Part One and Part Two of the Adventure

Well since my sleep schedule is a bit wonky lately with all of the excitement and stress, I find jumping into my writing helps me get the anxiety out a bit. When I started planning this adventure at the top of the year, I really had no idea HOW I would go about it. I knew my favorites, I knew what sounded interesting, but there would also be necessary dots to connect all of the “exciting” stuff. I know that I want to spread kindness intentionally, and I know that I would like to meet new and old friends along the way. So with all of that said, I needed to take smaller bites from this obviously very large sandwich and make it into two parts for the sake of my sanity.

Part One

I am leaving Florida on Tuesday, June 1st, and the butt crack of dawn to head to Georgia. Why start there first? Well, I really like Christa and Martha who are my first contacts that day. I have met up with them before and they just make me smile, so I wanted to start off on a good foot. I am not counting Florida as first because 1. I have lived here for 10 years 2. It’s not that exciting to count where you live as the VERY first thing on a road trip because you have done it a million times prior and 3. I will count Florida at the beginning on next year.

So I leave FL, then GA (Christa and Martha), drive through TN (another one for next year), KY (Stephanie, Ari, and her Mom), IL, WI (too many to count), MN (meeting my second niece for the first time!!), SD, ND, MT (Angela and family!!), ID, WA (Kyra joins me here for a week- dinner with Aaron), OR, ID, WY, UT, CO, NE, KS, IO, MO, OK, NM, double back to OK and maybe KS, TX, NM, AZ, NV, CA (Craig joins me for 10 days here and I get to celebrate Halloween with Kelly and see old Classmates), AZ, NM, and TX is Christmas with Mom.  The reason for this half of the U.S. was that I was going for warmer weather in the Mountains, I have no interest in the snow if I can avoid it. I know that I can’t control that, but I feel I have done my homework as best as possible on when and where I land during this.  I realize in the Fall months it will get cooler, but I only camp in the summer months. That being said, it snowed in my campground last week in Yellowstone, so we shall see how this goes. There is a bit of double backing because on my “Life Bucket List” I wanted to be able to see the Hot Air Balloon Festival in New Mexico so I had to make plans to get there when I was only near it in MO. Hence the several times I may see Oklahoma, or Kansas.   I also plan on doing upper and lower parts of the State, so it really isn’t repeating for me.  Places like TX and such are so big, you could spend months traveling inside without doubling back. 

I am still on par for National Parks- I have lots of tours scheduled. Once I booked my first, I got hooked on the idea of being around people that I could meet while traveling on my own.  Seemed like a fun idea. Things like Pikes Peak seem terrifying to drive myself, so having the bus tour to take me up and back will be great.  Lots of ghost tours planned at Prisons, lots of foodie places to eat at, and lots of meet ups planned.  Now, we plan and God laughs right? Nah, I got this. I have planned until Christmas and then a long the way I will plan Part Two- so if you are in Part Two, you will hear from me more towards the end of this year.

Part Two

After Christmas and some much needed Mom time, and a trip to Mexico for the first time, I head to the Southern States of AR, LA, MS and AL. Good friend Nick lives here so I stay at his pad with his family and we tool around the Southern area for a week or two.  Then it’s off to Florida for a couple weeks of Disney magic and whatever else I want to count in Florida. Then it’s up and out to Savannah, GA to see Christine and whatever else in GA on the Eastern side I haven’t done yet. Then the Carolinas where I see Cheryl and Monica, TN, KY again, OH for a rest and visit, then heading to D.C. to see the Cherry Blossoms.  Basically then D.C. is the kick off to the entire East Coast, including my first trip to New York City. Past D.C. I have NEVER been too before, and am quite excited to visit and see friends in this corner. Once I hit Maine, I go up  further (pending borders open) and see Alisa and my dear Prince Edward Island in Canada so I may live out my “Anne of Green Gables” dream.  Visit the areas for awhile and then back to the U.S. down the upper Coast of the States to visit PA where I have family and where Emily will join me to see the Mr. Roger’s stuff. Then it’s Midwest with OH, IN, MI (another stop in Canada here to see Bethany), and then probably finishing in WI to see family again a year later.  Now, I do plan on Hawaii and Alaska, but they are bigger fish to fry with bigger plans to be made, and my head is already smoking so I am not diving into those until I am done with the others first.  And then- who knows? Life has a funny way of revealing your next steps in life if you pay attention. I will be paying attention.

