Crested Butte

Over the Xmas break Brian and I were in desperate need of something to look forward to, so I set out on booking not one, but three vacations.  The first one of the year we ended up going to the “Big Gay Ski Trip” put on by one of the Denver gays.  This year he decided to go to Crested Butte.  I have been there a few times in the summer to go mountain biking, but have never had the chance to snowboard there.  So when we found out about this trip I jumped at the opportunity.

It turned out to be a reasonably priced weekend since we were able to get 2 day lift tickets for only $99 at Costco, and the guy was able to negotiate a decent price at one of the hotels at the base of the mountain.  About the worst part of going to Crusty Butt is the 4+ hour drive (took us over 4.5 because it was dark and Monarch pass was slippery)

Crested Butte has an amazing small mountain vibe to it.  It’s definitely not like the stuffy vibe you get at Aspen or Vail.  To contribute to that small mountain feel was snow banks that had to be at least 6′ tall and the impressive Crested Butte mountain that springs up form the town.  We stayed at the Grand Lodge which is only a 2 minute walk, had a hot tub, mini kitchen, king size bed, and a murphy bed (we didn’t use this since our friends ended up not going).img_20170210_110328611

The first day we ended up just doing all blue runs since my back was giving me problems and Brian was still getting over a sinus infection.  I was surprised how well he did with the elevation and not being able to breath that well.  It was a sunny slushy day snowboarding and their blue runs are quite fun.  I was able to occasionally dip into the trees for a bit of fun in there.  I also gave their freestyle track a try and boy was that fun.  You can get going really fast through those corners.  We ended up skiing until around 3, then headed down for après, hot tub, and then dinner at Bonez (I thought it was going to be barbecue but it was a cool Mexican restaurant with excellent margaritas.img_20170210_113527888_hdr

The second day we had a bit of a rough time.  Brian wasn’t feeling so good but decided to go up and try anyways.  Big mistake.  After going down the first run to the Paradise warming hut, he knew he was done for the day.  He just didn’t know how he was going to be able to get down .. do I try to make it down by myself? Take a sled down with the ski patrol? Or, do I find a way to get down with the lifts?  We attempted to get down using the lifts, but after taking one lift up that looked like it was next to one that could take us to the base, we discovered he would have to hike up a short hill .. not a good option.  So, he ended up toughing it out and going down their awful green runs (They are too flat with too many people)img_20170211_154728_316After I got him situated in the room, I headed back up the mountain to try and see what all the excitement over their double blacks was about (Crested Butte is known for it’s steep and deep terrain).  To get to most of the fun terrain in CB you end up on one of the two T-Bars (which I haven’t done in a few years).  I ended up taking the North Face T-Bar to get back to the North Face wall and the Spellbound Bowl.   Crested Butte definitely lived up to the steep and deep over there.  I had two amazing runs and was stunned by the scenery.  But, after that my back had been jarred enough and I decided to quit while I could still make it down the mountain. cb

 

 

Peru – Part 4 – Machu Picchu / Aguas Caliente / CUZ – LIM – MIA – DEN

P1000495I have finally gotten to the last post of my Peru trip that happened over two years ago.  This post is the reason it took me so long to finish this series.  This post will also probably be a bit shorter since my mind doesn’t care to think of it.

The last morning of our Trek we woke up pretty early in the morning and were on the trail long before dawn broke.  We gathered up our belongings that we wanted to take with us to Machu Picchu, and headed down the trail a little ways.  Then we were stopped by line of people that were all waiting to finish hiking the rest of the way.  After about a half an hour of sitting there in the dark, the line started moving, and soon enough we were on our way through the last checkpoint and on our way to the end of our adventure.


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P1000475Hiking along in the pre-dawn my stomach started aching some.  It seemed like I had some bloating and mild pain in my stomach.  We kept on moving and I just ended up trying to adjust my backpack so my stomach wouldn’t hurt so much. Right about when the sun was coming up over the mountains, we reached Intipunku (Sun’s Gate), the first real good look of Machu Picchu.  We stopped here for a break and some picture taking, and I ended up rushing off into the bushes to start my own adventure of the Peruvian stomach flu.

