words on adventure

The thing about adventure is: it is fluid – it is not limited to space and time, and requires an open mind and heart. It will be uncomfortable, at times painful, and scary. But, it can also be life altering – bringing joy and personal growth. Moving to Idaho has been epic in ways I never imagined. The air is ripe with juniper and pine – which, to a gin enthusiast, is basically a dream. The landscape hosts the most extraordinary parts of this country – the conservation of wilderness, the mountains, the massive sky, and the lakes/rivers – it is phenomenal. The people are some of the kindest you will meet outside The South. When they ask how your day is, they actually want to know. Everywhere you go they smile, and offer assistance above and beyond. You might wait 45 minutes at the DMV, and once you get to the counter, you are greeted with a smile and delightful conversation. Honestly – I still cannot get over that part – it’s like Mayberry or a movie lot. For two East Coasters this was the most jarring of culture shocks.

These last four years have been some of the most enlightening of my life. The seemingly organic ways I have grown, perhaps matured, have always felt bigger than me. Even in the trying moments, something in my gut whispered, you are being prepared for so much more. I am still clueless to what that, more, is; however, I would not change a single thing. The relationships we built are of monumental proportions. Seriously. To think in four years we have secured depths and heights with such beautiful souls, makes my insides a little bit mushy and warm. It’s weird…but I kind of like it. These people are kind, generous, broken, loving, forgiving, freaking hilarious, gracious, and stuck with us always and forever.

You may be curious why I am suddenly sentimental, verging on sappy; It looks weird on me, right? Unfortunately, it will continue just a bit longer, bear with me. Our trajectory is taking a sharp right turn – one both unexpected and exciting. In a few short weeks we will be embarking on a new adventure, one taking us back East. It is filled with a lot of excited anticipation, many unknowns, and a constant state of pinching ourselves. If I am being honest, we have been emotionally dehydrated these last two years. We are looking forward to some serious soul feeding times with family and friends. A reset, a filling back up of sorts. Our exit is incredibly bittersweet – it has been a beautiful chapter of life – leaving a permanent bookmark in our story. We are humbled by the love and lives so richly shared with us. It was beyond our wildest hopes to know this place and its people. We will definitely be back here to visit; however, we cannot wait see our Idaho peoples on our coast very soon!

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life. – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Image found via Pinterest 

birthday adventures

A couple weeks ago I inched closer to my mid-thirties. Time seriously needs to slow down. My cousin Ben from Tennessee happened to drive across the country to visit/celebrate and we had an awesome time. [I’m sure he also wanted to run and hike the fly over states but right now, this is all about me]  Saturday we took him to one of our favorite hikes right downtown. It’s pretty easy but has some of the best views of the lake and cool side paths that take you to coves and beaches. While we were out and about I had beef slow roasting at home – dinner that night was slow cooked korean beef tacos with marinated cucumber slaw. heaven. I’m sure we did something else that afternoon but my brain doesn’t work well these days.

Ben & Misie
Sunday we all tried something new. We planned to ride the Hiawatha Trail. We drove the scenic route to the trail to save some $$ on the shuttle. We took a random dirt road from behind an old craftsman style house right downtown in Wallace, ID. This dirt road went on for miles and miles and included ATV trails, backpacking trails and beautiful views of the bitterroot mountains. It was awesome.

The Hiawatha Trail

was called one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. When the Milwaukee Railroad was operating, the trains traversed through 11 tunnels and over 9 high trestles, covering a 46 mile route that crossed the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The “Route of the Hiawatha” is most famous for the long St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel which burrows for 8771 ft. (1.66 miles) under the Bitterroot Mountains at the state line.

Check out the History here. You can now bike this trail – about 15 miles of it, including many tunnels and trestles. The tunnels are pitch black and freezing – a head lamp or bike light is required and most of those aren’t bright enough. We did this slightly…ghetto style. Mick and I both gave our bikes away prior to the move. You can rent bikes at the trailhead, but we’re kind of cheap and decided to borrow from friends. Mick ended up with a 30lb mountain bike with dry rotted tires and unstable handle bars and me…well I had a vintage road cruiser with skinny wheels. At first we didn’t think much of our “gear” until Mick’s tire needed to be replaced immediately upon arrival. While Ben did work on the bike, Mick and I were coaxing chipmunks out of Ben’s car with cashews. Those little things get into everything! 

