Trip Home: San Francisco, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Death Valley, Vegas, Oklahoma City

Back to the last of my travel updates!

After we did the Redwoods, Jon and I decided we’d spend a night in Napa Valley and then spend the next morning wine tasting! We ended up only visiting one winery, Castello di Amorosa. Jon liked their merlot a lot and I loved their La Fantasia! Hands down my favorite wine ever! They only sell wine through the winery or website though, but so worth it! I would order it and pay S&H for that!

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We headed into San Francisco after that! Come to find out, I almost disliked San Fran as much as I disliked NYC and am so glad we didn’t make a whole trip to San Fran alone (we have talked about it in the past)! It was pretty but a pain to drive around and due to how steep all the streets are, I would have no desire to walk around there either! We actually booked a hotel there for the night and ended up canceling because of how crazy the area was! Pier 39 was nice but just too crowded for me to really enjoy! I was blown away by the Golden Gate bridge though! We only saw it from the north end of the bridge, but I didn’t mind! I also convinced Jon to see the Full House houses too (we saw the original one too, which is a mile down the road from the park) and then I had the best hot chocolate of my entire life at Ghirardelli! I think it’s the whipped cream that does it!

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We ended up heading down to Maggie’s in Pacific Grove for a few nights! She is best friends with one of my good friends from nursing school and she’s on an assignment in California! She has a spare room so it worked out perfectly and we got along really well!

The next morning, Jon and I woke up to pouring rain. We had a completely lazy day other than dinner in Monterey and visiting a brewery! It was actually really nice to have a “zero” day where we did absolutely nothing exciting! I stayed up late chatting with Maggie that night about travel nursing and definitely enjoyed having some girl time with another nurse!

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Jon and I woke up early the next morning in hopes of beating the rain storm that was supposed to hit and headed down to Big Sur! The whole drive was absolutely beautiful! It makes me want to live in California, but that state is out due to their gun laws (Jon immediately rules out any state where he can’t concealed carry). We both could sit and watch waves forever (and did watch them for a long time at a lot of these stops)! They’re just so big on the west coast and the beaches are so much better than the east coast beaches!

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(We FINALLY dug the tripod out of the trunk!)

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(One of the few waterfalls that flows into the ocean in the US.)

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(Bixby Bridge. Also one of the most photographed bridges in the US.)

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After our Big Sur experiences, we started along the 17 Mile Drive that goes right up by Maggie’s house! Unfortunately, it started raining less than halfway into it, but we did get to see this beach! I assume it’s Pebble Beach, even though Jon tried to convince me that Pebble Beach is just the name of the golf course.

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The next day we decided to explore Carmel and Monterey early in the morning before making the drive over to a small town outside of Death Valley! We were in love with the beach area in Carmel and all the rich wives were out with their billions of dogs! I could seriously live that life. I don’t even have to be a rich wife! I can be a poor wife and I’d be happy to wake up to the beaches all the time!

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(This one is Monterey.)

After an afternoon of driving and a night in a ghetto hotel, we woke up for the longest day of our trip: Death Valley and Vegas. Death Valley was gorgeous but I would really not recommend it in any of the hotter months! My poor Civic was struggling with all of the elevation changes! The park was way more mountainous that I’d have ever expected but I am so glad we made it there!

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(Sand dunes. Also, I woke up and my hair looked like that. Why can’t that happen every day?!)

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(The area where they used to do borax mining.)

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(Salt flats.)

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(Natural arch.)

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(Artist’s Palette.)

After Death Valley, the sun set and we headed out to Vegas! Off season rates in Vegas are awesome and the rooms and spectacular! Go! It was definitely fun to go there, but we walked around from 7-1am and then got a whopping 3 hours of sleep before having to wake up for a full day of driving! The Bellagio fountain was probably my favorite part, followed by the New York area.

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The next day was spent driving! We had an 18 hour day (including two stops for sit down meals) and got into Oklahoma City around 1am! The next day, we met up with Cari, Jon’s coworker and my best buddy/gym buddy from Iraq! We had brunch at Kitchen No 324 (SO GOOD) and then went to an osteology museum. The highlight for me was the Oklahoma City National Memorial from the OKC bombing. If you ever go, definitely go to the museum. It was incredibly well done. Jon and I hit up a brewery while Cari was with her son and then all met up for dinner and a walk around the canal!

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The last day was another full day driving home! Sorry for the super long post, but I just wanted to get all the updates done and move on with my regularly scheduled blog posts (kidding- none are scheduled).

The End of Portland!

Well, my time in Portland is almost up! I just worked 11a-11p tonight (I got off a little early) and tomorrow night, I work my last shift up here! I’m doing 7p-7a, which will be my first night shift ever, aside from when I was in Iraq!