So there ya go. Was it as exhausting to read as it was to write? Things will change I am sure or get tweaked because you can’t be on the road for a year and not expect the bumps and bruises. As Crush says, and yes I am a Disney Nerd through and always, “Just Go With the Flow.” I can’t control anything, I can only plan, hope, and enjoy.  Folks have asked me HOW will I be sharing this grand adventure? I am trying to make this part as simple as possible. Oh and if I forgot to add your name to a State or visit, it’s just because I am trying to do this post from memory right now, so please forgive me if you don’t see you- if we have made plans, I WILL see you!!

Every day on the blog, which you are on right now, I will post my day.  It will be listed as “DAY 1” and so on. There will be a BYLINE that will tell you WHAT I did that day- some will be exciting, some will be rest and reflection days, and some will be talking about what is coming up.  The reason for the “Journal Style” for this is to keep it all straight for my sanity and for yours.  Once the trip is done, I will go into more depth on certain areas, places, parks, etc.. that will make their own posts and categories for future reading and use. Instagram will be ONE pic a day with a link to the blog post a long with my FAVORITE picture I took that day. Twitter is for seeing the links, but my Business page on Facebook is where you will see my LIVE stuff. I will go FB LIVE as much as I can to encompass a moment or feeling that must be shared, a long with videos I will take a long the way. I HOPE to have YouTube running with videos as well, but I don’t know if I will have the time for any kind of editing. Just being real- I want to enjoy this and not spend more time recording it and less feeling it. Balance will be key and the kinks will work themselves out, I will be learning patience, isolation, and acceptance on this journey, so please be patient with me. This trip is so many things in one, and only I know what has to be done in my head and heart for it to work for my soul.

4 days….

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Thank you for your support!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! Spreading the kindness is my goal on this amazing journey, and I thank you for helping me make magic for so many people. So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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Why Kindness? Why Not?!

6 days and counting……oh boy. I am asked frequently “Are you ready?” And my answer is always a very clear “Oh heck no!” Why? Well, I have planned only so far, as I figure I will plan on the road as well.  I will have plenty of down time when alone in hotel rooms to look at the next steps and States, so  I’m not too worried about that…yet.  I have done my homework for a lot of things,  booked tours ahead of time that are very popular like Alcatraz and rides up to Pikes Peak. Hotels vs Camping is the back and forth of my planning, what is available and hoping what I find is what I see online.  My shirts are all in for myself to wear, and now I will be sporting new snazzy glasses to match (first time in my life wearing glasses- I had a good run LOL).  And speaking of my “Spreading Kindness” shirts…I was recently asked why have a theme or mission at all? Just go right? Ah, well then you just don’t know me yet.  

Maybe it’s just easier for me to give, but kindness is free. It doesn’t take much to hold a door open, say good morning, smile at a stranger (when we don’t have a mask on obviously), to check in on a friend going through hard times, or meet up with someone for a walk.  These small acts can make the biggest impact on someone’s day, that we probably will never see or witness.  I don’t know how many times I was having a hard day, and someone smiled at me and said hello, or extended me grace when I was crabby. It actually works to extend it to others when they cut us off or they are being salty, I think “Must be having a bad day” and I move on with life.  The thing is, we don’t know someone’s circumstances. You may think you are treating someone to a toll behind you in line on the highway- but what you didn’t know is that person was just crying their eyes out, can’t find any change, and is panicking that they don’t have the simple amount to just get on with their day- you just became their hero.  Some may call it karma, but I call it kindness. You reap what you sow? Maybe, but then I feel the intention is something else. We wind up doing things to stay out of the bad place, or feeding our ego.  I think it’s more than that- I think in helping each other every day the World just runs better. 

I know people will ask about my shirt- that’s the point.  So I can explain my mission statement, so I can talk about all the wonderful ways I want to help.  And, of course, I hope I am able to do everything from the small to the big.  It will depend on the place, circumstance, and also my safety.  I don’t want to become a walking target for people to take advantage of either, so rest assured I will be mindful.

