It’s an often repeated partial quote from a famous poem. I’m betting most people who use it have no idea of its origins or that it’s been adapted to suit modern english which lends to its applicability.
“The best laid plans of mice an’ men often go awry.” – Robert Burns
Translation: Even the most carefully prepared plans may go wrong.
We all know how much I love planning things… I’d rather have someone ram bamboo chutes up my fingernail beds. I have struggled for years to understand people’s need to have everything planned out to the millisecond in their day. The only people who thrive on that are military personnel and prisoners (and maybe Devon). I find the process both painful and completely unnecessary.
I’m quite random. I’m known for spouting off random tidbits of knowledge at any moment for no apparent reason known to mankind. I like random. Random keeps people on their toes.
Some people are fixated on needing to know absolutely everything at all times. It’s just in their DNA. I’m so very thankful that I do not have this affliction.
I have an aversion to instructions that the common man blindly follow without question. Why can’t we buck the system? Everybody has a schedule. We all have daily obligations; be it work, school or other. You’ve got to get your kids up for school, feed, clothe them, walk the dog, clean the litter box… did you remember to shower? Too late, time for dropping the tiny humans off at school. You have a huge meeting at work that you might be prepared for, if you brought the right flash stick with the powerpoint presentation on it. After work, it’s grabbing the kids, dropping them off to their after school programs then off to your hot yoga class. Damn, you forgot your yoga mat, you’ll have to borrow one from the instructor. Then it’s back across town to pick up the offspring, make dinner, bath time for the kidlets followed by bedtime… you might have an hour of “me” time to finally start reading that book that’s been collecting dust on your nightstand for six months. You pick up the book, open it and… your eyes are far too heavy to read through… and you have to do a similar routine the next day. This sounds like my personal hell. We’re already stuck in a structured timetable weekly. The system is oppressive enough. Why then, would you do the same to yourself on vacation?
Road trips were invented as a means to get out and see the country. They came about during the late 1800s, early 1900s just as the birth of the automobile came to fruition. Think Jack Kerouac or Hunter S. Thompson. Ultimately, there shouldn’t really be a destination, it’s about the journey. Your goal should be to relax, see something you’ve never seen. We should guffaw schedules. Ball up blueprints and light a campfire with them, toast some marshmallows over crumpled up, outdated maps.
To quote Bob Ross, some of our best road trips came about due in part to “happy little accidents”. We didn’t mean to turn left off of the highway three miles back but what’s this cool little town we’ve stumbled upon? We were just helping a little old Navajo lady get back to her tiny town after church… didn’t mean for it to become a six hour detour through a huge chunk of South Eastern Arizona which culminated into a huge traffic jam because of the annual Navajo Winter Fair (true story, that was our first road trip). We would have never experienced some of the greatest gifts the road has given us if we had stayed the course and followed the plan.
Devon used to get lost in the minutia. She NEEDED to sit in front of her laptop for hours on end, staring at her calendar with several websites open. She needed to call tons of places and email reams more about availability and cost. She had to scribble down copious amounts of shorthand notes that only made sense to her. This brought her a mix of great joy and grief. Grief for the workload she had dumped on herself in preparation for her vacation and joy upon completion of all the planning. She could relax knowing that everything was taken care of. All we had left was to make it to her checkpoints on schedule. I would watch her get agitated if she didn’t drive as far as she had wanted to. She would get tense if these micro milestones weren’t met and only found relief when she was “ahead” or “on time”. If she could “make up time”, even better.
Then, something changed for her. Maybe it was my influence. Perhaps my random is contagious. Mayhaps my relaxed and easy going nature rubbed off on her. Don’t get me wrong, she’s very laid-back, just never in the planning or executing stages of road trips.
Now, she’s less structured about it all. If we make it to a certain state or city on the way, sweet. If not, that’s okay too because maybe we can find some cool little place to chill for the evening until we start fresh the following day.
As we prepare ourselves for this next adventure, our only goal is to enjoy ourselves.
We’re heading down to Mexico… you read that right, Devon & Jade are going to Mexico! This was a last minute, three weeks out, thrown together trip. We want to kick back by the pool, read a book or two, maybe grab some massages at the spa.
