Three months traveling with help exchange vs. one week in Vail

On my drive from Moab, UT to Estes Park, CO, I saw a sign for Vail. I had seen photos of this town and had heard about the famous people who frequent it; I almost expected “Vail” to be written in diamonds on the road sign. I bipped my blinker and decided to use aContinue reading “Three months traveling with help exchange vs. one week in Vail”


[pan–uh-plee] noun a wide-ranging and impressive array or display. [more at] Estes Park, Colorado is picture perfect. The charming downtown full of cabin-like looking coffee, book, and ice cream shops ends and the same road runs into the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. The aptly named Rocky Mountains serve as the backdrop to every drive, walk, and adventure theContinue reading “panoply.”


[pep-er-uhp-er] noun, Informal. something, as a food, beverage, or pill, that provides a quick but temporary period of energy and alertness. something added to food to relieve blandness. an experience that increases enthusiasm or zeal, as a pep talk. Sangria Kia was $511 to fix, even though Jeff at Firestone said, “We couldn’t find a thing wrong with it.” She needed two new tires and an oil change anyway, but the diagnostic codes came back blank. “Strange, very strange,” Jeff said over and over as he handed meContinue reading “pepper-upper.”


[nak-erd] adjective, British Slang. exhausted; very tired: It’s been a jammed pack week full of driving through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Utah, and Colorado. Many full days of ooh-ing and ahh-ing through snow covered mountain tops and Narnia-like forests and Mars-like deserts. Big skies and bright stars. Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Hiking and smiling and moreContinue reading “knackered.”


[bee-mish] adjective bright, cheerful, and optimistic. Oregonian hosts have been over the top in, homemade waffles, Americanos, a handmade satchel gift, curry dishes, enriching conversation, snacks to go, and so many hiking suggestions kind of lovely. Oregon has made me positively beamish. I’m now in Bend, staying with a friend of a friend whom I had never met.Continue reading “beamish.”


[mag-nil–uh-kwuh nt] adjective speaking or expressed in a lofty or grandiose style; pompous; bombastic; boastful. I’m in Corvallis, OR with two of the most extraordinary people I know. They had to work today and gave me a piece of paper full of bookstore and coffee house recommendations. It’s been a wonderful day and I’m looking forward to our brewery visit this evening. So many beverages, books,Continue reading “magniloquent.”


[in-ten–uh-reyt] verb (used with object), intenerated, intenerating. to make soft or tender; soften. When I was in Doe Bay, I was surviving on protein bars for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until the café opened on Thursday evening for a menu full of pizza and pizza alone. It was also Open Mic Night. I showered and didn’t wear a hat and nobody recognized me without dirtContinue reading “intenerate.”


[fi-loo-muh-nist] noun a collector of matchbooks and matchboxes. Wow. Orcas Island. I had about a 45 minute drive from the ferry to the retreat center on the other side of the island. With each turn, I gasped. At one point, I cried a little bit. The trees are magnificent. There’s water everywhere. The mountains surround me on all sides. TheContinue reading “phillumenist.”