Monthly Archives: February 2013

We Find the Sun – posted February 26, from Newhall, CA

The day after we left Holbrook, AZ the weather got progressively better as we drove west  toward California.  Snow and elevation changed into sun and desert. Sunglasses on & layers of clothing off! It’s a long ride and a huge contrast between northern Ohio to California. Amazing sights and differences in people and places along the way

Thanks to my neighbor Joyce for emailing a quote that struck me as very appropriate as we get into our 3 month adventure crossing and re-crossing the USA:

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.                                                                                                                                            (Helen Keller)

On Saturday, we arrived in Newhall (Santa Clarita), CA.  We’re visiting Dave’s friend Ric, from Ohio University days. He has a great home in the canyon country north of Los Angeles. Sunday was a barbeque with another OU friend Charles.  The women had a lot of fun staging a picture of the guys to match one taken in college:

On Monday, Dave and I drove down to Santa Monica to cycle on the Santa Monica Beach & South Bay Bike Path.  I spend a lot of time on the Rails-to-Trails website, www.traillink.com, looking for trails to ride around the USA.  This one was one of my favorites — along the beach on the Pacific Coast.  We road 15 miles through Santa Monica, Venice Beach & Marina Del Rey. Great scenery & people-watching.

Tomorrow we drive to San Diego.  Grateful to Ric for providing such a nice respite after our days of cold weather on the road.  Did I say there’s an outdoor jacuzzi that I’ve enjoyed four times? And the huge moon behind the palm trees?

Route 66

In Arkansas, we started our cold weather spurt, including SNOW — not what we envisioned driving southwest. That was three days ago & the white stuff and overnight temperatures in the 20’s & 30’s are still with us.  Outside of Oklahoma City, the interstate driving was a mess. Almost as bad as the whiteout that created havoc on I71 in Mansfield, OH the day we left.

We’re following Route 40 (the National Road)& the old Route 66 coincides with part of it. It was THE way to cross the country & many remnants of its history are there for the finding. Wednesday was a real Route 66 experience.

Shamrock, TX – U Drop-In, a former Conoco gas station, built in 1936 & art deco landmark. Perfect banyo stop that satisfied my curiosity.

Our destination last night was Tucumcari, NM, another former hotspot on Route 66.  As we were driving through Texas, I had to play “Willin'”, by Little Feat, once I figured out that was the song I knew with Tucumcari in it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNqv85coyTw]

Then I got carried away playing every Texas musician I liked: Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Janice Joplin, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofersen. That got us across the panhandle into New Mexico.

In Tucumcari, it poured when we arrived at camp.  After it stopped we cooked dinner on the tailgate & found the local bar to keep warm & dry.  The Lizard Lounge at the PowWow Inn was a great place to hang out. Friendly people, interesting conversations, Dynasty on the large screen TV. An artist in town who does murals on and in local buildings. The ones in the Lizard were outstanding.

Today we drove through the Petrified Forest National Park.  Truly unique vistas, especially with the SNOW.  At least we weren’t competing with crowds! Now we are in Holbrook, Arizona at Romo’s Cafe.  Good food, service, internet connection and HEAT! Tonight’s camp is a truck stop that is “RV friendly”, not really a place where you want to arrive early and hang out.

Little Iphone Post

Sometimes, on the way to a dream
You get lost
And find a better one.

(words on the cover of a journal book my friends Skunky & Fester gave me for the trip)

Driving through Little Rock, AK. The Clintons & Sam Walton are the only names I associate with Arkansas.

UniRoadTrip 2013 aka Unicycle Across the USA

Back On The Road Again

Destination: San Diego.  There on March 1, we will begin our Unicycle Across The Country Tour. That’s right, I said “unicycle”.  The Unicyclist is Dave, who has been riding since he was 10 and never stopped. My official title is “Support Person”, aka driver, shopper, cook, finder, (hopefully not loser), etc. I’ll ride my bike on my time off. This trip evolved from a conversation we had several years ago on the road home from Idaho. His desire was to unicycle across the country.  My interest was to tour the USA on back roads in the slow lane. Now that we are both retired, our ideas have merged into reality.

The ride has a purpose. To raise awareness and funds for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) research. Dave lost his dad to ALS in 1991.  Anyone interested can contribute by clicking on the link on the right.

Dave Business Card (1)

How We’ll Travel

Dave built and outfitted a camper on his Dodge Ram 2500.  I wanted to paint it to look like a gypsy wagon, but we compromised on dark blue with a white interior. I did make red window shades for an accent color. And you never know what might inspire the creative side of me on the road. We will be following the southern tier route of the Adventure Cycling Association.  It goes from San Diego, CA to St. Augustine, FL, about 3000 miles & mostly keeps cyclists off the interstate.