This trip came about through a series of back & forth texts between my father-in-law’s girlfriend and Devon. The only message I got during the whole “planning” stage was: “Pack your bikini, grab my sunblock, we’re going to Mexico… are our passports still valid?” *Editor’s note: I do not wear bikinis… please give your head a shake to rid your mind of that image.
Doesn’t really matter to me, the only thing I’m planning on is doing some exploring… and plenty of relaxing.
I’m thinking the best laid plans belong on the bottom of a fire pit, under some kindling.
Well, we did it. We managed to completely fall flat on our faces with regard to writing, blogging and posting anything for one calendar year. That’s a super shitty new personal best.
I’m not one to walk away from projects… or anything for that matter. I’d like to tell you that after an exceptionally challenging 2016, 2017 was stellar in comparison. I’d like to tell you that… but I can’t. That’s not to say everything went to pot, far from it. Like all things, everything did not go according to plan.
We made massive changes near the end of 2016 which changed the trajectory of 2017 as a whole. We swept away a lot of dirt and not under the carpet, mind you, more akin to an archaeological dig. If 2016 was the year of change, then 2017 was the year of sweeping changes. We used the widest brush with which to paint the broadest of strokes. The white board was not only erased, it was then disassembled and repurposed altogether.
If you’re just joining us, a little background information to bring you up to speed. We moved from an apartment building (which was a pretty sweet setup with a sweet deal) to a hundred year old house (which was another hook up). Robodog finally had his first yard, albeit a modestly sized one. Devon finally had front, side & back yard space for planter boxes to grow everything and anything under the sun… and grow she did! They say that your first year in immature soil is your hardest as it gives you your weakest yield and your shortest season. Even though she was frustrated with the quality of dirt and quantity of crops, I was blown away with what she was able to grow. I have never had a garden so I looked strongly to her for guidance. I ended up pulling up root balls while weeding so I was quickly demoted to just watering (which was closely monitored as well). It’s safe to say I have nary a green thumb to be found. I did find the clearing, demo and building of higher planter boxes fun. We even managed to create a berry patch for Jacke, complete with strawberries too. If I never see another knotweed or morning glory again, I’ll be a happy clam. We also found living in an older character home not without its own set of challenges. We were able to do our own repairs, but the upkeep for a house that was aging faster than the maintenance could handle became insurmountable. The neighbourhood was charming. A complete 180 from our last one… people actually looked you in the eye and said good morning! Come to think of it, I never did see any garbage laying around. Jack & I only ran into one skunk and one raccoon in an entire year. And let’s not forget our ridiculously sweet neighbour, who made us feel like family from the get-go. Alas, all good things must come to and end and we found ourselves closing that chapter almost one year to the day. Some places/situations run its course, then it’s time to shuffle off.
Which brings us here. We humans must continue to grow, mature and evolve or we’ll plateau and burn out. It’s astounding to think of the number of people who do not recognize this in themselves and stay stagnant. We were not designed to stay stationary. Sure, certain things stay fixed but we are in constant need of movement, personal growth.
One major, now semi-permanent change is we no longer over-extend ourselves helping others. Yes, it’s rewarding… in a very selfish way. We do this to make ourselves feel better, better about our lives, our jobs, our “insert something needing improvement here”. But… what if we just did the things that make us feel better for ourselves? It’s good to be selfish. We have zero issues with being self sufficient… but self love, self care, self maintenance? Societal taboo.
None of this “New Year, New You” BS. No… This will be our You Year. The year we take care of ourselves… and each other. We’ve made it a priority to put our own needs in front of others. Will we still be helpful? Still donate time and money? Still volunteer? Undoubtedly. But we won’t suffer personal set backs so those around us can move forward.
Our ultimate goal has always been to travel full-time with our fur family in a big rolling turd, with the end result of buying a farm for all of our creatures to live out their golden years in complete bliss.
Life isn’t linear. So… why should our story be any different?
Some chapters are roughly outlined, shelved for a time, to be reviewed at a later date.
Let me be clear, our story isn’t spectacular or remarkable by any means… and our vision remains focused.
Sometimes mixing the order of these chapters improves the story, ten-fold. Like all great chefs will tell you, some recipes can’t be put down on paper.
