Autumn in New York, Part IV

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The first weekend in October is a long weekend, Columbus Day weekend. It’s a perfect time to celebrate with craft beers, brats, and live music! Oktoberfests and Harvest Festivals are in the air!

We drove up to Gore Mountain for their Harvest Festival on Sunday afternoon. Grey autumn skies accompanied us on our journey but the afternoon brightened up and the sun shook away the chill of the impending winter.

The fall colors throughout the Adirodacks were best viewed from the skies. My mother and I ascended in a tiny little helicopter above the ski runs of Gore Mountain.

Although I’ve driven back and forth to Potsdam, where several of my friends went to college, many times over the years, I don’t believe I ever stopped in the town of North Creek, just off the main road. The railway still provides service between North Creek and Saratoga, Friday through Monday. Once upon a time, taking the trains to upstate NY and Vermont were a sign of affluence! The rustic ski towns still portray the antiquity of the era.

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Autumn in New York, Part II

Later that day, the plot thickens…

Visits with family that you love very much and don’t get to see very often can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. My experience is more like an emotional bullet train. My family does not beat around the bush: they want me to become a school teacher. Both of my parents descend from families who value education and refinement above most other things.


I thoroughly enjoyed the long father-daughter chat this morning as we navigated Continue reading

Pacific Coast Highway: The American Dream

Today I am spending the whole day driving the coast of California on Route 1, more popularly known as Pacific Coast Highway. I was able to live my own current dream of driving until the point I felt like stopping, then finding an inexpensive camp site and resting for the night. The state campsites along the coast are all booked out, especially since it’s the weekend, but I managed to find a county RV park in Oceano. The tent site was only $25 for the night.

I continued north after stopping for fuel this morning in the town of Grover Beach, just north of Pismo Dunes. The skies were extremely overcast all morning, and stayed cloudy through early afternoon as I drove north through the coastal towns. I finally managed to get myself a digital camera, though not the one I originally wanted, during a short stop in the suburbs of San Luis Obispo. A few exits up the highway I stopped in the downtown area and went for a short bike ride through the bike-friendly college town, both quaintly historical and trendy.

When I got back onto the highway I forgot that 101 and 1 separate and I went a few miles inland by accident. After getting back onto route 1 it wasn’t long before I stopped at Morro Bay, another scenic and touristy coastal town, which had a trolley system and a lot of kayak rental shops. There appeared to be some sort of crafts fair going on in one of the parks as I drove past. I parked near the embarcadero and ate my take-away BBQ pork salad from one of the restaurants in San Luis Obispo.

As I continued up the coast, past roadside beach areas and sleepy coastal communities, it reminded me of my drive up the east coast of New South Wales, from Sydney to Newcastle in Australia. The same peaceful marine ambiance hung in the air. Every few miles there was another small town and another strip of coastline filled with parked cars and children playing in the water, but no two beaches looked the same.

After I passed Hearst Castle, near San Simeon, the scenery soon changed as we drove up the cliffside and onto the section of road where all commuters, motorists, cyclists, and tourists alike, take their lives into the hands of everyone else traveling through. The two lane road is narrow, windy, and scarcely has room for two cars at a speed of 30mph to pass each other, let alone the random cyclist hiding around the corner, or tourist looking for a good view. With all the safety warnings and labels and disclaimers we’ve come to expect in modern dumbed-down society, driving, the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis, is hardly foolproof.

This is why PCH is the American Dream, a highway built so that we could enjoy nature, by conquering a small part of it, setting up a roadway, despite most safety considerations, so we can spend the day driving along the coast line. We can stop every mile or so and look out into the ocean, and down the coast, looking off onto the cloud layer below us, and the waves crashing up upon the cliffs. We can ride bicycles and motorcycles, packed down with all the belongings we need for a long solo journey, or drive our RVs and minivans full of families, dogs and camping gear, or even our sports cars we take out for a luxurious Sunday stroll.

The road trip along the coast and across the country is a symbol of the American Dream. I ramble along California’s roadways listening to country music and thinking about my life and the world, and remember the lyrics of a song I heard as I was flipping through channels on the radio earlier today, “Every day is Independence Day.”

Oceanside

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The beaches in Oceanside are just as wonderful as I remember them. Today was pleasantly warm and this afternoon I did yoga on the beach. I was also able to go for a short jog near the water since the sand was soft enough to not strain my legs and back. The water was cold, but not any colder than Lake Wakatipu, and I went for a swim after getting warm from my exercises. The sun began to lower in the sky and lingered in various colors on the clouds to the west. It was mildly overcast with a thin layer of cloud most of the afternoon, creating a warm cozy atmosphere free of winds and great for enjoying the day before having to head up to the snow!

Arrow River Trail

Today I took the bus to Arrowtown, also included in the 7-day Connectabus pass. I hiked the Arrow River Trail, a short dirt trail with a small elevation gain, along the pipe line and above the creek. I finished my visit to the famous Arrowtown Bakery and enjoyed a venison pie with camomile and cinnamon tea.

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Kelvin Heights Track

In my five months living in Queenstown last year I didn’t make it to Kelvin Heights. Thanks to the 7-day Connectabus pass I bought this week the trip out and back was included. I took a walk around the peninsula and enjoyed an afternoon in the sun before heading off to the Aquatic Centre to swim.

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Therapeutic Pure Mountain Water

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New therapy for my leg: a huge cold bath graciously provided by Lake Wakatipu. This morning I went for a walk to the physio to make an appointment for tomorrow afternoon, then had a brisk walk down to the beach and submerged myself up to my belly button. The morning sunshine was a blanket of warmth, the town was quiet, and there was very little breeze. My tail bone area was feeling a bit sore from being cramped in the car. The cold water felt fantastic against my leg and lower back. I love when cool, fresh water has a numbing feeling on the skin without actually making the core of the body feel cold. This past winter I was advised by my massage therapist to try a cold bath for my leg muscles and trust me, it is far more pleasant to stand in cold water than to sit in it!

Btw, with ACC coverage, my physio appointment will only be $15 NZD. “Or five of your American dollars…”