I wish I could make an “overall” statement about Portland! I guess I would say that this assignment has overall been a pretty good one! I really loved my job here! I can’t stress that enough. I would come back to work at this hospital full time in a heartbeat. The doctors and the staff were fun! The ER is actually pretty well organized and similar to how we did things in Georgia. I felt like things were safe and effective, and honestly, I loved the slower pace! I could keep doing ER if I had a pace like that all the time! We had a max of three rooms no matter what the assignment is, which was the best thing ever! Great job. Great ER. Great people.

I only wish the weather had been better in my time here and that Jess could have come to this assignment with me! I think I would have enjoyed it so much more if either one of those had happened, but I’m still really glad that I came out here. I definitely feel like I’m growing as a nurse and even though I may not be getting all the critical care experience that I was getting in Georgia (and therefore feel a bit behind when I head back to such a busy trauma center), but I know that I’m becoming much more well rounded. I still find the differences to be so interesting, in management, patients, and just nursing stuff like the medications used.

I also have been getting so much better at IV sticks lately! Maybe better isn’t even the right word- but more confident. In general, ER nurses have to be pretty good at them. I put in anywhere from 2-10 on an average day. But I’ve had a lot of people ask me here to get a hard stick for them and go in and get it without any real problems on my first try. We had a respiratory patient the other day that I was told how hard they were to get a line and went and popped in two IVs without any difficulty, although I could see why he would have been a harder stick. I went and stuck one in this guy’s hand, and then it was pulled out in CT and the guy ended up with a central line cause nobody else could get one in (I wish I could have gone back to try again, but I was tied up). Perhaps I should just be thankful now, where the hard sticks actually still have veins, as opposed to when I get back to dialysis land in Georgia where their veins really are shit. But I used to always think, “Well, if you can’t get an IV, then I definitely can’t!” Now I know that I might actually be able to get it (and almost always do) when somebody else can’t!

I think that this assignment has made mine and Jon’s marriage much stronger. I feel like the first one tore us down a bit. I felt distanced from him and although I was still excited to be with him, I felt much more independent of him. I had a really hard time adjusting to being with him when I was back in town. I may still have some little hiccups in adjusting to being at home, but I really have grown so much more appreciative of Jon and so much more excited to spend time with him. I still wouldn’t quit traveling for good to stay at home with him (yet), but I’m excited to maybe spend a little more than 1-2 weeks with him in the next few months! It’ll be good to be by his side a little more often! We argued maybe a handful of times, and those arguments were extremely minor. When I was in Massachusetts, we had much more frequent arguments! Not even sure why, but we did! Over just about anything! I just miss him too much to not enjoy our time talking!

So that’s the end of assignment #2! Jon will be here in less than 48 hours (AHHHH!) and after 1 1/2 days in Portland, we’ll be headed down south through California for our trip home! Can’t wait! I’ll keep you guys updated with some beautiful coastlines over the next week or so!

Pittock Mansion & Portland

After tossing and turning for hours last night, I got out of bed at 11:45 so that I could spend my very last free day in Portland doing something better than laying around! I headed out the door to see the Pittock Mansion, which I’ve heard has good views of the city and was all decorated for Christmas! The mansion was built in 1914 by a couple who basically helped develop Portland as a city!

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The mansion was beautiful on the outside but no Christmas decorations! I was really expecting some Christmas lights on the outside or something! It was pretty neat though because all the snow was blowing off the trees, so it felt like it was snowing outside!

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You all know I love me some Mt Hood! Not only that, but I could see Mt St Helen’s and Mt Adam’s as well! My phone wouldn’t have captured them and I haven’t uploaded the photos yet from my camera, but this was the good one! Apparently Mt Rainier is visible on clear days as well!

The mansion was only $10, but I was really disappointed in it! The actual mansion itself was really neat, but the Christmas decorations were so gaudy! I wish I had taken one on my phone! In on of the bathrooms, they stuck two gigantic gingerbread houses that literally took up the entire bathroom so you weren’t able to see any of the original features. Strange. But I still enjoyed the afternoon! It was definitely much quicker than I had planned!

I headed into Portland to see the Ira Keller Fountain but all the water was drained for the winter! I was so bummed! I probably should have snapped a few photos of it empty, but it just looked like a bunch of cement blocks! I did buy a new scarf from H&M and get to walk around the cute streets of Portland again though!

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I ran by work to grab my daily planner (I was lost without it and so worried I’d mess up my work days) and then headed to Whole Foods for some groceries. I threw together some stuff to take to work and then headed out to the gym! I ended up doing a mile run (I made it to 6.2 with no pain!) and then walked 3/4 of a mile at an incline. I get so much more tired doing that than running right now (since I’m still watching my pace till my hip is 100%) and I’m kind of liking the different challenge. I had planned on doing some legs, but a bunch of bros were taking up my leg area so I just did a few leg presses and a few planks and moved on with my night!

