Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What the Rats do when we are away....

I've always wondered what Jay and Elle do when we leave.  Yesterday, I got the opportunity to witness their shenanigans.

We stayed in a hotel on the first floor and left the blinds open.  When we went outside to get the rest of our stuff, Jeff and I peered into our hotel room to observe what the rats do when we leave.  

Their behavior started out normal; they just wandered around the hotel room sniffing things and following each other around.  Then, the craziness started.

Jay, the old decrepit dog who is just about the sweetest thing in the world, was wandering around blindly when all of a sudden he gets ambushed from behind from Elle!!!  She sprints from across the room and leaps on him and starts humping the heck out of the poor guy.  WTF?!?  Then this happens 2 more times in the course of 10 minutes.  Wow.  They are freaky little dogs.

*no photos to spare the children of this wretched behavior. 

Klondike Bluff Trail Run, Moab, UT

Jeff and I got up this morning and decided to get in a long run on a mountain bike trail outside Moab, UT.  I got on the internet and found the Klondike Bluff Trail, an out and back 8+ mile trail that ends at a viewpoint in Arches National Park.

Darn it, I loved it, I loved trail running.  Just another thing I'm going to have to get into.....
It was a brisk cool morning but once we got running, we warmed up quickly.  The trail was a mix of dirt paths  and giant sandstone boulders.
The trail was well marked so we never got lost or were unsure of where we were going.  The trail ended and we got a great view into Arches National Park.
There were the typical rock stacks that you add a rock to when you pass by.  We each added a rock.
We got in 8+ miles and it was awesome being out in the middle of the desert with nobody else around.  It was very relaxing and mind clearing.  Can't wait to do more trail running!!!!  Now off to Arches National Park and onto Colorado......

The New Shoe Tree

Jeff and I both ran on the treadmill today.  Jeff felt great and got in 5 miles, I only got in 4 miles because my lungs were burning, probably due to the higher elevations.  I gotta get used to this....

We continued west and made it to Utah before noon.  Hwy 50 turned into I-70 and we headed for Moab, UT.

At mile marker 105 off I-70 East there was a viewpoint rest stop.  This is where we started our own shoe tree.  Jeff had an old pair of indoor soccer shoes and I had an old pair of running shoes.  Jeff successfully threw his shoes perfectly over a top branch.  I threw my shoes and they awkwardly landed in the middle of the tree where you couldn't see them.  Ugh.
So the next time you drive across Utah, stop off at the 105 mile marker viewpoint rest stop and throw your old shoes in this tree just adjacent to the off-ramp.  Ok?  This is going to be the next big deal, I just know it.

Elle also found a good perch to take in the sites.  Yes, she is wearing a full bodysuit.  She hates wearing it, but it was cold.  When she wears that thing she bounces around rather than walking and constantly stops and rolls around to scratch her back.
We also started paying normal prices for gas, not the over inflated prices that we saw in Seattle and in California.  Hello $3.07 per gallon prices.
The drive through Utah is beautiful.  We made it to Moab by dinner.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lonely Boy

I really like The Black Keys new album "El Camino."  Jeff's brother got him the CD for Christmas and it has been a staple on our road trip.  We listen to it at least once a day.  The other morning we saw the video for "Lonely Boy."

THE MAN IN THE VIDEO STOLE ALL OF MY DANCE MOVES!  I am so upset and know he has been watching me groove to the song and copied me.  Give me back my dance moves you silly man and never copy me again!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Loneliest Road

This morning I woke up feeling very haggard after our night out in Reno.  I'm too old for that behavior.

We left Reno and took Hwy 50 across Nevada and soon understood why it is called "The Loneliest Road."  But it has been one of our favorite days of the road trip.  There is so much history (Donner Party, Pony Express) and it is really amazing at how few people live in Nevada and how big and beautiful the state is.  The quiet and driving without traffic was refreshing.
One of my coworkers takes a road trip to Nevada every year and gave me some spots to check out along the way.  The first place was the shoe tree where you bring an old pair of shoes to tie into a tree that is covered with tons of shoes.  I had our two old pairs of shoes all ready, unfortunately I was in la-la land and totally missed it.  Shoe Tree Fail, very very sad. Tomorrow we will make our own new shoe tree.

