Monday, June 8, 2009

Yes we are going to wrap it up.

So we both just woke up from after returning to Salisbury...


Okay, so we didn't actually just sleep for 48 hours, but I'm thinking that we could have.


Let me just catch y'all up since we last left off...


Aunt Barbara had to drag us out of bed about 9:30 and then treated us to breakfast at The Breakfast Club. Large omelets are not the only thing TBC has to offer.....you also get large waiters with large personalities. By large I mean a really, really tall blonde guy that sounded like a cheesy radio announcer...and spoke at the decibel level of a radio announcer. I'm pretty sure that I did not do well in disguising my reaction to such exuberance when he opened his mouth and we were T-boned with an outpouring of enthusiastic service.


When we got to Nashville, we got to see our awesome friend Danielle Peters!!!!!!!! She was our guiding light during that summer at Castaway 2007. Ellis, her son, was just a little baby then and noww he's 2 ( he can tell you that too...along with telling you all the abc's) and is the cutest thing ever. I would like to compare him to a parrot. Not because he has colored feathers all over his body, but because he will copy everything you say. We were mature for one time in our lives and did not abuse this entertainment. But at one point he informed us, "I need a dougnut" and when asked if he could have any food in the world, naturally he replied without hesitation "Tacos" This kid is the second genius named Ellis I know. And his new little brother Monroe is the best baby ever, though he basically gave me a drool bath.






After prying ourselves away from the precious Peter's progeny...we headed over to see Miss Alice Floyd, intern friend from Sharptop Cove 2008. She took us to Rotier's for dinner which was absolutely WONDERFUL. If you go to Nashville, please do you and your belly a favor and go there. Good homecookin' with glass bottle cokes, ribs with homemade bbq sauce, sweet potatoe fries, squash casseroles, hashbrown casseroles, cornbread, fried okra...........you get the picture.


Then Alice took us to Bobbie's Dairy Dip which should be renamed to Bobbie's Mountain of Ice Cream in a Cone Shack. We wanted waffle cones but wanted the small amount of ice cream...I mean our bellies had just handled a plate full of good southern cookin', there wasn't too much room to wiggle. But ol' Bobbie gave us the Grand Teton's of ice cream. Emily got to a point where she started biting the ice cream and spitting it out (on the pavement of the parking lot). I had to scoop some out in a cup and throw it away as well...which is saying something with my sweet tooth and amazing ability to pack away tons of sugar in one sitting.


The good food did not end there, my friends. Alice's mom cooked us breakfast in the morning: bacon, eggs, and BAKED GRITS. After cooking the grits, she baked them with butter and cheese. I mean she had to add the butter and cheese for good healthy vitamins, right?

We hit the road, stopping in Knoxville to see Al-pal from Sharptop #2, Allan Hamilton. ( We have called them both Al-pal at some point). It being EMILY's 22 BIRTHDAY, Al treated us to SunSpot, a little deli-type place. Em's goat cheese and spinach quesadilla was delicious! (I know because I just ate her leftovers that she left at my house earlier tonight) There are a bunch of haiku's that customers had written and put under the glass that lays on the table......so we wrote one as well and stuck ours under there too, Allan strategically placing it on top of someone else's.


We crossed over the NC border......but even better we crossed over into ROWAN COUNTY and passed through my stomping grounds on the way to my house. Emily got the honor and privilege of being shown West Rowan High School, home of the mighty Falcons and my alma mater. She got to see the football stadium, the new tennis courts, the outside of the gym where I have spent many hours sweating, and the cows and goats that roam on campus.



Since it was Em's birthday, I told her we could eat anywhere and she chose Zaxby's, which was a nice closing meal since that was also our first meal of the whole trip. We got a redbox movie (Bride Wars again hahahahah) and stopped at the permanent funnel cake and snow cone place that occupies parking lot space in Salisbury to celebrate the birthday.


video


And thus concludes Em and Jew's Adventure Across America. 9,444.1 miles. 33 states. Over 150 hours in the car. Yes, we are still friends.



We would like to thank our sponsors:

Sonic, Zaxby’s, Honda, Wise Cheese Doodles, Young Life for providing endless connections across the country, Ellis Hartsell, caffeine, the creators of Mad Libs, Rand McNally, People Magazine, Columbus for discovering America, post-its, Tammy and the community of Cortez Colorado, gumbo, everyone who let us stay with them, and last but not least, our loyal blog followers and readers…who made us feel like at least somebody cared about what we were doing.


Special Shoutouts to Gert, Mitch, Attie, and Carlos. Without y'all, we couldn't have done it.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

In 48 hours, the trip of a lifetime will be in our pasts.





We are in Lebanon, Ohio tonight with Em's Aunt Barbara and Uncle Ronny. We thought we'd be here by dinner time, but due to a little forgetfulness of losing an hour time change and some random 2:30 Chi-town traffic....AND some miscalculation of roads.....we got here at 11 pm. The time change and traffic put us behind 2 hours, and our little mistake another 1.5 hours. You would think we would have mastered this whole navigation thing by now...

Anyways, our last day with Natalie today was quite glorious. I woke up early with Nat to go on a walk with her mom and mom's friend earlyyyyy. I got a nice little tour of the GE, along with their opinions on outside decor of homes. Emily slept.

Once dragging Miss Riseandshine Cochran out of bed, we went (Em still in her pajamas) to Caribou to meet Bob Davidson, another Young Life friend from Castaway 2007. After soaking in the humor, wisdom, and basic awesomeness of Mr. Davidson...we ate lunch at a cute, little place called Honey (where Bob's wife actually bakes the most delicious cupcakes we've ever had....esp the Vanilla Bean ones).

