Post Sailing — Road Trip across the USA with my Sister!
I know it has been awhile since Lynn and I’s last post but here we go! After a few months back on land I have been staying in Juno Beach, FL at my mom’s townhouse. I did a little traveling to Turks and Caicos to help a friend with some work, the Florida Keys to spearfish, and Panama to visit Nate. During my time back on land I had been considering moving to Oregon to help my brother Brice with his Marijuana business. It took me awhile to make a decision because entering into any new business is risky and the Marijuana business -even though it is legal in Oregon -still has many risks. Well, I made the decision to go – “with great risk comes great reward” -, so I decided to drive my car out there. I asked Lynn to go with me, but she committed to helping her mother again with her family business until after Christmas which is amazing. She is an amazing woman! But, she will be heading out to meet me in Oregon right after the season is over!
After a quick visit from my sister, Arden in Juno Beach, Lynn and I headed north for Jax Beach. Lynn made the trip with me to Jax because she had been visiting her friends in Miami and of course me in Juno Beach, so we decided to have a great night at a fun hotel in Atlantic beach called One Ocean. We had such a fun night just us together going to Sliders for dinner, and Lemon bar for after dinner drinks.
The next day I drove her to Tallahassee, saw my dad for a night, and then continued on my journey. I headed east first to Jacksonville Beach to clean the gutters on my house and go for a surf session – probably my last one in awhile! I then took off north for North Carolina to see my sister, Julie. Julie has recently lost her job after 20 years due to her company changing roles, and I wanted to see her. I spent the night near Savannah, GA and arrived in North Carolina on Friday Sept, 25th. It was soo good to see Julie. We immediately sat and talked for hours and caught up on each other’s lives. She is the sweetest sister and immediately made me a sandwich and had fresh baked Banana Bread ready for me! I am so lucky. I told her about my upcoming journey and she half joked and said “Maybe I should go with you”. I thought about it and said, “Yes, you should!!” She decided right then and there that she had nothing to lose and she was coming with me! A trip of a lifetime! I mean when do you ever get the chance to go on a trip like this with your sister!? I was ecstatic. We then had to figure the best way to break it to her husband, Robb, LOL. He would have to be on driving duty for his busy teenage girls that week, but he had no objections and gave his full support to Julie.
After a fun night at a bar in Hillsborough, Julie woke up the next morning and told me she didn’t think she could do the trip and just couldn’t just leave her household responsibilities. I laughed it off and told her no problem, but do not decide anything now and think about it for awhile since I wasn’t planning on leaving until Monday. It was nasty rainy weather in North Carolina, and we went to see a movie with her girls that night – Maze Runner 2…Hmm not my favorite movie but entertaining. Her girls Lydia and Ella are the sweetest, smartest most talented teenagers I know. I was happy to spend a little time with them and try and break them from their teenage attitudes, haha. It was a fun day.
The next day Julie woke up and decided she was coming with me again!! I told her well then we are leaving tonight and get ready. She packed her bags, and we took off around 4:30pm on Sunday! After a quick stop at Wal-Mart for some snap peas and La Croix we headed down highway 40 towards Knoxville, TN.
We made it there in about 5 hours and stayed the night in Tennessee, which was our first western leg of the journey. The next day our plan was to drive to Kansas City, MO. This was an interesting drive right through middle America. We drove through 4 states — Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri. Nothing too exciting about this leg of the journey – We had lunch in Pudcah, Kentucky. They got some good Panera Bread Co in Pudcah. Also, we saw the St. Louis Arch from the car, and a car that was completely on fire right outside St. Louis (sorry no pic of it…). After a 13 hour drive we arrived in the Kansas City Best Western. I have an American friend who I met while working in Brazil who happens to live in Kansas City – James! Julie and I met up with James for dinner and caught up on old times and new. He is a great person with a lot of insight on business and life. He has a great outlook on life, and Julie was stoked to meet him. He took us after dinner to a WW1 memorial to enjoy some awesome night views of Kansas City. It was a great end to a long driving day.
