Flaming Gorge and Dinosaurs

This is our friend J.shawn.
He’s not flaming or a gorge….I guess you can say he is almost a dinosaur since he just turned the ripe old age of 32.

DSC03716Nope. He’s the reason Rhonda was able to get her ass back on the road for a sweet trip to Wyoming for some camping and road tripping to the northern part of Flaming Gorge.

As they say for every life there is a death. And actually this particular weekend there were about 132 deaths as countless of suicidal bunny rabbits kept jolting in front of Rhonda on the way to the Gorge.

But we weren’t going to let the deaths of countless cute, innocent, fluffy tailed rabbits stop the fun. Just kidding, I don’t think Rhonda actually hit any…but it’s no exaggeration when we say there is an epidemic of suicidal bunnies in southern Wyoming.

Great water sports, wake boarding, sunset cruise dancing….the flaming gorge was a great time! And late September was perfect because with campgrounds officially closed there were very little people.

The fun at the Flaming Gorge couldn’t last forever so Rhonda hopped (sick sense of humor) on south 191 to Vernal and the National Dinosaur Monument.

It’s an understatement to say that place was way cool.

Despite it being a tad pain in the arse to actually get to, the museum itself was sweet. Whoever says they wouldn’t want to see hundred million year old dinosaur fossils on the side of the mountain is a liar! I’ll tell them to their face!

 

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Idaho+ Beer + Hitchhiking = Very Good Times

So, Rhonda chills most of the winter and when the weather warms up she is usually chomping at the bit to stretch her legs. What better place to take her than the Mountain Brewers Beer Fest in Idaho Falls, Idaho?
The first weekend in June brings over 80 breweries and more than 600 different beers to pretty little Idaho Falls. And, by drinking all day we are doing a good deed as all proceeds from the event go to local charities.
We are selfless heroes!

So, we packed up Rhonda, added our friends Erica and Adam, and headed north.

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We figured a beer festival would bring about good times but we couldn’t have imagined how many we could fit in to a 48 hour period.

It started with an overnight stay on Friday at a random park 15 minutes from where the festival would be held. Our parking spot had a view of the Snake River. So, we cooked fajitas, began drinking Bud Light and then the Meth-heads came out. We had read in a review online that there were some shady characters in this park at night, and so when numerous cars and an RV began rolling in at around 11pm we prepared for some Meth-head action.

We peeked through Rhonda’s blinds, but all we could make out were a couple families probably doing the same thing we were doing.  No meth-head action on this trip.  Oh well, maybe next time.

The next day we headed to the beer festival and it certainly did not disappoint.
There were plenty of pretzel necklaces around the necks of old perverts, tons of dancing, and of course, all the beer you could drink.

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When the day ended we realized we had no way of getting back to where Rhonda was parked.  So we did what any sane person would do.  Hop in the back of a moving pickup truck and hope it was heading the correct direction.

What a great call.  This dude not only took us back to our parking spot, but he actually gave us a little tour of downtown Idaho Falls along the way.

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After some tailgating in the local motel parking lot, we called it a night and headed home the next day.  Hoping there’s some more Beer Festivals in our future.

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Is Age Just a Number???

Well, it has been almost a full ski season living in Park City, Utah. Almost 5 months to be exact. Figured we would love living in Park City, but didn’t realize how much it made me realize that age is simply a number. When I arrived for my first day of training as a snowboard instructor I literally could have fathered 3 of the other instructors (I didn’t by the way). Hell, I was 4 years older than the lead trainer. Definitely felt weird. Was I too old to be hanging with these people, er, kids? But as the season went on I realized it doesn’t matter how old you are in this town. As long as you are down to live life full of energy and with a smile on your face, age is irrelevant.
Probably should have realized this once I met my landlord Bob. Bob is in his 60’s and hasn’t missed a day of skiing in four years. So, it’s not only the young’ins who make you feel, well, young.
And yes, I have no kids to feed so I am able to work a job paying $10/hr plus tips. And yes, my back certainly hurts more than the 21 year old Argentinian dude I befriended. And yes, I am a little slower to recover after a night of drinking. But, no matter where I live or what life throws at me it is comforting to know age is just a number. It truly is your attitude and the people you surround yourself with that make you feel either old or young. High energy or low energy. Happy or depressed.

Thanks to Park City for making me realize this.

apres ski 1

apres ski 2

cramer and bro piggy back

pond skimming 1

pond skimming 2

Rating Our Friends: Part Deux

And now, for what has been long overdue, here is our second installment of making fun of our friends after their selfless hospitality. In all honesty, our travels could not have been the same without the following individuals.

Stu and Erica Michie
Kids: Monte and Asterid
Seattle, Washington

Why Rhonda Will Be Returning:
Their son is named after Monte Coleman (the greatest linebacker in Redskins history)
Greatest fajitas on earth
Best sushi recommendation
MVC: Most Valuable Couch
Kids are super funny

Room for Improvement:
Fire alarms going off for no apparent reason
You may get cut if you beat Monte at Bey Blades
Basement so warm and cozy it made it difficult to venture out to explore Seattle (when the weather was gorgeous no less)

It was tough to find areas of improvement for the Michie clan. Great hosts, endless cable channels, cute kids, and fajitas we still dream about…Forget the Space needle, the Michie house is the place to be.

