Sunday, September 27, 2009

Canada A?

Why yes we have made it to Canada. The people and the country here are both beautiful. It been a while since my last post, mainly because of the intensity of our schedule and how much we have been doing. I can't believe its only been ten days since the Tetons!

I shall try to go in chronological order for sanities sake. After leaving the Grand Teton National Park we headed west on a couple of back roads inorder to connect with Hwy 93 in Idaho. Aunt Joyce and Uncle Dave if you ever do read this that is the MOST BEAUTIFUL road I have ever driven on. Nothing can compare. We joined 93 just after Idaho Falls, ID. Quick Fact...38% of Idaho is Undeveloped wilderness or National Park/BLM lands. We drove right through the middle of it all! we Followed the Snake River for a while as it meandered us up twords Montana. We passes the 45th parrell some where in Idaho. Kind of a neat stop and take a picture thing. Once in Montana we winessed a massive wildfire that blackened the entire sky. we could see flames from the road and people were pulled off the side of the road to watch. It was naturally caused and no houses were in danger, so they just that that baby burn!

Missoula, MT. Rachaels fantasy. atlease once a week their is a conversation about this town. Many people compare it to Asheville. Not so sure I agree. It was however, a wonderful town. Population of about 80,000. placed nicely in the mountains its economy is based around the University that is locaed there as well as tourism to local ski resorts. It is a college town thats why im not so sure that its really like Asheville, because Asheville is not a college town. We meet a few of Rachaels friends and hung out with them and toured around the town. Racheal was so happy she could hardly contain herself. It was neat to see such excitement. Weither she knows it right now or not in her life...she WILL move back there. its inevidable. We stayed in Missoula for two nights and three days and then headed north, still on Hwy 93 to Glacier National Park.

Glacier Nat'l Park, MT. This is one of the most beautiful places we have visited so far. Very remote, quite, and appropriately named the "Crown of the Continent". We spent three days in Glacier backpacking up and down Kintla Lake and Upper Kintla Lake. about 25 miles or so. The lakes were oviously Glacier fed and the most beautiful shades of aqua and teal that you could imagine. The only thing I can compare it to is the Tropical waters down near the equator. The color of the water is a result of the glacier silts that settle in the bottoms of the lakes and make the water appear light blue. (See mom and dad...I have been learning things! but sorry, I still dont know how to spell!). I must mention that before our backcountry expedition we ran into some very frendly locals at a town called PoleBridge,MT....PLEASE LOOK THIS TOWN UP on GOOGLE EARTH!! it has no electricity or plumbing. By far the BEST town I have visited so far. We ended up sitting outside of the one and only mercantile store sipping on a cold beer from a local brewery and started chatting with some local boys doing the same thing. We hung out a while in the "town" and then they invited us to join them at thier camp site. These were some of the most friendly people I have meet. They told us all about the area and what its like to be born and raised in the area. I really neat perspective on life I must say. I truely enjoyed it. It was refreshing meeting some more country folks...they just happened to live up north.

Banff,Alberta Canada!

That just about brings it all up to speed. We continue to meet all sorts of people as we travel. We followed Hwy 93 to the border and all the way to Banff National Park. So the road goes from Las Vegas to Jasper National Park in Canada and follows the rockies the entire way. A pretty amazing road. It is really expesive to do anything in Canada. gas is about 1.15 a litre, which is about $4 US a gallon.. 3.7 litres to the gallon I believe. Beer is about $6.50 US per 500ml or 1/2 litre. to get into the park its $20US per day...sorry Canada but we didn't pay that. then its $20 a day extra in the National Parks to camp!! so a 3 day backpacking trip would cost us about $120US. NO Thanks! Beautiful country but we cant afford that on our budget. We still have 30 or so other US National Parks to visit! and Vancouver!! that leads me today. We are in Banff, the town, and heading out tomorrow for Vancouver. We will spend a day or two there and try not to break out daily budget the head down to Washington. Maybe Ill see Aunt Lisa and an old friend from college that currently lives in Seattle. Oh Canada..Oh Canada........why do you have to charge so much!

(Update on the pictures... Rachaels computer is prettly much toast and doesn't really internet... and Flicker will only allow me 50mb of space per month..we have over 4GB of pictures so far...I really don't know what to do..if you are reading this and have some advice I would love to hear it! if not we will just put them on CD's and share them with all that are interested.)

