Ideas for an active vacation in the US

In this post, I’ll give you some ideas for an active vacation in the US. Too much for any single holiday, the US has multiple distinct territories to explore. The east coast is home to the stunning scenery of New England and the diverse Carolinas which border the Atlantic Ocean, while the west features peerless California and the Pacific coastline. Colorado and gigantic Texas dominate the middle, with remote Hawaii and Alaska providing a respective tropical haven and snowy wilderness.

You can find whatever you are looking for in the US. The blistering summer heat in the west is matched by the more temperate and less predictable east, with cool winds and rain more often. Here the prolonged winters afford the opportunity for snow sports to continue long throughout the year.

The Rocky Mountains reach their peak at 14,433 ft (4,399 m) in Colorado, while the 2300 miles (3,700 km) long Mississippi River tears through the middle states. Sandy beaches can be found on both coasts, and numerous mountain ranges afford the prospect of unique snowboarding and skiing experiences.


The Joy of the Open Road

For the majority of us, our cars are used to get us from A to B. Unfortunately, or realistically I should say is that A to B for most is from home to work, home to the supermarket or home to some other destination which proves of no real excitement.

The beauty of road tripping is turning B into a destination far away and while it may be time-consuming and have its ups and downs, like car insurance renewal, flat tires and maybe breakdowns- its is better to look at it optimistically and come to the realization that you will begin an experience like no other. This Volvo commercial pictures it so beautifully:

Don’t get me wrong, flying obviously has its many and obvious benefits but with them come the hassles of being there on time, breathing recirculated air with 100 other people, being told to sit when and where you have to (I always feel like a child again), security hassles, baggage restrictions and unless you get lucky, soaring prices.


Snow Rollers, Compromises, and an Ultra Reboot

I know, I know… technically I’ve had about 9 “week ones” so far. And although for the past month-ish, I’ve been getting my groove back after blowing out my ankle at skiing in Utah, this week is the first week I’ve started getting seriously serious about the 50 k I committed to back in August when I was in the best running shape in my life. Check out this Kim Ingleby video with triathlon running tips:

So while the wheels fell off for a moment and I was hanging out in a purgatory of self-misery/I don’t give a dam, and training willy-nilly at the gym and such…

This week I actually sat down and planned my next move, or more so, the series of moves that will occur over the next 12 weeks. One of my biggest “issues” with training, in general, isn’t the act of training itself. I love being active. I would run/bike/ski/lift whatever around the clock if time allowed for it.


The Snow Sports Industry Association Trade Show

Last week I attended the SIA show in Denver. I’ve been to several “Outdoor Retailer” sporting goods trade shows, but this was my first SIA show. About 1/5th the size of the OR show, the SIA show focused only on winter sporting goods; Snowboarding, Skiing, Backcountry gear, Nordic gear.

The trade show follows a similar format to the OR show, several days of trade show expo, followed by a couple days of “on the snow demo” at Winter Park Resort.

About 900 brands were present at the show, displaying all their new gear for this season, and while the sheer quantity of gear was overwhelming, when I broke the expo floor into market segments (snowboarding, skiing, backcountry, etc…), it was much more manageable to make my way around from booth to booth to learn about all the new gear that interested me most (mainly downhill and backcountry ski gear).


Desert Road Trip

December 26th, one day after Christmas, we hopped into the car at 4:30 a.m. and started driving south on what was to be a 3,000+ mile desert road trip. The road trip was initially planned for 2 reasons, 1-because we needed a vacation and 2-to visit my grandma in Phoenix. This time I was also writing a short review for social studies practice test for the So it was a really different trip this time.

Although driving from Helena to Phoenix and back is long enough in itself, we decided to extend the trip a few days and add a few stops in the Utah desert. Below is our day to day itinerary and an account of memories that will last us a lifetime.

Dec. 26th Day 1 was by far the longest day in the car. 13+ hours, 900+ miles from Helena Montana to Las Vegas, NV. We stayed at the Hilton, “just off” the strip. Apparently “Just off” the strip to someone from Vegas is WAY different then what I was expecting.


Tips for Running While Traveling

With the temperature falling and snowflakes flying, winter has come early to Minnesota. It’s hard to believe that just six short weeks ago we had temperatures in the 80s. Doesn’t summer seem like it was ages ago? So read on to learn more about Tips for Running while Traveling.

