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Friday, July 20, 2012

Born To Road Trip: How the West was Won

After a long day’s journey across the Southwest, we are relaxing at our last stop on our journey: my aunt’s house in Scottsdale, AZ.

We left OKC at 3:45 AM on Tuesday and completed a drive through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Unfortunately, these are probably the worst states to drive through in July with a car that has no air conditioning. The heat definitely adds to the experience, creating a sauna-like environment that complements the mysticism that surrounds the Southwest.

We decided it would be best to drive straight through as quickly as possible, but we did make one mid-day stop in Albuquerque. There, we got to cool off, get some coffee, browse a couple vintage stores, and try some New Mexico chili.

We are going to be in Arizona until Monday morning when we finally head home. Washington, it will be nice to see you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Born to Road Trip: See OKC

 my new favorite cat

We are back on the road again in the car that was born the same year I was. We made it to Oklahoma City with no problems and are enjoying a visit in a very different part of the country than we have experienced before.

gus + his mama

On Sunday, Gus, his mother, and I went on a hike in the Wichita State Park. It was interesting to see so many facets of the landscape that reminded me of places far away: the sagebrush of Eastern Washington, the red rock of Southern Utah, and the free grazing bison of the Tetons. However, as it always goes, as soon as you get too comfortable in the familiarity, something totally unique pops up. In this case, it was several brilliant yellow and turquoise lizards that scurried along the park’s carpet of boulders.

We spent yesterday touring Guthrie, a small suburb of OKC. It had a really charming historical downtown, with cobblestone streets and well preserved brick buildings. We also stopped for a pint at McNellie’s Public House, a huge Irish pub in OKC.

 we're not used to such large crucifixes

 a liquor store in guthrie

Oklahoma was a unique visit, but I am not very sad to see it go. We are starting our first long haul back west today, hopefully making it to Scottsdale, AZ before the day is up. I’m excited for my first (brief) visit to Albuquerque today!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Born to Road Trip: Unplanned Adventures

Red Velvet
I’m a fan of Elsie Larson’s blog, A Beautiful Mess, so when I realized we were going through Springfield, I was pretty insistent that we stop at her shop. I’m so glad we did because her store was as quirky and delightful as I expected. I picked up some great khaki coveralls and a red plaid sundress that fits like a glove.

The Coffee Ethic
This cafe was a great find in downtown Springfield. We were greeted with a sleek urban decor and much appreciated air conditioning. The shop is “devoted to traditional drinks and sizes,” only offering 8 and 12 oz lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, and americanos. Their tactic paid off and my americano was the best I have gotten since I left home.

Gailey’s Breakfast Cafe
From the crowd at this little diner, it seems that it may be a local favorite. Originally a drug store built in 1937, this restaurant has plenty of retro charm. We all got super tasty omelettes.
We are getting new tires put on our car right now, and should be all set to go for the last half of our journey. We’re off to Oklahoma City this afternoon. Hopefully the Southern accent that Gus has picked up down here will be put to rest once we hit the Southwest!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Born to Road Trip: Midwest is Best

 my beautiful cousins

Since we left Wyoming, we have sought refuge in the Midwest to stay with family. It’s been a strange experience moving from the mountainous Northwest and spectacular Tetons to the very flat and dry heartland.

We did a marathon drive through Nebraska and Iowa. We stayed with my friend in Chicago for a night. Then, we moved on to Indianapolis for a couple days to see Gus’ sister. Now, we are just outside of St. Louis, where we have been for the last 5 days. My aunt has been generous enough to let us stay with her and it has been great catching up with her and my cousins.

 gus and james, ready for church 

I love getting the opportunity to see a whole different part of the U.S., as well as see the day to day lives of my family. We got to see my Aunt’s chickens and goats that she raises on her farm and eat her awesome home grown produce. We went shopping with my cousin, Sam, and saw her beautiful university campus. We even went to a Baptist church service with my cousin, James, and his fiancĂ©e. What an experience!

We are heading down to Oklahoma in a couple days, and beginning the Southwest leg of our journey. I’m so excited!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Paintbrush Canyon -or- Our Last Weekend in the Tetons

Everyone, I am sure, has been waiting with bated breathe to hear why we left the Tetons. I am going to offer the politically correct explanation here for now: there were things going on within the company that we did not agree with and did not want to be a part of.  We came to the decision that we would have a lot more fun, make more money, and be more comfortable back in Washington.
Thankfully, before we left, we got a great hike in Paintbrush Canyon. I was writing a post about it before, but the chaos delayed my post. So, I am just going to post the originally planned text below.


Since we arrived, Gus and I have been itching to go on one big, messy, all-day hike. On Tuesday, we finally did.

The weather is finally warming up, making some serious elevation climbs a possibility. So we decided to pack up our (barefoot) sneakers and Lara Bars to head up 2600 feet through Paintbrush Canyon to Holly Lake.

The canyon was amazingly beautiful. At the beginning, you gradually gain elevation while hiking through pine trees, small streams, and wild flowers. As you climb farther up into the canyon, your visibility clears and you can look up at the peaks that cradle the trail. Often in view are massive waterfalls created by the snow melt.

 gus enjoys the snow more than i.  

By the time we had climbed for about three hours, we started to hit snow fields. This meant I watched Gus scurry across the tundra while I scrambled up whatever boulders I could find in order to stay on dry ground.

At the final half mile, we came up to a massive, uphill snowfield. Unfortunately, scrambling up this was beyond my skill/confidence level, so I encouraged Gus to go on and take a peak at the lake without me. It was a bit frustrating to get so far up and not meet my goal, but hiking definitely fits the clichĂ©: it’s about the journey, not the destination.

As we headed back down, we were tempted to jump into some of the frigid but stunningly clear mountain streams. Unfortunately, we were dead tired and lacking a change of clothes.
At nearly the end of the trail, we had to extend our hike because we came upon a black bear sauntering our direction. We had to back up our path slowly, and circle around String Lake to reach our car.

The end result was sore muscles and a satisfying post-hike picnic in Jackson. It was incredible, though, and I am so excited for our next opportunity to hit the trail!