As we arrived at Machu Picchu, our guide led us around the site and showed us some of the intricate stonework and told us some of the history of the place.  During this time most the people were all trying to get in the shade, and I couldn’t get warm enough standing in the sun.  I knew something was seriously not right with me.  After only spending an hour or so at Machu Pichu, I told my family I had to head down to the hostel and beg to let me in one of the rooms.  They decided they had enough with the crowds and realized they enjoyed all of the other magnificent ruins along the way better than they did Machu Picchu (Probably because the lack of people at the other sites).  After yet another pitstop to the restrooms, we boarded a bus and headed down the very long winding road with several hairpin turns and steep drop off’s. It looks like a road that would barely be able to fit one bus .. let alone two passing each other at times.

P1000533Luckily when we got to the bus stop, it was only a short walk to Hostel Viajeros.  After telling them what I was going through, they got a room ready for me and let us check in early.  My room was a very cramped double bed room that had no windows to the outside and was very stuffy.  Luckily there was at least a bathroom attached to the room.  I curled up on the bed and took turns napping and spending more time on the pot.  That afternoon I woke up and thought I was feeling a little bit better, and was feeling hungry since I hadn’t eaten anything all day and had either thrown everything up or it had come out the other end.  So I decided to be a little brave and head out and try to find some Gatorade and something easy to eat.  I wandered through a really neat market that had all sorts of fresh fruit and veggies.  They also had whole animals butchered and hung up, ready to be cut to whatever you wanted.

P1000534 P1000529It wasn’t long or far from the motel that my stomach started hurting again and feeling queasy, then light headed.  I headed back to the Hostel, but didn’t quite make it.  All I wanted to do at this point was to curl up in the shower and take a hot shower.  But all that would come out was cold water (It’s nearly impossible to get a hot shower in Peru).  The rest of the night I spent with a nasty flu that would leave me shivering cold one moment, then dripping with sweat the next.
P1000547 P1000550The next morning everyone by myself headed up to hike Huayna Picchu which is the mountain that looms over Machu Picchu.  From what they tell me it was an amazing hike with spectacular views, but some scary parts on the trails.  This seems to be some of their most memorable moments of the trip, so if you make your way down there, opt to do the hike up Huayna Picchu.  That afternoon, after they got back from their hike, we made our way down to the train station.  We took a train from Aguas Caliente back to Ollantaytambo.  The train ride was nice with some great views, and even included dancers in costumes, and, a fashion show in which Mandy was one of the fabulous models.

P1000554From Ollantaytambo we took a bus the rest of the way back to Cuzco.  The bus ride passed several small villages, farmlands, and stunning landscapes with high mountain peaks looming in the background.  Once back at Hotel Marques, I ended up staying the rest of our trip attached to the room, until the next morning when they kicked me out of the room and wouldn’t let me extend my stay even though I was sick.  I ended up just sitting in their courtyard and tried to keep warm in the sun, while not venturing too far from their restroom (It was a strange cave like restroom .. but at least it was a regular toilet that flushed).  After the family did some bumming around Cuzco and bought more souvenirs, we took another crazy taxi ride through the city to the airport and started our journey back home.

We had another layover in Miami, this time I wasn’t fit to drive so someone else took the wheels as we headed down the Florida Keys.  We stopped and did some kayaking in the mangroves where we got to see some crocodiles.  Then we stopped at some small joint and then got us some delicious key lime pie before heading back to the airport and back home to Denver.

Peru-Part 3–The Inca Trail

Early in the morning, before dawn even broke, we departed the Apu Lodge and went on a short, but bumping bus ride to Piskacucho, the official start to our Inca Trail adventures.  Here we met up with our porters, and made sure our packs were all distributed, then we crossed the bridge and headed down the Urubamba canyon.