Natalie sipped on a glass bottle Cheerwine that we brought her while we packed, savoring the last few moments of having southern belles in her presence. Then it was Hit the Road Jack...and off to Lebanon we went!

FELLA's: This yankee sippin' on Cheerwine is SINGLE!!!! Holla if you want her digits

Aunt Barbara was ready for us...Steak and potatoes warmed to feed our growling bellies....and a cake for Em's 22nd birthday which will occur on Saturday, June 6. 252-947-2980 if you want to call her and tell her that she has great taste in friends and road trip partners...oh, and if you wanna give her a little happy b-day wish as well.

We are still Alive.

Apologies! We have been on blog hiatus for a few days...

First of all, we left Minnesota after having Zorba's pizza again for lunch Monday. It took us the rest of the day and evening to get to Naperville, where we were staying that night. Once we were getting pretty close, we missed an exit, and took a little detour through some other random suburbs, finally arriving at the Grander's house in Naperville after midnight. Needless to say, the late-night arrival deterred us from blogging.

Tuesday we slept in! And then we were treated to a delicious breakfast at Egg Harbor...well, more like brunch...but yummy nonetheless. The Grander's are family friends of mine that I've known since before I can even remember. They were my neighbors growing up...but really they are more like family. Every time I've been in the area the past 3 years, Emily has just happened to be with me so it was fun for both of us to see them. Plus, I feel like every time I'm around they just spoil me rotten...and this time Emily and even Mitch were spoiled! They took Mitch for another bath!! 

After laying around all day just hanging out with the Granders (and after Em faced some fierce competition in ping pong) and being treated like queens (I mean they even washed and folded our clothes....which really helped because Em and I had both been wearing the same pair of shorts for a couple days...) we headed over to Glen Ellyn to reunite with our other roommate from Castaway summer 2007 Natalie Elizabeth Butters!!!

Portillo's hotdogs and cheese fries for dinner plus 2.5 hours of catching up still sitting in the restaurant...followed by some hang time with Natalie's high school bff Gwen was what our night consisted of.

Todayyyyyyyyyyyyy (Wednesday) we walked into Glen Ellyn (or Pleasantville as Nat calls it) and got some Einstein cinnamon bagels (followed by another hour long linger) then walked around a little more. Stopped in at the Young Life office of GE, seeing some old Castaway acquaintances.

This afternoon, Emily and I finally caved. For so long this trip, we have been able to resist participating in something we do almost every time we go anywhere in a car. We went to the outlets.  But I will say I am proud of us, we came out with a LOT less than we normally do (Em with nothing! and I with just a few very clearanced items).

Tonight was a girls night with Natalie's mom Bonnie. We went to Shannon's Irish Pub where my personal comfort was shaken when a huge bug started crawling up the wall. If you know me at all, you would know that I have no fear...except for when it comes to bugs. But luckily Natalie killed it and we were able to enjoy our meal. But I'll admit I was relieved to leave, I just was scared another one would crawl on me! I'm such a pansy, I know.

But we rented BRIDE WARS!!!!!!!!! (or Wedding Wars as Bonnie Butters called it). Kate and Anne: applause to you, you funny gals. We all really enjoyed the movie, especially that side commentary of Bonnie who shushed Natalie in the beginning explaining "We don't talk in movies"...then answered the phone about 7 minutes later and proceeded to have a conversation for 10 minutes. Once off the phone, she then asked Nat about what she missed, and as soon as Nat opened her mouth immediately shushed her again. It was absolutely hilarious. Thank you Bonnie for some added humor to the already funny movie.

A late night run to Mickey D's for milkshakes, caramel sundaes, fries, and chicken mcnuggets led us to wasting the past, oh I dunno, hour or more watching the replaying of MTV Movie awards which I've found to be not even as funny as Bride Wars. MTV, I think you are just trying a little too hard.

We have another half day or so in GE with Nat tomorrow!

Can you believe our trip is winding down???






oh yea and don't you worry...Emily and I caught up on the Bachelorette today via computer. Our favorites are Ed, Jesse, Kiptyn, Robby, and Reid is growing on us. Juan and David (who looks just like the Rock) have gotttt to go. And Jillian, please chill out on kissing every guy thanks.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Maddie Deegan took my job at Castaway.




Good news party peeps...we decided to go back and see all those stone Presidents! George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy were still there, waiting on our return to come and snap a pic or two. Again, we did not pay the ten bucks required to park and gander. If you ever go, just see it from the road...it's a great view.

We made a little pit stop in the "downtown" part near Rushmore to get some postcards. I also purchased a yellow tee for $3.99!!

So we finally left Rapid City area around 9:30. Approximately 9:32 was the time we saw the first Wall Drug advertising sign on the side of the road. Then for the next 45 miles, we saw sign after sign a couple hundred feet apart informing us of all the glories that Wall Drug had to offer. We couldn't help but just drool at the thought of stopping at such a wonderland. Wall, SD: thank you for providing us with an opportunity to waste ours and so many others time by pulling over to see the drug store who at first only offered ice water in a time where such a thing was scarce. Today, you offer us a giant T-Rex head that lights up, smokes, and growls every 12 minutes when it is "feeding time."

Sorry South Dakotans, your state has officially been voted the most boring state to drive through. It felt like we drove 3 days just to get to Sioux Falls (on the opposite side of SD than Rapid City)...and then we still had 1.25 states to drive North before veering east across the Minnesota border towards Castaway.

But thanks to Wall Drug, we had a Mad Lib book and some America Brain Quest Trivia to entertain us for hours today! The current score on trivia is very, very close (Julia is up by just a few, but it constantly fluctuates).



We finally got to some familiar turf around 8ish. Stopping by Castaway (where we spent our Summer 2007 and really the birthplace of our friendship), we headed to the most delicious pizza place I've ever experienced, Zorbaz!! (Or you can call it Zanza's like me) We devoured our pizza, took a pic of where Emily, Lauren (remember our Boulder friend!) and I wrote our intern classes name from 2007.

