When I envision natural beauty I envision mountains and slow lazy rivers perfect for canoeing and kayaking. Usually I envision those places reside in other states that aren’t Oklahoma or Texas… the only two states I’ve ever lived in. This summer I discovered that lazy river canoe trips can be had and enjoyed in Oklahoma. I’ve lived in the Sooner state for going on 7-years now and I’m still discovering new things.
We drove up to the Diamond Head Resort in Tahlequah to rent a canoe for the day. We took a slow 6-mile ride down the Illinois River. Apparently, Richard and his family would do this annually when he was a kid but he hadn’t been in ages.
I was blown away by the cool but not cold river and all the green trees and grass. Usually, Oklahoma drought makes everything yellow and dry but this summer was a little wetter than usual.
We also decided to take our doggy because we’d been wondering if he knew how to swim. He does. And he loved it!
We went on a week-day so there weren’t many people around. It felt like our little family was the only group on the river. We packed a picnic lunch and found a nice area along the river to stop and eat. Since our 6-mile canoe trip was rather short we spent lots of time “swimming.” I say swimming but I really mean lounging in the river. Not many spots were deep enough to swim. But it was still a nice way to cool off once we got too hot.
We went again later in the summer on a Saturday with Richard’s mom. There were so many people! I would definitely recommend a week-day if you can manage it. I am the kind of person who just likes to enjoy nature in its entirety, meaning sights, sounds and smells. The large groups of people came along with radios and lots of floating beer cans. It was definitely a fun little adventure that I would love to go on again next summer.
Also, for your enjoyment I’ve linked to (above) a quick 30-second video I made showing the beautiful river and our sweet puppy showing off his skills! Baxter would get so anxious for his humans when they were too far away from him in the water. For any of my Okie readers what adventures would you suggest we go on this fall?
Last week felt like I was constantly flying by the seat of my pants. We returned from Manchester, TN late Monday evening. The next day I started my new workout regimen, had a full schedule of tutoring and had to clean our old apartment and do the final walk through. Quite a busy day after an 11 hour drive with minimal rest in between. So that’s my excuse for just posting my Top 5 favorite things about Bonnaroo 2013.
5: Road Trippin’ with my besties!
Anytime I get to spend with both my baby sis and my fiancé is time I absolutely love! They are both my twins when it comes to sense of humor and opinions. Often I will find myself saying or thinking the exact same thing at the exact same time as one or both of them. Our weekend was full of lots of laughter and fun… And obviously a few arguments between me and my sister but we were pretty quick to get over it. I think it’s impossible for us to spend more than 24 hrs together and not argue but we always get over it as soon as we find something mutually entertaining.
Oh we also made a pit stop in Memphis for some barbecue, an adventure that was both delicious and fun!
4: Finding all the free stuff! Most things at Bonnaroo aren’t cheap but occasionally you will find some freebies. We started everyday with a free serving of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and followed it up by standing in line for a brightly colored handkerchief filled with ice. We also picked up a sandwich bag full of icky cigarette butts and exchanged it for a $6 jumbo corn dog. And the best freebies of all were the complimentary showers we finagled. I won’t give away exactly how we managed it but I will say it included a long hike and waiting until late in the evening.
Thank goodness we only took sink baths the first day most people did that daily or skipped a shower all together
3: Finding out just how far my two best friends will go to protect me.
Headed to Bonnaroo one of the bands I was most excited to see was Matt & Kim. We spent an hour and and a half scoring a spot up close to the stage for the performance.
Little did I know that those primes seats would be more trouble than they were worth. The performance was so energetic and fun at first but then towards the end the artists encouraged those at the back to make their way up front. This lead to a river of crowd surfers rolling over us and eventually on top of me. Two tall and not very skinny men landed on top of me knocking the wind out of me and pinning me near the feet of a crowd that was indifferent to my safety. Both Richard and Steph went crazy in their efforts to get them off of me and after they succeeded we hightailed it out of the crowd and away from the still flowing crowd surfers.
2: Unexpected Surprises!
Though Mumford and Sons was one of the biggest highlights on my schedule I was equally as excited for Jack Johnson but I didn’t realize just how excited until he was onstage. Jack Johnson had a major presence on the soundtrack of my college years. My favorite parts of his show included his funny song about the stresses of pulling the show together so quickly, the handful of mistakes he made which he covered charmingly with a made up lyric and a swear word, and singing along to “Better Together.” Maybe I’m getting more emotional in my old age but I got choked up during that song, it was one of the tracks on the CD I gave Richard before we spent our first summer apart after Freshman year.
