Arches National Park- Utah

This past weekend Jordan & I spent two days in Southern Utah with sun, wind and red dirt.  

 We drove the 5 hour drive Friday night getting into Moab right around 12 that night.  Moab is in full swing tourist season with perfect temps right around 80.  We didn’t really plan we’re we were going to camp out at so last minute we found a spot on the side of the road in town and called it a night. 

Even though I was tired from the drive and work I still found myself to excited to fall asleep and then wound myself up and was back awake early in the morning.  We were near a city park so I managed to let Jordan sleep a little longer while I took Charles for a walk around. 

When we were all ready to go we walked over to Moab Roasters for our morning coffee and then drove back up the main highway to Arches National Park.  We parked at the visitors center to get our park maps, take a tour around the exhibit and bought trinkets from the gift shop. 

We got the low down on the construction zone and that Devils Garden Hiking trails and campground are closed for the season. 

Even with Devils Garden being closed we still managed to get a full day of sightseeing and hiking in. 

We did the full in and out scenic drive stopping at Balanced Rock….

The winds were crazy that day…. everyone everywhere was getting pushed and pulled and half way blown away from the wind….. I have to say even with the high winds that day everyone was in good spirits.  

It’s fun to see what the outdoors do for us as individuals.  We relearn to play and scramble up rocks and then slide right back down again laughing and possibly crying just a little.  We are able to look out and admire the earth and the natural geological formations it takes and realize that it won’t stay this way forever.  It is in constant change, from wind, rain, movement, animal and human adaption. 

After almost getting blown away at Balanced Rock we went a little farther up to Double Arch



We went and hiked the interrupted trail for Windows

We also made our way into the little cove of Sand Dune Arch and then hike our way on the flat easy trail from Sand Dune to Broken Arch. 


Broken Arch…


Then lastly we had lunch at the parking lot of Delicate Arch and went for the hike up Sandstone Rock to see one of the most famous Arches of all of Utah….. 

We hiked Delicate Arch in I think rather good time.  I think possibly quicker than what I have done in the past…. although I realize it isn’t about how quickly you can get somewhere but rather what you take in from the journey… but I suppose for my own personal goals I am progressing and it’s getting easy for me to hike what used to be a difficult and challanging trail. 

After Delicate Arch and Devils Garden being closed we opted to go into Moab for ice cream and take a gander at the shops and for pizza and beer. 

And now pictures… ……

With love, 

Jess

Pictures take from both my IPhone and Jordan’s IPhone. 

New Years Eve recap. 


For New Years Eve Jordan and I took a trip down to Santa Cruz to visit Nisene Marks State Park and to then take a drive along the coast and stop at a couple beaches while heading up to Half Moon Bay. 

I have missed the beach with the sand, rocks and waves all under my feet.  There is something rejuvenating and releasing about the pureness of standing there listening to the waves crashing at the rocks. 

When my ex left all I wanted to do was to jump into a car and drive till I could go no farther. Where the road and ocean met, where I could get out stand there in the sand and wait for the ocean and sand to bury me in her depths.  At night I would lay imagining myself there as the cold ocean wrapped around my toes, ankles and legs and then sweeping back to the depths as if it was carrying with it all of my guilt, grief and heartbreak.  As if somehow the power of the ocean could make me whole again. 

So while Jordan and I walked along the beach and I watched the waves crashing in and out I took my shoes and socks off and stood there at the edge. Eyes closed, listening to the voice of the ocean thunderous yet calming, collect.  I felt the surge of the crash of the waves at my ankles and as the sand that wrapped and covered my toes.   I realized as I stood there that I was already whole, yet it felt good to have some symbolism for myself. A closing and an opening of new things to begin.  For a surge of energy to keep pushing forward, to always keep looking forward. 

Before we drove along highway 1 we drove into Aptos, California to take a hike into Nisene Marks State Park.  There is something about Redwood trees that makes you think if there are any sort of fairies or gnomes living in a forest they would be under the cover and foliage of the Redwoods.  

Some how forest make me think of how ancient and sacred the earth is.  I realize this is perhaps crazy talk but everything I walk into the woods, I quiet myself prepare myself as if I am walking into the temple.  Only I find the the coverage of the trees more sacred, more special than something man made.  We could never fully create the serenity and peace we can feel in the natural state of our earth than building a man made building.   I tend to find God more easily in the natural state of being than walking into a building that was built to be “home”. 


Jordan and I did a quick loop from the parking lot, we trekked down to the river taking our time to take pictures and to observe everything around us.   We were only there for an hour and half and I am hoping that we will be able to get back sometime soon to spend more time hiking the trails. 


