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thanks for the memories, zion. it was great to finally meet you!

Zion is beautiful, but I'll need to go back to fully appreciate its full glory. I'd love to hike the Narrows, but I need a permit and full all-weather gear (most of the hike is waste deep water). I've learned to accept that I can't do EVERYTHING the first go around. It's not like this is the last time I'll travel! I'm taking notes... 

Zion is the "greenest" park I've visited so far. There's barely any parking within the park itself, so they force you to take a shuttle everywhere. While it's environmentally friendly, it drove me a bit crazy. If you want to hike the Emerald Pools, for example, you need to shuttle to your stop and then wait for the shuttle to take you back errrr. I like to be spontaneous and change my mind on a dime. I'm not the best "planner" (clearly), so it was a bit hard to adjust.    

Now I know for next time! :)

Once again, I woke lulu up for this photo! She's such a funny little bugger.

Btw: this pic is funny because I got about 10 miles outside the park when I realized I didn't take a pic near the sign! I had to go back! lol


hello grand canyon!

Only visited the spectacular North Rim. I'll cover the South Rim and rest of canyon soon! 


back on the dating scene! 

Let's face it, dating isn't easy. Now add the fact that I am a vagabond, living in a camper, and it becomes pure comedy. Some of these dates should really be recorded.  

I decided to go back on Match. Why? Not sure. If you don't take it too seriously, it's a harmless dating aid and pretty entertaining. And who knows, I may actually meet someone. Crazier things have happened! I've met some great and not so great guys on there. Worst is probably a guy I met in Colorado, and let's hope the guy that manufactures lubricant powders doesn't contact me again! 

Match isn't all bad, however, I did have a 2 month love affair (online) with a great guy from NYC who flew 2,000 miles just to meet me. The irony of the fact that I had just "left" NYC is not lost on me. It was such a huge romantic gesture (and yes, slightly crazy). C'mon, what girl doesn't love that "throw caution into the wind" spontaneity? The day our eyes met for the first time at the Jackson Hole Airport was definitely a scene out of a movie. It was wonderful while it lasted, but you need more than a great first date. He wins for very BEST effort though! He definitely went the extra mile, literally. We may not be the best "Match" for dating but something tells me we'll be friends forever.

(Updated 2/27/15: he's one of my closest friends and lives in PA now :)



tips for the road!

Ok, so I've been compiling a list of some helpful tips for traveling the road! Here are a few:

 • GSI OUTDOORS FAIRSHARE MUG: This mug/bowl/tupperware has too many uses to list. Just buy it. Trust me. I just noticed they sell a collapsable one... even better! 


• ORGANIC VALLEY ORGANIC NONFAT DRY MILK: I understand the thought of dry milk probably makes you want to dry heave, but don't let it! This is truly one of my best discoveries. Put a few tablespoons of dry milk in your Fairshare mug (above), add water, close the lid and shake! WALLA! You have milk! Now just add your favorite cereal (directly to the mug) and you have breakfast! No need to cry over spoiled milk! Instead you can just cry over the fact you've turned into your grandmother!

UPDATE: I checked to make sure this link still worked and it appears Organic Valley Dry Milk is not available anywhere! REAL FOOD makes an organic dry milk that seems just as good. 


DUSTBUSTER: Growing up, there were times we barely had enough money for food, but we had a Dustbuster! Ironically, it sat charged gathering "dust" most of the time. NOW, it's my best friend (next to Lulu of course). It's impossible not to track dirt into the camper and the only way to get it (all) is with this clever little gadget from 1979.


• RAIN X BUG REMOVER WIND SHEILD FLUIDI highly recommend bug remover, always. But it's an absolute neccessity when you're traveling through Wisconsin and Minnesota. YOU HAVE TO HAVE IT! The creators of Mothra vs Godzilla must've gotten the story idea after driving through these two states. I had no idea bugs could be so big. Seriously, they look like prehistoric monsters out there. The only way to get the large splats of bug guts off your windshield is with this stuff! Regular wiper fluid just smears it (dry heave). Even with this Bug Remover you'll still need to stop at the gas station every 20 miles to wash your windshield, but at least it helps.


