Thursday, July 21, 2011


"Tonight will drop to 75. Tomorrow it'll hit 101," said the woman on the radio, "with a heat index of 114." Wwwhhhhaaaaaatttttt!!!!!!!!! Haaaaaaaaaaa.......

I've experienced humidity lotsa times in my life but ohmygoodness it's hot in Virginia. This heat wave is no joke. During my 1.5 hour drive from Richmond to Charlottesville, I was trying to think of ways to describe this type of humidity...

-I'm sitting on a plastic-covered 60s couch and a sweaty sumo wrestle settles in on my lap.
-I'm pretty sure you could really actually cut the air and serve it up for dessert.
-Wrapping up in a soaked wool blanket on the hottest day of summer.
-Every one of your friends aims their hair dryers at you. While you're in a sauna.

If I think of any more while I'm here, I'll be sure to share. If I haven't yet melted, that is.

Whatta Thursday.

After two delays in Sacto, one delay in Hotlanta and a marathon Tarmac sitting of at least an hour with no lights or AC, I'm finally sitting at the gate in Virginia. Man this plane is stuffy. Things I've noticed:
-When you stop worrying about missing connections or who is going to sit next to you on the plane, traveling isn't that bad. Yeah sure the delays aren't cool but really, what am I gonna do about it? Sit back, relax & enjoy my flight. That's what I'm gonna do about it.
-Children have an amazing ability to giggle about nothing for hours. Truly giggle. Crack each other up about nada. I miss that. When was the last time you really had a hearty, belly, tears in your eyes, can't catch your breath laugh? It's been a while for me for sure.
-I'm hot. Temperature-wise.
-The guy behind me has the same voice and accent as my uncle. Now wouldn't that be weird.
-I'm about to get my rental car and drive almost 2 hours. Not an ideal plan I had.
-Southern boys are cute.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Solo Road Trip Day 10: More Random Musings

I haven't blogging much because I haven't done much. I've been relaxing by the pool by day and wandering around Sin City by night. The thunderstorms here have been crazy - I've never experienced them like this in Vegas. I've been getting in pool time around 10am  - 12pm or so, and inevitably when I get too hot and bored by the pool & head back to my room, huge drops start falling and Vegas is bombarded by a quick storm.

At this point though, I'm starving and wanted to head out somewhere. Now I'll just patiently wait for the rain to stop. The buffet yesterday should have tided me over for longer...

Is the most boring blog post or what!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Solo Road Trip Day 7: Random Musings

On Tuesday, I got up early and went to Devil's Postpile in Mammoth. A fact which I forgot to mention in my Day 5 post :) I was really tired...  It was truly a long, long day but got some great photos at Devil's Postpile and the drive to Hurricane. I will definitely be posting a map with my route because I think I'll actually surprise myself! I believe Enrique has tracked us at around 1300 miles or so. Not bad, eh?

So, Hurricane, Utah, is where I stayed on Tuesday night and wrote my very long post. I wanted to call it Slurricane from here on out, however I learned on the radio yesterday that it's actually "Her-uh-kin" and not "Hurr-uh-KANE" like it should be. Yes, should be. Why change the pronunciation of an actual noun? Why, Utah, why? Is it because you like to be different with your dry counties and plural marriages? Don't get me wrong, I love me some Big Love but come on now, it's HurriCANE, as in large, destructive storms that usually form in the Gulf of Mexico area. Thanks.

As I posted earlier today, the highlight of my trip so far was the Neon Museum. I had the best tour guide, Justin, the birthday boy. He was so funny & knowledgable. It was such a great experience, despite the heat. I wanted to go to Fremont Street to shoot the old signs but I just couldn't bring myself to get out of my air conditioned car so I plan on coming back later this year. If I take photos of the ones actually ON buildings, I can post them on my photo blog and actually promote them as my own photos. That'd be cool. I will respect the Neon Museum's request to not use my photos from today commercially. I'd hate to make them upset - they're just so awesome.

A sidenote on money - if you want to take a cheap vacation, go to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico in October. A road trip is not the way to go. I've done very little and spent very much. It's amazing. I've barely even eaten! I tried to snack on fruits & veggies in the long car rides but man that gets old. Good thing I had my buffalo & beef jerky to eat. I felt quite barbaric ripping off pieces of dried meat. Manly, really.

[insert majorly annoyed comment here: I just wrote another 3 paragraphs and Blogger didn't save them. I think it's because I'm staying on floor 13 of my hotel. What hotel HAS a floor 13?? Oh that'd be mine. ARGH.]

Yeah so anyway, I owe you and myself a lot of photos. Devil's Postpile, most of the drive from Mammoth to Slurricane (yep, the name sticks), (shish)Kaibob National Forest, more of Inyo National Forest, the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and the drive back to Vegas.

