Food has become my frenemy while living on the road. I still enjoy a delicious meal, yet sometimes food preparation is simply a hassle.
My Yeti cooler has been phenomenal. It keeps produce cool and refreshing for up to 3 days. I thought I would miss my salads and raw veggie snacking, but I’ve been able to maintain my fruits and vegetable intake no problem. It’s a good thing, too, since McDonald’s cheeseburgers and vanilla cones have become a go-to (only $1 each).
Depending on my location, my eating habits vary drastically. Some days it feels like I’m just consuming energy bars, nuts, apples, and dried edamame. Other days I feast on local cuisine or my sister-in-law’s impeccable frittata. I’ve gotten pretty creative with my nourishment, as well. A Spam sandwich, or Spamwich, isn’t half-bad. Also, Siracha can spruce up even the blandest of ingredients, including a lukewarm can of turkey chili.
The bottom line: I feel good, healthy, and still haven’t had to dip into my emergency MRE’s.
“I’m sure that after all the national parks you’ve been to, this is underwhelming.”
“You’ve been to all these incredible places – what are you doing here?”
People I run into seem to believe that my senses have become dulled towards appreciating beautiful things in a “lesser” setting. Sure, I’ve gazed upon the Appalachians, snorkeled in picturesque waters, and watched the sun set over Colorado mesas. Yet despite all of the big nature moments I’ve experienced, I still thoroughly enjoy the simple things about being outside. Whether it’s feeling a cool breeze as a respite from the hot sun, or exploring a strange rock outcropping, I am not in the habit of comparing my natural encounters or rating my perspectives. If anything, visiting so many national parks has piqued my curiosity and honed my ability to pick out the most alluring views. I have learned to treasure beauty, regardless of the place or form.
Denver is a great example. This city is surrounded by a great outdoor playground. During my stay, I hiked in some local parks, marveling at the uniqueness of the area and its relative solitude despite its proximity to hundreds of thousands of people. My 2-day break from camping was ideal: I had all the amenities of a city, yet the ability to escape into nature for hours. My gracious Denver hosts, J.C. and Renae, are fellow nature-lovers and explorers. In fact, J.C. is a traveler/blogger who focuses on helping sojourners travel safely. I was able to gather some pro tips about staying safe while on the road.
In a couple days I’ll say goodbye to Colorado. The views have been spectacular, the people have been gregarious, and the beauty (big and small) has been absolutely extraordinary.
I wasn’t looking forward to the long drive from Arkansas to Colorado, but it turned out to be full of kicks and giggles.
I got my fill of kitschy roadside attractions, including Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, TX.
I found this adorable RV Museum that was FREE! It had a bunch of campers from the 20’s to the 70’s. It was really well-kept, and had a lot of little historical touches that made touring each unit quite memorable.
I stopped at 2 state parks, one for a quick picnic lunch and nature walk, and another to camp for the night. Red Rock Canyon, in Oklahoma was a little piece of paradise off of the interstate.
Lake Clayton State Park in New Mexico was simply enchanting. The landscape was gorgeous, and it felt like I was in another world.
Nashville and Memphis were 2 cities that I proudly checked off my bucket list this week. While not as spectacular as a national park, they both brought some intriguing things to the table.
Nashville had so much live music. In some venues, you could hear 3 different bands depending on which floor you were on. During my second night, I stumbled upon an eclectic neighborhood where the locals hang out. The tunes were good and the conversations were great.
I couldn’t go to Elvis’ homeland and not see Graceland. Apparently there’s a big celebration this week in August to commemorate his death. I saw 7-year-olds dressed up like the King himself. Fun fact: Elvis had 14 TVs in his home.