This Bird Needs to be Uncaged

Judging by what I’ve been hearing and reading on-line, I think it’s safe to say I’m not the only person who felt consumed by darkness as winter waned. It was the most prolonged shift of seasons EVER. Or at least it felt that way. Winter dragged on and on, then on some more. We didn’t get nearly as much snow here in Virginia as folks living in the northeast, but the weather was miserable enough That I felt closed in. Caged.

Bird in a Cage


I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel, but I wasn’t feeling it. I thought about past trips, tossed ideas around for future journeys,  read about others’ travels, looked at pictures, watched old videos, bought maps, etc. I did not, however, make any plans.

Hubby, Mike, is embarking on a pretty significant adventure of his own this year. Our usual travel companions are unable to travel as they’re pouring capital into rehabbing a house. So I’m free to plan my own adventure. I’m itching to plan my own adventure, truly. But the possibilities have overwhelmed me.

It’s like being really hungry and going to one of those 24-hour diners with a 32-page menu of food choices. All I really want to do is eat, like NOW, but there’re so many choices that it’s downright distracting.

Caged Bird

A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.”
Maya Angelou, The Complete Collected Poems


Don’t worry, I’m well enough equipped with ideas. And a decision is close.

New Maps


The arrival of Spring has helped. And I do have a weekend excursion or two planned.

Neighbor’s Tree


I’m tempted to just do a pack-some-clothes-and-go trip, but half of the fun is in the planning. Plus, I don’t want to miss anything important while I am out and about.

Hopefully, I’ll have a plan soon.

I know I’ll be going solo. I’m 95% sure I’ll be taking the bike. There’s a pretty good chance it’ll happen mid- to late-June. I may or may not get to use my new maps on this trip, but I’m 80% sure I’ll be headed south. How far south is the question.

I still haven’t been to Louisiana, Alabama, or Mississippi, so that’s a pretty appealing option. Except those places get pretty hot in June.

I have a bunch of LOVEworks still to see in Virginia, but staying within my home state just feels kind of lame.

There’re parts of West Virginia I have yet to explore.

A lighthouse I missed in far northeastern Maine.

Michigan’s UP is appealing, too.

I want to see more of northeastern Pennsylvania and New York, but I’ll probably meet up with Hubby there along the final leg of his journey.

I could ride into Canada. (Adding another country to the mix lends weight to the “adventure.”)

I really want to visit Breaks Interstate Park on the Virginia/Kentucky border.

I could go to the beach! (Hubby hates the beach.) But the terrain near the Atlantic Coast is flatter than flat. Not to mention crowded.

See what I mean?!? This is why we’re almost a third of the way into April and I still have no set plans.

I’m tempted to write my top choices on paper to be drawn blindly from a hat. Really.

How would you decide? Logic? Or should I use the hat trick?

Amish Minion!

18 Replies to “This Bird Needs to be Uncaged”

  1. We didn’t have a cold or really a long winter this year, but the grey came early and lasted long. I dread winter, it’s not a good time for me ever because it gets the SAD going and lots of fibromyalgia flare-ups. I am glad we got an early spring, most of the blossoms are off the trees now and are in full leaf bloom, so the promise of summer is close. I am not getting holidays until September so it’s a long street to go yet. You could always come visit me on the West Coast!

    1. Dar, don’t add choices!

      Just kidding. That area is always an option, especially with the kids and grand kids there. But they’re coming east this summer. And airfare is danger expensive. Which is why I didn’t mention Europe. I gave that some thought, too, but airfare alone is around $1.000 at the moment.

      I’m not sure if I suffer from SAD, as I don’t usually feel bad until the end of February/early March. That’s when things are really black for me.

  2. Exactly what I am feeling this year with my Hubby otherwise engaged in work projects and myself running out of work in September… with the newly acquired motorcycle currently sitting (and being maintained at David’s place) in Montreal I have come up with plenty ideas: New England during fall foliage, the Maritimes, a cross Canada trip even (maybe too late for that) but I haven’t gotten any plan worked out yet.

    1. I thought about Nova Scotia, too. LOL. And Iceland. Norway, too, and Spain. But really, there’s plenty of great riding and things to see in my area, and I can probably escape for an entire week for less than what it would cost for that RT ticket to Europe. Of course, if airfare suddenly plunges, everything could change.

