Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 10- To Rushmore!

We made it to Mt. Rushmore without incident. We seemed to be skirting storms the entire way, always just behind, or in between. When we drove through the mountains, there was even a little fresh snow on the road.

We first stopped at the Crazy Horse Monument which has been under construction since 1948 and will not be completed for many years. Because of time constraints and the fact that we wouldn't be able to climb around it until the next weekend, we decided to forego the tours and head on to Mt. Rushmore.

That was pretty incredible and we got some nice photos there as well. The black hills are interesting as well. I wish I would've had more time to look at them. If you look hard enough, or not TOO hard as the case may be, you can see faces in the rock formations.

After that, a loooong night of driving. Amy drove for about an hour when it started to rain pretty hard so I took over. I plugged the laptop in and watched one movie after another while I drove the night away. it's a wonder we made it anywhere alive. haha.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 9- Wyoming Is Wyde

This morning, we packed up our gear, and hit the road. We've decided to head out to Keystone, South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument.

We actually left Yellowstone a lot later than we planned.
There are several hotels and lodges spaced around Yellowstone. These lodges offer a cool service to backpackers by letting us pay for a shower without paying for a room there. So for $3.25 each, Amy and I both got a nice, hot bath in these really cool old clawed bath tubs at the Old Faithful Lodge. All I needed was a cigar and a cowboy hat and I would have been in a western movie.
I don't know why it was a $1 cheaper than the other hotel, but it was all good, AND the concierge gave us towels for free. FREE! You really appreciate the little things when you've been out in the woods with animals that want to eat you. haha
Anyway, we took our time with getting cleaned up then had a nice meal at the Old Faithful Grill while we chatted with the servers and cooks.
The workers and service people at Yellowstone are generally from all around the country. Most of them are retired, and do the "RV" thing, always very interesting conversations.

It was actually a little further to South Dakota than what I thought. We didn't want to pass through Mt. Rushmore in the dark so we've stopped in Gillette, Wyoming tonight. Tomorrow morning we'll see the monument and get back on the road.
So far, we've logged about 2,700 miles. We've got another 1,600 before we get home. No problem. ha!


Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 8- A Change Of Plans

We've decided to stay another day in Wyoming. We really want to see a Grizzly so another evening out at Lamar gives us a better chance.

I can't even remember everything we've done today... so much driving, so many places, so many photos.
We've taken over 2000 now I think.
Thank goodness I have this little laptop to upload them all to.

We took the doors off the Jeep again. I figured out a better way to load them in the back with all the other gear stacked around them. A tight fit, but it works. I like hanging my feet out on the running board taking pictures while Amy drives. I feel like a real Safari guy. That usually doesn't last very long though because she doesn't like driving on the more precarious roads, and there are a LOT of those here.

We've also changed our plans for driving home. instead of just going back sort of the way we came, we're going to swing out to South Dakota and see the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore. It should only add another 2 or 300 miles to the trip. No biggy, plus we'll get to pass through South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. ha!
So, that also means we won't be dropping in on you next week, Wes. That's a real bummer because we wanted you to show us the cool places to hang out on old Route 66.
maybe we'll catch you on our next trip. I am CERTAIN there will be one.

Check ya later.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 7- More Wildlife And A Late Night

This entry is also a day late...

So today, we went up in to Montana. While is was beautiful and mountainous, it just wasn't Wyoming so we drove back into Yellowstone Wyoming and decided we'll just stay an extra night and leave from here. There is still a lot to see.

We took the doors off the Jeep around lunchtime, and man, that was just a whole different experience up here in the mountains being able to see over the cliff edges and all.

When we came back into the park from Montana, we decided to stop at a hotel in Mammoth Springs and get a shower. It only cost $4.25 each plus $1.00 for a towel. haha
THAT was different, but WELL worth it. Being really clean on a backpacking trip kind of doesn't happen.

While I was waiting in the Jeep for Amy to come out, a buffalo had moseyed right up to me. No biggy, I was more or less hanging out of the Jeep so I decided to shoot some pics of it. Even with the doors off, I knew I could jump to the other side if the huge thing got a little crazy. Well, these guys started walking up the street and got between the buffalo and the rest of it's herd which was about 150 feet away.

I guess that's why it charged them. I got one shot before I just looked on thinking I was about to witness my first goring. They freaked out and ran of course and the buffalo decided to stop it's pursuit to join the rest of the herd.
Scary, but funny.
This is just as he started taking off after them.

