All cruised out

Today is the last port of my last cruise for 2016… Limon, Costa Rica. As I write this, I am sitting at a coffee shop… doing what I do best.

coffee-in-costa-rica
having a coffee in Limon, Costa Rica

Cruises have been a great way to see a lot of places, and I have had a great time on all of my adventures. Still, it is time to take a break and explore a new kind of travel.

Yes… I had already realized this months ago when I ordered the Scamp. Still, the Scamp wasn’t due until mid-January, so I opted for one last hurrah… a cruise through the Panama Canal.

Sure, the Scamp plan morphed into a Scotty trek. Bring… it… on.

So… why am I tired of cruising? Well… I love waking up in a new city and/or country each day, but… well, the average cruiser repulses me. There… I said it, it’s not me… it’s you. 😛

beer-in-panama
having a beer in Colon, Panama

Ungrateful, entitled, lazy… these are the words that pop in my head at the moment. Yes… this is a generalization, but it my frame-of-mind at the moment. Maybe I will take my next cruise on Fathom.

Pioneered by Fathom, impact travel is a whole new category of travel: it’s travel with purpose. Travel that transforms lives. Sometimes including your own. Impact travel with Fathom provides the opportunity to build community with like-minded travelers, become immersed in another culture, and work alongside its people to create enduring social impact.

Maybe… maybe not. For now though, I am focused on the Scotty adventure. Yes… I am 3,266 Scotty miles from Atlanta, but I craving some time in the tin can.

Planes, trains, automobiles, and a boat (part two)

As I continue to slack further from blogging, I figure it is best to get the pics from the rest of this journey up before it is gone from my memory. 😛

a beautiful sunset while cruising the west coast
a beautiful sunset (or was it a sunrise) while cruising the west coast

After leaving Astoria on September 29, I made my way down the west coast aboard the Norwegian Jewel, arriving in Los Angeles on October 2.

10/2/2016: time with friends in Los Angeles, followed by a bus and two trains

While in LA, I was able to spend a couple of nights with friends, have a few drinks, and take part in one my favorites… a day in the park with a book.

park-la

When Tuesday rolled around, it was time to dive in to the Los Angeles public transit system. I picked up a bus at Beverly and Genesee, then a hop on the Metro red line (train) to Union Station.

union-station-hall
Yes… I love my public transit

Next stop… Amtrak (my first) and a ride down the Pacific Coast.

Amtrak hair... don't care :P
Amtrak hair… don’t care 😛

I would definitely do Amtrak again. So… don’t knock it until you try it.

  • The ticketing process was a breeze.
  • The train was comfortable with plenty of legroom.
  •  There was free wifi (albeit slow) throughout the train.

Oh… and then there was the view. SOLD!

"Life is a journey, not a destination" #matra #travel

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10/4/2016: San Diego

As far as my mush brain can remember, I had never been to San Diego, but it is a city that I can see myself returning to.

Although, I was only in San Diego for two days, I managed to get in the San Diego Zoo…

primates-san-diego

giraffe-san-diego

… a hike…

cactus-hike

… a tour around the various museums and greenery in Balboa Park…

balboa-park-cool

san-diego-museum-of-art

funky-cactus

… and a visit to the Fleet Science Center to see Nathan Sawaya’s Art of the Brick exhibit.

me-lego-bricks

Yes… the truth is that the guiding force behind my trek to San Diego was to see this exhibit. In fact, I took pics of every single one of Nathan’s LEGO works of art. I’m sure at some point I will create a post with everything. Loved It!

After my two days were up in San Diego, it was time to catch an Uber, followed by my return flight to Atlanta.

<<END ADVENTURE>>

Planes, trains, automobiles, and a boat (part one)

Yes… I’ve been slacking on the blog, but I do not what my writing to become a responsibility. Instead, I want it to be outlet.

I just spent a couple of weeks in continuous travel. Here was my itinerary, along with some pics.