• UNBREAKABLE FRENCH PRESS: I've broken a french press on the road, so trust me, buy shatterproof. 

BTW: Here's the recipe for Cowboy Coffee. You haven't lived until you've tried it (not really, but it sounds good). Some new friends in Michigan gave me the tip. I chose NOT to include the eggshell as I couldn't figure out why the heck it was in the recipe in the first place. Seemed to have no brewing merit what-so-ever. End result: my coffee didn't taste very good and I kinda made a large mess (again, I know you're gonna blame user error, or the lack of egg). NOoooooooo  


• WINDEX WIPES: If your travel companion has four legs (or even two) and likes pressing and smearing her wet nose against the glass and sometimes licking it, then you need Windex handy! Otherwise the smudges will drive you crazy.

Note: If your 2 legged companion is licking the glass, you might need more than Windex. 

• KOOLATRON THERMOELECTRIC COOLER: I've said it before and I'll say it again, BEST PURCHASE EVER! This little fridge has saved my diet. It's a must for road trippin' but I also highly recommend for families traveling around town (smaller model). 


QUARTERS! You'll always need them, trust me! And not just for laundry and pay meters! I stood chilly and naked trying to get the shower to work, in Wisconsin's Wyalusing State Park, only to peak outside the curtain and notice the pay machine! I had to run outside naked, wrapped a towel, to look for quarters! I only found 2! errrr (2 = 6 mins) :(


WET WIPES: You can never have enough wipes!! NEVER!



• REI ONE CUP COFFEE MAKER: My friend, Robin, gave me this coffee tip and I thought it was worth adding to the tip list!


you don't see this everyday!

Less than 400 of these little vehicles of teardrop wonder, made by Camp-Inn, exist! Harder to spot an endangered Ash-Breasted Tit-Tyrant in Bolivia than another one of these on the road, never mind camp next to one!



328 days

Can you believe it took me 328 days to travel across the country? I still can't! This journey isn't over, and in so many ways it's only just begun! 

So often it feels like a wild, farfetched dream. I spend hours going through my blog just to remind myself this extraordinary journey is real. The most real, organic, authentic, scary, crazy, joyous, preposterous, come-to-Jesus experience of my life. Just me and Lulu, alone on the road. No plan. No direction. Hmmm, should I take a left or right? Should I stay in this campground or that campground? In that instant, with that one quick decision, the path of my journey changes forever: who I meet, where I go, what I experience. It's been an Olympic size leap of faith, all the while singing country music at the top of my lungs and smiling until my teeth hurt. I didn't know what it was like to truly live, until now.  

Click to read more ...


jermaine: spirit of an angel and strength of an army

Just wanted to share some incredible words from Jermaine. So often I'm asked how I met the boys and why I'm so inspired to help them. The note below explains "WHY" and soon I'll fill you in on "HOW".


Note below is from Jermaine after receiving his new wheelchair. For those that don't know, Jermaine is an incredible young man with the spirit of an angel and strength of an army. He was gunned down four years ago during a robbery, left paralyzed fighting for his life.

Thank you diana. if I had to go back in time and change anything I wouldn't cause I would not have you in my life. the things you have done and the bond we have is so far great that I don't want anything or anyone to jeopardize it. you are by far one of the greatest inspirational, loving, caring, honest everything in one women I've ever came across and I love you so much not for just what you done and how you help change my life but just for who you are. don't ever change or let anything or anyone in this world change you.

Seriously? Yes, I'm serious. This kid IS for real and those words really came from him. I tear up every time I read it. I think he should run for president some day -- he's that special. These boys have changed me, made me stronger and inspire me to live a better life. I know deep down they are the reason I had the courage to let go of everything and pursue my dreams.

I want everyone to know this feeling. Some divine universe brought us together and I am so blessed to have each and every one of these boys in my life. They've helped me far more than I could ever help them. 

I still hope to have Jermaine guest blog for me, but he needs time to settle into his new apartment first, and school.



life-changing wheelchairs!

