Our blog is quiet but we’re still here! We have great plans for this little blog, but we’re currently buried in busy. So please hang in there. We plan to come back even stronger… it just might take us a few months to get it all together.
I know you all have been missing Kristin here on the blog… I promise, she still exists and I have proof in this post! She’s been busy, busy so you’re stuck with me for the meantime.
We recently enjoyed a warm May night and Kristin was excited to cook us up some homemade Thai and we were like, “Ok”!!
There was a lot of wine and beer that evening… and let me just say that you haven’t partied with us on a Friday night until you’ve played “guess the cologne on the paper towel” game. And we certainly don’t condone huffing, but the coffee beans were a must after smelling so much Drakkar Noir. Like I said, there was a lot of wine…
p.s. This is our 300th post!! Thanks for following along with us! It wouldn’t be any fun without you.
Images taken by us, just for you.
Home, home, here we come…
I’m sure you can imagine. Spending that many days together, schlepping so many bags and driving so many miles, we were bound to have a few very minor, minor tiffs. There was a moment when I had a complete hissy fit and screamed F**k as loud as I could because my iPhone wouldn’t load fast enough. I was road weary. Or the time where Mike had a similar F-bomb meltdown because there was literally no parking at our Grand Canyon hotel. We managed…about a mile from our room.
And then by the time we reached our final destination of the lovely desert town of Barstow, and paid nearly the same amount for a stinky roadside room as we did for our plush Westin suite, we were just about done with the trip. We don’t fight, we just get snippy. And snippy we were. I instituted a no talking rule, since clearly talking was not working, and set up the bed pillow for a brief visual timeout for extra measure.
For our last dinner on the road we searched Yelp and found a local pizza joint which was actually pretty fun. Until they informed Mike that they do not have draft beer. Oh yea, and they don’t have anything closely resembling an IPA. He gritted his teeth, ordered a Stella, took a deep breath, and made the best of it. It actually turned out ok, especially since I kept reminding him that this is an adventure and we’re trying new things; like light beer.
By Sunday, we wanted nothing more than to be home so we hit the road at 6:30am and we were starting to feel giddy for the comforts of home. Oh yea. He just had one more pit-stop…
You remember my story about my Jeep? Well Mike bought his Dodge during that same time as well and he also had 225,000+ miles on it and he was overdue for a new ride. So before we left on our trip, Mike found this zipply little Mini-Cooper in Fremont. He test drove it, negotiated and he had a deal! He picked up his cashiers check just hours before we left on vacation and carried it with us for the whole trip. We arranged a slight detour off I-5 and I dropped him off and he drove the last hour towards home in his new car. Now that’s a way to end a vacation!
Thanks for coming along on our adventure. I hope we inspired you to plan a little something that you’ve always wanted to do. Life moves fast and sometimes it is short. Plan it now!
Post script: I’m one of those types who has to have the house perfectly clean before a vacation, so when I walk back in after a long trip it’s a clean, calm oasis before the laundry and luggage explode with dirty clothes. So I opened our back door and within 2 steps I knew something was wrong by the smell in the house. My eyes darted to the fridge and there it was… I accidentally left the fridge door cracked open. For 6 long, warm days. Mike and I stood side by side, assessing the minor damage in lost food. The reenactment went something like this:
Me: “Oh no, the door was left open!!”
Mike: He reached in to feel if the beer was warm. The beer!! Ha, ha! Not the milk or the mayo. The beer. And that folks is why he has his blog, Burgers. Bikes. Beer.
Images taken by us, just for you.
So after our brief Palm Springs car glitch we were all packed up and hit the road at 11am. Grand Canyon here we come!! The drive was pretty long. Open road, 18 billion cactus and not much to see and do. We had plans to try to beat the heat by leaving early but now we were at the mercy of midday. It stayed a pretty even temp of 97 for the entire drive and we alternated between air conditioning and open windows to give my car a break.