Not that I’m a foodie blogger, I figured I’d snap a quick picture of my dinner tonight (that I ate at 10:30pm)! I found some pretty good peppered deli turkey at Whole Foods and got some salami for my protein. I really would have liked some cheese on that spaghetti squash and on my meats, but I thought I had a lot left so I didn’t buy any when I went grocery shopping. Come to find out, I barely even have enough for my hash browns these next few mornings! Ah well. And I had more grapes but dropped them on the floor, and since the floor here is lived on by a 2 year old, I decided to just let those ones go.

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I’m going to chill for a bit and I’m really hoping to get to sleep around 1am! I’ve been relying on Benadryl for sleep a lot more lately and I really want to try to go without it, but I just don’t do well swapping back and forth so much with the hours that I sleep! I notice that I’ve been tossing and turning a whole lot more lately than I ever used to!

Tomorrow marks one week until Jon gets here and 9 days till I leave Portland!

Yummy Recipes, Cannon Beach, Oswald West State Park, and Bye Bye IG and FB!

I’m now 3 full days back to healthier eating and I already feel so much better! I’ve actually ended up cutting coffee out for these three days as well but I don’t plan on that going on much longer! I’m already feeling an urge to get all the Dutch Bros and Peet’s in that I can before I leave Portland in less than 2 weeks!

It helps that I made the best dish ever though…

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I know the picture sucks because it was night time and it’s super dark in the house, but for real- so good. I bought a bag of frozen, cubed sweet potatoes and one of butternut squash and stuck them in the oven at 400 while I cubed 2 apples. I also had walnuts cooking on the stove in maple syrup and cinnamon on medium heat. Once the walnuts seemed like they were all glazed and yummy, I added everything to the dish and threw on some nutmeg and cinnamon to all the rest of the stuff and put it back in the oven till everything was somewhat soft. I’m pretty sure this is one of the best things I’ve ever made. And thanks to the freezer section, it was also really simple.

Pretty sure that has helped me stay sane on this no bread/sugar kick (I’m not counting maple syrup) because it’s just so delicious.

Yesterday I headed out to the coast to Oswald West State Park! It was a little snowy going through the north end of the Tillamook National Forest and the snow makes me so nervous! I did get an awesome view of Mt St Helen’s though! It’s kind of cool cause while I was getting a photo, a woman asked if it was Mt Hood or Mt St Helen’s. You really do get to know what they look like though! Mt Hood is much pointier and the summit leans to the north. Mt St Helen’s is a lot more flat!

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You can see some of the snow that was on the trees right in the front. Mt St Helen’s is gorgeous too, but just doesn’t have the same appeal as Mt Hood for me! I’m still dying to see Mt Rainier though! I bet it’s magnificent (I can’t believe I used that word, but that’s what I picture!)

The drive put me out just north of Cannon Beach, so I decided to make a quick pit stop! The rocks were just massive coming out of the water! I stayed away from them for the most part since it just looked really crowded up close, but it was still beautiful! The town of Cannon Beach was adorable too! I wish I had decided to spend the night there!

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I kept heading down to Oswald West but over the side of the road saw a little area that looked really awesome! The next few photos are from Hug Point!

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I almost went back to my car but decided to walk up the beach a little! So glad I did, cause I found this waterfall!

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Hug Point

I finally made it down to Oswald West and started out on the Cape Falcon hike! It seemed easy and the elevation gain was under 200 ft, but it was 5 miles round trip! I decided I didn’t want to get sucked into a 5 mile hike since I was already seeing such amazing places and my daylight was getting limited, so I walked back to the car and drove on. I came to this very short hike next, which led me to some breathtaking views! Reminded me of Australia!

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Oswald West State Park

I just sat out there and enjoyed the view for awhile. It was just absolutely amazing to see the ocean from up so high and all the rocks and whirlpools! I love the PNW! I love being near the water and love being near the mountains and I tell Jon all the time that we need to live near one or the other in the future, but you win living up here! (Except for the m’f’ing RAIN!) After my mini hike, I drove further down the coast and saw another beautiful view!

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After getting back in the car and making one more quick stop in the town of Manzanita (also cute, but not as cute as Cannon Beach), I decided to head home! I was getting nervous about the roads icing over at night even though it hadn’t rained at all, but the roads were still wet in the mountains because of the shade. Instead of heading back north to where I came from, I headed way south in hopes of roads with no snow! Good call- I made it, despite an added hour of driving time! And I got to enjoy some new views as well!

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Today I headed to the Japanese Garden in Portland. I’m sure it’s beautiful in the summer, but all the leaves were gone and it was a bit of a disappointment! The Lan Su Chinese Garden wins for my Portland gardens!

I managed to get a great upper body workout in tonight and 16 or 17 minutes of going backwards on the elliptical (gotta work that butt sometimes). My hip only bothers me rarely these days, but still am not pushing the lower body workouts! Although I can’t wait for some leg workouts that just fatigue my muscles again! These baby leg workouts will do for now though.

