Sunday, September 30, 2012

Iowa, Minnesota and beyond!

We survived the drive through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, AND Iowa! Phew! That was a toughie! When we breezed through the Chicago area quickly, we made a pit stop to see our good friend, Matt Cameron, who attends Wheaton College. He was a great tour guide and took us to get (my first) Chicago Style deep dish pizza! I must say it was a proud moment when my husband was able to finish a 4th slice of the enormous pizza...something that Matt said he had never seen anyone accomplish! haha!

From there we continued on to DeWitt, Iowa, where we stayed with the wonderful Lang family, who were kind enough to host us (very last minute) for the night. We enjoyed getting to spend some time with their family and hear about their own travels and adventures across the country over the years.
In the morning we hit the exciting roads of Iowa again only to find that our tire was not doing so well! $103 later and one non-impressive new tire and we were coasting along again, making our way to see some other great friends, Hillary and Calvin Brue who live in the beautiful St. Paul, Minnesota.
It has been so neat getting to spend some time here in this lovely city (we were amazed how clean and nice everything is!!) We enjoyed a night out with Hillary and Calvin (lots of laughing) and here we are again, less than 12 hours later, about to get back into the car! Off we go, toward the Badlands!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Camping Lake Placid

After our night of spoils in our lovely hotel room, we headed into down town Lake Placid to walk around and take in the sights. Our plan for the night was to camp out again, not too far from town. Turns out they are very very serious about bear precautions in the Lake Placid area, and even turn down most bear bins as "unusable", so we figured that since we were just spending the one night out there, we would stuff ourselves with a BIG late lunch and therefore only have to bring our clothes with us for the evening. No food, no bears. Problem solved. I think our minds were a little bigger than our stomachs though (a common problem for me) as we demolished a whole pizza and then felt immediately horrible afterward! Not the best idea I guess. But it beat cooking over a camp stove!

Later, Taylor did a great job of finding us a little site about 2 miles into a park, so we grabbed some stuff for the night and headed in! I should start by saying that this was definitely my favorite night of camping so far!! The hike to the campsite was beautiful (and even better, FLAT!) and we arrived to find an open lean-to shelter for the taking! So we threw our stuff in, got cozy in our little sleeping bags, and enjoyed some reading before getting an awesome nights' sleep. It actually started pouring pretty hard as well, but we couldn't have cared less as we were safe and warm in our little home.

We woke up to a beautiful blue sky, forced ourselves from our sleeping bags, and headed back to the car, which we spent ALL DAY in traveling to Ohio. We had a great plan of staying in a nice hostel for the night but arrived to a dark and empty place instead :( After way too much time in the car and the hours getting later and later, we made the hasty decision to just go for the cheapest local hotel we could find. BIG. MISTAKE. Let's just say that the Days Inn in wherever-we-are Ohio is to be avoided. Gross. If we survive the night without contracting anything than we will be sure to update soon on what is to come next!

 My bear stick...I'm not going down without a fight if a bear comes sniffing around my sleeping bag!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NH to Lake Placid

We got the treat of experiencing 5 or so hours of stunning driving views as we made our way out of Hew Hampshire, through Vermont, and into NY! The leaves on the trees are just starting to change to oranges, yellows, and reds, and the rolling hills allowed us to coast our way along, happy as clams :)  Not looking too far ahead into the driving directions, we were slightly surprised and delighted to find ourselves dumped right into the heart of Burlington! Turns out that we needed to take a ferry across Lake Champlain in order to continue on toward Lake Placid, but had some time to kill until leaving, so parked the car and headed into town for some exploring. Taylor was in heaven, as around every corner was either a long-haired, bearded man like himself, or yet another outdoors supply store. Apparently they designed Burlington with him in mind! After seeing some sights in record time, we ran back to the car, pulled it onto the ferry, and floated over to NY. Not too long after that we cruised our way into Lake Placid and, cue the angels singing...pulled into a HOTEL! My wonderful in-laws were thoughtful enough to treat us to a hotel for the night for our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!! We took full advantage of the hot showers, comfy beds, TV, and free coffee before going out to a nice little anniversary dinner at a local Brewery. So far, I can't say that we've seen much of Lake Placid, as we have been too content in the comforts of out hotel room to actually leave! But off we will go today to camp out again somewhere close by. More to come soon!

White Mountains, NH

On Monday we said good bye to the beautiful Bar Harbor area, and headed into the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We reserved a "shelter" a ways up the mountain, which turned out to be relatively nice, when the alternative is sleeping in a breezy tent, that is. Our little home for the night was a 4-walled hut with a nice little picnic table outside...not too shabby! We arrived there (2 miles from our start), made dinner, and climbed into our sleeping bags as it got dark, only to realize that it was only 6:30pm!! Oops....guess we forgot to bring something to keep us occupied once the sun set! My big scare came maybe an hour after that when a water bottle (so Taylor says anyway...!?) fell over, causing me to jump a foot into the air, convinced that bears were trying to get in and we were without a doubt going to die!!! Though it was a close call, we did, in fact, survive the night, and woke up at 5:30am to continue the hike up to the top of Mt. Washington. The rising sun caused the most beautiful "glow" on the mountain (as the burly caretaker at the shelter called it), surrounding us with a bright orange color. Awesome! After that, we trudged our way back down the mountain to the car and continued on to Lake Placid, NY.....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Acadia National Park

Sorry for the delay with updating our little blog! Turns out it's a little tough to get wifi in the woods! Anyway, we have been busy hitting a few more places on our list over the last few days so here's what we've been up to....

