Stomping Grounds

Stomping grounds—the areas where you spend most of your time, the accessible places from your home base, your most familiar territory. For most of my life, my stomping grounds consisted of the humid southeastern temperate forests, the wet earth. It’s lush, ethereal, and enveloping. The air is dense, the landscape is verdant, and the scent of humus permeates every cell …

Nevada: What You’re Missing

I admit it—I never gave Nevada more than a passing thought before George requested a birthday geocaching adventure back in 2012. With that trip, limited to the southern part of the Silver State, I had no idea the breadth of what Nevada has to offer. At least until beginning to explore it in earnest a couple of years later. Since then, …

Seattle with Teenagers

These days Fred and George balk at the idea of weeks-long camping trips like we used to take. They’re teenagers and they’re more intrigued by urban adventures right now. With that in mind, for an end-of-summer trip we flitted off to Seattle. It’s been a few years since we were last there and they’ve both changed so much we decided to …

A Confession from a Friend

With my move to Nevada, I left behind friends I adore in Georgia. So in addition to spending time with Fred and George on my whirlwind visits, I try to pack in as much reconnection time with my tribe as possible. That’s a challenge for an introvert—something you might not realize I am. On my most recent visit, largely consumed …

A Motorcycling Ambassador

As a rider, I believe in continually training. Improving my skills not only increases my confidence and enjoyment of motorcycling, it helps me stay as safe as possible. Our roadways are an unforgiving environment dominated by automobiles. On a daily basis, I share the road with people who do not prioritize safety and responsibility when driving. So I wear gear …

Tales from the Chute: The 2017 Virginia City Camel and Ostrich Races

virginia city camel and ostrich races - val in real life

It’s the second weekend in September and I’m in the center of the arena at the Virginia City Camel and Ostrich Races once again. After our brief interviews for the spectators, Joe Hedrick, the man in charge of the show, has just given us the command to head to our respective chutes. As we work our way through the soft sand, …

Discovering the Nature of Nevada

When I lived in the southeast, I spent a good bit of time immersing myself in the nature of the Great Smoky Mountains. That included becoming a Certified Southern Appalachian Naturalist (SANCP), through a program that gave me the opportunity to understand the intricacies of the natural environment there. Then I moved to Nevada. Other than the basic concepts of plant …

A Camel Walks into a Saloon

It’s another severe clear summer day on the Comstock. I’m at the end of the bar nursing a cold beer. I’ve earned a drink or two to quench my thirst after racing camels all day in the high desert. Gazing out the picture window, I contemplate the vastness of the Nevada desert from the comfort of the dark saloon. On my …

A Walk on the Freeway in Carson City

It’s not every day you get to walk on a brand-new interstate. Pristine pavement. Sharp, fresh striping. Hundreds of bicyclists, roller-skaters, skateboarders, and runners whizzing by you. I had that very opportunity thanks to the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). The last three, newly-constructed miles of I-580 in Carson City opened to traffic last week. Before our new freeway extension …

Celebrating National Monuments For All of Us

Today marks the 111th anniversary of the 1906 Antiquities Act which gives presidents the ability to designate national monuments. National monument designations preserve historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest. It is the starting point to potential national park status later on. Some of our greatest treasures—places like Grand Canyon, Zion, Grand Teton, Olympic, Arches, …