Archive for Travel

Recharging in the middle of nowhere…

Whenever someone asks me if I get tired or bored of working with my own business I give them the honest answer, “Duh, yes!”

We all get bogged down, we all feel uninspired, we all wish that the work would magically get done without us sometimes. For me this tends to happen about twice a year – in the spring and in the fall. The spring funk is mostly rooted in the fact that not so many folks get married in the winter in Oregon. I’ll have spent the previous 3ish months doing back-end work on my webpage, updating print media, meeting with couples for consultations, and the occasional engagement session. The gray skies can make the winter months difficult so by the time March rolls around I’m itchin’ to get back to work, but I’m feeling out of practice and in a funk. The fall freakout is a little bit different and has been with me since college. This one occurs around October and comes with a panicked questioning of everything I’ve ever known! FREAKOUT!!! 

Both the funk and the freakout are not terribly helpful, take up a lot of my energy, and have the potential to lead to fear-based decisions. In my last blog post I talked about community, competition, and fear… If you haven’t had the chance to read it, click over there, then come right back.

We all have our ways of recharging, resetting, and realigning – the way I do it is to get the eff outta town! John and I are big fans of Eastern Oregon, high deserts, and being at least one hour away from anyone else… so that’s usually where we end up. If we have the time and don’t mind a barebones campsite we’ll take his motorcycle, but if we want to camp with more comforts or if we’re a little pressed for time we’ll take his truck. In March our friend, Bob, was in Oregon visiting from Santa Fe (we also looooove the South West). He was the one who introduced John to Hart Mountain a few years ago and we were very excited for all three of us to get to go together and be in the quiet. Hart Mt is very special. The 278,000-acre area is a national refuge for pronghorn antelope and other species with a 4,000 ft elevation difference from its highest to lowest point. This trip was focused on taking it easy and just enjoying being the only people out there. Our first night a storm rolled in, dropping the temperature and dumping several inches of snow on us. I was freezing all night… and my new focus was just staying warm.

The next day was amazing!!!  The snow eventually melted in the sunny spots and we spent the day exploring a basin farther into the refuge. Tiny flowers were emerging and fresh signs that the animals were out on the prowl all pointed to spring. There were also a lot of arrowhead pieces poking out of the newly bare soil. We explored for hours… I even got a little sunburned. We soaked in the sun while it was up, because we knew another cold night was coming once it went down.

After taking Bob to the airport John and I decided that we really needed some motorcycle time. We quickly unpacked and repacked (our living room looked like a garage sale was happening) our gear and planned an overnight route for the Painted Hills in Central Oregon. Neither of us had been to that area, but we knew it had a great reputation for motorcycle touring as well as breathtaking scenery. We stayed at the Oregon Hotel in Mitchell (not to be confused with Hotel Oregon in McMinville) and had some really tasty burgers at the diner down the street, before turning in early. Apparently the “gas station” across the street from the hotel used to keep a live BEAR in a cage for people to look at. We were up before the sun to get started on our route and ended up needing every inch of daylight to see everything we wanted to see and still make it home in the same day.

I came back fully recharged and ready to hit the ground running… Thanks Oregon!

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>>> Photos below from our Painted Hills trip were taken with my iphone.

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Painted Hills Oregon

Painted Hills Oregon

Painted Hills Oregon

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A 3,700 mile motorcycle tour from Oregon to the Southwest and back…

…I still can’t feel my butt.

The only signs we missed were Oregon (it’s on a bridge with no shoulder) and Arizona (it was dark and again no shoulder).

This trip was months in the making, more or less went according to plan, was like nothing I’ve (or any of us had) ever done before, was EPIC – in the most literal use of the word, brought me closer to my special man, and created memories that will last a lifetime. John and I spent 12 days traveling by motorcycle (Triumph 1200 Tiger Explorer) with our dear friend Chris tailing us in his uber efficient car (Honda Civic) from Corvallis, OR on back highways through the Southwest and back covering 3,700 miles.

It went a little something like this: Corvallis, OR > Hart Mountain, OR | Hart Mountain, OR > Wells, NV | Wells, NV > Phoenix, AZ (this was a 21 hour day and I wouldn’t recommend ever EVER doing it… we made a judgement call and it worked out ok, but it was risky) | Stayed in Phoenix sleeping and visiting with friends for a couple days | Phoenix, AZ > Gila Mountain NF, NM | Gila Mountains NF, NM > Santa Fe, NM | Stayed in Santa Fe for a full day eating, sleeping, and hiking | Santa Fe, NM > Moab, UT | Moab, UT > Honeyville, UT | Honeyville, UT > Wallowa-Whitman NF, OR | Wallowa-Whitman NF, OR > Home.

