what are you leaping for?

I’m sure you all have seen the fantastically awesome new Honda commercials for the CRV the Leap List. There are lots of good ones, but my favorite is Ferris Bueller of course! Gotta love his last line:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Here’s my current leap list. I’ve already checked off things like running a marathon, working at the Olympics, road tripping across the country and spending time in all 50 states, whitewater rafting on the Grand Canyon, Hiking to Half Dome at Yosemite, skydiving, etc. but there’s always room for more.

Make your Leap List here today and start jumping. There’s always a safety net on the other side. I promise.


planes, trains and automobiles

Well, actually- just planes and automobiles.

I usually drive everywhere (as you have heard the Honda love and about all my road trips), but tomorrow I fly to Boston en route to Maine for this weekends Whoopsies/Harvest on the Harbor and Million Mile Joe festivities. I got a super last minute deal flight on Spirit Airlines (booked just last week) so we shall see how that goes. I already found out about some extra charges and fine print, but round trip even with those so far is looking like a total of $175 non-stop Chicago to Boston, so fingers crossed no more hidden fees. I will report back of course. You know I love getting the best deal around and that’s all I can afford anyway, so I believe in keeping all flights under $200 if humanly possible.

It’s hard to believe it’s coming up on a month since I’ve been back in Chicago from my BLR Honda September Adventure. It’s all been a whirlwind! Going back to job #1 slinging burgers and beers to pay the bills, finding an apartment. to home base in, run around the city finding furniture and all apartment furnishing, sleep for more than 2 minutes, run, Zumba, dance class, and of course job #2 BLR and working on fun things like b-day #3 and the launch of this sweet new whoopie pie, finagling to make it to Million Miles Joe’s day and yet another collaboration that’s been in the works for a while that I will be UBER excited to report on when I am able. I have a few wrap up videos from last months trip I owe here that will be posted within the next week. After vagabonding for so many years, I have to say it’s been nice to walk in and shut my own door of my own little home at night, and sleep in my own bed. (Yes! I got a bed! First time in a very long time. What a treat.)

Besides the treat of a bed and place to actually receive mail and shower where I don’t have to pack up my toiletries each day, my home base offers the #1 thing that I was looking for: A place to have all my things nice and organized so I have the foundation to work on and plan even more kick-ass adventures and projects! You didn’t actually think this was it/home base established/game over did you? Hee hee…of course not! BLR year 3 has got some serious momentum and oh the “places” we will go. The more time that passes, the more and more I see that everything is possible, so I fully plan to continue on taking in everything I can and encouraging you all to do the same.

Next time you see me here I’ll be stuffing my face with a BLR flavored whoopie pie!


in honor of blr birthday #3…

…drumroll please…

I am happy to share the news that in honor of Blue Lollipop Road turning 3, My new and incredibly talented, sassy, fun friends at Whoopsies Gourmet Whoopie Pies are launching a new flavor called The Blue Lollipop Road!!!


If you have followed my journeys since the beginning, you know I am a chocolate and treat lover. My all-time favorite indulgence being Oreos dipped in Nutella. Well, during my BLR Honda September adventure last month I met Marcia and Berkeley (partners in de-lish whoopie pie making crime) who opened me into their sweet world to me. We became instant pals, I fell in love with their product, and of course during the time I spent in Marcia’s Portland Maine kitchen chatting away and noshing, we thought- what about a whoopie involving my ultimate favorite?


This is the official announcement for the Blue Lollipop Road whoopie pie flavor kick off. I will fly to Maine later this week to launch in person and work at Harvest on the Harbor with the Whoopsie crew on Saturday (the 22nd.) If you are around the Portland, Maine area- stop by and see us at this event! I am absolutely thrilled to work with such a fabulous company and people that make such a delicious product!

On Sunday (the 23rd) I will be with the other pal I made in Maine on my BLR Honda September Adventure; Million Mile Joe! As of this morning, he is literally just miles from hitting ONE MILLION MILES on his 1990 Honda Accord. Amazing! This weekend Honda is honoring Joe and his huge accomplishment that is just hours away in a big celebration and they’ve invited me. Of course I wouldn’t miss this event after meeting Joe and all the love I have for my own Honda. A few of us know about one big treat Joe is getting this Sunday, but there’s another super secret surprise for him Honda has kept that we are all looking forward to hearing about.

