vaya con pance

this land is your land September 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 10:50 am

[retro post]

I’m on a plane now, crossing back over a United States that I just spent the last month exploring, driving, eating, drinking, biking, slipping, jumping and hiking through. Sixteen hotels in all and a total mileage I can’t even begin to add up. I just glanced back over all of my pictures and noticed a commonality – how teeny tiny I appear  in front of the commanding backdrop of America. It’s almost as if the landscape and the emotion that goes with experiencing it swallowed me up. And that’s pretty much how it felt.

I’m swirly with excitement to see my family but I’m scared I won’t be able to rest very easily (I’ve never been good at stopping). I’m also scared of the big decisions that await me, having successfully put off real life for this most awesomely humbling adventure.

Saturday is my 36th birthday which I will celebrate with 3 of the best girlfriends around. Here’s hoping pumpkin beer is involved (because I can’t write a post without mentioning beer). What’s next is a big, fat, extra curvy question mark. But I think it’ll be OK. The trail will straighten out eventually. For now, though, it’s foliage ‘n’ football season in southwest Virginia… and I’m going home!


wine and redwoods September 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 2:37 am

On Monday of this week we left our Crater Lake cabin home and headed toward wineries in the Applegate region of Southern Oregon. On our self-guided tour we tasted a lot of Tempranillos (a fave) and white Gervertztraminers. Turns out I like a good dry Gervertztraminer. However, I can’t even pronounce it sober, so odds of me ever ordering it are slim.

The next day we logged 8 hiking miles in the Redwood Forests of Northern California. Dwarfed like gnomes. After spending hours in the shade and moisture of the forest I will admit the warm Cali sun felt lovely on my skin. The trees also remind me of one of the Disney movies I watched overandoverandover again as a wee Pance. Quality entertainment. Here I am pretending to be a Redwood. I blend right in, huh?


i’ll be your huckleberry September 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 1:36 am

Beckie’s Cafe, the onsite restaurant at our outdoors-y resort, has pretty phenomenal food. We had one dinner and one breakfast there and laughed it up with some of the nicest folks this side of the Rogue River, on which the resort sits. (And when in Rome, of course, I was compelled to order a Rogue Dead Guy Ale with my meal). They are known for their pies, their homemade bread and their homemade cinnamon roll. Ummm, yes, yes and yes, please. For dessert the first night we ordered a slice of Huckleberry Pie a la mode. For the second, Peanut Butter Pie.

Early the next morning before tackling a full day of hiking at Crater Lake we started out climbing Beckie’s own snow-capped goodness. Mount Cinnamon Roll. Best darn bun I’ve tasted since Staunton, Virginia. We did a helluva job forking our way to the top, but in the end we had to leave it looking a little like an erupted volcano. Fitting.

For dinner the second night we got BBQ from a dude who set up his smoker every day in a covered wagon right outside the main lodge. One thing is fo sho, I’m not starving on this trip. I think a detox will be in order once I land back on the east coast. But until then I will continue to drink, eat and hike my way around this land of Oregon.


scenes from crater lake

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 1:35 am

All day Sunday we hung out at Crater Lake. We hiked Garfield Peak, drove the perimeter, had a hot toddy by the lodge fireplace, watched the creation movie and last-but-not-least, I took a solo trip down (and a grueling up) the only trail that goes to the waters’ edge… I even got to see a little heaven poke through the clouds. It was an amazing day that started out rainy and foggy; the lake was invisible. But within 10 minutes of our arrival the wind pushed out the clouds, the weather cleared up and it was a gorgeous (albeit very cold) day. Beautimous.


coast to crater

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 1:25 am

Back in civilization part 2!! On Saturday we said “So long, farewell!” to the coast and took a scenic route inland which snakes along the Umpqua River. The second section of the byway, after crossing over I-5, is unofficially known as the “highway of waterfalls.” We stopped long enough to hike 2 of the 15 total falls.

After winding our way through the Southern Oregon countryside we arrived at Crater Lake National Park. It was already almost 6 o’clock in the evening so we more/less just studied the trail map over cocktails in the lodge lobby by the fireplace. We kept one eye out for Jack Nicholson, but he never showed.

Then we made our way down the mountain to check into our cabin at Union Creek Resort, about 25 miles away. We bought a 6-pack of Deschutes Black Butte Porter and rented a DVD to play on one of our laptops for the evening’s entertainment (“Stand By Me” – set in Oregon. Naturally). The smell immediately took me back to summer camp circa 11 years old. It’s amazing what gets branded in your senses. And still, after a bazillion years, nothing beats being tucked away in a forrest of trees for the night. Nothing.


sloth love beer September 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 12:50 am

Yesterday I landed an hour late on the inaugural Spirit Airline flight into Portland, Oregon. That meant I deplaned to a giant corporate pat-on-the-back party with applause, cupcakes and sparkling cider. I met up with BFF Belz who, as circumstances seem to work out for those of us who are unemployed, happened to already be in California and decided to meet me for his inaugural trip to the Northwest.

Oregon is famous for several things really and among my favorites = hippies, evergreens, The Goonies rock and beer. We were extremely thirsty from travel and immediately visited two of the top microbrew pubs (according to the nice folks at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car counter = Deschutes and McMenamins). We figured running into hippies and evergreens would just come naturally. McMenamins even treated us to chocolate milkshake for dessert, made with their stout and a shot+ of Jameson. It was the best. thing. ever.

We had lunch at Le Bistro Montage, recommended to me as “quintessential Portland known for their mac ‘n’ cheese and leftover tinfoil animals.” And, wouldn’t you know it… on our way out of town we saw a very young, homeless hippie with an “I’m Hungry” sign. So she became the proud owner of my veggie sandwich wrapped in foil feline. Meow.

Then we headed south out of the big city and cut over to the 101 for some straight coastal drivin’. The Goonies rock is way too far north and out of the way (next time. knitiot?). But hippies, evergreens and beer? Check. Check. And Check!

We had a lovely dinner in the teeny town of Florence and tomorrow we’ll turn back inland to make our way to Crater Lake National Park. I will likely not have interwebs again for the next two/three nights… so prepare for a barage of pix once I plug back in.


go north young pance September 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 3:37 pm

So this afternoon I am heading north to Portland, Oregon. Via airplane! No more driving!!! Wee Wee Weeeeeeeee.

It was sort of a random turn of events that led me to this course of action but the clipboard-of-fun includes a visit to Crater Lake National Park. This will put me back amongst the trees. I. can. not. wait. Eventually the plan will take me south and I’ll fly back home out of San Francisco.

I’m not sure I will ever be able to live in a city again. If anything, this adventure has taught me a lot about my likes/dislikes when it comes to different geographical environments. I really don’t like landscapes with zero shelter from the sun. Having it almost angrily beat down on me every minute, either in a car or otherwise, makes me feel claustrophobic. I need trees. And I like rain. And let’s not even discuss the appreciation for seasons. Folks out here think they’ve got a one-up on everyone because of the bankable sunny weather. Hog wash. Sure it’s lovely and I have blast when visiting… but I need a little yin with my yang. A little Coke with my Jack. A lopsided life just ain’t that interesting.