The On A Dime Gang Rides Again

The On A Dime Gang rides again? Well, maybe not but I liked the sound of that title so we’re sticking with it. Today, after a couple of readers wondered who made up the motley crew that is On A Dime, I thought I’d give a little transparent (embellished) overview so here we go.

View the direction of Shasta
Teri PCT at Shasta

In Los Angeles – Teri (me) is an ornithologist with a penchant for churning her own butter…. right. I had to look up ornithologist and as for butter, yep, I eat the real deal, salted and straight from Trader Joes.

We’ll start again but, warning, it’s not going to be as fun as an ornithologist.

I (Teri) am an overachieving underachiever  and truly have only come to embrace my “jack of all trades, master of none” psyche in the past year. What this means is that I know where I should be in my life, according to the world at large. I should be a teacher or a nurse or a therapist or a financial analyst (ok, THAT one is hilarious from someone who took 3 attempts to pass Algebra!). Anyway, I finally came to the conclusion that I have zero interest in any of those things and that left me with a tiny amount of what it is that does float my boat. A book, a story, a trail, and a tiny house. In short, I stumbled into a life I am falling in love with by failing miserably at a lot of endeavors I thought made sense and damned if the failing didn’t turn out to be incredible luck. I  found myself looking around and seeing people in my world that were not excited about going to work and not enthusiastic about life, rather they were plagued by physical ailments, emotional baggage, and financial sport (the constant state of coveting more).

So, what prompted On A Dime, which I launched in Feb. 2014 – isn’t “launched” a great word, like we had a marching band and speech by Louis C.K. – sorry, what prompted the site was that the people I came to envy and wanted to be like were the people seeking peace, tranquility, and answers on the road or on the trail. The kind of people  sleeping in tents in the woods. I launched 😉 the site and simultaneously accepted and embraced the fact that I make very little money and I committed to funding the travel by purchasing my clothing strictly used and from thrift stores, practicing minimalism, and eschewing expensive pastimes. I believe that people look just as amazing in hand-me-downs as designer clothes and that stunningly beautiful feelings create stunningly beautiful individuals.

Finally, I now am lucky to know that the best part of On A Dime is when readers share their favorite cost-friendly places and when I hear that someone ventured out and discovered the great outdoors. While I wish it had not taken me 40 years to go adventuring, I am grateful that I found the trail when I did. Better late than never!

And now for the other cast of characters which I will keep a little shorter as they are all overachievers so their bios require less fancy footwork. 😉

Scott & Teri PCH
Scott & Teri Pacific Coast Highway

In Oklahoma – “My Guy” (Scott McEwen) – The reason I refer to him most often as “my guy” is because he is a pretty humble guy and I think he enjoys remaining out of the spotlight, however, he is most certainly the tech half of the team and, as an air traffic control FAA Academy supervisor, On A Dime is in adept hands which allows us to fly high.

The Motley Crew consists of:

Stunning scenery
Andy Bonura in Yosemite

Andy Bonura – My cousin Andy (aka the beard), a wildly talented free-lance photographer/editor, can be difficult to locate as he divides his time between his new home with his even more adventurous mountain biking partner, Carolyn in Colorado and their journeys into the mountains to tear it up. He’s climbed Mt. Whitney too many times to count and run a 50 mile race in New Zealand as well as traversed the backcountry all over Yosemite. His bottomless optimism counters any whiners (cough, cough) and the crew is grateful when he is leading.

17 miles of stunning scenery
Lani 17 miles of stunning scenery

Lani Smith – We’ll keep Lani’s story short as she is not even aware she’s about to be outed. She’s an extraordinary cook of exotic fare and a true free spirit. When she’s not sussing out the latest musical talent in her backyard of Topanga Canyon she can be found rolling into Teri’s car, no questions asked. She simply tosses her pack on her back, grabs some of Portland’s VooDoo Donuts, and starts trekking; she proves invaluable with her super ability to sniff out the best diners as well as annoying with her ability to sniff out the most arduous hikes.

On A Dime Kids:

Lex & Jules
Lexie & Jules

Lexie, a former teacher in France and current curatorial administrator for Los Angeles County Museum Of Art is a Los Angeles resident and an expert on couchsurfing. She has traveled extensively both in the US and abroad and never lets cost derail her. She meets fascinating people all over the world and believes that avoiding the tour-group comfort zone of fellow travelers from your own back yard is the truest way to experience another culture. Her article on Couchsurfing for On A Dime is still one of our most popular posts and almost as welcome an addition as her new Dutch partner Jules, an enthusiastic trekker who has biked all of Italy’s peaks and visited more countries than can be counted on two hands. Lexie and Jules met when they struck up a conversation on a train in Europe, not a surprise, and it’s certain that their future journeys will continue to be filled with the unexpected.


Maddie is a college student in Lake Tahoe, CA as well as both a backcountry Yosemite guide (summer) and snowboard instructor (winter). She is currently pursuing her EMT so if you are hurt in the wilderness, she just might save your bacon but don’t count on her saving you any bacon.

Stop off at Lone Pine Lake right before entering the Mount Whitney permit zone
Waverly at the stop off at Lone Pine Lake right before entering the Mount Whitney permit zone

Waverly is a biology major at San Luis Obispo, CA and enjoys backpacking, surfing, and snowboarding. She blew this mom away when she saved all of her money for an entire year, working three jobs, and went trekking all over Europe, through seven countries in seven weeks. She camped, stayed in hostels, and couchsurfed, a true On A Dime kid.

Mom:Noah 2
Noah Horseshoe Meadows

Noah is a high school junior and while he is not a passionate hiker, he absolutely jumps when he hears of a camping trip, especially one where his camera can be positioned to capture stars or he believes there is a possibility of tarantulas and rattlesnakes. His cunning during a horrendous lightning storm on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon was appreciated by his brave (hysterical) mom.

Hammock time
Bree & Amanda Hammock time

There are many other On A Dime joiners (sometimes victims) and I’d be remiss in not giving them a shout-out so… Bree and Amanda, your cooking and cleaning skills for the old fogies will continue to be appreciated so long as you also continue to not make us feel lame when we (we would be me) are lame and whine for Epsom salts.

And to you, the adventurers out there who have joined the On A Dime community and inspired us, I cannot thank you enough! You have brought excitement and joy to our trail and we feel it. Keep on trekking and rock on and please share with us your stories, we love hearing them!!

Feel free to “like”/share to Facebook. Grateful. <3

2 thoughts on “The On A Dime Gang Rides Again”

  1. Hey ! You all rock!! I live to and LOVE to travel ; it is merely my constant dream and desire. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts and taking note of all the places I could include in my travels. Just wanted to share my love and appreciation. Thank you so much, HappYTraiLs!!

    1. Sienna, YOU rock and we are so grateful to hear from you! Please consider sharing any great gems you discover while traveling as we LOVE to add fellow travelers’ wisdom. Thanks for making my day and keep in touch! ~Teri

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