We finally took off on our trek – the first tunnel was 1.66 miles long – it was probably 50 degrees inside but absolutely amazing.

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Soon upon exiting the first tunnel, I slow motion wrecked on my awesomely agile cruiser and tore up my hands and leg. I also almost fell into a large pile of elk dung and then proceeded to almost pass out. It was definitely one for the memory books.

hands
The ride lasted about two hours, halfway through Mick and I switched bikes. He was a sight for sore eyes – he forgot his bike helmet but happened to have his hard hat in the truck! When rocking the vintage cruiser he said, “I feel like a parisian girl in world war two carrying baguettes to the troops, all I need is a basket!” Every time he rode past Ben or I we could not stop laughing. I’m sure other trail riders had their own colorful commentary.

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Here are some views from the trail and trestles! Breathtaking everywhere you looked! It was such a great day – we were definitely spent after – but it was worth it!

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Roughing it

Adventure has been our theme the last year or more, so, we decided to take it to another level. This weekend we went camping about 90 miles North. I thought we would be on a lake but we were actually on the Priest River – which is only 10 miles from Priest Lake in Coolin, ID. The adventure began for me when Mick came home and announced he had agreed that we’d go camping with a guy from his work, which to me translated as – strangers. (I had an opportunity to meet two of the seven prior to Friday, but still, does he know me at all?!) Although both Mick and I enjoy camping/the outdoors/roughing it – it’s not something we have actually done together. When we began our original moving adventure, we sold a lot of our belongings and/or gave them away – this included Mick’s 15-20 year old camping gear. We had about three weeks to figure out what we would need, where to buy it and how to fit it in the Subaru. Thankfully we were loaned a tent and a cooler and the rest we scraped up via Amazon and our local outfitter store.

ASIDE: The BEST purchase was our MSR Pocket Rocket stove – it is the coolest thing and literally pocket sized. It was bought all in the name of coffee – boils water in 3 minutes or less – sweet! Having that little guy enabled us to bring our kettle and chemex and enjoy some hot organic coffee. Our upmost amenity. It somehow tasted better out there – it could have been the lack of civilization/bathrooms/running water – whatever, it was heaven each morning firing that thing up.

Anyways – We camped in the national forest – off a 2-3 mile dirt road that went up and then down a mountain to a river bank. There were no bathrooms, running water, organized sites – you make it your own and leave it better than you found it. Digging a hole to use the bathroom was a new experience for me, but I managed just fine. It’s a site only known to locals and boy did we get a taste of local flavor. I think the neighboring site – which was about 200 yards away – probably shot about $1,000 in ammo into the water – just cuz. It was not only obnoxious but a ridiculous waste of money. We were privy to a stellar domestic dispute at 3 Am – you mother effer, you just effing told me you are going over to the next campsite to eff some skank whore *kicking his car* if that’s your plan you better get me off this GD Effing mountain right now – I can’t respect that! I’m going to DO someone in our group, what do you think about that you piece of S – and I bought that effing booze you piece of  S?!

It made for great breakfast conversation. This was all to the back drop of gangster rap on one end and terrible country on the other. Good times.

All in all – it was really awesome and breath taking. Some photos –

The drive in

the drive in

our camp site view

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Mick

guest room

We are looking forward to at least two, hoping for three, weekends without a house project while the MIL is here. This weekend has gone by way to fast between running errands, buying beds, painting 15 foot tall walls, and cleaning. We need an exploration weekend, or two. All that said, the guest room is complete! We used our old mantle as the headboard, curtains are West Elm (they were in our master bedroom), all trinkets are Target steals and/or antiques, mirror – TJ Maxx, dresser – very old but refurbished, and knobs – Anthropologie. The cameras are finds from our time in Nashville and Virginia antique stores and the bottle – Farmers Organic gin – handcrafted heaven. It was our first gin adventure in Idaho. The botanicals are a unique combination of juniper, elderflower, lemongrass, coriander and angelica root. Like I said, heaven.  I will save our recipe for another time, after all, this about the house.