After the quick hike we did a quick drive around Santa Cruz, along town and down by the amusement park and then we drove out to highway one. 


We stopped along the road at one beach and got out and walked along the edge of the ridge with Charles.  Watching as others walked down to the beach while we looked for tide pools from the top. 

Once we stopped at the next stop we got out and hiked down the narrow path to the beach.  The beach sprawled out on either direction so we walked along the edge climbing on a few rocks looking for tide pools and little sea creatures. 



We then drove the rest of the way to Half Moon Bay and stopped at a new local brewery called Sacrilege Brewing Company.  I had their La Ultima Crema with cod tacos and Jordan had their Oat Skool with their pork nachos.  Their beers where on point and their fish tacos by golly I could have ate ten of them. 
** Give the La Ultima Crema some time to warm up a little bit. There is a good vanilla body at the end wants it warms. Also super easy to drink. 

We ended the evening early going back home and watching New Year’s Eve on the tube while I tried not to fall asleep….okay I really tried to fall asleep early. 

With love, 

Jessica 

Expectations and Reality 

Draft    

I’ve been having a difficult time trying to write anything down, I have been finding more ways to distract myself claiming that I have been opening myself up for creative thought processing. There is only so much hiking and exploration in the name of creativity till you realize that nothing is getting written down.  

So this is an attempt, an attempt to steady my self in practice to write…. Something.

Back in September when Jordan and I started dating we realized how much we had in common and one of those the biggest was the fact that I was working on, trying to figure out how to buy an rv and than live in it full time and Jordan was already doing that.  He had bought his van a year and half previously and living in it full time while working in town.  We discussed a lot about travel, where we had been and where we wanted to go, some of our dreams and how to align those together.   So we took some weekend trips in September and by the end of the month we had started talking about taking a long trip back east and moving myself and Charlie into the van. 

It was nerve wracking trying to go through what I had left, what I needed and what I didn’t and then moving what I have into Jordan’s storage unit and organizing space in the van for my clothes. Though really, that’s not the hardest part, I sort of enjoy the thrill of organizing and throwing things out.   Moving in with someone is a learning curve, though I don’t know if it is any easier if it’s after only a month or a year.  Especially when you are moving into someone else’s space, in a van and then jet setting out on the road for two months. 

I enjoyed for the most part for myself, getting to visit my family and best friend and seeing what we could on the road.  There was a lot of learning opportunities, personal growth and learning about one another.   The east coast trip was revealing on expectations and the realities of our own situation.   We wondered and talked in length how full timers are able to financially cover all their expenses and be able to have some sort of livelihood. 

 For Jordan it was a lot of being stuck in the van with little space to spread out for work and not getting outside to hike, explore, ride and sightsee as I was able to.  There was a lot of balancing drive time and his working hours to get us from one place to the next, so while we were on the road Jordan was exhausted and frustrated with not being able to exercise. He was also frustrated with finances and making sure we got back to Ogden before any major storms or chilly tempatures.

For myself I was constantly being pushed out of my comfort, getting lost and not feeling as confident in myself as I usually do.  I was constantly on the go without being able to have some down time to just rest my body and mind from everything and a space to do that in.  I felt guilty for Jordan having to work while I was out exploring and playing and then felt guilty on days when I didn’t want to go out exploring because Jordan was working and not wanting to miss every opportunity to be out.   The trip took a bit out of my self esteem with trusting my own judgements, intimidation of being on the road and being in a new relationship.  

Perhaps there is always a little intimadation within a relationship, for me its dating someone who is more independent than myself, who has taken solo biking trips and who has had a little more life lessons than myself.  So there is a part of me that wants to impress him, that if he can do it so can I-and do it without any complaints.  The intimadation also kept me from opening up and voicing my frustrations, which is where my own independence kicks in as well.   When you are so used to going through everything yourself it becomes tricky to allow someone in to experience it with you, to. Allow someone to be your confidante and voice of reason when you are so used to being that for yourself. 

And here living in a van and relationships collide for me.  To me being single is much easier, I know what I like, what I want to do and where I want to go.  I don’t have to answer to anyone and I can keep to myself. Relationships take work, are frustrating and can be drama filled at times.  Yet at the same time I realize that it’s rewarding working along side someone with the same goal as you, who cares for you and wants the best for you and you for them.  Someone who pushes you to do more, to think outside the box and to better yourself.   Learning to trust someone new and letting them into your life when things get sticky when you’d rather run instead. So we learn to find a way to push through the crappy parts so we can savor those sweet moments.

It’s been nice the last month to spread out a little bit and to find some daily life balance while still taking weekend trips together.  I find myself being able to calm and steady myself, getting back to myself again slowly even while being somewhere different and without my friends. What I do realize and what you can really only do is to keep working on what you feel is worth working on. 