We zipped along at a steady 85MPH clip just trying to make the blue dot on the GPS move faster. Somewhere in the middle of our route we hit a hellish part of seriously, no joking, over 300 dippity-doos. It was a long hot stretch that lasted about 2 hours. We were on the desert floor with nothing. I mean nothing. Just us and the heat. Not even a shoulder to pull over and stretch! The pavement ended into a rocky sandy berm and then millions of cactus beyond that. The boring drive was tolerable, but the dippity-doos started taking a toll on my stomach. It was like being on one of those kiddy roller coasters, where it barely dips but after 200, it’s not so much fun anymore. We finally found a gas station so I could drive and things slowly got better.
All of that hot driving ended at a gorgeous 70 degrees at the Grand Canyon park entrance!! We had no idea what to expect but we were excited and ready for this part of our adventure!
We rolled into the front of the El Tovar Lodge and I hopped out hoping that just one room with a view was miraculously available for us on this busy Friday (it was – just one!) and Mike stayed in the idling car and cruised through Facebook to unwind from the long drive. Neither one of us happened to notice the MASSIVE canyon just steps (steps!) behind us (which Mike lovingly called “The Ditch” leading up to his first sighting). I swear, sometimes we are so lame. Mike came in to check on me and as we walked out we were like “Holy Sh*t, there it is!!”
It’s so difficult to describe, it’s something that you truly have to experience in your lifetime. As we approached the low stone wall, I put my hand to my chest, gasped and teared up. It was one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve ever seen. We quickly unpacked our car, grabbed 2 cold beers from the cooler and sat on the edge while watching the sun set. It was the best!
We got up bright and early the next morning for our hike into the Canyon. We were the first to arrive at one of the funky cafes on the rim. Mike ordered scrambled eggs and I happily ordered granola. Correction, “granola”. Oh my goodness this made me laugh… I could be wrong, but I’m almost positive that they took Nature Valley granola bars, smashed them in a ziplock bag and then poured them into a bowl. It was too funny. To their credit, they did pile on a generous amount of blueberries and banana which helped. Toto, we aren’t in Sonoma anymore*.
We opted for the South Kaibab Trail, a trail that I had recently read about and it sounded very nice. It offers the full Canyon experience but a little bit further out so it’s not as crowded. The park also has a massive free transit setup so we easily hopped onto the orange route and we were at our trail-head in no time.
Our brief 3 mile hike (round trip) was so much fun! I have to say it was a little sketchy being so close to the abyss. I could not walk and look, I could only do one or the other. But we reveled in every turn, every rock, every view and it was amazing.
We reached our 1.5 mile turnaround spot and within 15 steps of ascending back up the trail my heart was racing and I was winded. I thought, “oh no.” There were some very steep spots. Funny how they don’t seem that steep when going downhill. But we took our time and still enjoyed the views on the way back up.
Me with my rookie yoga pants and trucker hat was passed by serious hikers with carbines, walking sticks and wicking clothing. A couple thoughts on this… we only hiked down 1.5 miles during early morning. We each had one water bottle and it was not even 60 degrees out, plus we were mostly in the shade still. Hiking the Canyon is serious stuff. I was tired and out of water by the time we reached the shuttle parking lot. If you plan to do any hiking, read up and do your research!! As we walked back up, we passed kids in converse tennies and tank topped grandparents. I’m in decent shape and I was worried for them and it wasn’t even hot yet.
The moment you see the canyon and you walk some of the trail, the first thought you have is, “Man, there must be some crazy stories!” So when the souvenir shop clerk talked me into this book, I just could not resist. I read astounding stories after stories! Some of miraculous survival, some Thelma & Louise copy-cat car suicides, and a ton of just plain stupid people goofing off. The one that sticks in my mind the most was a dad teasing his daughter. Very close to where we had beers on our first night. He pretended to fall backwards off the stone wall and his plan was to land on the little ledge just below, squat down out of view and make her think he actually fell. As you can guess, it didn’t go to plan. Well it did, until his foot slipped on that ledge and he plummeted 300+ feet to his death. The moral of the story is don’t goof off!!
After our hike, we showered and packed up. We reluctantly said goodbye to the Canyon and aimed the car towards home. We were sad to say goodbye…
p.s. But wait, there’s more! One more post tomorrow.
*The “toto quote” is licensed, trademarked, and copyrighted by Agnes Hill. She gets full credit for the next 228 million years or until the Grand Canyon goes away; whichever happens first.
Images taken by us, just for you.