Itinerary – the first

It’s been decided!

I will be heading down with my partner in crime, Ahmadi, to the lovely city of New Orleans, LA on December 2nd. We’ll be there until December 17th – and then I’ll be heading out to McKinney, TX to be with my brother’s family for the holidays.

Once I’ve had sufficient time to drive my family nuts, I’ll plan my next bold move!

The List

Why Waltzing Matildavan? Well, back in October of 2011, I picked up a fantastic, pimped out conversion van. Apparently, the van’s name is Matilda. We’re currently on a magical journey throughout the US, stopping and experiencing the parts that I’ve always wanted to see – as well as the parts that others have stridently recommended.

So far the list is as thus:

Cryptids of interest

Goatman, MD
Flatwoods Monster – Braxton County, WV
Mothman – Point Pleasant, WV
Jersey Devil – south NJ
Dover Demon – Dover, MA

Places of interest

Places I’ve either visited already (crossed out) or missed and hope to get back to (italics):

The Devil’s Tree – Bernards Township, NJ
Jersey Devil – south NJ
Carlisle Indian Industrial School – Carlisle, Pennsylvania (didn’t have time)
Broney’s Hotel – Lehighton, PA (couldn’t find it)
The Devil’s Den – Gettysburg, PA (didn’t have time)
Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia, PA (didn’t have time)
Payne Chapel Memorial Baptist Church, Quito, MI – Robert Johnson’s grave  (didn’t have time)
LaLaurie Mansion – New Orleans, LA (since it’s a private residence, the public isn’t granted access into the LaLaurie mansion, but did take a tour where we heard the most appalling things)
Myrtles Plantation – St. Francisville, LA   3.11.12
The Fountain of Youth – St. Augustine, FL 3.10.12
Saint Augustine Lighthouse – St. Augustine, FL 3.10.12
Florida Caverns State Park – Marianna, FL 3.10.12
Captain Tony’s Saloon, Key West, FL 2.18.12
Rouse Road Cemetery – 3.2.12
Big Tree Park Orlando 3.2.12
Big Tree Park Longwood, FL 3.2.12 (the site with the 3,500 year old cypress that was recently burned down)
Kennedy Space Center
3.3.12

Cape Canaveral – 3.3.12
Legoland – 3.4.12
Coral Castle, FL 2.25.12
Tamiami Trail, FL 2.19.12
Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve – Travis County, TX 1.21.12
Natural Bridge Caverns – San Antonio, TX 1.21.12
Inner Space Cavern – Georgetown, TX 1.20.12
Wonder World Park San Marcos, TX 1.21.12
Cadillac Ranch – Amarillo, TX
Grassy Knoll, Dallas, TX – well, again. I went once YEARS ago.
Rusk State Hospital – Rusk, TX
Charter Behavioral Health – San Antonio, TX
Cascade Caverns – Boerne, TX
Albuquerque, NM
Bandera Volcano and Ice Cave

NRAO Very Large Array – Socorro, NM
Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque, NM
Bandelier National Monument – Los Alamos, NM
Chaco Culture National Historic Park – Nageezi, NM
Roswell, NM
White Sands, NM
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Taos, NM

Taos Pueblo, NM
Cimmaron Canyon State Park, NM
St. James Hotel in Cimmaron, NM
Spaceport America- Las Cruces, NM
Capulin Volcano National Monument, NM
Cave of the Winds – Colorado Springs, CO
Denver, CO
Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, CO
Rocky Mountain National Park – CO
Area 51, NV
Mesa Verde National Park, CO
Red Rocks – Colorado Springs, CO
Manitou Cliff Dwellings – Colorado Springs, CO
Clown Motel – Tonopah, NV
Las Vegas, NV

The rest of the places I want to visit, so far (I do keep updating this list as I get suggestions…):