After dinner, we've been kicking it with all the new interns here at Castaway, some we know, some we just met. We are both very very very very very very jealous of these folks to be just beginning such a great summer! It's hard not to be at YL camp this summer, but I guess we don't have it so bad going on such a spectacular road trip.

Don't worry, we will be returning to Zanza's for lunch tomorrow.

Until tomorrow brings us more words to share...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

We are not slack. We ran into a case of No Internet!

Tonight we shall catch all you eager beaver blog followers up on our travels!! I know that all day you've been refreshing the page, just waiting and hoping that our latest blog would load. We are sorry to keep you waiting...but here it is Ladies and Gentleman, BLOG NUMBER 2-0!

Yesterday (Friday) we left Kalispell after grabbing some coffee at one of Kyle's local favorites, bypassing the 35 small drive-thru coffee shacks with clever names such as Cowgirl Coffee, Kangaroo Brew, JoMama's Coffee....The list goes on, and every time you blink you are passing another one.

Took us all day to get to Yellowstone National Park...but we made it! In case you did not realize, Yellowstone is HUGE. We thought we'd just drive around, stop by Old Faithful, and get to where my two old roommates work before dinner time. Wrong. Upon entrance to the park, we found out that Old Faithful was faithfully 52 miles away. And those aren't interstate miles, pal. But, like true tourists, that is what we wanted to see. So we began our trek to the famous geyser, stopping every now and then to see some of the craziest things we've ever seen.

1. Buffaloes 3 feet away from us!
2. Boiling puddles of water....everywhere.
3. Buffaloes 3 feet away from us!
4. A giant bubbling puddle of mud.
5. And my personal favorite, BUFFALOES 3 feet away from us!

Oh and did I tell you? Emily could have practically grabbed a buffalo! Okay, maybe we were a little excited about the buff's (Go CU!) But they are incredible creatures. And they were 3 feet away from us.

Look how close they were!!
Foggy glasses as a result of hovering over the boiling puddles.


Bubbly Mud Puddle.

We got to Old Faithful about 7 and saw a sign that they predicted it to go off around 7:58. Starving, we started rushing around the little shops located at Old Faithful, woefully discovering that most of them were not serving food. We finally made it over the still open cafeteria (only after purchasing my very own Yellowstone Fanny Pack) and were devouring our Bison taco's and lasagna when we spotted a lady pointing out the window...Old Faithful was a-spewin'!! We saw it, rushed outside thinking that it would last a few minutes like the other, smaller and less famous geysers we had seen that day...but nope, Old Faithful was done. So we did get to see it go off...but unfortunately we have no photographic proof of our presence at the event.

My Fanny Pack.

We tried to imitate Old Faithful. Click on the picture to make it bigger and check out our faces.


Lots of snow even though it was warm!

But we do have some shots of us from the live webcam that updates every 15 seconds from my dad! My dad and Em's whole neighborhood saw us live! It was pretty neat.


The saved webcam image.

Spent the night with Lander and Jill, the aforementioned roommates.

___________SATURDAY_____________________

For some reason, we thought it would take about 8-9 hours to get to Mt. Rushmore. Try 12. ish.

Okay, so we took our time leaving the park, partly by choice when we stopped to see the giant waterfalls, partly because you have to go soooooooooooooo slowwwwwwwwwww especially when you get stuck behind some real eggtimers (ref to Christmas Vacation).

So after FINALLY getting out of the park and going down the road some...we stop in Cody, WY, home of the Buffalo Bill Museum and more! It was the first sign of civilization, and we needed a caffeine fix for our addiction we've developed throughout this road trip. We stop at Peter's Cafe, just a local little deli/ice cream shop/etc. and realize it's about lunch time so we decided to get lunch. After accidentally opening the door on a guy using the bathroom, we order some yummy sandwiches with great names: Emily got a Buffalo Bill and I got a Calamity Jane. When we placed our sandwich order, the girl working asked us about drinks and mass confusion ensued. Emily asked for a Fountain drink, which apparently she interpreted as a cappuccino. Emily then speaks us, explaining she didn't say cappuccino, but a fountain drink. The girl even repeats "Fountain Drink" and says she'll bring our drinks out to us. I watched her as she struggled to understand that I ordered a simple iced coffee...and Emily finally just got up and got her own Mountain Dew. A couple minutes later, homegirl comes over with a cappuccino in hand. My only guess is that she just couldn't understand southern talk. We just pretended that we did order instead of confuse her even more. The sandwiches were delicious though!

At this point we also realized that we had left Yellowstone about 4-5 hours before, and had only gotten barely 200 miles east. 

Wyoming is just what we imagined it to be. A combination of Montana and Colorado would be a great way to describe it...and you could throw in a little of Arizona nothingness and red color. But I felt like I was riding through cowboy country with the wide open spaces and the fact that a high percentage of men we did actually see were wearing boots and a cowboy hat.

We almost ran out of gas today. The light came on when we were 40 miles away from the next town and 30 from the last that we passed. But we did ride through Shell, a tiny town with a population of 51...so we turned back around, hoping that somehow Shell would have a pump. Thank you Dirty Annie's Gift Shop for also selling gas! I filled up, walked in to pay, and the lady told me that they didn't have a reader so they ask people to just tell them how much they pumped. I loved that they depended on honesty. Shell people are good people. They were also having some sort of happy hour with assorted fried foods on the porch.

We realized we weren't going to get to Mt. Rushmore until at least dusk. But, we were still happy because one of our friends had actually advised us to go at night. So for hours we pressed on, looking forwards to an illuminated carving of 4 of our Presidents. We got to Mt. Rushmore in the rain a little after nine...and it was all dark on the mountain front. We saw nothing. Oh wait, we did see the profile of who we think to be George Washington's nose. What can ya do I suppose.

