Apparently "good travel" for me includes unscheduled stops in tiny towns

This Big Fall Trip of mine has included some "side trips" which have included details as enjoyable as the core trip! While spending time with friends in LA and Seattle, there was camping in Oregon and a quick day trip to Vancouver, followed by a fairly-tightly-scheduled overnight visit with friend's friend in northern Washington before we got back on the road and headed back to Seattle.

It's been eye-opening to both of us, I think, this filled-to-the-brim trip and shared adventures from two very different kinds of women. My friend is an Uber Planner. Me, not so much. I value an itinerary and some advance research as a way to ensure we get to see the highlights, when specific destinations are important. And? I so, so crave the unstructured. And the freedom to change the plan anytime the mood strikes. There is very little more satisfying than being able to just stop for an unplanned diversion along the way when a little surprise pops up.

Such as when we came across Edison, WA, on our way to see Deception Pass - a scheduled destination stop on our trip. Edison was the kind of place you could have missed if you blinked or if you weren't one who notices details. Edison was, to me, the kind of place that screamed to us from its little main street, "Please stay! In fact, you should move here for a month and write your books. There are interesting people here. There are interesting stories here. Really. You don't want to miss this!" Wikipedia tells me that "The population was 133 at the 2000 census." All I know is that of those 133 people, the handful we said hello to during our unplanned stop called to me, in spite of their complete unawareness that they were doing so. I want to know the stories of every person who chooses to live in a town like this. And so I was elated when my friend was willing to stop for a few minutes of unscheduled peeking around.

We spent time in the Smith & Vallee Gallery, housed in a restored, turn-of-the-century school house, and I was thrilled to find that they maintain a beautiful website and also a blog so I can share it with you here. The exhibit featured art that rivaled some as beautiful as any I've seen in large cities. Because creativity can strike us all. And that can happen wherever we live.

There are hundreds of small towns on the east coast, and soon I'll be back home where those towns will be accessible. You don't have to be far from home to hunt down good stories. I think that's going to be one of my personal challenges. Well, first maybe a week of sleep and getting caught up on work. But after that? I'm going in search of rural stories. Preferably in a town as charming as Edison.