August 30, 2016

There seemed to be so few dark hours in Banff. By 5:30 a.m., the sun was already gilding the edges of the window shades. Moose Hotel and Suites had opened just a few weeks earlier, and the lobby still smelled of sawdust and paint, that heady promise of new construction. It was beautifully done, but ironically (considering we'd stayed there for good sleep), I slept horribly after the previous evening's nap and a late night of writing. Four hours of rolling from side to side and trying not to wake Adrian with my restlessness, and then it was tim...

August 16, 2016

                           Photo by Adrian Collins Photography 

We woke up at 7 a.m. on the fifth day of our trip. By now, I had such little concept of what day of the week it was that I messaged a friend, whose birthday it was, and said, "Hope work is as good as it can be and that you get spoiled tonight!" She wrote back saying, "It's Saturday, silly!" It seemed impossible that we'd left home on Tuesday and it was already the weekend. 

We ate breakfast at a place called Trapper's Mount...

August 12, 2016

Waterton Lakes is a town too beautiful, too idyllic, to be real. It's a movie set of quaint log cabins and flowerpots hanging from windowsills, the bright gardenias and carnations and poppies decorating even the older, shabbier motels so that they look charming and European. The main street holds a handful of restaurants, cafes, and shops, and backs onto Waterton Lake, which is bordered by mountains that reduce everything around them, ourselves included, to miniature. It's the type of town where it's difficult to imagine anything truly terrible (or even...

August 8, 2016

Glacially eroded pebbles on the banks of Lake McDonald, by Adrian Collins Photography

In the women's cabin, no one slept well or for long--we were too concerned, ironically, with waking one another up. So for the five or so hours of darkness, the silence was marred only by the occasional hesitant shift of a sleeping bag. In the men's cabin, Mark and Jeff's snores were a robust chorus that kept Adrian awake all night, despite the foam ear plugs he'd brought for exactly this reason. 

We were all moving slowly the next morning as we packed up the bikes. The...

August 5, 2016

Somewhere in Montana. 

When our alarm went off at seven a.m., the motel room in Sandpoint was already bright with sunshine. I groaned, but Adrian hopped out of bed as if he'd been awake for hours.

"Come on!" he chirped. "It's our first day of riding! It's going to be glorious!"

I couldn't help laughing. I was excited, too. The brief time on the bike to and from dinner last night had reminded me how much I loved it, and I was eager to be back on the seat, casting my eyes around a world that would become more and more new to me. 

Adrian dressed quickly and we...

August 3, 2016

People look at you differently when you carry a motorcycle helmet onto an airplane. You're not just another girl, or another guy, or another couple--you're the couple passing the helmet back and forth to each other while arranging items in the overhead bin, careful to find a spot where the helmet won't be crushed or overly jostled. You're a couple with a story, and people look at you that way: open, curious, maybe a little surprised, maybe a little envious. They look at you like they want to know you, to ask you questions, the helmet a conversational to...

June 13, 2016

 Photo by Adrian Collins Photography

I like to think I have an adventurous spirit, a tendency to say, Sure, why not? before, No, I don't think so. Adrian calls me his little "goer" because I'm usually willing and excited to try new things, especially if those things make me slightly uncomfortable. Many evenings, we've sat at the dinner table and fantasized about doing long road trips on his motorcycle, cross-country or on entirely different continents. We'd travel with only what the bike could carry. He'd take photos and I'd write about our experiences....

October 5, 2015

Today marks the start of our last week in Maine, and I'm already feeling nostalgic for a trip that hasn't finished. After next week, Maine won't be a dream or a joke or a myth; it'll be a word wrapped tightly around memories of my mom and I building a closeness that we didn't have before--not to this extent, anyway--and building our books at the same time.

And for now, at least, it's the books I want to talk about.

It feels weird and vulnerable, this public accountability I'm choosing, but I've always done better under that kind of pressure. When I want t...

September 24, 2015

Maine has a sort of mythology in my family. "You just have to go to Maine!" I can hear my dad saying back when I was in high school, maybe even younger. "I'm telling you. If you go to Maine, you'll write a bestseller."

I don't know where he got that idea. I assume he saw a movie once, long forgotten, in which someone holes up in a cabin surrounded by far-reaching pines, perhaps some water, and thoughtfully composes sentences on a typewriter. 

"You'll get inspired," my dad says, his face lit with conviction. "I'm telling you. It'll happen."

For years, Maine...

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