Sunday, January 24, 2010

Getting ready....

This will be first post on my recently changed blog, geared towards documenting my time wandering and exploring our wonderful country. I plan to do some hardcore birding/nature viewing/camping/hiking/backpacking/loving the life you live and living the life you love (Hooked Productions Clothing slogan).

I figured the best thing to do first would be a quick overhaul of my plans and ideals for this trip...

Back in September of '08, I drove from Connecticut to Alaska... and I still can not stop thinking about it. Though a decent amount of my driving was in Canada, my time driving under the Great Lakes and jumping up into North dakota, then over the border, was breath taking. Tens of thousands of Snow geese in the Prairie potholes. Swainson's hawks on every other hay barrel (and there are A LOT of hay barrels!!). Migrating Whooping Cranes in North Dakota!! American Bittern and Solitary SPs in a pond at the Wisconsin welcome center!!

The feeling of freedom that comes with a 'by myself' cross-country drive can not be doubled. If you see an interesting place on your way... why not stop??? I found several amazing birding/nature locales that way... Des Lac NWR/Crosby WMD/Lostwood NWR/Audubon Lake in North Dakota, Indiana Dunes Nat'l Lakeshore, Bald Eagle SP in PA, Buffalo Gap Nat'l Grassland (oh the pronghorns!!).

My trip consists of main location points that will serve as a multi day base of operation... Indiana Dunes Nat'l Lakeshore... Rapid City, SD... Yellowstone NP... Las Vegas... SoCal... Tuscon, AZ... Corpus Christi... Lake Mary, FL (my sister lives there)... Cape Hatteras... Cape May/Jones Beach/Jamaica Bay/Central park.

I am a huge camping fanatic, and will be doing muuuuuch more camping that motel/hotel staying. First, it saves a ridiculous amount of money, and second... who in the world doesn't want to camp in some of the most amazing places in the US??

A few main materials/assests for my trip are my 2005 Chevy Colorado 4x4 pick-up, brand new Black Diamond 4-season tent, Canon Digi Rebel xS w/55mm and 300mm lenses, my new Dell Inspirion laptop, the good old Bushnells, and of course... my bookcase filled with field guides.

Before I end the first of what I hope to be worthwhile and entertaining/interesing posts, I would like to rattle off a few places/towns/parks/etc that I will be visiting on this trip... (not in order)

Deadwood, SD, Mt. Rushmore, Prarie Potholes of ND, Indiana Dunes Nat'l Lakeshore, Hawk Mountain and Bald Eagle SP in PA, Yellowstone NP, Salt Lake City and the badlans of Utah, Badlands NP and The Black Hills NF in South Dakota, Las Vegas and surrounding desert habitat, anywhere in SoCal, anywhere and everywhere in SE AZ from the MX border up, Flagstaff, Pheonix, San Antonio, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Galveston, Santa Ana/Mustang Isle/Laguna Atascosa (spelling??) refuges, New Orleans, Orlando/Lake Mary, Miami, FL Keys, Savannah Georgia, Charleston and Hilton Head, SC, Durham, NC, Washington DC, etc...etc...etc... and absolutely anywhere in between that tickles me fancy.

I am torn on one aspect... to go to CO and CA, or to not. This trip encompasses a TON of amazing locales... as do both states. My thinking is that I'd like to make a trip in the future to JUST do Coloardo, or JUST to CA or the Pac Coast.

I will leave somewhere between April 21st and May 1st. Another big decision is which way to start the loop... should I go south to catch migrants on their way up, then loop back to the NW/Mid-west and catch more migrants. I feel like if I go west right away that I may miss several migrants (I am a raptor and passerine freak) not yet arrived... and when I reach the southern border of the country, the birds have left to go to where I missed them up north.

Stay tuned for more developments and more fun and interesting places to add to the itinerary as my plan starts evolving into reality.

See you guys soon!!


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