So after this, we were told about a part of the park that has tons of wildlife called Lamarr valley, or something like that near the Northeast entrance. We saw lots of buffalo, elk, WOLVES, coyotes, an injured mother moose and her newborn baby, and a beaver, but no bear. Since we saw our first Black Bear on our way up to Mammoth, we now need to find a Grizzly bear.

Also, I have camera lens envy. There were so many photographers out there with super-duper-high-end lens, mine felt a little puny. I WANT one... or two...
After all that, we got back to camp around 11pm. Too late to eat, and too late to build a fire... but we did anyway.
Ok, I gotta roll.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 6- Old Faithful

We were so busy yesterday that I didn't get a chance to write. We saw Old Faithful and myriad other geysers and hot springs.

We just pulled the doors off the Jeep and are heading North for some Polaroid moments. So far, they've been plentiful.

I promise to take more time to write tonight even though I may not get to post until tomorrow.

I'm dying to show you these photos...


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 5- On The Road

(This was all written yesterday on the road, but with no internet connection to get it posted.)

Right now, we are on the road somewhere in Wyoming jamming out to Def Leopard. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular. I mean, I wouldn’t really want to live here because it’s very desolate, but, wow, it is breath taking.

We’ve been driving under the speed limit pretty much all day, just taking it in. We stop whenever anything catches our eye and looks photograph-worthy. We even go off on these dirt roads if they look like they might lead to some cool rocky crag or cliff.

We’ve been seeing tons of wildlife too(haha Def Leopard is singing “Animal”). So far on this trip, we’ve seen:
Axis deer
Pronghorn Antelope
Hawks flying overhead with a fish clutched in its talons. Seriously, it was cool.
Bald Eagle
White tail deer
Ground Squirrels

… ok, we’re stopping for gas. Be right back…
Ok. I’m back with some beef jerky and a map of stuff to see in Wyoming.
It looks like Independence Rock is only 15 miles out of the way so we’re going to check that out now.

There is NO cell phone signal up here. There’s barely any in Colorado, but ever since we left this morning, we’ve been incommunicado. That’s why I’m writing this entry in Word right now. I’ll just have to post it later when we get service… IF we get service.

We’re going to try and make it to the Wind River Indian Reservation by this evening. I don’t really know what there is to see there, but it’ll be pretty cool anyways. We’ll probably stay near there overnight and then head into the Teton National Forest in the morning. There is a lot of cool stuff to see there for sure.

I have to add one more critter to the wildlife list:
Prairie Dog
We just stopped for lunch, and since we are in the part of our trip where we aren’t going to be staying in hotels or eating at restaurants, we just found a nice view, pulled off to the side of the road as far as we could and ate. We brought some lawn chairs and ice chest for this sort of thing and it was just SO cool being out in the middle of nowhere. When we got out, there was a very strong smell of sage because there was sage brush everywhere, that and Prairie dog holes. They started barking at us right away.
After lunch and many high fives ‘cause “We’re really doing it, man” we packed up and are now on the road to Independence Rock. cya


Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 4- Heading Out

Colorado has been cool... and wet, but tomorrow, we're heading North to Wyoming.

I'll chat with ya then.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 3- Wildlife

Today, even though it rained a lot, ROCKED!
We decided to go into Boulder to check things out and took a route through the Rocky Mountain National Forest. It was $20 to drive through it, but man, it was well worth it! We saw plenty of wild life and there was snow, SNOW! all over the place. The highest altitude on the road was 12,400'... or so. I was really surprised at how much snow there still was. The temperature is in the 90's at home, and in the 30's on top of the mountain.
Right off the bat, we saw some moose. MOOSE! We also got shots of a lot of mule deer, but I don't have those uploaded yet.

This is the view from the top.

G'night, kids.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 2- Winter Park, Co

While we're in Colorado, we've decided to stay at the timeshare and do some day hikes, among other things, while we relaaaax.

What an awesome drive in. It was a little rainy when we got into the mountains, but the cloud formations looked so cool pouring over the peaks. The roads were pretty slick and treacherous through the switchbacks, but I wasn't nervous at all. I just put the Jeep in 4wd and enjoyed the incredible view over the cliffs.
Amy, however, literally chewed her new fingernails off. She does not like driving through the mountains, especially when it's all wet.
I wanted to stop on the shoulder and get some photos, but Amy wasn't having it. hahaha She's such a scardy cat.

