Mashley’s Adventures – The Conclusion of A Quest

Current Location: Campton, NH

The journey is difficult, immense.
We will travel as far as we can, but cannot in one lifetime see all that we would like to see or to learn all that we hunger to know.
~ Loren Eiseley


After our stop in Rhode Island, we continued north to Maine and into our final park for this particular quest, Acadia. It was awfully exciting to cross over that last state border and then enter Park land! Last year, our goal was to visit New England in the fall, to see the fabled colors of the changing leaves. And, seeing the variety of trees displayed across the hills, we can only imagine that they live up to the descriptions. However, we’ve really been loving the underrated spring colors – vibrant shades of green with splashes of white, pink and purple as the flowering trees are blooming and showing off. Plus, since we visited just before Memorial Day there were only a handful of other visitors in the area. Some of the stores and campgrounds were not yet open, but with more of the park to ourselves we were more than satisfied with the trade-off!

The moment we crossed into Maine. Last state!

Heading into the Mount Desert Island portion of Acadia, we parked at the visitor center and hopped on our bicycles to tour the gravel carriage roads through the park. We pedaled past some amazing views of and over Eagle Lake and Jordan Pond and ate lunch overlooking Bubble Pond. Back at the RV we traded pedal bikes for the motor bike and worked our way down half of the park loop and back up through the town of Bar Harbor. It was finally check-in time at the campground so we headed that way to get settled for the night.

Bridge along the Carriage Roads

View from the bicycles of Eagle Lake in Acadia.

Farther along on the bicycles we came to Jordan Pond.

Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the continental US to experience dawn, so we had to be there for the experience! Unfortunately, since the sun rises just before 5 that meant that our alarms sounded all too early and we had to hop on the motorcycle for the chilly ride. Hitting snooze too many times, we just barely made it for the sunrise itself, though the colors in the sky during our approach were spectacular and well worth the early start. It was a cloudy day, which kept it cool and limited views but made for dramatic, scarlet colors during the sunrise. Once the sun was up we stayed on the peak while making tea and eating a light breakfast. After eating we hopped back on the motorcycle to complete the loop road and explore a bit more before migrating over to another section of the park, the Schoodic Peninsula, the quieter and less visited area of Acadia.

Sun rising on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

Schoodic Woods Campground is only a couple years old and we really enjoyed being somewhere that looked new! It’s probably one of our favorite campgrounds of the last couple years with big, private sites and easy access to biking and hiking trails. We were also among the first to pull in this year, since it was opening day of the season, and the rangers and volunteers were in exceptionally good spirits. After settling in we grabbed our bags and headed out to explore some of the nearby hiking trails. The next morning we set out on bicycles to check out the one-way loop around the peninsula. It runs along the coastline, so we got to enjoy crashing waves and views of the mountains across the harbor almost the whole ride. Rain was moving in for the afternoon, so it was overcast and windy – the cool temperatures and threatening rain kept us moving along. We stopped to explore the visitor center at the Schoodic Institute Education and Research Center, learning about the Naval Communications Base that was there until just recently and the various education opportunities afforded. The wind seemed to be picking up so we beelined back to the RV. Just after returning we noticed the first few raindrops falling, so our timing worked out quite well!

View from one of the Hike-In sites at Schoodic Woods Campground

Winter Harbor

Watching the angry sea crash onto the granite coastline on Schoodic Point

Schoodic Point

View from the Park Loop Road on the Schoodic Peninsula

* all 47 National Parks in the Contiguous US!!
* each of the lower 48 States!
* ~55,000 miles traveled

Our visit wasn’t nearly long enough, but we forgot to take into account Memorial Day Weekend when making our reservation and the impending hoards of campers flocking to the campgrounds… so we ended up heading into New Hampshire, aiming for the White Mountain National Forest. We didn’t have high expectations of finding a campsite, but luckily did manage to find a delightful spot in a forest campground off the Kancamagus Highway (I still don’t know how to pronounce this), where we tucked in for the weekend. It seems that we beat the bulk of the crowd. Whew! Saturday morning we hopped on the motorcycle for a trip along the White Mountains Trail, a national scenic byway. It heads along the Kancamagus Highway through the mountains. As in Maine, the views are spectacular, with the spring foliage and flowers exceeding expectations.