So when Devon sent me an ad about a property listing in the valley with a note to “just message them, for shits and giggles”, there was no way we could know that this would start a ball rolling down a different hill in another direction. Generally, these types of things don’t go in our favour, but, we’ve also had buckets of luck tossed in our vicinity a handful of times in the past few years. A divine bone being thrown at us dogs, if you will.
The application for the listing seemed jokingly easy… and when we were told that the last people “didn’t pan out”… we thought aloud “did they fill this out in crayon??”
If you’re still following along then you know that we both have a huge affinity for all animals, big and small.
Who would have known that the key to approval would be a handful of pictures of horses?
Absolutely zero of our references were contacted. None. Nada. Zilch.
We used to worry about where to park our RV without getting dinged for huge parking bills in the city. Now, our biggest concern is what corner of our property will it look best on.
We still love traveling, road trips and vacations and that will be featured here as well. But there will also be sweeping changes on our blog as we start to share our new way of living.
It’s back to school week!! I don’t even have children (thank god) and I am excited. A couple of my nieces are in kindergarten, one is in grade THREE and my nephew is in pre-school… where did the time go?
I’ve said many times I grew up a little differently than most kids. My parents divorced (for the better, they are now good friends) when I was about 5 and I moved with my mom to this tiny town and eventually moved to an even tinier place called Keats Island. I would take a small boat over to town to attend school, day in and day out. It made for random stories that I look back on fondly. I could even say I miss island life. Being from a coastal city, I remember our gym classes weren’t the “norm”… we would actually have to go outside and RUN 2km each class. We had this forest that wrapped around our school and we would run daily. We would go on snowboarding trips, beach days and even big treks to the big city (Vancouver) for a day of rock climbing.
In about grade 5 or 6 (I can’t remember I had the same teacher both years) we would have Greenpeace come in and talk to our class about the importance of the environment and my teacher would explain to us the meaning of respecting nature and all living things. Ms. Russell was her name. She knew I lived on an island and, more often than not, I would have some weird story about the commute to school. She would do roll call and right before we started class she would ask me about my ride in. Some days there was nothing to report, others, like in the fall or spring, I would tell the class stories of riding the tiny little 20 passenger ferry when pods of orcas would come right up to the windows and peer in the boat. I would talk about the dolphins that played in the wake or that one time the ferry caught on fire (under my mom’s and my seat) or when the ferry hit a “dead head” log sticking out of the water and I went flying the length of the boat, thinking I broke my wrist… see? Different/weird upbringing. I wouldn’t have changed it for the world now that I look back on it.
She would be teaching us geography in class and asking us the capitals of countries and I would jump out of my seat to answer, eagerly waving my arm in the air. Normally I was a pretty quiet kid, but my obsession with traveling started in that class, in Ms. Russell’s class! I would dream of these far away places in other countries; the languages they would speak, the food I could try. I felt, even in Grade 5/6, I needed to see the world. I have only had ONE dream in my life that I hope to accomplish before my time is up and that is to travel to Nepal and set my eyes on Mt. Everest. I didn’t say climb it… I would like to just see it. 🙂
Ms. Russell took us on our first ever climbing experience to Cliffhanger Climbing in Vancouver. (I can’t believe I remember this far back!) I remember my instructor, a shorter girl with spiky hair who many, many years later both her and I learned we knew each other way back when. We became friends and played in a band together and toured North America. (Small world, eh?) Ms. Russell taught me to reach for the stars, to go forth and see the world and experience new things. The best education was to see the world and experience everything it could offer.
She told us of this place she used to kayak on vacation, it was called the “Bay of Fundy” in Nova Scotia. I’ve never been but you bet your ass that place has been on my list of places to see since I was 10 years old.
Ms. Russell, thank you for inspiring me to see and feel the world, to experience it on my own and with others. The best education you can give yourself is to immerse yourself in what you are truly passionate about. I am passionate about travel (we already knew this). I now get to travel the world, taking photos and collecting tattoos along the way!
