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.
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
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.
Zach and Tori Allera
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.
Aaron and Krista Moatz
Kids: Nate and Miles
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.
Kids: Not that he knows of
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
By 1992 the glacier was further receded and Adam’s hair was just beginning to show signs despite a raging mullet.
As the years went on things only got worse for both glacier and poor Adam.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ever thought you’ve had ghosts in your house? Something you placed on your counter at night is mysteriously on a different table in the morning? Weird sounds coming from the basement? Old hands touching you under the covers while you sleep? (Ok, that’s a little over the top). But you know what I’m saying.
Well, we think we have a ghost in Rhonda’s bathroomn. Couple things. My deodorant and shampoo both went missing. We fill up our water tank and then two days later it will be empty. Our water pump, which is activated by a switch in the back of Rhonda, will oddly be on in the morning.
Now, could I have misplaced the shampoo and deodorant because I can be forgetful?
Could we have used the water tank more than we remembered?
Could we have turned the pump on the night before while brushing our teeth and not turned it off?
Could there be a ghost in our bathroom?
We wanted to get to the bottom of this so we enlisted some experts to help us out.
First thing we did, obviously, was contact the Ghost Whisperer herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Jennifer was concerned.
She told us the ghost was real, and that it needed to work its problems out before it would leave us alone. We wanted more info, but Jennifer needed to get to her baby shower.
Next we called Whoopie Goldberg.
She brought the only spirit she had ever entered into. Although we didn’t find out anything about our ghost we did discover from Mr. Swayze that there is a Roadhouse Bar in Heaven.
So, we did what any person would do if they want to get to the bottom of a ghost mystery.
We called in the ultimate Ghostbuster.
And what did Bill Murray tell us? He told us our ghost probably suffered a cruel death while relieving himself in our bathroom and he was back until he finally got that nice, relaxing #2 off his plate. He advised leaving Rhonda for a couple days and letting the ghost do what he’s got to do.
We thanked Bill and he went on his way.
We decided to take him up on his advice and so, here we are, in our fourth day in Seattle, Washington. It has been four nights since we slept in Rhonda as the Michie’s, our friends here, have let us take over their basement.
We are leaving tomorrow so our only hope is Bill Murray was right and the ghost takes the most satisfying dump of his life and heads to the after-life in peace.
With the road to Yellowstone National Park closed due to snow we spent a night in Cody, Wyoming, the home of “Buffalo Bill” Cody. We wandered into a random Italian restaurant because it was the only bar with live music. This music did not disappoint. We met one of the most inspirational people you have ever laid eyes on, Noreen the Outlaw Queen. She controlled the room, not just with her personality, but with her amazing voice and even better riffs on the guitar!!!
As she mesmerized everyone in the room, the owner of the bar let us in on a little secret. Noreen was 83 years old!
She has been playing music in this area for over 60 years and she still had it.
We got to meet her afterwards and take pictures with this western icon.
She told us she simply loved playing music for people and seeing them smile so she keeps on doing it.
As we left the bar that night we both thought of what an awesome life she was living and that we want to do the same!
And why can’t we?
Traveling Rhonda’s first post was about my friend Ray Chen. He passed away this year way before he should have. The post was simply how amazed I was by Ray’s ability to make friends after turning 30 years old. It honestly seems like an impossible feet.
Well, I am not sure if I made a life-long friend last week, but I definitely had a friend for the day.
I present to you Rich.
Vanessa was in Santa Fe, NM for a week so I was on my own in Madison. One of the every day tasks while living in an RV in a city is to find a place to park and sleep at night. I pulled onto Mifflin St, and found a spot right away. As soon as I opened the door, there was Rich sitting on a front stoop, and bellowing out hello. I made a sandwich in Rhonda while he started telling stories ranging from all the girl’s bikes he fixes in Madison to hitch hiking cross country to being Bart Starr’s paper boy when he was a kid (Bart Starr led the Packers to the first two Super Bowls in NFL history). Rich was probably in his 60’s, and he was a lifelong Wisconsin resident.
I joined him on his porch for a beer, told him I needed my bike fixed, and two seconds later he’s got his tools out and he’s showing me how to fix the brakes. After working together for about an hour or so he said he was out of beer. I gave him $20 to get us some, and we sat drinking and talking and working on the bikes for another hour or so. He was telling me about this girl who brought him cookies last year because he fixed her bike, and two seconds later that same girl showed up to say hi. Unbelievable!
I was planning on going to the student union that night to watch a movie at a place called the Terrace. When I asked Rich to come with me his eyes lit up. He hadn’t been to the Terrace in 13 years! We snuck some tall boys into our backpacks and biked over to watch Total Recall. He had this shit eating grin on his face the entire time we were there. Afterwards, when my bike got a flat tire, he was there to fix it up.
Rich was an awesome friend for the day, and I am hopeful we can stay in touch even though he has never used the internet in his life (or so he says).
Imagine you are in Lawrence, Kansas. Imagine you are using a public restroom. Imagine you like to read on your phone while in restrooms. Now imagine you put your phone down, leave the bathroom without it, and by the time you remember to retrieve it, it is gone!
What would your first reaction be? Mine was to mutter the word “mother” followed by another word that starts with an “f” and ends with a “ucker.”
How could I be so stupid? I blame my parents. It’s their genes that made me, and chances are they dropped me at least once on my head as a kid. Couple that with at least three known concussions, binge drinking at times, and other stuff I guess it’s pretty easy to answer the question that began this paragraph.