We left the Boston area on Saturday for beautiful Acadia! We must have some good prayers helping us out because as we were driving into the park we were disappointed to see lots of overcast and drizzle, only to find out that it would quickly clear out and leave us with nothing but sunny skies! We camped there in the park for two nights, did a little hiking to the top of Cadillac Mountain, and explored adorable Bar Harbor. It was a lot of fun and a good start to our camping experiences!
Night One in the tent!

Friday, September 21, 2012

North Shore

We had an absolutely beautiful day for exploring Massachusetts' North Shore, spending time in a few quaint towns such as Rockport, Glaucester, and even Salem for a short time.

Our day started off with a visit to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (one of our two options for the spring), where we got to poke around the campus and talk with both professors and students. Very helpful and informative! Dana took us to visit two of his friends Monica and Jonathan, newly-weds who are both currently attending the school for their MDIVs. All three of them were incredibly gracious with us as they patiently answered our questions and told us of their own experiences. We have been so thankful to Dana and Kristen, as well as our new friends Monica and Jonathan, for all that they have taken the time to show us here in Mass!

We have one more night here in a nice, comfy bed, and will be packing up again in the morning. Acadia National Park, here we come!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

And We're Off!

We may have been up until 3:00am, but we managed to pack up everything into the car and be ready to leave for our trip! Our incredibly patient friends, Gwen and Andrew, gave us total control over their driveway as we "organized" our gear and our thoughts (which proved to be so much more painful than anyone saw coming!)
This is what our entire day yesterday looked like! As put by Andrew, "It looks like REI had diarrhea all over my driveway!"

In the car.....

Heading North!

So with the car all loaded up, we were able to drive off toward our first destination this morning! We passed through 5 states in roughly 5 hours (PA, NJ, NY, CT, & MA) and made it safely to our good friends' house in Westford, Mass! We will be visiting beautiful New England with our wonderful hosts, Dana and Kristen Smith, for the next couple of days until we go off into the wilderness if Acadia Nat'l Park! Trying to focus on storing up on actual food before we turn to a life of oatmeal and PB&J! 

One more note- Our Mt. Bethel friends at home gifted us with a beautiful daily devotional, Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado, before we left today. As Taylor and I took a moment tonight to sit and enjoy the peace that has come with this adventure, we opened up to todays page to find the lesson saying, "For you to be healthy, you must rest. Slow down, and God will heal you. He will bring rest to your mind, to your body, and most of all to your soul. He will lead you to green pastures." (Psalm 23:3) We got a kick out of the beautiful encouragement that it was to find that on our very first day of this season of rest for us.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Change of Plans

After hours and hours of hard work, elbow grease, and maybe a few tears, the Geo has been declared un-driveable for our road trip. It looks like the engine is just in too much need of repair to make it worth while to fix or safe to drive. But not to worry, because we have a back up; my trusty Toyota Corolla is fit to be driven and readily awaiting in the driveway to be filled to the brim with all of our gear so that we can hit the road! We spent the entire day yesterday trying to get everything moved out of our apartment in hopes of leaving for road trip destination #1 this morning (Boston), but Mother Nature was throwing a bit of a fit, making our moving more than difficult! Assuming that we can finish getting everything out of the apartment, clean it up, pack for our trip, and load up the car, than we can maybe, possibly, hopefully, still leave by this afternoon!

So far, we are mostly still smiles. We'll see how the rest of this day and the start to this trip go!!

Oh, and P.S. - as you may have been thinking, the name of our little blog isn't quite as accurate anymore, now is it? I thought of changing it but figured that it would just be easiest to keep it the same. Sorry! We will all just have to have a mutual understanding that by "Just Us and the GEO" I of course mean the Corolla!? Sound good? Good!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bump in the Road No. 1

Well folks, it looks like we have our first bump in the road, and we haven't even left yet! It appears that the little Geo is now in need of a "Head Job", whatever that means (I don't speak car). When told that said job would cost us roughly $1300, what did my husband do but say to himself, "well I'LL just do it then!" And so he is taking on the, what I understand to be very time consuming, job on his own (thankfully with the help of some very wise mechanics whom we know and love). Wish us luck! We are hoping to still be able to leave for our adventure on September 19th and not have to trim off any stops along the way due to expenses. Sheesh...this road trip stuff is stressful!

In the mean time, enjoy this fun project that some fellow geo-owners took on to make their own travels a bit more comfortable in their little car. Cool, huh!?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Adventure Begins...

Well, it's finally happening! For years, Taylor and I have been dreaming of taking a cross country road trip together but have simply never had the time, means, or I suppose GUTS to actually do it! But we decided to finally just go for it and hope for the best! We will be heading North in T-minus 14 days (give or take a day) to start off our roughly 2 MONTH trip. We will be doing as much camping and backpacking as we can, while also throwing in the occasional night in a hotel to help keep us human. And the best part is that we will be taking on this American Adventure in the mighty Geo! Yes, the Geo. That means it will just be me, Taylor, a couple hundred pounds of supplies and gear, and a few thousand miles in just the Geo. Prayers are appreciated!