I’m considering writing that book you always told me I should write. I hope you are well. 🙂
I had left SLC heading south to warmer weather and to a few other places AND surprises. At about 9:30am I hit a gas station for a fill up and was texting a friend about how warm it was outside. She was telling me it was raining back home so of course, being the douche that I am, I FB some photos of the sunny weather I was having and tagged her in them.
Not even one hour later karma was out for me. Driving down the highway from SLC to Vegas I noticed my car shake in a weird fashion then all of a sudden, BOOM, my back passenger tire explodes!! All over the highway is tire “guts” from my car. The car swerves left then right, I’m on the e-brake trying to get it under control. I manage to get the car off the NOT AT ALL busy highway. I flick on my hazards and start looking in my wallet for my AAA card… not there… I’m looking in my glove box when I hear a honk behind me. It’s a flatbed tow truck! YAY! I’ve been saved!
This little old man with an oxygen tank strapped to his back gets out of the truck and wanders over to me. “Seems you need some help, ma’am.” Uh, duh! ☺ I explain I don’t know where I am and DO need the help. It turns out Kevin, old dude’s name, has a shop in the next town over so we get Smelly car up and on the flatbed and off we go. 10 minutes down the road, we hit the town and his gas station/shop.
My car is put up on a lift and his shop hand, a lovely dude named Bruce, gets working. Bruce was an older guy, probably my dad’s age; he had 2 rescue dogs that I played with until the damn POM (with no teeth) bit me. The best part of this story is I had ordered a new credit card before I left for my trip that I had originally planned with a friend and of course it didn’t come in time. I ended up calling my friend Rhonda and she helped me out. I have kickass friends, yo!!! I found out when I got home my new credit card arrived that Wednesday afternoon… go figure!
Bruce and I exchanged road stories while he was fixing my car up. Sometimes you hear of women getting taken advantage of in these situations but Kevin and Bruce were AMAZING! Not only did they fix my car, they fixed a couple other potential issues for free, filled up my gas and when I asked what town I was in, gave me 2 free t-shirts saying where… BEAVER, UTAH!
So if you’re ever in Beaver Utah, stop by the Conoco and say hi to Kevin and Bruce, tell them Devon, the tattooed Canadian, sent you.
And also… NEVER EVER tease your friends about the weather and your travels or you’ll end up with karma hitting you back, sorry Ashley.
For as long as I can remember, I have been an Elvis fan. When I was a child, my mum used to tell me stories about her & her sisters staying up past their bedtime to watch Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show. In my teens, people started buying me Elvis collectibles for my birthday & Christmas. My mum gave me an Elvis calendar every year. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no, I do not live in an Elvis shrine. Devon would kill me! I haven’t been travelling long, I only started vacationing six years ago. A dream trip of mine has always been to go to Memphis, to visit Graceland.
About a year ago, Devon started dropping hints about finally knowing where to take me & that I’d never guess where. She told everybody about it, constantly teasing me by withholding all clues as to the destination. Even my mum told her it was impossible to give me any hints without giving it away. When she finally told me that it was a trip to Memphis to go Graceland, it took all of my energy to not lose it & jump up and down with excitement.
With minimal planning, the only thing that was set in stone were our Graceland tour tickets, everything else was up in the air. Once we made the drive down to Memphis, we were a few days early so we took one day to rest and another to explore the city itself. Then, it was finally time to see the one place I’ve always dreamt of visiting… Graceland. While at dinner the night before, Devon was talking to her friend Lisa and they were trying to figure out why it was called Graceland and not “Lisa-land” seeing how Elvis LOVED his daughter. These two crack me up, but I prayed to the baby jesus Devon would not ask this the day of the tour.
Waking up early, we drove over to the parking lot & walked the pathway to the ticket office. Standing in front of the window, the very nice ladies behind the counter could not locate our reservations. Devon’s name was locked in the system. We had stopped by the ticket booth the day before and changed our tour time from 12:30pm to 9:00am. Devon understood the technical issue & the three ladies assisting her assured her that all would end well. Unable to listen to the conversation, I’ll admit, I panicked a bit. There was a small part of me that thought, “Amazing, we’re here & our tickets are lost. Crap.” If it weren’t for the televisions on the wall playing Elvis concert footage & Devon staying calm and knowing what was happening, I just might have pitched a fit.
