Up in the Trees in Oregon: 6 Month Solo Road Trip

  I can feel the tears of joy swell up as I see the Welcome to Oregon sign up ahead. It’s been a long journey to this point; not just in driving but planning the next chapter of my life. The western states always had a pull on my heart. Since…

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Staying at an Airbnb property in Mount Pleasant: 6 month solo road trip

Day 12 Mount Pleasant, NC: I say goodbye to my friends in Sanford, NC and head for Mount Pleasant/Charleston, SC to see another friend.  It’s great to have friends and family all over the place because there is a chance to visit places I’ve never been. At the age of…

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Chillin’ with old friends in North Carolina: 6 month solo road trip

Days 4-11, Part of my 6 month solo road trip is about reconnecting with friends and family, many that I have not seen for years. A solo road trip affords me this pleasure. I don’t have to deal with a co-pilot or a dictator, telling me that it’s time to…

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Day 3 of My 6 month solo road trip: Panic Attack on the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge

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Day 3, November 23, 2014:   After a restful night sleep at the Waterside Inn, Chincoteague Island, VA (highly recommend staying here), I pack and head back to Assateague Island, VA once more to see the wild ponies. Stopping by the Refuge Visitor’s Center the day before I picked up…

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Day 2 of my 6 month solo road trip: Chincoteague Island, VA

I awake to sunshine streaming through my hotel room. What a glorious day. I look at my map and see that I’m within 30 miles of Chincoteague Island, VA. I was trying to make it there last night but sleepiness took over. At least I’m close and can leisurely get ready. I grab my computer and check Trip Advisor for hotels in Chincoteague Island. I find one that is on the water and very reasonably priced called the Waterside Inn. I call and make a reservation. Due to being off season they have plenty of rooms. I pack, have a quick breakfast consisting of my Super-food shake and breakfast bar and I’m ready to head out.


View from my hotel room at the Waterside Inn

As soon as I get outside the cold temperature hits me, it’s frigid in the 30’s and windy. It’s the South I don’t expect these temperatures here. Burrrr…Quickly I put on my gloves and hat along with the rest of my winter gear. I arrive in Chincoteague around 1pm. Wayside Inn let’s me check-in early. The room is comfortable with a first floor balcony overlooking the Chincoteague Channel.

After I’m settled, I check out the grounds. There is a 220′ fishing pier,

Fishing pier at Waterside Inn

Fishing pier at Waterside Inn

 pool and remnants of a rose garden. The jacuzzi is upstairs overlooking the water; that will be nice for later on tonight. Well it’s 2pm and I’m feeling a little restless so I head for Assateague Island where the wild ponies are. As I’m driving down a road I see cars parked on the side so I pull over and investigate. I see them in the brush about 150′ away.

Small herd of wild ponies

A small herd of wild ponies

They are small maybe 12-13 hands and their bellies are big from the salty marsh grass. A brown and white pinto stallion is walking towards me. His herd is small maybe ten mares of various colors. It’s funny they are wild but not 100 percent free. They have sections of the island to roam while the rest is fenced off.  I watch for a while then head to the beach for a walk.

The sandy beach is long as I make my way down. The wind has picked up and the sand is blowing, hitting my face. It feels like I’m being pelted by razors-ouch. It’s sunny but frigid, I last about 15 minutes before I head back to the warmth of my car. As I sit in the car a seagull lands on the hood and walks up to the glass and peers in at me.

Seagull having lunch on my car

Seagull having lunch on my car

Then he proceeds to eat the leaves that have built up at the bottom of my window wipers. Apparently not a care in the world because he decided to hang out on my car for at least 10 minutes. It must have been the warmth of the engine and free food which made him linger. I finally started the car and proceeded to back up; silly bird, he thought he getting a free ride as well. Finally he flew away and I was free to go.

Planning the 6 month Solo Road Trip

The family home which my late father designed for our family. Selling it afforded me the time to take this trip. Thank you Dad!

The family home which my late father designed for our family. Selling it afforded me the time to take this trip. Thank you Dad!

