For those who are unfamiliar with US geography, it seems that I may have forgotten to mention in my last entry that when I made the statement that we were in Delaware, I should have also mentioned that Delaware is part of the Delmarva Peninsula; an offshoot of the mainland USA that hangs like a small appendage surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. I find it interesting because the name Delmarva is made up from the fact that the upper and mid portion of the peninsula is comprised of the states Delaware and Maryland (Del and Mar) and the bottom portion is actually a part of Virginia (Va – the state’s initials). So by travelling down it, we actually pass very quickly through three states.

Right, geography lesson over folks, now onto natural history….


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Forge, Family and Fighter Jets!

I have a memory, over 25 years old now, of a cold winter’s evening in the passenger seat with my dad driving and looking at a festival of lights, candles, lining the roads around Valley Forge Historical Park. Not that I can specifically remember when or why we were at the park, but I remember the candles, the cold and my dad.

It is in the spirit of this memory that we visit Valley Forge today, but find that maybe my memory isn’t quite as good as I thought…

Welcome to Valley Forge


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In For a Surprise

For those of you who don’t know – despite all my whinging about tea and biscuits, missing British Bake Off and of course, the need for some cooler weather; I was actually born in the good ‘ole US of A, right here in the state of Pennsylvania as it turns out. All of my family were born and raised here too.

It just so happens that by a fluke of fate, my dad, mum, sister and I moved to England when I was young and is where I’ve spent my whole life, thereby now making me extremely culturally British.

The only memories I can conjure up about Pennsylvania include a couple visits to the row home of my dad’s parents in the centre of Philadelphia, visiting my mum’s mother as a surprise one snowy Christmas and hiking the Appalachian Trail through the state; so that means most of my recollections of PA are either of a city/town type scenery or rocks, rocks and more rocks. My body equates PA with painful feet.

So once again, rather unfairly I realise, I’m not expecting a lot from my ‘home’ state.

And once again, I should just learn to shut up and not pass judgements so easily.


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A flurry of activity

I’m going to hold my hands up and admit something here. For the past few days, I’ve been phoning it in. Usually I’m pretty good with trying to give you an idea about where we’ve been heading and what we’ve seen, but all I can tell you of our recent road adventures is this – it was a 6 hour drive back east towards Michigan, we stopped to get petrol which took over an hour to fill the tank during which I skyped my grandfather, and we drove through Illinois; which apart from containing a lot of corn, I couldn’t tell you a darn thing about. Sorry folks.

Yup, that’s corn


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A little bit of Culture

As you may gather from our travels so far, Loops and I try as much as we can to stay out of, and away from, as many large cities as we can. It’s not that we don’t like big cities per se, I mean they can be filled with a wondrous variety of things to see and do and learn about; it’s just that they also have a tendency to go hand in hand with lots of people, hustle and bustle, noise and traffic. All things neither of us are very fond of.

However, it would seem just a little bit rude of us to ignore the capital city of Wisconsin and not stop in for a look-see, bearing in mind we will be driving right past it. Not to mention they have an Elks club right on the waterfront for us to stay at. Get in.

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Time to Head South

Today’s the day.
It’s time to pony up and finally leave Michigan.

It seems to me that we have been here a while, and looking at the numbers I can tell you that between the mainland and the UP, we’ve called the state of Michigan ‘home’ for exactly 30 days. Well, not including the previous week or so we spent here prior to our U turn to North Carolina. So I guess it’s safe to say – Michigan, we love you.

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Something Slightly Unexpected

Well, there you have it, my plans have gone awry.

And it’s very strange because usually I would beat myself up over the fact I had formulated plans and made grand announcements and then not carried them out; but for some reason in this case, that didn’t happen at all. I feel completely at ease with not going and trudging in the mud and being eaten by bugs for no real reason or further enjoyment.

But what I did experience, and felt amazement over, was that I did have this total inner epiphany; well maybe not that but more of an overwhelming inner confirmation that when I chose to hike the Appalachian Trail, I did so for a certain purpose. And even though I wouldn’t be able to adequately express in words wholly what that purpose was, I can tell you that every morning I woke up and knew that I was there because I was supposed to be.

Even though I might have gone through some incredibly tough and rough spots, I never, ever woke up with the feeling that being in the woods and devoting myself to attempting to hike 2,200 miles was not the right thing to do.  In fact I am now 100% certain that it was the right decision to have made and the right time in my life to be doing just that.

I also now realise with such startling clarity that I have never felt that type of certainty before in my life, or in fact since then. Even with my current travels.

So here is my take away from two days of hiking in the Porkies, that I share with you now….

Some of the most beautiful parts of nature you will only see, experience and appreciate when you work hard for them.

Deep down inside, when something is right, you know it’s right – in whatever form that takes.

Now go outside and enjoy it, while Loops and I head off towards the Michigan border to find some more adventures to share to you!