The White Mountains in NH

Just above Lower Falls in the White Mountains

A roadside cascade in White Mountains National Forest

We’ve enjoyed the rural sections of New England more than expected. It reminds us of the Pacific Northwest a little, except less crowded, which greatly appeals to us. We do hear horrible things about the bugs, which we’ve been able to miss thus far between cool temperatures and windy days, so there’s always that to consider.

A completed journey and full map – well mostly, just ignore Hawaii and Alaska down there – adventures for another date.

Our next short adventure is in the works – having one of our nieces join us for a trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. While in the Kentucky area, it made sense to pick her up from Tennessee en route to Maine, though we ended up moving too far north for that to be feasible. Now we’re meandering south for a couple days break before sharing an adventure with her. Maybe we’ll spark in her some wanderlust and a love for our nation’s public lands 🙂

Longer-term plans are still in the works, with a variety of options being considered. Until then, we’re basking in our completed quest of visiting each of the Lower 48 states and the National Parks there-in. If there is one thing we’ve learned from our journey, it’s that there is still so much to explore and our options are limitless.

Matthew & Ashley

Mashley’s Adventures – Mountains and Hot Springs and a pause

Current Location: Benton, KY

You rest now. Rest for longer than you are used to resting. Make a stillness around you, a field of peace. Your best work, the best time of your life will grow out of this peace.
~ Peter Heller


Looking at the weather last week, we realized that we had only a one day window to visit Rocky Mountain National Park without being snowed in. So we sped up to make it in time and enjoyed a day’s visit. Though it was sunny and dry down at the visitor center as we climbed up into the mountains snow covered the ground. We layered up and headed out onto the snow-covered trail to Nymph and Dream Lake. It was easy enough to follow existing tracks and we quickly arrived at Nymph Lake, enjoying the view of the mountains around us and the empty trail. We walked around the frozen lake and on to Dream Lake, though we turned around before reaching the end since it had snowed over-night and the trail was far less obvious and it had begun snowing, obscuring any view. Almost back at the parking lot we checked out what we could see of Bear Lake.

heading to Nymph Lake

rocky outcrop above Nymph Lake

next to Dream Lake

hiking beside Dream Lake

After lunch we hiked up to the nearly frozen Alberta Falls and then explored the open roads of the park, enjoying the views of the mountains and across the valleys.

elk in the valley

Since weather was moving in we headed on, trying to beat the worst of Denver’s evening traffic. Still not sure if we managed that, but we ended up working our way south, back through part of Kansas (still not our, um, favorite place) and then into and across Oklahoma, which we found much more visually interesting.

crossing Route 66 in Oklahoma

It seems that the storms were also migrating east, it was very windy. The worst gas mileage on the trip thus far was on the nice flat Kansas land. The wind, coming right at us, pushed us back, dropping our mileage. Ironically, we had the best for the prior tank, climbing through the mountains.

On we headed to Hot Springs, AR. In the park, we hiked up Peak Trail to the Mountain Tower and back down to explore Bathhouse Row. It’s a different type of park, set right inside the city. Thus, we didn’t have high expectations, but we ended up really enjoying it. Touring Fordyce Bathhouse was fascinating. It’s been restored and shows off the “state-of-the-art” technology and methods used in the 1920s. The Ozark Bathhouse holds the art collection, mostly creations of past Artists in Residence. Matthew really enjoyed seeing the work that’s been created from the program – and was encouraged to see that “I could do that!”

hot spring water

showing off on the Promenade

Ashley found her dream shower – 17 nozzles!

lifesized – not something Matthew feels like he could do

fresh hot spring water

  • 44 National Parks (of 47 in the Contiguous US)
  • 38 States
  • 6.3 mpg, the worst yet!

And since then we’ve been taking a break – it feels like we’ve constantly been on the go since leaving North Carolina in February. So we’re ready for a break. After visiting Hot Springs we moved on a bit more and surprised both our families by appearing in their driveways. What fun it was to get to catch them off-guard and to spend a few days visiting. We’re currently parked and sitting still, doing a deep-clean of the RV (inside and out), catching up on some maintenance, and generally enjoying a bit of a break while soaking up time with loved ones.

In a few more days we’ll continue on, beginning the final leg of our trip, the loop up through the north east. Until then, we’re enjoying a bit of recuperation.

