The road is…longer.

SJM Quote Type

The sun is shining on me as I type this and I can see in my reflection that I still have a double chin. Sigh. I just cleared two months on my journey and figured it was time for me to provide you with an update. When I set out on this trip armed with my blog url and Facebook page I knew that I was setting myself up for a big challenge. I sometimes question myself, wondering why I decided to be so public with my struggle to get healthy. To take something so very personal and difficult and share it was a conscious choice but still a difficult decision. The difficulties don’t stop there. I am still struggling to gain control of my eating and exercise habits, sometimes choosing to hit snooze instead of getting up to workout or make a healthy breakfast. I have been relying on energy bars and nuts when with a little more planning I could be eating a more clean green diet.

Another trip challenge can be the lonely moments. One would think that if you were taking months to travel alone that you would be prepared to be just that, alone, however I have struggled. Facebook is a wonderful thing, it lets me see what my friends and family are up to while I am gone but it also makes me sad that I am not with them. I have never been good at missing out on a party and it seems that EVERYTHING everyone is doing WITHOUT me is the party of the century. In addition to missing my friends and family I am also really missing my Mom. I have had a lot of time to think about her and the void that now resides in my heart. I know that all this time to think is important and is part of the journey but it is also difficult, there is a lot of processing going on and that can sometimes be uncomfortable.

I can’t provide you a thorough update without including the high points as well. In these two months I have seen over twenty different groups of friends as well as met a handful of cool people along the way. I have river rafted, bet on pigs, camped at a music festival, met up with my Dad, hiked the Canadian Rockies, walked Color Me Rad, rode the Montana version of “Ride the Ducks”, swam in Flathead Lake, met Lyle Lovett, went 4x4ing, celebrated the 110th Anniversary of Harley Davidson, went to a renaissance faire, took an architectural boat tour, drove fast (could have been faster) in a Porsche, threw pottery, had a dance party, toured a sculptors studio, visited many an art museum, dined at Notre Dame, watched a behind the scenes filming of a sports show, pretended to be a weather girl and dined at a friends restaurant. I know I am missing some high points but I will stop there so I don’t make you all envious. I am also eagerly looking forward to the upcoming activities to include a long stint in NYC!

When I reread what I have just written I am proud and I know that all of these things are part of the entire experience. I am not going to be too hard on myself, yes, I am losing weight slowly off the interstate but at least I am still losing. I am making good choices the majority of the time and putting myself back on track after the bad choices. I am finding that there is a lot more to this trip than just my physical health, and I am so thankful that I was able to unplug from the “real” world for a bit to explore. Thank you all for joining me on this journey and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have something to say.

XOXO –

Sarah

SJM Weather

Image taken from: Roadtrippers

Image taken from: Roadtrippers

I Lyle Lovett Park City

SJM Lyle

If you looked at the map on my website you probably realize that I made a pretty severe detour.  I was originally set to go through South Dakota but when I learned that I would be in the State with thousands of motorcyclists I decided to alter my route.  This decision was made easier when I was able to stay at the Wildfin Fishing Lodge and realized that I had several people that I could see in Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.

I had never been to Park City Utah but had heard wonderful things about it and was excited to catch up with several friends I had not seen in ages.  As I drove into town I was in awe of the landscape and the mountains, such beauty.  Though I haven’t skied much in my adult life I used to ski the majority of winters in my childhood and these mountains had me itching for snow and a hot toddy. The closest thing I would get to the frigid mountain air was the blasting air conditioning in my car as it was in the 90s and hot!

My first full day in town had me walking around Main Street, visiting my cousin Hope who works at an amazing interior design store called Root’d.  I then headed up the mountain for an attempted hike at the Deer Valley Resort, when I got to the resort to purchase my lift ticket up the mountain for my hike down they had just closed the lift due to lightening.  I was determined to get a workout in so I headed back to my hotel, Canyons Resort to work out in their onsite gym.