And for my last news, I decided last night to deactivate my Facebook temporarily! I also deleted Instagram off my phone. I’m sure both of them will come back sooner than later, but I’m going to try to keep off of them until Jon and I head back on our road trip at least. It feels strange not picking up my phone and browsing through there, but I find Facebook to be kind of boring anyway and it’s just a time filler. I do like posting what I do cause I know mine and Jon’s parents follow it so it’s fun for them to connect with me while I’m away, but I won’t be doing anything other than working over the next week anyway! It’s probably good to disconnect for a bit and I’m hoping to start filling my time more productively for a little while and break the habit of just getting on Facebook out of boredom. What did I do before my iPhone, anyway?!

This was definitely long enough! Have a good night, everybody!

Seattle Trip

My trip to Seattle wasn’t exactly beyond thrilling, but I am definitely glad I got to see part of the city! I got into the city around 1pm and decided to head to the Space Needle first! Seems to be the biggest tourist thing to do in Seattle so I figured I might as well! If anybody ever goes, there’s a public parking lot right at the base of the Space Needle (well, really close), but outside the lot and down the street is free 2 hour parking!

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I paid $22 (I think) to go up, but you could pay $32 for a day and night trip. I was tempted, but wasn’t really sure how much time I’d have to do it at night again! I stood in line behind by some really obnoxious children, sweated through my winter clothes, and wished desperately that Jon was traveling with me!

I made it to the top and I must say, it was pretty awesome! I love being up high in cities and being able to look down!

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Just kidding! That photo was taken at the bottom and superimposed! They could have at least superimposed it onto an entire city shot instead of having that big white half moon thing there!

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Awesome city views! The only unfortunate part was that Mt Rainier was fogged out and I would have loved to see it in the background! I might have cried, that’s how much I love volcanoes!

Once I had my fill of the cityscape, I decided to head down to the Pike Place Market! I took a quick detour to try and see some of the waterfront, but it was a lot of highway down there!

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After that, I finally made my way into the market!

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It was a cute market! Lots of stuff! I ended up getting some Greek yogurt from a vendor that reminded me so much of the real Greek yogurt in Greece! It was so thick and creamy! Then I got a crepe that was delicious! Savory crepes are the best! After that, it was getting dark and starting to rain! I made one stop by the first Starbuck’s ever and decided there was no way I was waiting in line for coffee that I don’t even like! Neat to see it though!

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Next I stumbled upon the famous gum wall that was started in the early 90s and was really disgusting! I hate gum anyway cause I think it’s so gross to repeatedly chew on your own spit, but I thought I’d snap some photos since it’s well known!

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There were a ton of really cute alleys and little shops! Our closest couple friends may move there and I’m tempted to try and take an assignment there in the summer! I would love to explore the mountains up there and I’d still be close to Oregon!

The rest of the evening (till my meltdown over the ferry and not having my husband) was spent at Starbuck’s, just killing time. I wish they had other coffee shops, but I went down by the ferry terminal and there weren’t many options! I had the new praline latte or whatever it is- disappointing. Starbuck’s sucks.

And that’s it for Seattle!

Crater Lake, Newbury Volcanoes, Painted Hills

My trip to Crater Lake, the Newbury Volcanoes, and the Painted Hills was totally not what I expected!

I checked in with you guys from the hotel on Saturday night, right before I had a Forensic Files marathon and then couldn’t sleep! Normally I don’t get spooked from Forensic Files, but I think my secluded hotel room had me convinced that there were dead bodies under my bed and that a killer was about to start pounding on my door. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night.

I was super excited to head out on Sunday morning for Crater Lake! It’s been at the top of my list now for a few years, so despite being super exhausted, I was pumped.

I noticed on the drive in that hardly anybody was taking the road, which was the only road that was supposed to be open into the park at this time of the year. Then I passed a sign that said “North Rim: Open. South Rim: Open.” Perfect! I wanted to head out of the North end at that the end of the day and this would make that drive even shorter!

As I drove on, I noticed snow on top of some of the mountains in the distance. As I kept on going, I started seeing some snow on the ground in front of me…

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I kept on heading in since the roads were plowed, but realized when I got into the park that not much was going to be going on! The visitors center had one other car there and the girl working said only the cafe was open at the top of the road. I mentioned that I was wanting to see the Newbury Volcanoes afterwards and she mentioned that they were most likely closed because of snow also! I was hoping she would be wrong… I decided to head on up to Crater Lake to at least get some good views, even if it was snowy! I could just walk the rim anyway!

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That was my view. I could hear the water, but the wind was crazy up there and everything just looked white. I could barely see anything and was totally bummed out! It was still neat to see the snow on all the trees and it was very serene, but… the water! The views! Instead, my hands froze and I trudged through snow (in my new waterproof hiking shoes, at least), just to look at even more white. No point in continuing my trek just to stare into an endless sea of white.

I decided to head to the Newbury Volcanoes and see if that was even open or not so that I’d have a better idea of what my Monday had in store for me! It took about 2 hours to get there and again, I noticed snow at the top of the mountain range from the bottom. I decided to head up anyway and was hopeful that I’d see at least a few good views!