The photos below are an assortment between my Sony Alpha 77 and my iphone 5s.  Be sure to check out my instagram for more photos and upcoming adventures… Enjoy!

Things that we saw that were not photographed – probably because we were moving and it happened for a split second:
(Day 1) Tons of people that wondered up to John to talk about motorcycles. A giant black cow that was nearly ran into John and I on the bike (it was dark). (Day 2) More cows in the road, we very carefully went around them, though Chris was worried about a particularly LARGE bull that was eye-balling his red car. Lots of antelope, mull deer, jack rabbits, and mountains. A crap load of bikers in Winnemucca, NV for a Memorial Day Weekend thing… (Day 3) Spent most of the day on the “Loneliest Highway” which also turns out to be the “Motorcycliest”. Saw AMAZING weather systems and rode in between two storms through most of Neveda. At one point my helmet got hucked across the highway by the wind (ouch!), but my communication system took the beating and kept working (5 stars!), shortly after we also saw a styrofoam cup fly across the sky. (Day 4-5) Lots of street art in Phoenix. (Day 6) The reemergence of life once we entered New Mexico – butterflies, hummingbirds, prairie dogs, HUGE hawks, and more antelope. Naked hippies in the hot springs. (Day 7) Lots of tiny lizards, burned out sections of forest, cicadas, and a raven that piloted for us on a twisty back-highway for about 1/4 mile. WIND!!!!! Wind that wanted to throw us into the other lane from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. (Day 8 ) Some of the best food I’ve ever had in my WHOLE LIFE!!! Street art, lots of adobe houses (all of them), interesting roadways. Crazy weather systems as we rode out to Ghost Ranch (yea, I went to Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ranch) and hiked Kitchen Mesa. Lots of lizards, birds, flowers, rocks, and everything you could want to see, smell, or touch. (Day 9) Some of the prettiest horses I’ve ever seen! Breathtaking views coming through upper New Mexico, SW Colorado, Rocky Mountains, Mesa Verde, the abrupt change in the quality of the roads as we crossed into Utah (ps Utah has crappy roads, so does Idaho), and Moab. I do feel guilty not getting more photos of the red cliffs as we made our way through SE Utah, but dammit we were trying to make it Moab in time to get a camping spot. Oh yea, and I saw a BEAR in Colorado! A BIG BROWN BEAR! (Day 10) Just REALLY BIG hills and cliffs that are right up against the highway – they make you feel really small. The frequency of “family fun centers” and theme parks from Moab to Salt Lake City is a bit unsettling. …then we camped at one. We thought it was a hot spring, and it was… that was also a family fun center with a water slide. (Day 11) Not much. It’s not that there isn’t stuff happening in the lower half of Idaho… it’s just that it’s pretty much all Ag land. Yep, lots of cows and horses, and stuff getting watered. That is until we got back into Oregon and got a view of the Wallowa Mountains. (Day 12) More Wallowa Mountains and LOTS of wind turbines coming through The Gorge. We also saw more deer, BIG HORNED SHEEP, wind surfers and wind + water related sports that I’m not sure what they’re called, The Columbia River at it’s finest, The Budweiser Clydesdales …for real! They were traveling on I-84, three trailers full, and I asked John if he thought the horses were really in there after we passed the one in back. When we passed the middle trailer I looked in an open window and saw a GIANT horse eye looking back at me! “They are, they are!” Then we were coming up to the first trailer and I told him to watch for one if he could (it’s hard to look around when you’re managing a two-up motorcycle in The Gorge) and then one of them poked its GIANT horse nose out of the window! HAHAHA!!! I don’t even like Budweiser, but that was AWESOME!

There are so many more stories. …like The Argentinian, or THE HEAT that nearly suffocated us as we tried to leave Phoenix, all the bones in the desert, the mining towns, THE MINES, the New Mexico and Colorado skyline, the price of ice in the desert, how it smells soooooooo good when it rains there, the bird and insect sounds, the GIANT cougar print that was bigger than my whole hand at our last camping spot that John didn’t tell me about til morning (good call), the guy bummin’ gas money in his brand new Mercedes, and ALL the little kids that wondered up to John to look at his motorcycle.