9/23/2016: flight to Vancouver

on day one I came across this sign
on day one I came across this sign… I’m on the right track, baby
swinging-bridge
Capilano Suspension Bridge
relaxing at Kitsilano Beach Park
relaxing at Kitsilano Beach Park

owl

Granville Public Market, an awesome farmers' market
Granville Public Market, an awesome farmers’ market

9/27/2016: bus to board my ship for a pacific coast cruise

my room on the Norwegian Jewel for the next five days... not too shabby
my room on the Norwegian Jewel for the next five days… not too shabby

view-from-the-ship

9/28/2016: spending the day in Victoria

I spent most of my day in Beacon Hill Park.
I spent most of my day in Beacon Hill Park.

flowers-plants-beacon-hill-park

Beacon Hill Park was one of the best public parks I have ever visited. It had a variety of green areas, wooded spaces, ponds, and wildlife.

yes... that's a peacock roaming around... no cage
yes… that’s a peacock roaming around… no cage

To further drive home the fact I have made the decision to live a more nomadic life, I came across this little gem on a park bench…

park-bench-mantra
love life now

Love Life Now… seize the moment… live it up… carefree as a frisky pup
Cherish your mate… be kind… love nature… for peace of mind

fishermans-wharf

I ended my day in Victoria with a stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf.

9/29/2016: trolley to the Goonies in Astoria, Washington

My trek around Astoria included a ride on the riverfront trolley, a search for Goonies, a visit with the sea lions, and a bite and brew at a local pub.

the trolley is only a buck (or $2 to ride all day)
the trolley is only a buck (or $2 to ride all day)
"Goonies house"
“Goonies house”

If you’re ever in Astoria and want to see the “Goonies house”, it is located at 368 38th Street. Unfortunately, this is about as close as you will get. It seems that the 30th anniversary created a bit too much havoc.

For 14 years, homeowner Sandi Preston has let fans — within reason — approach, photograph, gawk at and geek out on her property in Uppertown. On occasion, she has even opened up her house to them.

“Sandi … has been very, very accommodating,” City Councilor Russ Warr said.

But, with an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 visitors swarming around the house almost every day this summer, Preston and her neighbors near 38th and Duane streets are experiencing fan fatigue.

sea lions of Astoria
sea lions of Astoria

clam-chowder-beer

I ended my day with a bowl of clam chowder, a sweet potato biscuit, and a local beer from Port of Call Bistro and Bar. Life is good.

MORE TO COME…

New tow in tow… say hello to…

I picked up my new tow vehicle yesterday, and I love her. Say hello to Mindy.

mindy

Mindy is a 2016 Jeep Renegade, 4×4 Trailhawk edition. ❤ ❤ ❤

I will explain my buying technique in a later post, as I am a hard ass when it comes to buying a car. I will also talk more later about my decision to buy a new vehicle (I have been carless for a year). For now, let me gloat on my new purchase. Mindy…

  • has a beautiful orange color (Omaha Orange)
  • has spent the last several month in Boone, North Carolina; I had her delivered to Atlanta
  • is fully equipped with all of the bells and whistles
  • includes a dual-panel roof (My Sky) that can be removed for topless days 😉
  • can tow up to 2,000 pounds

I know that many avid RV-ers may question my decision to purchase a vehicle that can only tow 2,000 pounds, but I will explain my thought process in a later post. Again… this is Mindy’s time to shine. 😛

Why the name Mindy? I’m glad you asked. You see, she will be in charge of pulling along her partner, Mork.

scamp-goal-orange
I deem him Mork… Na-Nu Na-Nu

What do you think of Mork & Mindy?

Shazbot!

 

Touring Paris in three hours

In April, as part of a transatlantic cruise, I had a stop in Le Havre, a port city located about 200 km (about 125 miles) from Paris. Although I had been to Europe several times, I had never visited Paris. Why? Well, it just seems like it is where everyone wants to go. And, well, I pride myself on being an individual that makes his own path.

Anyway… I decided to get over myself and seize the opportunity. The ship was docked for 11 hours in Le Havre, and the train ride was three and a half hours each way. Unfortunately, I did not walk the most direct route to the station and missed my intended train, so I lost an hour. I would have three hours to tour the “City of lights” (before the lights were actually on).

