Speed Blogging – Take One

Well, it has been a few weeks since I have written and I have finished my 9,000 mile trip through North America. Now I am left wondering when I can get back in my 100 sq ft of bliss and do it again!

When I last left you, I was somewhere in Canada and finding that wifi in places without people is hard to find. I really wanted to disconnect which also made posting a bit difficult, so we are going to go on a few rounds of “Speed Blogging” to catch up. It is kind of like speed dating, but without the awkward silence – or so I hope. Don’t leave me hanging 🙂

One thing I had never done was to visit Niagara Falls, and it didn’t disappoint. With my bike beneath me and my bright yellow poncho (because this girl is prepared!) in my backpack, I took off from my campsite to the Falls. A couple of tips: 1) Do this before the summer is in full swing. I know that a few weeks later the crowds were insane and I was happy that I had a little more peace and quiet on my trip. 2) Don’t drive. Take your bike or public transit (on the Candian side) and take the day to enjoy the entire area.

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From there I headed to Montreal and drove along the Trans-Canada Highway to Fort Francis where I crossed back into the US. It is a bit hard to find words to describe this drive because it is lovely and full of surprises along the way. At this point in my trip, I had no agenda. I would wake up in the morning, have breakfast, and literally just drive until I found something interesting. Well, that happened a lot during this piece of my journey, and needless to say, I extended my time in Canada by a few days.

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Bliss
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This seems to be a thing in Canada
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Yes, I brought a vase to collect local flowers as I went. Doesn’t everyone love fresh flowers in their living space?
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My tiny home in the distance

IMG_2549A nice tribute to Glenn Gould, a Canadian pianist who became one of the celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century. He was renowned as an interpreter of the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Listen and enjoy!

Have to stop there! Getting ready for my #AirbnbExperience guests to arrive!

 

 

 

My Playlist – Part One

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Music is something I have always been passionate about, and this road trip needs a soundtrack. A string of memories that will last a lifetime and bring back smiles for the miles spent on the road.

From the time I was very young, I remember musical moments having an impact and staying with me over time. As a dancer, music became even more significant in my life, and now there is nothing I can do to stop myself from moving when I hear a piece of music that stirs me. Even in my sleep, my feet move to the beat – so I have been told.

I enjoy most types of music, except for hard metal, which just makes me anxious. From country to classical my favorites crisscross genres like a Florida driver changes lanes.

This journey started with “Let the Monkey Drive” by Sparks. As time passed, I bounced around including my favorite Pandora station: Sunday Funday Brunch. This is my go to in the mornings. I love the classics! “At Last” by Ella Fitzgerald, “Unforgettable” by Louis Armstrong,  and “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra

At night the Gipsy Kings are always on the menu. This band takes me back to my early days in Sarasota, living in a warehouse, teaching, and dancing the night away at the Alley Cat Café. Listen to “Djobi Doba.” Get up and dance!

My favorite soundtrack is Reservoir Dogs, and I am a sucker for some old-school rap from Arrested Development. “Mr.Wendal” makes it to the top of this list.

I recently saw Public Service Broadcasting live in Brighton, England. If you haven’t heard them, check them out! As a lover of the space program, I get down to “Go,” but enjoy all of their work. When you combine the subject matter and artistry with the appreciation of musicians and their instruments, it is magic.

My guilty pleasure is Pink and her new album, “Beautiful Trauma” is great. I play it end to end every time and “I Am Here” needs to be played at full volume!

More to come…what song stirs you?

Oh yeah, food blends nicely with music as well! I stopped by the market after a busy day and grabbed some veggies to grill out last night. Skewered vegetables painted with a little olive oil, and S&P on the grill – voilà – dinner. I poured my first glass of Candian red wine and turned on “Both Sides” by Candian artist Joni Mitchell to round out my evening. 

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America the Beautiful

As I traveled north toward the Cape with scenery passing by, it made me think of the author of “America the Beautiful,” Katharine Lee Bates, who was born in Massachusetts in 1859.

Coming off the Blue Ridge Parkway and into the Shenandoah Valley, I was looking for a new adventure – a deeper stir. I stumbled upon the Luray Caverns in Virginia and was not disappointed. I read a bit about the caverns before I stopped and took a chance even though it is called a tourist attraction online and people complained about the price.

With 500,000 visitors annually, it is a destination, but it was terrific and well worth the $26!

IMG_1557Everywhere you look, there is natural art dripping from the ceiling and pushing up beneath your feet. The pool towards the middle is absolutely magical, tricking your eyes as to where the water ends and air begins.

IMG_1543After a good night’s sleep in the KOA near Gettysburg, I decided it was time to take my bike out for a spin. I found the greenbelt that encircles the city of Harrisburg and set off to City Island to find a parking spot for the Airstream. The ride was about 20 miles, and most were off the main roads. With several parks mixed with a college campus and downtown, there was plenty to look at and almost no one else on the trail which made for an enjoyable afternoon. Full disclosure…coming from Florida, the elevation changes were challenging, but a good warm up before I head west.

IMG_1545Until next time…happy trails!

No blues on the Blue Ridge Parkway!

Well, this is a day late, but when you combine the delicious ingredients of the past 24 hours with a visit to my bestie, the schedule goes out the window.

A friend recommended driving the Blue Ridge Parkway on my way from Charlotte to Virginia, and I am so glad he did. Thanks, T.J.!

If you haven’t been, put it on your list – the short list. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains from North Carolina to Virginia and is known for its beauty.

I caught the parkway around the Blue Ridge Music Center and was pleased throughout the day by dappled shadows, curious wildlife, winding roads and majestic trees. Driving along America’s longest linear park was fun, even in a camper!

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I stopped at Stone Mountain to enjoy a little hike in the crisp air and was again reminded of the vast beauty of the area. Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but they don’t do it justice. Nonetheless, enjoy a peek into my afternoon.

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Stone Mountain

As I pulled into camp last night, I caught the last bit of the sunset over the mountains, and all seems right in Virginia.

IMG_1432Looking forward to biking a bit this morning and then off for some museum action in D.C.

Which museum stirs you the most?

Planning – my happy place

When I started to think about how I wanted to travel around the country, I knew that one thing I want to appreciate is the local flavors without breaking the bank on expensive restaurants – though I am sure there will be a few.

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So, I started with a bit of food planning and cooking. Vegetarian ingredients, so I don’t have to worry about keeping meat, things that I can pair with local veggies I pick up at markets as I travel, AND items that could last a month in the freezer.

 Veggie chili and lasagna, dal tadka, pesto, sundried tomato pesto and roasted garlic hummus.

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Since the freezer in the Airstream is small, and I try to stay away from disposables as much as possible, I bought a case of canning jars (for $8) and started chopping, sauteing and processing. I have to say, as someone new to cooking, I love America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks. They lay it out straight, give you best practices and even more importantly for a Virgo like myself, the reasons why it all matters.

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Since I rented the RV in Florida, I brought it home and packed my own kitchen complete with a food processor, french press,  soda stream, and Le Creuset dutch oven.

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Pulling into camp and cooking a real meal is so much fun!

Oh, by the way, there is a Le Creuset factory store in Georgia and EVERYTHING is 50% off the discounted prices. You’re welcome!

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