It's a little colder here than I thought... it got down into the 40's while we were crossing the pass. It might be a little more chilly if we hike up another 1000'.
Next week, we'll be driving North to Montana, that's another 800 miles. I hope it doesn't get colder as we go, because THAT'S where we'll be doing the long overnight hikes.

These are the peaks of Winter Park in the background from our lodge parking lot.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 1

We're somewhere between Ft. Worth and Amarillo. We're havin' fun. Gimme some coffee!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

I... AM... T E R M I N A T O R.

Tristan and I just got back from the movies.
We watched Terminator Salvation.

Not bad, not too bad. It had one of two cheesy moments, but over all, it was worth the wait. I couldn't help but think of that little PR flub whenever Christian Bale would scream and yell in the movie. haha

Before we left, I got my gear packed up in the Jeep. I'm ready to hit the road. Amy is going to pick up a few odds and ends tomorrow for the ice chest and then it is ON!

Just a few more hours...


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Random

Jeez, I'm to tired to write anything.

I finally got some hiking boots today. They aren't the Gortex® ones that I thought I wanted, but they are comfortable with a lot of support. They're waterproof and that should be enough for now.

I finally got that little "throwdown" netbook laptop too. I didn't want to take the Mac on the trip and I'm very nervous about taking it to work with me everyday too. Some guys had their trucks broken into recently, and their laptops got stolen. That would pretty much make me cry... a lot.

Ok. I GOTTA go to sleep...


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Random Stuff

I just found out that my cellphone contract with Sprint is expired. I can, and probably will, keep a month to month situation going with them, but I'm looking at the iPhone... just a leetle bit.
I work for AT&T after all... I would get a small concession.
We'll see. Actually, I'm still pretty content with my current pda phone.

I did a little 3.5 mile run tonight, and was surprised that it wasn't difficult at all. It's the first run I've done since the race a few weeks ago. When I was done, I hopped in the Jeep and measured off a 5.5 mile course. I'm going to start running that later this week, and then I'll jump into some longer runs when we get back from our trip.

Still didn't get those hiking boots. The ones that I THOUGHT I saw were not up to par. That's what I get for trying to save a buck on footwear, because if your feet hurt, your whole body hurts. Thursday, I'll go to the REI and get some goretex Asolos, REAL backpacking boots.

Today, Amy watched a 44 year old man die at the hospital where she is doing her clinicals. I mean, she was in the room because someone from the Lab HAS to be there, but others were actually working on the patient. He had gone in for knee surgery and came out dead. You just never know...

And on that happy note, I bid you all a good and pleasant night.
Sweet Dreams.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Counting Down...

Amy and I are really starting to get ready for the roadtrip now.
Today she got the Jeep checked out, tire fixed, front-end alignment, and oil change. It's crazy to think that when we get back from our trip on June 2nd, it'll already need another oil change. 3,800 miles to Montana and back.

We decided that we'll leave on Friday right after I get off work, in fact, we'll be leaving directly from the office. I won't even go home that day. That way we can get a slight jump on the traffic.
We're going to drive nonstop to Denver, which should be around 18 hours. Then, we'll stay in that area for 3 days or so, backpacking, maybe a little white water rafting, and lots of photos.
We can't wait.
I pulled the backseat out of the Jeep and it looks like we'll have plenty of room for an ice chest, our backpacks, and maybe a couple of other bags. Kinda snug, but it's all good. I wonder what it'll be like to sleep in there? Hmmm...

I need to get some hiking boots tomorrow...

Amy will be starting an early morning shift tomorrow through the rest of the week. It's different, me getting Tristan ready in the mornings and taking him to school, but I like it. I'm a more "involved" dad now. He's just glad that this is the last week of school.
He'll be staying with his grandmother while we're gone.
He likes the big country at Grandmaw's house. His four-wheeler is there, his X-Box is there, his dogs are there, and his grandmother who will do just about anything for him will be there. We could probably be gone for a month and he wouldn't care.
Nah, he would... wouldn't he?



Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Music Scene

So, the band.
I can't comment while on my phone so I'll just talk about it here.

I'm part of a band that plays at my church. It's a great group of musicians who give 110%, week in and week out.
There is a lot of discipline among us as we have a Band Leader and then Music Director who oversees everything.
The Band Leader leads the band through rehearsals amd services. He has a mic with which he can speak to us... and sometimes crack jokes. We all hear the music and Band Leader through an in-ear monitor system(high end headphones).
The Music Director has final say on anything we do musically, but he's very open-minded and has good taste. He almost always goes with our ideas as long as they mesh well with the singers.
Most of the band members have more than 20 years of experience, and have even played with some big names in music. Seriously. Prince's drummer actually runs sound for us and sometimes will sub in. That's crazy itnit?
If I'M absent for some reason, Prince's bass player will sub, and if he can't make it, our second band leader will sub in. He is a producer/ musician with Grammy awards under his belt. Killer.