Here are a few photos from my three hour tour.

paris-church-pano

Palais Garnier

My rushed trip through the streets of Paris did not allow me time to document everything. Still, I snapped pics of some of the sights I found interesting. After all, it is my journey, right?

paris-statue-close

paris-church-close

paris-inside-church-statues

My only requirement while in Paris was to see the Eiffel Tower… and to enjoy myself. Mission Accomplished!

My whirlwind tour of Paris did not allow me to get to the top of the Eiffel Tour. However, I enjoyed my time, and I am happy to report that I did not leave the city with Paris Syndrome.

Pit stop in Tunnel Hill, Georgia

After my night in a tiny camper in Ooletwah, Tennesse, I stopped in Tunnel Hill, Georgia. Having lived in the southeastern United States my entire life, I had driven up and down interstate 75 hundreds of times, but this was my first stop in the city. Here are some pics from Tunnel Hill and the Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel. Enjoy!

tunnel-hill-sign
Tunnel Hill historic marker
train-depot-tunnel-hill
W&A Railroad Depot
an old luggage cart on display
an old luggage cart on display
Sherman's Neckties alongside museum and visitor's center
Sherman’s neckties alongside museum and visitor’s center
wooden-bridge-tunnel-hill
road becomes one lane when crossing an old wooden bridge
tunnel-sign
historic marker for Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel
western-atlantic-tunnel
entrance to Western & Atlantic Railroad tunnel

The museum and visitor center is not open on Sunday, so I did not get to see the inside of the tunnel or take part in the tour. Here is a pic from the Georgia travel and tourism site.

inside of the Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel
inside of the Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel

According to the site, you can “walk through 1,477 feet of railroad and Civil War history at the Western and Atlantic Tunnel, completed in 1850. It was the first major railroad tunnel in the South, the final link in the first railroad tunnel through the Appalachian Mountains, and witness to the 1862 Great Locomotive Chase.”

My night in a tiny camper

I decided to take my plan to live in a tiny camper, specifically a 13′ Scamp, to the next level by spending the night in a similar camper. I could not find a Scamp or similar camper near me, so I plotted out an overnight stay in Ooltewah, Tennessee courtesy of Airbnb.

I booked the trailer on Friday, then on Saturday afternoon I headed to Ooltewah (about two hours north of Atlanta). Upon arrival, I fell in love with my temporary accommodations.

casita16-tn

After an orientation from Tara, my host, I took measurements of the size of the mobile abode. It was then that I discovered the travel trailer measurements include the size of the hitch. So… even though the Casita had 13 feet of living space, this was a 16 foot trailer.

It is my intention to purchase a 13′ Scamp. This means that my inside living space would be 10′ x 6.5’…. only 65 square feet. Also, the inside height would only be 6’3″. (Note: The Casita did not quite feel as tall. When I stood up straight, my head touched the ceiling.)

The extra three feet of space meant that the 16′ Casita has three extra feet of storage space, along with the ability to have a dedicated dining area.

casita-kitchen-airbnb

casita-table-airbnb

Looking at the pictures above, the dining table and seats would be replaced with a smaller closet. Additionally, I would lose the closet by the sink and stove. So, essential the layout of my new home would be flipped and minimized.

sacmp-13-layout

I was very impressed with the amount of air the three-speed overhead fan produced. However, I have zero experience with a camper, so I needed to test out the generator to see if it would allow me to truly live off of the grid (if I decided to go this route). Two pulls later, and I was relaxing with airco… tiny camper living does not necessarily mean roughing it.

casita-feet-camping-bed

Is the glamping?

I had a very restful night, but I was a bit concerned with the size of the combo toilet/shower room.

casita-bath

My concerns were unfounded. Although the camper does curve in the bath, I still found plenty of room to shower and do my business.

In addition to a great night in the Casita, I had the opportunity to watch Mike, my other host, milk a cow and pick his brain on staying in a tiny camper.

Simple enough… moo! #travel #roadtrip #cows

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What’s next? Onward with my tiny camper adventure. I just picked out the options for my 13′ Scamp. It should be ready in mid-January.