We’re BAAAAAAAAACK!

Wow, what an unexpected hiatus! Where have I been the past month or two?  Let me explain…

Running two businesses generally means there is little time for planned vacations that have any sort of length to them.  So, usually, I take a day here, a weekend there, a trip to the hot springs, an overnight camping trip, etc.  These little forays are generally suitable for recharging my batteries and eradicating stress…vital necessities to managing my time and squeezing every ounce of productivity I can out of each and every day.  However, these little trips only seem to bring me balance for small periods of time…meaning, the more stressed out I get, the more frequent these trips need to be in order to maintain sanity.  Well, sometimes this gets to be much like putting a band-aid on a wound that requires stitches.

By early August I was at a point where I was utterly exhausted and my days started to seemingly move backwards.  It was time for a break.  Due to some big trips I have had planned for 2014 for a long time now, I had hoped that I could make it through 2013 without needing an extended vacay.  So, of course, I hadn’t planned on taking a month long hiatus from the blog and painting furniture.  In fact, since I wasn’t going to actually be away from home nonstop for a month, I had hoped that I could get a few pieces done and write some new posts between trips.  It is quite obvious I failed at that.

To not-so-quickly summarize the wonderful rejuvenation I experienced through August and September:

After working 13 days straight to start August, I then had family visit for a week and we had a wonderful time.  Having moved to Colorado from Florida, I usually only get to see family once or twice a year and almost always have to go back to Florida to see them because they are scared of the dry air and cold weather that we experience in Colorado.  It’s a moment to cherish when they actually come and visit me!  So, while family was in town, I ignored all work and stuck to showing them a good time.

After my family left, it was time for a small trip to Steamboat Springs to soak in the hot springs, watch the annual USA Cycling Pro Challenge stage race, and enjoy some late summer camping in the mountains.  One of my favorite “vacations” has always been a Colorado “staycation.”  Makes sense when you consider that so many non-Coloradans make Colorado their vacation destination.

After the Colorado staycation, one of my best friends from Florida came to visit.  We headed straight for the mountains and then quickly learned our camping plans were in for a rude awakening.  Yes, she happened to be here the week of the great (and devastating) Flood.  We drove all day through the rain and as we got close to the western slope, we quickly nixed the idea of camping in the cold, wet rain.  Pretty rational, no?  Lo and behold, the crazy sorcery that is called Priceline found us an amazing deal on a 5 star hotel at the ski resort area of Telluride.  We spent a few days dodging scattered thunderstorms during the day to take in the sights in Ouray, Telluride, Silverton, and the Million Dollar Highway.  At night we pampered ourselves in 5 star luxury on a Holiday Inn Express budget and we reveled in memories from college.  Too bad we couldn’t stay forever!

The view from our hotel:

Telluride Ski Area

Telluride Ski Area

In the town of Telluride

Wildflowers in Telluride

Wildflowers in Telluride

The Million Dollar Road!

Switchbacks on the Million Dollar Road

Switchbacks on the Million Dollar Road

Once she flew off to Florida, it was finally time to get back to work!  Or so I thought.  I did manage to get a custom order done (will be posting that, along with some other new pieces, asap) and then ended up planning an impromptu trip to California to pick up a new-to-me Harley Davidson motorcycle.  In addition to painting furniture, skiing, hiking, and camping…I also love riding the backroads of America on two wheeled vehicles…both bicycles and motorcycles.  So, when I found an amazing deal on a purple Street Glide in the Bay area, I literally jumped on it.  I booked a one-way flight and was on my way to Cali quicker than I could stop and think.

Once I picked up the bike, I rode to Fresno to meet up with some friends who used to live in Denver.  We spent a couple days riding through Sequoia National Park and King’s Canyon National Park.  If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.  Giant sequoias have to be one of Mother Nature’s coolest creations.

Me on the new bike in front of some smaller sequoias

Smaller sequoias in Kings Canyon NP

Smaller sequoias in Kings Canyon NP

The General Grant tree…2nd largest tree in the world

2nd largest tree and sequoia in the world

2nd largest tree and sequoia in the world

Me on the bike in front of a breath-taking view of King’s Canyon

Overlook of King's Canyon

Overlook of King’s Canyon

After leaving King’s Canyon National Park, I spent one last night in Fresno with my friends before hitting the road through Sequoia National Park and south to Palm Springs to meet up with my parents who had just finished traveling the entirety of Route 66 from Chicago to LA on their motorcycle.

Riding through the Giant Forest in Sequoia NP

The road winds right through the Giant Forest, the oldest sequoia forest

The road winds right through the Giant Forest, the oldest sequoia forest

I stopped to take some pictures of the enormous trees that were right next to the road!  You need to look closely at this picture and you’ll see me, dressed in all black of course, standing in the middle of the burn scar of a 1000+ year old sequoia:

Standing, arms outstretched, inside a giant sequoia

Standing, arms outstretched, inside a giant sequoia

After this foray into a magical fairy land of ginormous trees, I put the rubber to the road and ate up the miles on the way to Palm Springs where I literally felt like I was going to melt in the heat.  115 degree temperatures, seriously?  At least they had a pool and poolside bar churning out the frozen daiquiris!  When I met up with my parents, we spent a day riding through Joshua Tree National Park.  Another of Mother Nature’s wonderful creations, the Joshua Tree, couldn’t be more different from the towering, evergreen sequoias.  The Joshua Tree is like an alien hybrid of a yucca plant and a queen palm tree, and in Joshua Tree NP there were literally thousands of them…go figure!

A beautiful Joshua Tree

A beautiful Joshua Tree

After a couple days in Palm Springs, it was time for both my parents, and I, to start making our way home.  They were headed along I-10 to Florida and since I-10 intersects I-25, I took the opportunity to ride part of the way with them.  We stopped in Tuscon, AZ for one last night together and got there just in time to head to Saguaro National Park for the sunset scenic cruise!  While I took a million pictures of the sun setting behind the giant saguaro cactii, this shot was my favorite:

Saguaro cactii at sunset

Saguaro cactii at sunset

In the morning we got back on the road and by the middle of the afternoon it was time to say goodbye as I headed north towards Albuquerque, Sante Fe, Taos, and then on to Denver and they continued east into Texas and New Orleans before heading home to the Florida Keys.

It was an amazing trip, my first ever long distance tour by motorcycle (but definitely won’t be my last), that covered 2,500 miles in 7 days.  I didn’t want it to end!  But I had to meet with the shipper to send off The Apollonia and The Chelsea to their new owners in New York, and I needed to get back to work and replenish my inventory for the Etsy shop I opened just before the hiatus!

It’s been a long time since I basically vacationed for an entire month, and it was totally worth every 12 hour day I’ve spent working to catch up on things since returning home!

Stay tuned in the coming days for some new posts revealing the latest projects. Curious as to what I’ve been up to?  Let’s just say it seems I missed the memo on Independence day being in July, haha.

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