Catching our breath,

Matthew & Ashley

Mashley’s Adventures – Canyons and Contemplations

Painted Wall in Black Canyon

Current Location: Monument, CO

True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence on the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing.
~ Seneca


Even though it’s only been a few days since our last update, we’ve still managed to cover some ground – changing states and visiting another National Park! Over the weekend we rode into the northern portion of Canyonlands called Island in the Sky for another visit and then on Sunday we packed up and headed out.

We headed east, returning to Colorado in order to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison. It’s a relatively new park, only having been instated in 1999, though it’s been a National Momument since the mid 1900s. Even though there isn’t snow on the ground and the roads are all open, it’s still a bit early in the season to visit. On the one hand, that means that we’ve been avoiding crowds and it’s been peacefully quiet, but that’s because it’s been chilly during our visit. We hopped on the motorcycle for a trip down into the canyon on the East Portal Road to ride alongside the Gunnison River. It was quite a steep ride down, Ashley kept sliding forward on her seat! Being inside the canyon is a unique experience. It’s beautiful, but also intimidating. Like being inside a slot canyon that has teeth!

At the bottom of Black Canyon, next to the Gunnison River

The Gunnison River

After checking out the visitor center and watching the park movie about the early exploration of the canyon (including the use of inflatable mattresses to raft the river!) we continued to the end of the road to check out the overlooks. Unfortunately, the weather was threatening rain/snow so we didn’t stay out for long and retreated to the RV to warm back up. While the weather wasn’t as bad as predicted, there were some snow patches still sticking in the morning, though they melted quite quickly.

  • 42 National Parks (of 47 in the Contiguous US)
  • 16% grade on the road
  • 36 States

Pictures fail to capture the colors, depth, and general sensation of the canyon.

Looking down into Black Canyon

These last few months everyone’s been asking about our upcoming plans, both for the next leg of our quest and the”what’s next” after we finish. As for the next leg of the quest, we have only a handful of states and National Parks left to visit and the current plan is to finish visiting them all by the end of July. After exploring what we can of Rocky Mountain National Park here in Colorado, we can head back east through Oklahoma and Arkansas (Hot Springs NP) then to Mammoth Cave before working our way up through New England to Maine and back down to Savannah, GA in July for a family get-together. Three weeks later we have a 25-day permit to hike the John Muir Trail in California.

We’ve considered spending more time here in the west, exploring more deeply and finding a job to add more to the gas fund, but with the fixed family meet-up in July and the JMT in August, we’d be pushing our completion date into next year to avoid winter in New England. While we don’t want to rush to finish, or feel like we’re simply checking places off a list, we are eager to begin the next stage of our adventure. We’ve currently visited more parks than states, which means that we have a lot of driving ahead of us, more miles than exploration. That makes our final leg fairly straightforward to complete and gives us the option to count the JMT as the grand finale (and with Mt. Whitney being both the finish line and the highest point in the lower 48, literally ending on a high point!)

And then we get to begin our next adventure in life. After much pondering, consideration, and discussion we’ve decided to… wait and see! We have lots of ideas about what sounds best but are currently delaying the decision. It’s hard not to think about it since we’ve had so many questions from famiy and friends, but part of our rationale is that we get lost in the debate and forget to enjoy our current location and adventure over concern about the future. By focusing too much on future plans we forget to enjoy and appreciated the present, and the amazing things we are experiencing at this very moment. It’s a hard balance that we are continually striving to make. We have put out some feelers looking into future options, so we’re not ignoring it completely, but at the moment we’re aiming to appreciate the amazing journey that we’re currently on.

Adventuring appreciatively,

Matthew & Ashley

Mashley’s Adventures – Dunes, Dwellings, Canyons, and Crescents

Current Location: Moab, UT

The sky overhead,
the earth below,
the mountains around.
I stand in the middle place –
at home.
~ Dr. Rina Swentzell


What a lot of country we’ve seen since our last email! Or so it seems… After leaving Santa Fe we headed north into Colorado (now we’ve visited all of the western states!) We found a great spot of wild camping on BLM land outside of Great Sand Dunes National Park. Ashley had been to a section of the Park before, and wasn’t super excited about returning, so imagine her surprise that we loved it! Continue reading

Mashley’s Adventures – More Enchantment

Current Location: Santa Fe, NM

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
~ Marcel Proust


After visiting the Petrified Forest last week we headed back east to Santa Fe for a visit with Ashley’s Aunt and Uncle (Karen and Craig). It’s so easy for time to slip by without keeping in touch with those who are a part of our lives. So we delight in the opportunity to visit, get to know family better/as adults, and to learn about how they live their daily lives.