Staying with some Castaway friends Chris and Sharon close to Rapid City, SD....and heading to Castaway tomorrow!



Friday, May 29, 2009

Glaciers and Grizzlies and Goats....oh my!


So we decided to stay an extra day in Kalispell. One, because we realized we just needed more hang time with Kyle and Emily Jamison. Two, because we were just wore slap out.


 

We slept in until 10 this morning (I’m pretty sure I could have slept until like 1…or later). Then Kyle took us to Glacier National Park!! So incredibly beautiful. We did a 2 mile hike (4 total) to Avalanche Lake. What a sight! When we got there, these two old men were sitting on a bench on the shore of the lake chatting away and pointing and looking through binoculars. They were looking at a Grizzly Bear and her cub!! FYI Glacier has the highest concentration of Grizzlies! So they let us borrow their binoculars to see the bears. Pretty awesome, considering Emily has been saying she wants to see a bear since…I don’t know…Colorado! Also, good thing we had stopped and got our bear spray and bear bell!! Bear Spray is like mase on crack to deter bears from attacking. And apparently loud noises keep bears away…but you have to put up with feeling like Santa Claus is right behind you the whole hike when you bring a bear bell. I suppose it’s worth it to not get eaten.


 

Unfortunately we did not have time to visit the House of Mystery, a vortex! Bummer.

Kyle had to run off to football practice, so Emily and I went to Moose’s Saloon to eat a late lunch. They had some amazing pizza. If you are ever in Kalispell, you should definitely go. From the outside, it looks pretty abandoned, but it’s delicious!

We got back to the house and realized we didn’t have a way to get back in the house. So instead of taking the nap that we had been looking forward to, we utilized the time to completely repack Mitch and get organized! My oh my it looks so good. We even took Mitch and gave him a bath!! Mitch is so fresh and so clean, clean!

The rest of the evening consisted of dinner time, taking a nap (while Emily read and spent 30 minutes trying to convince the cat to get out from under the porch), and riding around looking for WiFi. We ended up sitting outside of a closed coffee shop mooching their internet.

Headed to Yellowstone tomorrow!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Huckleberry's aren't imaginary!

Well today we drove. A lot.

Kicked off the day with some coffee from Tully's, a suggestion we got from Julio in Seattle.

We hit the road by 6:45 am with our sights set on Kalispell, MT where our pals, the Jamisons, live (Kyle we know from Castaway and Emily who I know from UNC). Our early departure got us out of Seattle before traffic!

Here are some highlights of the 9 hour drive:
1. We stopped in George, Washington. Yes, there is a town called George.

2. We got to take 3 state line pics today! To get the Idaho and Washington signs (coming into WA there was a dinky sign in the middle of a bridge) ended up taking us an hour! hahaha. We got the Idaho one, had to turn around to be able to get a WA pic, but the exit was like 3 miles down. As we approached the WA sign, we realized it was right after a bridge so couldn't think in time to figure something out. So turned around again, drove the couple miles to the next exit and planned to try to take a pic out of the window and try and stick our hands and the back of my head in it as we drove by. Emily was crammed on top of all our stuff that is now chaotically strewn in the back seat and right before we got to the sign her camera went crazy! Yes, we are so dedicated to the state line pics that we turned around AGAIN. We stopped close to the bridge where the WA sign is close to and ran over to it, setting the camera on the guard rail and snapping away! Was the extra hour worth it? Definitely. Don't worry, the Montana sign was in a sucky place too...but we figured that one out as well.

3. Huckleberry ice cream from a random place on the side of the road in Montana. Apparently Huckleberries are all the rave out here. They are wild, so people pick them and are really protective of their secret walks they take to find them. I really always thought they weren't a real thing, just the name of a boy in one of my favorite books.


4. A delicious home-cooked meal with the Jamisons!!!!! The meal was so delicious and the company oh so enjoyable that we've adjusted our schedule to stay a little longer here in Kalispell with our friends.

5. Montana. North Carolina is and always will be our favorite state. But Montana. Oh how I love thee! It seriously is beautiful. I know I've said that about a lot of places...but Montana is in a league of it own.




PS Next time you have the pleasure of Emily's company, request that she does her troll impression. It will change your life.







Shout out to Muff.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

From Little Washington to Big Washington!!




This is the point in our trip where we are finally turning around and heading east! It's just seems so crazy that we are in Washington state and all of Em's fam is in Washington, NC across the entire country!

Today was a long day of driving from Chico, CA to Seattle. Oregon is beautiful to drive through. Oregon Trail as a childhood computer game anyone???

We hit mile 5,000 today!!!!! With that feat also came the necessity of an oil change for Mitch. So we stopped in Portland and ate at the subway in Wal-Mart and read about the Jon and Kate Plus Eight scandal is US Weekly while waiting for Mitch. Sadly, no Tammy episodes. All we could get out of the Portland Wal-Mart was a short verbal altercation between two high school girls about a boy (I think...I was trying hard to eavesdrop as a munched on my veggie sub and chips...Emily was too wrapped up in Us Weekly). I guess Tammy was a rare gem.

We FINALLY got to Seattle about 7:30, though it took me like 20 minutes to find our friend's apartment even though the whole time I was literally 500 feet from it. Oh Seattle and your skinny little parallel and forking roads!

Our Castaway buddy Julio picked us up from where we are staying and we headed over the Pike Place Market (though everything was shut down for the night). I also met up with my friend from back home Joy!! who moved out here a couple years ago and her boyfriend Kyle who we know from Castaway as well. It's a small world.