I don’t have any before photos, but picture an empty room with doo doo tan walls and a peach accent wall. barf.

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Plans for the next month to include, but not limited to: sampling at least three new gins, driving North to Sandpoint, ID (#4 on the nations top ten mountain towns…our town was #1, no big deal), long talks, movies, laughing and stuffing our faces around town. We found an awesome Hungarian breakfast joint this morning. Mick ordered stuffed french toast – two massive slices – sandwiching ham, sausage and eggs. I ordered a lame healthy omelette with a side, of my very first, biscuits and gravy. X’s over eyes, died and went to heaven delicious. I know quite a few friends back east and south who would eat there every.single.day.

the final countdown

Exactly one week until our first visitor! I will try to keep the exclamation points to a minimum…but seriously, SO excited! We carry our homesickness with care and keep it light. Whenever we sit at our table, we treasure hundreds of dinner conversations, laughing until breathless, and sharing futures. We miss fire pit talks, c-time dates, game nights, and tv show obsessions – FNL anyone?! We have met some fabulous people here and are very thankful for the ways they have blessed our lives. But…there’s something about sharing life with people who stand by you no matter what or how far you move away. Looking forward to seeing more faces in the coming years…summers here are awesome…just saying.

We do feel at home here. Things are becoming familiar. We are getting used to various quirks like: it takes three weeks to actually get your drivers license…in the mail; I get carded everywhere I go; driving 70mph at a minimum; the mailman comes whenever he wants; everyone is nice; no one is in a hurry (talking to you mailman); dogs are allowed in all stores – even ones that look like wolves; trucks are stacked and pimped and if yours isn’t…well… All of these things are endearing and so often make us laugh. It’s a small town and that’s what we agreed to. We are running into people we know at the store which is surreal – there’s a comfort there – makes us feel at home. So future visitors – know that we can’t wait to have you, can’t wait to show you around and can’t wait to lock you in our basement!

so many details

The final preparations are falling into place. In less than two weeks we will be packing up and sending off our belongings. We are using UPack to ship what we didn’t sell or donate. They are a nationwide company offering rental trailers or relo-cubes. We opted for the cubes and crossing our fingers we only need two. It’s not the cheapest way to move but in the end it costs about the same as renting a truck and paying thousands in gas [rental trucks only get about 8 to 10MPG]. It also frees Mick and I up to enjoy the drive, taking in the beauty of our country and checking off a bucket list item.

Once we arrive in Idaho we will store our stuff temporarily until we figure out our long term housing [upack does door to door delivery, another bonus]. In the meantime we are renting an awesome barn house month to month. We cannot wait to settle in and have our own place and unpack our things. One of Mick’s many lovable traits, he is a minimalist. He doesn’t ever need anything [except food and gin – another reason to love him]; he is content with little. I have learned a lot from him re: minimalist living – I have a longer way to go but I look forward to enjoying the simpler things. I will probably take that all back the day I get to unpack my kitchen.

The cross-country drive is a whole other animal, literally. We will be traveling in style – GMC 3500, crew cab style – massive four door truck, quite different than my Prius. Mick may have to manage the gas pedal so I can see over the steering wheel. Our current route [weather permitting]: MD, VA, TN, KY, MO, KS, CO, WY, MT, & ID. I’m pretty pumped – I have not been to MO, KS, WY or MT and I can’t wait to see the different landscapes.
Another important piece to this drive is Lil’ Buddy and hotel stays. I found this helpful website – trips with pets – and they show you pet friendly lodging along the route. It seems that La Quinta Inns will be our best bet. Most, if not all, of their hotels are pet friendly up to 80 lbs and they have rather affordable rooms. Any suggestions re: places to stop along said route or tips for traveling with pets? Lil’ Buddy is a pretty good traveler but 6 days in the truck is a lot on pup.

Future deets to organize – healthy, homemade road trip snacks/meals. Save some pennies and some calories/sugar/grease overload.