This week has been no exception. During the weekend Karen and Craig took us to their family ranch in northern New Mexico, and boy was it beautiful. Surrounded by solitude and wide open spaces, it was truly a special place. We loved hiking around the property and experiencing New Mexico in a more intimate way.

Yesterday, back in Santa Fe, we made a visit to the famous Meow Wolf. It was a super cool place but incredibly hard to explain, like an art exhibit and interactive children’s museum rolled into one and on steroids with a mysterious underlying plot that revealed itself as you interacted with the facility. This is a horrible explanation; it’s a place you just have to go experience for yourself. Matthew especially loved it and has now been perusing their careers page to see if he’s qualified to work for them 🙂

New Mexico, particularly the Santa Fe area, has enchanted us indeed. The more we experience here the more we love it, and we haven’t even skimmed the surface of what this beautiful and culturally rich state has to offer.

But, we have our goals to work toward and alas we must mosey along. Today we’re heading north, into Colorado, to begin our loop through the Colorado and remaining two Utah National Parks.

Into the mountains,
Matthew & Ashley

Mashley’s Adventures – The Land of Enchantment

St. James Tea Room

Current Location: Albuquerque, NM

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?
~ J. B. Priestley


After getting blown about by the wind in our last email, we continued on west, over the mountains, for a day exploring White Sands National Monument near Alamogordo, NM. Ashley’s had, shall we say, a less-than-thrilling experience in sand dunes before so she wasn’t really excited to visit these. Surprisingly, we both had a really fun time and spent the day laughing, smiling, and feeling like kids. For fun we buried Ashley in the sand, ran and jumped down the dunes, hiked away from the crowd to have an area all to ourselves, and then waited to watch the sun set behind the dunes before heading out for the evening. White Sands is unlike any sand dunes we’ve been to previously in that the sand is made of gypsum, which really does make them white! It felt so pure and beautiful there, with this large swath of glistening white dunes surrounded by mountains. Being composed of gypsum also makes the dunes quite cool to the touch and many areas are hard-packed and easy to walk on.

Continue reading

Mashley’s Adventures – Deserts, Mountains, and Caves

The cacti were blooming

Current Location: Mayhill, NM

A traveler! I love this title. A traveler is to be reverenced as such. His profession is the best symbol of our life. Going from ________ to _______; is the history of every one of us.
~ Henry David Thoreau


Wowzers, has it been a full week! Our last email was sent just before losing any kind of signal for a few days as we headed into Big Bend National Park. Though we didn’t get to back-country camp, we lucked into a great spot in the Rio Grande Village Campground – tucked right into the trees on the back of the campground with a beautiful view of Mexico’s Maderas Del Carmen. It was private with plenty of space, and was in the “generator free” zone so nice and quiet! We saw a javelina and a handful of roadrunners in the campground throughout our stay.

Continue reading

Mashley’s Adventures – Brakes and Besties

Our first ever Harvest Host stay!

Current Location: Ft. Stockton, TX

A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.
~ Pooh Bear


As always, one of our favorite parts about exploring the country is catching up with family and friends. We stopped in the Houston area for a visit with friends and loved getting to catch up with them, though they may have gotten more than bargained for!

You may not recall that on our very first day on the road, almost 2 years ago, about 30 miles into our sojourn, we ended up stopping and getting a front brake caliper replaced. Apparently we should have gotten both of them, as we’ve been having intermittent issues with the other. We finally decided to have it looked as it’d been acting up more over the past month, and thinking it would give us an additional evening with friends in the area (which it did!)

Arriving in Conroe, TX Wednesday, we stayed at a nearby campground for two nights, catching up on some chores during the day and visiting in the evenings. Friday morning we pulled into a heavy-truck repair shop and they got right to work on the brakes. That night we stayed at Brant and Jami’s house, enjoying our time with them and their super-cute kiddos. Saturday we picked up the RV just 30 minutes before the shop closed for the weekend and prepared to set on our way.