  3. I’m glad that folks are starting to shed those winter blues, the persistence of which can be mighty alarming: Concerned observers, especially from the other end of the country or from the other side of the world, can feel at a loss about how to help…

    Cuisine simply must figure into your decision (it would for me). I’ve always wanted to try real Cajun food–and not that faux Cajun that’s made its way west. So, for me, Louisianna would win, hands down.

    1. Ryan, you might be amused to learn that I only started thinking about the LA-AL-MI option after seeing a Food Network show highlighting New Orleans, specifically the Muffaletta sandwich and Cafe du Monde Beignets. Of course food will be important, as will drink. Although that’s usually the least fun part about solo travel. I’ll just have to force myself to eat alone in public more. I’m not afraid of eating alone, it just isn’t as much fun or as relaxing.

      1. You would LOVE muffaletta sandwiches and Cafe du Monde beignets!!! The problem, as you say, is heat and humidity (which is not a favorite of yours). I think you should do the NOLA trip, but maybe save it for late fall when it finally starts to cool off down there.

        1. The humidity would be intolerable to me. Perhaps I can convince Dad to go with me in the Fall. Or very early Winter, before the whole craziness hits.

    2. Don’t mind me, Toadmama: I just have a days-old gripe to settle–something’s been buggin’ me…

      Come onn, Ry, “Louisianna”?… Just because some primitive regionn of your brainn thinnks that Louisiana should have ann extra ‘N’ doesnn’t meann it ever will. I even heard that you were considering blaming it on a stuck key–ON A TOUCHSCREEN KEYBOARD! You should be ashamed of yourself, Ry. 🙁

      Thanks, Toadmama. By the way, nice blog. 🙂

  4. PEI and New England sound attractive to me and it may meet Ry’s cuisine requirement as well (assuming that you don’t have a seafood allergy). Or there’s always the Trans-Labrador if you are really feeling adventuresome.

    1. Richard, that’s still a possibility — PEI and New England — but remote. No seafood allergies here. Some of the most memorable fried clams I have EVER eaten were in that area. The cooler temps are definitely an attraction. And there ARE beaches in Maine, after all. 🙂

  5. Heck, if you follow Richard’s suggestion and go Trans-Labrador, you might as well hit Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on your way, and be sure to check out Krista’s great blog in preparation (if you haven’t already).

    Oh, but that’s right, you didn’t want any added choices… 😉

  6. I think you should put the ideas in a hat. When you pick one out, your reaction will be all the answer you need. So, if you pick the beaches of Maine and you get a silly grin, you’ll know it was the right choice. If you pick Michigan’s UP and your head kinda goes, “oh, I wish it had been…” then you’ll have it figured out. So you’ll win either way. 🙂

    We are also now in the middle of deciding where we should go (Chris has bonus $$ to spend, woo!). We’re thinking Europe, but he wants to hit like 6 countries in 2 weeks and I’m like, “let’s just pick one and REALLY see it” so who knows how we’ll come to a consensus. You’ve seen a lot more of Europe than me; if you had to pick one country, which would it be???

    1. Six countries in two weeks wouldn’t be horrible. Seeing highlights can sometimes be just as much fun as an in-depth experience. Not everyone needs to REALLY see a country to be happy. 🙂

      I really like Germany and want to see more. But Italy was fabulous, too, and we have more of it to see. But then there’s the whole Baltic region, which I would also love to explore.

      Picking one country depends on what you want to see and do. If you are going to rent a bike, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, France, and Germany would be fabulous. Rent one bike, not two. Those mountain passes would be a bit too much for a young rider.

      Sorry I can’t really help you narrow it down.

  7. Maybe it’s just not time for you to know yet. I guess that could be hard though, as you are a route researcher & planner.

    I understand this dilemma you’re dealing with. Sometimes too many choices can be crippling. Even though I *think* i really want to do all of them, often I don’t. I get what Shan was touching on. If you narrow it down to a few places and are forced to pick just one – and it bums you out – well, you know.

    Well – how much time do you have? That can certainly shape things.

    And if you’re committed to riding? Do you want to mostly ride for the sake of riding or do you want to incorporate a lot of off-bike time?

    When you drink 3 margaritas, close your eyes and imagine your trip without censoring yourself – where are you?

    1. I only have about a week. I really want a nice mix of ride time and relaxation time.

      If I tried the margarita test, the answer would be the beach. But riding to the beach wouldn’t be the kind of riding I enjoy. Northern California would be perfect, but I don’t want the added expense of flying and renting a bike.

      I really think I’m going to have to narrow it down to the three most appealing choices and put them into a hat.

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