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Paulina Lake. That was about it. I attempted to go on to the next lake, but I ended up having to back down the road in order to get to a place where I could turn around because the road became too slick for my little car. With no cell signal, steep drop offs, and a Civic, I decided that we had enough of the snow.

I got into Bend and took a quick nap before heading out to a park I found online!

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The park had some beautiful views and I loved the feel of downtown Bend! Seeing towns like that just makes me want to sell our house and head out west somewhere! It’s breathtaking! I enjoyed some dinner at a local place (Spork) and then headed back to the hotel to relax!

I woke up to sun today, so I was really excited about my day! It hasn’t been sunny in well over a week and I need sun in my life on the regular to be happy! I had a quick breakfast and then went to Pilot Butte for some views!

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I have been to some pretty amazing places in my life (Australia, Greece, Croatia…), but nothing amazes me like seeing snow capped volcanoes (I was told that calling them “mountains” is confusing and that quite a few people actually have no idea that “Mt” Hood is actually a volcano… Pretty much all the mountains here are volcanoes…)! It still takes my breath aware every time I see Mt Hood, and I can see Mt Hood all day long when it’s not too overcast!

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Ahhh, Mt Hood, so pretty! Thankfully my long lens is able to capture the mountains fairly up close. The pictures really don’t do it justice! I always try to send Jon pictures from my phone of Mt Hood in the background, but you can barely see it on a phone. In reality, it looks like a beast.

After Pilot Butte, I headed over to the Painted Hills! I knew that this wouldn’t be snowed out and since it was such a gorgeous day, I was really beyond excited.

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It’s always exciting to see some water along the way! I love all bodies of water, but they’re even better when they have mountains around them.

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Of course, I also had to enjoy my cup of Dutch Bros, in their cute little holiday cups! Definitely going to miss this coffee when I leave here! I was glad to finally make it to the Painted Hills, and when I stopped to use the restroom, a guy in the parking lot (we were the only two cars) told me that this place was definitely worth the drive (he saw my Georgia plates). So I was very excited!

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After all that snow I encountered, this place did not disappoint! It was gorgeous and it was such a beautiful day!

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As I trekked through this scenery, I really just thought about how amazing life is. In 28 years, I’ve traveled to Italy (twice), Switzerland, Spain, Greece, Croatia, China, Hong Kong, Australia, and Kuwait and Iraq (if you count those two), plus I’m getting to travel all over the US now. So many people never take the opportunity to travel and I just make it happen, year after year. I’ve seen so many different coastlines, mountain ranges, desserts, cities… I absolutely love being able to do this and hope to never stop traveling.

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After thoroughly enjoying my time there, I decided to head back to Washington (I stay just over the Columbia River in Washington). Unfortunately, the only signal I could get was just barely enough to load a map, so I ended up screen shutting a map in order to make my way home. It must have been the long way to go, cause it took me 5 1/2 hours to get back and was supposed to be less than 3. Oh well! I got to see some more amazing scenery!

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I actually got to see a ton of mountain tops from afar (Mt Rainier, impressively enough, but it was tiny, Mt Adams, Mt Jefferson…), but this is about the distance that I am on a daily basis from Hood, so this one wins. Besides, the gloom is back, so also fairly accurate. Hood is usually fogged out on rainy days though. Not the best composition for a picture, but I never want to be the one to pull off on the narrow shoulder in the gorge just to take photos.

And with that, my trip has come to an end! I’m back a day earlier than planned, but this cold is kicking my butt, so I plan on having a relaxing day tomorrow before heading back to 3 days straight at work!

 

 

Canyonlands National Park

After having a nice, relaxing night on Moab on Thursday night, I headed out Friday morning to go to Canyonlands National Park! I ended up getting into the park at 8:15, which was a bit later than I had wanted but it was hard to roll out of bed in the morning!

My first stop was the Mesa Arch, which is probably the most famous “attraction” in Canyonlands. Thankfully, I got there early enough that it was still fairly empty, and with how the sun was rising, the light was coming in at such a great angle on the arch! Unfortunately, a group of 4 guys stood right in front of the arch the entire time- never moving so I could snap a shot of the whole thing (thanks guys).

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I drove on to do a short hike to see the salt canyons (I doubt that’s what they’re called). I had been pretty enthralled with all the green sand I had been seeing everywhere and finally figured out that it’s salt! Who’da thunk it?

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Canyonlands probably offers really great hikes and they have a 4WD trail that looks awesome (my Honda Civic is not 4WD). I bet camping is great there too! Since my time was really limited, I did the Island in the Sky route and just made stops along various viewpoints.

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I headed out around 11:15 and then started making my way to Salt Lake City.

