Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fuelin' Around: Pictures Uploaded!

Well, slowly but surely, I am getting the pictures uploaded. However, I am only though labeling part of them.

Feel free to take a look now (see Picasa Albums on bottom right), or I will let you know once they’ve been thoroughly labeled.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fuelin' Around: Miles Driven

Michael: 9000
Denise: 0
Reggie: 1
Lewis: ?

As an aside, we got up and left an hour later than planned, since neither one of us had remembered to change clocks back to eastern time. Didn't realize it till mid way thru bkfast when Brian said "getting on the road later than you thought, huh?" Who knows when we would have noticed it otherwise.
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Fuelin' Around: Atlanta

After getting into Atlanta and maneuvering our way around traffic due to paving on the 75/85 connector, we hung out with Brian, Tiffany, and Brady for dinner. Michael's neighbor from his Decatur house (Heather) came over for a bit, too.

We went to bed and got up and on the road this morning for the (long) ride home.

Michael has to work tomorrow (for 14 days straight - ouch!) and I am back to work on Wednesday, after doing loads of laundry and de-skampifying all our traveling stuff.

Back to "normal" life soon!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fuelin' Around: New Orleans

We had a long day in the car yesterday, driving from Austin to New Orleans. Horrible weather (more rain!) and our first traffic jam of the trip only added to the pain factor.

However, once we got here we met up with a friend (Christy, or Critty as we like to call her) for dinner at Brigtsen's. As usual, both the food and the company were excellent.

This morning we are off to buy a couple NOLA staples for the pantry (olive salad, Abita beer, and hot sauce), grab a delicious iced coffee, and dash into the Quarter for a bumper sticker to add to our growing collection.

Then another day of car time as we head to Atlanta.

P.S. - Happy 7-Year "Anniversary" Michael!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Fuelin' Around: Miles driven

Michael: 8081
Denise: 0
Reggie: 1
Lewis: ??
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Fuelin' Around: Austin

Fun day in Austin yesterday. We had a short drive in and met one of my residency friends for lunch (Janna). The rain continued all day--this is apparently the first rain here in six months. We had tacos at Guero's and walked around the Congress st area shops. Later on met up with Denise's long lost cousin and went to 6th st for dinner, which was very good, and had a few drinks afterwards at some nearby bars. This is actually the first of D's extended family that I've met; we both enjoyed meeting up with them. We stayed at their house for the night, and are back on the road to NOLA today. Long day of driving ahead.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fuelin' Around: NM/TX

Awoke this AM after possibly the worst campground yet. The bathrooms were nasty, with tons of bugs in the sink. There was a large group of foreign travelers whose in-sink dishwashing probably didn't help any. Found some other bathrooms that were cleaner, but unfortunately the power had gone out, and we were left in the dark. Denise decided that she would prop open the door to the bathroom with a rock while she was showering; for some reason she seemed surprised when someone walked in on her. We were then off to Carlsbad Caverns, which as the name suggests are caverns. Took us a while to get through everything, but they were worth it. Seven hundred-something feet underground. Very dark, eery stalagtite/mites, water pools, etc. The strangest things were the underground bathrooms and gift shop. The bathrooms were literally crammed within the confines of the cave, which was cool enough to take pictures of. Denise unsurprisingly turned down the opportunitiy to join (become a founding member of?) the "Mile Low" club. I'm sure she'll regret it later. After leaving the caverns, we drove through more miserably boring country in Texas. Arrived at a very nice campground, though it has inexplicably continued to rain. The Skamper sprung a roof leak; not too bad, but it made us sad. This will actually be our last night Skamping on the trip. We also were greeted with termite swarmers, which reminds me of another reason that I'm glad we don't live in NOLA anymore. If you havent experienced them, be glad. Tomorrow we head to Austin.

P.S. Still no signs of Lewis.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fuelin' Around: Still in NM

Mostly driving today, going from the NW to SE part of the state, almost 500 miles through more nothingness. We did stop in Roswell, which was full of UFO stuff and crapatoriums selling cheesy goods, some of which we bought. There was a UFO museum there which was actually very interesting; unfortunately, we got there ten minutes before closing and had to just get an overview. We made it to Carlsbad, and hurried to the caverns to see the exodus of thousands(?) of bats at sunset. We really had to hustle to make it there by sunset, but got a good show. We're at a campground right next to the caverns, so in the AM we go underground, and then continue on to TX.

