Monday, May 28

Mango Salsa

Ree did a cooking lesson post in which she swears up and down over this mouth watering, man pleasing, can't live without sandwich. Immediately I knew I wanted to try this sandwich, not just because it looked yummy to me, but because I also wanted to really please my man. I usually only show you guys his scruffy side (wouldn't want anyone getting jealous). Usually he has a five day shadow, or some new goatee he's trying out. But he still makes me melt when I look in those bad boy blues. Joey's eyes So I made him THE sandwich...two days in a row. It was that good. Last night I made her Chicken Spaghetti Casserole and I have to say it was another hit! Trust her when she says to take it easy on the cayenne! It made such a huge amount that I was able to dish it into two separate casserole dishes, cooking one, and freezing the other. I don't even have a big enough oven in the bus to cook a casserole that size, so it turned out great being able to prepare two suppers at once.

Ree also makes her pico de gallo the same as me, so I thought I'd share with you a little twist to it that I do, perfect for those hot summer days. Mango Salsa.
mango salsa 022

There's only four ingredients mango salsa 003 Tropical Fruit Salad, Jalapenos, green onions, and cilantro. How easy can you get?

Unlike Ree, I de seed the jalapeno, and use green onions instead of white
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After everything diced nice and small, have your cute helpers with the little fingers hold the bowl while you scoop it all in.
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Be sure to drain the fruit, and then dice it up real good, too.
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Sprinkle some salt and pepper, stir, and serve with tortilla chips.
mango salsa 020 It's so good you might be tempted to just eat it with a fork.

It makes a nice garnish for spicy rubbed pork, too.

Some remodeling

Because if you said you were doing some remodeling I'd be expecting to see some pictures some day soon, and since I know how much I'd want to see them, and how anal I would get with checking back every day looking for them, eventually resorting to hounding you with requests for said pictures, here they are:

The bus was quite plain when we bought it, notice the bedroom:
bedroom before

Now it radiates me:
bedroom after

I painted the wood black, painted over the half peeled off wallpaper, light grey, and built shelves that connect the new platform bed, to the boys bunks. The mattress is a queen memory foam bed, which has to be the most comfortable bed. ever.

I ordered the white snow tiger fabric online, sending it directly to my Mom where she sewed up the curtains for me, including a white suede lining. Have I ever mentioned that my Mom Rocks?! She did such a good job that I've hired her to do the entire bus.

I'll upload more pics to Flickr for anyone that wants' to see the full shebang.

Saturday, May 26

I've always wondered....

Well not really, but since it thought so highly of Danielle I thought it might make me appear smarter. No such luck.

You're Loosely Based!

by Storey Clayton

While most people haven't heard of you, you're a really good and
interesting person. Rather clever and witty, you crack a lot of jokes about the world
around you. You do have a serious side, however, where your interest covers the homeless
and the inequalities of society. You're good at bringing people together, but they keep
asking you what your name means.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Ha, ha....ain't it the truth!

Thursday, May 24

Glenwood Canyon Adventure Park

Every time we go into Glenwood Canyon we pass by the big hot springs pool. We also see a tram (or gondola) that leads way, way up into the mountains, and other than the small tram station there's just a small sign saying Glenwood Canyon Adventure Park. I look up the park online and decided as soon as summer hours start, we are there! We were going to do both the hot springs resort and the park, but opted for just the park.

You have the option of the tram or an old schoolbus to get up to the park, natch we went for the adventure.
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First thing we did was ride the coaster
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Only it wasn't your ordinary roller coaster, it was gravity fed, with you controlling the speed. Everyone else went full bore, while I had to use my brakes some going around really tight curves. Even though in my mind I knew it wouldn't run off track, I couldn't convince my body to not be afraid. Plus since I had Jewel with me I figured she'd be scared to death, guess it was just me.

