The Journey Continues… One Year Later

I have to admit it boggles my mind… that I’ve been out here, on my own, traveling across this great nation… for a year! And what’s maybe even more interesting is that I haven’t grown tired of it yet. By the end of the year I will slow my pace dramatically, staying in each location for a month or more. This will allow me more time to work on the numerous projects I’ve begun, but have little time to attend to while in motion, and it will save me a substantial amount of money on gas. It will also give me time to get to know some of my favorite places more intimately, which I will enjoy immensely.

While thinking of my year on the road I have the urge to share my melancholy… the most memorable moments, favorite places, precious time with friends and family… but I think those may be better shared at the end of the year after I’ve gone full circle around the country. By then I’ll have seen most of the “lower forty-eight”, and will undoubtedly have a bigger collection of memories in my treasure trove.

For now I have my work cut out for me to keep up with my blogging and business. At writing I am in upstate New York, and am working my way northeast to satisfy a long awaited dream of seeing these states completely saturated in autumn color. From what I’m gathering (online research and asking questions of the locals) the peak color is coming earlier than normal, and after an extremely dry year, it is not likely to last long. That means I’ll have to move along at a pretty good clip, exploring AND “moving my home” almost daily, in order to see it all. It also means I will not get to see all I had hoped to see. Many of the places I have on my lengthy list will have to wait until I return to this corner of the country. And I will return, I assure you. It is stunningly beautiful here!

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And now… a word from our sponsors…

One of the projects I’ve been working on is a beautiful 2013 Calendar made up of some favorite images from my first year on the road. Until I go to press on October 8th, I am offering these at a discounted price of $16 (including tax and s/h). Orders of five or more will be further discounted. After the 8th they will go up to $18 (plus tax and s/h). Until I create a shopping cart option here your orders will have to be placed directly through me by using the “Contact” button at the upper right corner of the screen. These calendars are high quality, and will make wonderful gifts for the upcoming holidays. Just think… you could be the only one to show up with a gorgeous 2013 calendar instead of a bottle of wine for the hosts of the many parties you’ll attend over the next few months!!! It would be far more memorable and last a whole year longer! 🙂

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Back to our regularly scheduled programing…

On my way out of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I took the time to hop on a ferry to Mackinac Island. I took the dogs along rather than leaving them in the RV sitting in a parking lot all afternoon. This was their first time on a ferry, and although a bit nervous, they did great. No surprise. These two are so accommodating!

Interestingly, automobiles are not allowed on the island, so the only way to get around is on foot, by bike, or in a horse drawn carriage. I would have enjoyed renting a bike and touring the island, but with the dogs in tow that wasn’t an option. I actually went to two of the rental spots hoping they’d have a bike with a sturdy enough “kid trailer” to haul the girls in, but they didn’t seem to exist, so we walked.

I found the island to be very quaint, and was not surprised to learn that  “Somewhere in Time”, a favorite movie starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymore, was filmed there. We covered a lot of ground in a few hours, and I found myself wishing for more time to explore further. While there I made myself a promise to come back one day, and splurge on a room in one of the beautiful hotels. A word to you romantics out there… this would be a great couples get-away!

Light tower with the infamous Mackinac Bridge in the background

Everywhere I go there’s Zen! 🙂

Another stop as I headed south was “The Cross in the Woods” Shrine in the small town of Indian River. By far the biggest cross I’ve ever seen, it stands 55′ above the mound it is built on, and spans 22′ in width. I understand the cross is made from one California Redwood Tree. Impressive!

Cross in the Woods Shrine

From there I headed east to Lake Huron and meandered my way south. I found another waterfront campsite on the Thunder Bay River at Lake Winyah. Here I was able to kayak with the girls on board for a little while before a storm set in. At dawn there was a little break in the rain so I hopped back on the kayak with my camera. The birds weren’t as cooperative as some. 🙂

Shortly after my paddle on the lake I broke camp and continued south. The weather was not conducive for sightseeing (nor driving for that matter) but I did make a few stops so the girls and I could stretch our legs. One of those stops was at the Tawas Point Lighthouse.

Our destination for the evening was the home of my friends Angela Carson and Steve Post in Northville. I’ve mentioned in some of my other Michigan posts how many photographers I know in this state, and Angela is one of them. I parked the Beast snugly in their driveway and spent a few days hanging out, visiting and getting caught up on some work in the comfort of their home (and tapped into their internet connection.)

While there I took the time to drive to Ann Arbor to visit my niece Lindsey. She’s actually my ex-husband’s niece, but his family still feels like family to me. I had not seen Lindsey in several years, so it was wonderful to get some time with her. We spent the afternoon at the barn where she boards her horse, Graham.

Jazzy and Sadie were quite an attraction amongst the horses, who all came over to the fences to check them out. Some were quite excited by their presence as you can see. And the two little barn goats, six month old pygmies named Mario and Luigi, were hilarious! They were curious about the dogs, but afraid at the same time, and their antics were comedic. Let’s just say they bounced and bleated… a lot! And they were adorable.

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for awhile know how much I love horses. Graham is big at 17 hands, and absolutely beautiful! Lindsey saddled him up and we took turns riding him. While she rode, Mario and Luigi came over to hang out with me, and attempted to eat my jacket. I rode… cautiously… feeling more than a little out of practice on an english saddle. It was an afternoon very well spent.

Lindsey and Graham

The adorable duo, Mario and Luigi!

A HUGE thanks to Angela and Steve for giving me a comfortable place to get caught up with life, and to Lindsey for taking time off work to spend with me and the girls!

After nearly a month in Michigan I’m moving along. Stay tuned for the beautiful state of New York and the coming of autumn!

 

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  • Laura Mahoney

    I discovered your blog when I saw the title on the Beast’s windshield. I started reading at the beginning and paused only long enough to refill my coffee. What an awesome adventure you are on! Your great story telling and amazing photography is bringing our great country to life for all who follow your blog while also highlighting the importance of friends, family and of course dogs in our lives. Thank you for sharing and being an inspiration to us all!

    • fran

      Thank you so much Laura, and thanks for coming by and introducing yourself. It pleases me to know how many people are enjoying my journey along with me. That was an unexpected blessing when I started this blog. New Hampshire is no more than a week away. Let me know if you’d like to try to meet for a hike. You have my number.

  • John T S

    Wow, you are way over There now. I had no idea that Michigan had so much to offer.
    I’m looking forward to seeing what the northeast brings. Great to read that you are still enjoying the journey after year 1.

    • fran

      If I had to pick my top 5 favorite states up to that point, Michigan would definitely be amongst them. Now I’m in New York though, and I’m in love all over again! 🙂

  • I’ve been doing it for two and a half years now…can’t believe how long its been. Would be nice to be doing it with someone though…has been getting a bit lonely. 🙂 Just love looking at your photography…really great work! Any plans to be in the S.W. this winter?

    • fran

      Thanks Mike. Glad you’re enjoying the images. I hear ya. It can get a little quiet at times. I keep vacillating back and forth as to where I’ll winter. I have a feeling I won’t get to see all I want to see here in the east before winter, and might opt to come back up this way in the spring, which would mean wintering on this side of the country. But I won’t’ know for a month or more. Let’s connect down the road. Who knows when we might cross paths.