The second place my coworker recommended was a random group of hot springs about 7 miles off the highway in the middle of the desert with nothing else around.  Somehow we actually found it.  It was so random.  But so glad we did, it was awesome!
There were these make-shift "hot tubs" randomly scattered with campsite fire pits.  The natural hot water flows into the tubs. We are definitely coming back to camp here, it is very unique!
The water was really hot and we didn't have time to cool it off.  Jeff could take the heat for a minute but I couldn't even dip my toes in.
So I just did my best model impression and sat on the edge with a rat dog.  I'm so weird.
We continued east across Nevada until Ely, Nevada where we are staying for the night.  Tomorrow we will get in a run here in Ely and then continue east into Utah.

Night out in Reno

Last night Jeff and I finally stayed up past 8:00 PM and headed into downtown Reno to check out the scene.  We Googled where the cheapest blackjack tables were and went straight to the Cal Neva Casino for some $3 blackjack.
First of all, Reno on a Saturday night was surprisingly dead.  It was sort of sad.  So we did our best to boost the economy.

We parked ourselves at a table and spent the next 4 hours playing Reno style blackjack (they throw the cards at you and you have to either swipe the cards on the table for hit or put the cards under your chips to stay).  In 4 hours we successfully consumed enough booze to fuel a college frat party (free while playing blackjack, score).... and only lost $18 between the two of us.  Pretty good showing if I do say so myself.

Luckily an In N Out Burger was nearby where we promptly stuffed our faces with burgers, fries, and a vanilla milkshake in an attempt to absorb some of that alcohol.  We got back to our hotel and raced down the hallway in a luggage cart.

Carson City and Lake Tahoe

Yesterday we explored the Carson City and Lake Tahoe area.  We started the day off with an easy 3 mile run at Washoe Lake State Park which is just east of Lake Tahoe and north of Carson City.
I was really excited about the run.

We then checked out Carson City and got a post run beer at the High Sierra Brewery.  Decent brews.

Then we drove over to Lake Tahoe and up the eastern side of the lake.  It is gorgeous up there.  We got in a good sunset.  I tricked Jeff into taking a romantic photo.  I put the camera on the self timer and told him to stand there and then I ran up and grabbed his hand.  He was so embarrassed.

Then I continued to embarrass him by making him jump at the precise moment for the self timer to capture us jumping in front of the nice sunset.  We got it on the third try and each time we would sprint up giggling to look at the photos.  Luckily nobody was around to witness our childish behavior.  Here is the runner up to our favorite sunset jump photo in the previous post.  
I had to teach Jeff how to do the best jump pose.  He kept doing strange scissor kicks or would just jump awkwardly upward in a boring fashion.  He is now a jump photo professional and can get much higher than I can.

By the way, I woke up this morning and my back and shoulders were sore.  It was from all that jumping and flinging my arms upward to get the most air.  Needless to say, there will not be any more jump photos until I recover.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hello From Lake Tahoe!

Sunset, self-timer, jump photo.  Yep, we are nerds.

The Rats

In case you were wondering, the Rats are very good Road Trippers.  In fact, they travel like royalty, little rat-like versions of  William and Kate.

They have a nest of blankets and pillows in the back seat and never have to stay awake to drive.  Once I felt creepy warm breathing on my neck and turned to see this:
Sometimes I forget Elle is in the back because that little princess gets herself burrowed under blankets and doesn't emerge unless we summon her with food.
They get frequent walks and get to see lots of awesome sights.  Rough.  Life.

Drive, Taste, Drive.....

Thursday morning we got in a 4 mile run in Santa Rosa at a 7:25 per mile pace.  It was one of those runs that I felt awful, and whenever I feel like crud for some reason I want to go faster to be done quicker.  Jeff felt great and helped push me, it's nice having him as a running partner again!

We got lunch at a taco truck.  Absolutely DELICIOUS!  Food out of a truck, although it may not be sanitary, always tastes better to me.
Let me tell you a thing or two about Mexican food.  What we had in the Midwest is smothered in refried beans, sour cream, and nacho cheese; this is not Mexican.  Real Mexican is fresh and much better, in my opinion.  I always get the tacos; chicken, pork, and steak on flour tortillas with cilantro, onions, radishes, and fresh salsa.
Jeff got the burrito which was the best burrito we have ever tried.  He couldn't even put it down to smile for a photo.
We then continued on through Wine Country.  Gorgeous gorgeous Wine Country, with delicious wine.
We stopped at two wineries that were right off Highway 12, Kenwood and Valley of the Moon.  We had printed off coupons for these two wineries for a free tasting and 20% off wine purchases, score.  We now have 8 bottles of really good wine to serve to people that visit Denver.....
We definitely want to come back to Sonoma and Napa and stay for a long weekend.  It was beautiful with sooo many wineries. It lives up to the hype!