We then had about thirty minutes for our tour of the caverns so we tried out the Swing Shot.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park 167
You'll notice there's no ground on the other side of our swing. After buckling in we're pulled back, and up, before being shot out to swing over the canyon. At first Joey and I thought we would lose our lunch, but eventually our stomachs settled back down, enough for me to do it again and talk Jake into trying it. Jewel wanted to but she was too little.

We met up with our extremely knowledgeable tour guide, Kathy, for the longest tour ever.
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The highlight of the tour was King's Row
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But this has to be my favorite
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She had some food item name for this formation, as almost the whole cave has, but we know what it really looks like.

After seeing cauliflower, mushroom, popcorn and bacon in the formations Jonas had a question for her when she asked if anyone had one: "Umm yeah, can you stop talking about food you're making my mouth water."

While we were in the caves (we toured two different areas) there was a thunderstorm. Because of the storm they had to shut everything down so almost the entire park cleared out by taking the bus back down. We decided to peruse the gift shop where the kids all got more sleeping animals, as if two black bags full aren't enough in 200sf. of space, but I digress. I got a new night light, I can never have enough of those.

It felt like there were only about 10 of us left in the park at this point, and the sky has cleared up and it couldn't be a better day to have an adventure Park all to ourselves. I even learned the names of the employees.

While waiting for Wade to get back to the rock climbing wall, the kids, and I'm including the 200 lb. one in that, rode the coaster about four more times. We got lucky, the kid that measured Jonas said he was too small to go alone which meant he had to go with a bigger rider, and go for free. Jewel was already free so we had a lot of extra ride tickets for the kids, it worked out great, especially considering the other ride with restrictions measured him tall enough. For the first time I kept my mouth shut and went with it, normally I'd try to prove that he was indeed 48" tall, but when I can save a few bucks...well, you know how I feel about that.

I think I was more excited about rock climbing than anyone else. Joey tried telling me that it's harder than I think, as if I might not be able to do it. It was so easy! I loved it! I want to go do it for real now. My arms were sore the next day because I was too afraid to let go. I started climbing back down until I finally had the guts to just push off, and I didn't stop until my butt hit the ground.

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Jonas really got into as well, going about three times and making it to the top.

A fun time was had by all.

Full Circle

When we left Phoenix back in 1998 to journey across the US we had a desktop PC that we couldn't take with us. A friend from La Leche League mentioned that her husband had a laptop that he never used so she'd see if he'd sell it to me. That day I got my first laptop, and for only $100. That was before wi-fi, but I had already been hooked by electronic mail. Around the same time they invented something called getting your pictures put on floppy. They must have invented that just for me, I know it. With my old ancient laptop I would share my pictures, with some snarky remarks here and there, by preparing the email, saving it to send later, then shutting it down (because the battery wouldn't last two minutes). Then I'd walk into the campground office, usually disconnect their phone line to plug it into my laptop then start the thing back up and hopefully thirty minutes later it would be sent. We kept up this type of family communication regularly for years, until my Uncle Carl died. For some reason not getting his Fish Fry Friday updates caused something in all of us to stop. My Mom and cousin try to keep the groups (I eventually got my Dad's side of the family on board) alive but for whatever reason people just aren't sharing anymore.

Then along came weblogs. Now these were for writers, but I tried anyway. Lately I've gone back to my old style, pictures with comments, and I'm getting a lot of nice comments, but the ones that mean the most to me are *Thanks for sharing*. That feels really good, maybe because I don't have a big social circle on the road, or maybe it's because I didn't really hear that too much from my family, the ones that I thought would enjoy seeing my shit. It hit me that none of my original email circle reads this, which makes me now feel like I was bothering everyone and wasting their time with my babble, or maybe even annoying them. Gah! Now I know that the people that read this are here because they're actually interested. Thanks! Because of this I promise to keep improving.

My Uncle Carl always encouraged me to document our travels more permanently, so here's to you Uncle Carl. Thanks for the inspiration!

