19 May 2010

The adventure begins: Akron, OH to Tannehill, AL (May 17)

So my crazy summer of adventures has begun! Quite a few people have requested a log of my travels, so I thought I’d start updating this blog again… only a year between posts :).

This weekend we (Laura, Jamie, Chris, Dan I., Toby, Dusty, Brett, and I) finally got our West Virginia backpacking trip in, and yesterday began my epic road trip with Jason!! We’re going to be driving a big circle around the country, starting down through the southwest, then north through California and the northwest, east to Montana and ending in Colorado before we head home (here's a map of the route). We’re visiting 11 (ish) National Parks, and 7 cities. After this trip there will only be 6 states I haven’t been too :) (Arkansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, North Dakota, Alaska, and Hawaii). After the road trip I’ll be biking the first two weeks of the Fuller Center Bike Adventure from Niagara Falls to Washington D.C., and then on to Honduras with Engineers Without Borders at the beginning of August to start our project to help 4000 people provide themselves with clean water!

Yesterday Jason and I got up at 5:00 am to start our drive to Tannehill State Park in Alabama, en route to New Orleans. We drove about 11.5 hours through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. On our way we stopped at Mammoth Cave National Park in KY for a lunch break—it seems like I’ve driven past it so many times, but never stopped. The park was a nice break from the interstate, but to see any of the caves you had to take a ranger led tour, so we opted to just have lunch. We did get to see a few wild turkeys though, and Kentucky’s largest rock shop. Haha. We also considered taking a detour in Tennessee when we saw a sign for the original Jack Daniels Distillery, but it turned out to be an hour and a half out of the way. I think we’ll be a little more open to hour+ detours in a few weeks :).

We got to the state park in AL and set up camp at about 4:30 (central), and we attempted to make a fire but failed… all the wood was a little wet and we only had a few sheets of paper to start it with. Oops. We’ll be better prepared for our next campsite :). Luckily 85 degree weather doesn’t really require a fire. The park was beautiful though! We had a nice site next to a river shaded by huge trees, and we had the primitive camping area all to ourselves—I guess it’s still early in the season and, everyone else seemed to prefer their enormous motor home to a tent. Haha. Jason of course woke up an hour before I did this morning to run, even though he just ran the Cleveland Marathon in 3 hours, 36 minutes and 54 seconds. Ridiculous… hahah. :)

Now we’re on our way to New Orleans, and a brief respite from the outdoors. I’ve felt a little guilty about taking this trip, I guess primarily because everyone expects me to go do something right away that will put my skills, talent, etc. to use. Now that we’re on the road though, I know I made the right choice. I’ve of course worked harder than most people know to have this freedom, but even beyond that, I think everyone deserves a break and everyone deserves some adventure. It may be naive or idealistic to feel this way, but I wish everyone could find the opportunity and courage to take that break or adventure for themselves! If nothing else, I know we’re going to learn a lot doing this, even though we’re not necessarily being a productive part of society at the moment. That should be worth something :).

Anyway, more soon!

We're trying to take pictures of all the signs when we get to new states... we missed Tennessee though because Jason was sleeping (bum!! :) ).
Mammoth National Park.

The biggest rock shop in Kentucky!! Hahaha.


  1. So excited that you are blogging again and I can keep up with your adventures.

  2. Hey, Melissa, hope you have a great time. Look forward to biking with you again on week 2 of the FCBA. I'll be riding the GOBA the week before.
    See you in June.
    Tony Campbell
    (from the Blue Ridge Parkway today en route to Twinsburg, OH)

  3. You really should have stopped at that rock shop :)

  4. Thanks for reading everyone! I'm excited to bike with you again too Tony--see you soon! Sorry... no rocks Patsy :(. Hahha

  5. You totally deserve this. And you contribute to society by knowing that there's more to life than the next cubicle. Good luck, and miss you! :)