Fuelin' Around: NV-UT-AZ-NM

As D mentioned, we had a sprint through NV, staying in an illegal camp site. Went through more deserted terrain--at one point we went 50 miles and saw one car. During this stretch we passed what I think was an abandoned mining site off the highway. Despite Denise's (very reasonable) concerns, we took the Skamper for some mild off-roading and explored the ruins. We continued on into Utah to Bryce Canyon, which was again incredible. Huge canyons and bright red rock formations. The best part was probably the huge natural arch. We left out of there and continued on to Arizona. Once again, Labor Day weekend screwed us, and our accomodations weren't ideal. We did make a fire and finally had some marshmellows/s'mores. The next morning, we found the coin-op shower that cut Denise off before she could rinse her hair. I tried to alleviate her grumpiness with some bacon and Huckleberry Skampcakes, but it was no use. We trekked on to the Grand Canyon's North Rim, which is apparently the non-touristy side. I was surprised to find exactly zero tourist traps on the 50 miles in from our campground. It wasn't crowded at all; not what I expected. We took a 1.5-2 mile hike down the canyon, and remembered how out of shape we were. After catching our breath, we drove on towards Carlsbad Caverns. While the Grand Canyon had a lot more trees than I would have expected, the rest of the trip through Arizona was exactly what I thought it would be--miles of nothingness punctuated by spectacular mesas and rock formations. Again, you could look out for hundreds of miles and see absolutely nothing. We were off the interstate and drove through Navajo and Hopi Indian nations. It was really depressing. Looked no better than third world shanties. We keep saying to each other on this trip, "how would you like to live HERE?". I think it's a tie between MT, WY, NV, SD, and AZ as to which is the most barren. Tonight we arrived in NM, and are once again partaking of Wal-Mart's hospitality. It's now raining. Strange that the first rain we see all trip is in the desert. We set some traps for Lewis last night, but have seen no signs of him.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Fuelin' Around: Skamper Decor

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy Birthday, Dad! Hope that you are having a great day! I wish I could be there to celebrate with you!

Fuelin' Around: Nevada

Yesterday we drove from Vacaville, CA to Baker, NV.

Nevada via Highway 50 is a whole lotta nothingness. I guess that's why they call it the "lonliest road in America".

While on Highway 50 we:

1. Attended the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival (including cantaloupe ice cream, a cantaloupe daquiri, an indian taco, mud volleyball, and square dancing awesomeness)

2. Stopped at the Grimes Point Archaeological Area to see some 8000 year old rock carvings around what used to be a 700 ft. Deep lake (and is today piles of dry rock and sand). This was not all that interesting, but was a good reason to get out of the car.

3. Saw a mile or two of roadside sand where people had left messages, one after the other, spelled out in small rocks and pebbles. One of them even said, "marry me"...although michael said it would have been better if it said "marry me or walk home". Would have been one long walk! :)

4. Saw remnants of a Pony Express station and of a telegraph repeater station (that in effect made the Pony Express obsolete).

We kept driving until past midnight and got to the Great Basin National Park. Unfotunately, every single campsite was filled (maybe due to Labor Day weekend?). Because there was nowhere else to go, we 'created' a campsite and stayed the night anyway. Didn't sleep all that well; both due to an oncoming sore throat and a bit of worry that the camp ranger would come wake us up and throw us in jail.

This morning, we had an awesome breakfast at a little shop right outside the park, collected our Nevada bumper stickers, and got on the road to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.


Fuelin' Around: UT

Crossing into Utah. Miles driven:
Michael: 5800
Denise: 0
Reggie: 1
Lewis: ??
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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fuelin' Around: Napa

Yesterday we headed out of San Fran to Napa to meet up with our friends Marc and Amy) for lunch.

We ate some tapas and had some sangria (which may be an unforgivable offense in wine country) at Zuzu and then headed off to a winery (Trefethen) for a tasting.

Then, rode up through a super curvy road to Vacaville (where they live) for a dinner of In-N-Out burgers.