We walked around a bit, walked into the FIRST Starbucks ever!! Then headed towards the Pike Place market area (where they throw the fish) to eat at Iver's. We walk into the restaurant and everything looks really fancy. We were seated next to window with a beautiful view of the pier and the water. I was a little surprised that my friends brought us here (I mean they all work for Young Life) because looking at menu things were way expensive. I love seafood, but in my head I was thinking I don't love seafood this much. As I glanced up from such astronomical figures on the menu, I could just tell no one wanted to be there and pay that much....so we just up and left in a rapid manner while the hostess wasn't looking. 

We went outside and realized that the Iver's my friends are used to is the Fish Bar beside the fancy restaurant...we just didn't see it at first! Oh what a relief! Ivar's is a fastfood fish and chips types place. They also have a couple kinds of clam chowder, including a red kind that Emily and I both got in sourdough bread bowls. Yummy and much more wallet friendly. Oh, and we ate outside and the picnic tables directly below where we were in the fancy restaurant. I guess you can consider it the peasant section.

Then it was SPACE NEEDLE TIME!! None of our friends had ever actually gone up in it (and Kyle has lived here his whole life!) so it was a first for us all. It was incredible seeing the city at night. Definitely worth it!!

The last thing we did was ride by this giant concrete troll that is under a bridge. It's creepy, but funny.

Our camera batteries are dead so we couldn't upload pics from today, so we will add them to this post tomorrow sometime.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Official Groupies of the Band!!!!!



The Kevin Reid Project from Chico, CA. Top: EmCoch, Kevin, Jason Matel, Greyson Bottom: Little Jason, Jacob Gardner Ried, Miss America Julia Hartsell



Today was Chico day. Kevin grew up in Paradise...but now he lives in Chico, where he attends California State University at Chico...or as everyone else calls it Chico State.

Kevin was sweet enough to let his southern belles sleep in (we stayed up late laughing and rhyming) until about 11. After dragging ourselves off of the air mattress that Kevin purchased just for our comfort, we were given the grand tour of Chico! We lunched at Burger Hut, a local place, with Jason Matel and Kevin's new fellow band member Little Jason. Good burgers and crispy fries.

Emily and I somehow landed backstage practice passes to attend The Kevin Reid Project practice!! Check them out if you don't already know their tunes. Sweating in drummer Greyson Collins's garage, we got to experience magical musical melodies so sweet to our ear drums.

We spend the rest of the afternoon just hanging out with Kevin, relaxin all coolin' all watchin some bball up on the tube. In the evening we "had a barbecue" as Californians would say (back home we say grilling out or having a cookout, naturally) and Kev grilled us up some yummy grub while we played Bocce Ball in the yard. I attempted to juggle the Bocce Balls and hit injured myself in the shoulder, falling to my knees causing itching irritation to my legs for the next hour, even after hosing off.

Being Monday night, we watched the Bachelorette!! We both are pretty disappointed in Jillian's early generosity with her kisses...but that won't stop us from being faithful watchers!

We played a game called Loaded Question with everyone (Emily's friends should all know how hilarious this game is). I won't explain it, but next time you see either or both of us, we will be happy to teach and/or play with you!

It's after midnight here in Chico, so we are going to sleep soon...early rising in the morning for departure!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Just another day in Paradise



Emily, Chris, Rachel, Theresa, Julia and Kevin at the bottom. We are just missing two bro's Jacob and Andrew (and his new fiance Amber!)


Guest blogger here, Kevin Reid.  In this picture, I am the one gripping the chair as if the roller coaster is about to begin.  The only roller coaster I'm a part of right now though is the roller coaster of emotions that these fine ladies are putting me through.  They showed up last night and waltzed into my apartment like ostriches ready to mate.  Like Sailors from Deadliest Catch starving for fresh tuna.  Like legless unicyclists. I've known Emily Hartsell and Julia Cochran for years now but our relationships are primarily only executed by phone.  No phone conversations today and none tomorrow because its all about face time right now.  I am very blessed to have these fine gals in town and they seem to be having the adventure of a lifetime.  Right now we are watching The Hills and Stephanie is crying because Lauren had to fire her.  Stephanie is a baby.  Speaking of babies...
NVM

Here is Julia, your regular host.

Isn't Kevin a gem??? Today was all about hanging out in Paradise, where Kevin grew up. Chris, Kevin's dad, cooked us awesome breakfast (for real-pancakes are one of my favorite things to eat, and these were the best chocolate chip pancakes I've ever had) We went to his church with his fam, including Aunt Beth and Uncle Dave! Kev's mom had smoked a turkey all day...and it was delicious! 

The rest of the afternoon consisted of just hanging out on the back porch with his family and Kevin taking us on a tour de Paradise. We all grabbed some dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. 

I had my first tennis playing experience today, Emily and I vs Kevin and Bobby (his friend that could totally fit in in the South). We did not end in victory, but it was a good ol' time.

Our evening was spent around a fire, hanging with his family and a couple of his friends and making s'mores.

It's so fun to be able to spend time with the loved ones of somebody you love so much! The Reid's are pretty much some of my absolute favorite people on the planet. Today has made us want to just stick around here for at least a week. It's almost like a fairy tale hanging out with these people, they just love each other and love other people. Did I mention they are all super talented (artists, musicians, etc etc!) so we were treated to some music that Kevin and his brother wrote. They are just the kind of people you wish you could live next door so you could spend endless amounts of time with them.

Who knows what's in store for tomorrow...good night!




Sunday, May 24, 2009

I left my heart in San Francisco!



We lovvvvve San Francisco.

A guy on the cable car told us that Mark Twain once said the coldest winter he'd ever experienced was summer in San Francisco....and we surely do believe it! Going from almost having a heat stroke, sweating through our trek across Hoover Dam, to freezing cold weather was a little rough.  We layered up as best we could (considering us Southern girls are used to flip flopping and tank topping through our summer months, we packed minimum amounts of warm clothes).