SO FUN! Here’s to big birthdays, super sweets, treats, and a million miles!

More soon…


blr loves the famous koch’s deli in philly and they love us back

Check it, check it!

Koch’s Deli, (which we visited right before jamming out at the Honda Civic Tour a couple weeks ago) linked to Blue Lollipop Road on their website.

Apparently they are loving telling customers the story about our afternoon together. That Ezra…he’s such a rascal!

Thanks Koch’s! Now you’ve got me thinking of de-lish hoagies…


day 18: nyc to east brunswick, nj

Today was my last day on what has been a most incredible trip. There couldn’t have been a more perfect way to celebrate hope, freedom and possibility (what Blue Lollipop Road is all about) than taking a trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. I can’t thank everyone enough for the votes that ended up sending me there! An absolute best grand finale for this 18 days on the road in my loaned Honda.

It was a beautiful day for an early morning drive out of the city to Liberty State Park in NJ to catch my ferry:

Ferry to Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty

The first stop was to Ellis Island:

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

…where I walked up to enter the building and was met by “tough” S.W.A.T Policemen Gerry and Malichi:

Yeah, they were big softies and having fun, but as soon as I started rolling the video camera they put their straight faces on. Just wait- there’s more coming with these guys later…

It was time for me to explore and learn about the millions of people who had been on Ellis Island arriving in America for a new life. I have to say I was completely in awe of the stories, facts and images I saw inside that building. It was almost as if I could feel the souls of those who had been there. I was completely captivated by what I saw and read. I overheard other visitors around me from all over the world speaking different languages (some I’d never heard before) looking for traces of their lineage. This was one of those times that I was reminded again that behind every single human, there is a interesting story. A pretty powerful feeling for a Monday morning for sure. I was so intrigued by my surroundings I spend hours just wandering and taking it all in.

A few photos from things I saw. Luggage used by the travelers:

Ellis Island

…items found during the restoration of the building:

Ellis Island

…The Registry Room:

Registration Room: Ellis Island

Registration Room: Ellis Island

My favorite story from The Registry Room of course being that of the kissing post.

Other signs and quotes that caught my eye:

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

…and one image of a little boy that I could not stop staring at:

Ellis Island

Have you ever had one of those times when you get what seems like an adrenaline rush and feeling of I want more, more, more more!? That feeling when you know you have a true passion for something? That’s how I felt today at Ellis Island. Learning about people, their lives and culture has always been my favorite thing about traveling. Standing in the history of where millions of people from around the world once were there made me want to jump back in time and just be among all of them learning everything I possibly could. (And surprise, surprise- has given me an idea for a project.)

Thank you Ellis Island. You are now among my favorite spots in my travels.

On the way out, it was back to my not so “tough” new S.W.A.T pals Malichi and Gerry. I had fun sassing them and they gave it right back to me. (Boy do I love that.)

Meet smiley Gerry:

S.W.A.T guy Gerry outside Ellis Island

…and Malichi:

S.W.A.T guy Malichi outside Ellis Island

Yeah, I pretty much told him his muscles had nothing on mine:

S.W.A.T guy Malichi outside Ellis Island

Gerry and Malichi- Considering you have already left a comment here, I know you are reading this. I also know you are laughing. Good times right? Good thing I didn’t blow your tough cover. (Malichi, I can’t believe you managed a straight face in every picture! If only the people knew…)

Thanks for being such good sports!

Goodbye’s were said and off to the Statue of Liberty I went, back on the ferry:

Statue of Liberty

…and time to walk up the steps to the pedestal:

Statue of Liberty

…where I met National Park Service Employee, Walter. Friendly teasing and heckling about about the amount of steps to climb:

Oh the characters I meet and all the people like Walter I wish I could sit with for hours. I bet that man has put thousands of smiles on faces over his 20 years there.

So nice to meet you Walter! Thanks for putting a smile on my face.