Esalen – Big Sur, CA
Brookdale Lodge, Brookdale, CA
Winchester Mansion – San Jose, CA
Chambers Mansion – San Fransisco, CA
Redwood State Park, CA
Muir Woods – Mill Valley, CA
Yosemite National Park, CA
Alcatraz – San Francisco, CA
Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA
Mount Shasta, CA (Vortex)
Crater Lake National Park – Klamath, OR (Vortex)
Willamette National Forest – Eugene, OR
Sea Lion Caves – Florence, OR
Tillamook Rainforest, Tillamook, OR
Thor’s Well – Lincoln, OR
Silver Falls State Park, OR
Multnomah Falls – Corbett, OR
Shanghai Tunnels – Portland, OR
Powell’s Books – Portland, OR
Mt. Hood / Columbia River Gorge, OR
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, OR
Nehalem Bay State Park – Nehalem, OR
52nd Annual Scandinavian festival – Junction City, OR – August 9th – 12th
Mount Saint Helens – Skamania County, WA
Columbia River Gorge – Skamania, WA
Snoqualmie Falls, WA
Puget Sound, WA
Mount Rainier, WA
Olympic National Park, WA
San Juan Islands, WA
Grand Coulee Dam, WA
Lake Chelan – Chelan, WA
Lake PendOrellie, ID
Queen Mary – Long Beach, CA
Los Feliz Murder Mansion – Los Angeles, CA
Whaley House – San Diego, CA
Southern Utah’s canyonlands
Salt Lake, UT
Ted Bundy house -115 Burr’s Lane – Salt Lake City, UT
Grand Canyon, AZ (and Grand Canyon Caverns)
Havasu Falls – Coconino, AZ
Cosanti – Paradise Valley, AZ (http://www.arcosanti.org/project/main.html)
Painted Desert, AZ
Meteor Crator – Winslow, AZ
Petrified Forest National Park, AZ
Antelope Canyon, AZ
Sedona Vortex, AZ
Sturgis Bike Rally – Sturgis, SD
Mount Rushmore – Keystone, SD
Congelier Mansion – Pittsburgh, PA
Athens Lunatic Asylum – Athens, OH
Mansfield Reformatory – Mansfield, OH
Columbus, OH
The Hannah House – Indianapolis, IN
The Old Central State Hospital – Indianapolis, IN
Bluespring Caverns – Bedford, IN
Marengo Cave – Marengo, IN
Squire Boone Caverns – Mauckport, IN
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site – Collinsville, IL
Minneapolis, MN (going to hit the great lakes)
Badlands National Park, SD
Black Hills National Forest, SD
Devil’s Tower – Crook, WY
Yellowstone National Park, WY

House on the Rock – Spring Green, WI
Lizzie Borden’s House – Fall River, MA
Joshua Ward House – Salem, MA
Union Cemetery – Easton, CT
Lily Dale, NY
Centralia, PA
West Virginia Penitentiary – Moundsville, WV
Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery – Midlothian, IL
John Wayne Gacy’s house – 8213 West Summerdale Ave, Chicago, IL
The Hampton Lillibridge House – Savannah, GA
Waverly Hills Sanatorium – Louisville, KY
Graceland – TN
Bell Witch Cave – Adams, TN
Lemp Mansion – St. Louis, MI

The list will grow as I travel, I’m sure – and as friends recommend places for me to visit.  All experiences, no matter how extreme or strange, will be written about in as much detail as I can stomach.

Have a suggestion? Please – tell me! 🙂

International places that I really want to visit:

Poveglia Island – the Venetian Island of the Dead
Nuorilang Waterfall – Jiuzhaigou, Aba, Sichuan, China
Plitvice Lakes National Park – Croatia
Mangroves National Park, Boma, Congo Central, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Seau d’Eau waterfall – Haiti
The Sedlec Ossuary – Czech Republic
French Catacombs
Stonehenge
Tower of London
Avebury
Silbury Hill
Chanctonbury Ring
the White Horse
Cueva de los Cristales – Delicias, Mexico
Ankgor Wat – Angkor, Cambodia
Choeung Ek, Cambodia – the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge
Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II-Birkenau and Auschwitz III-Monowitz – Oświęcim, Poland
Dachau, Germany
Treblinka – Poland
Rumonge, Nyanza-Lac and Bujumbura – Rwanda
Nanjing – Jiangsu province, China
Lourdes, France (Marian apparition site)
Our Lady of Fátima (Marian apparition site) – Fátima, Portugal
Our Lady of the Pillar (Marian apparition site) – Zaragoza, Spain
Our Lady of Walsingham (Marian apparition site) – Walsingham, England
Our Lady of the Rosary (Marian apparition site) – Prouille, France
Our Lady of Guadalupe (Marian apparition site) – Tepeyac, Mexico
Our Lady of Laus (Marian apparition site) – Saint-Étienne-le-Laus, France
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (Marian Apparition site) – convent in Rue Du Bac, Paris
Our Lady of Pontmain (Marian Apparition site) – Pontmain, France
Srebrenica, Bosnia
Istanbul, Turkey
Dersim – Turkish Kurdistan
Hue City, Vietnam
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Bioko – island off the cost of Cameroon, Africa
site of the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Sud Kivu – Democratic Republic of the Congo