THANK YOU to everyone who has bought my Merch thus far and supported me through Paypal or Zelle.  My Paypal IS up and running again….one day I got a donation, and I thought “Hey, that’s weird, it’s supposed to be fully frozen.” I had a friend drop a dollar in to see if it worked…and voila- it did and I transferred my money SO FAST!! LOL  So I will keep using it for the sake of small amounts and also people seem to trust it more than other pay systems.   I hope many will buy the shirts so you can wear them when I see you, or wear them in support of my large adventure.

6 days…. Time to get ready for Epcot and say “see ya later” to Disney until January. Have a great day!

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Help Me Help Others 🙂

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! Spreading the kindness is my goal on this amazing journey, and I thank you for helping me make magic for so many people. So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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9 Days and Counting….

WOW. I am in the single digits, so exciting and so terrifying all at the same time. Lots to still pick up, do, plan, and schedule and yet so much I have already picked up, done, planned, and scheduled. LOL. Every day I try to get something accomplished towards the goal so I am not overwhelmed when it comes times to pull out of my driveway next week. NEXT WEEK??? Where has the time gone???

Yesterday I shared on Facebook my car mattress trail run, as it makes me feel more secure when I have tested things like that out and not when I am in a pinch or extremely tired in the moment to need it.  It actually was incredibly comfortable, and the pump runs off my cigarette lighter, so it filled it up in about 30 seconds to a minute.  I’ll have to prop up the left side with blankets because my seats angle up, but other than that, it was cozy and it did the job.  It’s literally my back up plan for if camping becomes dangerous and I want to feel more secure in my locked car. I will set that up after I set up my tent so that if it’s needed, I can just run to my car and seek shelter in there. OR if there is a big storm, lightening, etc, car camping it is!   Thankfully I am not filling my backseat with much so that I will just be able to move whatever is there to the front when in use.  I found it on Amazon if anyone is looking to purchase one as well.

I am starting to pick up light snacks for whenever on the road, bottled water and canned soups for emergencies and lazy days, and the suitcase is open and starting to get packed.  I also have my cubes for camping gear, car gear, misc. gear, so they can be used at any time with ease and not having to dig through bags and bags.  And trust me, you think you have prepared, and then I realized I needed a nice, large umbrella, and then a decent flashlight, maybe a carpet for my feet before I go into my tent, etc.  I figured I can find some of these items with my Mom and Dad time next month as well as many a Target run before I leave.  

My Store is up and running, and I encourage you to spread the kindness and purchase a shirt, sweatshirt, or pin! I worked really hard on the designs with my Team, a long with getting it up and running, so I appreciate YOUR kindness in supporting me with a purchase!

I also have a Mascot this trip! Last year I took Orange Bird, or my Dad liked to call “Orange Chicken” and this time I am bringing a favorite Muppet of mine! Walter will be making an appearance in his own videos, a long with pictures, friends, etc.. so look for him over the next year, I look forward to talking to him when I have gone delirious and have my own “Castaway” volleyball moment.

So yesterday I decided to stay off screens as much as possible, I just needed the break. A beautiful morning and walk in Winter Garden with a sit and chill after, followed by a swim with the family in the late afternoon.  I’ve had some really bad migraines lately, and I worry it’s the screen time or it’s my eye sight.  I have an eye appointment this week just in case, along with my last visits to Magic Kingdom and Epcot for a while.  Happy but sad. I come back through the South in January/February before heading up the East Coast, so that’s when I will get to celebrate the 50th then. 

Off to pack, plan, schedule, etc….I got this, right?

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Thank you for your support!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! Spreading the kindness is my goal on this amazing journey, and I thank you for helping me make magic for so many people. So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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16 Days and Counting…..

Well after a bit of a whirlwind week, I feel I am getting the ground back under my feet this morning. As with life, you just have to go with the flow, and I have been trying to practice this mantra every time I wake up it seems.  I don’t know if yall realize the magnitude of preparing for a trip like this, or a year away from a steady home life, but the emotional rollercoaster that I have been on is to say, at the least, a very bizarre and magical ride.

Of course, I am excited. But I am also terrified, nervous, etc of what lies ahead in my life. There are so many moving parts to this story, so many that will be revealed as the trip moves forward. But for now, I enjoy these last couple of weeks in Florida, while trying to continue the momentous plans of each State. Every day I have either booked a tour, a hotel, a camping spot, or an attraction ticket. I am trying to stay ahead of this and have a lot planned so that I can spend my time enjoying the days and not planning the next ones.  The idea will be to “Live in the Day” and not worry about the next. Hence if they are all mostly planned, I will just refer to my schedule at the end of every day and hopefully say “Ah yes, that is tomorrow, how fun!” and off I go to bed. We both know, life isn’t like that, but hey, let’s stay positive LOL.

