Laura Fortune

All the Lights

Art, Roadtrip, U.S. TravelLaura FortuneComment

August 6

This morning I woke up in a Wal-Mart parking lot for my last time on this trip. 

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Today I drove to Las Vegas.

I’ve never had much of a desire to experience Vegas, but there has always been one spot I have been interested to see. 

I reserved myself a ticket to the Neon Museum.  It is an outdoor museum that houses old hand-painted and handmade neon signs from the old Las Vegas stripe.  It was everything I imagined.   

Seeing all of these national parks and natural beauty has been epic and inspiring, but as my inspiration for my artwork, I am drawn to grime and grit of man-made objects.  To color and humor and shapes and decay, and boy, did this place have it. 

I chose a guided tour that had the sun setting mid-tour, and it was perfect to see the signs in the daylight, twilight, and dark, as the lights came on the signs.

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By 8:30pm, I had done all that I wanted to do in Vegas, so it left the evening open to however it rolled out.  I wanted to find some old dives and crusty ladies glued to the slot machines and some kitschy Americana and a nasty buffet.  I can say I made the most of it.  I found a BINGO hall and a rooftop view.  The crusty old ladies and kitsch Americana were part of simply existing in Vegas.     

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Zion to Grand Canyon

Life Learning, National Park, Roadtrip, U.S. TravelLaura FortuneComment

August 5

I was up early and off to Zion National Park.  Zion wasn’t on my radar of places to visit and it was added onto my trip a couple days ago.  It is absolutely mind-boggling beautiful.  It is a spectacular sight and the best way to see it is by hiking.

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The night before I stopped into the Chili’s across the street from the Wal-Mart lot I was staying in, and the waitress saw my NY License and asked if I was touring the National Parks.  I told her about my day in Bryce and how Zion was next.  I was looking up hikes at that moment.  She suggested the two I was reading about, and one of them is called Angels Landing, with a steep climb and narrow walking cliffs that drop-off on each side and you need to hold onto chains for.  I thought this would be the most epic hike to end this solo and unpredictable journey.  It is not for children or people with a fear of heights.

I never thought I had a fear of heights until one trip to Yosemite with my brother.  He took me on a secret hike and there was one part where you walk out on a ledge about 3 feet wide.  I followed my brother anywhere, I trusted him and he always encouraged this bravery.  But when I got out to the ledge, I froze.  It’s dizzying and one wind gust or loss of balance felt like I would blow off the side like a piece of paper.  I couldn’t move back towards the place we started, he had to coach me back, and when I was off the ledge, I was paralyzed for the next hour. 

I hiked up to Angels Landing with this knowledge.  It felt like a fear I wanted to conquer, much like sleeping in a tent alone, or hiking in bear areas alone, or driving around this massive country by myself.  I wanted to end this epic National Park tour with a crazy hike, solo. 

I made it to top of the mountain and began up the chain portion. I stopped and thought about it, and decided to give it a try, I didn’t want to regret not finishing the hike. My sneakers had no grip, and I was slipping as the sloping steps created by redstone sediment were covered with sand.  I didn’t take another step, and said to the person behind me, “I’m sorry, I’m having second thoughts.”  I felt alone.  I felt the fear and my body beginning to freeze up.  I didn’t have my brother or anyone with me to coach me or for me to follow and trust.  As I turned around to go down the first set of chains I had climbed up, my sneakers slid more and I lost total balance and began sliding down, my hands and knees slowing me to a stop.  I heard gasps and a stranger holding the chains reached out his hand for me to take and helped me up to grab the chain.  I was done. 

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I hiked down the mountain and couldn’t hike any longer, because I had improper shoes.  It was such a defeating feeling.  To be in the most beautiful park, and to not be able to experience it the way I would like, with hours and hours of daylight left.  

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I took a look at my map, and began the plan-dance.  The Grand Canyon was no longer in my plans, but I looked again.  Within two hours, I had found a shower at a nearby RV park and began the drive to the Grand Canyon to arrive a couple of hours before sunset. 

It was perfect.  As I entered Grand Canyon National Park, the first sight was a herd of Bison.  This immediately made my detour worth doing.

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I entered at the North Rim, a less populated view of the canyon, and I found the most perfect spot to sit and watch as the sun set on my final stop on this National Park frenzy.  What a time of my life.