Sunday, May 20

Hanging Lake

I said we'd be back. I have to admit I did have my doubts though, it was considered a difficult hike and given the amount of time it'll take to hike it we weren't sure Jewel would make it...but we had to try. Jewel's got all her necessities.
Hanging Lake 088

We enter the trail thru those trees.
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And continued hiking on up to where we left off last time.
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And remember when I said we hiked up a turns out we'd barely even started.
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There were even more rocky paths, and lots of hot sun in the beginning. The farther up we got, the more shade we got, but we still had a lot more climbing to do.
Hanging Lake 129

Sometimes we walked right up the creek
Hanging Lake 115

Other times we maneuvered around fallen trees
Hanging Lake 112

And occasionally we'd be surprised with random small waterfalls
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There was rarely a flat part of the trail, it pretty much went from one steep terrain to the next, and after the toughest part of all we finally get to see our prize
Hanging Lake 210

The water was the most amazing color
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And opposed to what other hikers on their way down thought of our choice of shoes, we were happy to prove them wrong. The crocs turned out to be good for another reason other than comfort. After getting them wet they took mere minutes to dry so we didn't risk having wet feet and shoes for the hike back down. They could have had better bottoms for the jagged rocks on the way down, but I couldn't have asked for a better hiking shoe. Fake crocs and all. I still don't know how Joey did it in those flip flops though.
Hanging Lake 206

After climbing over 1000 ft. in elevation in less than a mile, we discovered there was still more! Obviously Jake still has loads of energy
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There was yet another large waterfall
Hanging Lake 184

Going back down from this waterfall we hit what was basically a dirt slide. Jonas went first and slid all the way down, and I brought up the rear and only fell a few times.
Hanging Lake 186

After nearly killing ourselves we found ourselves on top of the falls that form hanging lake, it was surreal. We were covered in shade, wading thru iron colored travertine and using downed trees as bridges. Plus we had the place to ourselves. Heaven.

You can see how high up in the canyon we were.
Hanging Lake 195

We had to go back down one more time before saying goodbye.
Hanging Lake 161

And before tackling this:
Hanging Lake 219

How about some more zig zags?
Hanging Lake 228

We're almost there!
Hanging Lake 235

Man what a great hike, I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself driving I-70 thru the Rockies. Everyone was impressed with Jewel, she never gave up and only tried to get Dad to carry her a couple times. She's turning into a natural hiker.

My whole body was sore for a couple days and Joey's calves were a little sore, so I expected the kids, especially Jewel, to be hurting, but they didn't know what we were talking about. They laugh when we say that was a hard hike, so forget if the little ones can make it....they may be helping you up.

Saturday, May 19

Another first

Things to do in a Campground
Originally uploaded by jakesmome.
Normally right now we'd be gone. When the job is over so is our time in that area, but something about this place is drawing us in. The weather has been absolutely beautiful, with warm days and cool nights. You know, open window weather. ahhh.

The decision to stay here was an easy one, it was the first in many years that we didn't have a house to get back to or famly we were desperate to see. Today we get to just BE. The biggest thing almost nine years on the road has taught us is how to relax, and take time for ourselves. We're in no hurry to get anywhere. We can take as long as we want, that next location isn't going anywhere. We're no longer on a quest to see and do everything.......and that feels good.

Things to do in a campground.

Saturday, May 12

Deer Don't Disco

Deers Don't Disco
Originally uploaded by jakesmome.
We're just waiting on UPS to deliver a welding part I ordered four weeks ago. It'll be here Monday. We're going to leave as soon as the brown van rolls away. The plan is to head to Dinosaur, UT, spend a couple days at Dinosaur Nnational Monument, a museum, and a fossil site. Then make our way down to Arches National Park before soaking in Lake Powell. In Lake Powell we hope to find a houseboat to spend even lazier days on, cruising the Canyonlands. Then it happened. What every driver in these mountains fear, happened. A deer ran into my Disco.

