Week 18 update

March 18-24, 2015.
This week Erin was on the mend from her cold so we saw a bit more than last week, but mostly we kept it low key. We drove through Vegas without taking in any of the activities for which it’s known (or perhaps we made a pact that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas:-). We ended the week in a little town between Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz called Orcutt. Driving the California highways/roads is a treat. There’s so much beauty and the weather has been stellar.

Highlights:

So we drove through Las Vegas. Erin wanted to see the strip so we drove up and down it, although she didn’t have the energy to get out, gamble, see a show, etc.

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We headed west to California and driving Highway 1 along the coast, through Malibu and other lovely places was such a nice drive.

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We did a big clean of our “home” and Jackson put his muscles to work. We headed to Venice Beach on a Saturday so we didn’t see much of the beach, but we saw everything cute surrounding it.

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Erin got back on her feet, got her voice back and restrung her guitar. It was a bit sloppy, but it was a first try at guitar independence.

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Our friends from Calgary were on a road trip with their 3 girls and we had such a nice visit in Ventura, California. Paul and Christine, you guys are great!

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We watched the surfers at Surfers Point Park. We even saw a sea lion getting in on the action.

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We had a lunch date and some yummy Thai food in Ventura.

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We checked out a couple thrift stores in Ventura too (there are tons!). Although the sign is odd, I think we know what they mean…..a fundraising store perhaps.

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In one day Erin read 4 books….a random mix of thrift store finds. After a week of laying in bed watching movies (a few good ones and a bunch of bad ones), reading was a nice change.

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We stopped to check out the view in the hills somewhere between Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.

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We visited Orcutt, California. We spent a lot of time walking around, exploring and enjoying the warm weather.

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Stats:

2 US states this week (NV, CA), 24 in total during the trip
836 kms this week (519 mi), 15005 total on the trip (9324 mi)
Spent $677.51 this week, $14435.38 total USD

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Week 17 update

March 11-17, 2015.

Grand Canyon….totally epic. We have done very little hiking on this trip but we could not pass up the opportunity to hike the Grand Canyon (from the southern rim in Arizona). We found out there was a little place to stay at the bottom and we got a couple of bunks (the last reservations available for 2 weeks) so we got our supplies together quickly and hit the trail. Honestly, it’s all we did pretty much the whole week because after the hike down in one day and the hike back out the next, we could not walk (at all). Erin came down with a bad cold and was sick for the rest of the week.

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The trail was pretty good. You just need to watch the edges and keep your head on straight. At one point Jackson took a rest on a rock on the outer edge of the trail and his eyes got wide all of a sudden, he jumped up and the rock fell from beneath him down into the canyon. Quick tip – stick to resting on the inner edge of the trail.

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Here is Jackson enjoying a Grand Canyon beer at the Phantom Ranch canteen at the bottom. Here’s our new friend Chip who was with a bunch of men who have been doing a trip every 5 years since 1985. Great guys.

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A deer calmly grazing beside the Colorado River (bottom of the canon)

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Here are the adorable cabins of Phantom Ranch. After 4 hours of walking in the heat down the Kaibob Trail, we would’ve stayed anywhere but having a bunk was a treat.

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It took us 7 hours to walk back up. We took the more gradual route – Bright Angel – and we took breaks every 25 minutes. That didn’t save us from being sore like we hoped though 🙂

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Even though Erin was still sick, we headed toward Vegas. We arrived late to the Hoover Dam but it was still pretty neat to see.

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Stats:

2 US states this week (AZ, NV), 23 in total during the trip
691 kms this week (429 mi), 14169 total on the trip (8804 mi)
Spent $533.33 this week, $13757.87 total

 

Week 16 update

March 4-10, 2015.

Erin is a little under the weather so we’re laying low and this post is a little late. Week 16 we got back on the road again and put in some miles. We started through west Texas and got all the way to Flagstaff, Arizona. Two major highlights of the week were the Sonora caves, Texas and the Red Rock mountains of Sonoma, Arizona. Stay tuned for next week’s update (teaser… Grand Canyon). We hit some “un-Texas-like” weather too.
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Highlights:
After leaving San Antonio, we followed a friend’s advice to visit the Sonora Caves which broke up the long drive before we got to El Paso. These caves were spectacular. We were underground for two hours and were 15 storeys down. We experienced total darkness at the lowest point which was so cool.
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In El Paso, we considered crossing the border to Mexico… On foot…. Then we opted out somewhere along the way.