I had to have my car all ready to go, or as I call her, “Ellie.” Ellie got a much needed tune-up, new tires, and also all of her engine mounts replaced. All her fluids are topped off, and I am thankful she gets GREAT gas mileage! Thankfully this was all done in the past month and I didn’t wait last minute, as her mounts were hard to get ordered and in, so I am grateful to the timing of it all.

I also had been praying hard about my vaccination timing. I didn’t know if I would get one, let alone both, in before I hit the road. I wanted to feel confident in traveling with it, PLUS, I want others to know and feel that I care about them and their families that I was vaccinated and that it was safe for me to stay at their homes or hang out with them for the day. So, YAY on getting that done! Even with the side effects yesterday, I just grin and bore it. I knew it was for the greater good, and THAT it was feels amazing on the other side of it today.

I have lots of Disney Park time scheduled this week, including meeting a new friend which I am excited about. Trying to cram everything in now before I head out, it is a blessing and a wonder I can stand straight anymore with everything that is starting to mount in my head. I want to do this right, I want to do it with everything contained in my soul and spirit, and I want to enjoy the ride.

I FINALLY got my Store up and running and it would do me such a great honor if you checked it out and supported me by purchasing a shirt, hat, or pin.  Every dollar you help me with helps me spread the kindness even more across this great Nation this year. Please check it out HERE so we can wear matching shirts when I see you! For those that don’t know, I will be wearing my “Spread Kindness” shirt every day of this quest, journey, adventure, mission… and I hope to see others wearing it as well 😊

Off to Disney Springs today to do some light shopping and a bite to eat. Have a wonderful Sunday everyone and I will see you soon!

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Thanks for your support!

MY PAYPAL IS BACK UP!! Thank you to everyone who supports me on this HUGE journey, as it helps with everything I will be doing on my “Spread Kindness” Tour!

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Value Your Own Opinion

Maybe you don’t remember the moment you first opened your Facebook account, your first tweet, or pic on Instagram. But I bet you remember the first negative comment you received on something you TRULY loved that you were sharing. A moment,  piece of magic in your life that you thought “hey, this is worthy of sharing my soul with the World” and then someone says something, and that beautiful minute you were proud of gets buried in self- doubt.   WHY do we do this to ourselves?

When I first started this idea, I had grander plans than I have shared. I was going to share it this way, and that way, and I was going to put it out with every means possible and through any source possible.  And as things started to grow, I felt the enjoyment of what I was about to do starting to shrink. No longer was I excited about having the adventure, I was too stressed about sharing it.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I can’t help myself but share… but here’s why. For me, I see a beautiful Mountain, and I think to myself “Oh my God, this moment, this place, I must show someone else so they too can come here and see it and feel how I feel.”  No longer do I want to, nor need to, feel that I need the Like, Hit, Thumbs Up, etc.. to appreciate how “I” feel in that moment. I want to share because I enjoy it, because it is fun, because it will inspire adventure and kindness in someone else. And if it doesn’t, move on to the next one.

Too many times I put out something of myself through writing or pictures, and by the way, that is what we ALL do, and I obsess on the comments. Why? I loved the pic I took, I want to KEEP loving the pic I took, and it seems that we let others decide for us what we will find worthy IN OUR OWN LIVES. How insane is that?  I am guilty of reading comments on articles BEFORE I even read the article, and I always ask myself “Why am I doing this?” I was interested in the what and why of the story, but I jumped to that section without even thinking about it.  I have got to rewire my brain, read the story, and then move on.

I leave a month from today- holy crap. And I. Am. Excited!!!!  Of course I will share on FB, YouTube, Instagram, and here of course.  But I decided months ago that my sharing would be more of a virtual journal for myself. So one day when I am old and grey (God willing) and I am unable to do these things anymore, I can look back on all of my pictures, videos, and smile about the holy hell of an adventure that I had the guts to take myself.  I won’t care then about the comments, I won’t care about the haters who are clearly jealous, and I certainly am not going to regret a second of any footage taken.  THIS is why we should be recording ourselves and lives, THIS.  To see that we took chances, and we laughed in the face of fear.  To watch ourselves make the impossible, possible, and to enjoy every laugh line, wrinkle, and grey hair. To enjoy our youth today, to enjoy our age today, our kids, our families. How many times do we all look back and long for “those days?” Guess what? YOU ARE IN THEM NOW!!!  Of course we are getting through hard times now, of course the last year sucked. But I guarantee that through all the hardships and loss, that the sun does rise again. 

