my little green flags | Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID

About a year ago I started flagging places in my Google Map—places that sounded fun, unique or exceptionally beautiful. I am not building a bucket list, I’m crafting an itinerary of possibilities; mentally acknowledging that no matter where we are, there are amazing things to discover.

When I see an Instagram picture of a breathtaking scene, I create a flag. If I watch a YouTube video and see an amazing experience, I flag. I flag it and forget it until it’s time to create our next travel itinerary and then, like an airliner landing at night, those little flags help light my way.

My map is quickly filling in, populated by little green flags representing places we’ve encountered and others we’ve yet to explore. (Yellow stars indicate locations where I’ve found RV family friendly volunteer opportunities.)

MULTI-PERSONALITY IDAHO

Bruneau Dunes State Park is stop number one on our before mentioned travel map and was inspired by one of those little green flags in Southern Idaho.

Like so many western states, Idaho has many personalities. What you discover in the panhandle differs drastically from the central valley, and the valley is not at all like the southern region. Continue reading “my little green flags | Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID”

dirty air | Kamiah, ID

It’s only 3:30 in the afternoon, yet the daylight slowly filtering through the thick, smokey air feels misplaced–as though evening accidentally arrived 3 hours early. On a day which was predicted to reach three digits, the thermometer instead flirts with 80 degrees. The majestic Idaho mountains typically visible in the distance are completely concealed in a cloak of secrecy.

dirty air

MISGUIDED CONFIDENCE

This morning my 8-year-old confirmed the eire sky when he confidently declared that the sun forgot to rise. “I’m serious mom, when I go outside, I don’t have a shadow. The sun hasn’t even risen!” I didn’t correct him. Instead, I tucked the memory of his precious, misguided confidence into my heart and reflected on its startling significance. Continue reading “dirty air | Kamiah, ID”

less excuses, more accountability

It’s been crickets here on the blog for over a week. We’ve all been soaking up long overdue grandma and grandpa time in Minnesota.

The kids have rediscovered forgotten toys hidden deep in upstairs closets. Trent has been diligently working his way down a list of RV updates and repairs and I’ve been playing monopoly and dominoes, reading, sewing and working out. It’s been awesome. All of it. Except maybe for the working out. That’s been super tough.

LESS EXCUSES

In April I told you that I was working on developing a habit of regular exercise. In the spirit of transparency, I thought I’d check in and let you know how that has been going.
January: 0 workouts
February: 0 workouts
::NEW HABIT BEGINS::
March: 20 workouts
April: 24 workouts
May: 16 workouts
June: 13 workouts
July: 4 workouts
So that downward trend is less than awesome. I have excuses all lined up and ready but I’m not going to bother with them. Continue reading “less excuses, more accountability”

sailboat racing | Lake Ontario

It’s warm with a tempting breeze—the kind that beckons you toward refreshing water. Once again, it’s race time for the local sailors on Lake Ontario and they are in need of crew. Now in our 24th day of ongoing engine repair, Trent and I just happen to be available.

SILENT SENTINELS

The sun is dipping low on the horizon as we make our way on to the dock. The water laps softly beneath our feet as we tread past row after row of occupied boatslips. The surrounding schooners stand like silent sentinels, masts reaching skyward. It’s easy to feel insecure in this unfamiliar space. Yet I know that all that stands between the known and the unknown is the experience that lies before me.

sailboats lake ontario

BLUE LIQUID

A crew of six welcomes us aboard the Wind Thief. I’m given a brief tour before we shove off and make our way into the harbor. Once we near the starting point of our race, the motor is retired and the sails are hoisted heavenward. Like bees in a flower garden, the sailboats on the lake permeate the horizon, filling it with vertical sheets of white against a backdrop of blue liquid. Continue reading “sailboat racing | Lake Ontario”

be the change | Albion Falls, Ontario

I pack lunches and we pile into the van. In a city with 100 waterfalls, it’s high time we visit another. Setting the GPS to Albion Falls, we leave the campground and head southeast. We pass the travel time by listening to Mr. Poppers Penguins.

DISSAPOINTING DESCENT

Twenty minutes later we arrive, exit the van and begin our hike to the falls. The sign near the trailhead warns of poison ivy. Ironically, we feel well prepared to identify and avoid the dangerous flora, thanks to our time in Connecticut. Making our way cautiously down the embankment, we meet the down-flow from the falls and begin to track it to its head.

Characteristically, we hear the falls before seeing it. As we approach, stepping gingerly from one dry rock to another, it becomes immediately obvious that we are not the first ones to traverse this trail. The breathtaking chiaroscuro* filtering through the trees and refracting off the water does nothing to detract from the garbage lying about. Try as I might, I cannot not see the trash. It’s everywhere. Plastic water bottles are piled up in heaps. Empty firework casings from the recent 150-celebration float in the water, helplessly trapped behind a rock. Dirty socks and Tim Horton coffee cups are peeking out from the bushes.

Undaunted, our kids seek out pools of water in which to peer and boulders and rocks begging to be stood upon. In my efforts to take a photo sans garbage, I succeed. Yet I know when I look at the picture in the future, my brain will auto-insert the trash that was so carefully omitted. Continue reading “be the change | Albion Falls, Ontario”