Art museums are everywhere, but they are not all the same. While I’ve seen versions of Donald Judd’s Untitled sculpture in more cities than I can count, the body of work at a city’s art museum can vary as much as the weather while you travel. Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum is a fantastic collection of all types of art with great rotating special exhibitions as well. Along with all of the fantastic work on display, the museum itself is a perfect blend of classic architecture and modern design that make navigation only slightly confusing (which is saying a lot for a museum.)
The landscape of the American Southwest is amazingly varied and unique. Driving through the desert regions you could be among high mountains with snow then surrounded by endless flatness with dry bushes, tumbleweeds, and Joshua trees dotting the landscape. It is endlessly beautiful no matter where you go during the day, and the stars come out at night almost lighting up the pure blackness as the strange silhouette forms rise up on all sides.
I’ve been back in New Jersey for a day and I’ve already been hiking in a new place. While I was in North Jersey I met up with a friend and set out for a short hike at Ramapo Mountain Reservation. There are ruins of an old mansion called Van Slyke Castle up a scenic trail that runs along a stream and is incredibly rocky. It was a perfect day for hiking and exploring the ruins. We could see the Manhattan skyline from the top, but I just liked looking at the blue sky and puffy clouds through the old windows.
For the better part of two months I’ve called the road my home. It’s not unusual for me anymore to get used to living in a car, sleeping on floors, in tents, hotels, and random strangers’ houses. I love the feeling of adventure and uncertainty at times, but when I get back to New Jersey I get this feeling like I belong back out there. The road, those places, that adventure are all that exist in color while everything else fades into the background. I’m working on brightening myself in the hopes of coloring my surroundings.
A great part of traveling is seeing new places and trying new things. Beer is no exception. I’m a big fan of craft beer, and there are small breweries all over the country doing amazing things. Asheville, North Carolina is a boom in brewery town with new operations opening all the time and plenty of fresh ideas coming out of the mainstays. Wicked Weed is easily my favorite brewery in town and one of my favorites of all time. They recently opened a new location called the Funkatorium to showcase their many sour barrel-aged beers where I took this shot of my pretty little samples. Delicious.
There are so often random amazing spots in places you aren’t looking for it. One of the best parts about being in a new place every day is discovering these little spots and feeling somehow comforted by the ubiquitous beauty that exists everywhere if you can appreciate it. This one happened to be on a disc golf course in South Carolina. As the sun was going down, the well-designed and fun course was challenging us, but I was holding my own. Can’t get mad at a missed putt with these surroundings.
While in Georgia we hiked several short trails on the Appalachian Trail. Since Joanna had hiked the entire trail last year she knew all the best places to check out. Blood Mountain was a slightly challenging hike uphill to a beautiful view overlooking the endless mountains. It was nothing like her amazing accomplishment last year hiking 2,185.3 miles, but it was a great day for a hike, and we got to pass out some Kind bars to thru hikers, and she did a great job encouraging them to keep going all the way to Maine.
It’s hard to believe through the whole country that it took until Georgia to stop at a winery. I’m not the biggest wino, but I do like to sip some grape juice once in a while. As we drove the Georgia Wine Trail, which was just the road we happened to be on, I decided to stop off and enjoy a glass of peach wine while doing some work on my laptop. We also got the welcome company of a porch cat that was so colorful and friendly, purring and rubbing against our legs as we sat overlooking the vineyard. It was a wonderful and relaxing afternoon after handing out some snacks to AT hikers in a few places on our way.
Back on the East Coast, and it really feels like it. The trails are what I remember along the Appalachian Trail. We stopped at Amicalola Falls, which is the Approach Trail to the AT. We didn’t hike the whole thing, but we went up to the top of the falls and back around. It’s a beautiful rushing flow that sprays out over the bridge while you look up at it. The dreaded stairs on the trail weren’t even that bad; maybe because we prepared ourselves and we didn’t have 30-pound backpacks on.
We’ve gotten to camp at some amazing places, and waking up to these views is a great treat. We slept last night next to a rushing river that sang us to sleep. It was completely dark at night with stars poking pinholes in the sky through the trees. In the morning the sun shone through the leaves and brightened everything through the mesh of the tent. Definitely one of my favorite waking moments on the trip.