A quick open letter to Las Vegas: What is WITH the thunder storms and HUGE raindrops? Stoppit. It's July for pete's sake.

I do have a few road trip tips for you: Make sure your iPod is filllllllled with music, Pandora will not save you from highway boredom when most of the way there's no signal. Bring better food - seriously. Road trippin' makes you hungry. Whilst driving long distances that are primarily straight, download your photos from your CF card to your external hard drive. (Note to all Highway Patrolmen/State Troopers: I'd never do this.) You can sleep in any National Forest - for free. I wish I had done this at least once. I was all prepared with my twin blow up mattress and everything. Oh well. I did take a nice nap in (shish)Kaibob National Forest on the drive down the mountain from the Grand Canyon. Photo of my napping spot to come.

There won't be much photo activity over the next couple of days except the occasional phone photo - I'll be poolside. I'll try to post the other photos soon though! I hope to get a map too - I gots to track this route - I'll be impressed with myself.

Solo Road Trip Day 7: Neon Museum Tour, Las Vegas

Yep, I skipped a few days but I promise I'll post photos and commentary soon. I just HAD to get a few of these photos up because it really truly was the coolest thing I've done so far. (For some, the Grand Canyon may have been the highlight of the trip, but for me, the Neon Museum in Las Vegas was AWESOME.)

I moved these photos to my photo blog. Sorry, the post is password protected due to permissions from the Neon Museum. If you want to see them, email me!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Solo Road Trip Day 5: Mammoth and Beyond

(Be forewarned - this'll be a long one...)
(also, the radio is killing me. 1. No, I will not catch a grenade for you. 2. I just CAN get enough. 3. Let's NOT do it tonight. 4. That stupid Adelle song. Still.)
I got to Mammoth yesterday - didn't take long from Tahoe. I'm going to say right now -- a weekend trip is in order. Such a cute town, cool people, so much to see. On my way down, I stopped a ton along the way...Mono Lake was absolutely incredible. It was so much prettier than I expected! I can see why people have "Save Mono Lake" stickers. I want one... From there I stopped and took tons of photos of the mountains - they're so different than the Tahoe Sierras. (see photos here) I did many a scenic loop including June Lake which was so worth the detour. I went up to the Minaret Vista Point which is above 9000 feet. Stunning. I learned this morning that one part of the mountain range is in Wizard of Oz -what the what! Time to rewatch that! I finally decided to head into Mammoth Lakes and got a room. Happy America's Birthday -I had Mexican food for dinner, a Mexican beer and didn't drive out to Crowley Lake for fireworks. So un-American. I rested for a while because I had done a lot of walking in the heat then decided I had to try Mammoth brewing. I headed up to Whiskey Creek and had their IPA -yum. One of the brewmasters was bar tending - Bryce. He was awesome, had a great time chatting with him. We exchanged numbers so next time I'm in Mammoth I'll have to look him up! I'm sure there are tons of cool things there only locals know about...

This morning I went back to the mountain and hopped on the bus headed to Devil's Postpile. Totally worth the trip! I'll post photos later... I did talk to a super cool guy & his wife on the way there. Such nice people! I'm happy I met them - its nice to talk to people during the day! I didn't make the hike out to Rainbow Falls - it was too far for my poor knee and I wanted to hit the road for the Grand Canyon. My bus driver (I was the only one on the bus) was so awesome too - and cute but that's beside the point. He is from the same town outside of Chicago where my aunt lives! It's a small world after all.

Here are some notes from my 10 hour, 4 state drive today:
--I listened to country music for 3 hours. It's a lot dirtier than it's like a rap song all countrified. I think they got something there...granted I did hear one country song about country music. Whaaaaaaa.... Oh, I also heard the country version of "I Swear." how rad is that!
--I was almost the one being pulled over three times this trip. I need to watch it.
--A beef jerky stand in Bishop was highly recommended so I stopped. Listen carefully to this one and pick your jaw up off the floor: I ate buffalo jerky. What?! Moi? Yes. I ate buffalo. And it was so much better than the beef jerky. Who am I? Really.
--My two favorite signs in Bishop: The Loco Frijole and Giggle Springs.
--I left Inyo National Forest today. Kinda sad, I've been Inyo for days. (ha! That was waaaaaay funnier in the car earlier today.)
--I took some pass from Bishop to highway 95 to Vegas. I was the ONLY person on 95 the whole way. Sure there were people going the opposite direction, but no one was going my way. (yes, that was a little Life Is a Highway, just for you.) The pass was loooooong but kinda cool.
--I went through the town of Beatty which is flanked by a brothel called Angel's Girls coming in to town and a strip club called Bikinis on the way out. Remember, this is in the middle of NOWHERE. those chicks must be so hot, huh?
--About 60 miles outside of Vegas there was a Smarte Car convoy. As I've said before, those. Are. Hilarious!!!
--there was a massive prison out there in the massive high desert. Hitchhiking was prohibited.
--When I got to Tahoe I was at 126.2 miles. When I left Tahoe yesterday, I was at 256.6. When I got to Bishop today, I was at 486.5. When I left Inyo, I was at 532.2. When I get up tomorrow, I'll check again and update this post...I drove a lot today.
--It' HOT.
--I saw lightning a ton - thank you, Utah.
--I'm currently in a relatively nice Travelodge in Hurricane, Utah. I think I'm only about 30 minutes from Zion National Park so though it wasn't on the itinerary, I'll definitely be stopping tomorrow on my way to the big hole in the ground, the Grand Canyon.
--it's been a long day of driving so my apologies if this doesn't make sense and has typos. I felt great until about an hour ago, so I'm glad I have this huge Travelodge room - with cable - and lots of pillows. Nighty night!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Solo Road Trip Day 4: Hwy 395

