#WayBackWednesday - July at the Lake

I’m looking back to July of 2016 and a spontaneous trip up to Michigan. This was during a transitional period for me when I was working a contract position that was seven days on and seven off - which was great for road trips! Part of me misses that schedule but I don’t miss that job nor do I miss the hours, but I do miss seven days off in a row. That summer we went to Michigan a few times, went to the Redwoods, and plenty of local excursions. Enjoy some photos from the family cottage in rural Northern Michigan and think back to a good time!

#WayBackWednesday - Christmas of 2017

Last year we made the trek to Michigan to spend Christmas with my family. This year, we’ll be heading up to Alaska to see my other half’s family. Next year, I swear I’m staying in Texas. Here’s a look back at a few highlights from that trip last year. Whatever you celebrate, or don’t, I hope you have a great couple of weeks ahead.

I didn’t get to stop and see everyone on this trip, but I did get to see a lot of people. So thankful to have the problem of too many people and not enough time.

And, of course, the family time was nice. It was the last Christmas with our grandfather, so I guess it was meant to be that I finally got up there for a holiday. The kids were fun and everyone was happy to see us out-of-towners.

I’ll miss everyone this year, but we’ll get to see more family so it’ll be alright! Happy Holidays!

#WayBackWednesday - My first time in Alaska


Three years ago, for Thanksgiving, I went to Alaska to celebrate turkey day with my other half’s family. I was recently laid off from my job, had no prospects, and thought it was a good time to make a trip. I had never been that far from “home” and I was completely excited. I had no expectations for the trip - but was hoping for snow. We arrived to a cold, wintry scene in Anchorage and it only got prettier each day.

As we prepare to head back up there in December, I’m hopeful for more snowy adventures. Enjoy some photos form my first time in Alaska.

Time Can Stand Still

I moved away so quickly in 2011, I don't think it hit until 2015. Seriously, I was away and working and trying to build a life and all of the sudden I just missed Michigan so much. It's now an overwhelming feeling I deal with on a daily basis. Being there for a few days recently was really nice, but really had me emotional on my four hour drive back to the Detroit Airport.

I'm not in a place, financially or career wise, to relocate, but something is really making feel that I will be or that I need to get back. Maybe it's the recent death of my grandfather, maybe it's my aging grandmother, maybe it's the rest of the family, or maybe it's the scenery? I don't know. I do know that I miss it more and more as I get older and even more as I visit so infrequently.

During my most recent trip, my grandmother and I took a little walk as we did many times for years before. In those moments, the brief 15 minutes, time stood still. I felt like a kid again, I felt as though I had never left the state, and I felt at peace. Reality came back, and I realized I was leaving the next day and had to say goodbye to her and everyone else.

I don't know when I'll get to go back in a more permanent capacity, but I do know I'm looking forward to another visit around Thanksgiving, even if it's only a day or two. I can't wait to drive up there and see everyone again. The trips and interactions don't always go as planned, but they usually contain more positive than negative energy.

I made the most of my three full days there including checking out our local apple orchard for hard cider and donuts, spending time with the family, and enjoying the little moments surrounded by nature.

Special #ThrowbackThursday - Alaskan Adventure

A year ago my other half and I were probably napping after our flight back from Alaska.  We spent about 10 days visiting with his family, exploring the land, and loving life.  I can't wait to get back up there, so I'm sharing a few photos to relive the moments until then.  Enjoy!

Quartz Creek Campground - Kenai Lake

A quiet morning on Kenai Lake - Quartz Creek Campground

A foggy view just south of Seward

Sea kayaks with a view - Seward, AK

A view of Exit Glacier on the way up to get a closer look - Kenai Fjords National Park

Byron Glacier

#MondayMotivation - Long Drive Ahead

Tahquamenon Falls - Upper Falls - December 2015

The trip to Michigan for my brother's wedding is finally here!  We leave tomorrow, Tuesday June 12, in the evening and will hopefully be to my hometown by Wednesday evening.  In the past, driving across the country or back to Michigan seemed a lot easier.  Nowadays, I'm exhausted by hour nine and ready to pull over.  Most of the time when we go to Michigan, we have such a limited time frame, we can't really plan for multiple day drives up or down.  Powering through is the only option ahead, and I'm going to use my upcoming hike at Tahquamenon Falls as motivation.  Oh, I suppose seeing the family is motivation too, but those falls...dang.

This will be the first big adventure for Oliver the Outback, and I couldn't be happier about our destination.  It will be good to get some adventure miles instead of just the obscene amount of commuter miles I've put on since last July.

This is my first step in getting back on track with my outdoor plans and personal goals.  I'm using this trip, this drive, and this upcoming hike as motivation to get back to my normal existence.  I've had plenty of great days and fun destinations locally, but there is just something about a trip out of state to shake things up and make you appreciate life all over again.  Once I accomplish this hike, I know I'll want to keep going even once back here in the hot, humid, sun drenched land that is known as Texas.

These routes take anywhere between 19-24 hours, depending on traffic and weather.

#WayBackWednesday - An August Weekend

At the cottage with my grandparents was one of my favorite places to be.  We always went on boat rides in the evenings, during cocktail hour before dinner, and spent the days prior soaking up the sun or swimming after yard work.  I miss being so close to the cottage, I miss Phil, I miss their old dog Abbey.  Things have changed so much, but I will never forget the good times that are frozen in time with these photos from August of 2009.  Forever my favorite place, with some of my favorite people.

The back of our family's cottage - my grandparents lived out here from late spring til fall.

View of the cottage from the front, out on the water.

Coreopsis - my grandmother's favorite

Clematis crawling all over the garage

My "step" grandfather (he was part of my life 1991 til his death this year) and my grandmother, on our evening cocktail pontoon cruise

Abbey the dog, in some of her best years.  This dog was just the best - lovable, fun, friendly, and always up for a boat ride.

Crescent Island - out in front of our cottage.

Nothing caps off a day on the lake quite like a sunset over the bay.