Looking back, the beginning of the month felt like a blur of work all day and making our way west in the evenings. By then fall was in full swing and the weather was starting to be cold and rainy more consistently.
After El Campo we started to move slowly due to a growing work load. It was nice to have a large surge of work after taking two weeks off in September to travel through Newfoundland & Labrador.
Eventually we made it to Ottawa where our friends Olivier, Phillip, and Sean live (see above b&w image). We met them last year waiting for the ferry to Vancouver Island. After meeting them and hitting it off, we ended up spending nearly a week together on the island. They’re such sweet guys and they told us if we ever came to Quebec we needed to come in for a visit. Though we have hardly any pictures of our visit, we enjoyed a night out of dinner, our first beaver tail (a Quebec delicacy), and wandering around old town Ottawa. They took us all over town to see everything from the Canadian Parliament to the US Embassy (which looked suspiciously like a cruise ship). It was an absolute joy to see friends we made on the road again, and put down the camera and just enjoy every minute together.
After Ottawa, cold and rainy weather set in and didn’t have any intention of leaving. We planned on staying in Canada until the second week of October but ended up leaving a week early in search of drier climates. We also needed to leave because we had fast approaching work deadlines and the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday was going to leave us with nowhere to work at a critical time.
It was sad to say farewell after calling Canada home for the last two months. Our time exploring the maritime provinces allowed us to put some miles between us and our failed Amelia build. It gave us a chance to fall back in love with our lives on the road and those were feelings we had been missing for a long time. Canada never ceases to amaze us with its beauty, kindness, and geographical diversity. Our summer in Canada was the best either of us has ever had.
Before crossing the border south I made a point of stocking up on my favorite Canadian treat; KitKats! I know that might seem odd, but they have flavors and quality that we don’t have in the US and I’m a huge fan. Our last night in Canada was in a Walmart parking lot where I purchased $50 of my favorite KitKats. In my defense, I gave most of them as gifts… I swear!
We reentered the US via the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and slowly made our way south towards Holland. We stopped in Grand Rapids for my birthday where we had a fancy breakfast and enjoyed beers at Founder’s Brewing Company! It was a lovely and relaxing day. From there we went to Saugatuck to hike out to the beach!
We arrived in Holland, Michigan where we planned to stay the week to celebrate our friends Nat and Sarah’s wedding! Holland, if you aren’t familiar is an incredibly beautiful place!
A whole bunch of our college swim team friends all descended on Holland where we rented a house to stay in the week of the wedding. This is actually the second time we’ve all stayed in this exact house for a wedding. About 7 years ago Megan, of The Law Bridal (Sarah’s sister), also got married in Holland which was the first time we stayed at this house. It was a magical week of beautiful sunrises, wedding prep, and great friends all in one place. It was an absolute dream!
The girls went out for a bachelorette party to the bowling alley. We all claimed to be terrible at bowling until the game got going and we all got competitive. It was such a fun night of strikes and a pretzel the size of a pizza!
Our first afternoon in the house I was grabbing something out of Lando when I heard the sound of a wet wetsuit walking by. I poked my head around the corner to see a guy walking back from surfing. I asked him what the deal was with surfing Lake Michigan and he was generous with his knowledge. I immediately ran into the house to tell Owen. Every morning there after we walked to the beach to do a surf check.
We ended up surfing one afternoon when the surf report looked promising. The only problem was the winds were out of control and whipping at over 30 mph, but we couldn’t be deterred. We suited up with our friend Danny, whom you might remember from our time in Oregon, and we headed out. The walk to the beach is short, but we had to fight for every step. At one point it took all I had just to remain standing. We giggled the whole way to the water because we take ourselves very seriously.
