Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We're back! We finally made it back to Little River, after a short detour to Oak Island, NC to pick up the dogs and see some family for a brief visit. We drove from Miami, Oklahoma all the way to Columbia, SC before stopping and then had a short drive (considerably speaking) to get to the island. No major news from the road.....just like I said in the last post, we took pictures of the state signs (because we were bored and its nice to remember) and thats about it. HOWEVER, upon returning home to family, two new babies stole the show on my camera. As pretty as the country is the thousand-plus pictures that I took from the hike and the road, nothing compares to a laughing baby. Tomorrow I'm back to work at the gym and looking quite forward to it. I've missed it and the girls (& Louie, Janice & Edyie) and am excited to catch up with them. I'll keep blogging with things going on in my life, because this is kind of neat. For now, I'll leave you with some incredibly cute pictures of Kileigh and Hadley:

Kileigh Marie Cameron (born 5/22/08)




KMC & Jackson

Kileigh is 2 months old and I taught her how to hold her own bottle....she's a prodigy! Or I'm a good teacher. :)

Hadley Tate Heuber (born 6/12/08)




HTH boxing

Becca, Klug & Hadley...Let's be honest, Hadley isn't happy because she knows
Aunt Reba (aka Becca) is leaving.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Day 19 – Sunday, July 27, 2008

Today we have done nothing but drive…we’ve crossed 5 states so far and have pictures of 4 of their signs! I took a nap this morning and David had trouble taking a picture of Arkansas. So, since there isn’t anything great to talk about today, I’ll sum up the concert last night.

It started at 4:00pm and lasted until midnight. We got over there around 6pm and watched 3 opening bands before Cross Canadian Ragweed came on. They were Will Ridge, Back Porch Mary & Chris Knight.

Will Ridge

Stand-up bass player for Back Porch Mary

Lead singer and Lead Guitar Back Porch Mary

Chris Knight

All of them were fun bands to see live and I’m curious to get on ITunes and check out their records. The set up was at a new casino in a town that really doesn’t have a lot there. They have a nice stage set up out in a field off of the casino (cattle farm across the street). Parking was easy, getting in and out of the show, and getting food and drinks was never a hindrance. Even the hired security were on horseback or ATV.

Anyways, as the sun was setting a storm was nearby and sent us winds that I swear could’ve registered as a tropical storm force wind. The speakers and lights on the stage were swinging all over the place and they actually had to postpone Chris Knight’s set until the front blew by. The weather held out great after that until Ragweed was finishing up….wind picked up again and the rain came with it this time. Ragweed played a great show and besides the obnoxious drunks that frequent shows, we completely enjoyed ourselves. It was a great place to people watch and lucky for the guys there, plenty of girls who didn’t mind exposing themselves for a shout out from stage. Cody Canada, I’ve realized, IS Cross Canadian Ragweed. He alone, made the show worth it. He plays lead, is lead singer and does the entire crowd work. He’s awesome and may be my new crush.

Cody Canada

I might not post for a couple of days until we get back and somewhat settled. This will be my last post from the road and I hope someone reading this has enjoyed it as much as I have. I will send pictures out once I get them loaded and I’ve promised the Wisconsin boys a cd of pictures in exchange for some good Wisconsin cheese. Until then…Happy Trails!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day 18 - Saturday, July 26 - Cross Canadian Ragweed

We stayed in Clinton, OK last night and got on the road towards Miami (Northeastern corner of OK). We got here shortly after lunch, checked into our hotel and went to Waylon's Hamburgers (a little diner that has been open since 1969 and is on Route 66). It was great!! Nothing major to report from the road today. Tomorrow I'll post pictures from the show tonight because I'm sure we'll see lots of characters, as well as great bands. Cross Canadian Ragweed has been one of our favorite bands for a while and we are so excited to see them in Oklahoma. These guys are from Oklahoma and Texas so it'll be somewhat of a hometown crowd. Their website is if you are curious about their music. I dig it. Anyways, sorry for the boring post, but really, its been that kind of day......tonight, however, should be a different story! See you tomorrow!