Our plan for Tuesday, Sept 22 was to drive to Colorado Springs and stay with my good friends, Larry and Terry. I met Larry and Terry 2 years ago in the Bahamas while cruising on the boat. We also happened to see them again this year in Bimini and in Great Harbour Cay. Julie and I woke up early from the hotel in Kansas City, got our Coffee, and we were on our way! We drove right through Kansas City, MO and into Kansas City, Kansas! We didn’t even know Kansas City was in Missouri. It is actually in both states (Kansas, and Missouri), and separated by a river. Kansas City, MO is the larger city of the two “sister cities”. Anyways, we proceeded to drive right through the middle of the state of Kansas. Not much to talk about other than windmills, cow fields, and wheat fields. Middle America at its finest.
We made it through Kansas, and arriving into Colorado was really cool. As we entered the state the flat rolly hills started to get bigger and bigger until they became mountains. The scenery was epic. We made good timing into Colorado springs, only 8-9 hours from Kansas City. Terry suggested we visit some Marijuana dispensaries in Colorado Springs to see what they are like. Colorado is recreationally legal to buy Marijuana along with Washington and now Oregon. We went to 2 shops, bought some weed and candies and drove to Larry and Terry’s house. Upon arrival they had champagne, drinks, and a full meal waiting. We felt so special! They were so happy to see us, and Julie was immediately taken back with the hospitality. She and Terry became instant friends. We also met another cruising friend of theirs Carlos, and their son Bryan! It was really cool to meet them. They are all fun, interesting people. That night we had a feast, and then stayed up super late with awesome business discussions about marijuana, business and everything in between – even getting quite heated at times which is awesome and shows how passionate everyone was!
The next morning we foggily awoke, and Terry graciously had coffee and breakfast out for us. Terry and Larry headed out early and we said our goodbyes. We were so thankful for the hospitality and for good friends. Julie and I sluggishly got ready and headed out the door to see another dispensary in Aurora, CO. It was a really cool shop that felt very high tech with great displays and a great store layout. We then ate a late breakfast/lunch at a café called, Three Little Griddles. It was awesome, but I couldn’t finish my huge plate. Thankfully we did not have a huge drive planned for the day, and Julie’s husband Robb had a friend in Vail, CO named Zach that offered to let us stay at his home. It was a 3 hour drive from Aurora and one of the most scenic amazing drives yet — right into the heart of the Rockies on Highway 70. We met Zach at the Vail brewery and had a beer, and of course it was right next to another Marijuana dispensary! This place works –We like Colorado!! Zach led us to his new spacious townhome right behind a mountain in Vail. He and his wife Christy were very welcoming and have such a beautiful place. I really see the appeal of Colorado and the Vail area – it is like no place on earth. It is hard to imagine that I would enjoy somewhere away from the water. We had some drinks, pizza and bong hits and then crashed relatively early. We had our biggest day yet coming up. Vail, CO to Boise, Idaho!!
We woke early in Vail before Zach and Christy were up, and we were out the door looking for a coffee shop. You do not have to look far in the Rockies! After we were fueled and coffee’d up – we hit the road!! It was another spectacular sunny clear day in the mountains and our most scenic drive was before us. I have been driving most of the big legs of the trip as Julie doesn’t like to drive in mountains, hills, bridges, winding roads, congestion, large to midsize cities, rain, snow, cloudy or at night – LOL. Pretty much anything that is not Kansas. Bahahahaa. But it was all good because I like to drive and was super stoked to have her as company! We made a lot of short stops on this leg because it was such a long leg and the scenery was beautiful warranting stops to get out and run and hike. Entering Utah was really cool too. Plateaus, mountains, and deserty looking scenery. We saw some really cool stuff. Every view looked like a postcard.