So South Lake Tahoe wasn't exactly a great idea. It was a 21-year-old-drunk-fest and I'm just too old for that. Even the bartender at Stateline Brewery last night, 26, said it was obnoxious. I love South Lake, but only with my friends. I probably won't do that again...

The highlight of yesterday was going to Stateline Brewery for dinner and meeting a cool chick at the bar. We ended up hanging out through dinner then had a beer on the patio. It was so fun to meet someone new and the night flew by telling stories and people watching.

Like I've said before, life ain't always rainbows and unicorns. The beginning of this trip hasn't been. It's been awkward to be by myself, alone with my thoughts, barely talking all day long. I think meeting Dawn last night helped break me out of my shy shell and I hope I can do the same tonight here in Mammoth.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Solo Road Trip Day 3: South Lake Tahoe

Not even 11am and I've already done so much! Breakfast and driving range! It's only 72 degrees and it feels like 95. Thin air? I'm sweatin' up a storm. TMI, I know. Now for a little stream of consciousness...I'm sitting outside Starbucks, stealing their internet because my lovely motel's internet is terrible. I went out last night and it was weird. I had a hard time with it and I hope this rollin' solo thing gets easier. Today my plan is to eat at restaurant bars so I have a better chance of talking to people. I'm not sure what to do today - I'm thinking get some books and post it on the beach. Not sure yet though.

Here are some photos from yesterday (Starbucks, tunnel, brewski) and today (golf):

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Solo Road Trip Day 2: South Lake Tahoe

I'm up and at 'em too early today. I think part of this has to do with the fact that I'm at a ghetto motel so I can hear everything. But at least they always leave the light on for me.

So yeah, I'm up. Did I say "at 'em"? Not quite yet. Trying to decide what to do today...First I'm going to color my hair. Thrilling, eh? Then maybe make my way down to this cool cafe I saw yesterday for some fuel. I'll definitely be at the lake today - It's supposed to be nice and warm so in between shooting, I'll just enjoy the sun. We'll see what happens today - I'll check back in later in case anything funny happens.

A couple of things I forgot to mention yesterday:

  • I followed a car on 80 yesterday for like a half hour with this  book visible in the back window: "Bird Songs Bible." If anyone knows me at all, it's that I hate birds. I mean yeah, the chirping is nice and reminds me of summer and sun and all that crap, but in general, if you put a cool graphic on a t-shirt of a tree, then I look closer and there's a stupid bird on it, I will not buy it. Bird people are weird. This dude had a bird songs BIBLE in his car. I'm pretty sure we wouldn't get along.
  • I was getting a little road rage yesterday because the traffic on 80 was not awesome. As we were approaching Sacto, Poison by Bel Biv Devoe came on the radio and all was well.
  • I forgot Chapstick yesterday. CHAPSTICK. 3.5 hours I waited to buy some in Tahoe and slather my mouth with it. Went from Hell to Heaven in just a quick trip to Rite Aid.
  • Hot Blooded by Foreigner came out when I was about 55 days old. Crazy. I love that song.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Solo Road Trip - Day 1: Tahoe

I have arrived at destination #1: South Lake Tahoe. I'm having a hard time separating from work so instead of pressuring myself to "get out 'n shoot" I'm takin it easy in my (not) sweet motel room with That 70s Show as my companion. It's gorgeous up here: 78 degrees! When I get some Internet, I'll post photos too.

Some things I thought/noticed on the drive:
1. If I hear that Adelle song one more time, I'll flip out.
2. I counted about 278 coolers in cars on I80.
3. I will be drinking a lot of Starbucks on this trip.
4. All photos taken on this trip count, including phone pics.
5. I may get a book on my phone to listen to. Weird.
6. I'm really tired and have no motivation to do anything. Today has been declared a wash and I will continue to be lazy & slightly boring.

More Photos...