Archive for the ‘State Parks’ Category

The business plan….

As a serial entrepreneur, I understand the importance of a business plan and why you need a path to follow…..that being said.

Cathy Herman Design which morphed into Ms. Print Printing Center, Inc. was a start up business that I owned and sold while living in Pittsburgh. I learned that working hard enough to be successful, listening and taking good advice from solid mentors, keeping your eye on the balance sheet, doing work you love and paying attention to customers needs are all part of a good business plan.

American Woman Promotions is the name of the dream, putting the name to paper and filing all necessary paperwork with the state and local government is the path to making the dream a reality, done. is up and running.

Website registration, creation, shopping cart, twitter, facebook, google+, LinkedIn, logos, business cards, giveaways, new printer, wifi, connections with vendors, tradeshows, cash flow, cash flow, cash, flow.  I have learned that taking one day at a time, one thing at a time and doing it correctly, in the moment, is the way to wade through countless projects and hone them down to size.

With any new business cash flow is king, of course in the beginning the cash usually flows in an outward direction. Social marketing is one of the things you can do successfully on a budget, there are tons of resources on line to learn the newest tips and sites and I am taking advantage of not having a TV to learn them at night.

Although it takes time to plan correctly, most systems will be in place for years and the upfront work will payout tenfold down the road.  Experience from working with slapped together procedures has taught me an old lesson, measure twice, cut once.



My first post in three weeks. My life has taken some fun and unexpected turns. I got a job at Ft. Stevens State Park as a Host. My duties include keeping the new cabins clean in change for a free spot for my RV in one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Ft. Stevens is situated at the mouth of the Columbia River where it empties into the Pacific. Ft. Stevens Military Reservation guarded the mouth of the Columbia River from the Civil War through World War II.  5 miles of hiking trails and 7 miles of bike path through forests and dune grass opening to the Pacific on one side and the Columbia River on the other. The name of this blog “offthegridwithcathyherman” will still be appropriate as the Host position only lasts 3 months at a time, my next assignment is at Nehalem Bay State Park near Manzanita (I know, tough duty).

The most important lesson I took away from my road trip was my ability to adapt to life as it unfurled in front of me, all while enjoying the ride.

The other decision I made was to start my own business. American Woman Promotions. Travel with me as I start a small business in America, selling promotional products made in America to promote American companies and events.

The transition from travel and adventure to entrepreneurship is full of comparisons.  Facing new situations daily, making decisions on which direction to travel, navigating road blocks and government red tape, tracking expenditures and planning for the unexpected. The joy of launching a new business is terrifying, taking the leap of faith in yourself and your abilities. The same terrifying joy I felt when I hit the road last March and started this blog.


Squirrel Attack

Getting up in the morning, I noticed the roof of the car was left open.  Opening the door and sitting down to start the car to close the roof really scared the dickens out of the squirrel sitting in my backseat enjoying a delicious organic d’anjou pear.  He scrambled up over the head rest and out the way he came in, scaring the dickens out of me!

All I had left of the encounter were some footprints on my car and chewed pear bits and hunks.  The attack occurred on the poor pears, it could have been worse….

Stub Stewart State Park

Back in Oregon and spending some time relaxing at Stub Stewart.
Stub Stewart State Park is Oregonians’ newest backyard playground. Opened in 2007, the 1,650 acre park is the first full-fledged state park to be built since 1972.
15 miles of trails wind through the park, the park is known for its miles of dedicated horse trails. Home to one of the best horse camps in the northwest.

We are moving from Stub Stewart to the Tualatin River this week. Keep tuned for details.


On the Road Again

I love to drive.  The rhythm of the tires on the road, changing vistas and the sound of the wind with the windows down.

Driving across America on I-90 takes you through Ohio toward Chicago.  I stopped about an hour east of Chicago in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and tented at the State Park, a bargain at $17.50 per night.  The park was beautiful and clean and just a stones throw from the sand dunes created by Lake Michigan.

Indiana Dunes has several beautiful hikes that overlook Lake Michigan and the sand dunes.  Trail 10 is rated one of the best hikes in America.  Unfortunately, I twisted my ankle on an apple, go figure, before I left and had to settle for the 2 mile trail.  The trails are sand so wear appropriate footwear if you decide to try the hikes.

There is a beautiful beach along Lake Michigan.  Edgar was not welcome on the beach.





San Diego is Dog Friendly

Edgar and I traveled down to San Diego after watching my niece graduate from Scripps – way to go Victoria!