Ate breakfast at Wren's this morning and we are now on the road and a bit worried about Labor Day traffic around Lake Tahoe. Guess we'll find out soon enough if the traffic will be a problem.

We got some 'no kill, live catch and release' mousetraps today which direct you to bait them with...get this...cheese.

Lewis, today is perhaps your last day to depart the car on your own terms!

As for Michael and I, no big plans for today...just a lot of driving and riding, heading toward our next stops of national parks in Utah.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Fuelin' Around: San Fran

Today hung out in San Fran for the day. Walked down to Fisherman's wharf (maybe 4-5 miles, including a big big big hill). Were totally touristy, seeing the sea lions (sea lion-ebrities!), Having crab, chowder and beer overlooking the bay. Another great day weather-wise. Visted the cable car museum, which since it's old and mechanical, I loved it. Then took cable car ride, and walked the rest of the way back to Adam's, detouring for a happy hour featuring $3 champagne and some nice antipasto. Somehow we managed to walk through every slum and shady area in San Fran. Saw plenty of drug deals and using. Went to dinner at a mexican/turkish tapas place--strange combo, but it worked. While getting a few things from the Skamper on the way back, we had some homeless folks who seemed a little too interested in the creature comforts of the Skamper. I lied and told them how awful it was, but it's hard to hide the fact that the Skamper is in fact awesome. I have a feeling that we're going to return to a Skamped-in Skamper tomorrow. Plan is to have breakfast in San Fran tomorrow, then meet up with some med school friends in Napa for lunch in the afternoon.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fuelin' Around: San Francisco

The bay, the bridge, the boats, and the two sea lions on the dock (toward the bottom of the picture) all say hello.

Fuelin' Around: San Fran

Arrived in San Fran earlier in the evening at Adam's. We decided that a scenic drive down the PCH from Humboldt would be a good idea. Not so much. I have never seen a twistier, turnier, uppy downier road than that section, which we were on for about 200 miles and 7 hours. The Skamper was definitely not made for that road. Not for the first time I reflected that the driving characteristics of the Skamper bear little resemblance to the Boxster. It would have been a great drive in the Porsche. As it was, I was very glad to get off that road. Denise more so. I was pretty sure that she was going to either throw up or die at any moment. It WAS incredibly scenic though. Anyway, after another urban parking adventure, we had a nice dinner near Adam's. Tomorrow we check out SF. No signs of Lewis today. I think he got nauseous.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fuelin' Around: Big big trees

Just left Humboldt State Park. Many big big trees--I was surprised Denise didn't want to go through the drive-thru tree. 200 mi from san fran.
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Fuelin' Around: Oregon and Northern CA

Spent yesterday driving the coast of Oregon. Beautiful beaches and quaint little towns. We stopped for lunch in Bandon, got some salt-water taffy, and walked on the beach for a bit. It is incredible how rough the surf was...not sure if that is normal, or if it was a particularly rough day.

Last night we got into our campground at Humboldt Redwoods State Park and as we were getting out of the car saw Lewis (our car mouse) again. He is, apparently, enjoying the ride and does not want to leave.

This morning we walked around Founders Grove in the park to look at some of the 'big, big' trees. We told Lewis that it seemed like a nice place to live and that he should exit the car, but something tells me he is still with us.

We are on the road again, heading down the CA coast. We'll probably stop at a winery for lunch or a mid-day snack and then catch up with Adam (Michael's brother) in San Fran tonight.


Fuelin' Around: CA

Arrived in CA today. Oregon coast was spectacular. Cliffs going straight down to sandy beaches, and huge rocks just off the beaches. We drove down the PCH and stopped in some cool little beach towns along the way. Had some chowder, oyster, and a crab sandwich for lunch. Arrived late in Humboldt Redwood park to stay for the night. As we turned the car off, I saw something out of the corner of my eye--Lewis! I said "Hi Lewis!" D thought I was joking, then got upset when in fact Lewis was found again behind the dash. We're at an impasse, because although we respect his pioneering spirit, it's time for him to go. We try some non-lethal traps tomorrow. Tonight it was leftovers and beer by the fire. Tomorrow the plan is redwoods in the AM, a winery for lunch, then off to Adam's in San Fran. Christian, Liz and Tricia are in LA and are promising to meet up with us. We'll see.
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