I know I have to get away. Our beloved family home is being sold and new beginnings are beckoning to me. With a portion of the inheritance money I decide to travel for 6 months. Destination Oregon via the coastal route visiting friends and family along the way. Trains, planes, or automobiles? After looking into it, a road trip is  best. It will afford me the freedom to go where and when I want on my terms.

I end up driving my Toyota Prius which is a Godsend due to it agility, great gas mileage, and awesome pep. I originally was going to buy a RV and travel that way, but after taking one for a test drive I realized I would feel like a prisoner/slave to it. Always worrying how massive it was, would it fit under bridges, on streets, where would I stay and the gas mileage.  7 miles per gallon? Are you serious? I drive a Prius which gets at least 40 MPG why would I drive a 7 MPG ball and chain?

My past solo road trips consisted of a 4-5 hour jaunts across New England and a few in California but never for a prolonged period of time. In 1988 I drove with a male companion cross-country from Massachusetts to San Diego California in a record time of 3.5 days. I took hundreds of photo’s. Needless to say our car was in each picture. Fifteen hours a day stuck in a car as a passenger on Route 40, only stopping for gas or a pit stop was not much fun. The highlight of the trip was arriving at the Grand Canyon to watch the sunrise on the freshly fallen snow for 45 minutes which I think was our longest stop.

I vowed never to do that again at least not with someone else at the wheel. Winter is bearing down. I can’t take another New England winter. According to the Farmer’s Almanac and plenty of acorns, I know 2014-2015 winter will be worse than last.

Winter of 2013-2014 snowy and cold

Winter of 2013-2014 snowy and cold

It’s time for me to fly.

For the past 25 years I’ve wanted to live in Oregon. I’ve been twice, the first time was September 1990 and I lasted 4 days (a man was in my way) and in 2002 my girlfriend and I went for 9 days and had a wonderful time. Now I have the opportunity to make my dream a reality. There is no man standing in my way, only myself…

The plan starts to take hold. Booking a barefoot sailing adventure in the Bahamas for the second week of December seals the deal. I am now committed to the trip. Everything else falls into place. I will leave on November 20th which gives me enough time to saunter down the coast.

Sailing on a tall ship in the Bahamas

Sailing on a tall ship in the Bahamas

The following are planned destinations:

1. The wild ponies of Chincoteague/Assateague, VA, (what can I say I grew up on books about Stormy and Misty)

The wild ponies of Chincoteague

The wild ponies of Chincoteague

2. Thanksgiving in Sanford NC with friends.

3. Charleston, SC, to visit friends

4. Del Ray Florida to visit relatives

5. Fly to Nassau from Ft Lauderdale for a week-long sail boat cruise on a tall ship

6. Fly back to Fort Lauderdale to visit a friend (used to live there when it was a fun happening time 1984-1985)

7. Drive to Sanibel Island (I hear the shells are amazing)

8. Tampa to visit a friend

9. Tennessee to visit a friend for Christmas

10.  New Years with my Tennessee friend in New Orleans

11. San Diego: The Dana on Mission Bay/Torrey Pines

12. LA to visit family

13. Big Sur via the PCH aka Route 1 aka Pacific Coast Highway-heaven

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California

14. Carmel by the Sea/Monterey

15. San Francisco to visit Hungarian relatives

16. Continue following the PCH highway to the Redwoods

17. Final destination: Ashland/Jacksonville Oregon to put down roots.

18. Explore Oregon the perpetual vacation destination

19. In May drive back to Massachusetts to help a friend with her kitchen renovation and take care of personal business

20. The following Fall drive back to Oregon with my horses and belongings in tow

The great thing about solo road trips is that you can change your destinations, following the road less traveled. Best laid plans don’t always go as planned. My adventures did change and many more destinations were added either at the last-minute or planned. When time is on your side; go with the flow. You never know what is around the corner.

Enjoy the ride.

Thanksgiving with friends in Sanford, NC Good Times with old friends

An uplifting sign

An uplifting sign

A day at the beach. Riding in the Bahamas

A day at the beach. Riding in the Bahamas