Tahoe...not sucky!

After the glorious covered wagon experience, as if the trip could possibly get any better, we headed up to Lake Tahoe. The drive brought us in from the east up and over a mountain and as we were coming down the other side you began to see the most amazing, bright blue water. This water to be exact...

It is truly an amazing place. Not only is it the brightest blue lake I have ever seen...it is surrounded by tall evergreen trees, state parks and snowcaped mountains like these...

We had most of the day to spend there, so we parked the car and walked out to this little park/beach area. We walked around, had a little picnic lunch, played frisbee (which was amazing because every time I turned around to catch it I saw this....
I also learned how to do a handstand, an undertaking I have rarely, if ever, attempted, from the handstand expert. I mean, why wouldn't you do handstands with Lake Tahoe in the background?....it just made sense!
There was a bear. You always know when there is a bear because there will be a traffic jam for no reason and people out of their cars, standing in the road with cameras. The locals hate this. They are the ones in the back of the line honking their horns and cursing the tourists. When this happens the line does not move....people really abandon their cars and return to them whenever they please. Here is a picture of the traffic stopping Yogi.

More random pictures...

Lake Tahoe was a good choice. It didn't suck! In September my sister and brother-in-law are doing a cycling ride around the 70 miles of Lake Tahoe, to raise money for Type 1 Diabetes. You can click here to see their website, hear their story and support them in their journey.


an advertisement for covered wagons.

In the last post I mentioned something about sleeping in a covered wagon and how that deserved a post all to itself. Well here it is. So here is how the story goes. We are sitting in Chile's on the outskirts of Vegas and we realize it might be beneficial to find somewhere to stay. I pull out the IPhone and we begin googling campsites on the map. The only criteria was really a shower. We had hiked two days in the Grand Canyon and really wanted/needed a shower. We found this place called The Virginia Creek Settlement, which happened to be about where we needed distance wise.
I was looking at the website and they had a bunch of different options; cabins, motel rooms, campsites, tentcabins and......COVERED WAGONS! That is right folks......COVERED WAGONS! I probably said something like, "We should totally stay in a covered wagon! How awesome would that be to be able to say we stayed in a covered wagon!" At first, it was sort of a joke.....sort of...I might have been mostly serious the whole time! So, I called to see what they had available. The man said that they had a few tent cabins available and since the "covered wagon" was under the "tent cabin" option I just thought I would ask. The conversation went something like this:

Man: We have some tent cabins available...
Me: Do you have any of the covered wagons? (move phone away from face due to laughter)
Man: Why yes, we have one of those available.
Me: I'll take that......wait......(move phone away from face to ask Amy if that was okay, since it had "been a joke"....she said yes.....) Okay, yes we will take that.
Man: Okay, you will be in Covered Wagon #6. We will post a map on the front door since you will be in so late. And you don't need a key....there is no door on the wagon...just a flap you pull open.
Me: Laughing......got myself composed. Okay.....thanks so much. We are looking forward to it!

I am pretty sure I spent the last 6 hours of our drive grinning from ear to ear. I was so excited! It was everything I hoped it would be and more. It was awesome. Here are some pictures below of our covered wagon.

Did I mention that there was a river right outside the door? Well there was and it was amazing too.

So, if you ever find yourself near the east side of California and want to sleep in a covered wagon, Virginia Creek Settlement is your place!


between the Canyon that is Grand and Tahoe.

After we left the Grand Canyon our next destination was Lake Tahoe. This is a good 13 hour drive, so we broke it up with a few stops along the way. The first stop was the Hoover Dam. It is beautiful and serves as the dividing state line between Arizona and Nevada.

Then it was a short 45 minute drive up over to Vegas to find food and propane camping fuel from REI. Shockingly, the propane fuel was easier to find than dinner was.
After searching for quite some time, wandering around Whole Foods and deciding it was too overwhelming and that corn tortillas were an unacceptable choice for tacos, we landed in a Chili's that was pretty much the last stop out of the city. Despite leaving the Grand Canyon quite early, we found ourselves eating dinner quite late in Vegas, which was still approximately 6 hours away from our final destination. We are quite the funny travelers.

