Day Thirty Eight: Gratitude and the Most Important Thing

It might sound cheesy, but the most important thing about this entire trip was our time together. Time that many people don’t get to spend with the people in their lives at our age. There aren’t any pictures or stories from our last day, because our intention was to give this day as much time as we could in complete appreciation. We visited 3 national parks, drove thousands of miles, stayed in almost thirty different places, cooked hundreds of meals, and did it all right beside each other. We have come so far, have learned so much, and will forever cherish this time we have been blessed with.

I’m not exactly sure how a blog “ends” or is “supposed to run” and to be honest I’m not even sure if I’ve done what a blog requires. But sharing our journey for others to read has shown me how connected we can be. Reflecting on each day of a trip can give you a much deeper appreciation of adventure, and provide others with inspiration to take that leap. We are all more alike than we realize, and I will forever love traveling for this very reason. I will be sharing some product information and other notes about additional details of this trip to wrap it up soon, but until then, all of our love…

Jake and Cass

Day Thirty Six: West Yellowstone

We woke a bit on the later side, and headed up the hill a bit with our chairs to find an area with a view of the lake to enjoy our coffee. It was a lovely start to our morning. We packed up our site, and then headed into the town of West Yellowstone to a new campground where we could shower and do a bit of laundry. It was only 5 minutes from the entrance of the National Park, so it made our plans for going to the Park early in the morning the following day much more manageable. We joke about the KOA’s being the Walmart’s of campgrounds, but sometimes it is nice to know what you’re going to get! We did arrived at our new home for the day, did some laundry, and then headed downtown to check out the area! The town was special, my favorite store was an Indian shop, and of course I started crying reading the bison masacre history. We got an appetizer and beer at a pub called the Slipper Otter. Our beers were delicious! However we wouldn’t go back to that pub, it wasn’t anything special.

After visiting the town, we headed back to camp to hang out, read, and soak up the hot tub! We met some lovely new friends from St.Louis and had a great time talking with them. Afterwards we showered and just had some simple vegetable Amy’s soup for dinner. My picture taking is lagging, and I apologize, however I’m sure we will have plenty to share on tomorrow’s adventure! Early wake up call and planned McDonald’s breakfast. Don’t judge us.

Day Sixteen: Arriving in Banff

We left the campsite rather quickly, as we were excited to get to Banff. We were in such awe driving in that we could hardly contain ourselves. Just a lot of “wows” Giant mountains peeked through the clouds that looks like space ships and it seemed like every lake we passed was crystal clear. We drove through the downtown area, picked up some groceries and soup for lunch in the park. I can’t wait to go back and check out the Christmas store! We might move here.
We left town to check out our campsite and see the area a bit more. The views only became more and more beautiful. We passed by lake Minnewanka on the way to Two Jack’s Main campground where we would be staying. More “wows” There wasn’t much as the campground, including no showers. It’s a good thing we love each other. We made shakes for a second lunch and headed to a hike through the canyon by the lake where we met the sweetest couple from Montreal.We headed back to town so I could get a few hours of work done and have my weekly Arbonne meeting. Jake did the laundry while I was working. He’s the BEST. When I was finished we headed back to the lake so he could do some evening fishing. I called family and enjoyed my new favorite beer while he did. This is taking work life balance to a whole new level if you ask me. We stopped to watch the sunset on the way back to camp. No matter where you are in this place, every view is just incredible. When we got back I made pesto pasta with Chicken. I tried to take a picture but Jake’s response was a hard no. He doesn’t feel I need to capture every meal. I disagree. #compromise

Day Fifteen: Tune ups and Ghostlands

We woke up at the campsite and took our time getting ready for the day. Enjoyed some coffee and oatmeal and showered. We love this place! Highly recommend. Today our plan was to find this free campsite on Forestry trunk rd right outside of Banff to stay in for the night. On the way there, we would be passing through Calgary, so we decided to stop for a tune up on the truck. Walmart was the only place open so that worked! On our way to our surprise campsite later that afternoon it started to rain, and we began to see the incredible views awaiting us in Banff.

When we arrived at our campsite I felt a strange presence. There was definitely something to these “ghost lands” as they call them. Nevertheless the spot was beautiful (and free) so we began setting up. We took a short walk around the forest and saw a huge skunk. We could tell right away that this was a different kind of wilderness than we had experienced so far.