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P1000174_thumb3.jpg P1000171_thumb3.jpgHiking along the Inca trail, you encounter many interesting sights.  It’s not just the ruins, vegetation, or towering mountains in the distance.  It’s the little things that catch your eye, such as local women packing in or out goods on the trail.  There are villages that are still on the trail and they don’t have any road access.  So everything has to be carried in on foot or mule (But Mule’s can only go to a certain point).  The Porters that carry all of your camping gear, food, plus all their own gear and food, are quite the sight themselves.  They are short people (Average height in Peru is 5’ 4”) but carry heavy loads that are packed up taller than themselves.  And to top it off, most of them only have sandals for shoes!  They happily pass you up and you will occasionally pass them while they are taking a break and drinking chicha and chewing  coca leaves (I was chewing those too … as they help with altitude).   We also had the pleasure of stopping at a villiage, that had a small outpost  like grocery store and where you could pay a sole or two to use a restroom (a hole in the ground with shit all over the walls)  I thought this was pretty gross .. but that  was before we encountered other ones on the trail later on.…

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Our first glimpse of the ruins on the Inca trail were only two hours into the hike when we came upon a lookout that you could see the garden terraces and settlement of Llaqtapata which sits on the bank of the Cusichaca side river.  After a short break to take some pictures we climbed a short way up the Cusichaca valley to Huayllabamba, where our porters had already set up camp and started cooking us dinner for the night.

The company we used as our guides was quite nice.  Each night, when you would come into camp, they would have the tent all set up with your gear sitting in it.  You could lay in it and relax for a little while since trekking at this altitude can be quite tiresome.  After a bit of a rest, they would come around with something to drink, and a bowl of warm water to wash up in.  After washing up you would make your way into the dining tent where they would bring in a lot of really good food to eat.  This wasn’t the kind of food one would expect on a backpacking trip.  It was excellent food and each night was very different.  We had stews, all sorts of potato’s (Peru is home to thousands of variants of potato), quinoa, ceviche, and different kinds of fruit.  Each night you would want to keep eating more and more of the food until you were stuffed and barely able to haul yourself off to bed. In the mornings they would come around with a wash basin full of warm water, and a cup of tea to warm you up.  You would make your way groggily out of bed and over to tent for another exquisite meal.

The entire length of the Inca trail is made up of cobbled stones and a whole hell of a lot of stairs strung out over 26 miles.  The second day on the trail we made our way way up  the steep-sided Llullucha valley and through subtropical woodlands. Crossing the rim of a small plateau, we found ourselves in the pula, the treeless grasslands of the high Andes.  After a break to catch our breath, and for Spencer to take advantage of a last chance of getting some alcohol from the locals, we headed up to the first pass and the highest part of our trek,  Warmiwañusqa (Dead Woman’s Pass).  Our guide tried his hardest to convince us that it looked like a dead woman.    Maybe you can see it … but I guess my imagination is just not that great … or could be because I’m gay and have a hard time visualizing a woman laying down…  From he top of the pass you get spectacular views of both valleys, plus of snowy peaks of Huayanay.  From here we made our way down to the floor of the Pacaymayo valley, where we camped for the night.

P1000314_thumb.jpgP1000421_thumb.jpgThe next morning we picked up on the Inca stairway again and ascended past the small Inca site of Runkuracay which was used as an outpost watching for people invaders down the valley.  As we reached the second pass, the landscape opened onto spectacular new views of the snowy peaks of the Pumasillo range.  We descended to the ruins of Sayacmarca, an intricate labyrinth of houses, plazas, and water channels, all perched on a rocky spur overlooking the Aobamba valley. We continued on and descended into the cloud forest, with it’s abundance of orchids, bromeliads, mosses, and ferns..   This orchid picture is one of my favorites, not for the beauty of the picture, but instead, if you zoom in and look closely you will see an insect hiding in it.  Our next stop of ruins was the mist covered complex of Phuyupatamarca (Cloud-Level Town).  I didn’t have time to stop there since we were running a little slow as the hike was taking a toll on our joints (Did I mention there were a lot of stairs …)   We finally made it down to our final camp by the ruins of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young).

Once we got at camp, our guide let us know that there was an owner of one of the buildings that, for a price, would let us take a shower in his facilities.  It was all hush hush since he apparently wasn’t suppose to be operating any type of business there.  But, we were willing to take the risk, and after what felt like a drug deal,  Brian  and I got our turn.  The showers scared the hell out of me.  There isn’t a normal water heater like what we have in the US.  At this place the water heater was on the shower head itself.  The power was hooked up by a few wires dangling right next to the running water and didn’t have any wire nuts or any other insulation on them.  (Maybe this is why he wasn’t suppose to be operating ….)  The water was very temperamental and I couldn’t get a continuous stream of lukewarm water.  Mostly because I was afraid to touch let alone adjust the water control out of fear of being electrocuted to death.

