Memorable Road Trip Milestones

Back in August 2008, I decided to take an elaborate road trip all the way to Wyoming and down into Colorado. After a spontaneous and slight change of plans, I had changed destinations in my GPS and drove straight towards Denver.  As with all road trips, there are always memorable stops along the way.
Driving through Nebraska and Iowa was such an interesting experience.  There was something about the drive that made it a very self-reflective time, but I’ll talk about that another time.

One of the most memorable parts of my road trip back in 2008 was the drive into Colorado from Nebraska via highway 76.  One of the first things I encountered on the drive into the state of Colorado was Lucy’s Place.  It sat in the middle of nowhere.

a nifty slightly run-down cafe from Nebraska into Colorado.  Luckily it had gas ... but I had to pay the old-fashioned way ... cold hard cash.

I had to stop for gas but this was the only place anyone might stop for miles.  After this stop, the drive into Colorado was filled with smooth rolling green hills (in summer time).  For a guy from Ontario accustomed to lots of concrete and hot summers that resulted in rather yellow grass everywhere, it was a near surreal experience.  Vivid green hills and blue skies with no disruption in sight.

Reminded me of the old Windows default background, Bliss.

Hiking the Booth’s Rock Trail in Algonquin Park

One of my favourite parts of this trail was what my friends referred to as the mosquito farm.  This huge body of still water was perfect for mosquito larvae.  I simply enjoyed the green and reflection that was provided.  That said, this was the beginning of lots of pesky mosquitoes following us around.  Consider that a heads up if you do make a visit (pending weather and temperature of course).

Before some friends and I took a road trip to Utah a couple of years ago, I felt it was important for them to do a bit of a practice hike (as we were going to be doing a lot of hiking in Utah).  In one case it was to make sure one of my friends broke in his first pair of hiking boots.  So we hopped in the car, drove up to Algonquin Park, and settled on hiking the Booth’s Rock trail.  I actually had the opportunity to hike this in the winter quite a few years ago but attempting this in the Spring just when the mosquito season begins is probably daring on our part.
The trail is a bit trickier to get to as the trailhead isn’t accessible right off Highway 60 but it just requires one to pay attention to the signage to know when to turn off on to the somewhat unpaved gravel road that leads to the trailhead.

Booth’s Rock is considered a moderate hike.  The Park suggests approximately 2 hours but I’d say lean towards 3 hours depending on the pace of you and your fellow hikers.  Especially if there are shutterbugs in the party.

The look of the trail

As with most moderate trails I’ve encountered, the trail isn’t necessarily difficult but it requires people to pay attention to where they are stepping to avoid tripping over tree roots or rocks — as well as some uphill walking.  A fairly large chunk of the trail resembled above.

Reflection on still water

One of my favourite parts of this trail was what my friends referred to as the mosquito farm.  This huge body of still water was perfect for mosquito larvae.  I simply enjoyed the green and reflection that was provided.  That said, this was the beginning of lots of pesky mosquitoes following us around.  Consider that a heads up if you do make a visit (pending weather and temperature of course).

Lookout point

Once you get through the wet part of the wooded area, you finally make it to an awesome lookout point.  You can see it is Spring here as many trees are still bare.  This was a great place to sit down and enjoy lunch.  I’ve done this in the winter too although in the Spring, the mosquitoes were a bit of a nuisance — especially for a friend who couldn’t stand flying insects.

Booth's Rock

As you move along the lookout area you’ll come across Booth’s Rock.  Don’t be fooled by this photograph, it’s pretty huge.

A view of the lake taken while I'm sitting on Booth's Rock

Here’s a photograph of the lake while I’m sitting on a part of Booth’s Rock.

A muddy route along the Booth's Rock Trail in Algonquin Park

As we descended the trail, we came across this brilliant muddy obstacle.  This was the trail back.  This was a good opportunity for everyone to test drive their waterproof hiking boots.

Tourists on a staircase

Of course, the trail is made a little easier for most folks by this giant staircase.

Lakeside view

Along the way back to the trailhead, the route pretty much sticks to the lake which makes for an excellent and peaceful view.

Beaver dam

Even came across a beaver dam.

This is one of my favourite hikes to do in the autumn.  I love to just hike up to the lookout point, sit on Booth’s Rock and enjoy the view with some lunch.  These are just some highlights but you can check out the whole trek and a bit more in my photo album.

Taking in the scenic California Route 1

California Route 1

About eight years ago, I took my first step into the state of California with my family.  I had immediately understood why so many people love this state — the diversity of natural environments is simply astounding and their respective natural landscapes are so inspirational.  Being an avid reader of books by John Steinbeck, I really appreciated the vivid descriptive verbiage he used in his stories that involved different parts of California as a backdrop.

Driving along Route 1 was one of the first things we did after arriving in Los Angeles.  We couldn’t help but keep stopping off to the side of the road to look out into the Pacific and admire the beautiful Californian coastline.  The lush and vivid spring green, deep blue and turquoise blues, and the golden yellows or reds in the landscape really differentiated itself from the greens and earthy colours that I was accustomed to in Central Canada and the North-Eastern United States.

There were so many instances of the drive along Route 1 from Los Angeles to Monterey where we wanted to stop but it just wasn’t possible.  We even had the opportunity to see a number seals sun bathing.  I also noticed some trailheads — if I were travelling on my own, I’d definitely want to spend some more time along the coastline and even doing some hiking in the area.

I’ve returned to California again but mainly stayed in San Francisco.  I hope to explore more of California in the near future.

Review: Packing Light by Alison Vesterfelt

Back in November I had the opportunity to download the audiobook for Alison Vesterfelt’s Packing Light.  It was by chance that I came across it on NoiseTrade where I often am scouring around for my music addiction.  Interestingly enough this was also my real first audiobook that I had tried out. I’ve written before about travelling light and minimalism but it was always a philosophy and concept that I have been experimenting with and continue to do so today.  Having the opportunity to listen to the perspective of someone else — in this case, Alison Vesterfelt’s journey and thought process — was quite refreshing.


In Packing Light, Vesterfelt is taking the reader along on her personal cross-country road trip experience, which actually leads to a mindful discussion on not just the literal decision towards travelling with less but also towards a spiritual and philosophical thought process.  The act of travelling for me has always somewhat represented a spiritual and philosophical journey and I appreciated the dilemmas and challenges that Vesterfelt found herself confronted with.  I found myself fascinated and moved while following Vesterfelt’s exploration and search towards figuring out the right path for her to take.

There is often a lot of discussion on minimalist lifestyles when you search online.  It isn’t necessarily something for everyone but at the same time it is something that I feel each individual should read and think about for themselves.  We are often bombarded with a lot of information and ideas; so much so that we often forget to allow us (and thus lose) the time to figure out for ourselves what is right for us, and what may be better for us.

One good outcome from reading (or in this case … listening) to Packing Light is that Vesterfelt’s story takes us on that journey and through the vivid tales and observations that Alison makes;  you may find yourself asking important questions … and maybe stumbling upon an answer.