It is been some time since I last blogged, but it has been a remarkable and busy last couple of weeks. So this blog will cover what I have been up to unlike my other blogs which are based on one topic.
First of all, I was ecstatic to debut the cover of my upcoming book, If It Takes a Village, Build One on The Angelrock Project homepage. The publishers at Broadway Books did a beautiful job creating the image and I’m so proud to be surrounded by some of my Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service Ambassadors. All of the Ambassadors will be featured in a picture inside. The book is currently available online to pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Powells, IndieBound, and Random House, and will be released on April 6, 2010. Please consider pre-ordering the book and telling your friends. Just FYI – the pre-order purchases go towards the first week’s sales. Why is this important? Because we want books on “service and volunteerism” to be a hit so more publishers will consider releasing these viable books in our incredibly competitive book market. Please click here to pre-order from a retailer of your choice.
Now, moving on to my next adventure...
I have been on the vacation of a lifetime traveling with my family on our big “America the Beautiful” vacation. I really wanted my children, who have been to so many foreign countries, to see our national parks and spectacular monuments here in this country. So we set off in two RV’s with two tents and did a mix of hotels and RV camps. It was an adventure filled time and we had a blast.
Being away from the city really made me reflect on how vastly diverse our country is. One of the biggest differences you notice right away is the shear distance between houses and towns and that most of our country is not over populated like the two cities I live in -- NYC and Los Angeles. Amazingly, the state of Montana is the 4th largest state but only has a population of 500,000 people. We started our adventure in Montana and also hit South Dakota and Wyoming.
Our first stop in South Dakota was Mount Rushmore and I must say I was visibly moved by the monument. I have wanted to see it my whole life and I was not let down. We stayed for dinner and the lighting ceremony and the whole gang just loved it. We also explored Custer State Park and saw the amazing bison population and went to the Crazy Horse Memorial. You must see this beautiful monument to the American Indian people which is still a work in progress. Right now, the head of Crazy Horse is bigger than all of Mount Rushmore. The American Indian artifacts are incredible as well. Jewel Cave is spectacular and you cannot even imagine that this natural made underground cave is real, let alone that you can go down 700 stairs to see the magnificently colored rocks and jewels. The most memorable place for me was our visit to the wild horse sanctuary. I was so moved by the people who save these beautiful creatures from death and let them run the land as they were born to do. The entire Black Hills area is fantastic.
Of course, we hit Yellowstone and it did not disappoint. On the way, we stopped for the night in Cody, Wyoming and went to the world-famous Cody Rodeo. Boy was this different and fun. I think I want to become a rodeo rider in my next life. The town is really cute and the food is great too. In Yellowstone, we had so many different experiences in the park, like off-trail hiking and geyser/hot springs hunting where the kids were able to take the temperature of each hot spring. Off course, we saw Old Faithful go off, but then we really took the off the beaten track route around the park to stay away from the crowds and see some really beautiful and serene spots.
We then drove from Yellowstone to West Yellowstone where we were treated to a behind the scenes experience with the Yellowstone Bear. It was amazing and so memorable. If you are there one day, you must eat at Buckaroo Bill’s. It is small, rural and damn good!
After Yellowstone, we drove to The Grand Tetons. The drive through this part of the state was magnificent, gazing at mountains, jagged rocks, farms, rivers and streams, wild animals and seeing no people for miles and miles. The Tetons are breathtaking and we stayed at the gorgeous Snake River Lodge. From there we went fly-fishing for trout on the gorgeous Snake River, horseback riding, hiking amongst moose and other animals, bike-riding, and some of us, including my 7 year-old, jumped off Mt. Teton at 13,000 feet and paraglided to the ground! The town of Jackson Hole is my new favorite place in America. It has the perfect mix of a small town but with all the amenities you could want and need. The shopping is great and the food even better. We ate at The Snake River Restaurant and it was beyond good.
As I said before, this was a real American trip. We saw some of the most beautiful parts of our country; we slept in an RV, a tent, a motel, a mid-range hotel and one luxury hotel. We made camp fires and roasted marshmallows and hotdogs. We made friends with our RV neighbors and the people who work these parks and we tried new things like elk meat and jumping off mountains.
Lastly, I have a new, profound respect for our national treasures, land, the environment, wild animals, the cowboy, and of course, the American Indian. I have cared about these things in the past, but my commitment to helping preserve this beautiful country of ours is much more deep and entrenched because of my trip.
Thanks for reading about my book (please pre-order) and the great ride my family and I had through our magnificent country.
My next blog will be about urban gardening.
Peace and blessings,