14 August 2009

Oregon Trail in motion.

Since this was my travel blog, it seems only appropriate I post a link to my travel video here. :)

Watch here, or head over to YouTube to see it full screen in HD: Smatt's Oregon Trail

29 April 2009

See You Soon FL.

"The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time" -Bertrand Russell.-

Between sliding down the snowy face of a mountain strapped to a board and Sunday kickball games, Portland has again exceeded my expectations. And while I've enjoyed the whirlwind of fresh fun activities associated with life here, I'm feeling ready for my Floridian excursions this summer.

I'm looking forward to some kind of combination of salty sunburns, sand in the car, and that slight sting from chlorine in my eyes. If I'm lucky, I'll get all three between outings and reunions with the friends and family that seem so far away at the moment. I wish they could bring me a boat day HERE. If Portland had my loved ones, complete with something like a day at Coconuts or Peanut Island, I would have a hard time leaving. As it is, they don't mix so many banana pina coladas here so I will continue to fly south.

We'll be there soon enough. And really, most of all, I'm looking forward to the weddings. I'm so grateful that there are people out there who appreciate what I do enough to invite me along on (potentially) the most important day of their lives. It's truly an honor to be trusted to create art from another person's reality. It sounds a bit cheesy, sure, but I don't know how else to describe how awe struck I am by my life sometimes. Rather then working for a living, I'm living my dream and making it work. Some days, I feel like the luckiest person alive. Thank You Universe.

See You Soon Florida. <3

15 January 2009

More days ahead...


Our route ended up being something like this:

73 hours total driving time to cover more then 4,000 miles!
We hit "severe weather" and had quite the adventure along the way!
We have a variety of colorful photos to share but currently don't have an internet connection (or my computer!) so I'll be updating soon as I can share!

Thanks to everyone who gave us a nice place to sleep and made us smile along the way, and thanks to everyone who followed our trip via internet! Keep in touch and VISIT OREGON SOON! :)


12 January 2009

Day Ten.

January 12th.

We left Chicago early this morning to continue to blaze our own oregon trail. While in chicago I got my new iPhone (& love it more then I imagined possible). I am posting this while Matt drives us through Iowa. Iowa has been the most dangerous part of the drive yet. We passed through what weather channels are calling a severe storm during which we counted 38 cars that have slid off highway 80. Thankfully, none of them mine. I'll post photos later :)

11 January 2009

Day Nine.

January 11th

Remy took us out to explore a bit more of the city today. Despite the 19 degree weather, we had fun walking around snapping photos. When it was too cold to walk around any longer we came back to enjoy our Sunday afternoon the way the rest of the city was, inside.

Day Eight.

January 10th

It was still snowing when we woke up and continued to do so most of the day, which made for a chilly welcoming for us Floridians. Desperate for some more suitable footwear, we went shopping for new shoes. The shopping trend continued late into the afternoon when I met up with Tam near the train station. We discovered an adorable (and better yet, affordable) boutique to browse while we caught up. Knowing we have such limited space kept me from buying anything but it's still fun to look.

As it turned out, we were here for Rosie's birthday (Remy's girlfriend) so to celebrate we joined them and friends for an awesome Moroccan dinner followed by a night of dancing. The dinner was outstanding; I had no idea how much I liked Moroccan food. Matt really enjoyed the spice blends/flavors as well and plans to learn to cook some of the items off their menu. I'm definitely looking forward to it. ;)

Day Seven.

January 9th
622 miles

Our biggest day of driving yet took us from Kensington Maryland to Chicago Illinois. We started early in the morning and the drive through the rolling hills of Maryland's countryside was the most beautiful part of the drive yet. We started to see hints of snow in the shadows of the landscape, and as it started to fall from the sky we drove into a winter wonderland. Once it started, it didn't stop.

I'd never driven in snow before, nor had my car ever been exposed to the chilly stuff so there was a bit of a learning curve to overcome. My windshield wiper fluid wouldn't work and we realized it must have frozen. This is a problem because without it, the windshield ices over and you can't see.

The only choice was to stop and buy an ice scraper at a gas station and while we did we found an incredible treat for Matt tucked away in small town in Pennsylvania: A raw vegan restaurant!

After some lemon garlic hummus with flax seed crackers and mango tango smoothie we were back on the road. It was a long drive, made all the more difficult with the new weather conditions. Twice we saw cars that had simply slid off the highway.
We arrived in Chicago around 9 or so at night to Remy and Rosie's home sweet home. Their apartment is beautiful: wood floors, big windows, great location. We're excited to be here! :)

10 January 2009

Day Six.