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Bryce

National Park, Roadtrip, U.S. TravelLaura Fortune1 Comment

August 4

I drove over to Bryce Canyon National Park for a day of hiking.  I hiked up and down the canyon and experienced four different trails.  The colors are just incredible, and the weather was gorgeous.  Huge thunderclouds rolled in, but it never did more than sprinkle.

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This trip was rolling so well for the past week that it was today when I was hiking all day that it really occurred to me that I left Tallahassee on July 1st, and absolutely did not pack for this type of trip.  I didn’t pack my hiking boots, a hiking backpack, hiking clothes, or a even a pillow.  I suppose if I knew I would have been on this type of trip I would have packed more than I needed.  I have been fine, but I really wish I had my boots.

I took a shower at the camp store, and returned to the canyon as the rain began.  I sat in my van for a bit waiting for it to pass, and I looked up to see three young girls running for the canyon view.  There was a huge rainbow over Bryce Canyon.  I sat and watched the sunset and thought, how I just couldn’t believe what I had done.  I couldn’t believe where I was.

 

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Passing Through

National Park, Roadtrip, U.S. TravelLaura Fortune1 Comment

August 3

I packed up and began to drive down the rest of Yellowstone.  What a strange place.  Geysers and smells of sulphur and crowded roads and families everywhere and Old Faithful and I’m glad I did it.  It’s a sight to see, but I was good to move on.

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The strangest part is that the separation between Yellowstone from Grand Teton National Park is subtle as a state line.  These parks are completely different.  Yellowstone seems other-worldly and Grand Teton is picturesque mountains and lakes. I drove toward Lake Jenny and the crowds were apparent, and it was very clear that I had missed any opportunity to find a campsite in this park.  I drove through, walked around Lake Jenny for a bit, stopped for a pizza and ice cream at the suggestion of a good friend who lived in Jackson, Wyoming, and decided today I would continue to drive as far as I could. 

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I passed through Wyoming in the light hours and saw the real Wild West.  This land has wild horses and ranches and land for days and days.

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Once I made it to Utah, it was dark.  This was the first time on this trip that I drove at night.  It’s a surprising idea to me, that I have been able to avoid nighttime driving.  

 

I made it to Cedar City to a Wal-Mart parking lot, plotted out my plans for the next 4 days, and had a great nights sleep there.  It was clear that tent camping and car camping take some getting used to, but once I got past the noises and fear, it’s actually really cozy spot to be.  Just like Matt Foley, in a van down by the river.

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Weirdo Yellowstone

National Park, Roadtrip, U.S. TravelLaura FortuneComment

 

August 2

 I left Bozeman at 6am and headed down to Yellowstone National Park.  These summer months, it can be tough to secure a campsite within the park unless you are there first thing in the mornings, but I was determined. 

My campsite was set-up at Indian Creek campground in Yellowstone by 9am, and then I took a nap.  When I woke up, I saw that a guy about my age had set up his site across the way, and he was camping alone, too.  I’m curious about people that are alone amongst these places were family camping abound, but I’m the same looking freakshow.

I headed to Boiling River Hot Springs.  A small hike to the point where the Gardner River and Boiling River meet, the ice cold water meets boiling hot water and creates a strong current hot springs along the river.  I soaked for a long while.

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In the afternoon I hiked up Mount Washburn, a steady climb with a great views, but this is major bear area.  Hiking alone with a dull pocket knife and pepper spray feels inadaquet, but I’m glad I went because it was big horn goats I came across, no bears.

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This evening I had my first campfire and a good night’s sleep. 

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Sticking Around

Roadtrip, U.S. TravelLaura Fortune1 Comment

August 1

I’m in Bozeman, Montana and I’m staying with an older sister of a best friend of mine from Tallahassee.  I asked her how she ended up in Bozeman, 26 years ago, and she told me she was on a roadtrip and when she drove into town, she just stayed.  I wondered if I had done this trip a couple years ago, if the same would have happened for me with a town.  Probably.

I didn’t plan to stay in Bozeman longer than one night, but I decided to stay for two.  It’s getting difficult to get this timing right.  There is a lot to see between here and Mexico, and I have 8 days.

I wondered around downtown and then took a drive up to Fairy Lake, but never made it to the lake.  In order to get to there, I was going to have to manage 7.5 miles of off-roading on a rocky dusty road.  I made it 5 miles in, which took about 30 minutes, and after one really bad dip, I gave up.  No cell service and off-roading in a rental van, just didn’t add up for me.  I’ve seen beautiful places.  I needed to keep the van intact, and uh, wash my cooler out.  So I went back to the house and did that.

