs almost side railed us and brought us to a more permanent stop.

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Big Bend National Park Celebration

Holidays on the road require special planning to abate homesickness.

For Christmas 2016, after a 4 month commitment to living on the road, we decided we needed a quiet week where we could set up our trailer and make it feel like home. We had been moving spots every 3 or 4 days then driving 5 to 8 hours to our next location. This meant tearing down and rebuilding our home a few times a week. Exciting as it is to have an ever changing view out our trailer windows, it can be tiring and lonely.

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Caving in Southern New Mexico

There is a world below our feet, rarely thought of or visited.

Few have the natural makeup to be comfortable in dark, tight spaces. Caves provide environments that are not well suited for long term human habitation. But since caves exist, the human instinct to dominate every place on earth, leads us down the proverbial rabbit hole to these dark subterranean caverns.

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