Day 17 – Friday, July 25, 2008 – On the Road Again…Arizona to Oklahoma

Not much to report for today! We stayed on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon last night and enjoyed a very good steak at the lodge restaurant before going to bed rather early. We got up and got on the road by 7:00am (8:00am MST since GCNP doesn’t observe daylight savings) and didn’t hit the interstate (I-40) until 2:00pm. We started out on the road that leads to the South Rim so we got to drive through parts of the Canyon that we could see from a far-off distance yesterday. It was awesome! We ended up on a couple other highways that we knew would eventually lead us to the interstate and hopefully, civilization. Most of the roads went straight through Indian Reservations and they were fairly void of any public facilities or life in general. They did offer some pretty cool views however. We got into New Mexico and shortly thereafter reached I-40. Since all we are doing today is driving, there really isn’t much to post. I will say that New Mexico was BORING! I read 348 pages of a book if that tells you anything about the scenery in NM. It was nice to finally reach Albuquerque and hit up a McDonalds around 3:00pm. When we got into Texas, Amarillo was a nice city among cattle farms but we were hell-bent on getting somewhere in OK. We made it to Clinton, Oklahoma.....about 1.5 hours from Oklahoma City. We will be on our way to Miami, OK tomorrow for a concert. Here are a couple pictures to pass the time:

This is the bathroom we had to use at one stop on a reservation. I would have much prefered the great outdoors....even if the Native Americans had to watch. DISGUSTING. It made the pit toilets at Glacier look luxurious.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 16 – Thursday, July 24, 2008 – Mule Farts and Canyon Views…Both Phenomenal

This morning, David and I got up early to be at the Grand Canyon Lodge to meet the Mule Bus. We boarded our mules and hit the trail around 8:00am. I was on board Annie (The Great Farter) and David got Watoba. We did 3 hours down into the Canyon (4,000 feet); had lunch at the waterfall that supplies both the North and South Rim with their water; and trudged back up 4,000 feet to the top. The views were amazing and I’ve never laughed so hard at animals passing gas! Maybe the funniest part was that David was behind my mule and his mule really liked to be close. Anyways, although pictures won’t do it justice, I’ll post a couple:

On this ride, we learned several things……first of all, the descent that we took equated to 2 billion years of the Earth’s history; mules don’t like to be petted on the neck, like horses do; if you are doing back country hiking here and you need medical attention, it will cost you $300 to get out of the canyon by mule and $3000 by helicopter, mules are like dogs….when one uses the bathroom, they all do, there are (on average) 80,000 visitors to the North Rim each year and 4-million to the South Rim and the Grand Canyon and all its glory can absolutely not be explained or displayed in pictures. It’s just something you have to see.

All in all, it was a great day. Riding mules for 8 hours wore us out, so we have dinner reservations at the lodge at 8:15pm and will probably get some shut eye after that. They do have a little saloon here at the Lodge that we might have a drink in, but it won’t be a late night for sure. We will be heading east from here on out. We have tickets to a Cross Canadian Ragweed show in Miami, Oklahoma Saturday night, then homeward bound from there……still a long ways away, but we’re coming. Toodles!

Day 15 – Wednesday, July 23 - Grand Canyon North Rim Hiking & Kaibab Lodge

Good day Folks! Today David and I got to the Grand Canyon! We left Fillmore, UT and came into Arizona around lunch time today. Arizona is a little weird with their time…..they are on Mountain Time but don’t observe daylight savings time…..which means it’s like they are on Pacific time over the summer. Threw me off a little bit but I’m getting used to it. The only bad part of that is on Friday when we get up to head towards Oklahoma, we are essentially losing 2 hours instead of 1. Anyways, today we got to the Grand Canyon and decided to go for the North Rim, instead of the more popular and populated South Rim.

