I continue to be awestruck by this amazing world of ours. There is nowhere else on earth like Crater Lake, one of America’s fine National Parks.
The hole in the earth was not created by a crater as originally thought, but rather by volcanic activity back in the day. No rivers flow into the lake. Just lots of rain and snow. The water is pure, clean, and bluer than the sky above. At nearly 2,000 feet, it’s the deepest lake in the U.S.
Crater Lake & Wizard Island
And yay for campsites with free wood! We met some new friends Pete and Laura and were able to have the biggest bonfires, thanks (or no thanks) to the pine beetle and the trees it’s killed.
After Hell’s Canyon, we continued dipping down into one of our favorite states. I’m going to have to do a little research on exactly where these potato farms are in Idaho, because I think it’s a sham. Potatoes are just a facade so the Idahoans can have all of this gorgeousness to themselves.
One thing that’s been great about this trip is simply going wherever the wind blows. We don’t plan out our locations far in advance, and have found the coolest places and haps emerge when you aren’t on a schedule. When the wind swept us in the direction of McCall, one Parkite was up for the last minute journey to meet us. Our great friend Marissa!
This year, for the first time in four years, I did not attend my beloved Targhee Bluegrass Festival. I’d been scoping out other festivals to fill the void, and stumbled across the Sawtooth Bluegrass Festival. While the vibe was very different from Targhee, I still contend that live bluegrass is one of the best things in life. Plus, I got to try fried pickles.
If you think variety is the spice of life, then you would have gobbled up our weekend. We did a little of everything, staying outdoors as much as possible, still savoring summer. Thanks for making the trip, Marissa!
Hiking the beautiful, bankrupt Tamarack Ski Resort
Pickin' and sawin' at the Sawtooth Bluegrass Festival
Campground jams all kinda looked like this. Very closed-off. Boo.
Burgdorf Hot Springs
Marissa hittin the tub... this feels great on the back.
The Payette River is smooth. Like the buttah you schmear on your baked Idaho potato.
Our river camp spot
Salmon River gorge
After a day in Cleveland, the Chicago area seemed like a good stopping point. We visited our friend and FBI agent, Adam. (That’s the real FBI, not a Female Body Inspector.) After a bike ride and some conversation about the place, we found ourselves on a little auto tour of Gary, Indiana.
This was another one of those eye-opening moments for me on the trip. There is much to say, but I will just comment on the sheer infrastructure of this once-booming steel town. Roofs collapsing; beautiful old churches with trees growing out of them; every building in disarray. I’m not sure if I was too amazed or too scared, but, camera in hand, I didn’t take a single photo.
Then, and on a much lighter note, we visited our friends Kyle and Megan at their beautiful house in the Chicago burbs. Who says spontaneity goes out the window when you’re pregnant? We went on a last minute trip to Megan’s folks’ place in New Buffalo. A charming Italian dinner, a few cocktails and “California Songs” were all we needed to take our minds off the looming road ahead.
Terry, Kyle, Megan and future baby Emma on Lake Michigan
“California Songs” are a collection of albums put together by Megan’s uncle. All of the albums are compilations of artists who were influenced by the Beach Boys. There are hundreds of albums. This was a fabulous continuation of my Rock Hall kick, and the cd’s have provided some good ear candy along I-90.
Just a quick stop off at Two Toots (a train restaurant for kids, of course) so we could see Tim, Emily and the kids one last time, and we’re officially headed West! Thank you to everyone who continues to make our journey so amazing.
This feels like spring break! From Montauk to Northport, the fun continued on “Lowang Oiland”. That is, if you say it in your best Long Islander’s accent (which I’ve grown kind of fond of).
We have to thank Cali for taking us out on his boat. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good pictures of Cali. But let me warn you, he could kill a person with his calves. Seriously, if you ever meet him, ask him to show you.
Jenn & Todd on Cali's boat
A beautiful day for a cruise.
Driving past Pete & Julie's sailboat
Jenn and I hitch a ride to the next mooring.
A seaman's diet.
We took a break from sandals and swimsuits to go into the big city. It was great to see our friends Del & Caitlin and have lunch with Lauren from high school. Then, we did one of the most fitting of things a couple of Utahns could do with New York friends. We saw the Book of Mormon on Broadway.
