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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Life on the Road

Hi all,

As I type this I am coming up on the end of another road trip.  This one has taken me from Minnesota, to Western North Dakota, back up through the center of North Dakota, into Manitoba Canada, over to Kenora Canada, and finally back into Minnesota where I will catch a flight home.  When the rental car is turned in, I anticipate close to 2,000 miles will have been driven in about five days! 

I really fell in love with road trips during 2011 when I was doing the 1 Year 1000 Challenge.  Doing a 1000 things in a year required a lot of changes in scenery.  During my 1000 Challenge adventures I really discovered a love for the open road and an appreciation for all the beauty I could see as part of it.  Rather than flying from one city to another and then staying in said city, a road trip allows you to experience all of the "in between" stuff; the stuff that is typically just flown over.

The cool thing about the "in between" stuff is that is usually the natural (nature) stuff, the stuff I really enjoy! 

I have been blessed to see some amazing buildings, architecture, skyscrapers, and statues.  I can appreciate them, I enjoy taking photos of them, but few leave me with that "WOW!" feeling that our natural world does.  Herein comes the road trip appeal.

I cannot begin to tell you how many mountains, lakes, rivers, bodies of water, beaches, skies, sunrises, sunsets, trees, plants, and animals I have seen.  No matter how many I see, I still find my breath being taken away and I still find myself saying, "WOW!"

There is such an amazing world out there filled with so much beauty waiting to be explored.

Not only that I love getting to meet new people and seeing how different people live and having the opportunity to experience local customs and culture that are different from my day to day life.

Driving through North Dakota, a place I had been told was not the most exciting, I found myself marveling at the lushness of the green grass and the cleanliness.  I would drive for miles and not see a piece of trash on the road.  I'd watch as the clouds changed shapes and sizes over the open plains.  It was nothing less than ... beautiful. 

After North Dakota I crossed the boarder at the International Peace Garden (very cool spot to visit) to head up into Manitoba Canada.  This was my third trip into Canada.  I love visiting Canada for the obvious reasons: the natural beauty and the friendly people.  What I also love about Canada is the sense of national pride that is evident all throughout it (at least the places I have been).

Everywhere I go, I saw Canadian flags proudly displayed  When I crossed back over into the USA passing through the town of Fort Francis on the Canadian side I saw countless houses, buildings, public structures, etc... all flying the Canadian flag.  This experience left me feeling happy and inspired.  On the USA side I did not have the same experience and it left me feeling a little sad.  As I drove by countless houses, buildings, and public structures, I kept looking for an equal symbolic show of patriotism and pride, but never found it at the level I saw in Canada.

I wonder where our pride has gone?  Where has the sense of National pride that I saw on September 12th, 2001 and the days after, where has that disappeared to?  Have we, as Americans, allowed our view of what America is, to be represented by politicians vs our own personal belief and our own personal ideas of what America is?  This discussion is for another blog, so I will leave it here.

Road trips are amazing adventures.  They do not have to cover 1000's of miles, they can be as long or as short as you want.  Road trips do not have to be expensive.  Some of my favorite road trips have been the ones where I jump in my car, bring a cooler full of food, drive to wherever I am going, spend the day there, eat my food I brought and sleep in my car ( to save money), and then drive to the next spot.  If I need to shower I will go and workout at the local gym and then shower after.  $10 for a day pass at a gym (many you can get a free one for if you look online) vs $100+ for a hotel. 

Where ever you are in the world, there is an opportunity for adventure and discovery waiting for you in your backyard!

Do you have a favorite memory/experience of a road trip you would like to share?  If so please leave it in the comments below. I would love to read about it! :)

Summertime is approaching for many of us.  I encourage you to make a plan, (or don't plan at all just go on the spur of the moment), to spend a few days with your camera, your car, maybe a few friends, and the open road.  The experience will be unforgettable.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,



  1. Hi Jesse, I used to live in Fort Frances and my favorite road trip was from there to Kenora with my mom as we drove along and saw how beautiful everything was. I had seen it before, but she hadn't and it was nice to experience it through someone else's eyes!

  2. Since my Father was a teacher, I was blessed to have had many road trips in the summer. Since he was from North Dakota, went there, by car, many times. He took me to Yosemite to learn how to drive my Volkswagen bus, many road trips in that bug , and great memories. I love that you share your experiences with us. It inspires me to get out more and go.

    1. I used to love riding in my friend's VW Bus! The only scare part would be when the wind would blow a little too hard....we always came close to tipping over!

  3. Your blog has truly inspired me. I am glad that you enjoyed your roadtrips in Canada. I am from Newfoundland, Canada. My favourite part of Newfoundland is Gros Morne National Park on the west coast. Newfoundland has truly beautiful natural features and sceneries. They have lots of hiking trails so choices are limitless! You could see icebergs, wildlife, and many more! You will not regret if you visit there!