Wine Country

Wednesday night we made it to wine country.  Starting in Ukiah, CA, there were vineyards on both sides of 101 and stretching as far as you could see.  Glorious.
We stopped at one tasting room for our some California wine.
 Then we continued to Santa Rosa where we stayed for the night.  We even got to see Jeff's brother Matt who drove up from San Francisco!  He just recently started teaching a psychology class at San Francisco State University so he could only stay the night.  
Thursday we would continue through Sonoma and Napa for more wine tasting.......

Sinkyone State Park

After the Avenure of the Giants on Wednesday, Jeff and I wanted to check out the coast.  When I was discussing this road trip with a coworker before I left, he said, "When you get to Garberville, head west and hang out in Sinkyone Wilderness State Park.  It is the coolest most beautiful place I have ever been."

So when we got to Garberville we headed west to the coast.  I didn't really do much other research on Sinkyone, just knew which roads to take and where it was.

Northern California is more back woods than anywhere in the Ozarks.  Really, it is nuts.  The roads are wind ridiculously with lots of unnerving blind turns.  And the locals drive them like they are race car drivers.  Along the roads there are lots of strange shacks or nasty old RVs/buses converted to homes where lunatic hippies smoke their weed and live in "peace."   Their "yards" look like a scene out of Hoarders.
We drive for an hour and get to a place called Four Corners where we were instructed to stay straight. This little creature greeted us, I think it was a warning.
Instead of turning around when we saw this, we continued down the sketchy dirt/mud road.  We saw a sign so we knew we were headed into the park.
It was at this point the dirt and mud road turns into a steep, narrow, winding hazard.  To top it off fog rolls in and we can't see a thing.  I'm sure the views on a clear day are amazing, but all we saw was fog.  And the roads were so scary, with no way to turn around.  We did see this beautiful scene:
We were able to turn around after 2 miles and headed back up the steep horrible muddy road.  After several panic attacks and several pairs of soiled pants, we made it out.  We should have never gone down that road, we really were lucky to not get stuck in the mud or have car trouble.  Oh and no cell phone reception.

After the fact, I did check out the website and here is some info:
The rugged wilderness that once characterized the entire Mendocino Coast can still be explored and enjoyed in the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. Since there are no main highways near the coast in this vicinity, the area has come to be called the "Lost Coast."

No real warnings or indications that it is out in the boonies and pretty dangerous. Oh well, at least we are safe.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Avenue of the Giants

We didn't get our fill of Redwood Trees on Wednesday, so on Thursday we took a detour to drive the 30 mile stretch called the "Avenue of the Giants."
The drive was amazing.  Everyone must immediately stop what they are doing and drive to northern California to see the Redwoods.  Seriously.  Go get in your car, you will not be disappointed.

I still can't get over how big and old those trees are an how small and young I am!  I mean, look at how little Terry Trailblazer looks:

We could even drive Terry through one of those Redwoods (we did have to fold in the mirrors and we couldn't let Elle stick her head out the window, but we fit through to take this photo).

And in case you were wondering, the trees are very stable.  For as strong as Jeff is, he was unable to push one of the trees over.

I can't wait to get a trip planned to come back to camp among these Giants.  The campsites were all over the place and the views were gorgeous.  I wish we had more time here!!!!


Jeff and I woke up Thursday and ran 5 miles in Eureka, CA.  I'm sure the views there are amazing, but the rain and fog were so bad we couldn't see much.  Bummer.  We ran along the water.  Eureka seems to be a fishing town and we ran right along fishery row.  Horrible stinky fishy smells the entire 5 miles.  Gag.

I did get a few photos during the run.  I wish they were scratch and sniff so you could smell the awfulness.
We also saw a lot of cool Victoria houses.  But really all I see in this picture is my obnoxious Garmin GPS watch.  I am addicted to that thing so I can track every single mile I run.

We left Eureka and continued south on Highway 101.......

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dang Those Trees are Huge!