We saw a woman hitchhiking in the most random exit in between Colorado and Utah with her entire life of stuff surrounding her – pillows, couch cushions, 10 plus suitcases, etc. It was a scene. Not sure who could pick her up with all that baggage (no pun intended). We gave her 10bux and wished her good luck. Hope she made it to wherever she was headed. We arrived into Salt Lake City around 4pm and continued on towards Boise, the scenery got flatter and rolly again once we left Utah. By the time we were driving through Idaho I was quite worn out. Julie took over for awhile, but it got dark, so I had to continue the drive. I had already made a hotel reservation in Boise, so I was determined to get there. It was sprinkling rain and crazy lightning was happening around us. I was so exhausted from the drive but pushed on until we made it to Boise around 9:30pm – a 14 hour driving day. Whew! We got into hotel and walked across the street to Applebees. I had an excellent burger and beer, Julie had a margarita and some taco and then we went back to hotel and crashed. Boise sure has some good Applebees, I will remember that if I ever return. The next day we had our final leg…a 9 hour drive to Eugene!!
We awoke feeling refreshed knowing it was our final leg, and it would not be near as bad as the day before. The drive the day before from Colorado was scenic but after 8-9 hours in a car it really starts to exponentially take a toll on a body. Anyways, we left Boise and headed out for our morning ritual of finding coffee. We found a drive-thru coffee spot and went to “Jack in the Box” for breakfast. Never eaten at a “Jack in the Box” as we don’t have them in the South, but it wasn’t half bad. Boise got some good Applebee’s AND “Jack in the Box”. Strangely, as we were heading out of Idaho and into Oregon, we saw tons of onions on the sides of the road. It looked like a truckload of onions had fallen out of a truck for miles and miles. We eventually turned for the Exit into Oregon and still saw the onions! We called it the “Onion Trail” and it was leading us to Oregon! Probably similar to how the pioneers felt on the Oregon Trail…. Julie and I loved the onions. As we entered Oregon it now became clear where the onions were coming from – there were fields of them everywhere! The winds were blowing hard and onions were simply rolling out onto the roads and highways! LOL. We pushed on through the onion fields and into a town called Vale, OR for a pit stop. Julie went into a market to use the bathroom and I noticed a young guy putting cans into a recycling machine. He looked halfway homeless, and I asked him how much he got for the cans – he said, “ 5 cents but I wish you got more!” I replied “me too”. I had tons of shoes in my car because a few years ago I used to be obsessed with shoes and had about 20 pairs. I realized in the past few years that you don’t need 20 pairs of shoes and to have that many is stupid. I had them in my car and had been strategically placing them at stops along the way for people to take. I had 4 pairs left and gave them to “Can Boy” as Julie and I now refer to him. He was super stoked and the shoe sizes fit him perfect. Now “Can Boy” will be sporting Nikes and Vans all over Vale, Oregon. We wish you luck “Can Boy.”
Oregon scenery was the most spectacular of the trip. We entered rolling hills of onion fields, to bigger hills with flowing rivers, into a mountainous desert (called the High Desert), and finally through the Cascade Mountains. We both had no idea of the range of climates and landscapes in the state of Oregon. We passed through the town of Bend and a few hours later arrived at my brother Brice’s doorstep in Eugene, OR. He was super stoked and happy to see us both safe and sound. WE MADE IT! Julie stayed for 3 nights in Eugene and we had a good couple of days hiking, and hanging with our brother Brice.
Julie flew back to North Carolina on Monday morning (Oct. 5), and it was sad to see her go. I am so thankful for the journey we made together and will cherish that forever. I haven’t spent that much time with my sister in years and years. She is one of the most positive, supportive people I know, and I am blessed to have her in my life. I hope to see you very soon Julie, and I love you!
Now, it is time for business. I have spent the last week helping my brother organize his business and determine the goals of the company. We have made some real progress, and will provide a better update as time progresses.
Until the next post!!
The Great Harbour Cay Era