Finally, the issue was resolved and we were handed our tickets & VIP passes. The well oiled machine that is Elvis Presley Enterprises was impressive to see in action. We get ushered into groups, then off to a green screen where an employee takes our picture. Back to the group, we’re then led out to another line where they do bag checks. Not having any bags, we once again returned to the group & were then handed our headsets for the audio tour. It was hard not to feel a little bit like cattle with the way the employees move you about. Devon insisted on mooing like a cow while this took place, at least she got a few laughs from others in our group. (Blue hairs LOVE Devon, she must be a Golden Girl at heart.)
We boarded a shuttle, drove across Elvis Presley Boulevard, through the famous music gates & up the long driveway to Graceland. Before the tour, years before, I had already known that Graceland itself is modest in size. Several people on the shuttle remarked that it was smaller than they thought.
Arriving behind the mansion, just before the groundskeepers garage, we unloaded and walked back around to the front. Taking a few photos of the famous facade, the tour guide started with some information about the property & the house itself. Then she opens the door and says “Welcome to Graceland” & Devon starts humming the Jurassic Park theme behind me and again has people in stitches. Whatever keeps her occupied I guess. You’re left to start a self guided tour with the headset providing you with facts & curios along the way. I must admit, I was a bit nervous that Devon would do or say something to embarrass me but the tour had just started, anything was possible.
The tour itself is pretty cool. You have access to the main entryway & are able to walk through the hallways freely. Each room is lush in colour & very distinct in individual design. Every room is roped off & you have no access to the second floor at all. This was the same when Elvis was alive. It was off limits then to all but a few and out of respect they honour Elvis’ privacy by keeping it that way. On the way down to Memphis, Devon kept telling me how she was going to try and go up to the second floor. Now standing at the foot of the stairs, I was beyond relieved when Devon realized that it was impossible for her to attempt ascending the stairs with all of the tour guides & guards around.
There’s no use of flash photography in Graceland & they use such low, yellow hued lighting that it’s actually quite hard to get good photos. That didn’t stop everyone from furiously clicking away though. I noticed a few minutes into the tour that my headset wasn’t working properly. Devon offered hers to me, she didn’t seem like she was paying much attention to it anyways. She was more interested in people watching and laughing at the tourists. (That’s love.) We stopped at every room, every hallway, every framed picture hung on the walls, taking photos each time. We got to see every cool room available to the public. The living room, the music room, the dining room, the kitchen & the jungle room. Then there’s downstairs. The tv room & the pool room. While standing in the pool room, we marveled at an older southern woman who was very serious when she remarked that Elvis had such style and flare and that she would love to do a room in the same fashion. The pool room’s walls and ceiling are covered in over 300 feet of fabric. The look on Devon’s face said it all. I had to bite my cheek to keep myself from laughing out loud. Devon was egging the lady on saying she SHOULD do it and she was in the design business, she’s seen it done before. That lady quipped to her husband that they would be doing this when they got home. I wonder if she really did it?… Once you’re done inside the mansion the tour moves outside to the back yard.
You get to see Elvis’ car port & Vernon’s office in the garage. There’s the smokehouse that Elvis converted into a firing range & then you walk along a path way to the corrals with his horses (one is an off-spring from Elvis’ original horses and the others are all rescues). From there you go to the trophy room, which is exactly what it sounds like. A large building displaying a massive amount of gold records & many more of Elvis’ numerous awards, including his three Grammy awards. Part of the building also houses some of his more famous outfits, like his wedding suit & several movie suits too. Once done there, you walk down another short path to the racket ball court. Built for $300,000 in the 70s when Elvis took up the sport, it houses a pinball machine & other parlour games. Then there’s a lounge area, where Elvis played two songs on the piano the morning he died. Inside the court itself, it’s been converted into more space for even more awards & recognition as well as some of his famous jumpsuits.
Walking out of the racket ball court, you get to stop & take more photos of the the horses in the paddock before making the final walk around the grounds, to the meditation garden & Elvis’ final resting place.