I don’t fully believe that life is supposed to always be easy and happy go lucky sometimes we just need to be pushed and be in uncomfortable situations to teach us something, I do believe that those moments can bring us joy and fulfillment at the end of the day. We can also be pushed into a different path than what we ever imagined for ourselves that will move us closer to our dreams. 

 Sometimes it’s just about our outlook, you can still have a good cry -frustrated with yourself and yet glad you are doing what you are doing. 

With love, 

Jess

A short stop in Merietta, Ohio

On our way to Hendersonville, NC from my hometown of Ashland, Ohio, Jordan and I took a pit stop in Merietta, Ohio.  We had time to grab a bite to eat, grab coffee and stroll around for a bit. 


I mention Merietta, because one it’s an adorable cozy town situated at the edge of the Ohio River before you leave the state and enter into West Virginia.  The town has a lot to offer in local shops, local brews and restaurants. Secondly one of my cousins got married in the town in the Lafayette Hotel on the corner of Front and Ohio Street a little over three years ago. So it holds a special place in all of our hearts.  It’s that little reminder of where I was at in the time of my life. 
It meant a little extra strolling around the town with Jordan along the river as I did three years ago.  It was like this coming to of remembering of what I was thinking, wanting and holding onto and at the same time trying to let go of.  The town was romantic and the mere fact that my cousin was getting married set the tone.  I though about love, romance, relationships and what it would be like strolling along the streets with someone and not just anyone. Someone I wanted to spend my time with, someone I could let in and also being a stronger version of myself mentally and emotionally. I thought a lot about whether I should let go of my past and hope for some future I didn’t t know would happen or not.   It was a lot of trust and faith in something I couldn’t see and had a hard time believing in.

                                                Merietta is symbolic to me now. 

Who I was, who I am now, who I was with and who I am with now.  How quickly life has changed and at the time I felt as if I would never be able to have what I wanted. That it would take too long and I would miss out. 

And end sap……..

We stopped in at Merietta Brewing Company for beer and burgers.  The brewery itself had a good vibe. Live music on the weekends, brick walls, open, relaxing and it seems the brewery it in the local scene.  For my burger I had the Baja Black Bean and for beer I had the brewery’s Hop Smash. The burger tasted house made with a good flavor. 

After the bar we stopped in at Wit & Whimzy to look for a gift for Aspen, my goddaughter. The store caught my eye with its eclectic Ohioian art and fanfare.  I bought Aspen a bamboo matching block game made locally in Ohio.  She loves it and her mother loves it even more for being simplistic.  

The shop has only been open for a few months now and the owner is friendly and very inviting. The shop is clean and fun the stroll around in. I hope as well easy to find something to take home or to buy a gift for someone. 

We hit up Jeremiah’s Coffee House for something for the long drive out.  It was lively for Sunday, people were friendly with a very Christian vibe.  The coffee was pretty good as well. 

If your in Ohio and in the southern reaches I hope you see stop in Merietta. Take a stroll along the river and through the several blocks of downtown.  I wish we would of had more time to explore the area.  

If you have been what did you think? 

 It looks like a good outdoorsy town and easy to bike around if your so inclined. 


Thoughts and de-processing

We are back “home” or base or however we put it within the rv, van, full time travel routine.   It feels really good to be back somewhere that i know.  I know my bike routes, my coffee shops, grocery store and local eatery.  I also find comfort in seeing all the other locals.  It gives me some balance and a routine.

 We plan on heading farther west into California and wintering there.  When we go will depend on the weather systems coming through Utah and also through the sierras.  We did get Corniella all cleaned up inside and do a massive laundry night.  We also took a rest day. Walked around downtown, got breakfast at Moores family restaurant and got a hike in as well. 

I didn’t get to blog as much on the road as I would have liked so I will be getting all caught up on that. At the same time my mind is processing everything from the road, all I saw, felt and went through.  It was challenging, rewarding and exhausting all at the same time as well as exciting.  My expectations for this trip was met and wasn’t. I was able to see family I hadn’t in years, visit my best friend and nieces and meet some of Jordan’s family.  At the same time we spent a lot of time together and not at the same time.   I got to see a lot of the cities through the Midwest and parts of the east and Jordan spent a lot of time either driving or working. 

 We spent more time in the city and towns and little in nature.  My expectations where more on being in state parks, going to a national park, hiking, exploring nature and historical sites.  We did this but it was limited to the weekends and where we where at and with whom.  I spent a lot of time in cities I had never been to which led me to getting lost, balancing my fears of safety and comfort and trying to find things to do with in a specific time frame.  