So I am making this vow to all of you now that I promise to value my own opinion on my amazing adventure. If I don’t share something “on time” (my standards of it) then oh well.  I didn’t answer a bunch of emails? I will get to them AFTER my experiences. In this World of “Stop everything to answer that text, email, etc..” I think we have forgotten that we don’t HAVE too. Now, I do because I don’t want to come off rude, but there is time you can put between them for your sake and self-preservation.  I will remind myself every day of this journey of how immensely blessed, lucky and fortunate I am to be ABLE to do this.  I will enjoy for those who I have lost and cannot be there, and I will enjoy for those who cannot do something like this at all.

One month countdown has begun….

Under 5 Week Countdown….

I don’t know about you, but when I plan a trip I have all these little things I have to get done for it and here at home before I leave.  Everything from buying bear spray (which I never knew was a thing until now) to my own porta john… needless to say, my deliveries have been comical to say the least.   Did you ever order so much that you can’t remember WHAT you ordered and then it’s like Christmas morning every time the Amazon truck dops off? LOL So I thought I would share with you where I am at… 33 days out.

For a year of traveling, there is quite a bit involved. I have so many people I want to visit, meet up with, and so on, so it’s been a bit challenging trying to get everyone on the same page with that.  Not difficult, but think about your year starting June 1st and who you could all visit across the great Nation and then schedule ALL of them.  I have to say, I am getting quite good at it, but still challenging to find the right spots to meet up so they coincide with my travel interests as well.  No, I don’t have to schedule everyone right now, but yes, I have people scheduled out 6-9 months even because I just want the seed planted that I will be in their neck of the woods, and I would LOVE to come and see them! So even if I am just a place holder in their head right now, I will take it.  SOOOOO excited to love on all my friends!!

Reservations have been going well, it is trying to connect the dots that is a little trickier. Some spots were sold out, so I would have to accomodate to the next town or city, which adds more to driving time and less from touring time.  I have booked some amazing places to stay that I CANNOT WAIT to show yall!

So far I have also booked camping in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and more National Parks to come.  Craig says my car will be filled with more camping equipment than actually anything else…. maybe. BUT my Dad taught me to BE PREPARED!!!! (Bonus points if you sang that in your head like Scar from the “Lion King”).  Bought a brand new, pop-up tent that I took for a spin in the yard to make sure I could put it up and take down on my own.  As much as I love something “brand new” when I first use it, this isn’t the time.  Nothing would be more upsetting than to be out in the Wilderness and realize that the tent had a defect or I couldn’t figure it out, and now I am sleeping in my car (which I am ALSO prepared for in case of bears).   Yeah most of what I have bought is for camping, but I figure that if I like it that I will do more and now I have everything for the next time.  And if I hate it, I will give it to Craig or the girls and they can have a go at it.  I got these cute little bonfire cannisters for when I just want to roast a marshmallow and I don’t want to make a huge fire, a mess kit, collapsible bowl for washing my dishes, my porta potty, camping chair, and some more odds and ends. I’m stoked!

Everything else is falling into place, reserving tickets for events and attractions. Today the Glacier National Park reservations open, so that’s on the roster for today, which many of the Parks are doing. I got my NP Annual Pass in the mail, woot! So slowly but surely, I’m making small steps towards the bigger picture.  I even started to pack my “cubes” in my office for my car so that I know what is what.  I use the ones from IKEA and one is for camping, one is for blog stuff, one is for car maintenance and safety, and so on. I can get about 5 in my trunk with room to spare for tent, bucket, chair, etc… Then I have the entire back seat for more stuff, and the front for my cooler and driving stuff. I don’t like to add to much to the front seat because people will be joining me all over the place and I want the space to be able to toss stuff in back and let them ride with me and not look like a hoarders car.