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After taking a short break at camp a few of us made our way down to check out the Wiñay Wayna ruins.  A few of the members of our group, including the couple from the UK, our youngest member, and a few others stayed behind because they were getting tired or sick.  The altitude has a not so pleasant effect on your body.  While waiting in our tent later we heard a few people vomiting and groaning. That night we had an all out feast with our guides and stayed up a little later chatting about adventures and cultural differences.  A few of the group had a few drinks .. and a few others had a few too many… But I was exhausted, so Brian and I headed to bed.  And then things went downhill for me  … more to be come.

Peru-Part 2-CUZ-Ollantaytambo

Here we are over 2 years after the fact, I am going to try to finish up the blog about my trip to Peru.  I had all the intentions of finishing this blog post two years ago, but I kept putting it off because I was still queasy about parts of the story you will come to find out.  Then Life got a hold of me and I never finished it.  Now I am two years and several blog posts should have been written about other adventures.  I’ll try to make them up …

Facts may be distorted due to mental distress and the effects of time on my memories …

First thing in the morning of day 2, we gathered up our sleeping bags, gear, and personal belongings that we would be taking on our trek, and had the Hotel Marques store the rest of the stuff we didn’t need for the the week.  After everyone in our group got their bags packed, we boarded a small van and headed for the Sacred Valley.

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We descended 1500 feet to the valley floor of the sacred Urbamba river stopped off at a roadside market where Brian picked up a small stuffed cuy as a souvenir and I got a beanie made from alpaca, as well as a blanket made from alpaca.  We also got to go check out some alpaca one of the locals had there ready to be posed with for a small price.  After that we headed up to the ruins of Pisac and wandered around for a short tour, then down to the villiage of Pisac to the larger market there. 

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At this market, several of our group members ended up getting lost, and we enjoyed checking out the local goods, as well as a cute little house filled with squeaking cuy waiting to be killed and cooked.

Once our guide was able to round up the lost members of our group, we continued onto Urubamba where we stopped for lunch at a buffet style resturant.  This is where I first tried ceviche and loved it.  Luckily they didn’t try to serve us cuy here.  After having lunch we kept heading down the sacred valley to Ollantaytambo.  Here we toured more Incan ruins, including a hike up temple hill to the temple of the Sun.  It is quite amazing when you see the stones these people hauled from neighboring mountains.  From the top you could see some of the stones that were quarried and meant to be drug up to this temple, but never did make it all the way.  Across the valley from the ruins you could see even more ruins high on the mountain.  It was directly below these that we would be staying the night.

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Situated at the foothills of Pinkuylluna, a sacred Inca mountain, was a quint little B&B, the Apu Lodge.  For some reason this night was one of my most memorable of the visit.  This B&B was not only directly below some very cool looking ruins, but it was also off the regular streets on the outskirts of this village.  To get to it you had to walk up a stone path that cut through where all the locals lived, up to the small lodge.  We ended up walking past homes with the red garbage bags hanging out front to signal they sold chicha (the local beer) where groups of men would be huddled in the small dirt floored homes drinking away and chatting away in Quechua.  We would pass homes that in their small yards they would have cows, chickens, or other smaller animals roaming. 

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That night we found a restaurant in the town square that for the first time we really had to use some Spanish.  The waitress didn’t know any English.  Thankfully I had taken some Spanish courses before we went to Peru and they paid off.  We were able to somewhat understand what we ordered, and we had an amazing meal.  I don’t remember what I ordered now, but I do remember it was pretty good.  I do remember Brian ended up ordering lomo saltado, which is a popular, traditional Peruvian dish that combines marinated strips of sirloin with onions, tomatoes, and other ingredients and is served with potato slices.

After this wonderful dinner, and a little roaming around the town center, we made our way back up to the lodge and crashed for the night to get a little needed rest before all the hiking started in the morning.