We made our way to Ocean Beach, one of several dog friendly beaches in San Diego.  We met Wilson.  Wilson is a giant, 190 lb., Dane/Mastiff who is a therapy dog and a Canine Good Citizen.  Edgar, only about the size of his head, loved him.

Edgar was also allowed to walk with me in Old Town San Diego and the Westfield Shopping Center in Downtown San Diego had a doggie drop off area.

Edgar gives San Diego two thumbs up!


Action Whitewater Adventures

To say I had fun would be an understatement, but let’s start at the beginning.  Since I have limited access to e-mail and none to phone, I did not get the 4 extra e-mails sent to me by Chris, the owner of AWA.  I happily showed up at the original meeting time and place.  I got to observe as Chris and his crew were readying supplies for our trip down the American River.

We were the first run of the season and it takes a lot of gear and preparation to get 14 people down to the river, loaded onto rafts with all proper safety and rafting equipment.  We each wore a wet suit, a splash jacket, life jacket and  helmet.  AWA was also moving into its new home on Route 49 just North of Marshall Gold Discovery Park.

I followed Chris to the new location and met my fellow rafters and our guides.

We got a lesson in paddling and commands from Josh and were loaded into rafts.  Josh and nine guests in one raft and me and 3 guides in the other 🙂  The river was running cold, high, and fast. Our raft was responsible for the safety of the guests in the other raft and to give the crew a shakedown on the river.

If you have not rafted the American River you must come immediately to California and “just do it”.  This is a fast river with some big rapids.  The trip combines the river’s natural beauty, rich historical background, and exhilarating rapids into one great whitewater experience.  I felt completely at ease as Eric, Diane and Lindsay took turns guiding us down the river.

You can raft the American with 30 different companies, Action Whitewater Adventures is a family company, and the owner, Chris, has been rafting this river since he was 14.   Chris and his guides are comfortable taking your 8 year old or 80 year old down the river safely.  Check out the website and make your reservations.

I had an absolutely wonderful, thrilling, wet, fun ride!!

Edgar spent a fun day at Dog-Woods Resort and was well taken care of by Theresa,  I picked him up and he was dirty and, I swear, smiling.  We both had a great day!


Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

In 1848, thousands of gold seekers flocked to the area following the discovery of James Marshall’s famed gold nugget in the river in the tailrace of a sawmill that Marshall and his crew were building for land baron John Sutter.

Within months, Coloma’s population had swelled to 10,000.  Eventually, most of the goldseekers moved on, but the mystique of gold will forever define the area.  Every year, thousands of fourth graders visit the park as part of their history appreciation curriculum.

There are interpretive paths, historic buildings and a museum.  Park volunteers often demonstrate Gold-Rush-era crafts and trades including gold panning and blacksmithing.

The Gold Discovery Museum is a beautifully remodeled diorama depicting the gold discovery that instigated the California Gold Rush.  The outdoor exhibits include a Mineral and Assay Office, Chinese store, Sutter’s mill replica, along with Beakert’s Gun Shop where for $7.00 you can pan for gold and find your fortune.


Avenue of the Giants

Humboldt Redwoods State Park encompasses 53,000 acres of forests, meadows, and watersheds and about 100 miles of hiking, biking, and riding trails.  17,000 acres consists of old-growth coast redwood forests.
The 32-mile Avenue of the Giants parallels 101 and winds its way through the Park.  This road was originally build as a stagecoach and wagon road in the 1880’s.
I was actually brought to tears driving through this majestic place.  Did I get out and hug a tree?  You  betcha!  Some of these old redwoods were alive when the Magna Carta was signed.
About  3/4 through the 32 miles we stopped in Myers Flat at the Daily Grind for a Chai Latte.  Civilization is never too far away in America.


Bandon to Harris Beach State Park

A few miles south of Bandon is the West Coast Game Park Safari. I got to pet a Caracal which is an African Desert Lynx.   The park is totally self-supporting and is dedicated to propagation, preservation and education, while reminding all that extinction lasts forever.  Well worth the $16.00 adult admission.
It took several hours to drive from Bandon to Harris Beach State Park because I stopped at each viewpoint, one more beautiful than the next.  Arch Rock, Rainbow Rock and House Rock to name a few.
We pulled into Harris Beach around 3:00 and it actually stopped raining long enough to set up the tent and make a hot dinner.
There is a chipmunk visiting me he decided to come into the tent and steal Edgar’s food.   Edgar is looking at him like “what the hell” he is not quite sure what to do and is reluctant to get out of bed to chase it.  Edgar believes in sharing.
I need to get the camera ready, missed the chipmunk, raccoon and 3 deer who came into camp.