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Zach and Tori Allera
Kids: TBD
Pets: None
San Francisco, CA

Why Rhonda Will Be Returning:
Will not hesitate to take the Rhonda reigns during a desperate situation (to be addressed in a later blog post)
Exceptional air mattress accommodations
Tori is a good dumper
Amazing frozen pizzas!

Room for Improvement:
Live in a neighborhood that doesn’t appreciate an RV parked for a week straight
No egg drop soup at local Chinese restaurants
Zach and Toris’ sense of responsibility (their work schedules interrupted quality time w Brett and Vanessa)

It’s difficult to not want to stay with the Allera’s FOR-EV-ER. They are a ton of fun to hang with and they shouldn’t be surprised if we somehow unexpectedly show up on their doorstep.

The amazing Golden Gate Bridge.
The amazing Golden Gate Bridge.

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Aaron and Krista Moatz
Kids: Nate and Miles
Pets: None
San Fransisco, CA

Why Rhonda Will Be Returning:
Greatest trick or treating streets in all of the land
Comfy ass couches
Life Cereal (Brett had not eaten that in a long time)
Most compassionate 3 year old on the planet
Great beer selection

Room for Improvement:
Real house under renovation so had to sleep in a rental
Forced to use our own blankets

These two hardworking and fun people are so nice and accommodating that it’s easy to start the planning for our next trip to the Moatz house.

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Leron Baum
Kids: Not that he knows of
Pets: None
Park City, UT (The West Gate at the Canyons Resort)

Why Rhonda Decided to Stay:
Nonstop shuttle service makes you feel like a freaking movie star with a private car.
3 different pools including a relaxation pool with a phenomenal water fall
The Wire Season 1
Amazing views

Room for Improvement:
Can’t comfortably sleep on couches for fear of throw-up
No ESPN2 or AMC
Crappy, crappy internet connection
Nonexistent recycling program

Downtown Leroy Baum outdid himself by letting our homeless asses crash at his place at The Westgate.
He was also the reason we came to Park City because he put the idea in our heads. If you can work a trip to Park City, you must crash at the Westgate.

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Whoever Says That Skiing is Like Riding a Bike, Please Stand Up So I Can Punch You in the Throat!

By Vanessa

Well, as uncool as I was trying to live by the water, I know it might shock you to know that I’m just as uncool trying to be a ski bum.

Skiing

I consider myself a pretty athletic person. But after spending my first couple of hours on the mountain flying out of my skis with a face full of snot, I’ve realized that being a ski bum for the season might not be as simple as I originally thought.

Brett, on the other hand, does look pretty cool snowboarding.

V and B

I’m not sure where I got the idea that skiing is just like riding a bike. But I’d like to politely tell that person to f@$k off. Ha! After a long while of not stepping foot into skis, I was rudely awakened by the fact that I am a shitty, shitty skier!

I have my work cut out for me and I’ve never been afraid of a little hard work. At least I have a full ski season ahead to practice. So I guess until then, just continue to pray that my health insurance covers the possibility of multiple broken bones. I’m joking….kind of…..

No I’m not kidding! Please pray for me;)

Don’t Judge A Utah By Its Cover

Utah: I judged you. I was wrong and I say I’m wrong.

I have never spent any real time in Utah. I generalized it as a highly religious state with no booze to be had.

Not sure why I had these preconceived notions. Maybe it’s because every time I told someone about moving to Park City their first reaction is: “why the hell would you do that, you can’t drink in Utah.”

Well, I’m here to say Utahians (???) are not as uptight as I was lead to believe.

So. Many. Breweries. You can drink in Utah. And I intend to try every single one of them. Vanessa:1 Prohibition: 0

Naked Women! I actually saw a billboard for a strip club as we were driving to Salt Lake. Young women in Utah also have the same opportunities to ‘pay their way through college’ as those in other states.

Another thing exists in Utah that I had no freaking clue about. Salt deserts!! Amazingly beautiful, we drove through miles and miles of white, snowlike fields.

What else was surprising about Utah? Always thought Utahians were probably pretty mellow. Well, Brett joined a basketball league here and at his first game there was almost a fight on the court and the benches cleared. Utah is tough!

And did you know it snows in Utah???? Crazy, right? Ok, we knew it snowed, but we didn’t have any pictures to put in and since the four people who actually read this blog probably only look at the pictures anyways we figured we better sneak one in.

Holy crap. It snows in Utah!
Holy crap. It snows in Utah!

I’m sure there will be other surprising revelations too.
Utah…what a state!

Sweet, sweet Utah
Sweet, sweet Utah

Putting It In Park in Park City: An Open Letter to Rhonda from Brett and Vanessa

Rhonda, can you believe it has already been four months on the road? Thank you so, so, so much for putting up with us!!