Along the way, I had another case of amazement. I actually think my favorite stretch of the drive may have been between Price, UT and Salt Lake City. I was surrounded by mountains and the leaves were still on the trees so they were red, yellow, and orange and just breathtaking! Unfortunately, getting a good shot was hard since I was on the wrong side of the road (the leaves were only changed on one side- must be the weather patterns) but I did my best!

I also came along a park right near Spanish Forks, UT and loved it! Great views! I spent a good 40 minutes there and enjoyed their bathrooms (seriously the cleanest bathrooms I’ve had the entire trip) since I had just finished my cup of coffee for the day!

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I got into Salt Lake City and ate a quick meal at Whole Foods before heading on to Boise! I managed to get a speeding ticket on my way to Boise for going 86mph in an 80mph zone. I was annoyed too because I had just checked my speedometer and was going 82, but had just come over a hill and was still accelerating (my car did really poorly going up the hills!) when he clocked me. I was already slowing down when I saw him and he really must have gotten me in that split second where I was going faster. Not that I don’t speed- cause I do, but I had actually barely been speeding for the last 50 miles or so because it had gotten dark!

I think the cop thought I was nuts too cause I wouldn’t roll my window down more than 2 inches. I told him I watch too many forensic shows and there are so many episodes where “cops” murder girls along the highway. I think he gave me a citation to prove that he was a “real” cop. Either way, he was really nice and we chatted some through my barely cracked window. He did ask if I had meth or paraphernalia in my car, or perhaps some marijuana. I wonder if anybody actually says, “Oh yeah, here you go!” Oddly enough, Jon and I had just talked a few days earlier about what I would do if I got pulled over at night. I was trying to convince him how safe I actually am and said I wouldn’t roll my window down if I got pulled over. Sticking to my guns.

I checked into a Hampton Inn at 9:50pm! I had been hoping to get a workout in, but I was absolutely starving and Bonefish had room service till 10pm, so I got on that instead! Had a relaxing night and then headed to bed! I did manage to wake up early for a workout in the hotel gym but my hip was hurting quite a bit so all I could do was upper body and even that caused some pain in my hip! I also ate a huge breakfast with real fruit (I hate melons, so when berries are part of my breakfast, I’m super happy!) at Big City Coffee in Boise! Go there if you ever have a chance!

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I headed out and got to Washington (I’m staying over the state line) by about 4pm after lots of rain (welcome to the west coast!) and tons of wind along the Columbia River!

Arches National Park

Thursday morning I headed out of my aunt’s house at 5:30am! Bright and early (kidding, it was dark, but it was early…)! I knew I had to get to Arches National Park and to Salt Lake City in order to get to Portland the next night! I made it through Denver and as I got into the mountains, I was totally in awe! They were gorgeous!

I stopped in Dillon to get gas and was just completely amazed. Speechless. I decided to head up to a lake that I saw on my Google Maps and ended up spending over an hour in Dillon/Frisco. (I haven’t gone through these- so you all get my Instagram versions.)

dillon colorado

dillon colorado

As I kept driving, I think I just became even more amazed than I had been. Colorado is such a beautiful state and I never could have pictured the adorable little towns! As I got into Vail, the trees really started to have some color (the leaves had fallen off a lot of the other places)! I found a great turn off spot and got a few pictures!

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I really thought I was never going to make it to Utah, but then the news came on saying they were expecting a wintery mix in the afternoon for elevations greater than 10,000 feet and flash floods for areas 7,000-10,000 feet! No thanks! It started raining on me too!

LONG drive to Utah! But beautiful!

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I got to Arches National Park around 1pm and ended up spending over 4 hours there! I think I could have stayed forever! I didn’t see a lot of the arches there since I had limited time and a lot of the arches called for longer hikes. It was also really crowded there and I hate crowds of people! They ruin all my photos!

arches national park

arches national park

After feeling rushed through Arches, I realized that it was Thursday and that I had two FULL days left of my road trip! I have no idea how I thought it was Friday all day, especially since Jon and I talked throughout the day about his classes and we talked about how he got up early to take out the trash (Thursday is trash day). This opened up some doors of opportunity! I had a whole free day that I wasn’t expecting!

After Arches, I was feeling pretty drained. I had been doing tons of driving (over 2,000 miles at that point!) and was starving and spent all day walking around in the heat! I decided to stay in Moab for the night, get dinner, relax, and then head to Canyonlands National Park the next day!

Moab was a super cute (super small) town! They had so many healthy options for eating and everything was walkable! My room was even pretty decent for being in a little motel! I was expecting a much more disgusting town but was pleasantly surprised!

I ended up staying up to upload photos. I’ve already filled all my memory on my Mac that I just got in May! I need to stop and buy a terabyte tomorrow since I can’t even upload all my pictures from today!

Road trip Monday and GARDEN OF THE GODS Tuesday!

Road trip recap!

Monday I woke up at 5am to head out before 6am. I got ready, finished packing, ate, and said my goodbyes to Jon! It was definitely hard leaving him, but no time to dwell! I’ll see him in 9 weeks!