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  5. Sounds a fabulous trip Jesse, would love to do a road trip through the US one day - the UK is pretty overcrowded so you're more likely to be crawling in jams than find any open spaces!! Some of the best road trips I've taken were many years ago in my backpacking days - driving around NW & Northern Australia - 4 of us in a beat up car adapted for the purpose (curtains, mattress in the back for 2 to travel/sleep & planks made into a roof rack for the other 2 to sleep!) The scenery and natural beauty and, above all, the space and immensity of Australia stay with me to this day. Hitching a ride from Darwin through the centre of Australia to Adelaide with a detour to Uluru is another one - just amazing (wouldn/'t recommend it now but normal in those days!) Got me reminiscing now!! A road trip driving from Dubai down to Muscat & around Oman with my hubby in the early days is another highlight, just driving & pulling up to camp out wherever we fancied (including a deserted beach cove) - highly recommended in you find yourself in that part of the world - desert, beaches, culture, really wonderful. Not taken a trip in a long time - doesn't really go with a young child (20 mins in...'I'm bored, I'm uncomfortable, when do we get there' etc!!) but hopefully one day in the not too distant future and in the meantime I'll enjoy reading about your trips & adventures!

  6. I was about 17 and had recently become inspired and discovered a real passion for driving. I decided then and there that above all else, I was determined to drive a stick shift! I was working as a whitewater rafting guide on the Kern River at the time. I had become buddies with the photographer shooting souvenir photos on the last big class IV of the run. Long story short, she had lost her license and needed to travel up North to start shooting on the American River. She made the fabulously intelligent decision to have me drive her up (in her brand new Acura RSX nonetheless) and I would take the train back down. (Are you picking up on the sarcasm yet? ;-) Well, as you can imagine it was quite the circus act. Burning clutches, stalling at each and every light, honking, yelling, certain choice fingers in the air....yeaaaah. And to add insult to injury, she decided she just HAD to stop in San Francisco on the way there. Picture experience with a manual transmission, bay area vertical rolling hills, red lights, get the gist! We actually ended up taping a sign to the back of the car warning others to leave room for "the roll back!" (I eventually picked up on the good ol' popping the e-brake trick....unfortunately not soon enough!) We ended the trip with one good dent and me in tears. Well that's my funny story (looking back at least!)....and I'll have you know that today I am quite the skilled driver! I love a bad ass manual transmission more than anything! But we all have to learn somehow, right? :-P

    Aside from all that....the trip up was amazing! California is such a beautiful place....whether you want the forrest, the snow, the desert, the doesn't matter, you can find it here! We traveled from Kernville, CA to Coloma, CA....making stops in a million beautiful places along the way. We traveled through Yosemite for the first time, it was so breathtaking! The mountains, the lakes....all of it! We camped pretty much every single night. I love camping, you can be so spontaneous that way. And not a fancy campground with the hot showers....ruffing it! If you've taken your bath and washed your clothes in the river, you know what I mean :-) Even when I had a place to stay a few minutes away, I still chose to camp back then. That was sort of the way of it for the outdoor adventure company employees. We were one giant nature loving hippie family. If anyone ever gets the chance to travel to Kernville, CA and explore with one of the companies, please take it! Everything from rafting to hiking to biking to kayaking to ropes name it, they have it! Some of the best memories of my life were made there....and most of them were free...can't beat that!

    1. Oh and I almost forgot....Coloma was awesome too! Northern California is so rich in history, definitely get there if you can as well. I felt like I was really in a little old gold mining town in the 1800's. You can even go exploring on your own in some of the old abandoned mines (probably dangerous and illegal LOL) or go right inside of some of the bigger famous ones (Empire Mine was so interesting and beautiful!).

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  8. Hi Jesse, I really like your blog and I'm glad you enjoyed the trip. Here's one of my stories with one trip. A few years ago my husband and I decided to go without a lot of planning in Bosnia that was my first trip there. The journey took about eight hours away by car. As we crossed the border into Bosnia as we approached one place around us are just rocks unusual shape, when we arrived in town the first thing we are going to shish ka, because we have heard that the best (and they are the best). After that we went for a walk this village with notice that a lot of things quite old and built of stone, which I liked, because I really like the older buildings. After ratgledavanja town we went to another place, when we got there I was surprised, I saw a bear who drinks beer and no more than one glass of beer a day, we could not believe it. We really enjoyed the beauty of the area, meeting people and learning about their customs. It was one of the best trips of my life. :-)

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  10. Love reading all your stories. Please keep sharing them :)