But enough of me. What I am interested in knowing is, “How long can one live without a cell phone?”
Losing a cell phone is kind of like losing your identity. Think of what’s on your cell phone.
1. Phone numbers that you clearly have not memorized, and therefore you will probably not be able to get in touch with 90% of your contacts.
2. Photos. Some of which may or may not allow you to ever run for office because they are now public. And since not everyone backs these up, those memories will eventually vanish when your memory goes.
3. Some people even store important personal data on their phones.
Now that there are no pay phones, you actually have to converse with other humans and ask them to borrow their phone to make a call. Imagine that. And even if you find a pay phone, I’m pretty sure the police are immediately called in to question what you are doing because using a pay phone is just about the shadiest looking thing you can do these days.
And how do you get anywhere? Use a map? Ha! Or, stop at a gas station and ask for directions? Oh, the humanity.
And what about getting on line? Especially if you are traveling. Apparently, there are still public libraries and you can go to them.
The funny thing is, I wouldn’t mind doing any of these things. It might do the world good if we had to interact more, use maps, or even go the library.
However, it wasn’t ten minutes after I realized my phone was gone forever that I called Verizon and ordered a new one. I didn’t get it for about three days and even for a non high-tech, fairly simple person like myself, three days was just about enough.
An open letter to Rhonda from Jackie and Foxy (former roomies of Brett and Vanessa):
We moved in with Brett in October 2009 after reading his Craigslist ad and viewing the apt for less than 5 minutes. To be fair, he had only met one of us in person. This is an open letter to Rhonda: what to expect when you’re expecting to live with Brett and Vanessa for a year.
Foxy and I had been together for 5 years when we moved in with Brett, but she fell in love with Brett the minute she saw him. He’s a handsome dude…but keep your distance. Vanessa looks sweet, but she won’t hesitate to choke a bitch. Brett reciprocated her love by penning a beautiful song on his guitar about Foxy’s poop. I’m sure you’ll hear it and know it by heart soon.
Brett is not what I’d call a handyman, but what he lacks in experience, he makes up for in enthusiasm and creativity. Over a period of weeks, Brett disassembled and repaired his malfunctioning toilet tank assembly. Using a kit and sometimes unconventional methods, Brett had a will to stop sharing my bathroom…and he found success. This success was celebrated by Brett yelling the news to the neighborhood from the balcony (“I’m a man!! I fixed my toilet!!”) and celebrated by our very un-New York neighbors who yelled back with their congrats.
Vanessa moved in about two years later for the summer…which turned into a year (due to delays you are well aware of). One would think adding an extra person to a small household would be challenging, and sometimes exacerbated by adding two girls to the mix. Let me assure you, this is not the case. Vanessa is the most considerate and accommodating person you could have the pleasure of spending a year with. She will cook you dinner, make fun of your ex-boyfriends and tell you that skirt makes you look like a skank, but it’s really working for you. Vanessa is also full of fun creative surprises. She can make smoked salmon look like vaginas, pickle her own pickles, and turn beer into lemonade. She can turn a lamp into an IV drip. She will buy you a cake on your birthday and write a card that will make you cry. And she’s the kind of friend who will hold your hair out of the toilet when you’re hungover (so she can get a better picture of your face).
I also realize you must be intimidated to take a hungry poop-powerhouse like Brett on a long trip with you, but I assure you, Vanessa has never once pooped in the time I’ve known her, so it will all even out in the end.
As great as Brett and Vanessa are apart, together they are more than a sum of their parts. They inspire and support each other, compound on each other’s jokes, and make up for what the other lacks. My favorite evening with the two of them was on Christmas. I had totaled my car only days before and making the effort to visit my family was too much. Vanessa was unable to fly home to New Mexico, and Brett was Jewish. Vanessa decided to make a rack of lamb/beef from a calendar recipe and we all got hammered playing scrabble and reciting amateur erotic fiction in a terrible Boston accent. We exchanged gifts by the utility closet and I passed out while straining to hear Brett and Vanessa getting it in through our bedroom walls.
But I assure you, they are not just fun and games. Brett will vouch for your sobriety to get you in a bar even as you fall down a flight of stairs directly next to the bouncer. Vanessa will look for your lost retainer in your vomit-soaked pants pockets without a complaint. And they’ll get you home safe.
I’ve been owned by my stuff for quite some time. From my first ‘adult’ living room set I bought fresh out of college to the house I stupidly purchased at the height of the damn bubble. I’ve been looking for a way to break away from all the crap that I feel constrained by.
Hence this trip. So why does the idea of not owning a couch start to freak me out? When you are an adult, you are supposed to buy nice things right? Well now that I’m an adult, I freaking hate moving that adult shit everywhere I go.
Luckily, Rhonda figured it all out for me! Can’t fit a queen pillow top bed in an RV? Craigslist that shit! Wait, you’re telling me I can’t fit a couch either? I’ll sell this couch, which I bought after meticulously spending hours online and perusing furniture stores, to the next person who shows interest! And before you know it, you are using patio furniture in the living room. Ha!
I felt I had to keep one adult thing, not for Rhonda, but in storage—my kitchen table. The stupid love I have for that thing is weird. Is it because of its versatility? Nope. Is it because of its high top, circular shape that reminds me of any table you would hang out with friends at any bar getting hammered? Probably.
So there you have it. It feels quite liberating to only own one kitchen table. And thanks to some dear friends who just moved into their new house and are in need of extra furniture, I can keep my big girl bed.