Friday, September 25, 2009

Interesting encounters.

So as the title states we have had a few interesting encounters with some other Toyota "Spacevan" owners. As you may have seen earlier there was an encounter with the van owner from Boulder. This truly is a colt following because when one owner see's another there is always some type of exchange involved, whether it be a wave of the hand, a little chat, or a flicker of the headlights. Jesse and I really think this is pretty awesome.

That being said, we were driving in the middle of South Dakota, more in the flat plains area and we see a white object that has a similar setup as our van. It had a black Tulle box on the top and two bikes hanging from the back. As we got closer we noticed that it was the exact same as our van except it was the stock model. The stock model has no windows in it and this one was also white. So of course we drive by and honk the horn and wave like any of the other drivers would do.

About fifty miles down the road we stopped for gas and the white van followed. The man got out of his van and introduce himself as Mitchell, from Montana, headed to Minnesota. Come to find out Mitchell is travelling for a few months in New Zealand then to Utah fro ski season and then back to Montana after that. Mitchell also gave us the contact of a woman who owns a bar off the coast of Honduras called The Twisted Tucan on an island called Roatan. We are definitely going to go there and meet his friend.

It's these kind of exciting things we look forward to on our travels and we ready and grateful for these types of encounters.

After we met Mitchell, we went to Mitchell, SD to the corn palace. It's a place where the local schools play basketball and they occasionally have concerts. I would say if you are passing through you should probably stop but overall it pretty much sucked.

South Dakota Fun!

Ok, so I totally underestimated the beauty of South Dakota. It is the land of may textures that includes the Black Hills, the Badlands and also some of the Great Plains. After leaving Boulder, CO, we went north into Wyoming and then east to Mount Rushmore. Now, if you have ever been here it is a true phenomenon. I've never seen anything like it and really can't describe the feeling you get when you see it for the first time. Imagine, giant heads 4 of our greatest presidents carved into the side of a mountain. I was very, very impressed.

After we stopped there we went straight to the campgrounds at the Badlands National Park. The Badlands got it's name from fur trappers who came to this area in the early 1800's due to the lack of drinkable water and the ruggedness of the land. This region was a shallow ocean area where the most complete skeleton of a T-Rex was found.

At our campsite and all around the park are open lands where Buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play. I've never been that close to a Buffalo. Except in a zoo.

At night you could see the entire Milky Way and thousands of other stars in the sky. It was amazing. In the morning we woke up and went to Wall, SD to stop at the famous Wall Drug for some 5 cent coffee. It was delicious and very weird. This place became famous during the depression when they would give people free ice water. That was seventy years ago and they have been busy ever since.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Plains

After Dick and Donna's we left for Boulder, Co. This is where Angelie, Jeff and Petra live. They just moved into a beautiful new house on the edge of town on the south end. This was tons of fun as Boulder never disappoints. One morning we got up and went to a breakfast place on top of a mountain in Allens Park. We had to stop here because almost three years ago I started my quest for the best biscuits and gravy ever. This place had it, and after we ate there I can confirm that yes, they still have it. I will be dreaming of the next time I get to eat biscuits and gravy there. Overall, it was a great trip and a very active one, as well. We ran a few days and Jesse went biking with Jeff and a few friends. These are the things that make us love Boulder so much. We can't wait to go back.

So as you can see there is a picture of our van and a red van. Down the street from Angelie and Jeff's was this beauty. The owner was checking it out one day and started chatting with Jesse about how awesome our van is. He gave him tips and tricks for the longevity of the van also confirmed what we already knew. That is how long these vehicles run and how well they run. It's always great to meet another Spacevan owner.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Aunt Dick and Uncle Donna's House

At this point of our trip we were on our way to Dick and Donna's. Aunt Donna is my grandpa Kerns' sister. I'm pretty sure she is my oldest living reletive. On the way to their beautiful home in Creede, Colorado we stopped at Mesa Verde in Cortez, Co. This is an amazing area of cliff dwellings settled by the Pueblo civilizations.

We had a good time hanging out with Uncle Dick and Aunt Donna. Here is an example of a typical day with them: Wake up at 7:30, shower, have coffee. 9a.m. go to Breakfast. After breakfast drive around and see the sites. 2p.m. Siesta for 2 hours. 5p.m. Margaritas and dinner. 9p.m. Bedtime. I can really get used to this lifestyle. It's very laid back and easy going. They were great host and we were grateful to visit with them.

Marvels of the Southwest states

Like we said, if we pass it and it's worth seeing we stop. So our followers will not at all be amazed by these two hotspots we passed on our way from the Grand Canyon to Creede, CO. Tuba City and Four corners monument have been touted as the "most breathtaking sites in the WORLD!" (Wild Bill publishing, 1938). Such a destination we could only snap a picture of Jessi as she waited for this happy couple to move there feet from the four states of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Grand Canyon

We finally made it out of california after seeing the biggest trees in the world, through the Arizona heat, and made it to the biggest... crack in the world. I guess it is more commonly known as a canyon and a grand one it is.

So the picture of the ipod is a little strange but this is not an ordinary ipod, it has been across the world with several different travelers and if it completes this adventure we have been contacted to make sure it becomes an exhibit in the Smithsonian.

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks

Arrival of a departure

The time for goodbyes has come and gone, the adventures begun, and our van has already devoured 1,600 miles of open road. Goodbyes are never easy but our friends from the Bay are nothing short of the most fantastic support system any couple could ever want. We left on a Saturday morning September 5 when the plans for this trip came together and the time felt right. So the date drew near with skepticism a predominant theme among our comrades but La Ostra has solidified the position as the third and most stable member of our family.

Like Jessi said the month of September will bring us around and through some of the highlights of this great country, national parks mostly. We want to make sure we take full advantage of the time we have set aside so if we pass anything worth seeing you can bet your bottom dollar we are going to stop unless, of course, it doesn’t fit in to our rigid schedule that rarely varies from the 15 minute increment slots we have tirelessly structured to force fun upon us…

Actually this trip is exactly the opposite of that. We have destinations that are tentative and length of stay that are even more slippery. We see family and friends as we go and leave when we are ready. Another strange phenomenon I feel I should mention is the generous nature of the Oyster, motivated by saving the suspension, it seems that at every stop we loose some of our belongings to family for safe keeping while we are gone.

We are in Boulder, CO now visiting my sister Angelie, brother in-law Jeff, and baby niece Petra, who is the cutest baby I have ever see. Check out there blog at We have been gone for a week so in the next few days we will post the pictures from the past week for you viewing enjoyment… See you soon.