I rolled into LA with my camper just in time to turn around and fly back to NYC for my boys! Jermaine and Jonathan would finally be receiving their long awaited, new, pimped out, life-changing wheelchairs! (hence the blogging delay)

There will never be enough words to fully articulate my love and appreciation for Darrell Gwynn and everyone who works for his foundation. Darrell has now provided wheelchairs for all three of the "Boys of Beth Abe". 

My lovie Jonathan, a super quad, once left stranded in his hospital room in fear of his junkyard-worthy power chair breaking down leaving him stranded in the streets of the Bronx, now drives a $35,000 vehicle of independence. He went from a Yugo to a Porsche! He needs to retake driver's ed; however, as he already ran into a wall and took out one of his wheels! The new chair is so fast and responsive it takes some practice. Luckily we were at the racetrack when it happened, so the wheelchair pit crew was on hand to fix it! He's been practicing his maneuvering skills in an open courtyard of the nursing home so we don't expect that to ever happen again -- right Jonathan?!!!! :)

My precious Jermaine has so many life-changing events happening in his life right now. Finally, after years of neglect in the nursing home, he is moving out on his own! As I've mentioned in the past, insurance will not pay for new wheelchairs while the boys live in the nursing home; however they will pay once they've moved out! The Darrell Gwynn Foundation usually donates power wheelchairs; however, in Jermaine's case, we requested a super-lite manual wheelchair knowing his freedom was just around the corner and with that a new power chair through insurance! Jermaine's new super-lite manual chair is the Cadillac of manual chairs -- he's gone from pushing a 50 lb tank of lead to cruising in a 12 lb hoover craft. 

Here are some pics from the incredible Darrell Gwynn wheelchair donation events that took place at Raceway Park in NJ.

Jermaine is so poetic, articulate and well spoken I balled through his entire "thank you" speech!! 

Standing: Darrell's incredible dad, Jerry • Linda, Jermaine's sweet aunt • Me • Jenny!
Sitting: Jermaine • Darrell Gwynn

Blake and Jermaine on the race track for the opening "track walk". Jonathan was was with the pit crew fixing his busted wheel! Blake received his wheelchair last June. 

Jonathan, giving his "thank you" speech in front of thousands at the race track!

Blake, Jermaine, Jonathan and Darrell. Darrell's dad, Jerry, is standing behind Jonathan. I don't know the man holding the fake check, but I'm sure he's nice. :)
One of my favorite pics! All the boys with Darrell sitting in his wheelchair race car!  Jenny, Jerry and Me behind them.



grand canyon north rim!

Looking for tranquility and solitude? While I highly recommend quitting your job, buying a teardrop camper and traveling the country, I realize that might be a little out of reach for most grown ups. If that's the case, then do the next best thing: take a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and stay at the Grand Canyon Lodge! You'll thank me, I promise!  

The best view of the North Rim is located through the sunroom of the Lodge. You don't need to stay at the Lodge to take advantage of the spectacular view -- although I recommend it and when I start vacationing in establishments that provide real beds again, this is top on my list. 

The walk from the sunroom to the various view points is breathtaking. You can't help but sigh and smile. :)

Adirondack chairs are very New England and make me very happy. They line the overlook on both the east and west entrance of the sunroom. I sat for awhile just smiling -- because that's all you can do; it's involuntary. :)  

Sunroom of the Grand Canyon Lodge. Amazing view in the most tranquil, sublime setting.


zion national park : emerald pools

First off, I should begin by telling you the "Emerald" Pools are not emerald! At least not yet anyway. When I asked about this obvious problem, the ranger said they'll turn "emerald" in about a month. Helpful information I could have used YESTERDAY! Apparently the "green" algae needs time to grow, which then gives the pools their "emerald" effect. While "emerald" pools would be much prettier (because now it just looks like dirty water), it was a nice hike.

view from under the falls!

view of the "not so emerald" lower pool. Told you it looked like dirty water!

lower falls
upper falls (middle was closed). 

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