Love and Blessings to All,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Rockies

Well we made it to the Rockies. We took some of the most beautiful roads in WY on the way to Yellowstone. We took the Chief Joseph Scenic Hwy. and the Bear tooth Scenic Hwy that lead us strait to cook city Montana. It was a really neat town. The population was around 100 people and they closed the road to the town in one direction during the winter. The only way the people who lived their could leave the town was to drive through the north entrance of Yellowstone in to Montana. The closest city was an hour and a half to two hours away. While in Cook City, we ate breakfast at a place called Bear Claw Bakery and Brew. It was a coffee and bagel type of place. It was by far the BEST breakfast I have every had for the price. The highest thing on the menu was $5.50!! and it was not lacking in the subsidence department. I could not finish mine! After Breakfast we ventured into Yellowstone where we were greeted by a 10 point Mule Deer buck. He was a beauty....Don't tell on me but I told Rachael he would look beautiful on my wall!! We made our way to the Ranger station and obtained a back country permit in order to see the hidden beauty of Yellowstone that less than 10% of all visitors get to see. We spent four days in the back country and saw all sorts of life. From plants to animals. No Griz though. We summited my first double digit peak, Mount Sheridan (10,395 ft.). Three thousand feet of elevation gain in three miles on top of a two mile approach trail to the summit trail. It was a 15 mile day with 6500ft of elevation gain/loss. It was fun! Rachael has started her pursuit to get trail legs. I've been so impressed with how good of a hiker she is! And we have been having great conversations on the trail. I might giver her the name TenderFoot because of the mass amount of blisters she acquired over the four days. (it was about a 40 mile expedition)....hopefully that picture will make it on Flickr. After hitch hiking back to our car. We threw our packs in the car and headed for Jackson,WY. When we got to Jackson, I remembered that I knew a lovely lady by the name of Britney S. that went to Montreat College with me and has since moved out west to work in Jackson. I gave her a call and we met up and she was nice enough to let us stay at her place. Rachael was feeling a little under the weather so she relaxed on the pull-out couch while Britney and I caught up. We ended up staying up til about 3am laughing and having a great 'ol time. It was amazing and it was so good to see her face once again. Who knows when our paths will cross again? All I can say is that she is a blessed woman and I greatly appreciated the hospitality she showed Rachael and I . Hopefully I can return the hospitality if she ever so chooses to venture back to North Carolina. Now its time to climb the Grand Tetons. We will be in the back country for the next couple of days in the Tetons, before heading north through Idaho to Missoula,MT to visit Rachaels old College buddies. Rachael in the process of downloading all of our pictures so that yall can SEE what we have been up to! love you all!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

off and running

We made it to Remer,MN at Rachael's family's cabin. It was beautiful. we spent three days at their cabin and went out on the boat every day. The weather could NOT have been better. 75 and clear skys every day. So far we havent run into any rain...I refrain from calling it "bad weather" because I believe its GOOD for rain to fall. It may be inconvienient..but none the less its not BAD.On day two I attemped to water ski for the FIrst time every. I got up on my first attempt and Rachaels family said it was one of the only times they have every seen anyone do that. It was awesome and I could not wipe the smile off of my face that day. (Pictures are to come). I met her grandparents on her moms side. They owned the property we were staying at and more property across the lake. The lake was called Thunder lake...Fast fact...Minnesota has over 15000 lakes not 10,000 like it says on all the license plates. After spending a couple of relaxing days with her family we traveled to her parents house in Minninapolis,MN to get the credit card that Rachael had sent their that had our join account money in it. the mail didn't show up til 6pm and that really delayed our trip plans. We thought it would be there by 1pm....we were wrong!! We left MN at 6:30 pm at headed for South Dakoda. I drove almost 10 hours and stoped 15 miles shy of the Badlands.By this time it was 4am to 2am depenting on what time zone you want to go by. We spent the night in a scenic pull-off and slept in the Element. We woke up at 6:30 am to see the sunrise over the Buffalo grasslands. It was breath taking. We then drove through the Badlands. We decided it was not worth spending the night their and just made a 1/2 day of it. After the Badlands we went to Wall,SD home of the world famous Wall Drugs. TOURIST TRAP!!! We got a couple of free stickers and left!Rapid City, SD was next on the list and went to a local brewery called Firehouse Brewery there. Best beer so far in my opinion. Then we set out to see Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments. After that we drove through the Needles hwy. (SD 87), which was a spectacular drive. You can Youtube it if you want to see more! By this time it was around 6:30 pm and we decided we should find a place to camp. We stopped by the N.F.S Headquarters for the Black Hills and asked for advice. The nice lady that worked their sent us to a spot that was cougar infested and had hardly been visited. IT WAS AMAZING!!! it was just us for who knows how many miles. we spent the night their and saw more stars than I have seen since I went to Africa in 2000. We didn't see a cougar...but I wish we would have. We woke up to another beautiful day and decided to visit The Devils Tower in Wyoming. Thanks to Aunt Joyce's advice, We will meander off of the interstate and take WY route 14 to yellowstone. That brings me to right now....Sundance,WY. the place of the Sundance Kid. Population almost 1,000 elevation almost 5,000. If we dont make ot to Yellowstone today we will stop in the Big Horn Mt. Range and spend the night. Oh and another fast fact, its legal in WY for passengers to drink beer.What a disterbing law!! next update...after the Tetons....til then I love you all!

