Le Petit Déjeuner Sur My Lap

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After we piled the insane amount of things we brought across oceans into our absolument tiny Fiat Canc Cent (yes, people of Cannes, we too travel in a Yacht, a Fi-Yacht), our very first stop in France was one of those crazy-Euro-mall compounds that sells absolutely everything. Though these stores are sort of nightmarish and not at all the authentic-ancient-crumbling-stucco-boulangerie feel you hope for in France, they also have everything you need in one place (excellent if you require camp stove gas AND saussicon) and boast 500 foot long aisles of nothing but rosé.rosefordays

Our first shopping list was this: camp stove gas, corkscrew, sausage, cheese, bread, peaches, a strange spicy watercress, water, wine, and 4 small tin mugs for morning coffees and sodas de route. Armed with our tin cups, the corkscrew, and my trusty opinel, we proceeded to picnic our way across the countryside, spreading the tie-dyed towels Rav had sent us in a gay ladies care package to precede her arrival, breaking out the bread and covering absolutely everything in a fine scrim of baguette crumbs and sausage ends. Slanted sunset mugs in the backseat full of champagne and an antire wooden plateau of honeyed peaches in les Hautes Alpes, brimming with funky cider at 10 am, the perfect breakfast with the three cheeses in ascending pungencies (le goute!) purchased straight from the farmer in Erveden, dusky red wine with the hazelnut sausages of Dordogne, and all the beautiful baguettes we could stuff in our baguette holes. Nage tous le jours y Vive le pique-nique.cheesepeppercornsresearchpeachplateaucarchampagnefromagethreecheesemountainbreakfastpicnic2baguettedejunerdegorgeabbeypicnic

 

Les Filles Américaines Nage Tous Les Jours

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A very good song to sing when you are dipping your toes for the very first time into the surprisingly warm bright turqouise waters of a clue in the Hautes Alpes Maritimes or when you’re doing the run-in-a-figure-8-high-five-then-book-it-into-the-freezing-ocean that we first perfected on the beaches of Maine (but is equally as necessary in the chilly waters of Bretagne) or when you’re in a valley of waterfalls flowing under an old Roman Bridge or diving into a saltwater pool above Cannes or crossing a river of blooming flowers to get to an Ophelia cave… a good little chant to do with your ladyloves is this: Les Filles Américaines Nage Tous Les Jours. Sometimes chanted to the tune of Citizen Cope, sometimes spoken lustily in the style of Serge Gainsbourg, this is our mantra: The American Girls Swim Every Day. An ode to our friend, Daniel Start, who wrote the best book, Wild Swimming, that dictated our route every morning, our map annotated with places to swim and to sleep, the resting locales of ancient megalithes anointed with red wine and confirmed with a finger trace.

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Les Filles Américaines Nage Tous Les Jours. When your agenda is only dictated by whether or not you have time to go to the farther swimming spot or not before it gets dark (at 11pm) to get to the bar on the ancient stone square in time before it stops serving its savory crepes filled with caramelized onions and topped with an egg (at 10pm) and you need to set up your tent while there is still a shred of light (12am), then that is a day dictated by the good and pure impulses of the world indeed and you thank your lucky stars that you’ve chosen to live by the mantra (Nage Tous Les Jours) and that you’ve surrounded yourself with those of like mind (Les Filles Américaines) who are on your same page, who are most happy when wet bathing suits and plateaus full of ripe peaches and tin cups full of vin rouge festoon the backseat on the way to adventure. Les Filles Américaines Nage Tous Les Jours.

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many of these photos are from Mlle. AMR and Mlle. McKay, immortalized here.

Spy Rock

spyrockMiss Rav and Ann Marie and I had gotten a recommendation for a new hike: “it’s kind of a slog, but I swear it’s totally worth it when you get to the top. You’ll just have to see for yourselves” our sort-of-out-of-shape friend said, and that’s the ideal reference point for hiking advice for me. I don’t want trail-running triathletes to tell me something’s a walk in the park, especially if I’m of the mindset that the airbrushed alter-ego trucker hat that Rav gave me and a tribal necklace will be sufficient for “hiking equipment”. franOur friend was right, the hike itself was a relatively short (5 miles round trip) but insistently steep trek ending with a sheer-rock-face scramble up to a bald point of granite, Spy Rock itself… we were pretty sweaty, but when we reached the summit, took in the stunning 360 degree views of the Shenandoah valley on all sides, and felt the breeze through our hair, well, it was totally worth it. AMRSpyROckspyrockvistaRavSpyRockAnd here’s a video Ann Marie took because it’s awesome. “Do you think we can hike to that rock outcropping?” “Maybe we can fly there”.

Montauk

moonriseAnd then we packed up the F-150 with surfboards, bikes, lounge chairs, coffee, guitars, scarves, whiskey, tents, necklaces, and bahn mi’s and headed out to Montauk. We judiciously used our lack of showering and/or anywhere with a roof to go to avoid becoming embroiled in any of the overarching Montauk sceneyness, and pretty much spent all of our time gazing at the ocean, getting into it, surfing/watching the surfers, eating fried seafood, and drinking beer. That, singing songs, killing a Thursday NYT crossword, and waking up to infinity stretching off into the distance and it was an alright time indeed.montaukcampsiteditchplainssurfboardssunsetThank you to AMR for the snap of the surfboards and for inviting me along for a little tag-team-third-wheel.

Night Magic

One of those nights of the incredibly full moon we all walked from the river’s edge inland to the no-lane road that lopes along the border of Canada to light giant sparklers and dance in our own circles to their woozy comet trails. When the last one burnt out, we lay in the middle of the road spooling out in either direction knowing, somehow, no one would be coming along and looked up at the stars, made almost dim by that huge moon. It was night magic.

Swim. Every. Day.

Swim. Every. Day. That is the motto of any good road tripper (well, one of many mottoes: “always say ‘yes'”, “nothing to undo”, “another round”). Swimming every day is easy to do if, say, you’re cruising up the coast, heading to the Hollywood Roosevelt pool, or are in familiar home territories where you know all the good places to take a dip. If you find yourself out of your element, though, and don’t know where to dive in, you can rely on this: SwimmingHoles.Org

Essentially, it’s a state-by-state, locals-populated-crowdsource-confirmed map and guide of swimming holes, jumping rocks, and hot springs across the US and Canada. Simple. Brilliant. Each swimming site comes with a detailed dossier with all the pertinent information: directions, coordinates, photos, googlemaps, whether it’s an officially sanctioned spot (or not), and whether or not you need to wear a suit.

For example, here’s the skinny on the swimming hole Miss Lucy is diving into in the picture above:

Otter Falls

In amongst rare Catskills virgin forest of Hemlock, Otter Falls cascades down about 30 feet to a large deep bowl that measures about 20-30 feet in diameter with a depth of about 6-8 feet at its center. Go about 6.6 miles down rte 47 to a telephone pole with mile post #167 1/2 on it. The trail is short. It may take a few passes to find but eventually, the cascade and pool is very very easy to find.

Sanction: Unofficial
Phone: Unknown
Bathing Suits: Customary

Essentially evidence that the internet is a force for good, we use it every time we’re on the road, and hope you will too (and yes, there’s an app). Swim. Every. Day.

Thanks to Miss McKay for her excellent holga shots of swimming locations we found using swimmingholes.org., first picture, up top, Cougar Springs, Oregon and these two are of the Navarro River, near Mendocino California (that’s Molly Motown below and me jumping off the rock!).