The views were amazing, as I’ve always thought they were. We got SO lucky calling hotels in the North Rim area (there are only 2 that are relatively close)……First we called the Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim and although they didn’t have anything for Wednesday night, they did have a room for Thursday night. So we booked that. We still didn’t have a place to stay Wednesday night and ended up calling a lodge that is 18 miles outside of the North Rim and they just happened to have a cancellation and we got the room. The other closest hotel is 45 miles away so we felt very lucky to stay just out of the Canyon one night and on the North Rim (literally) the 2nd night. Anyways, we hiked about 5 miles today on some trails and got some amazing pictures. I will not flood this post with pictures, but believe me, it’s awesome here. One of the trails we went down led to absolutely NOTHING. We didn’t realize they had a trail gated off and we couldn’t go as far as we had wanted. Once we hiked about 2 miles, we came upon a gate with NO view. Nice. But, some of the views on the way down were great. We also went to a small trail that had a plaque dedicated to Teddy Roosevelt who was an amazing advocate for the parks systems and the Grand Canyon in particular. The views from there (which I will post) were awesome because you could see the South Rim, the Navaho Indian Reservation, the Painted Desert and it displayed a depth that doesn’t even register to me.

At this point, we were tired and ready to head to our Kaibab Lodge to check in. Kaibab (pronounced ‘Kybab’) means “mountain lying down” and is in the Kaibab National Forest. This lodge (main house which is the front desk, Cracker Barrel-style gift shop and restaurant) was built in the 1920’s and originally going to be a cattle ranch. Now, there are cabins spread out around the lodge with relatively rustic accommodations (by rustic, I mean no TV or phone with western d├ęcor).

With the very slim choices of places to stay near the North Rim and our extreme lack of planning with reservations, we are SO happy to at least have a bed tonight. Even the campsites were full and we were considering sleeping in the car. So we ate at their cozy little restaurant and had the BEST key lime cheesecake EVER and are planning on hitting the sack early since we have our (hopefully) full day of mule riding in the canyon tomorrow. Hope the mules sleep well too! Adios!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 14 – Jackson, WY to somewhere in Utah

David & I in front of one of the four elk antler arches in Town Square - Jackson, WY

This morning David and I slept in until a whopping 7:45am! We were so excited to get a morning to sleep in, yet we knew we had LOTS of driving to do and we needed to get going. I will admit here that I woke up prior to 7:45 and it was at 5:51am…..for the 3rd morning in a row. I’m not kidding……3 mornings in a row, I’ve woken up and looked at my watch and it read 5:51am. CRAZY! Anyways, we got our stuff packed up, checked out of our cabin and went into town. We had a bagel and coffee from Pearl Street Bagels (or something like that). It was so good and they don’t toast your bagel for you. They say theirs are fresh enough that you don’t need it toasted. I can see how toasting would mask the freshness of a bagel, but I’d never heard of a place that just didn’t do it. They did not disappoint however, because their bagels and spreads were amazing. After that, we shopped a little bit and picked up some Jackson, WY memorabilia before heading back to the hotel to get our car. We were set on buying some locally brewed beer to take home with us and for the life of us couldn’t find a place that sold it un-chilled. We ended up riding back up to Teton Village because we knew they had some that weren’t already in the fridge.

We ate lunch at The Mangy Moose, packed up our beer and got on the road… 3:00pm. So much for an early start. BUT, we so enjoyed Jackson and look forward to going back there. Both of us agreed that of all the places we’ve seen/driven through, that is the one place we would actually want to live. Kalispell is a close second because it also has lots of things to do and two very good friends, but Jackson was such a cute town! Wyoming in itself was a cool state to travel through….very pleasing to the eye and lots of national parks and forests. There was a lot of road construction on the route we were taking, but it was still cool. We went through Idaho for a short time before entering Utah.

We are going to stay somewhere south of Salt Lake City…depends on how much David wants to drive tonight! J I did all the driving from Jackson to Salt Lake, so don’t feel too bad for him. OH YEAH, and Cracker Barrel in Salt Lake (I know we’re lame, but it was getting late and we were starving) served REAL SWEET TEA. I was so excited. Anyways, we plan on getting to the Grand Canyon tomorrow and although the one place that was recommended to us is booked (Havasupai….Jordan!) for the month of July, we will still have a great time and see some spectacular scenery. We might do an activity, but really aren’t sure what’s going to be available. That’s all from the road for now……..