Between leaving Vegas and arriving in Tahoe, we knew we needed to find a place to stay, so we began googling things on the Iphone and we found the most amazing place EVER. Why was it so amazing? We may have slept in a covered wagon....thats right, I said it.....a covered wagon. Because of the vast amazingness of this event I must refrain from posting about it here...it is worthy of its own entire post, which will come in the near future, but I wanted to wet your appetite and prepare you for what was to come.

About 30 minutes or so outside of Lake Tahoe we saw this little corner fruit stand where two guys were also selling firewood. We needed firewood for our camping excursions so we decided to pull over and buy some. The guy had me pull my car around...I told him I needed firewood for about 2 nights and he started grabbing it like a mad man...as if I told him I needed to build a house and not a fire. He brought one load and then another....I finally told him I thought that was enough and he assured me that it was not and that I would thank him later. About a tree's worth later, the back seat of our poor Nissan Versa looked like this....

The man also asked us if we wanted some fruit too and told us we should come over and try some. We hadn't really talked about buying fruit so we just kind of said maybe, but then got in the car and started to drive out a few minutes later. As we were passing them on the way out the same guy stopped us and wanted us to roll down our window. He handed Amy a little basket of cherries and said, "Here ya go, you tight asses!" Hilarious! We were both speechless...I am not sure that either of us said anything...and what would you say in response to that? "Thank you," just somehow doesn't seem appropriate. We were however, quite thankful, because the cherries were delicious.


more Grand Canyon pictures

This picture is taken from "Ooh Ahh point" This is me making the "Ahh" sound.

My foot is the one on the right....it is quite gross looking. It looks like a hobbit foot and I am pretty sure some of that dirt still remains on it today. Apparently, canyon dirt doesn't come off that easily.
Dirty feet from hiking....this trail.....

We were almost back to the top when we saw these creatures....
The one on the left had his head cocked to the side and a crazy look in his eye as if to say, "Come one step closer buddy and I'll buck you right into the abyss.


Grand Canyon take two.

Seeing the Grand Canyon has been one of my life long dreams. My seminary roommate was moving up to Portland so we planned a road trip up to see lots of fun things along the way. The Grand Canyon was stop number 1. When we got to that area it was snowing. We only had this one day to see the world wonder, so we got in the car and drove up. The lady at the park entrance said that it was 0 visibility and basically asked us if we still wanted to pay the $25 fee and go in. I mean, really? I am at the Grand Canyon....like I am going to get to the entrance and say, "Nah.....nevermind"...and turn around. So, I paid my $25 and drove in. The unfortunate part of all of that is that the lady wasn't kidding.....0 visibility tells the story perfectly...as do the pictures below. You would not have known a canyon existed....much less a Grand one.

Last week, the Grand Canyon was redeemed. I started planning a road trip a little while back for June. The original plan was to head to the northeast and see Niagra Falls, New York and Maine. However, if you know me, you know that I am not a big "plan ahead" type of person and that even if I plan, most of the time those plans are quite soft. So, pretty late in the game (the week before) the trip got changed from the northeast to the west. On the agenda? The Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite national park. 6 days, a plane ride to Phoenix, 2400 miles in a rental car, a large rolling suitcase ("big blue") full of camping supplies, and a whole lot of beautiful scenery. It was awesome! The first stop was the Grand Canyon. There were no clouds, no fog, no snow and beautiful temperatures. It is most appropriately named......it was Grand.


that trashcan says what?

I was walking through the hall at church today and saw this.....

It raised a few questions in my head..

Question A) Why did they feel the need to write INEDIBLE on a trash can?

Question 2) Do they mean that the trash can itself is INEDIBLE or that its contents are INEDIBLE?

Question D) Why INEDIBLE? Why not something like "Unrideable" since it has wheels or "Not for sleeping in" or even "Shouldn't be used as a flotation device"....these are equally as likely as it being edible.....right?

Thought) They felt that the communication of this warning was so important they wanted English and Spanish speakers to know. .....I say, what about the French or Indian? Don't they need to know not to try and eat the random trashcan in the church hallway?