When we got back to camp we had a simple dinner of soup by the fire. Jake fished ghost river nearby but didn’t have any luck. It started to rain again so we hopped into bed with our tea and actually watched a movie we had recorded on Netflix. Is that bad juju? Not sure but I didn’t sleep. A very Erie night it was in ghost lands!

Day Thirteen: Fields of Yellow Flowers

We had a slower morning at the campsite. As much as we wanted to stay longer, we were determined to get to Banff by Monday, and didn’t want to travel too far in one day. Our morning consisted of yoga, a shower, and coffee. We did some nail care as we drank our coffee at the table and it was pretty adorable. I made our shakes for breakfast and we finished packing up. We listened to some music but were quiet for a lot of this drive. I think the moving around everyday had caught up with us that day. Other than the gleaming fields of yellow flowers there wasn’t much to see on this stretch. Just farm lands and open prairies. We stopped at a place called Clear Water market about 2 hours out for chili and a Reuben. It was a lovely stopping point.

Around 7, we pulled over at a campground called MeadowLark. We didn’t love that it was right by the highway, but it was only $15 for the night with showers so we did it. We did a 20 minute workout to move and stretch, and then made dinner. I used the “meat” we bought the day before, quinoa, and all of the veggies to make bowls and a wrap for Jake. After dinner we had tumeric ginger tea and Jake played guitar while I caught up on some writing. 7 hours of traveling tomorrow! We’ll see where we end up.

Quinoa, veggie meat cooked with seasoning, avocado, peppers, and sprouts.

Day Twelve: Omens and Blue Lake

We woke up to the buzzing of mosquitoes early this morning. Realizing that having coffee and breakfast here would not be enjoyable, we basically just hopped in the cab and left. We didn’t even make the bed because we knew we’d get to do laundry later that day. Yippee! We stopped for gas nearby and decided to have breakfast at the hotel restaurant connected to the gas station. It was called “Drifters” so we thought the name made sense also. When we sat down Jake noticed on the map behind me a compass identical to the one on the drawer of the truck. Omen! Our breakfast was delicious, our waitress was the nicest (of course) and soon we were on the road again.

Another beautiful day with stunning views! We feel so blessed. We stopped at Safeway to pick up some groceries and then over to Walmart so Jake could pick up a new watch because his had broken. I found the best “burgers” that looked like they would last two meals and would be yum! If they make something like these 1/2 vegan burgers in the US someone please tell me. I made shakes for us in the parking lot and then we hopped back in the car to head to Willows Campground…or so we thought.

About an hour away from our destination we stopped at a Fort Gift Shop and BBQ because I couldn’t hold it. So happy we did! Jake ended up talking with an older man who filled us in on the fishing and wildlife around the area, as well as other traveling tips. I picked up a few things (of course) I just can’t resist homemade organic goods! Natural bug repelling lotion, a citronella and cedar candle, and a mala bracelet made by the woman I was speaking with. They insisted we visit Blue Lake right up the road, and we decided to check it out. We were greeted at the park by such enthusiasm from our new friend Grant, that we ended up staying and having the best evening. We showered, did laundry, and made a 4th of July inspired dinner of cheese burgers, potato salad and chips and dip. After dinner, we took out the canoe to watch the sunset and fish. They certainly call Blue Lake for reason, this campground is 100% worth visiting . We came back to the campsite, folded all of the clothes, and then made the bed. We hopped in to read and enjoy the fire from afar. Clean sheets felt so good.

Heavens Door ~ Unedited

Day Eleven: Bound West

We have campsites booked in Banff for Monday. At this point we were about 31 hours away and it was Wednesday. So we made a plan to drive about 5 or 6 hours each day, stopping next at another free campsite, and then splurging at a campground to do laundry and take a (real) shower. We started off the day with fancy chocolate almond butter oatmeal, and then did 15 minutes of yoga on the beach. We left the site at about 9:30 and had about 6 and a half hours of driving to our next site in Terrace Bay.

Oatmeal, almond butter, dark chocolate, honey, cinnamon

The drive was STUNNING. The further we drove, the more mountains we saw and the bigger and more dense the forest became. About every 2 minutes there were lake pools on either side of the highway, and fields full of yellow and purple wildflowers. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It made it difficult not to pull over every 30 minutes. First world problems, I know. We pulled over to a picnic spot by a river, there are so many here! It’s lovely. Jake fished for about an hour while I made veggie sandwiches and read by the river. We probably spent too long here but it was beautiful.