Peru–Part 1–DEN-MIA-LIM-CUZ

This summer I finally went on my first trip out of the country (Other than when my parents took me across the border into Mexico when I was too young to remember).  Back around Thanksgiving of last year my mom, siblings, and I decided to head to Peru to hike the Inca Trail.  I got the joys of planning out the whole thing.  By February we had our trip booked and by March we had our plane tickets (at $1,700+ each those really hurt).  By the time everything was said and done it would be six of us going… my sister Andrea, her girlfriend Mandy, my mom Kim, my brother Spencer, my boyfriend Brian, and myself.  Everyone except Brian and myself were originally slated to fly out of SLC but two weeks before the trip their flights all got cancelled.  They re-booked to fly out of Denver on the same flight as ours.  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

We first start off our trip by flying from DIA to MIA.  We have a 10 hour layover so we rent a minivan (First time I’ve ever driven one) and decide to see a little of Miami.  First off we go to Little Havana to get some food.  We stop off at a highly rated Exquisito Resturant and stroll up and down Calle Ocho.  After some delicious Cuban food we headed over to Miami Beach and to the World Erotic Art Museum.  Id recommend this to anyone that doesn’t have any serious hang-ups over nudity and sex.  It was extremely interesting especially seeing objects of art from so many different time periods and cultures.  There were even pieces as old as 400 BC.  After that we head a few blocks over for a stroll on Miami beach, then over for some of the  biggest fishbowl sangrias ever .. where we were rained out by a crazy storm.

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After getting everyone but me drunk we hopped on the plane for an overnight flight to Lima, then a dash through customs to get on board for Cuzco.  We get picked up by a van sent to get us from SAS Travel and he zips us through traffic, pedestrians, and dogs to the center of town. We then check in to the Marquees Hotel and enjoy the wonderful courtyard complete with their own Peruvian lady making alpaca scarves and sashes.  We then take a nap before heading out for our first adventure into Cuzco.  After adjusting a little to the altitude (Twice of what Denver is at 11,152 feet) we walk over to the Plaza de Armas where they are just picking up after the big Inti Ryami celebration.  The streets and sidewalks are full of vendors trying to sell you everything from alpaca goods to Inca Cola.  They are even as forward enough to put a pin of the Cusco Flag ( a rainbow that resembles the gay pride flag) on your chest telling you it is a gift, then asking for 2 soles (the local currency).

Plaza De Armas, Cusco, PeruPlaza De Armas, Cusco, PeruStatue near Plaza De ArmasCusco Cathedral

We then get talked into coming into a restaurant on the Plaza that had amazing views, and pretty amazing food.  Where I tried both Inca Cola (Which I loved) and some cuy or what Americans know as Guiney pig ( which was an awful chewy mess).  We also tried the local favorite liquor drink, the Pisco Sour.  Which was very good and reminds me of a margarita.  After that Brian and I killed some time by walking through first the markets targeted towards tourists, then down to the local markets where things were quite different.  We had to have passed by 20 women cooking up their own version of soup and selling it to the locals.

Fried Cuy (Guinnea Pig)Inca Cola and Pisco Sour

Then we had to head back to the motel to be briefed on our trekking trip and to rest up for tomorrows adventure.

Trip to Florida to watch Atlantis’s last departure

This past weekend I had an amazing opportunity to go to Florida with my Dad and watch the last NASA Shuttle launch.  What an amazing trip it was.

We Left Denver Thursday afternoon and made it to Titusville around 10 or so.  We went out and found a place to where we could see the shuttle at night time to try and get a decent picture of it before it launched.  But, it turned out to be too hard to get a good picture at night.  So, we headed back to our motel room to catch a whopping 2 hours of sleep before we had to wake up at 2 AM to head to the Kennedy Space Center.

We arrived at the KSCVC around 3 am and started the processes of waiting in line after line after line.  We finally boarded our bus at 7:30 AM and then proceeded to head out to the Causeway where my dad had gotten tickets to through the lottery system.  The causeway is the closest you can get as a civilian to watching the shuttle launch.  We sure lucked out.

After waiting in the humid heat for 4 hours while setting up the cameras, chatting about cameras, listening to the latest news of whether it was going to launch or not (a 30% chance) we finally got the word that the launch was a GO.  We all waited anxiously in anticipation for the countdown.  We made it to T-2 minutes .. and then were delayed.  But only for a few minutes…. Then they started the clock again at T-5 minutes and counting…  3…  And you could see the engines light up and the smoke billowing out…  2… 1… and we had liftoff.  For a moment all you could see was the smoke .. and then you saw the nose of the shuttle peaking out and moving up quickly … then it all happened so fast yet was sort of slow motion… watching the shuttle arc up into the clouds.  Then eventually the booming sound of the shuttle hit us (about 30 seconds later).