So yeah, it's church, but it's pretty incredible music... and the only reason I say it like that at all is because some folks hear "church music" and think pipe organ, or "Gimme that old time religion". haha yeah... not even close.
We play stuff, or change styles of songs to fill our Funk, R&B, Rock, Jazz, Latin, and Alternative music needs. I definitely get my musical "fix" here with these guys... and I don't even have to suffer through the bar scene to get it.

I'm also paid, of course, and that is why I dedicate so much time to it: Wed night, Thurs night, Sat night, 3 services on Sunday, and extra rehearsals if we're doing a special event.
It's a lot of time to be gone after my regular job, but it pays the rent. Know what I mean?

I think I would miss the music most of anything in this town... if we were to move or something...

Anyway, have a great Sunday! I'm still in church...


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Haircuts And Vampires

I'm sitting at the barbershop right now waiting for Tristan to get a haircut. We're running around town taking care of a few errands before I have to go to church tonight to jam.

Last night, I let Amy stick me in the vein with a needle. She has looked at the bulging veins in my arm with what can only be described as lust ever since she finished her Phelbotomy class. She started her clinicals at the hospital this week, and was able to bring home a couple of butterfly needle yesterday. It's a very small needle for people with hard to get at veins. Anyway, I was going to be her first stick back when, but that didn't work out. I let her stick me anyways and she got it right on the first try... which she has done on all of her other clinical "sticks" as well.

She's going to be a good little vampire.
I'm so proud of her!


Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Late One

Late entry tonight.
I just got in from rehearsal. It went really well and I got to shine on a few tunes. I really dig the funk stuff. You can't beat Bass on funk.
I was going to get up and work out in the morning, but it's already almost midnight. I may have to put it off yet again. I can get something in tomorrow evening. ::yawn::


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

LOST And Expired

I was watching LOST just now when the Smartcard® on the Dish Network receiver suddenly "expired". Seriously. This error message just popped up and said,
"You card is expired. Call Dish Network to have a new one mailed to you."
No picture.
No sound.
Insult to injury, it was right at the last few minutes of the season finale. We were FINALLY about to see what Jacob was all about... and this new/old guy.
Not now though. Nope. Have to wait until tomorrow when we can see it online.
Crappin' Dish Network.
I think I'm tired of them now...
How am I going to sleep, not KNOWING?

Guess I'll just close my eyes and let nature do the rest.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Man, I just finished a killer workout. I haven't been to the gym, or done any sort of workout for that matter, since the race. It felt good to finally get back in there. I want to focus on cardio and legs for the backpacking trips coming up.
I think I like this working out in the evenings business. I'm just about tired of getting up so early for a while.

I also need to stop waiting so late to write something. That darned Farm Town game on Facebook is taking up all my spare time. It's just too fun. I recommend it to every aspiring farmer out there.

ok. Night.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Road Trek

Yesterday, after an awesome fajita feast at Papasitos, we went to the theater to see the new Star Trek movie.
Now, I'm no Trekkie, but, wow, that movie was awesome! Even Amy loved it. Tristan was surprisingly indifferent about it because he thinks Wolverine can beat Spock in a bare knuckles fight... I dunno man, that Vulcan nerve grip thing... but today he came around and said, it was definitely cool.

Today I went shopping for a some new hiking boots. I hate shopping...
Less than 2 weeks before our R O A D T R I P ! !

Live long and prosper...


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Forget

Crap. I forgot to post yesterday.
It was Mother's Day! I was tending to the mother. whatareyagonnado?


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tristan and I went fishing this afternoon.

I had a great time, even though I didn't catch anything. Tristan caught a catfish and that is just like me catching something.
He was extremely happy about it. At first he was not having such a great time. We had been there for no more than 30 minutes when he asked if I was ready to go. After he caught the fish I asked him if HE was ready to go. He said NO! ha!

He wanted nothing more than to clean that fish, and eat it. I would have let him too, but it was just a little too small.
We let the catfish go, and I think we all went home with clear consciences because of it.
Got a camphone pic:

How did your Saturday go?