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I had a great time visiting this family friend and I’m so happy I extended my time there.  It was special to spend time with her, see her home, places she has worked and to meet the special people in her life.  On her turf, the Bozeman she’s known for 26 years.

The Stop and Go

Art, Roadtrip, Studio, U.S. TravelLaura Fortune1 Comment

I lazily left Glacier and headed toward Helena.  These areas of Montana reminded me of the long stretches of road in Texas.  80 MPH and no one around.  The little towns are filled with western kitsch and saloons and small museums showcasing dinosaur fossils and western lore.  I badly wanted to stop and document this type of Americana, but I am starting to feel myself stopping a little too much, and this drags out my time on the road.

But as I passed this particular field, stopping for a long stretch was absolutely forgiven.

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I continued on to go and visit an old and dear college friend from my early days at Alfred University.  She is an artist-in-resident at Archie Bray Foundation, a ceramic art residency in Helena.  She was one of my first friends in college.  She, a funny and honest Puerto Rican/Dominican girl from Queens, New York who took on a friendship with me, a sheltered duck-out-of-water girl from Tallahassee, Florida.  It was a strange and perfect match. 

Our six hours visit felt like we could have used three more days to talk and talk and laugh and laugh.  But it was a special trip to find her in Montana and to be able to see what she is working on at the residency and with life.

Detail of a piece by April Felipe

Detail of a piece by April Felipe

Sneaky Night in Glacier

National Park, Roadtrip, U.S. Travel, Life LearningLaura Fortune1 Comment

 

I left Golden, British Colombia and I drove towards Montana, my destination for the evening was Glacier National Park.  I arrived around 5pm, which is plenty of daylight, but tight to expect to find a campsite, for such a popular park in the summer. 

The attendant at the West Glacier entrance informed me that no sites were available and the entry fee was $30 for 7 days, and no option to pay a daily rate.  Whether I spent the night in the park or not, wasn’t on my mind as much as how I was dead-set on driving one of the most scenic drives in America, Going-To-The-Sun Road.  It is a 52 mile road that goes from one side of the park to the other and from what I read about it, I was willing to pass over $30 to just drive across the park. 

After some exchanges between the lady attendant and I, she understood that I was only in the area for the evening, and I just wanted to drive the road.  She leaned in and said, “Well, it looks like it’s going to take you about 52 miles to make the U-turn.  Hint…hint…”  At first, I didn’t quite understand her sentiment, but she shoved the maps and pamphlets towards my car window and said, “Welcome to Glacier.”

I drove in and immediately slowed down, and feel into a trance of the sights and smells.  I had no rush to get through this park, and I wanted to leisurely enjoy it at my own pace, now that I had pasted the velvet ropes and gained a renegade entry. 

My first stop was Lake McDonald where I took my first fresh water swim of this trip.  It was a hot day and I floated in the clear water flanked by mountains with large pebbles under my feet.

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I moved forward and stopped every time I felt the urge, and that was a lot.  By 10pm, I had only made it half way through the 52 mile road.

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When I know I am just passing through or taking a scenic drive, I know that the best times are at sunrise and sunset.  I considered the lady being nice enough to let me in, under the guise that I would just drive straight through. 

It was dark now, and my options were to drive the second half of the road in the dark and exit Glacier to find a place to park and sleep, or maybe, I could just slink back into a side road, and park at a picnic area.  So I did.  And in the morning, I drove the rest of Going-To-The-Sun Road in the light of the sunrise.

The morning view from the van at my nighttime parking lot

The morning view from the van at my nighttime parking lot

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Feeling Better in Banff

National Park, Roadtrip, International TravelLaura FortuneComment

 

Well, I did it!  I recovered and watched enough “Say Yes To The Dress” to make me want to run to the hills and I did!  The sun sets here around 10pm, so when I felt comfortable enough to leave, I hopped in the van and drove over to Banff National Park with many hours of daylight still left.  I’m so glad I did.  It felt good to see such beauty, go on a hike, and to feel refreshed again.

 

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Lake Louise is the most picturesque place I have ever been.  It’s the type of place that looks like you are taking a picture in front of a screen at Sears.