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When we attended the Unitarian Universalist church in Tucsan, we enjoyed a performance by Roy Zimmerman. He’s a good performer – talented and funny. Here’s one of his songs:

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We did a great trail run in the dry heat of the desert.
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We had our sights on the Grand Canyon so we mostly skipped Phoenix and headed north where we came upon the gorgeous little treasure of Sonoma. The hills are outstanding. We didn’t stay long but did a jeep tour at sunset.

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See the balancing rock in the image below near the middle of the range.
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Jackson did a little impromptu climbing.
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Stats:

3 US state this week (TX, NM, AZ), 22 in total during the trip
1934 kms this week (1202 mi), 13478 total on the trip (8375 mi)
Spent $716.84 this week, $13224.54 total

Week 15 update

February 25 – March 3, 2015.

We spent most the week in Austin, TX which is one of our favorite cities. It’s vibrant and bustling (these days). We were able to visit friends and had the privilege of staying with Kim and Kyle.

Highlights:

We had dinner with Deborah and Bobby (close friends and neighbors of our friends Kim and Kyle) (plus, Erin’s met them before). It was lovely. We got to play with their very energetic and charming children too.

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Jackson took the below pic but it’s L-R Erin, Kim, Bobby and Deborah.

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They have chickens and gave us some fresh eggs (which Jackson took on a hunting trip the next day).

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Jackson got some guy time with Bobby and Kyle.

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Jackson turned 33 last Friday so he got his wish for the day – getting his free birthday drink from Starbucks and gaming most of the day 🙂 See him in the pic below in his natural habitat.

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Austin has some odd and neat things to visit. One is a Cathedral of Junk which is a huge structure built buy a guy (Vince) in his back yard of found objects. Erin invited her friends Leslie and Travis (friends she met through co-operative housing conferences years ago) to join us. This was something to see.

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We gave Vince a bag of Mardi Gras beads to add flare to his structure. One man’s junk….well, is another man’s junk cathedral.

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A big highlight for Erin was joining Kim at one of her friend’s bachelorette parties. Jenn is a lovely girl and fun was had by all! We went on Texas Winos tour out to Hill Country to visit 3 locations.

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The first venue had a pairing menu of 9 samples of Italian food with appropriate wine with each.

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Next was Fat Ass Winery where we took a load off, drank fast and enjoyed the character of the place.

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Above see Liz, Erin, Mike (an old friend of the Austin girls but also the tour guide), Diana (sister of the bride-to-be), Julianne (also a sister), Kim and the bachelorette herself Jenn. What a crew!

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Last, we went to an old general store in Hye to sample wine from other wineries. We also shared a fresh loaf of soda bread….a great idea for a day of drinking!wpid-download_20150301_211046.jpeg

Erin is Kim’s doppelganger (above). They were born attached (conjoined twins) at the head. above is a rare photo of the sisters demonstrating there congenital pre-surgical position. Doctors were able to separate them at a young age.

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Above see live country music at the general store. Needless to say, the bachelorette party brought a certain flare to the tour! We danced up and down the isles all the way back into Austin.

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The bachelorette fun continued back at Jenn’s place (we were playing something like pin the tail on the donkey below).

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The next morning the girls met for a bridal brunch.

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Jackson did a bit of a boys weekend while Erin hung out with the ladies. The other photos couldn’t be released.

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We wrapped up our time in Austin, said bye to our friends and headed to San Antonio.

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Erin went to the Alamo (I mean, you’re in San Antonio, you gotta do it). Next we did the River Walk through the downtown. It was so lovely. This city is worth another visit just for this.

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Jackson played the part of a river ninja below.

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We visited the art in Travis Park before we visited our friend Daniel and then settled in for the night.

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After San Antonio, we got on the highway and headed to West Texas which is a cool drive (everyone in Texas says it’s awful but we loved it). More to come next week.

Stats:

1 US state this week (TX), 20 in total during the trip
305 kms this week (190 mi), 11544 total on the trip (7173 mi)
Spent $700.07 this week, $12507.70 total