January 8th
194 miles.

Sometimes, our friend John's job is to fly BROKEN helicopters. If they're having issues, they run all sorts of maintenance tests and have him climb in to fly it first. He hovers first but it still sounds incredibly scary to me. I suppose this is just another reason I am not a Navy pilot. ;)

So, while John was flying broken flying machines Emily showed us around the base. We got to see the big big ships and I was impressed Matt could name them all. I just smiled and took photos. It was neat to be able to see them so close. Then, after a quick drive past an old church that still has a cannonball stuck in the side of it from the revolutionary war (yes, wow!) we ate burritos and got on the road.

Matt and I pulled in to DC by mid afternoon and Billy took us straight into the city. The last time I was in DC I marched on Washington in a peace protest against the Irag war, the irony of staying with all military families on my way back to the capital is funny. The universe has a great sense of humor.

Anyway, DC wasn't how Matt or I remembered it from our middle school field trips at all. After reviewing some of the same classics (white house, the washington memorial, and the capital) we went to see a trendy younger (and gayer) neighborhood in DC called DuPont. After looking at a handful of menus at different places the boys let me have my way with an Italian dinner (which was FANTASTIC).

Billy suggested we go for a drink afterwards but, when we agreed to pop into the bar the next block down we didn't know it was a gay bar. The fact they brewed their own beer and it was cheap kept us there most the night! I was surprised Matt didn't mind. Actually, I think he quite enjoyed being checked out by the straight-laced boys of DuPont. That's the thing about DC, everyone looks like they just got off their government job. Even out at a gay bar button-ups and sweater vests replace drag queens and pleather. It very strict and frigid but I enjoyed our stay. And always enjoy spending time with Billy. :) Next stop, Chicago.

08 January 2009

Day Five.

January 7th
438 miles

After saying farewell to the Schmick family in South Carolina we steered the car north towards Norfolk, Virginia. If Virginia is for lovers, Norfolk is for military lovers.
Our friends John and Emily live in a city swarming with the armed forces.

We arrived to margaritas being made with fresh squeezed fruit and hummus with pita chips fresh out of the oven. *YUM* And that was only the beginning, the salad, main course, and desert were all as delicious making it the most incredible edible meal of 2009. *high five for home cooking*

Johnny flies helicopters for the Navy, so after we ate as long as we possibly could, he took us on base to see his flying machines. I don't have a lot of preconceived notions or expectations for this trip so these things really blew me away. It was so neat to see such powerful machines and to know he FLIES them! What a job!

Staying with John and Emily has been amazing, I'm so glad we came by. Emily is going to take us back on base this morning to see some more of Norfolk during sunlight hours before we get back on the road. THANKS GUYS! :)

06 January 2009

Day Four.

January 6th, 2009.

Matt and I not only don't have kids, we don't see them much either. Children are like a foreign breed of miniature people that are extremely alien to me. But now that we're to an age where more and more friends are procreating, it's only inevitable we get to know the bizarre baby race. While in South Carolina we've been staying with Leila, Jason, and their baby girl Kali. And Kali is incredible.

Since she's still too little to talk beyond her vocab of 8 or so words, her parents have had her watch a movie called "My Baby can TALK" which teaches babies sign language. This gives little Kali the ability to communicate beyond the words she can currently muster in her miniature mouth. She can sign animals, colors, and more importantly things like "water", "I've had enough" or "more please". I think this is ingenious and incredible. But more than anything, Kali has waving and "hi" down pat. She must have said "hi" to me 20 times today but it never stopped being cute. :)

So this afternoon, mama Leila and baby Kali showed us around Charleston. It was a beautiful day to be a tourist. Complete with cameras strapped around our necks we walked the city streets sighting the sights. After a delicious burger near market street we went down to a waterfront park where I snapped some photos of Kali. And Matt snapped photos of me snapping photos. Lots of snapping and signing. :) We've had a great time here, I'm glad we decided to take the east coast route west even if it takes us a little longer.

Neat photos Matt took in Charleston:

05 January 2009

Day Three.

January 5th, 2009
389 miles

It took me seven years to do it, but I finally drove my '02 car out of the state of Florida today! After passing through Jacksonville, Matt and I crossed the Georgia border and appropriately stopped at the first Cracker Barrel we passed.

We're staying in Goosecreek South Carolina tonight with one of my college roommates and her husband. Their cute as a button baby and two dogs really make their home warm. Matt and I are looking forward to a night's rest on a bed that won't deflate in the morning and a day of sight-seeing in a new city tomorrow. Our adventure is off to a solid start! :)