Thanks for muscling through the recent 12 hour nonstop drive from San Francisco to Park City, Utah. You handled it like a champ, like we knew you would! Now in Park City, I bet you are wondering why we’ve stayed here for so long. Usually we don’t last in one location for more than a day or two before we head to our next adventure.

Well, you will probably be relieved to know that you will be able to take a longer than usual rest: six month rest that is. Yup, we’ve decided to put it in park for the winter season in Park City. We have jobs and in a few days will have an apartment.

And you deserve the rest. We have so much to thank you for:

… the ungodly altitude climbs:

Altitude Sickness Anyone?
Altitude Sickness Anyone?

…the random boondock spots. Some were amazing:

Now THIS is a beautiful boondock!
Now THIS is a beautiful boondock!
While others were questionable:
Yikes.
Yikes.

…the endless meals that couldn’t have been possible without you:

Homemade Pot Pies
Homemade Pot Pies

…taking us to some of the most beautiful sites we have ever seen:

The amazing Golden Gate Bridge.
The amazing Golden Gate Bridge.

Thanks for just letting us hang out and be silly.

Teach me how to Snuggie?
Teach me how to Snuggie?

We’ve collected a lot of bumper stickers along the way.

Nice collection on your backside!
Nice collection on your backside!
And the adventure WILL begin again. Until then, here’s to all of us surviving the snow!

Receding Glaciers…And Hairlines

We traveled all through Canada and one of our favorite places was something called the Columbia Icefield Parkway. It begins at beautiful Lake Louise and ends in Jasper, Alberta. There are a number of huge glaciers on the way. The biggest is called the Athabasca Glacier.

The glacier is absolutely beautiful, but unfortunately it will not be around too much longer.

Athabasca Glacier-2013
Athabasca Glacier-2013

You see, the glacier is receding about 7-10 feet per year. As we walked towards it, there are posts in the ground that show where the glacier used to extend to.

In 1942 it was here. Everywhere you see dirt is where the glacier used to extend to. The snow way in the background is where the glacier extends to today.

Athabasca Glacier-1942
Athabasca Glacier-1942

As we walked by the posts that showed how far the glacier had receded we couldn’t help but think of other things that recede over time. The first thing that popped into my head was my brother Adam’s hairline. If anything was receding faster than this glacier, it was his hair.

In 1982, the glacier had begun receding but Adam’s hair was full of life.

1982-Receding Glacier,, Happy Hair
1982-Receding Glacier,, Happy Hair
1982-Receding Glacier and Happy Hair
1982-Receding Glacier and Happy Hair

By 1992 the glacier was further receded and Adam’s hair was just beginning to show signs despite a raging mullet.
1992 glacier

1992 Receding Mullet
1992 Receding Mullet

As the years went on things only got worse for both glacier and poor Adam.

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glacier now

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Uh oh, there's less ice and hair!!!
Uh oh, there’s less ice and hair!!!

Can’t blame global warming for Adam’s problems. It’s a sad state of affairs for both the Athabasca Glacier and his thinning hairline. The only thing we can do is appreciate all the time we have with these precious natural resources until inevitably, both disappear forever.

uh....
uh….

Home is where the heart is…We think

Being on the road for four months you spend more time on the phone with your family then you ever did before. It seems they are more interested in what you are doing now that you are living in an RV and traveling through North America. I guess it makes sense.

However, talking on the phone or face-timing is not the same as a face to face visit. That is why we decided to take a break from our travels and fly from San Francisco back to DC. We left Rhonda in good hands with Zach and Tori Allera in San Francisco and headed back.

It was well worth it. We got great home cooked meals from my mom, heated conversations about the Richie Incognito bullying case, and got to play with the new dog when he wasn’t napping.

"Let me sleep in peace."
“Let me sleep in peace.”

Yet there is something even more fun to do. Vanessa and I love playing with our nieces and nephews. We are always very gentle with them and deeply concerned about their safety.

headlock on kids
When my niece mistakenly whacked my nephew with a broom while trying to whack me, it was all in the spirit of fun and games. And when my nephews needed to be carried back to their car after a flag football game I was there to help.

"Quit whining and get in the damn car."
“Quit whining and get in the damn car.”
"Come here buddy.  I won't hurt you."
“Come here buddy. I won’t hurt you.”

Vanessa and I are actually pretty lucky. Some people would probably dread coming back home to hang with their parents and siblings, but it’s actually very entertaining and always a good time.

So, it seems home is where the heart is.

Well, Now We Know Who The Real Dipstick Is….

Oil is like water for Rhonda. She craves it. It’s essential for her survival.

Brett realizes this and obsessively checks the oil dipstick. No really, CONSTANTLY. It’s actually really cute. We get the oil changed every 3,000 miles no matter where we are or what the time constraints may be.

So imagine the look on poor Brett’s face during this exchange while getting the oil changed in Medford, Oregon:

Mechanic: Wow, you are really low on oil sir.

Brett: That can’t be, I check it all the time. Why are you checking the oil on the wrong side of Rhonda’s hood?

Mechanic: I’m checking the oil, you were checking the transmission fluid.

UM, SHIT

And that ladies and gentleman is how we once and for all discovered who the real dipstick is….