I have no idea how Jenn scored the tickets with all the hype (just a few Tony Awards is all). Or the hook up on the amazing restaurant in Little Italy. I guess she called “her guy”.
The show was hilarious. We were belly laughing the entire time. From dancing Starbucks cups in hell to their love of Disney, Trey & Matt definitely take a few jabs at the Mormons. But the most shocking parts had nothing to do with Mormons. Just the typical, if still outrageous, South Park potty humor.
So, so, so funny. Not rated G. Not for the easily offended..
The Book of Mormon crew on the roof.
Jenn & Terry
Adorableness. Maggie shows off her horseshoe crab shell.
Pete & Denise's amazing view in the harbor. Thank you for the deeelicious dinner and company!
Imagine a magical island complete with friends, fresh seafood, sea breeze, ideal temps, clear water, great live music and bikes. Now wake up! You’re on Block Island!
Block Island is the first purely vacation-like thing we’ve done on our trip. We even left Kirbs behind, hopped on the ferry and stayed at the Narragansett Inn for the long weekend.
Cannot say enough about this island or group of people. Specifically, we need to thank Jenn & Todd for their generosity and their shared desire for all things fun! Every minute from the day we arrived to the day we left was genuinely perfect (it’s no surprise she’s a planner).
One of many great beaches on Block Island
Biking, then hiking, to the beach
Spearfishing! Pete & Pat hunt out black fish.
A lovely place to sit.
Crystal clear water
I want to scoop all of these colors up and take them home with me.
Our pad with Jenn & Todd
We try our hand at clamming. Thanks Pete & Pat for taking us!
Oops, caught a crab
Lobster Linguine with truffle oil... drooling!
Some of the gang at the 'Gansett
Block Island art
Some kids in the harbor dumped these by our feet. Yikes!
We’ve had some excellent bicycle tour guides. I think I’ve mentioned that is our new favorite way to tour a city. Slower than driving so you can really see the sites. Faster than walking so you can cover more ground.
Thanks to Dan B. for our great Harrison, Ohio tour, and to Liz and Wes for our super fun urban bike tour of Columbus! Now that we’re roadies, we’ll have to return the favor when you make it out to Utah.
We’ve also discovered some darn good mountain biking in the area, in Brown County, Indiana and at Idlewild Park with Matt.
Brown County State Park, Indiana
We’ve had a terrific (if a bit sweaty) few weeks in Cincinnati, hanging with family and friends, checking out our old digs and discovering some new ones. There’s nothing like where you grew up.
We kicked off our Ohio trip with Libby and James’ wedding, which was also a nice little reunion for my dearest college friends and a reminder of how much I love Ohio University! It’s the quintessential college town and I have the very best memories of those four years. Congratulations to the happy couple.
Spending the week in San Francisco, I was reminded of how awesome old friends are. High school friend John and his wife San were completely hospitable, and we enjoyed many breakfasts at their yummy cafe in Mountain View. As an aside, if you ever went to John’s basement in high school, you will delight in knowing that his shuffle board table has been seriously upgraded!
A hopping little place with delicious food.
Terry channeled his college self, attending a Salesforce class all week. So I invited my sis out and we bounced around the city together. Here are the CliffNotes from our time in San Fran.
- Chilled on the beach in Pacifica, where despite the massive fog, Elizabeth got a good pinkish hue. George Costanza would be enamored.
- Reds v Giants in the 8th row behind the Reds dugout. More old friends to reference, thanks Tricia and Kim!
Agreed, fellow Reds fan. But I think we can do better than Rice-a-Roni.
- A classic walking tour with Roger, our tour guide extraordinaire. First rate sights and stories all day long from another long time friend, and no less than one unmentionable I wish I could erase from my memory.
Adventures in the city with Roger & Elizabeth
- Enjoyed possibly the best massage ever with Liz and San. What was so great about it, you ask? It was $25/hr and they literally karate chop your ass. Nuff said.
- Rented a vintage 1977 VW Bug convertible to ride to Napa “Thelma and Louise” style. No, we didn’t drive it off a cliff, but there are many stories to tell with that car. Let’s just say it’s a trip I’ll never forget.
The Love Bug. Or is it?
The adorable Blackbird Inn, our sanctuary
wine, wine, wine!