The drive really went well on Monday. I stopped every 2 1/2 hours or more (mostly more) to pee, so I didn’t make very good progress on Monday at all!

I had planned on making it to Kansas City around 6pm their time, but realized pretty early on that there was no way that could happen (peeing plus accidents, not going to happen)! I decided to find a CrossFit gym in Missouri for an evening WOD to stretch out my legs after sitting all day! I picked CrossFit COMO in Columbia!

I was excited that it was near Mizzou cause I haven’t been to a “college” gym in awhile! It’s fun to have a younger crowd, but all my gyms lately are young professionals (like myself). It was really weird though cause the drop in fee was $16.20. Usually $10-$15 is the drop in, but $16.20? Really? Also, I had planned on running before the class, but because of 5pm traffic, I got to the gym right at 4:55 so there wasn’t time.

The group was really welcoming but the class was gigantic for the space! We did a decent warm up but I think I needed to warm up my legs a bit more. We started with a 10 min EMOM of overhead squats, but we teamed up on the bars. A bit of mass confusion at that time. So I did 5 sets. Unfortunately, at the bottom of my squat (105#- not heavy at all), my right hip popped and it hurt like a bit. I kept going with the squats and didn’t add weight, hoping it’d get better. WOD as follows:

10 Min EMOM of

10 push ups

Double unders for the remainder of the minute

Total score is the number of double unders (130, I was totally shocked that I did that many double unders since it’s such a weak point for me!)

My hip felt fine for this WOD, but then we had to sit on the floor to stretch at the end and I realized how sore it was to lift off the ground or swing side to side (all movements that I didn’t do for the WOD).

After the gym, I headed to HyVee for some deli meat and sushi. Pretty sure the Japanese guy making sushi offered to help answer questions I had about the sushi, but I was confused and asked him to make me an avocado roll with cream cheese. We had a conversation but I’m not sure what he said cause of his accent… All I know is that he did actually make me the sushi and it was phenomenal for grocery store sushi! So fresh!

My hip was really getting sore and I knew this couldn’t be good. I ended up driving to Kansas City to stay with my aunt that I haven’t seen in about 15 years! It was great to catch up, but once I got in bed, it was misery. Laying down was beyond painful and my sleep was not pleasant!

Tuesday I headed out by 6:30am to get to Colorado! Long, boring drive through Kansas and the eastern part of Colorado! I got to Colorado Springs at 2pm (good timing!) and had a meal at Whole Foods and grabbed some stuff for the road. Then I went to Garden of the Gods.

I LOVED Garden of the Gods! It was so beautiful and again, great weather! It wasn’t too crowded and it felt great to stretch my hip out! (I even considered running around the paved sidewalk there but decided I needed to rest longer.)

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I could have walked around forever there, but I had been tired all day and knew I needed to head out to make it to my other aunt’s house! I ended up hitting rush hour through Denver so I decided against stopping in the city. I still would really like to see Denver, but since I prefer nature, I feel like there will be another time for that! I stopped at a burrito place for some dinner and then got to my aunt’s around 8pm! We chatted for 2 hours (also haven’t seen her in probably 10 years or more). Great to catch up with family!

Tuesday night I edited some photos and then headed to bed for a day of Wednesday explorations!

Roadtrip- Boston to Atlanta

I’M HOME! I’ve actually been home. I should add to my list of things to blog about: Why I’m such a horrible wife and how long it takes me to adjust to having my husband around again and why travel nursing is hard on marriages. But that doesn’t sound like any fun. I will just assure you all that it took me until halfway through the day yesterday to recollect myself and stop actin’ a fool, and now Jon and I can continue on as a happily married couple. We’ll be an even happier married couple in a few hours once I clean the bathrooms and the floors (since they haven’t been cleaned in 13 weeks).

Anyway, so Friday afternoon, Jon and I met in Beacon, NY. Our plan was to head to the Catskills for some camping but partially due to my bad attitude and having to run back and forth to get keys to drop our stuff off, we decided to just stay in Beacon and head to do a hike the next day!

We spent our afternoon walking around a park and driving around the cute little town of Beacon!

Beacon, NY

It was super cute and we walked around and enjoyed some nice weather! After walking around for the afternoon, we headed back to Paul and Sonya’s (Jon’s old coworkers who are dating and now live in Beacon) so that we could grab some dinner with them!

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We headed out to the Newburgh Brewing Co and had a few drinks (I actually had a few cups of water) and then went to a fancy seafood dinner that took forever, but they warned us when we got there so it was no big deal! Jon and I were exhausted when we got back so we headed to bed!

Saturday we woke up fairly early and headed out for our Catskills hike! I used this website to find our hike, for anybody who is considering Catskills hiking! It was a great site! My goal for the day was to see a plane that crashed into the mountains in 1983, and the trail is listed on there! The hike said it was 3-4 hours and just under 6 miles! So we head out onto our hike thinking it’d be no big deal! The beginning of the hike was just annoying because you are stepping over roots and rocks nonstop but it wasn’t challenging at all. The trail was very clearly marked and we started our ascent. The ascent only had two spots where you had to actually climb up the rocks so it wasn’t bad at all. Also not very steep.