That evening I was supposed to meet up with my friend Kris to watch the Seahawks game, however, earlier in the morning he texted me to see if I was interested in going to the Lyle Lovett concert that evening which was hosted by the St. Regis Hotel where he worked.  He had helped Lyle earlier in the day and Lyle asked him if he was interested in attending the show! There was absolutely no debate on my end, I love Lyle Lovett’s music and I am a sucker for a live outdoor show!

When we got our tickets there was a fancy sticker tucked in with them and I was dying to know what this meant, it turns out it was access to meet with Lyle after the show.  We were escorted into a private room with about 15 other people and waited as Lyle chatted and took pictures with people.  He approached us and asked us what we were waiting for and was surprised when we said we were waiting for him.  We chatted for a bit, him teasing Hope who kept slapping his arm by saying “I don’t know why you keep striking me but I think I like it” and we ended our meeting with me sending him to the tour bus with a bag of food filled with smoked salmon and grapes which he thanked me for via text to Kris the next morning.  Such a nice man!

I couldn’t have asked for a better Park City weekend, the scenery was amazing, the music and company even better.  I hope I have another opportunity to visit again soon!

Fancy after party pass!

Fancy after party pass!

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Waiting with Kris for the show to start.

Waiting with Kris for the show to start.

Happy Hope!

Happy Hope!

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Wildfin Lodge, Ashton ID

I am blessed with a lot of amazing people in my life, some of which have amazing vacation homes that they are willing to generously share with me to help support me on my journey.   I liken my stay at the Wildfin Lodge (http://wildfinlodge.com) to winning the road trip Lotto.  Paul and Cindy Nagy built their dream vacation home on the banks of the Henrys Fork (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrys_Fork_(Snake_River)) in Ashton, Idaho.  This place is a mecca for fly fishing and as I relaxed in their lovely home I saw many people float by either on tubes or fishing in small boats.  I had originally thought that I would give fly fishing a try but in the end I decided to use the time at Wildfin to relax and get caught up on my blog writing.

This home was recently completed in May of this year and has been artfully curated from the comfortable leather sofas in the living room to the custom designed log bed in the master bedroom, two places that I spent some time.  The home has custom details wherever you look, Paul designed and worked with a wood carver to create the stunning mantle over the fireplace in the upstairs living room and Cindy personally shopped for all the interiors and has a great eye for design. The home sleeps 17 people in six large spacious rooms, has two separate living room areas and a wonderful hot tub with amazing views.

There was only one thing that I didn’t like about this house….and that was that I was alone.  This home is so spectacular it is meant to be shared.

If you are looking for a great luxurious vacation rental please check out Wildfin Lodge.

Wildfin Lodge: 3660 Fishermans Drive, Ashton, ID 83420

info@wildfinlodge.com . facebook.com/wildfinlodge

Cindy & Paul Nagy, my gracious hosts!

Cindy & Paul Nagy, my gracious hosts!

View from the upstairs living room

View from the upstairs living room

View from the couch. :)

View from the couch and a glimpse at the custom mantle. :)

A stroll through Harriman State Park

A stroll through Harriman State Park

A stroll through Harriman State Park

A stroll through Harriman State Park

Flathead Lake Friends

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If you look closely you can see remnants of my morning smoothie. Keeping it classy!

The drive from Whitefish to Polson, Montana on the Flathead Lake was a quick and beautiful drive.  I was excited to meet up with several different friends from college and their families.  As I drove into town I passed by the “Happy Hippo” which seemed to be a Montana version of the “Ride the Ducks”. I have always wanted to Ride the Ducks and so I thought that this was my perfect opportunity. When I met my friend Aimee and her husband Kevin and kids Lex and Nate at their restaurant; The Cove (http://www.covedeli.com) I proposed the ride to them and they eagerly agreed to join me.  We had a wonderful dinner at The Cove, which creates its own fresh dough every morning for their pizzas.  I know what you are thinking, pizza? It is all in moderation my friends and boy did it taste good!

The next day we payed our fee and hopped aboard the Happy Hippo.  We were all instructed to wear life jackets for the duration of the ride, both on land and on sea.  As I settled in to my seat, which was covered with brightly decorated duct tape, I immediately saw buckets full of water sticks/guns.  I was wondering how exactly we were going to get wet and I think I spied the answer.