It’s not selfie worthy, you need the whole shot, so I was asked by three different couples to take their pictures and in return, I say, yes, will you do the same for me?  And then I add, but I’m going to get silly with it…   

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No Sugar Coating

Life Learning, Roadtrip, International TravelLaura Fortune1 Comment

Let’s be honest, this is hard. 

Anyone who thinks this trip is all gorgeous views and sunsets and that I just magically float in a self-driving car from place to place is just wrong. I think about all that goes into each stop I make, each mile and route I chose to take, when to get gas, how to stay hydrated, eating healthfully and driving hours and hours at a time.  I have to listen to my body and decide where and when to stop when I get drowsy and need a nap.  I have to consider where to sleep for the night, how to feel safe and good in my surroundings.  Also, I am not totally free with time, I have places I need to land at a certain times.  I mean, I have a dentist appointment in Mexico and I am currently in Canada. 

All that was difficult, but manageable for me. I enjoy the challenge and adventure and I like these problem solving moments, I was getting by. 

Until I got sick. 

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There has been no scarier situation than waking up in the middle of the night in a parking lot in a small Canadian town and needing to find a restroom fast, but not being able to sit-up, much less climb into the front seat to drive to who-knows-where.  I made it to the one open gas station, and I used the bathroom, bought some medicine and made friends with the attendant, Tamara, as I thought I might be seeing her again that night.  As I returned and re-parked in the parking lot I was staying at, I climbed into the back of my van and thought to myself, “I deserve a freaking scout badge for the past 30 minutes.”

Another relief to see the sunrise as the morning came.

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I have been sick for the past two days, and with all the strain I have put my body and mind through for the past month, it’s not a surprise that my body has said, “stop, I need a real rest.”  I also needed proximity to a real toilet.  So I drove until I needed to make the next decision.

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I am currently at a hotel room smack in-between two gorgeous and famous Canadian National Parks.  Glacier and Banff.  It’s heartbreaking, but I have to accept that I still have a long way to go and a lot more to see, and I need to be healthy for the journey ahead of me.  So drinking water, Gatorade, sleeping and watching trashy TV is how I’m rolling for these 36 hours. 

 

 

Hey Canada

Roadtrip, U.S. Travel, International TravelLaura Fortune1 Comment

I took care of some business in the morning, making two post office runs and a trip to Whidbey Pies to have a piece of Strawberry Rhubard a la mode. 

Then I headed north to the top of the island and onto to the Canadian boarder.

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I realized as I waited my turn, how unprepared I was for what I might need to get through the boarder passing.  I had my passport and drivers license and nothing illegal, so I figured to try it out and if I don’t get in, I’ll just take a sharp turn east.

I handed the man my documents and we began our dance:

“Where do you live?”

“Florida”

“You drove here from Florida?”

“Yes”

“By yourself?”

“Yes”

“How long will you be staying”

“Four days”

“Where are your reservations for tonight?”

“…the Wal-Mart parking lot?”

Well, I was honest.

And I got in.

As I began driving in Canada, it finally hit me just how far away I am from everything.  Farther from friends and family, and none to see in the near future.  I've been far away and alone many times, but for some reason it felt more heavy.  Knowing how I've driven all this way.  And I have so much more to go.  I felt like a cat who climbed up a tree and has to figure a way down. Maybe firemen will come save me, or even better, a Candian lumberjack.  Making it to Vancouver felt like a celebration to me.  'Started from the bottom now we here!'

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I headed to Stanley Park, it's a 1000 acre park in Vancouver and I think I only saw a couple acres.  Geez.  The most beautiful city park I have ever seen.  Hands.  Down.

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After dinner, I headed to the nearest Wal-Mart.  Tonight would be my first night van-camping in a parking lot.  The sun was setting, so I went inside to buy a few things and use the restroom.  

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That Wal-Mart doesn't allow overnight parking, but the RVs began pulling in around the perimeter of the parking lot on the street, so I found a spot and began using my homemade window covers that I made back in Sacramento. Foam and duct tape.  Just like home.

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On the Rock

Roadtrip, U.S. Travel, National ParkLaura FortuneComment

July 24

I drove my van onto a ferry to Whidbey Island.  The night before, I had reached out to some friends of a friend from Brooklyn who now live on the island.  I had met this couple once in Brooklyn, but that’s it. 

I received a response as I sat in my minivan on the ferry ride.  It was a very generous offer to stay at their place on Whidbey Island.  I did a little scouting of the camping at Fort Casey State Park, and thought, why not take them up on the offer to sleep in a bed?  And then I did a little exploring of one of the most beautiful places I have been.