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The views at the top were fairly decent but not quite as breathtaking as some of the other hikes I did in New England! However, this hike was easy peasy so I wasn’t expecting anything too crazy! And the fog obviously clouded our view (heeey-o). We continued on with our hike, expecting that the plane would be around the corner. I had never noticed that the trail directions don’t say anything about Stoppel Point (where the plane crash is) and none of the signs along the trail were to Stoppel Point. After hiking about 5 miles, we almost headed back since it was getting later in the day. We decided to go another 30 minutes before heading back. (At that point, we had figured out that the website was only reviewing the loop- which is the 6 miles- finding the plane is additional.)

Thankfully we did, because not even 1/4 mile later, we hit the plane!

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My new goal in life is  to find all the plane crashes in the mountains. I have 2 under my belt. I think they’re fascinating! Anyway, we headed back and had what we think was a 9-10 mile hike in about 4 hours. Not bad at all!

That night, Jon and I grabbed a quick dinner and ate some delicious cupcakes!

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I’m not even a huge cake person but was craving cupcakes! And they were delicious! We ended up just heading to bed early on Saturday night since we were heading to NYC the next day and we were tired after our day of hiking!

Sunday morning, Jon, Paul, Sonya, and I headed to NYC! We took the train in from Beacon. Our first stop in NYC was the Chrysler building but it was closed.  We ended up going to an Irish pub for breakfast since Paul and Sonya were going to watch the soccer game there while Jon and I explored. Breakfast was iffy. I hate bar food so a bar breakfast was really not the highlight of my day, especially cause we walked by a Paleo restaurant like 30 minutes later (with PUMPKIN PANCAKES!).

Jon and I started our adventure by heading to the Financial District. It was about a 4 mile walk but we went by Ground Zero.

Ground Zero

I was glad to see it but I have a hard time getting into memorials. I think they’re awesome but I just have a hard time feeling compassion over water going into a hole in the ground. I have to actually see people upset in order for my feelings to get involved (which is why dead people in Iraq never bothered me- we never had to see the family!). Historical stuff is the same way- cool to see but I can’t imagine people being there so long ago, so it’s hard for me to be amazed. I’m amazed by scenery and nature or really awesome architecture.

NYC Hoboken

Our next stop was Hoboken and Lady Liberty! It was too foggy and we were too far to get a good shot of the statue. But the water was pretty! I actually have way more NYC pictures but I haven’t put them on my computer yet, so all you’re getting is the few iPhone pictures!

We met up with Paul and Sonya afterwards to explore two bars that Paul really likes. I had a serious bout of nausea for some reason right before we all met up so I wasn’t partaking in the beer, but it was still nice to hang out and sit down for awhile! We ended up heading towards Times Square afterwards and we decided to get a taxi. By the time we hailed a taxi, we were only 2 miles from Times Square. I rally when I travel. I prefer to just walk places, regardless of how many miles it is. I had no interest in the taxi, but then after spending 40 minutes and $35 to go ONE MILE in the taxi, I was beyond over it! We decided to just walk the last mile and ended up in swarms of people.

Jon and I both hate crowds. I had already expressed my lack of interest in NYC (which is a bummer cause I’ve wanted to go there for years) and my inability to understand why anybody would actually like NYC, but at that point, I was just over the whole thing. I can almost guarantee that we will never go back to NYC again. Why go sit in traffic and have to weave in and out of people when I could just go to Lake Tahoe?!

Paul and Sonya decided to go grab dinner but I really wanted to see Times Square during the day. We all split up again and Jon and I went on our way to do some exploring. We walked down the streets and then headed to Central Park.

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By then, it was getting dark. Jon and I were arguing about everything (or just not speaking) and we were both hungry. I found a place on Yelp and we ate a quick $50 way-too-expensive-for-what-it-was meal, and then he took me to see Times Square at night!

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The night ended up fine and I did enjoy my day in NYC, but like I said, no desire to go back! After hiking 9-10 miles on Saturday and walking at least 10 miles on Sunday, I was beat! I got into bed and didn’t want to move at all on Sunday night!

Monday Jon and I road tripped back! It was a beautiful fall day and I loved the weather! We made very frequent stops in the morning to get out and walk around. Both of us were so tired and I don’t want blood clots either! Once we started getting through the day, we stopped much less! We ended up going through Shenandoah for a quick detour.

Shenandoah

Then we stopped in Charlotte for dinner and saw this amazing sunset when we were leaving!

Charlotte

And that was our weekend! We got home around 11 on Monday night and I’ve been loving being home! I’ll update you all on the rest tomorrow, but for now, it’s time to go clean the house!