We ate brunch with a family friend of mine Katie Troxler in the North Beach area at a cute little cafe. Perfect place to warm up with some coffee drinks!

Katie was also sweet enough to take us around they city for a while. After momentarily forgetting where we had parked our car, and also after seeing some GIANT black dogs that were definitely bigger than Em, we drove out across the Golden Gate bridge! It was super foggy today (as Marlene, one of our amazing hostess's last night informed us that the locals call it May Gray....something about the warm air from the other side of the mountains and the cool air from the water...) but we could still see Alcatraz and the got a good view of the "International Orange" wonder. 


After the bridge, and after paying the $6 toll to go back across it, we went to....drumroll, please....... GHIRADELLI SQUARE! Oh chocolately heaven on earth! Did you know they gave out free Ghiradelli treats?! We got a free peanut butter one and a caramel one. We also went to the ice cream shop they have there and got their famous, to-die-for-i'm-being-serious-it's-so-good sundaes! Check them out below... They are mint chocolate, caramel, and peanut butter sundaes:



Katie had to jet after treating us to ice cream and dropped us off in front of the cable car ticket booth where Emily and I got one way trips on the famous Cable Cars of San Francisco! We ended waiting almost an hour (memorial day weekend brought a lot of tourists apparently)...but we decided it was well worth the wait. We did have the enormous pleasure of listening to a local musician play guitar along with some karaoke background tunes to some popular songs....of which he probably knew about 35% of the lyrics to (Free Falling started out "She's a good girl, crazy 'bout Elvis, Loves Jesus"....) Once it was finally our turn, the cable car brake worker yelled out "All the single ladies can ride on the back with me!" Well you bet that is where you found us! It was the best place to ride because it's the least cramped since there is a limit of two people standing on the back with him, it's blocked from the wind, and you can see everywhere. Cable Car=worth the wait and the 5 bucks for sure!

We left San Francisco about 6, driving across the Bay Bridge (on the bottom leaving SF) and through Oakland.

Took us about 3 hours or so to get to Chico. I'm tellin' you, 3 hours driving is like a blink to us these days.

We're staying with our super friend Kevin Clayton Reid in Chico, CA for the next few days. He interned with us at Castaway 2007. 

His roommate Jordan has a pet snake named Ruby. Tonight, I put Ruby around my neck. My heart rate definitely increased the first few moments...


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Caution: This Post May Cause Overexcitement.

We would like start out this post with an apology. We are sorry but today was pretty uninteresting. We can't even muster up a good "Tammy" or lost wallet story. So instead, I decided to make it interesting by making the font green. Watch out now! Crazy things are a-happening! 

We drove from LA to San Francisco today...partially up the California Highway 1 along the coast. It was beautiful seeing the beaches, though the day turned out to be very overcast.

We did stop in Santa Barbara and we ate lunch at this place (again from our Road Food book!) called La Super Rica. It's this tiny little taco shack with cheap grub. It was absolutely delicious! They only took cash, so I was asking the lady behind me where the nearest ATM was and she was super rica nice and insisted that I let her pay for my meal! She handed me some money and saying that she knows it'll come back to her some day...which sounds like stuff my mom does. And ya know, when you give like that, it really does always end up coming back to you. So thanks Santa Barbaran lady! 

We opted for some fine dining for dinner at McDonald's. Oh how I love the chicken mcnuggets at MickeyD's...dipped in honey, of course...brings me back to my childhood when GaGa (my grandmaw) would come see my dance recitals and buy my a 20 piece nugget every year! yummmm 

Well our pic of the day is Mitch (remember, what we've been calling the Fit) on the coast of Cali! Big props to our wheels that keep puttin us from place to place... over 4,000 today!! All words of encouragement to Mitch and Carlos (the stick shift) are appreciate and will be delivered promptly.


Gonna hang out with Katie Troxler tomorrow in San Fran! Staying with some YL connections Wendy and Marlene in their awesome apartment in SF.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Happiest Place on Earth!

Disneyland....check!

We are currently sitting here about to fall into a deep coma due the sheer exhaustion of such an exciting day.

We managed to ride all the rides that we wanted to ride...including Space Mountain TWICE!!

We utilized the Fast Pass system, in which you go and get a ticket for a specific hour and come back and get to skip alllll the lines and go to the front!

Somehow fate brought us to sit in the front on Splash Mountain...the seats that get the most soaked! And did we mention that we didn't get to the ride until 5:30 so the heat of the afternoon sun was pretty much gone. Soaked and freezing....zip a dee doo da, zip a dee day!

It was like stroller mania in Disneyland. Seriously I think there were was a 1:3 ratio of people to strollers. We even saw a lady pushing one stroller and pulling another. 

Julia was a little sad that she didn't get to go through line and meet all the princesses and be made over into a princess with glittery hair and a tiara...

After tackling Disneyland, we wanted to go to California Adventures (the other park that we bought park hopper passes to) for just and hour or two. Well we didn't check on the time that the other park was open, and assumed that it would be open til 9 like Disneyland. So we stroll over and enter in about 5:45. Just as soon as we got a map and decided which ride we would go to, we hear a man on the intercom announcing that the park was closing! Whoops.

It was okay, we just went back and rode Space Mountain for the second time...and ate gumbo and bread bowls for dinner from the New Orleans section. Considering we kind of missed out on New Orleans the first time on our trip due to lost wallet escapades, we figured going and eating in the Disneyland version would be a good idea.

Please check out our Space Mountain pic from out second time below:



And this statue is called "Partners" in honor of good ol' Walt and Mickey...so we thought we'd pose like 'em!