After my walk up, I had time for one final video to give a thumbs up:

…and back to my afternoon car drop off time:

What’s next? Well, an immediate 850 mile drive back to Chicago to work at job #2 in 24 hours, lot’s of wrap up from this trip, a big time announcement about something very exciting I’ll be doing in a month and maybe…a nap?

These 18 days may have just ended, but the Blue Lollipop Road does not. Just one adventure ending, in time for another one to start…


***Total miles driven today, day 18: 44

***Total miles driven on trip: 2,822

***Total blue lollipops gifted/left behind: 27

(A side note for Big Apple travelers: CityPASS offers discounted admission to the Statue of Liberty, as well has 5 other top attractions in New York City for $109. This is a 40% discount, compared to the combined regular box office prices. I love a good deal- so check this one out if you’re planning a trip!)


day 17: philadelphia to nyc

It’s my last full day before the car return. (Boo!)

I wanted to give a little tour of this amazing 2012 Honda Hybrid Civic that’s been so good to me over the past couple weeks:

It’s a good thing I love this car so much because I sure have spent a lot of time in it stuck in traffic the past few days!

I thought I’d have a bunch of wander time in the Big Apple tonight, but by the time we spent all afternoon on the Jersey Turnpike and actually getting in to the city, there was only time for dinner and bed. (I have a very early rise time to catch the ferry in the morning to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.) I had to squeeze in at least one NYC landmark food spot, so as suggested by a friend; Lombardi’s Pizza it was. (America’s first pizzeria!)

Lombardi's Pizza: NYC

Lombardi's Pizza: NYC

Lombardi's Pizza: NYC

Tomato, basil and the freshest, most delicious mozzarella you could eat on a pie. Mmmm…

All in all most of today was spent in transit, but even a few hours in NYC is a thrill and energy feed that I will take any day. (Not to mention the pizza treat!)

In the morning I go to the top voted spot Honda Fans picked from the Honda Facebook poll and I am thrilled! What a perfect way to end this incredible trip. Thank you again to everyone who voted!

***Total miles driven today, day 17: 117

***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 2,778

***Total blue lollipops gifted/left behind since trip start (9/2/11): 26


day 16: philadelphia to camden, nj

Whoa nelly Koch’s Deli! (That rhymes. I’m giggling.)

Koch's Deli: West Philadelphia

I don’t even know where to begin on this zany, crazy, fun, feast of a stop.

My “plan” for today (once again, plans when I travel seem silly to even bother to make most the time) was to explore at least a couple food spots friends and readers had suggested around the City of Brotherly Love before we hit up the Honda Civic Tour show. I usually like to eat a little here a little there- like a smorgasbord of a city so I can fit it a bunch in when I only have a short time in a place. Well, that was so not happening after our entire afternoon at Koch’s Deli in West Philly. (And I cannot tell you how 110% Ok I was with that!)

Let the best kind of madness began:

…and then we went inside:

Surprises left and right, me stuffing my face again, (Mom- aren’t you proud?) and so much happening I couldn’t keep my head on straight. (Actually, that’s probably because I was on a cheese and pickle high.) Ezra continued to stuff everyones face as he lovingly heckled not only us, but allllll the customers. We made friends with everyone around us including Brita in the orange sweatshirt who was, like my friend Jocelyn- a “virgin” first-timer to Koch’s:

In case you don’t know this, I can eat. (Review above videos and nearly every post I write.) I’m not afraid of some food and a 5 mile run after to work it all off, but my god I ate more food standing in line at Koch’s than I eat at Thanksgiving sometimes! I had about 62 kinds of cheese, 342 pickles and I’m sure equal amounts of meat. Ezra was scolding me to “eat, eat, eat!”- so I threw vegetarian life to the wind and went in head first in a carnivore-fest. I tried pastrami types and random beef something or other. Meats I would never ever usually touch, have never eaten before, or haven’t tried in 10 years. It was out of control and I was in the moment going all the way. At Koch’s there’s something in the air that makes you want to scream NIKE!- and just do it. So I did. The overall vibe and scene in this place is a come, eat, laugh, and whoop it up. You can’t be shy here. I love that. It’s very clear by the hundreds of photos and notes covering the walls that lots of others love it too:

Koch's Deli: West Philadelphia

Koch's Deli: West Philadelphia

Koch's Deli: West Philadelphia

I finally got myself organized from the sensory overload, to order my hoagie: Honey turkey, onion-cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, sweet peppers and oil and vinegar:

Koch's Deli hoagie

Did Ezra slice it right there and make me try with yet another pickle? You bet he did!