When we finally made it to the beach Danny was able to let go of my board without it leaving his side because the wind pinned it in place. In the water things didn’t go much better. I was on our longboard and I couldn’t turn the board around without the wind catching it and tossing me off and sending the board into the air. We all got absolutely worked. I ended up getting caught in an undertow and was struggling to make it to shore and was so out of breath when I made it back to the beach that I couldn’t even speak. But hey, now we can say that we surfed the great lakes! No one has to know how poorly it went ;)
After our time in Holland, Owen and I worked our way to Alma, Michigan to the Grace household! We were very excited for our plans while we were in Alma. My roommate from college/teammate/best friend Gianna has been designing and launching her own jewelry line, Orchesa, since leaving her position at Michael Kors. We were honored when she asked us to photograph and model her inaugural collection. She now lives in Sweden but was in town for some fun family events and to shoot her collection!
When we arrived in Alma we took a few days to plan shots, locations, wardrobe, and gear. The plan was set to head to Detroit to shoot at a few locations across town.
In Detroit we shot at the Museum of Art, Detroit Library, and the Belle Isle fountain. We spent all day shooting the collection in town and then the following two days shooting still life and individual products from home. In all we shot thousands of photos and 4 rolls of film. We’re so proud of her for launching her collection, it’s a beautiful and timeless design that’s made using recycled metals and other sustainably and responsibly sourced materials. It’s so inspiring to see her have a vision and bring it to life, and it was an honor that she asked us to help her capture it in photos! Please head over to her website to see her full collection, it’s remarkable! Orchesa.com
Red River Gorge, Kentucky
After dropping Gianna off at the airport to fly home to Sweden, we pressed further south to continue our search for warmer and drier weather!
During our final days in Michigan Owen and I decided that we wanted to head to Red River Gorge, KY for some rock climbing. We had been keeping and eye on the weather and it seemed to be perfect sport climbing weather. On our way there we made a quick pitstop in Frankfort, the home of Buffalo Trace in hopes of taking a tour. When we got to town we stopped at a coffee shop to do a little work and totally lost track of time. When we finally made it to Buffalo Trace we were 5 minutes late for the last tour and had to settle for just a tasting. Boo! While waiting for the tasting to start we took some time to test out our new vintage Nikon lens!
The tasting was tasty and as always with bourbon tastings, ended with bourbon chocolates. Buffalo Trace marks our fourth bourbon distillery on the bourbon trail!
After leaving Buffalo Trace, Owen started to feel under the weather so we decided to find a motel for the night to get out of the cold and rain. Just 15 minutes from our motel I started to hear a weird flopping noise and pulled over to the shoulder of the busy four lane highway. It was a rear passenger side flat. To make matters even better it was raining! It took us a while to figure out how to lower our spare tire from Lando but we eventually got it off. Unfortunately we were stopped dead in our tracks when we went to pull the flat tire off. It was completely seized in place. It wouldn’t budge no matter what we did! It was so stuck that it destroyed our rubber mallet from smacking the tire so much. We relented as the daylight turned to night and called USAA. Even the USAA road side assistant had to use an 8lb weighted mallet to break our tire free. Once the tire was swapped we made our way to our modest motel accommodation where we enjoyed a dinner cooked in the room and an early bedtime.
In all we spent a week in Red River Gorge working, hiking, and climbing when the weather allowed. As always we stayed at our favorite climber’s campground, Lago Linda’s.
Scenes from our time in Red River Gorge.
On a down day in RRG Owen and I decided to take a hike up to Natural Bridge, a hike that we’ve driven by countless times but have never had time to stop at. The five mile round trip was a nice, casual hike with beautiful views of the fall foliage.
After hiking to an amazing view in Natural Arch State Park we wanted to take a picture of the two of us with the view in the background. Lucky for us a man nearby offered to take our picture. We took the camera over to him and explained that our camera was a little different and tried to give him a quick lesson on how it worked. He brushed us off and told us he knew how to use “one of these things”. I won’t get into the technical aspects of our camera but I will say that it required manual focus. After snapping many photos of us grinning ear to ear...this is what we got. Needless to say, he didn’t know how to use “one of these things”.
And just like that, our October came to an end! Thanks for reading and see you next time in November!
See you down the road,