An Introduction

I’ve been a fairly ‘out of the box’ person, to utilize marketing parleyance, for most of my life. I remember my mother telling me what a serious little girl I was, that she feared that I’d have a heart attack before I turned 30. Still, I found time to look into puddles and see reverse-worlds on the other side – a place where all the cool things in my imagination were possible and I wasn’t a horrible little girl that was Hyper and had to be on Ritalin for 9 years in order to keep me from becoming a child tornado that wrecked everything in her path. I was diagnosed before the term ADD was coined, and I still consider myself Hyper. Hyper focused. Hyper aware. Hyper energetic. Almost manic at times. When I’m up, I’m WAAAAAY up. The downs used to stay with me for months of grief, but over the years, they’ve shrunk to days. Sometimes hours, for which I’m immensely grateful.

I never really felt like I belonged, which I guess was the social metronome of the kids back in the ’80’s that found themselves drawn to the punk crowds. I knew kids that had spent their 16th birthday strapped to a bed in a mental facility. Other kids shared horror stories of being molested by family members, if not assaulted and put in the hospital by them. I ran with teens that I knew had ties to the black market doing nefarious things – I never asked questions, because it wasn’t my business. I’ve had a colorful life.

As I’ve stated before, I didn’t really ‘find myself’ until I started going to Rocky Horror Picture show and met the glorious degenerates there that became my freak family. We all looked out for each other, as we could. After the movie, we’d all pile in cars and hit the Dunkin Donuts down the road and either spend the night in an abandoned house in Fairfax that smelled like urine and animal musk or head over to a friend’s house to watch amateur pornographic movies with the sound turned down and New Order blaring at top volume. Lots of Jolt and Everclear was consumed in those days. Good times.

Some of the people I met back then I’m still friends with, and very fond of. Some of that group moved on, some didn’t. Some are now dead – reckless lives spent in that bright burning trail that sputters out far too early, or they were just idiots. After RHPS, I discovered my next big social love – conventions. SciFi/Media/Fantasy – I was all over them. That’s where I met the second half of my ragtag family. I’m still close to most of the people I met through conventions, and still consider them family.

I’ve changed a great deal since my teens. I’ve since gone through two and a half months of USMC boot camp on Parris Island (received a medical discharge due to consistent heat stroke issues), worked at various computer and internet industry related jobs since 1989, run main events tech for CastleCon/EveCon and KatsuCon (in the early years), DJ’d and hung out at at BDSM events in downtown Washington D.C., gone to Cuba to be initiated as a Santeria priestess (Omo Yemaya), alternately wept and laughed with joy as my mother left this life to go to a place where she could dance and read again, published a full length novel, as well as a smutty novelette, have narrated many lovely, filthy stories for various authors and finally seem to have found my calling as a shaman/priestess/medium.

43 years, and a lot of it was spent waiting for life to happen. Sure, I took the bull by the horns at times, but it seems that I’ve spent a really large portion of my time on this planet waiting for awesome things to happen.

Over the last year, I realized that I stopped actively having adventures. I had stopped jumping out of my comfort zone. For the last month or so, I’ve started getting back into the groove – and man, is it invigorating. 🙂

This feels like a good starting point to take the next logical step. Maybe I’m feelin’ the need to sow some wild oats, as it were – although being that I have ovaries, I guess that’d be more like casting adrift some wild eggs.

In any event, it’s time to go have adventures again. Time to get back to creating my life instead of waiting for it to happen. My legs are itchin’ to start moving.

Time to get on the road and live somewhere else, finally. I am very much looking forward to getting away from suburbia – the city, and reconnecting to nature – mountains, streams, climbing, healing.

It’s the beginning of a vision quest.

I’ll be writing about the places I visit, as well as throwing up as many pictures as possible so people that want to can share the journey as I discover the beauty of the land that I was born and raised in. I’ve heard and seen too much politically, and having lived in and near DC all my life, I’m tired of the current poisonous taste in my mouth about the US. It can’t be all bad, can it? Screw news reports – I’m going to go see for MYSELF.

Part of this journey is to rediscover the great things about this place – to reassure myself that the dream and the people aren’t entirely lost.