We took a nice tour of town which included a Pirate attack at The Cove and moved on to the lake tour.  The captain instructed his First Mate to hand out the guns and placed buckets of ice cold lake water in the aisle for reloading.  There was a small child, about two years old, sitting behind me with adorable curly hair piled into a little pony tail on the top of its head.  The First Mate noticed it getting agitated and asked the mother if he was doing okay, after she answered I turned around and said, “I can’t believe she called your child a he, she is obviously a girl” I realized my mistake immediately, mama bear was not happy with me.  Dumb. Dumb. Sarah.  Fast forward ten minutes to the water fight. I was sitting in the front row, strapped into a seatbelt with no access to the water buckets, aka no ammo and no target in front of me to shoot.  The back of my head however became the perfect target for the offended mother and the rest of the passengers. I can’t say that part of the ride was my favorite, being hit with piercing cold water repeatedly for about five minutes was enough water play for me.

After a nice warm shower I said goodbye to Aimee and her family and went to meet up with my friend Rich and Susan and their son Zach.  They were traveling from Bend, Oregon to a rented home on the lake.  I thought it was a bit of a hike and was wondering if they didn’t have lakes that were closer but the second I stepped onto the property I understood the reason they chose this place, it was beautiful. We shared an amazing dinner as the sun set over the lake and even finished the evening with a quick night swim.  They invited me to stay in the extra bedroom which I didn’t hesitate in accepting.

I had such an amazing time reconnecting and enjoying this beautiful part of the country.

The Happy Hippo

The Happy Hippo

Choose your tour wisely.....

Choose your tour wisely…..

I could have stayed here all week!

One of my hosts for the evening, Susan! This house was amazing!

Afternoon on Flathead Lake

Afternoon on Flathead Lake

Sunset on Flathead Lake

Sunset on Flathead Lake

Healthy, Happy Whitefish

The only time I have spent in Whitefish was for work and I was eager to return to experience the town in a different way.  I had heard that two sisters had opened a new hostel within a few blocks of town and wanting to support women entrepreneurs I booked my room.  I hadn’t stayed in a hostel since my stay in Edinburgh Scotland two years ago.  What I remember of that hostel experience was the affordable price, uncomfortable beds and dirty showers.  The experience at the Whitefish Hostel was much different.  The sisters, Kirtlye and Lynon had stayed in many hostels around the world and made a list of what it was they enjoyed in each of the different locations.  They were able to create a very comfortable and memorable experience at a great price point; one evening on a memory foam bed in a shared room cost me $33.00.

I was able to easily walk the two blocks to the main street of Whitefish to meet up with a contact I made through Couchsurfing.org, a wonderful resource when you are new to town and looking to chat with locals or find a place to stay for the evening.  Sue graciously gave me several hours of her time to tell me about the great places to visit in Whitefish, the secret lake access that not many tourists knew about, the restaurants serving up healthy meals as well as some helpful information for my future road tripping through the North East. I really cherished this time and will definitely utilize this site again.

On my way out of town I passed by a juice bar that served organic juices and smoothies.  I hadn’t had lunch yet and I was excited for a fresh and healthy smoothie.  This place was really unique, not only did it offer fresh juices and smoothies but it also rented mopeds and had a food cart at the entrance called “The Greek Guy”.  If you are driving from Kalispell to Whitefish you should pass right by this place, I highly encourage you to stop and take a sip!

GoGo Juice Bar, Whitefish, MT

GoGo Juice Bar, Whitefish, MT

Whitefish Juice Bar

My first on the road visitor!

Waterton Dad

In addition to visiting friends on the road I am eagerly anticipating meeting up with a a handful of friends at various locales.  My first visitor was one of the most important people in my life, my Father. He met me on the Canadian side of Glacier National Park in a cute town called Waterton (http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/waterton/index.aspx).  We were able to kick around town and have lunch at The Prince of Wales Hotel (http://glacierparkinc.com/prince_of_wales.php) before heading out to Cranbrook, BC.  In total we were able to spend three full days together, it was a wonderful treat to have the time with him.