To me being organized for a huge adventure like this is key to not losing my mind. If I can find things easily at the many stops I will be taking, it is less stressful and continues my mindset that I am able to accomplish what I set out for.  If my car is messy and disorganized, I have high anxiety and wind up saying “Screw it, I can’t find it” and then find what I wanted AFTER the adventure and it’s now useless or pointless.  Like last time, my car slowly started to empty out with stuff being used or given away, so it’s a win, win.  I think I’m ready, well I am getting ready, not there yet, but with the week I have had, I am trying to stay busy.  So there you go. Thanks to EVERYONE for their great tips, information, and so on that you comment or send me.  It’s pretty cool to hear someone say something about a State and know that I could try to see it, so keep them coming. Have a great day!

How the Planning is Going- 4.15.2021

At the beginning of this year, I had decided to hang a large map of the U.S. in my office so that I could stare at it every day, reminding me of what was to come.  So that even just by glancing at it, I could make mental notes here and there of what needs to get done.  I joined several Facebook travel groups in hopes to make new friends, but more importantly, to also hear about others travel experiences.  I have screen shot so many things I want to see, that I have to take just a day to go through each one and write them down in my travel notebook.  I don’t mind keeping notes on my laptop, but there’s just something about pen and paper that makes me feel more in control. 

I have begun to buy tickets to events, and THAT is exciting to me! I have been waiting to see how everything was going to play out, and would I even be ABLE to travel because of the state of things, but it looks like I will be able too with a mask on for now. I thought planning this for the summer of 2021 was pushing it out far enough, but as we all know, it just keeps cycling right now, so I am going ahead with extreme caution.  Like last summer, I will follow the protocol I gave myself of always washing hands and sanitizing after touching everything and anything outside my space. Masking up, keeping safe distance, I hope I will be ok. ALSO getting vaccinated tomorrow, VERY happy about that!

So what am I buying tickets too? Well, I have some really odd, amazing, and fun likes in, and of, life!  I bought tickets to a Puppet Museum to see the largest display of Sesame Street items, and then booked a Paranormal tour at Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky.   I am going to go and check out the life-size “Noah’s Ark” also, and probably hit up the Kentucky Derby area too.  I LOVE me some nature so any State and National Parks I have time for, I will try and see. This summer, a heads up, SEVERAL National Parks are asking you RESERVE your day for when you are coming to see them. Also, you will need your National Parks pass AND they are charging at some an additional fee to come into the Parks.  Yes, you read that right.  I assume they are watching their numbers, but it is a pain to try and pinpoint when I will be EXACTLY where and not a “go with the flow” on this one.  Basically I will have to reserve a couple days at each to give myself a small window in case of delays. Because I am staying in Yellowstone I assume I don’t need a reservation, but I am still researching this.

By the way, this is basically what I have been doing every day…research.  It’s not only about one city, it’s many. And it’s not just the city then, it’s where to stay. Is it safe, is there food close by, gas, etc… Then how far are the places I want to see from the hotel, are the roads easy to drive or is it all mountains? Things like this I really try to prep for because the “SURPRISE” sometimes isn’t so sweet.  I mean there isn’t much I can do once going “up”, just keep my foot on the pedal and pray! I do A LOT f singing when I am nervous while driving, helps calm me down and get the anxiety out.

Last but not least, I booked my weekend for the opening of the Hot Air Balloon Festival in New Mexico!!!  I rewired some of my plans to make it fit, having to double back a bit on what I was going to be doing, but this has ALWAYS been on my bucket list. So I found a hotel a couple miles from the Festival, and booked the entire weekend in case one day has bad weather.  I am going to try for the VIP tickets when they come out because you can go to a private patio and watch them with food and drinks. Sounds like a fun way to meet people and enjoy the view, so hopefully I will be able to snag one!

I am trying to stay focused, but life has a way of sneaking up on us as we plan something else.  Bob is COMING HOME today and so I am SO happy for my Mom who is relieved and just SOUNDS so much better. They hope to head back to Green Bay in the next coming weeks, and I will be up there in June to see them again. And with life it’s one big rollercoaster ride, and as I got news Bob is out of the woods, I still have a dear friend deep in them.  So I am praying and thinking about Eric all week, and so touched that he called me on Monday to connect on what was happening with him. In fact we did have a laugh, I told him that I was having the whole family vaccinated this Friday, and he said “Why, why would you do that?” I said, “So we don’t get it.” And he started to laugh and said “Oh, wait, I thought you said you and the family were being EVACUATED” and we both laughed.  Small things, big moments. I pray he’s ok, they intubated him less than 24 hours after that call… and now we wait. Please keep him and the family in your thoughts and prayers.