Like so many people, you’re probably already thinking about a winter vacation to a warmer climate. Winter vacations are a great way to escape the frozen tundra and frigid temperatures in favor of a warm beach or desert oasis. Sometimes we need to get away from the snow and ice just to keep our sanity. We’ve all been there…

If you’re like me, however, you aren’t willing to give up running…even for a few days while on vacation. Not only am I not willing to give up running temporarily, but I actually get excited about running in new places. I love exploring parts of cities that I’ve never seen before, running trails that I didn’t know existed, and spending time really getting to know a city on my feet.


Maine Bucket List

Maine is the northeasternmost state in the U.S. Maine is known for the state’s beautiful and spectacular rocky coastline, its nature, maritime history, lighthouses, and Acadia National Park.

You can find plenty of moose in Maine’s Baxter State Park where also Mount Katahdin is found, the Appalachian Trail’s endpoint. This post offers you some beautiful destinations to cross off your Maine Bucket list The following video shows you 30 of Maine’s more than overall 60 lighthouses.

Beautiful lighthouses are spread out along the state’s coastline, so check out, for example, Cape Neddick Lighthouse, one of America’s most photographed lighthouses, or Portland Headlight Lighthouse built in 1791.


TransRockies Run – the Six-Day Run

As the sixth and last stage of the TransRockies Run (TRR) came to a close today I thought about what I wanted to close my coverage with. LOTS of cool topics came to my mind, such as what “camp life” is like for an event like this; or what is it that brings some competitors back year after year while others are content to run it once and move on to other challenges and other adventures.

There are certainly dozens of inspirational personal stories I could tell, such as the couple celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary by running a 125 miles race together after the doctor said he would be lucky to walk again a few years ago after getting T-boned in his car.

But, as the race draws to a close I’d like to reflect on just three quick questions I’ve been asked recently:
1.)  What’s with all the stuffed animals on peoples packs? Do they really need the extra weight?
2.)  A tow rope, really? Couldn’t you find a partner that was equal to your athleticism?
3.)  Why on earth would someone pay any amount of money to get their ass kicked for a week?


GrizzlyMan & Black Bear Challenge Adventure Race

Last April, roughly 100 racers assembled in Greenough, MT at the Paws Up Resort to compete in the annual GrizzlyMan and Black Bear Challenge Adventure Race.

This year’s race proved to be MUCH harder than any previous version. The race includes trail running, orienteering, mountain biking, and for the GrizzyMan, whitewater navigation.

Racers are given a sheet of coordinates, a map, and a “passport” the night before the race. During the pre-race meeting, organizers stressed the rules, shared the course safety info, and explained the open format of the race.

Racers had the evening to plot their points on their maps, and plan their route. At 5:00 a.m. the GrizzlyMan racers started out in the pre-dawn light, and at 9:00 a.m. the Black Bear Racers headed out on their course.


How to Travel 50 Days a Year With a Full Time Job

A couple of days ago, I was interviewed by the Bestgedclasses website on how to how to be successful, without a degree and be able to travel even with a full-time job. When the interviewer asked me how many vacation days I have taken last year, including weekends and any days the office was closed for holidays, I realized it was 50 and I did all my running as well!

50 days! In one year I traveled 50 days while holding down a full-time job, freelance projects as a travel writer, running all the runs I run, and still had a social life at the same time. Had someone presented this idea to me, I would have thought it was impossible in regards to both time and money. But I did it. Take also a look at this great video about how to be smart and work full-time and still find the time to travel the world:

Here’s how the days broke out:

  • 3 days in January to see my in-laws (well, actually my fiance’s parents) in Cleveland over Martin Luther King Day weekend and running there. No time off work needed.
  • 3 day weekend in April for our engagement anniversary in Lake Placid, 1 vacation day taken.
  • 3 day weekend in April to go to Boston, 1 personal day taken.
  • 11 days at the end of May and beginning of June for Iceland and Norway to participate in the great run-off. I used 6 days vacation days and received 1 day off for Memorial Day Weekend, plus 4 weekend days.
  • 2 day weekend in June to Alaska with my dad for a fishing trip. No time taken off from work.