The drive between the shop and the house, however, gave Matthew pause for concern, the RV was pulling to the left and the brakes smelled hot – but it was too late, the shop was closed for the weekend. Generous, gracious hosts that they are, Brant and Jami allowed us to stay with them a couple more nights while we left the RV at the shop and waited for them to re-open on Monday. Monday morning we were there as the doors opened and they quickly determined that the rotor assembly also needed replaced as it was warped beyond adjustment.

They didn’t finish until mid-afternoon, so we spent one more night with friends, time that Ashley and I certainly enjoyed. It was great to catch up and get to know their children (whom we hadn’t previously met!) and even be there for the arrival of the newest family member, an adorable furball named Bella. A few years ago, Ashley was set on getting a Golden Doodle puppy, so seeing as that never panned out she was happy to help as a temporary puppy-sitter.

Tuesday morning we hit the road (no false starts this time!) and traveled on to the Texas Hill Country for a couple of nights in Fredericksburg, one of which was at our first “Harvest Host”. We were thrilled to try a new type of overnighting experience at the Messina Hof Winery. Harvest Hosts are a network of vineyards, farms, museums, and more that allow free overnights to travelers (with the expectation of a small courtesy purchase in exchange). It was a delightful, quiet place to spend the night and we enjoyed looking around their tasting room and property.

Now we’re just north of our next National Park, Big Bend. There doesn’t seem to be any cell signal there, so we’re going to be off-grid for a few days. We’re excited by the opportunity for hikes, bicycle rides, and being out of urban environments once again!

Trucking Along,
Matthew & Ashley

P.S.- There’s still some of Ashley’s Adventure-Some Soaps available on Etsy (which is stored in our shower when traveling). If you’re curious/interested, here’s the store:

Mashley’s Adventures – Westward bound

Oak tree with Spanish Moss in Paynes Prairie State Park

Current Location: Conroe, TX

Little by little one travels far.
~ Spanish proverb


Since last week we’ve continued on in traveling mode… spending a couple days in Gainesville, FL with some superb family, Ashley’s Uncle and Aunt – Jack and Arlene. The timing though was less-than-ideal as we managed to visit on their once-in-a-decade cold catching… though thanks to Ashley’s hospital-honed immune system we seem to have emerged safely from the house of pestilence. We had a wonderful time despite the germs, as any time spent with them is great. We stayed at Paynes Prairie State Park for a night where we had fun riding our mountain bikes around the park trails. We also we made a day trip over to St. Augustine during our visit.

Castillo De San Marcos National Monument, St. Augustine, FL

Leaving Gainesville we traveled across the Florida panhandle and spent the night in a lovely National Forest campground (for only $3!), then a night in Alabama and two in Mississippi at Gulf Islands National Seashore in Ocean Springs. One night at Gulf Islands just wasn’t enough so we played the RV shuffle to snag another walk-up site for a second night.

  • 32 National Parks (of the 47 in the contiguous US)
  • 34 states (of 48)
  • 7 National Park Sites

Then it was on to Louisiana. As huge fans of cajun- and creole-inspired foods, how could we not stop! According to our research, a good place to visit for authentic creole food was a family owned and operated place called Dooky Chase, established in 1941 and famous for becoming the meeting place in New Orleans for civil rights as well as music and entertainment. It has also been frequented by many Presidents while visiting the area. Since it’s the only place we ate, we can’t compare, but everything was delicious! Ashley enjoyed one of our favorites, red beans and rice with some smoked sausage while Matthew sampled everything on the lunch buffet. And the peach cobbler grand finale was fantastic! To walk off some of the meal we headed into the French Quarter for a stroll. It’s not quite our kind of place, but it was interesting and at least we can say we’ve been there!

Dooky Chase restaurant, New Orleans, LA

Next was a trip north of Houston, TX to visit some friends we haven’t seen in years. We pulled in yesterday afternoon and settled in to a campground. Having multiple past experiences playing Cousin Eddie in a series of parking lots and neighborhood streets while visiting with people it felt awfully nice to pull into a campground and know we’d be stationary for a couple of nights! We visited last night and look forward to more time together today.

This week will find us travelling through Austin, TX and “hill country” on our way to Big Bend. Unfortunately, I think we’ll be running in to spring break crowds at Big Bend, but we’re hoping we’ll still manage to grab a spot somewhere. With Texas being mostly privately owned land, there aren’t a lot of choices as far a free/cheap camp spots go. Once we hit Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains we’ll head in to New Mexico and hopefully slow down our travelling pace a bit.