Chowtime at Koch's

Then he gave me a smooch:

Ezra smooching Diane at Koch's Deli

…and I gave him a blue lollipop:

Diane and Ezra at Koch's Deli

Of course I left blue lollies for the other staff too. Barbie (who actually was the one who made my sandwich) and Bryce who was slicing and dicing behind the counter. When Bryce heard I was driving a Honda he grinned, piped up and said excitedly: “Hey! My first car was a 1991 Accord and it had 300,000 miles on it!” Meet Bryce, fellow Honda fan:

Bryce at Koch's Deli

After meeting the whole staff, talking to the regulars, and eating what seemed like ten thousand samples of meats and cheeses, we collected our sandwiches, said our goodbye’s and out the door for a wrap up video. You guessed it, the surprises were not over:

Oh Koch’s- I will so be back! You might go down in history as my most favorite sandwich experience ever. Thank you Ezra, Barbie and Bryce for such a great afternoon.

Stuffed beyond stuffed, we were off to Camden, NJ to hit the Honda Civic Tour at the Susquehanna Bank Center:

Outside the Susquehanna Bank Center

Diane and Blue Lollipop Road  at Honda Civic Tour

Naturally I wanted to check out all the Honda stuff, so we wandered to where the Civic Si Coupe giveaway was. (Custom designed by the guys of Blink 182):

Diane and Blue Lollipop Road  at Honda Civic Tour

Did I sign up to win it? Heck yeah! Then I got tattooed up for the night:

As we wandered the masses before the show started, I spotted this little rocker dude and had to ask his mom if I could take a picture. Meet Ricky:

The Ricky The Rocker

How adorable is he trying to be all tough with his mohawk?!

We found our seats and the show was about to begin:

Opening act Matt & Kim came on and got the crowd riled up:

Matt & Kim at Honda Civic Tour

They were hilarious! A sassy duo you would totally want to hang with and get into a little trouble. There couldn’t have been a better opener leading up to the show, starting with My Chemical Romance:

My Chemical Romance at the Honda Civic Tour show

This show was my first time hearing much of these guys. They were awesome, the crowd loved them, and was excited to find another band to be a fan of! Blink 182 still had my heart though:

(Crush time!) Yep, I am still carrying a crush I had over 10 years ago that started after seeing them at a music festival in Upstate, NY. I picked an old-school song of course, to go with my old-school crush.

The amphitheater was packed and the crowd was on their feet and just going nuts the whole show. (We were too!) It was SO MUCH FUN. Being there made me feel like I wanted to be a rock star and wonder why I don’t go to more concerts. Thanks Honda! The guys announced on stage that this was the biggest show crowd on the whole tour and I got to be there thanks to you- yeah!

What’s the best surprise after jumping around all night screaming and singing with thousands of strangers and being exhausted as you sit bumper to bumper trying to get out of an after-concert parking lot? Koch’s Deli leftovers to nosh on! Mmmm…midnight snack. We were so glad we had those. What a day. Talk about going to bed full, exhausted and smiling…

Tomorrow I head to NYC to be close to the ferry for my final day Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty tour!

***Total miles driven today, day 16: 53

***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 2,661

***Total blue lollipops gifted/left behind since trip start (9/2/11): 25


day 15: richmond va, to philadelphia

Driving, driving and more driving- so hello from the car:

Traffic really was a bear.

I’m not joking when I speak of these dance parties I have in the car and belting out tunes. So? I just kept the camera rolling:

Yep, I realize I’m never going to live this one down. My Mother will crack up about my comment on the aerobics (because it’s true.) I certainly didn’t plan on posting this one, but? Ever have those moments when you really want to do something but you get all shy? Then you think- what the heck, just press send you chicken! How embarrassing could it possibly be?