 I was pushed and pulled out of my comfort daily.  I learned from it and in a way came out of it – hopefully stronger.  My worldview as well is slowly starting to reshape itself.  I don’t know how it wouldn’t. 

Anyways, I have a lot to organize and write and share. 

With love, 

jessicaraye

Blue Ridge Parkway

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18327353/?claim=u85xnegadcu”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

14954387_1158808604210340_236746572_o

Tomorrow we leave for Virginia for a week to visit some of Jordan’s family.  I am finally starting to find my way around Asheville and Hendersonville, its a lot of getting lost, missing a road sign and having to call someone with GPS.   Today I finally made my way around with out any of these backups its a bit slower going and can certainly get frustrating at times yet it becomes rather rewarding when you can start learning the basics getting where you need to be.  If I had more time I would certainly take the time to meander my way through more back roads.

 I have learned that most roads do lead home some way or another.  I do get lost but I have never gotten so lost to the point of not finding my way back.

Over the weekend Jordan I decided to go see what all the fuss was about with The Blue Ridge Parkway.  The highway travels along The Great Smoky Mountains between a few states and in and out of state forests, parks and such.

On Saturday we headed towards Brevard, NC the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the spot for all outdoor activity.   To get to the Parkway you drive into Pisgah National Forest driving past many waterfalls.  We stopped quickly at Looking Glass Falls off the side of the road with plenty of parking and a small sidewalk and and stairs that lead down to the bottom of the falls if you so desire.  We then made our way a mile up the road to Moore Cove Falls for a short, inter-mediate hike to Moore Cove Falls.

14964233_1158808687543665_1208252803_o-1

Spring time is the best time for the falls though we rather enjoyed the hike and being in nature.

Saturday Night we parked closer to town, went grocery shopping at a local organic store, checked hikes on the parkway and bedded down early.

Sunday morning we got up went for coffee at a local coffee shop that was a dual bike shop. Brevard is the place for mountain biking and they seem to really like their Specialized bikes.

We drove back into Pisgah National Forest to pickup the Parkway. We drove about 40 mins or so to The Mount Pisgah Trail. 14963603_1158808650877002_98309005_o

The trail itself is 2.5 miles round steep and a scramble up rocks, roots and leaves.  To be honest I am surprised and impressed with the trails out here. They are well kept and a good width for people to pass and walk beside.

14954446_1158808657543668_389745505_o

After finally making our way up and being disappointed there were no Tibetan Monks at the top to greet and bless us we were greeted with views over the whole valley on either side of us and more rolling mountain views.

14971702_1158808627543671_1953297984_o

though we didn’t find monks at the top we did meet some amazingly silly women at the top who did greet us and cheer us for finishing.  We were all able to take each others pictures and have some great conversations.  They had an enjoyable time teasing Jordan and I.

14954299_1158808597543674_424580025_o

We ended up getting a group shot, sadly we don’t have it.

14954480_1158808640877003_1812106737_o

On the way way down Jordan and I tried coming up with a good trail nickname for them. Something fondly for us to remember.  I thought they were a hoot and lovingly refer to them as The Cackling Sisters.  Everyone needs a good trail name.

I know for myself that the whole point of traveling is to get me out of my comfort zone, meeting new people and starting new conversations.  About whatever, new ways of living, sustainable living, learning and discovering how others live.  I want to experience nature and to also meet people.   I have this theory that we’re all not that different from one another.  I want to find out if this theory is true.

I just have faith in humanity, more than what I even believe I have.  There is always so much nay sayers and so much put up against one another in media.  I believe that is false, I believe there really is more good in the world, in humanity.  

I am on this journey to find out.

15007815_1158808584210342_167643648_o

with love,

jess

 

 

Review-Woodlands-Hendersonville,NC

img_1529

Kelsey took me into Hendersonville last week for a girls day trip.  Downtown Hendersonville is one street with lots of boutiques and restaurants to peruse.

While window shopping we noticed Woodlands window front.  There was a bag that caught my eye, possibly a pillow, some linens and a blanket that would be perfect to cozy in while cruising down the road.

img_1504

So I have been on the look out for the perfect side purse.  Something small, over the shoulder and can hold the importance.

Of course with Woodlands being the perfect little store I ended up spotting the perfect little purse.  img_1506

I was going to wait to buy it then Kelsey decided to buy it as my late birthday gift.

img_1508

We spent a good amount of time browsing the store and I wanted to buy everything and put it all into that future tiny home I am imagining up in my mind.

This will be my go to store whenever I am in Hendersonville, NC.

img_1532

 

Happy shopping friends…..

 

with love,

jess