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And a few from the Pro Photographer Dad ….

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After the shuttle launch we made our way back to the Hotel for some very much needed rest.  That pretty much took up the rest of Friday.

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Saturday we headed out to the northern part of Merritt Island to the wildlife refuge to see what birds and other critters we could see.  At the visitor center we went on a short walk and ran into some interesting spiders, dung beetles (at least beetles that liked dung), turtles, and a small croc.   After that we headed out on the Peacock Pocket Rd loop (one that we would repeat two more times) to check out the birds.

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I would like to come back to Merritt island sometime (Maybe in the spring when it’s cooler) and take a kayaking trip around the canals and lagoons.  It was a very pretty area and very enjoyable except all the mosquitos that for some reason really love my blood (I’m still itching all over from the trip).

The last part of our major adventure was sitting on the tarmac for over an hour in Orlando, running through Atlanta’s airport from the end of one terminal to the end of another, and then not getting back home till 2 AM.  Just in time for a few hours sleep before I had to be to work Monday morning.

Thanks Dad for the GREAT time !!!!

Vacationing in Florida

Where do we start?  So much has changed in the past few months.  I guess I could start at the begining.
 
Back in January I went to Phoenix, AZ to visit a friend for a couple weeks.  Well I had  great time while down there and didn’t want to go back to SLC.  And besides that I also happened to meet someone special.  After being back in SLC for a couple weeks, Sean (the guy I met in Phoenix) came to visit me in SLC for 5 or 6 days.  Needless to say we have hit it off pretty well.
 
After staying in SLC for only 3 – 4 weeks I headed to Vernal to spend time with the family, plus, I helped out my sister by watching the girls while she went on a vacation herself.
 
Well, After that i headed down to Phoenix agian to spend some more time with Sean and try to get to know him some more.  Well, After being there for a few weeks my roomate in SLC informed me that he was moving and was selling his house so I needed to move out by April 15th.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life at that moment.  Well after alot of contemplation and talking with Sean, he invited me to stay ith him and give that a shot.  I accepted and we made the plan to move the rest of my stuff down (I already had some of my clothes and such there).
 
So I made the move over Easter weekend (Sean came out with me and helped me move my furnature to store at my mom’s and met the family while he was at it).  On the way home we stopped at Moab and Arches National park then we headed home to Phoenix.
 
After only being home for a week or so we actually took off on a vacation / work trip for Sean to Florida.  This pretty much brings this blog current now. 
 
So on with my Vacation.  We landed in Florida on thursday and hav been having one great vacation soo far.  We went shell hunting on the beach on Friday, Laid out on the beach on Saturday, then rode the bikes around today (Sunday).  Tomorrow we head to Orlando, FL which is where Sean is doing his work.  WE might get a chance to go to Universal Studios.  I’ll update this post at a later time and put some pictures on it.  Right now it’s time to get to bed.

Tahoe

Here is one of the Pictures I took at Lake Tahoe today.  I would put more of an entry and I might tomorrow.  But for now i have been up for 18 hours and am dead tired.

A Trip across the country.

I volunteered to Greensboro, NC to pick up a vehicle and drive it back for my Mom’s Boyfriend.  I always do enjoy the oportunity to travel and explore new places.  So I figured this would be a great chance to do so.  I flew out on a Thursday after rushing to SLC the night before to fix some networking problems in our Salt Lake terminal. I flew out of SLC Thursday morning only after having some problems with my Ticket since it had been purchased on such short notice.  I should have gotten an idea right then what the trip had in store for me.
 