Today we finally got off I-5 and took Highway 199 to the coast of Northern California.  Saw my first Redwood, and they weren't kidding when they said they are huge.
We are continuing south on Highway 101.  Can't wait to see more of the trees and coastline tomorrow!

Happy Birthday Steve Prefontaine!

Today is Steve Prefontaine's birthday (January 25, 1951); Jeff and I just happened to be in Eugene, Oregon where there is a memorial for this great American middle and long distance runner.

Over Prefontaine's career, he won 120 of the 153 races he ran (78%), and never lost a collegiate race at the University of Oregon.  He once held the American record in the seven distance track events from the 2,000 meters to the 10,000 meters.  Prefontaine is credited with helping create the "running boom" in the 1970's.  He died at the age of 24 in a car accident at the height of his career.

In his words:
"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."

The memorial in Eugene also included some trails where Jeff and I got in our run.  
We ran 4 miles in 30:58.  It was a fun run adjacent to the Willamette River and goes past the University of Oregon football stadium.

The Culprit

Around 2 hours into our drive today, the car was suddenly filled with a pungent odor.

Me: Ew, Gross!  I told you to roll down the window if you were gonna fart!
Jeff: I swear that wasn't me.  Quit blaming your farts on me!
Me: I swear it wasn't me either!  Ohmygosh, it is awful!
Jeff:  I don't even like it.

Then I looked back and discovered The Culprit with a very smug look on his face:
Its amazing at how this half blind little 12 pound creature can create such a stench.  I wasn't even mad when it happened a second time, I was impressed.

The Art of Dog Sneaking

Jeff and I got back from Hawaii yesterday morning at 4:30 am and immediately packed up Terry Trailblazer (yes, we name our vehicles) for our road trip to Denver.  One little kink, the trailer with all of our belongings was still parked in our driveway and was NOT on its way to Denver.  Apparently ABF doesn't like bad weather.  It SHOULD be on its way today.... lets hope.

We picked up the little rat dogs and headed for Eugene, OR.  Every time I drove it started to torrential downpour.

We stayed at a hotel in Eugene that doesn't allow dogs.  So like every good citizen, we decided to wrap our rat dogs in towels and sneak them in.
Is that a sleeping child? No, its Jay!  

We are off to run on the Prefontaine Memorial Trail here in Eugene.  I hear that it will automatically shave 10 minutes off your next marathon time.  Score.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dear Person in Seat 22F

Dear Person in Seat 22F*,

I hope you enjoyed the red-eye flight from Honolulu to Seattle.

You were pretty lucky that you sat next to a small person like myself, a person who hardly takes up room and who doesn't even use arm rests.  But you were greedy, Person in Seat 22F.  You kept putting your elbow into my space and kept waking me up with your constant nudging.  Did you do this on purpose?  I did not appreciate it.

Also, I don't know if you realize this, but when you have your headphones on and you are singing, everyone  can hear you.  You may think you sound just like Kelly Clarkson, but really you sound like a goat.

And when you can smell your own fart, everyone around you can smell it too. Just because you like your "brand" doesn't mean that everyone else likes the smell of your emissions.  In fact, I threw up in my mouth several times over the course of the 5 hour flight.


The Middle Seater, Seat 22D

*Just in case you were wondering, Jeff was in Seat 22C and was not the culprit.  He had his own issues with the mini-bottle FAIL, more to follow later.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Last Day on O'ahu

Woke up to the sun and waves at Turtle Bay and got in one last hot and humid run before we return to the cold, rain, and snow.  We struggled with the 3.5 miles, maybe it was all that beer we consumed on the beach yesterday and into the night.
We loaded up in the coolest rental car known to man, the Dodge Caliber, and drove down the east, or Windward, side of the island.  We got some local grub; Lau Lau, spiced/smoked pork, clear noodle thingy with chicken, macaroni salad, and some sort of fried potato thing.  Obviously I was paying attention to what we ordered.  We ate at a roadside park with this fugly view.
And ate some Hawaiian Shaved Ice with vanilla ice cream at another roadside beach with more tragic views. Why have I never combined ice cream with slushees or shaved ice, WHY?!?  It is so good.  Jeff and I kept fighting over bites, we should have never tried to share.
We finally made it to the airport where we are now waiting for our red-eye back to Seattle.  Lets hope I won't have to sit next to any overweight, smelly, chatty, or snoring humans... or crying babies.  Goodbye Hawaii, I will miss you!