The meditation garden is beautiful. The air is tranquil, there with the marble statue of Jesus & the Italian themed marble fountain. This is the part of the tour that everyone seems to take the longest time getting through. Everybody wants a few minutes of quiet reflection with The King. There is a solemn marker in place for his stillborn twin brother, Jesse Garon. He is actually buried in Tupelo, MS, Elvis’ birth place. Next is the grave of his mother, Gladys, whom he adored. Then his dad, Vernon. Then Elvis himself. Finally, his paternal grandmother Minnie Mae, whom he lovingly referred to as Dodger. After spending some time in the meditation garden, we slowly made our way around the side of the house past the swimming pool & down the driveway toward the front of the house again. Along the way, there are memorials & fan art to view. Once done with the tour, you’re then told to go back to where the shuttle let you off so you can be led into a bonus room in the basement.
A tour guide opens the door to the bonus basement room and you’re immediately taken back in time to the late 60s/early 70s. This is a special exhibit designed by Lisa Marie, essentially, her father through her eyes. The dated yellow & white wall paper once adorned the walls of her nursery. Her crib & several other mementos from her birth & childhood are set up around the room along with some of Lisa’s favourite items of her Dad’s. She had his personal office brought down into the room and reassembled, as well as his wardrobe. Normally you wouldn’t have access to these things as they’re from the second floor and very much off limits. Walking around the rest of the mansion, you do get the feeling that a presence is around. You can feel an energy in the air. Looking through each display & room, you can see his taste in decor & style. And while the jumpsuits are beautiful, you also understand that they are costumes (Devon tried in vein to buy me one to walk the dog in, I was not amused). However, walking through the bonus room you feel something different. You’re viewing his wardrobe, things he wore every day. You’re looking at his personal tote that never left his side when traveling. You get to take pictures of his personal books that he took everywhere. This is definitely the most personal room. One could even argue that it’s as close to viewing his bedroom as you can get. I’m glad that they leave this bonus room for last.
It’s a good note to leave Graceland on.
Walking back out of the room you’re left in the covered carport where there is water, fans & chairs set up for you to wait in while a shuttle comes up to get you. Once on the shuttle, they take a quick tour of the back forty of the property. Explaining along the way the groundskeeping, some of the equipment, the horses, stables, the extra out buildings & a gate that Elvis used to use as a means of leaving the property in a big black panel van so as to go unnoticed.
The shuttle turns around and starts its way back down the long driveway toward the music gate. After crossing Elvis Presley Boulevard, the tour concludes. From there you continue onto six other exhibits on your own speed.
I am still incredibly shocked that Devon didn’t do or say anything to embarrass me or herself too much. I don’t know how she managed to make it through without a peep. One could argue that she even enjoyed herself. Right before we left for Memphis I had a friend, who we will call “Blanche”, dare me to wear a princess tiara made of Duct Tape outside the gates of Graceland… Challenge accepted!!
I could continue on with the remainder of awesomeness, but I really feel like I should keep this to myself in the hope that you’ll be intrigued enough to make the trek out to Tennessee and take the tour yourself. Whether you are an Elvis fan or not, Graceland is one of the most fascinating homes in the world. Everybody should see it up close at least once in their life.
The first day of our crazy road trip started off like any other. Everything packed up & off we went. The first day of our trips are always about distance. Putting distance between us & our lives back home. Washington state is beautiful. The lush green backdrop is a constant reminder of how lucky we are to live in such a vibrant environment. The Pacific Northwest is amazing, hands down. However, if we don’t make it out of Washington on the first day of a road trip, it simply feels like we’re cross border shopping. So we moved like bandits on the run from the law. Making it all the way down into Oregon that first night.
The first hiccup of our trip has to be the moment our “new” GPS decided it would be awesome to crap out on us. It was back to reading a map for me & navigating old school. Having searched the map for a worthy camping site close to the Idaho state line, we saw a state park sign for Anthony Lakes in between La Grande & Baker City OR. Enjoying the 20 mile drive up to the park, we came upon fields of cows who were more than willing to pose for photos & seemed to enjoy the attention. Once we were on the drive up the mountain into the park, we both remarked how similar this felt to Yosemite, but on a smaller scale. The mountain tops were blanketed in mist making the whole drive up there both beautiful & mystical. After arriving atop the mountain we were surprised to see it was a popular destination. We managed to snag a spot away from the groups of families. We then went for a quick walk around the area & found ourselves surrounded by crisp air & vibrant colours. The peak itself, Mount Ireland, was stunning. After a while, what I thought was a campsite we did not want to intrude upon turned out to be one of the lakes, we hiked down to the water to take in the living postcard before us. Every angle was an amazing photograph. There were a few people quietly enjoying the lake, fishing & taking their own photos. Devon picked up some discarded fishing line so it wouldn’t become a hazard to the wildlife. Then, we heard the distinct sound of a base being tuned up. Apparently, there was a wedding reception starting up. With that, it was back to the camp site.