I flew from SLC to Atlanta, GA, then over to Greensboro, NC from there.  I took a taxi to my motel and settled in a little.  After a while I decided to go check out the bars in Greensboro.  After checking online and a 20 dollar cab ride I reached downtown where the bars were.  I paid the cabbie and just after he had turned the corner I noticed that both the bars I had come to check out had been closed due to loosing their liquor liscence (someone on the street told me).  So I though oh just great .. time to waste another $20 on a cabbie.  I then saw someone go into another bar called Hemmingways.  I went in there and only after loosing my hat and promising to the bouncer I wasn’t a cop (I guess they have scricter laws then Utah) I was able to get in and sit down for a drink.  The one good thing that came of the night was that they had Yeunglings beer.  I love this stuff and had only had it in PA.
 
After having a couple drinks there for a while I got a ride back to my hotel from a local.  That was one of the most interesting drunken drives I have been on.  We were going 85 on 35 MPH roads.  I was very glad to get out of the vehicle on that one.
 
The next morning I went to pick up the vehicle … to make a long story short I spent 4 or 5 hours dealing with a mess and ended up having to drive a vehicle across america ileegally (no plates or temp tags).  So after I gave up on the idea of getting the vehicle legal I headed out for my next stop.  I told a friend I would stop by Asheville, NC and check it out since he has been trying to get me to move there for some time now.  I got a room at a nice place downtown within walking distance to most everything.  While there that weekend (I stayed two nights) I got to see some really neat places and meet some awsome people.  I think the regular people there were what I loved.  I went out to the gay bars there but didn’t really enjoy myself there.  I think I would have done better off at a str8 bar.  The whole town is very gay friendly and I felt welcomed almost everywhere.
 
After sunday I figured I needed to head to my next stop in Louisville, KY where I had to do some work.  I stayed there for two nights as well.  I did my work training the employees there with the little time I had and in the evenings worked on some of the other problems I was having.  I also got to go out on the town a little monday night and check out some of the local life.
 
Tuesday they took me to Hooters (yay) and gave me that treat of an experience.  I did pick up a shirt for my sister and brother though (they thought the one for my brother was for me and was rather confused on the one for my sister).  After work there I headed to St Louis for the night.  While there I met a nice local.  Talking to him later he showed me some of the pics he has taken.  He has quite the good eye for photographs.  He showed me some he had on flickr here.  The next morning I headed across the street from where I stayed and visited the Arch.  It was an awsome experience and very enjoyable.  I think after the time I spent in St Louis I felt alot more relaxed and started actually enjoying the rest of my trip.  I hope to go back there sometime and spend a little more time exploring around.  Hopefully a week or so to have some fun. 
 
After that I headed across the praries making sure to keep my speed low so I wouldn’t get ticketed.  I was hoping to get across Kansas that night but that didn’t happen.  I gave up a mere 52 miles from the border in Colby, KS.  It was alright there though.  I got some good sleep and got to have some starbucks in the morning. MMMMMMM.  After that I made it to Grand Junction, CO and had dinner with a friend and stayed there the night.  Like I said after St Louis I had a much more relaxing and enjoyable trip. 
 
I finally made it back to Vernal Friday but could only stay for a whole hour before I had to catch a plane out to SLC to pick up my vehicle.  I went down saturday and visited my grandma then made my way home saturday at 9 PM.  Only 11 days later   I put some pictures of the Arch and downtown St Louis on here.

Flying by the seat of my pants

I guess you could say I like to fly by the seat of my pants.  Yesterday I got a call from my dad asking if I would fly to SLC to help him drive his old truck back home (He got a new one).  I told him I would.  The plane was scheduled to leave at 4:30 and I called and they said I needed to be there by 4 PM.  It was already 3:20 so I hurried and packed my laptop up (I even forgot my charger) and headed down the road.  I got to the aiport on time and got my ticket bought and checked in.  When I went through security I got a first time thing for me.  They took a little wand with some fabric on the end and basically suffed it around my laptop and in all the cracks and crevises then stuck it in the machine that sniffs for bombs and drugs and things.  Of course it all came clear though.  The ride to SLC was very smooth and soooo beautiful.  I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a plane ride as much as that one.  I got to see the sun set over the clouds and the tips of the mountians.  By the time we arrived in SLC it was growing dark so I got to see the city lights from above.  I have been on the plane quite a bit but it was verry different this time since the smaller planes fly alot lower then the larger planes so you get to see more detail of the landscape below.  I drove my dads truck back to vernal and was back in town by about 11 PM.  I am attaching a picture of the plane I rode on and a few shots I snapped from the window.