Hummus, mustard and garlic aoli spread. Avocado, cucumber, tomato, broccoli sprouts. Topped with Italian seasoning and black pepper on Ezekiel bread.

When we arrived to our next campsite it was surprisingly spacious! A big lot with hardly anyone there, probably because it was a bit chilly. We found a nice place to park by a picnic table and Jake started cooking dinner. We ate quickly and then took a walk down the beach. Watching the birds glide together over the water was like a scene out of the Notebook. The sun peeked out and Jake went fishing under the waterfall while I caught up on writing. The bugs were by far the worst at this spot. I’m not sure if it’s because we were close to the water or because we were further into Canada, either way, they were quite annoying. We watched a beaver fish for a while and when I checked the time at 11 it was still completely light out! Oh, Canada. We love you.

Spinach raviolis with sauteed broccoli, tomatoes and Italian seasoning

Day Seven: Onward to NY

We packed everything up, finished some laundry and made the bed with fresh sheets before leaving the Highland house. Made shakes to take with us on the road to balance out the bagels we would be eating. On the way to Buffalo we listened to Fleetwood Mac and the EMRAP podcast. It was a nice drive for both of us to reflect on VT.

When we arrived at the campground it was about 7. I took a very non glamorous dip in the kid pee pool. Then we made dinner which was our leftover pesto pasta from the night before and some tomatoes and Italian herb chicken to spice it up. We’re really just making these meals up as we go. After dinner, Jake fished and we watched a beautiful sunset. We took a shower, the last real one for at least a couple of days, and then went to bed. Looking forward to Canada tomorrow!

Days Two and Three: I LOVE Vermont

I definitely cried as soon as we got to Bennington. This place is just pure magic to me and always will be. We had shakes for breakfast that morning, listened to Johnny Cash, and stopped for ice cream on the way there. That night we stayed at one of very best friends’ house in Wilmington. She took us a too a bier garden in Brattleboro where we watched the most adorable tug boat go by and had smoked trout and crackers, poutine and of course, beer.

The next morning I took Jake to Dot’s diner for breakfast and ate what is pictured below, as well as a very berry pancake to start because we love food. After breakfast we walked in the rain to the country store and bought cheese, pickled garlic, and Italian seasoning. We stayed for an hour and talked with the owner, who ironically told us over and over again that need to get married. He first told us that he could tell we weren’t married because we weren’t fighting. Good timing, is what I told him. He also told us that “15-55 are your golden years” and “Your life right now is not practice” We listened.

We then made our way over the mountain, stopped in rainy Stratton village to get a chai. We walked around the snow making pond, still in the rain, and enjoyed the stillness of the water. One of the most beautiful things about Vermont is its’ stillness.

Best part of the day? Cilantro, obviously. Best burrito I’ve ever had. After we were done with our life changing burrito lunch, we got gas and went to the grocery store for baby wipes, beef, avocado, taco seasoning, apples, bananas and beer. The basics. We made it to our campsite on the battenkill and celebrated. We were right next to the river and we were the only people there.Aside from the bugs, it was a dream. A friend from the area came to the campsite for dinner and I got so caught up talking about Arbonne things, typical, that I forgot to take a picture of our delicious tacos. Clearly it was a Mexican themed day but we’re not complaining about it.

Day One: “It’s actually working!”

Our first leg of the trip! We drove 9 1/2 hours, and stopped in Allentown Pennsylvania to camp for the night on our way to Vermont. We listened to the Joe Rogan podcast and “ Only Love” by Ben Howard was our song of the day. PB&J’s for lunch and of course all of the snacks. I’m most likely going to write about all of our snack choices because yes hello I am the snack master. Jake insisted on getting gas station coffee instead of my bougie choice of finding a local coffee stop and it was delicious. He won that round.

Tonight was the night of figuring out how this was going to go, and couldn’t have been any better. We used everything we brought and it actually worked! Jake went fishing and I cooked a delicious meal during golden hour by the riverside. Ridiculously wonderful. The day ended with loose leaf turmeric tea by the fire, and an hour of me trying to set up this platform. Oh, and lightening bugs. Total magic.

Sautéed broccoli and bell pepper with butter and black pepper Quinoa Seafood seasoned chicken