Sunday

Art, Jewelry, Craft ShowLaura Fortune1 Comment

July 23

This is it!  Last day of my summer tour!

It was one of my best days.  I met some wonderful people and it was an excellent experience.  I heard affirmations from so many and the main consensus was:

“I have never seen anything like this.”…it was a positive reaction.

It’s flattering and seems on topic.  Sometimes I feel different, but I get along with a lot of different people for that reason.   

That show was a great ending to a series of learning curves, such as learning there is a Labrador Bassett Hound mix.  I have never seen such a dog with the distinct characteristics of the breed split in half. 

Saturday

Art, Craft Show, Jewelry, FamilyLaura FortuneComment

 

July 22

I showed up to Hangar 30 of Magnusen Park in Seattle pretty early.  I have found going about this alone, I am generally one of the first vendors there and last to leave.  My set-up and break down just take me longer than seasoned show vendors.

I enjoyed the community of friends I had made throughout each show.  Other people had signed-up to do all of these shows and we began to recognize each other each weekend and have a certain camaraderie.  

And then I overheard someone describe this life as being a 'Carnie' and I was stopped dead in my tracks. Dreams do come true!

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That evening I returned to my cousins house and he gave me a tour of the new home they would be moving to the following day.  I understand big moves and choices, and I’m happy for them. 

No 'Welcome to Washington'

Roadtrip, U.S. TravelLaura FortuneComment
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This morning I took the opportunity to swing by my friends business he has with his business partner.  They are J & S Signs of Portland.  I have been really interested in sign painting and I wanted to say Hi, and also see what their studio is like.  It was a nice visit and they were generous with their time and information.  It was cool to see them in action for a little bit, and they even let me mess around on a sample board.

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I pressed on and drove back to the northeast tip of the Oregon coast.  I wanted to check out Cannon Beach and Astoria.  Cannon Beach was cute, but it was a gorgeous Friday afternoon and it was busy with visitors.  I had seen this environment before, it’s a upscale beach town at the beginning of a weekend.  It was the Hamptons of the west.  I moved on to Astoria, and after having the best crab melt sandwich, I headed north towards Seattle.  There was no “Welcome to Washington” sign upon my entrance, only a small “entering Washington State” that was barely noticeable.  But I made it to Washington State.  In Seattle, I was to have one more Renegade show and to spend sometime with my cousin.  This evening he built a fire in his backyard and we talked until late night.  I had a good visit with him.

Trail of Ten Falls

National Park, Roadtrip, U.S. TravelLaura Fortune1 Comment

July 20

I continued along the coast of Oregon

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 Today I took a right turn and headed east to the middle of Oregon.  I drove through beautiful farmland as the landscape changed drastically from the coastline.

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I made it to Silver Falls State Park where someone told me of a hike where you can see 10 waterfalls.  I took a shorter version, as I had to land in Portland by early evening.  I hiked for 5 miles and it was so prehistoric.  So much of Oregon is covered in giant green trees and green moss and huge rocks and it just seems like one can imagine dinosaurs being nearby.

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I made it to Portland this evening and stayed with a friend who had just spent 6 months of last year on a roadtrip around the US in a Westfalia Van with her boyfriend.  She got it.  We talked about life on the road and life after being on the road and life after NYC and just life in general.  I am so thankful for these moments I’ve had to really connect with people along this journey.

Daylight Brings Relief

Life Learning, National Park, Roadtrip, U.S. TravelLaura Fortune1 Comment

July 19

It wasn’t a great nights sleep.  I had crazy dreams, some of them involved various ways intruders where entering my tent.  It’s a strange thing to dream about a scary scenario while you are actually in that place.  I also heard an animal sniffing around during the night, but a few sleeping bag movements scared it away.  The sun came up eventually, and daylight brings relief. 

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I took a little walk around my camp area and found a patch of wild orchids.  I brought a few along to freshen up my traveling flower arrangement and also admired the morning fog.

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I packed up and got back on the road.  I passed by a sign that said the Drive-Thru Tree was up the road a little.  I figured, why not?  I drove up at 8:30am, and it was closed.  No Trespassing.  Seeing a one-way road that was most likely the exit to the tourist destination, I thought to just see how it would be to drive down.  I definitely trespassed.  I drove up to the tree, but didn’t have the balls to drive through.  The area was so cheesy with wood carvings of bears and animals and the tree looked plastic and a gift shop was directly behind it.  I snapped a picture and got out of there.

