I started off that next morning easily, the night before I had planned out my route, so I had a good idea of what the day was going to hold and I was confident that I could get it all done. As usual, nothing was going to happen quite the way I expected, but that’s part of the adventure, isn’t it? With another great Icelandic breakfast filling my belly and a full gas tank I set off down the road with a smile on my face. Unsurprisingly, before too long I came upon a view that just begged me to stop and take some pictures. I happily obliged and even found some sheep to grazing to add to the picturesque scenery. One of these shots ended up being another favorite from the trip; that’s if picking 500 or so from 2600 pictures can be considered having any sort of favorites.
Wow. I’m finally writing this trip up. Kinda hard to believe, eh? This has been a hard trip for me to write about, not because I’m being a lazy git or anything, but because it was such a deeply personal trip. More of a sort of “vision quest” instead of a trip, as one of my good friends put it. So I thought I’d start with a bit of a pre-trip write up to give you all a feel for why I chose to go to Iceland, alone, for my first trip abroad.
We woke up that Saturday morning bright and early, refreshed and ready to face the world… Or not so much, we were exhausted still and I was not feeling all that awesome from my overdose on driving the previous day. Nevertheless we needed to continue on our travels as we’d begun to feel the pull of home. Strange sometimes how the closer you get to home the stronger the urge to be there gets. Mariah had begun to feel the driving need to be home almost as soon as we’d turned around, while I was only feeling the slightest twinkling now as I lifted Motor into the car to begin another day driving. Our plan for the day was to stop at the Kentucky Horse Park to check out the awesomeness that is everything horse, continuing on to have dinner with our great aunt Pat in Indiana, and then driving until we couldn’t drive anymore and sleeping in a rest stop somewhere before finishing our last leg Sunday morning. As we’ve all learned by now, I basically fail at planning and it also appears to be a family trait, unless Mariah was just afraid to go against her crazed cousin’s timetable. I don’t know that I would blame her in the slightest if she was a tad bit worried after the numerous detours from Friday.
Where were we?
Oh yes, Mariah, Motorman, and I had just left Captain Mary after a wonderful morning on the water in her boat (or is it a ship?), the Proud Mary Too. As we piled into the car, I decided to take the first shift to let Mariah nap as she’d been unexplainably tired for the last couple of days. I was in the mood to drive too, which ended up being a good thing! We had discussed some of our route the previous evening and had decided to go up through Maryland, into Delaware, and then back through Maryland again. Neither of us was entirely certain when we would be back to the east coast and we really wanted to see as much as we could on our way home. Once again the HOG guidebook proved its worth, I said it before and I will definitely say it again. If you are road tripping within the US get yourself one of these books and take some of the yellow roads, you won’t regret it.
Today was the big day, today was the day of dreams, and acting like a ten year old girl. Or at least on the inside, because acting like a ten year old girl on the outside would probably get us into some sort of trouble I didn’t want to deal with on vacation. Or not on vacation. Or ever, really. I’m not a fan of avoidable trouble.
Anyways, sorry about that strange little tangent. On with our story.
Our trip picked up bright and early Monday morning in the navy housing in Norfolk. Imagine being woken by a herd of stampeding wildebeest that laugh, yell, and talk. Now you understand what it is like to sleep in Navy housing. All the same it was good to hear those that are serving with their lives so happy and carefree, not all that different than listening to kids in a college dorm on their way to morning classes. We slept in for a short while longer and then decided to get up and actually do something relatively useful. Kim had to go to work for an undisclosed amount of time, to an undisclosed location, to do some undisclosed military stuff, but she was hoping to get off early so we could all go to the beach. In the meantime Mariah and I decided that we were going to make good on our decision to exercise and such on this vacation. First, we snuck Mo out to pee, which was an operation filled with lots of giggling and worry as we tried not to get caught with a large brown dog peeing in the middle of the lawn. After Operation Mo Pee was over we got down and started planking, doing squats, lunges, and all that jazz. We then decided we were going to go run. At this point it was close to 11am and the sun was out in full force, seeing as how we were next to the ocean it was also obscenely humid. Being the tough ass Minnesota chicks we are, we decided none of that shit mattered and we were going to run anyways. So we ran. It was pretty much completely hellish, but we valiantly completed our run and I’m pretty sure that we managed to amuse several members of our armed service in the process. I’d consider that a win no matter who you are!
The trip to Chincoteague Island in Virginia was the realization of one of my childhood dreams. Like many other young girls, I had read Misty of Chincoteague and dreamed of the day that I too could save a young foal and tame my own wild horse or at the very least witness the ponies swimming from the island of the wild things, Assateague to Chincoteague. When I made the decision that 2013 would be a year for me to pursue my travel dreams this was an obvious one to make the list. The Pony Penning Day celebration is at the end of July every year, but if you want to make the event you need to start planning well in advance. Spots on the boats start filling up on the previous Penning Day and by January you will find that many are completely full for the swim over. I had booked the swim back on The Proud Mary Too, as well as a campsite for week. One of my cousins was going to join me, unfortunately she had to back out due to military obligations, but her sister happily filled her place. Our adventure was to start the morning of July 19th and end the morning of July 28th. We would be traveling from Minnesota to Nashville then to Norfolk and finally on to Chincoteague. In the span of 10 days we traveled in as many states and drove over 3000 miles. It was a great trip and resulted in me having a definite need to explore the east coast in much greater detail in the future.
The third of my trips this year took place over Memorial Day weekend. My Texas family was having their first family reunion EVER and I was flying down for the weekend to see everyone. Mom is one of ten kids and most of them I don’t know very well, so I was looking forward to this opportunity to see them all together. When we were younger we had made yearly or bi-yearly trips down for the holidays, but as we had gotten older that had gradually dwindled and in the last ten years I’ve only made it down three times. This trip was a good start to remedying the lack of visits. If I could ever make it down there!