Monday, August 25, 2014

1500 Miles

Our drop date to leave the van in LA was moved up from September to August 25th!  No time to go back to Flagstaff and re-organize so we made a mad dash through California and covered 1500 miles in 5 days!  The great thing about this is we got to see a lot of good friends along the way that we previously thought we wouldn't see!  Some of our oldest friends from our California-livin' days!
Susan and Saul!
Thank you to Saul and Susan for a great workout at Mad Dawg Fitness and the night's stay with coffee and kitties - great to see you guys continuing to thrive in Redwood City!
Lunches and dinners and coffee and workouts in Santa Cruz with lots of good friends!  It was great to be back in Santa Cruz - thanks for a great "old times in Santa Cruz" visit Adrian and Kim, Nicole and Tosh, Pat, Ian, Miranda and Tyson!  Great to see all of you!
The "Spur"!  We used to eat here when we would come and visit the original CrossFit gym crew back in the day!
Highway 1 in all it's glory.  Awesome to be able to drive that route from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara!  We even got sightings of dolphin pods jumping several times!
 Anna and Ronnie!
Santa Barbara beach and an old time merry-go-round!  Great day with our Bakersfield mountain biking buddies! We sure miss these guys!

Ron and Candas!
Big thanks to Ron and Candas for letting us re-organize ourselves on their front lawn in Valencia!  Great to see more friends from our Bakersfield days!  Ron and Candas got to meet Tanner the day he found us in Oildale (hence the breed "Oildale Curbsetter"), they taught me how to road ride on Round Mountain road, and Candas and I had great "no-princess" tours to climb and ski in Mammoth.  Good memories!
Good bye to the Adventure Mobile for awhile...heading into LA to put it on a ship bound for Chile.
Time to drop our adventure home off in Compton... Wait.  What? Compton?!  Yes, we were pretty anxious about that, but it turned out just fine.  No shady deals in a chop shop. We didn't drop it in the 'hood. Just a normal warehouse in a light industrial area.  It's now off on it's own adventure, sealed into a container on a ship bound for Valparaiso, Chile.  We will see it in October (hopefully with all our belongings intact)!  For now....we get to return home to Flagstaff for a few weeks before we head out for a few stops around the globe before we head South!  More posts to come in mid-September.
Old vs new FJ's.  Got to rent a new FJ to drive home from LA, and then get to drive the old one now that we are home!
Welcome home!  GORGEOUS sunsets and the Cruizer greeted us and Bruce and Jane welcomed us home with a wonderful home-cooked dinner and Heather had her big bed waiting for us!  We are HOME with our people!

Our West Coast Friends and Family tour closes and we prepare ourselves for the next chapter of this year-long journey.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Singletrack Heaven

Our journey continues into another adventure: THE McKenzie River Trail.  If you love to mountain bike, this needs to go on your bucket list.  Along with Porcupine Rim in Moab, this is now one of my top 2 trails I have ever ridden.

One of the coolest bike racks I have ever seen!
We took a shuttle up the 20 mile road to the upper trail head and then had a great cross country ride for 5 hours!


This 27 mile long trail follows the McKenzie River from its headwaters at Clear Lake where springs literally gush from the ground to form the river.  Emerald and sapphire colored clear water reservoirs and lakes and roaring waterfalls, rough lava flows and lush mossy green old growth forests all create a diverse and interesting trail that undulates up and down in a steady cross country wild ride.   The river actually disappears underground for awhile and then reappears by bubbling up at the bottom of a crystal blue pool, where it then takes off into rushing whitewater above ground again.  Pretty amazing.

It wouldn't be the perfect trail without the sharp volcanic rock technical sections. The upper MRT has most of the technical, while from Trail Bridge Reservoir it is fairly smooth.
Not an uncommon picture with Mike and bikes!

Maybe best of all, we got a new regulator and got the camp oven to work!  Our final issue with the van resolved, just in time to ship it down to Chile!  A beautiful meal of fresh roasted salmon from the Columbia River and fresh veggies from Mike's mom and dad's garden came out of the oven in 40 minutes instead of 2 hours and 40 min!  Yay!  Our luck luck turned!  Now maybe Mike can be IN the van more than UNDER it!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Every day I am amazed by people in my life.  I have incredible opportunities to be inspired because of all the incredible people I am exposed to in my work at the gym and during the seminars I teach each weekend.  But that inspiration is also found in my family.

Mike's parents are 75 and 80 and I hope I am even half as active physically and mentally at their age as they are.  Mike's dad built their house, which is beautiful, energy efficient, environmentally conscious, and creative in architecture.  They are both politically and socially active, incredibly informed, and teach to their communities.  And they hike the dickens out of Portland and surrounding area (including summiting Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens and many other large hills) to the extent that I am SWEATING as I follow in their footsteps.  Mike's mom is an incredible cook and I attribute their health and well-being largely to their food choices and lifestyle.

Next point of inspiration is their relationship.  After 50 years, it's obvious they have a deep respect for one another and support one another whole heartedly through that love and respect that has only grown across the years.

We have shared a great couple of weeks with them, and I have left another visit with them feeling grateful yet again that I have married the man I have.  He comes from good stock.

Bounty from the Gresham Farmer's Market

Great rock climbing right in Troutdale at Lewis and Clark State Park!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

More Birthdays!

Happy Birthday, Halle!
So lucky to get to spend Halle's 6th birthday with her, get our fingernails painted, and play a little Cornhole Toss!
Love her focus here!
Halle gave herself a great birthday present and learned to ride her bike!  Hannah was such a good big sister in helping her avoid curbs!
Strong words from local brews...
Gorgeous stormy sky sunsets close out our days in Bend...
On to Portland and more Northwest adventures with Mike's parents!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sisters in Sisters

Camping with my sister and her fam at 3 Creeks Lake, near Sisters, OR!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

From WA to OR

We left Mt. Rainier and headed for Olympia to see Molly, Heidi, and Tristan one more time!  Molly took us out on the town for a fun dinner and creative drinks.  If you're ever in Olympia, find Dillingers!  It's a great little restaurant housed in an old bank where you can even sit in the vault!
Great bartender with lots of stories to entertain with about the drinks he creates!  This one he claims is one of top ten preferred sipping tequilas in the world!  So, of course I had to have it with a Sangrita chaser!  In Mexico, they put chile powder on their fruit salads.  As the day progresses, the juice is drained off and sipped alongside the tequila.  Delish!
Molly and her chicken pets...
We bid a sad farewell to Molly and headed for Bend, OR.  We had such a nice time at the Merritt-Petersen B&B!  We shall return as soon as we can!

Onward to our camping adventure with Tami and Tom...after a quick jaunt up to Puyallup for sushi with Todd and Christal Widman!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier is a magnificent presence in the skyline of Seattle and surrounding area, providing an awe-inspiring backdrop to just about anything you're doing.  It's been years since we have been able to see Mt. Rainier up close, and to have Mike's parents' 50th wedding anniversary as a reason was perfect!  While Mike has summited once before, we have been weathered out on climbing it in the past, (along with Mt. Hood and now 3 Fingers Lookout) so being this close and watching people trek across the glaciers has embedded the bug to try again! 

Mike's dad takes in the views from Skyline Trail above Paradise.
Signposts along your path...they are there if you look.
Mt. Adams showed its face, as well.
Lots of rock slides this day made for some excitement, hearing the thundering from down below.
The glaciers above Paradise.
The land of cairns.
Great place to celebrate 50 years together!
Mama and her 2 cubs sighted across the meadow!
Where to next?