So that’s been my week thus far, I keep moving forward, keep stepping out of that comfort zone, and keep hoping that life gets back to a normal we can all agree on, soon.

I Booked Yellowstone!!!

In between taking care of things here, I have tried to work on my trip as much as I can.  I have found that I get this second wind lately and I just run with it, booking right and left.  So yesterday I was doing my research on Yellowstone and wanted to see what I could find for August and maybe find something open.  All the hotels in the area are fully booked, so next was staying either inside the Park and camp or outside the Park and camp at like a KOA Campground. 

I found a site that I could book for 4 straight nights in the Mammoth area, so I am super excited that I got that end because it is where I intended on coming back through after Idaho and the Ghost Towns of Montana.  Not knowing ANYTHING about Yellowstone, I just winged it on what campsite looked best and found a nice one that looks onto one of the Mountain sides.  I had to book on the National Parks website, another first for me, by making an account and then paying for the site IN FULL online.  They do list what the site has, what the amenities are there, etc.. so it was pretty easy to use except modifying the dates.  I screwed up the month, so I had to remove the wrong reservation and replace it with the correct dates which then gave me different site choices.  Doing this for the first time is incredibly scary because I don’t know the Park at all.  I just knew this was the Wyoming end I wanted to come in on, and I figured that I could enjoy 4 days in this area, and then maybe find a site at the bottom for a day or two there. 

I highly recommend joining camp groups and National Park groups/pages for insider information, as I am learning a lot.  I plan on tenting it, but honestly I will probably sleep in my car during the night, and during the day take a nap in my tent and relax there after hiking and such.  I have watched every episode of “Survivor” and owned my own Campground, you’d think I would be more prepared for this. BUT its been over 20 years since I had my Campground, and have camped little since then. SO this will be a learning experience. I am getting a tent that is the EASIEST to put up and take down.  I don’t want to get frustrated with that and ruin the entire experience.  I will also keep food ONLY in my car, not in my tent, as this is bear country and while I would like not be “Datelined,” I would also not like to be mauled by a bear. 

Just need to figure out the campfire situation and how to bathe.  No showers there, just flushable toilets, which is still better than the pit toilets. As a kid I used to have nightmares of what spiders were going to crawl up in there while I was on them….or falling down the toilet into the yuck. I know, give me a break, I was a kid. LOL  I am a bit concerned about that 3 a.m., middle of the night pit stop I may need….hmm. 

I am SUPER excited to be able to explore a National Park in this capacity and detail this time around, and not just a drive through. I don’t mind driving them, but hopefully I will be able to do a hike or two. SAFELY. Yes, need bear spray, human spray, spray spray. I have a list going that I will get before I hit the road in June, and then pick up groceries and bottled water in Idaho before heading in.  I am only there 4 nights, so hopefully I see as much as I can, but short enough that if I am miserable and not feeling it, I won’t have to endure it too long. LOL  

It was only $25 a day to camp inside the Park, and I did have to pay it in full.  They don’t have many campgrounds open this year, so I just went with the one that was open.  I figure I will bring everything in I need, drive the loops to see “Old Faithful” and other sites on my end. Then maybe book another site on the opposite end I will be heading out on, or just see things as I head out of there.  They were filling up incredibly fast, I had no idea the cutthroat world of camping and how people sit and wait for people’s campsites before they even left.  I guess I will see firsthand how this will all work. OH you also get a discount if you have a National Parks pass, I didn’t plan on buying mine until my first Park, so I wasn’t able to benefit this time around.

I am nervous and excited, and I think it will be a true test of my patience and learning to be with myself without many distractions. I CANNOT WAIT to show y’all how I do and how I am doing- pending ANY cell phone reception. My campground says they have it, so I am hoping I have it for when I chill at night and I can check in with people. Other than that, I plan on a campfire and then movie time with a DVD on my laptop- charging in my car during the day.

If you have any suggestions, please comment on FB, on the blog, or PM me. I would love to know your tips and experiences in Yellowstone and what trails I should take, what places to check out, and what you dealt with.  Thank you for any and all help!