I am a sweater. I sweat.....a lot when I exercise. I realize that all people sweat, but some most definitely sweat more than others. Something that I didn't really realize is that most people's legs don't sweat. Well...I am not most people. My legs pour sweat.....its actually pretty gross. In high school I had a separate towel just for my legs. Yesterday it was insanely hot and humid and I ran right after a storm. I was soaked when I finished. Below is a picture of my leg after my run....don't ask me why I decided to take a picture of my own sweaty leg.....maybe just for this purpose....allowing you to share in my sweaty grossness.


Cali and the kitty

One of my roommates decided recently that she wanted a kitten and within a week or so, she had one. Cali has lived with a cat before and it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't all that peaceful either. This is how I would describe it (and there are people who think this is a funny description): Cali will not hurt the kitten, she will just think the kitty is neat. And this is exactly how it goes. The first week, she was quite scared of the kitten. She would turn her head from it, stay upstairs and walk in big "U's" to avoid getting near it.....unfortunately, this phase quickly wore off. We moved rapidly into the "kitty being neat phase" and we are still currently, and will probably remain, there. The kitty is cute and very sweet. She is desperate to be around people and DOES NOT like being locked in my roommate's room. She cries the most loud pitiful cry you have ever heard to get out. The other night she was doing this very thing and I found Cali laying down in front of the door nose to the bottom of the door frame, pining for the kitty. Here are some pictures below.


help me Cesar Milan!

My dog has a bit of separation anxiety.....well maybe it is more than a bit. Below is a 2 minute video of what she does when she is either separated in the backyard or in her crate.

She is no longer crated because when I would come home the crate, everything in it and everything around it would be soaked. You could literally ring out the blankets. It was disgusting. I have considered sending this video footage into The Dog Whisperer....I am pretty sure Cali would be a shoe-in.


running and conquering.

I have always loved to run. In middle school and high school I would go out and run late at night in my neighborhood. It was a little retreat or escape for me from whatever was going on in my life at the time. I ran a lot in college as well and then went through seasons of running and not running, mostly the latter, in seminary. Since moving back to the southeast I made up my mind that that was one thing I wanted back in my life on a more consistent basis. I had missed it and I had become lazy.
I have often wondered why some people hate to run and others love it. I hear a lot from people who like to run that it is the main way they release stress. I know for me that is true. I have always known this, but I really realized why tonight. I was running at Stone Mountain, which a brutally hilly 5 mile loop. There are 2 terrible steady inclines at the end and as I was going up one I was thinking about how hard it was, but how I could not stop...I had to push through, I couldn't let it conquer me, which made me run even faster.
When I run it is as if I am conquering things in my life that I don't like. The faster I run and the harder I push, the further I get away from things that I don't like or things that are stressful or things that feel defeating. It feels like, in some strange way, that I am conquering them.....like I am beating them out of my body. This is why it feels so good to run at the end of a stressful or difficult day. Now, I know that most of those things above are not true in reality, but a lot life is about perspective and how you view realities. Running helps my perspective. When I can't control certain circumstances...I can control this. It also reminds me that I can handle much more than I sometimes think....I can push myself much further than I sometimes want to. There will be many opportunities in the near future to test these things out more fully in the middle of all of this training I am about to start. If only I could push myself in real life like I do while running.


your towels are how old?.....Follow-up

I am officially, the proud owner of 2 brand new, unmonogrammed, not a decade old, bath towels. (Someone should cheer right here.....go ahead......I'm waiting.....) In case you don't believe me....here is a photo....

Yesterday, after my morning meetings, I broke down and bought some towels. My meetings are at Panera and Ross is right beside that and I was told that was a good place to get towels for not too much money, so I went. I discovered while in there, that I hate those kinds of stores. There is too much crap in there. And by crap I mean things like this lovely frock..........

...a bathing suit that should never have been made, worn or purchased. And the towel isle was a hot mess. I told a friend it looked like a dryer exploded and shot towels out everywhere and I maintain that that is what it was like.

But despite of all of that, I overcame and came out on the other side with 2 towels. Wash cloths...still don't own any. One step at a time people........baby steps.