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 13 - Old Faithful, The Mangy Moose & Million Dollar Cowboys

Oh what a day! Its been a long one, but so much fun. We didn't really DO anything.....but it was cool nonetheless. We left Cody, WY this morning after visiting the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum and headed back into Yellowstone. We decided to do an abbreviated edition of the southern route, skipping one leg that hugs the lake. We saw the Upper & Lower Falls (termed the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone) and it was worth the hundreds of people there also seeing it with me.

After that, we ate lunch in the car and kept riding to try and catch Old Faithful bust loose again. We apparently were treated to one of the longest waits in 9 years for this old girl to spew, but once it happened, it was worth the wait. I think we waited 126 minutes and the park ranger near us said that is as long as she's waited in the 9 years that she's been timing it and doing short seminars on it. There were SO many people there.......from the national parks perspective, the economy is NOT so bad. Or a lot of people are traveling on credit because this place was packed. After Old Faithful did her business for us, it was similar to getting out of a small concert parking lot.

So, we were done with Yellowstone for the day and although we continued to see beautiful sights on our way out, we were excited to get to the Grand Tetons and experience all their beauty. Much taller, more jagged mountains with a significant amount of snow still on top. The only sucky part was it was pouring so my pictures are rather cloudy. It did stop raining long enough for us to grab a beer in The Mangy Moose Saloon in the Teton Village. Very cool little village and one we've already talked about coming back to when ski season starts up.

Off to Jackson, WY we go! We did pass an intersection for Wilson, WY which is where my mom's cousin, Duff (Ed) lives. He invited us to stay with them, which was so nice, but we got a room near the Town Square of Jackson so we could experience it in all its' glory. We got into town and checked into our "cabin" at The Cowboy Village Resort. Not so much a resort, but a cool cabin and village. We actually love it, as redneck as it may seem. Some of you are NOT suprised at all, I'm sure.

We went to dinner at Snake River Grill downtown and it was SO good.....I had 6 MINI MINI fish tacos (more "mini" than I was expecting) but I supplemented them with some outstanding parmesean truffle shoe-string fries. Oh yeah. David had BBQ Pork Shank which was also fabulous. Anywhooo.....we strolled over to The Million Dollar Cowboy for a couple beverages following that and were treated to a few cowboys (one was missing a tooth), a good country house band and a couple good local beers.

We're back at the Cowboy Cabin now and plan on getting some rest before tomorrow's fun begins. YeeeeHawww!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 12 - Kalispell - Yellowstone - Cody, WY

Today, David and I left Andrea & BJ's around 8:30 after an AWESOME cherry coffee cake and coffee for breakfast. It was SO good hanging out with them and we hope to see them again soon. We got on the road headed for Yellowstone National Park. We stopped by University of Montana in Missoula (Gil!) but didn't really do anything.

We arrived to West Yellowstone around 2:00pm and did the northern loop.....we stopped at several hot springs, overlooks and saw some cool wildlife,
including our first BEAR of the trip!

David spotted it as we were driving past and we turned around to get a picture of it. I never realized how large Yellowstone was and how many people would be visiting it.
I thought it was awesome in so many ways and so love the opportunity to visit it. I did realize, however, that you develop a special relationship with a place that you actually walk through, instead of drive around, stopping every once in a while for a cool picture. So, it doesn't quite top Glacier, but is very cool in itself. After we finished the northern route, we headed east for Cody, Wyoming to catch a rodeo. Cody is the Rodeo Capital of the World and the nightly rodeo we watched has been going on for over 70 years. One guy rode his bull for 8 seconds, so that was cool because he was the only one to get a score. Some of the bulls were stubborn and it was entertaining to watch the clowns and the ropers get the bulls out of the arena.
Fun day and we'll be doing the southern loop of Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and heading into Jackson, WY tomorrow night. We'll catch up then!