Friday, May 8, 2009

Straighten It Up

Friday night party.


Just chillin' at home. Don't have any real plans for tomorrow either. Just veg and go easy on it.

Maybe I'll work on straightening out the Weeping Willow. It blew over to about a 60˚ angle during the hurricane. I should probably get around to that... yeah...


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jam With Me

I just got home from a rehearsal. It was fun and all, but I am really dying to have a good 'ol fashioned jam session.
Some of the guys I play with on a regular basis keep talking about getting together and doing a jam, but it just hasn't happened.
I don't really get that. When I was younger, ALL we did was play music. Any opportunity we had to play, we played.
These guys always seem to have something better to do.
I guess I'll just have to start playing more at home by myself.

The iPod ALWAYS wants to jam with me.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Feelings Will Pass

Man, I need to get back to the gym.
I've been taking a short hiatus, but I don't like the guilty feeling... or rather, the feeling of dread. Dread that I will lose everything I've gained in just one week.
I know that's silly, but the feeling is still there.

Amy and I have our road trip coming up soon, and I want to be ready for that since we'll be doing a lot of mountain backpacking.
I see a stair-stepper in my future...


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Quick Post

Almost forgot to write.

Tristan got contacts today. Amy was amused at the way he looked at everything in wonder when they left the doctor's office.
"Woooow, look at how green the grass is. I can see eeeeverything."

Like father like son.


Monday, May 4, 2009

CB&I Triathlon 2009 Photos

The race went very well.
To my knowledge, no one drown, and no one died in the bike or run. There were, however, quite a few crashes. One happened right in front of me at the dismounting line. Luckily, I had already slowed down. A saw quite a few strawberries on knees and elbows after the race. Some guys are just more aggressive than others, and some just don't know how to ride a bike very well. ha!

Over all, I placed 440 out of 1005. Not too bad, but I would like to have done much better. My actual pace throughout, was comparable to the Athens race we just did so I shouldn't be too surprised. It just gives me a nice easy number to crush next year.

The race was very well organized and we'll definitely be back for it. The weather was pretty much perfect, water temp 76˚, overcast skies so the sun wasn't blazing down at any point. Good times, good times!

Amy was gracious enough to shoot the entire thing. Isn't she just a friggin' SWEETHEART??
She doesn't think I would do the same for her, but I tell ya, I would... even if the event was a knitting contest. I would be all up in their grill with my lens.

Here are the pics:

This was the transition area at around 6:00am. The race started at 7am.

Making our way down to the water. I'm in the middle with the red cap that says "WAVES" on it. Dunno what that means. We had already done a little warm up swim, so I wasn't freaked out about how cold the water was at that point. It really wasn't bad at all.

Again, in the middle there. At this point, I am hoping that no one is peeing in the water...

A few minutes into the swim. I'm the blur just at the bottom middle of the photo. There were 114 people in my wave. There was a lot of punching, kicking, and crawling over. Pretty hectic. Next time, I will work my way to the front of the mass BEFORE the horn blows.

Coming out of the water. Glad to have that leg of the race over with.

No photos on the bike, but this is me running back in to transition after.

Coming in on the final stretch of the race.

Crossing the finish line.

These are two of my friends that suffered with me.

Tristan and pals. He always loves waking up early on a Saturday, to go to the races. Can't you tell? Not.


Sunday, May 3, 2009


I am at the 3rd church service right now. They are having a baby dedication with about 20 babies. Dedication en masse.

I am ready to be home.

We'll grab something to eat right after service.
We've started a new thing where each week, someone new gets to choose where we go.
This is Amy's week to choose and I have no idea where she wants to go at this point.
It's kind of exciting...
With Tristan, it will always be Outback. He loves their cheese fries and steak so it will always win hands down.
I'm a wildcard.
I may choose Panera or Springcreek BBQ(I love their banana pudding).
I'm just crazy like that.

Where or what are you guys eating for lunch today?


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Great Race

Great race today.

I am BEAT!

I didn't get much sleep last night so I'm going to bed early. I'll write and post race pics soon.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, May 1, 2009


Quick post 'cause I'm running on fumes.

Got my race packet today which has all the pertinent race paperwork and numbers and stuff, and we got our bikes dropped off in the transition area.
All is well, my gear is packed and ready to go in the morning. We'll be leaving around 4:45am, a little early, but it'll be worth it.
it's going to be a sweet race:

500meter Swim
15 mile bike
5k run.
Glory at the finish. haha

Check back with you guys tomorrow.