Things have been tough since the loss of my Mom, we have all been heartbroken trying to figure out our footing without this amazing woman in our lives.  No one has been more affected than my Father. He dedicated his life to the well being of her and in her final years spent every moment ensuring her needs were cared for and that she had a smile on her face.  I am so thankful for the presence of him in our lives, he has been the perfect example to me of true love.

Throughout the years my Dad has also struggled with his weight and he currently is working diligently to gain control of his health.  He has adapted a diet of whole food clean eating and exercise.  He is an inspiration to me as I travel on my own journey.  I couldn’t be more proud of this man.

Today is his birthday and I am so happy to be able to write this post about him.  I love you Dad and happy birthday!!

Prince of Wales Hotel

Prince of Wales Hotel

Glacier Map

Glacier Map

Glacier Red Tour Bus

Glacier Red Tour Bus

Color Me Happy in Calgary!

I have been lured by the idea of getting to Calgary for the past decade (I can’t believe I can say decade, time sure does fly), partially drawn to the Calgary Stampede but more importantly I wanted to get up there to see my good friends Darren and Colleen and finally meet their daughter Ava.  It had been over twelve years since I had seen them and I could hardly stand the thought of any additional time passing.  I rang the doorbell and glanced through the window beside the door (creepy, aren’t I?) and I about started jumping with excitement when I saw them heading towards me! They popped open the door and it was if no time had passed, we immediately hugged one other and I knew that I was home, at least for the weekend.

Warning, there are a few things that happened during this trip to Calgary that aren’t really meant to be talked about on this blog, but I am trying to keep things honest so I will admit that we pretty much decimated their wine rack.  I won’t drop a specific number of bottles consumed but we heartily celebrated our reunion, all three nights of my stay.

On my first day there they took me on a tour of Calgary and the surrounding area, they were the perfect tour guides.  It was a great introduction to the city.  We made one stop at the Dollar Store, which, believe me nothing was a dollar, to gear up for a Color Me Rad run later that afternoon.  Colleen had graciously bowed out of the run to make room for me.

We got home and got changed for the race which was going to take place fairly close to their house at the Canada Olympic Park.  I was excited to see the park up close and personal, I just had no idea how up close I was going to get.  To alleviate traffic issues Darren had Colleen drop us at the backside of the park, and we were simply to walk down the other side and to the Color Run.  What we didn’t realize was that this hill was now crisscrossed by a Luge track that had people careening down the mountain on small coasters.  We had to cross this track several times before we finally made it to the base of the hill and our destination.  Honestly, because of the treacherous climb down to the race by the time we were lined up to run the 5k I was ready to be done.   Some ran, and I walked the race and by the finish line there was not an ounce of us that wasn’t some shade of pink, purple or green. I am still finding random bits of color in my suitcase.

When we arrived back home we all decided to hang outside while each of us took turns trying to wash the color from our bodies.  While we were all sitting outside suddenly Darren threw a blanket to me, it turns out that the weather is a lot cooler up in Calgary and I had no idea that I was even cold until he started bringing out more blankets and a parka to warm the foreigner.  He told me that my pattern of behavior when I get cold is to stop communicating and just sit there listening, this is the first time in my life that anyone has purposefully done something to help facilitate my talking, typically they sit there silently wishing I would stop talking! Ah good friends indeed!

I left after three wonderful evenings, a good discussion with Darren about how long is too long to stay at a friends house and loads of love.  I can’t wait to reconnect with them again soon!

Color Me Rad

Color Me Rad Entourage

Color SJM

I wanna be a cowgirl….

Calgary Hike

The super secret entrance that only we knew about into the Color run.

The Olympic Tower.

The Olympic Tower.

Calgary City Art "Wonderland" Jaume Plensa

Calgary City Art “Wonderland” Jaume Plensa

Calgary Art & Calgary Tower

Calgary Art & Calgary Tower