Devon set up the site while I walked down to the camp site host for a bundle of firewood. We enjoyed a quiet dinner with the crackling of the fire pits seemingly in unison. A rather nice lady from the site across ours came over to introduce herself. She saw that we were Canadian and wanted to say hello. A fellow Canadian, we ended up having a lovely chat with her & quickly fell for her beautiful rescue German Shepard. The next morning, I walked over & gave them the remaining firewood we were unable to use up or take with us. Their dog was super sweet & quiet playful. Just seeing her made us miss our Jacke Boy that much more. We said our goodbyes, gave them some advice on travelling back home up to Victoria & started out for the day. A quick stop in historic Baker City OR for coffee & then it was on to Boise ID.
I’ve never been to an REI but I can tell you this, after stopping at the one in Boise, I really want to go back! The employees are so nice, and the product selection is varied & far more cost effective than the items back home. We also stopped in at Whole Foods for some much needed food supplies for our cooler. From there it was on to Salt Lake City, Utah. The drive through Idaho went faster than it has in prior trips. I wish I could tell you that the scenery on the drive through Idaho is unreal but the reality is far more bland. We spent more time watching the roadside for deer than the landscape itself.
After high fiving having crossed into Utah, a state of calm washed over us. It truly feels like a vacation when we hit Utah. The drive through this section is breathtaking as you see the land change colours before your eyes. After consulting the map again for the exit to Antelope Island, Devon saw a sign for it & we started in on our next adventure. Making our way through the small town of Syracuse we found ourselves at the entrance for the Great Salt Lake State Park on Antelope Island. Paying for our entry & campsite, Devon almost drove off in a mad rush to just relax after having driven for 10 hours straight. The park ranger handed us our booklet & our campsite pass then we drove into the park. Devon remarked that the drive in seemed eerily reminiscent of Tsawassen and the drive to the ferries. The first thing we read about Antelope Island is, of course, the antelope that inhabit it, as well as the bison. There are roughly 500-700 head of bison that call the island home. The road ahead forked and we picked the left hand road because Devon read that the bison like to hang out near the water. Not 5 minutes into the drive down this road were we met with 5 bison chilling by the roadside, grazing. The biggest smile took over Devon’s face & it looked like she would cry. These creatures are so massive & gentle. They meander with not a care in the world. We stopped the car, put on the hazards & took as many photos as the bison would let us. There were three to the left of the road on the lakeside & two more to the right of the road. A giant bison lumbered slowly across the street not 5 feet from our car. Both of us slack jawed & awestruck while furiously clicking away on our cameras, the bison had no worries about our presence and took his time crossing the road. I looked over & I felt as though Devon would burst into tears, her eyes reddening, her voice shaky with excitement. We waved at these beautiful creatures, said our thank you’s & made our way down the road a bit more before turning around and heading back down toward the turn off for the campsite. We were assigned campsite #18 and as we drove up into the Bridger Bay campground Devon saw a bison in the distance and quipped, “I’ll bet you he’s at our spot.” Truer words never spoken. As we circled around the site, looking for #18, we slowly pulled up & there he was, sitting there, like an official welcomer to Antelope Island. There he was, this gorgeous animal enjoying a dust bath not 15 feet from our site. We stopped the car, grabbed our cameras and took a handful of pictures of him as he lay there, enjoying the weather. We took a few shots of the sun setting as it tangoed with the low hanging clouds creating this crazy halo above us. Looking back at the bison, he would stay there all night, as if to say, “I get it, we’re cool.” These mammals made peace with mankind long ago & now they live in harmony with the land while we get to share in their beauty. I think that he hung around all night because he knew that we needed him to be there. We appreciated his presence and will continue to be grateful that we got to share his energy all night long.