Adventuring Away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S.- Ashley still has soap available in her Etsy store, in case you might be interested in some:

Mashley’s Adventures – Sandy And Salty On Dry Tortugas

Current Location: Gainesville, FL

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.
~ Rachel Carson


Our last email mentioned the parks we’ve been visiting and touched on our stay at Dry Tortugas. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Dry Tortugas is remote National Park, 68 miles west of Key West, FL. It consists of 7 Keys and their surrounding waters, but the park is centered around a military fort relic, Fort Jefferson, on Garden Key. For us to get there, we left the RV in a campground in the Everglades, loaded our motorcycle up with camping gear, rode along the Keys, and then caught a ferry boat out to the island. Then we set up camp and stayed for three nights! The only way to access this interesting place is by taking the ferry boat called Yankee Freedom – the only concessionaire the park uses, by seaplane (but it’s very expensive and you can’t camp due to weight restrictions), or by personal boat, of which we do not have.

  • 32 National Parks (of the 47 in the contiguous US)
  • 30 states (of 48)
  • 6 National Park Sites

There was no wifi, cell signal, running water, lights, or electricity, and only a handful of people when the ferry boat wasn’t docked each day. Fort Jefferson was incredibly interesting (although nothing really happened there historically speaking) and it was a testament to masonry of the past – built in the mid-1800s using 16 million bricks! – complete with a moat and a resident crocodile (Carlos). We snorkeled with the fishes, explored coral and plants growing outside the moat and in the sea, hiked the moat/sea wall dozens of times each day, tried to guess when Pelicans would dive into the water, chuckled watching the hundreds of hermit crabs that made a neighborhood behind our tent site, watched the sunrise and sunset from the beach and fort walls, and generally just enjoyed ourselves. Matthew spent a lot of time drawing and even tried his hand at a couple of watercolor paintings.

It was a fabulous mix of nature and (old) man-made structure – with new surprises to be discovered each day. We spent hours looking down into the water, just seeing what we could see. Barracudas, “pencil fish” (that’s what we named them because we’re not sure of their actual name), sargent majors, goliath groupers, lobsters, glow-in-the-dark jellyfish, and so many more sea creatures! The ~16 million bricks held a lot of interesting masonry work, rooms, and just a massive structure to explore out in the middle of the Gulf. It poured rain one night and drizzled until about 11am the next morning, so we spent the morning wandering around the massive fort, listening to rainwater seep through the ceilings, drip in puddles on the floor and enjoyed the gloomy solemnity.

But it was a relatively cushy “roughing it” scenario, we thought. We had to bring our own fresh water as none is available on the island (hence the name “Dry”) and couldn’t use our backpacking stove. So we had a creative menu of non-cook meals (chicken/avocado salad sandwiches, tacos, and backpacking pizza). However, the ferry boat arrived each day for ~4 hours and provided coffee/tea, cold drinking water, and even warm fresh-water rinse showers on the deck to clear off some of the salt. And when it left, there were only about 50 people on the island. 20 or less campers, 20 staff (who lived inside the fort), a couple of sea-plane tourists, and private boaters docked out in the harbor. With everyone cleared out, Carlos moved about more and we enjoyed the spectacular sunrises and sets.

All good things come to an end, and we were glad to be heading home to our RV. Thursday we headed out on the ferry and re-loaded the motorcycle for our trip back up the Keys home. Matthew’s grandmom’s urging to motorcycle the Keys was a sound one, as we thoroughly enjoyed the view of the sun setting behind us, tinging the sky and highlighting the mangrove clumps scattered about the water. Though we wondered how different it might have been when they motorcycled the Keys, less commercialized and built-up, we assume; that’s the problem with humans, we seem to destroy beautiful places in our greedy pursuits. A proper shower and night in our own bed was delightful!

Back in the Everglades, we joined a ranger-led canoe trip through the mangroves, which included paddling among gators and sharing a pond with a 14-foot crocodile. Then we headed out and stopped in at Big Cypress National Preserve. We only wished we were able to spend more time there so that we could explore further!

And this weekend we’ve been working our way north, catching up on chores and looking forward to a visit with some family.

Aimlessly Ambling,
Matthew & Ashley

P.S.- Ashley is selling some of her recently made soaps on Etsy (there’s only so much soap that one person needs). The link is as follows if anyone is interested in some: