(Photo Credit: www.visitmt.com)
Not long ago, I visited Red Lodge, Montana and spent some time camping along a river in Glacier National Park. The chiseled mountains rose up from the tracts of conifers and scraped the sky. The physical beauty was, of course large in my consciousness, but the thing that struck me the most was the mountains. They towered above the landscape. They covered up a large swath of sky. As my eyes took in the glory above, it hit me. For all the sky those magnificent mountains covered up, there was immensely more sky showing around them. What struck me then, was the meaning of “Big Sky Country”. It’s not a slogan. It’s a fundamental truth of Montana’s character. The truth of it wrapped around me—360 degrees of big blue sky. This was the inspiration behind the Heart in Montana sticker.
It has an over-sized heart, just like Montana painted in “Big Sky” Montana Blue.
Awendaw Green is a laid back venue 20 miles north of Charleston, SC. If you love music and a beautiful, chill setting, you have to hit Awendaw Green. Only $5, every Wednesday 6-10 pm. Bring your own beer!
Think of it as Horning’s Hideout of the Southeast. 4 bands play every Wednesday on the back porch of the barn. 100's of folks bring chairs, coolers, and a great community. There are vendors and a wood-fired pizza oven. Check out the horns that line the trees around the property.
I was canvassing some stores for "Heart in South Carolina" on Isle of Palm (IOP) and Sullivan’s Island and everyone I spoke with told me to head up there. I'm stoked I did.
Eddie, the owner of the place, is a dentist by trade and he simply wanted to create a beautiful place for people to come, hang out, listen to music and connect to a community. He nailed it. Another objective was to create a place for bands to play on in the open night air. Now, bands schedule open nights so they can play there. The bands for the night were from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Boston.
Just take Hwy 17 North of Charleston, SC and turn in at the SeeWee Outpost, an awesome store, and follow the camping signs just 100 ft behind the store. If you have a band and you want it to play there at least once, contact Eddie at http://www.awendawgreen.com
While killing time before meeting a friend, my trusty dog Bayr and I were on foot in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. It was December 27th and the outside temperature was 24 degrees. The wind from the lake was light that day, which made the walk bearable. Cleveland sits directly on the Lake Eire. If there was a wind, it would have been howling and it would have cut through me and the dog.
The city, overall, had the early, turn of some century, industrial town feel. Many of the buildings had ornate architectural details and an over powering sense of city gray. People were all in classic winter dress for the Midwest- black or gray long overcoats, black shoes, black hat or muffs and black gloves. The scene all touched a part of my soul that my spirit had forgotten, since moving out West. It was a friendly, familiar feeling and a scary one at the same time.
Bayr and I walked from the Flats to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We toured the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ monument in the middle of city and many points in between. Interestingly enough, we were asked for direction half-dozen times. I guess folks would expect that someone walking with their dog in 24 degree weather was a local and not, as the case was, a tourist out for an adventure. My response was always the same, “Sorry, just visiting.”
Bayr had a fabulous time being a dog. Not only could he mark new, cold territory, covered with remnants of the salt from the previous snow, but he got to hunt 100's of pigeons lining each open area of sidewalk. He crouched down into attack mode and slowly made his approach. He inched closer and closer and then froze, inching forward again, until he sprang into action chasing the whole flock away in every direction.
We never connecting with our friend, one of the dangers of showing up in a city unannounced, and bedded down in an airport hotel. We woke early the next morning and glanced outside and saw that 6 inches of new snow had fallen. Being from the Chicagoland area, I knew this meant we had only one thing to do that morning. Get the heck out of Cleveland and head south as quickly as we could. The snow that had fallen was Lake Effect snow--snow that only falls because its close to the lake. We knew the sooner we distanced ourselves from the lake, the better our travel day was going to be.
So we headed south and set our sights on West Virginia . . .