And the Winner Is… (Part II)

Congratulations KENT! 

On our most recent contest, you guessed that I had stayed in 110 places during my trip, which is pretty darn close to the actual answer, 100. I zoomed around quite a bit in my little teardrop, but also frequently hunkered down for a couple nights in one spot.

Kent, leave me a comment on this post with your email (I won’t publish it), so I can get in contact with you regarding your grand prize.

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Jelly Beans and Places Stayed

Time for another contest!

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A couple months ago, my dear blog readers had a chance to win either a big ol’ jar of jelly beans or a blog picture sent as a 8.5 X 11 print. The challenge was to guess how many miles I had hiked.

Our new contest revolves around the number of places I have stayed during my entire voyage. Here are the rules:

  • Leave a comment with your estimate of how many different locations I’ve spent the night
  • Each time Clarence, my teardrop trailer, was in a different site counts as an individual place
  • Next Friday, June 30, I will announce the winner

Reminder: if you don’t see your guess posted right away as a comment, don’t panic, I have to approve all comments before they become official.

Let the guessing begin…

A Visit to the Motherland

Canada was so close. It had been almost four years since I had lasted visited my country of birth, so I figured it was high-time to cross the border and enjoy a butter tart or Nanaimo bar.

I left Clarence the teardrop trailer with a babysitter and hopped on a ferry to take me across the strait to Victoria, a very architecturally pretty city. With the Olympic peninsula behind me, I looked forward to a weekend dedicated to getting caught up with my ensemble of childhood friends. I couldn’t wait to reminisce, laugh, and relax with some ladies who have known me since I was a wee child in corduroy pants and Velcro sneakers.

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Victoria Harbour/Harbor


British Columbia is an absolutely beautiful province. It’s landscape is very different from Ontario, where I grew up, but the general Canadian-ness was still the same. People said “sore-y” when accidentally bumped into, just like I fondly remember.

The gals and I hung out at Mystic Beach one day, reveling in the sunshine and gorgeous backdrop of evergreen trees. A mini-waterfall sprayed behind us, while the ocean waves crashed in a soothing rhythm. We talked for hours, enjoying being outside and getting reacquainted with the happenings in each of our lives.

Mystic Beach

One evening, I saw bioluminescent bacteria trickling around the shore of an inlet. I placed my hand in the water, swished it around, and watched green lights sparkling about. It was special – something I thought only happened in remote, exotic places in the world.

When I return to the good ol’ U.S. of A., I’ll be on the final leg of my journey. With 2,927 miles separating me and home, I’m eager to begin my final push east.

Pretty lil’ waterfall

So long Motherland.

So long Pacific Coast.

Hello to the last handful of parks.

Ask Me Anything (Questions)


I get a lot of questions during my travels.

Some are serious.

Some are funny.

Some are outright ridiculous.

Now here is your chance to ask questions that you have regarding my trip. It can be about the parks themselves, the logistics of traveling, or any other curiosity that has left you wondering.

No topic is off-limits, but I can’t promise 100% that I’ll answer everything. 

So here’s what you do.

Simply comment on this post and I won’t approve it. Yep, that means that I’ll be the only one who will ever see your name attached to your question. If you have my personal email or number, you can also contact me that way. In 7 days, I’ll create another post responded to your inquiries.

Let ’em fly.



Stony Wood and a Haunted Inn


Petrified Forest national park is chock-full of fossilized wood. Based on the pictures I’d seen, I figured that there may be a couple of key places where one might be able to see this mineral-permeated organic matter. After all, how much “rock-wood” can actually be found in an arid desert-like environment?

Apparently a lot.

Thanks to plate tectonics, this area of Arizona used to be near the equator, resulting in a lush, rain forest environment. These trees got buried under layers of sediment, became saturated with minerals, and turned to stone. (This all took many, many years, of course). There are big chunks that can be found at the Long Log section, and smaller multi-colored pieces that are strewn all about the Crystal Forest.

Crystal Forest

It’s pretty. It’s unique. It’s science!

I also had a chance to tour the Painted Desert Inn, an old traveler’s rest stop that now serves as a museum. In the spirit of Halloween, we took the entire tour in the dark. Using only glow sticks to light our way, the ranger told stories and tall tales about a myriad of suspicious and creepy behavior that happened in the old inn. Spoiler alert: someone actually did die there. We entered the basement through a locked door – a place where park visitor’s are only allowed to go once a year. The floor creaked and the dumbwaiter was super eerie.

Was it truly haunted? The park rangers and volunteers seem to think so.

Was it semi-historical and fun? You bet!

Jelly Beans and Miles Hiked


You know those contests where you guess the number of jelly beans (or some other sugary candy) and the closest person wins a prize? is doing the miles hiked version of this.

Here’s how it works:

  • Leave a comment with your estimate of how many miles I have hiked in national parks since the beginning of my trip (state parks and walking in downtown Memphis doesn’t count)
  • Next Friday, September 30, I will announce the winner
  • Your prize? Either a big bag of jelly beans or any picture from my blog sent to you as a 8.5 X 11 print

Keep in mind that some parks, like Dry Tortugas, contain very little “hikeable” land.

Also, if you don’t see your guess posted right away as a comment, don’t panic, I have to approve all comments before they become official.

Good luck, have fun!


(Oops… I accidentally deleted this post earlier, hence the double-publish)