1: Watching a living legend!
Yes, Paul McCartney deserves the top spot!!! It was by far the best concert I’ve ever seen. It was the perfect mix of Beatles tunes, Wings tracks and stories from his long and colorful past! If you know me then you know I’ve known not only every member of The Beatles by name but also most of their song lyrics since about 6-years of age. I really tried to drink in every moment of this year’s Bonnaroo experience and during Macca’s performance several times I found myself nearly in tears when I realized just how long I’ve dreamed of seeing him perform and how amazing the experience was. I won’t lie… I did actually cry while singing along to “Black Bird”. And the tears kept rolling through “Here Today” a song McCartney wrote for his friend and colleague John Lennon after his death reminding us all to tell our loved ones just how much we care for them while we can. And the multiple finales including “Live and Let Die” and “Helter Skelter” all rocked!
If you’ve never heard of Bonnaroo then where have you been? It’s one of the many music festivals that fill the summer months with fun, dancing and, of course, music. This is Steph’s second year and Richard and my third. We LOVE it!
Here are my top 5 reasons why Bonnaroo rocks:
#5: The Bonnaroo weight loss plan! It’s not an official weight loss plan but let me tell you out diet out here works! Lots of snacks versus large meals, tons of water and plenty of walking means at the end of four days at least a couple pounds have been shed.
#4: The people watching is superb! You’ll find people dressed in their best boho fashions but you’ll also find people dressed in only a tiny bit more than their birthday suit (body paint).
#3: Food yummy Food as far as you can see! So many great vendors! We try to coordinate our meals so we can try as many different stands as possible!
#2: Stick to the Banaroovian Code! The code includes gems of wisdom like be in here (leave the rest of the world out there), play as a team and radiate positivity. These rules create a relaxed fun loving community where tent neighbors share their supplies and advice freely! Even though I’m normally an introvert, this is the one time of the year I try my best to put myself out there and make new friends!
#1: Listening to amazing artists you already know and discovering a few new ones. I always come to the festival with a list of artists I MUST see but there are usually hours where we walk around and listen to musicians we’ve never heard before. Neighbors are usually willing to share a few suggestions too.
So we’re back from New York City. It was my first trip to the Big Apple and I’m in love. The bustle of a city is everything I adore and no city is more bustling than NYC. Oh before I get into how amazing my vacation was, it started out with some issues. My Explorer’s air conditioner went out 30 minutes into the trip. Then an hour before I was to arrive in Dallas my tire blew. It wasn’t just your general flat tire, it was an explosion. I thought my car was going to flip and ended up having to wait 2.5 almost 3 hours for a tow truck to arrive.
Once we arrived in New York all those troubles were out of mind, out of sight. We had a pretty thorough tour of the city. It included meals at P.J. Clarke’s, Lombarti’s (where I ate my pizza like a New Yorker), a great little Italian Cafe in the Theater District, and even a stop by Tom’s Restaurant (if you’re a Seinfeld fan you’ll know all about Tom’s). The first night we took a night time cruise of the city. What we thought was going to be an informative trip matched with a spectacular evening view of the cities lights, ended up being a booze cruise. While it wasn’t really our style, we still had a lot of fun and got some good shots of some New York staples. We also wandered a lot through Midtown, Time’s Square, Wall Street, of course Central Park, SoHo, Greenwich and a swing by Columbia’s campus. We also visited the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 30 Rock, the 9/11 Memorial and Grand Central Station.
I absolutely loved my time there and can’t wait until I can go back. Oh also the photo of the rat, that’s for Richard’s mom. She said to be on the lookout for huge rats, that’s the largest one I saw. Oh and the one of me sleeping on someone in the subway, it just looks like that. It’s all about the angles. But that’s really what I felt like doing at the end of that day!
If you checked in within the past couple of weeks, you noticed I was on hiatus while I enjoyed a much needed break. This was Richard’s family and my families first joint trip. Family means so much to both of us and them getting along well is of utmost importance. We all went to Taos and enjoyed a nice ski trip… minus the skiing for my parents. This was only my second time to try the sport and, though I won’t be joining the Olympic team, I’m not terrible. It was my sister’s first time skiing and, like most other sports, she was naturally more inclined than me. Despite that, I really like skiing and I’m already day dreaming about next year’s trip! Here are a few pictures from our 4 day adventure.