These long winding roads can be tiring and slow or quick with sharp turns, and it’s hard not to want to pull over every 10 minutes to marvel at each view that comes about.  I also felt really grumpy and deflated on most of these days.  I thought this roadtrip would clear my head and give me good time to feel a certain way about a place or what my next step is, and I just wasn’t feeling that way, not yet. 

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I crossed the Oregon state line and encountered more beauty and rode past an old thrift store I thought I would stop at.  The guy behind the counter was the owner and he had no front teeth and claimed he had an apartment above the store and had not left the space in 3 months.  He said he would like to go the beach or something, but he would have to go alone, and what’s the point of that?  Well, I bought a utility knife and wished him well. 

I found a campground north of Coos Bay, OR along the Oregon Dunes National Park, and I found a place I felt comfortable with and set up.  Flower vase on the picnic table.

I went for a sunset hike to see these dunes, and I was struck.  I never knew this landscape existed anywhere besides a sandy desert.  It was the most beautiful sight.

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That night I had a knife added to my bedside set-up, and it began raining in the middle of the night, which has the ablitity to sound very much like footsteps.  But it was a better nights sleep.  And daylight brought relief.

Highway 1

Life Learning, Roadtrip, U.S. TravelLaura FortuneComment

July 18

Last night I stayed in San Francisco with the high school friend and we went to a Giants vs. Indians baseball game.  We had a blast, we barely watched the game but we just chatted about life and family and boys and we just really had a great time together.

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This morning I left early and headed north to Highway 1.  This is a highway that curves and bends all up along the California and Oregon coast. 

I knew this was going to be a long drive that would take a few days as it’s not a straight shot like an Interstate would be.  I wanted to take the time to see this coastline, and wow.  Good call.

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I stopped at Bodega Bay for some of the best fish tacos, and I stopped for a little hike at Bowling Ball Beach.  The tide was too high to see the large amount of big rocks shaped like balls, but still a nice time to get out and explore.

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As sundown approached, I decided it was time for me to stop and find the place where I would sleep for the night.  I have two Apps that I use.  'Camp & Tent' shows were all the campsites are in any area, and 'Boondocking' is the same concept.  Boondocking is appealing because it is free, but as I pulled into an dirt lot along the coast with other vans and RVs parked up for the night, I thought I might like to see what the campsites have to offer.  What I really knew was that I need to pull-off the band-aid on solo tent camping.  I had never done it, and I was going to need to begin getting comfortable with it. 

I landed north of Fort Bragg, CA at the Westport-Union Landing State Park.  I drove around for a while, considering what I should do.  Did I feel safe?  Is it worth the $35 State Park charge?  Can I actually do this on my own or get any sleep this way? 

I found a spot on the coast and two sites down I saw an RV that didn’t seem to have people in it, but on their picnic table was a vase with an arrangement of wildflowers.  I was also traveling with a vase and some flowers by my side in the cup holder of my van, and this felt like a warm and kind sign for me.  I set my vase of flowers out on my picnic table and began to set-up my tent and watch the sunset.  And as the sun went down, I climbed into my tent and fell asleep. 

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No Friend Left Behind

Family, Life Learning, RoadtripLaura FortuneComment

July 16

Saturday night after the show, I drove over to a friends house in Oakland where I would be staying for the weekend.  We lazed on her couch and caught up for a bit.  Then we drove into the city and I met-up with a good friend’s older brother, who has also become a friend of mine, and later another friend I haven’t seen since high school came through and we went dancing later that night. 

On Sunday, the same high school friend came by that morning to bring some treats for me and to relieve me for a moment to watch my booth.  Sunday evening, two friends of mine who I met in Brooklyn, came to see me and help me pack up.  We rode in my minivan back to the East Bay, and we laughed about old times and lamented that we couldn’t believe we were all on the west coast at the same time.

A friend's view from the floor of the back of the van as I drove us over to the East Bay

A friend's view from the floor of the back of the van as I drove us over to the East Bay

The family and friends I have been fortunate to see on this trip has been incredible.  So many supportive people from all parts of my life, who have taken the time to come to see me, and for me to see parts of their world and each with the ability to pick-up wherever we left off.  I’m a lucky girl.