After a send-off from my neighbors, we made two goodbye stops before really hitting the road for the southwest. We’ll drive through Memphis & out to Newhall, CA to see a friend. The idea is to drive short days and cycle along the way to warm up.

NEXT POST FROM THE ROAD WEST!

Costa Rica – Pura Vida! Part 2

Now to a new venue. Puerto Viejo, Limon, is on the Caribbean coast, near Panama. A laid-back Rasta expat sort of town with Playa Negra, a black sand beach, cool little restaurants and bars and friendly Ticos.

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Sunday on the town beach

Sunday on the town beach

Imaginative Recycling

Imaginative Recycling

Bill Sedivy, Dave White & I rented a house for a week at Finca Loco Natural, an old banana farm, a 5 minute walk from the beach. Pamela & Carter, our hosts, built 3 rental houses and all were unique open-air structures with creative woodworking and decorating styles.

Breakfast on the deck at Casa Mambo

Breakfast on the deck at Casa Mambo

 in front

View from the 2nd floor deck of the 2 year old fica tree

IMG_3473Steve and Martha King rented Casa Chilimate where we had coffee on the veranda in the mornings.

Casa Chilimate

Casa Chilimate

A lot of hard relaxing was accomplished, balanced by walking, eating, swimming, cervesaing and hiking.

We enjoyed three nights of music and entertainment.

Fire dancing at post-super bowl jam session

Fire dancing at post-super bowl jam session

Carter the Builder's band playing at Lazy Mon

Carter the Builder’s band playing at Lazy Mon

The village of Manzanillo offered Maxi’s for lunch, good snorkelling and  jungle-beach hiking.

Maxi's - a landmark restaurant/sports bar

Maxi’s – a landmark restaurant/sports bar

Football!

Football!

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DSCF0304 DSCF0301 DSCF0314Cahuita National Park – a sweaty five mile jungle-beach hike. Well worth it for the wildlife viewing, some of it up close & personal – whitefaced monkeys, howler monkeys, kotamundi and a golden eyelashed pit viper!

Costa Rica was a hard place to leave ….17 days went by too fast…hate saying goodbye.

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Costa Rica – Pura Vida! Part I

Jungle Camp on the Pacuare River

Jungle Camp on the Pacuare River

I’m back home for two days from 17 days of sensory overload in Costa Rica. Still sorting it all out & will not do justice to a  wonderful experience. I miss the bright colors, dramatic terrain, rich smells, great fruit and friendly Ticos.

OUR ITINERARY: January 24 – travel with Dave W. to  San Jose, Costa Rica.  Two days at Hotel Don Carlos & we meet up with our friends Bill, Maryl & Karan for Idaho Rivers United’s Week of Rivers with Costa Rica Rios outfitters.  Seven days & three whitewater rivers for our group of 14. Follow up the week of paddling with a week at house near the beach in Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean Coast.

Dome in Morrazan Park - a landmark

Dome in Morrazan Park – a landmark

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OUR EXPERIENCE: Costa Rica Rios is based in Turrialba, about 65 km from San Jose.  It’s a community of 60,000, accessible to mountains, rivers & it’s own volcano.  From there we traveled by tour bus to paddle the Pejibaye, Serapiqui & Pacuare Rivers.

Pejibaye River

Pejibaye River

DSCF0060Our group came from far and wide: Quebec, Alberta, CA, ID, OH, NJ, VT.  It was fun to hear Spanish, French and English interspersed in conversations. The Costa Rica Rios Team took great care of us & provided an experience that exceeded expectations. Our guides were fantastic.  ‘This rapid’s no big deal.  Middle, middle, middle right.’ Bonus: they were good cooks and dance instructors.

Joan canoe

In  addition to the beautiful rivers with challenging whitewater and good people, exotic flowers, plants and birds kept us in a permanent state of wonder.

Red Ginger

Red Ginger

Bird at Serapiqui Lodge

Bird at Serapiqui Lodge

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Dressing for happy hour at Jungle Camp - a two night stay on the Pacuare

Dressing for happy hour at Jungle Camp – a two night stay on the Pacuare

Jungle Camp

Jungle Camp

For me, the scary highlight of the week was the Canopy Tour in the jungle  near our camp. Given that heights are not comfortable for me, it took a lot of positive self-talk. Ziplining at 100 feet plus and rappelling??? I was always afraid to do the high ropes course at our camp, but this experience was to much of an opportunity to pass up. It worked & I actually enjoyed it. Would I do it again?  Maybe.

Zipline

Zipline

Rappel

Rappel

Canopy cable walk

Canopy cable walk

"I'm on the beach, I'm on the beach, I'm..."

“I’m on the beach, I’m on the beach, I’m…”