Well, there you have it.

I might just get DORK tattooed across my forehead.

Hello Philly! Let’s go have some more music fun and make fools of ourselves shall we?

Blink 183- I totally crush on you!

***Total miles driven today, day 15: 279

***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 2,608

***Total blue lollipops gifted/left behind since trip start (9/2/11): 22


day 14: nags head, to stumpy point bay, to columbia, to fairfield, to swan quarter, nc to richmond, va

Yes, that many places in one day and then some. This is where I will ask you to get out a map to follow this story.

No really, go grab a NC map- you are going to need it!

During yesterday, day 13 around OBX and after hearing there were going to be issues with getting to Cape Hatteras with road closures, rearranged ferry’s and ferry schedules, I started asking and calling and calling and asking. Yep, the 800 numbers, locals, staff at various business and visitors centers, even police officers- you name it, I asked and tried and tried and asked, determined to make it to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. As you will hear in the following videos and see in the photos- I didn’t make it, but I did meet some southern sweeties and had quite the drive through the back roads of NC.

I was told/given several stories before I began my attempt to make it on a ferry. Everyone had good intention and really thought they were giving me the right information, but turns out no one really knew what was going on and I didn’t find out the actual deal until I went allllll the way to the end of the line to learn Cape Hatteras was not in my cards this go around. What a wild good chase!

(Ok, now unfold that NC map.)

I left from Nags Head and drove through Manns Harbor to Stumpy Point Bay to catch the ferry I’d been advised to try. (For all of you who are not familiar, normal practice to get to Hatteras is to simply drive from Nags Head on route 12. That route is currently closed, so the reason this fun debacle began.) I was met by a police officer in Stumpy Point Bay next to a “road closed” sign. The officer broke the news that only locals and supplies could be sent on that ferry. He advised me to go to Swan Quarter, so back up the road I went to Manns Harbor, then to Columbia. I headed south from Columbia, through the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge to Fairfield:

Fairfield, NC

…then into Swan Quarter:

Swan Quarter, NC

Loaned BLR-Mobile at Swan Quarter Ferry sign, NC

…where I pulled over to park and learn after all that calling, asking, and driving, my plan was not going to work:

Swan Quarter, NC Ferry coming in

The good thing is, met and ended up spending the next 2 hours with incredibly warm and funny Swan Quarter Ferry staff:

Mitchell, Wayne, and Glenda fed me coffee, encouraged me to sit and stay as long as I wanted, gave me a desk so I could charge my camera battery (no WIFI at that little building) and treated me like I was part of the family. From my videos it’s plain to see that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these fine folks. Here I am with Ferry Station Manager Mitchell:

Diane Peacock and Ferry Manager Mitchell: Swan Quarter NC

What a trip it was to hang out with these people, what a run around, and what a bummer in the end that I wasn’t able to make it to Cape Hatteras. Then again, it’s the journey- not the destination, right?

A huge thanks to All the staff at Swan Quarter Ferry. I am so coming back to see you all!

North I headed, deciding to take back roads on my way to I-95. (Why not keep going with the theme of the day right?) I passed cotton fields:

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid on back road in NC

On back roads in NC

…and roads that really felt like they just my stop at the end of the earth, so I thought it was funny that I passed this sign:

On back roads in NC

By the time I reached VA, I needed a big ol’ shower and sleep and that’s just what I did.

Now? Off to Philly with my gifted tickets to the Honda Civic Tour concert this weekend (Thanks Honda!)- and to wrap up the last couple days of this trip.

Making it to all three of the top voted spots from the Honda Facebook page? Sigh. Well, I made it to Kitty Hawk, tried very hard but obviously didn’t quite make it to Cape Hatteras, but I’m determined to make it to the top-voted Statue of Liberty before returning my awesome loaned Civic Hybrid on Monday, so stay tuned!

Here’s to being reminded we it’s impossible to compete with Mother Natures plan, expecting the unexpected, and getting a big fat “E” for effort!

***Total miles driven today, day 14: 244

***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 2,329

***Total blue lollipops gifted/left behind since trip start (9/2/11): 21