Monday, September 7, 2009

well well well

Alright where i do begin on such an amazing last week! The last post was when we were in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where we visited Nathan's cousin Harris, his wife Rebecca, and their adorable, yes ADORABLE son Jacob! They were such amazing hosts and welcomed us into their home with such open arms-we feel truly thankful for them! We got to Milwaukee and toured their beautiful new home and played out in the front yard wirh Jacob until we (not him!) were tired. They made us a wonderful dinner and we took a stroll around their neighborhood, which is right along a section of the Milwaukee River. It was a wonderful evening and it was very nice to get out of the house and stretch our legs. We woke up bright and early and toured the town and Harris brought us to his community garden where he is raising bees for an extension program at the local university. It was very informative! He also showed us his garden where his goods were all in full growth. We headed back into town and tried to go to lunch, but that just didn't seem to work out for numerous reasons, so we went back home and made tomoto sandwiches-fresh from the garden i might add! We then went out onto Lake Michigan and went SAILING!! Harris' friend Mike took us out on a boat and it was amazing. The weather was perfect a light breeze around 6 knots...yes that is sailing terminology ya know! We both were able to mess around and learn new sailing skills, which was exciting! After sailing we went and had a great Ethiopian dinner and met up with my cousin C.A and his wife Jamie and had a few (few is used litely) local beers and played some darts of course. Let me inform you that we won both games-woop woop! We woke up the next morning and left Milwaukee and went to Madison where we saw the capital, strolled around town, and sat by the lake and read the paper and just relaxed. It was a great way to enjoy a nice day before we went to Ridgeland to visit Nathans Uncle David and Aunt Joyce! We arrived in Ridgeland after stopping outside of a nice bar that wasnt open and they gave us a nice refreshing beer! we felt lucky! David and Joyce were excellent hosts as well and showed us around their spectacular property away from all the hustle and bustle of the real world. We also say their amazing garden surrounded by an electric fence, which Sierra found out soon enough!!! We made homemade pizza and had great conversation with those two! Watched some tennis and nathan's uncle revamped his computer so he will no longer have viruses! Thanks Uncle David!! The next day we hung around made a homemade wildrice soup with cranberries! Welcome to the North Nathan!! We departed that afternoon to head to my cabin and see my family. We stopped in Duluth, MN where Nathan was able to put his feet in a second Great Lake-Lake Superior! We walked around the boardwalk in the Canal Park area and headed to the Brewhaus to have another local beer:) We bought a nalgene of Starfire and headed to the good 'ole cabin!!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day One and Truckin'

August 31st, 2009, a day early of schedule, Rachael and I headed out of Black Mountain, NC and arrived at my friend Jeff E's house at around 7pm in Indy, IN. Thanks Jeff for being such a great host and letting me and Rachael spend the night and for liking coffee as much as me. He took us to a local brewery called Broad Ripple Brewery and Pub. What a fantastic little joint. if your every in north Indy, stop by.

Rachael Got hit on by a kentucky redneck...
The story: We stoped in Kentuckey to refuel and desided to sit on the curb and watch the fiasco that was happening across the street at the ajacent gas station. Aparently it was a HUGE drug bust that was flooding the local news and radio stations. As we watched, two men in a gray pickup rolled by and said hello. Rachel didn't notice but i looked at them and said hi. They circled back around the gas station and continued to "cat call" at the both of us. after about 45 seconds of sitting beside us...and me smiling and trying not to laugh...the passanger redneck said..."hey! ur a man!" I laughed real loud and said "Yup I am" he looked really imbaressed, proceed to tell Rachael that she was "real purty" and "he liked hur hair" then they drove off. Mind you, with out stereotyping too much, their actions followed those of people who were drunk. And there were about seven to eight cop cars across the street. welcome to Kentuckey!! but honestly I do love this state. Its beautiful, and there are people like this is EVERY state!