Mickey is short. BUT WE GOT TO MEET HIM!


oh we can barely keep our eyelids open..............zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hello blogfollowers!

Today was another long driving day, full of its rewards!

This morning we ate breakfast at an old country kitchen called Old Smokey's in Williams that was a part of historic Route 66. It was a nice, small town little spot. My pancake was larger than my plate!

We got a tour of Lost Canyon, the YL camp in Williams, AZ. That place is suuuuuper nice. I really loved it and wish it was closer to NC so I could frequent its extravagance.

After leaving Williams, we went on Route 66 for about 70 miles or so...and there were little places ( not so much towns) with some crazy Wild Wild West decorated shops and things...definitely sprouting from the history and popularity of Route 66 back in the day.





We got to see Hoover Dam! It's huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge! We got to walk across it, look down both side, and try and listen in on some passing tour groups. Don't we look dam happy in our pic?? Definitely worth seeing!

We also cruised down the strip in Las Vegas, just to see it all. We didn't stop and gamble or anything...we were happy enough with the Sonic cherry and vanilla cokes we got on the way into town.

Chad Hines is kind enough to let us stay with him during our time in LA. We all watched American Idol and celebrated Kris Allen's victory !

Big Day tomorrow! DISNEYLAND HERE WE COME!!!!!!!

Free Hat (taken from people who paid for the tour) and we also got free buttons and sticker that say DAM PROUD AMERICA!!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hell's Angels...where are you??!!??

Oh man, what a day it has been.

Another early morning departure had us hightailing it out of Telluride around 7 am with our sights set on Four Corners.

We've been needing to go to a Wal-Mart for a couple days now and had passed by several during our trip, so we decided the first one we saw (which we didn't really expect to see many) we would stop.

Man am I glad we stopped.

After running around and grabbing our necessities, we get in line to checkout and were told it would be a minute because the lady in front of us (let's call her Tammy) tried to buy a whole cart full of stuff worth $1,500 and gave the cashier and empty gift card. Tammy said that she would go get more out of the car, then proceeded to grab the cart and try to leave with it.

So we switched lines and looked over towards the door and ended up getting the show of a lifetime. There was Tammy and her cart trying to get around the Wal-Mart manager, who was preventing her from leaving. Tammy starts screaming how Aisle 15 didn't give her a receipt and kept trying to grab the cart away from the manager. This tug of war went on and then Tammy punches the manager in face! (It was a pretty pitiful attempt at a punch I must say) So then the manager puts Tammy in headlock...and this cycle of tugging, Tammy punching, and then getting headlocked goes on about 2 more times around. In the midst of the action, Tammy stops and yells out "Hell's Angels! Where are you?!" as if big biker men were going to appear from the aisles and put a lickin on the manager.

Since no Angel appeared, Tammy then grabs a carton of cigarettes from her stolen cart and lights one up right there in the store. By then, the manager had called the police. Tammy and manager start marching over to Aisle 15 to talk to the cashier and Tammy flicks the lit cigarette into the aisle (almost hitting Em!).  She spends the next few minutes on a bench by the entrance, smoking her 2nd cig.

The police come, check it all out, and decide to arrest Tammy, who, of course, flips out and starts fighting the arrest, kicking the officer. Another officer sprints over and they throw her on the ground and zip tie her legs together, hand-cuff her, and carry her out like a sack of potatoes.

Who knew we would get to see a woman lassoed today...



Other than that little mishap, we got to stop at Four Corners and be in 4 states at once! Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah! The Navajo Tribe charges $3 per person to go into the monument where the corners are.  The monument is also surrounded by little booths selling Navajo trinkets, jewelry, and even fry bread.

We also had to make a pit stop in Tuba City, AZ (google it...it's in the middle of the desert) because I had a conference call and riding through Arizona you get negative service. So we spend about 2 hours kickin it in Tuba City at this little Coffee Shop (which we still cannot believe existed there).





And last, but certainly not least, WE SAW THE GRAND CANYON!! I really cannot put to words what it is like to stand at the edge and see it. It's a perty darn big hole. But really, we both felt like we could have just sat there for hours just looking at it. It's absolutely ridiculous. We are now dreaming of hiking down into the Canyon and camping for a couple days, and you know what happens when we dream up trips....any takers??


Spending the night in Williams, AZ with Ryan and Christine who work at the Young Life Camp here called Lost Canyon. They are friends of a friend and we love them already!

And our mileage is about 3200 now!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I will never forget the moment we arrived in Telluride...



Another high mileage day through mile high countryside.

I can't even begin to describe to you the beauty that we experienced today. Winding in and out of the mountains, gliding down and crawling out of valleys (literally crawling...that Honda Fit, that we so affectionately call Mitch, could only manage and uphill creep of 40 mph). The limited speed was of no issue considering we are in one of the most beautiful places.

One really exciting thing we got to do today was FINALLY getting happy hour Cokes at Sonic!!! 

Okay that was exciting, but only was a close second to getting to go to Frontier Ranch. FR is the first Young Life camp!! Neither of us had ever been, and for followers outside of the YL bubble, Frontier carries this magical reputation of being absolutely wonderful...or at least that the feeling I've always gotten from other folks. 

Walking around Frontier, I couldn't help but feel like I was on Holy Ground of some sort. It's amazing to think about how many kids have met Christ on that property, how many lives were changed, and really just how many people have come and gone and remember that place as being one of the best times of their lives. It's also crazy to think about how much Young Life has grown since that place was first used for YL.

So...on to Telluride! The subject is an adaptation from Tim McGraw's song about this cute little mountain town. I truly feel like I'm in a movie in this town. Kids riding their bikes to their baseball games, a main street that stops for all pedestrians and lined with colorful, old buildings each with local shops...this place is awesome.