We set up camp, made a fire & ate beans as our meal while quietly enjoying the bison laying within 20 feet of us. Laying down for the evening, I could not wipe the grin off of my face & I wondered why I was so happy. The moment we set foot on the ground there a calm energy washed over me & stayed the whole time we were on Antelope Island. I kept sitting up, looking for the bison as darkness fell all around. Though hot all night it was a peaceful sleep. We arose the next morning, our new bison friend had moved on. Devon was awoken by a magpie sitting on the post next to our car. He cheerily chirped & sang her awake. Once up for the day, we made a BioLite breakfast of coffee & peanut butter & banana sandwiches. There were several pheasants visiting the surrounding sites. Curious little birds, they walked about looking for food. After packing up, we decided on exploring the island a bit before leaving. We ventured down the roadway & back down the road that first took us to the bison. Sure enough, they were there again. We waited as they marched on past us. This time they galloped past, then settled down & calmly walked across the road. We grabbed a few more photos then carried on our way down the island to the Fielding Garr Ranch. A working ranch for over 100 years before stopping operation in 1981, in modern times, the ranch house is still the oldest building on its original foundation in Utah. We took the self guided tour around the ranch. I enjoyed the simplicity of the 100 year old blacksmithing equipment, while Devon wasn’t much impressed with it having being raised on a farm. Her grandfather had a dairy farm & understood the inner workings of it all while I had to stop & read about everything. She humoured me & let me read each display while she tried to say hello to the horses in the corral. Once we were finished with the tour, it was back into the car & back on the road into Salt Lake City for the most amazing vegan buffalo sandwich I have ever tasted.
I noticed something today; I seem to get tattooed when something big is happening in my life. Either positive or negative. I never really saw that until I was talking to a friend.
On my last Vegas road trip, I learned about giving up control and forgiveness in myself and others. My friend and I got tattoos during this trip as well! I fought with placement of that tattoo; I already have a bunch of meaningless tattoos so I didn’t really know where I would put this one… It was one of many topics on the trip. My friend suggested on my solar plexus! One of the most sensitive places on your body and some also refer to it as the core/center of your being. It was perfect! Made total sense for what we were experiencing on the trip. Now, what tattoo to put there? I had an idea from the start of the trip as to what to get. But it wasn’t until hours before the appointment that I finally decided. Jade had given both my friend and I presents of Buffalo Sage for the trip (to keep us safe). She had given me some before I left and placed some in the car for my friend. The theme of buffalo from the start was everywhere, from the sage to stories in the car, food, everywhere!
Then my road trip friend was telling me stories of the buffalo on our drive. I didn’t know much of the history of them so I listened with open ears.
When the white man came over from Europe they nearly eradicated the buffalo/bison population. It went from in the millions to just a few thousand!! Even though this mass slaughter and harvesting of fur and meat happened, the buffalo always carried on. In the animal kingdom animals don’t hold onto grudges, they hash out the problems and move on. Why can’t we? Why can’t I? My friend also told me of her encounters with the buffalo. She spoke of seeing captured buffalo as opposed to a free/wild one. The hurt and sorrow and soullessness of the captured ones compared to the calm, peaceful ones of the wild. My heart aches for the captured!
This species has almost been wiped out by the greed and disrespect of mankind and yet it forgives. It lives in harmony with the people of the earth and holds no grudges. I haven’t seen a wild buffalo yet but I WILL on this upcoming trip. This is my mission.
I’ve needed to hear these stories for a while. I’ve learned to heal and forgive myself. Just be in the moment and appreciate it all.
The buffalo tattoo was EXACTLY what I needed and so fitting ON THIS TRIP as well! It’s my favourite of all the tattoos I have and holds the most meaning. Maybe because I got it in Vegas on a killer road trip, maybe because I was with one of my closest friends and there was a reason these stories came up. Maybe it was all meant to be… It really was all meant to be!
Getting the work done was as though I was purging out everything negative in me while the artist was plunging ink into my body and soul.
A tattoo is, in itself, a healing process even before it begins to heal physically.