This could change everything. :(

Thursday, May 10

Glenwood Canyon

Six weeks was long enough. We tried, we really did. We thought we'd work longer and take the summer off, but then we remembered that's when the rest of America goes on vacation. So, we're just going to continue enjoying Spring for a while longer, without work getting in the way. We'll do some more exploring this week and then spend the weekend finishing the bedroom remodel I started a few weeks ago. Priorities. Plus, we like to avoid weekend crowds.

Glenwood Canyon  I-70

Ever since our first trip thru The Rockies I've dreamed of riding my bike down the sixteen mile bike path going thru Glenwood Canyon. I'm actually going to do one of my do before I die things. And I just got a new bike a few weeks I have brakes now. Might come in handy. I was going to get a new bike seat for Jewel since her old one that I got on "junk days" years ago wasn't getting any nicer, but the cheap skate in me had to re-recycle. I painted it with a white fushion paint and she looks good as new. Off we go!

Glenwood Canyon 071

After loading up all the bikes, then unloading them when we get to the canyon, Joey's tire is flat! And my never used before air compressor won't work! Joey offered to walk so we weren't going to let a flat tire ruin the day.

At times you're right next to the Interstate.
Glenwood Canyon 013
But it surprisingly doesn't take away from enjoying the views of the river or the canyon walls. Then we'd be under a canopy of trees as we climb higher than the road.

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After a while Joey and I switched and I did some fast walking. It feels so good to get active! I must keep this up. For the last stretch back to the car I really rode it hard, plus I've got Jewel on the back adding her weight to mine, so my legs were burning by the time I got off. We walked back to meet up with Joey and encourage him thru the finish line.

Glenwood Canyon 062

Then top it off with the chicken that's been cooking in the car.
Glenwood Canyon 072
Good times.

Tuesday, May 8

Hanging Lake Trail

After our day in Rifle Falls State park, it set a chain reaction of more and even better days. We've already been up here about six weeks, which is about the average length we spend in one area, why should this time be any different? The weather's getting better and Joey's work weeks are getting shorter.

On the advice of the satellite installer we drove past Glenwood Springs into Glenwood Canyon to find the Hidden Lake. Jay told me it was pretty easy, so even though we got a late head start we'd still have plenty of time to make the hike before dark, while wearing flip flops.

Jay might not be the best judge of difficulty.
Hanging Lake Trail 179
No, we were not properly prepared, and by the way, don't leave your water in the car.

The trailhead to Hidden Lake can be found at a rest area six miles East of Glenwood Springs, on I-70. It appears to be a typical rest area and unless you do some exploring you'd never even know it was there. We walked a ways down the 16 mile bike path that leads through the canyon, until we got to the trailhead. Jewel was already tired and wanting to be carried.
Hanging Lake Trail 043

If you look close you can see I-70.
Glenwood Canyon

The trail starts at the creek, working it's way up the waterfall. Working it's way steeply up. Up boulders. Lots of boulders.
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Notice Jewel in front of Joey with her walking stick? Suddenly she's not tired anymore.

The boys are loving the challenge and couldn't feel more alive, or ape like.
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I'm usually falling behind, taking pictures and all, giving Joey plenty of time to test the water.
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We hiked quite a ways up, crossing the creek several times,
Hanging Lake Trail 131
attempted some rock climbing,
Hanging Lake Trail 099
and soaked in the mountain air, but Joey had reached the limit that he felt he could safely get everybody out in case of an emergency, so we didn't make it all the way to the Hidden Lake. We will be back.

But first, we gotta go back down.
Hanging Lake Trail 110

After coming back down we continued to walk around and enjoy the surroundings, and sometimes I'm lucky enough to capture the Joy.
Hanging Lake Trail 152

Believe it or not, that's not all the pictures. Go ahead, check 'em out. They're even in a slideshow, just for you.
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