We are staying with Emily's very good friend Dodi Darrow (we're her first guests since she married Andy). She showed us around town, we watched her hubby coach his little league team, then headed up the mountain to their house where she cooked us spaghetti and we watched the season premiere of THE BACHELORETTE!!! (FYI I don't really watch TV except for 2 shows: The Bachelor, and on occasion Living Single...and on the other hand, this is just one of Emily's 32904 shows that she very devotedly follows).

First Pic: Emily's awesome photo skills and just a little taste of what we got to experience today!
Photo 2: Frontier Ranch!!!!!

oh yeah.....we enjoy your comments, questions, concerns and/or snide remarks...so KEEP 'EM COMING!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Zoot Scoot Riot......RIOT!!!



When I said we had a fun day planned today...I didn't even realize the amazingness that was to come.

Another late morning then we headed to Snarf's Sandwich Shop, Lauren's fave place to go. We took the sandwiches to eat outside at Chautauqua Park. It must be nice livin in Boulder, picnicking at Chautauqua, seeing all the glorious mountains in the distance! One of our pics of the day (we have had to start cheating and put multiple, some stuff is just too good not to share) is us in front of the Flat Irons after lunch. 

We then headed to Pearl Street, a well known area of Boulder. It's a hopping street with tons of shops and interesting acts (such as a man fitting himself inside a box!). After a few purchases and some strolling, we then headed out....only to drive by a scooter that said "Rent Me" and a phone number.

You bet your bottom dollar we called those Zooter Scooter people up and inquired on the possibly of scooting around Boulder for the rest of the evening. Within thirty minutes of sighting the initial "Rent Me" scooter, there we were...three loons on scooters ready to take on Boulder at a max of 35 mph. (But I swear I got mine up to 38 a couple times!) Please notice my matching pink helmet with my pink scooter.

The scooter experience was one of the most fantastic experiences of all! It was a little scary for us at first, but once we took a few parking lot laps, we hit the road running...or really puttin I suppose. 

I couldn't help but feel so tough and B.A. strutting into the restaurant for dinner with a helmet under my arm...but then remembered I was drivin a Liquor Cycle (as my mother has always called mopeds) so really I wasn't that cool. But I felt like it.

I ate a Buffalo Burger tonight!! Yum.

And I'm almost convinced that I want to save and own a scooter.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Boulder!!


Boulder is amazing! Check out these kewl shades in Boulder!

We slept in today again. So nice after driving all day yesterday. Lauren, who we are staying with, works at Apple (yep, she's a Genius at Apple) had to work today so we slept in and met up with her on her lunch break.

This morning I also felt inspired to participate in some physical activity considering I spent 14 hours in yesterday and after that Frito Pie I felt my thighs just melting into cellulite oblivion. So I decided to go on a little run around Boulder. Well I should have remembered I need an oxygen tank to help me breath in the Rockies.  Not to mention it's been a few long weeks since I've been active. But really, the air is so different. But nice...reallllll nice.

After lunch, we walked around Boulder Creek in the Central Park in Boulder. We got a great taste of life in Boulder just walking around. A ton of people on bikes everywhere, some homeless population, a family of dreds (kids and parents all had them!), runners, walkers, people reading....all you North Carolinians reading, you could probably compare it to Carrboro or Asheville, but much bigger...and ya know the whole Rocky Mountains visible at all times thing. I also noticed that the population here is generally taller. Big old mountain folks I suppose.

Emily and I spent the afternoon laying in the park and reading (Em read The Weight of Glory by CS Lewis, I'm reading East of Eden by John Steinback). 

Tonight we ate on Pearl Street, well known place of Boulder which we will be revisiting more tomorrow. Then went and spent some time with Lauren's parents that we know from working at Castaway. Oh JJ and Ray Donatucci. Great folks. Did you know that the reason why Wedding invitations have 2 envelopes is because a long time ago the horsemen would deliver the whole envelope, then the servant/butler would then take the inner envelope out of the outer one because it was dirty? JJ Donatucci enlightened us on this tonight.

I also learned Emily does not enjoy being tickled. hehe Ammunition for the rest of her life...

Stay tuned, we have a fun day planned tomorrow in Boulder!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Over 800 miles in a day...



I just sat down to blog and realized I can't even remember this morning. We left Dallas at 6:50am Central Time and arrived in Boulder 9pm in Colorado time.

287 took us alllll the way from Dallas. If I chose one word to describe today's journey I would say nothing. Driving for hours and hours, all we saw was miles and miles of fields and nothing! We passed tiny towns with populations from 300-2000 tops. In Texas there were oil rigs everywhere.

Little known fact, in Texas even if there is nothing else but a filler station and the post office, many of those tiny towns have Sonic. If you know Em and Jewya, you know that we enjoy a drank from Sonic during their happy hour deal (Em gets a vanilla coke and I get a cherry coke). We literally saw Sonic's at every town, getting excited for our afternoon treat later in the day....and of course from 2-4 there were NO Sonic's to be seen!

But, we stopped in Amarillo for lunch to eat at Beans and Things (recommended by a book I have called Road Food). It was this tiny, local place with a lettered menu and folding chairs. Two women were working, one of them the cook with overalls on. We got a Frito pie and a Cornbread Pie (see the pics of the day) with brisket on top. These pies had beans, chili, and sour cream piled on top of the bread/fritos. It was absolutely delicious....though I will say it mad for an interesting afternoon in the car in the heat of Texas....

We made another pitstop on the side of the road at a fruit stand. Emily got some Pineapple salsa and I purchased some plums.


Lauren Donatucci, another friend from our summer at Castaway, lives in Boulder so we will be hanging out with her for the next two days!!!!!!!!!!!


And our mileage count is about 2300 for the trip.