Friday, October 30, 2009

Mexico! Here we come... finally

Alas the time has come for us to cross into the unknown. I think Jessi and I have been putting up mental barriers preventing us from actually leaving the country. Maybe I am just speaking for myself but tomorrow ends any anxiousness or fear of the unprepared and we dip down south and begin the Mexican portion of our journey.
We left Dallas on Monday and drove all the way across that gigantic state only to have the van break down directly after crossing in to New Mexico. We were graciously towed back to Las Cruces, New Mexico from our friendly AAA provider to the only open repair shop at 6 pm. I do have to say that my plan to get an older vehicle that is easy to work on sort of back fired because the bearing that went out was apparently the most unique part in the universe and the repair shop had to send for it on Mars. Needless to say we were stranded for four days. A little frustrated at first we maintained that adaptive spirit that we have learned to embrace thus far and made the most by seeing all that south central New Mexico had to offer. We were able to see the White Sands National Monument, which looked like snow, and then we actually saw a snow storm in a beautiful little mountain town called Cloudcroft. I recommend hitting this little spot if you are near.
After the repairs were finished we headed to Tuscon to stay with a friend from the Bay area, Bryan Sloyan. It was a fabulous time. His parents graciously opened their doors and gave us a bunch of great ideas of things to see and do in the area but our short stay limited us to just a hike. I guess I shouldn't say "just a hike" because the Sabino canyon was breathtaking. We will definitely be back to Tuscon. Geeze, with all these places we have stopped and loved I don't know how Jessi and I are ever going to settle anywhere. Well, this is our last American post so we will see you all in Mexico...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Deep in the heart of Texas!

Continuing south there is nothing else you can do but land in Texas... and stay for a week. Our plans had called for two days with our friends Jamie and Micah but Dr. Paul and Sheri, Micah's parents, had a different idea. There was a lot going on throughout the coming week in Dallas so Sheri talked to us about our lack of commitment to a timeline and the importance of maintaining an adaptive spirit while traveling, so instead of 2 we stayed for 8 days. And Let me tell y'all, it was worth it. Our week started out with the largest, much like a lot of what you will find in Texas, state fair in the United States, posing with Big Tex, a huge Texan truck, and, of course, eating some corn dogs. The following day was spent downtown Dallas where we experienced the history of the JFK murder. The Dealey commons still maintains an eerie presence as you walk through one of the most pivotal moments in American history.
Since we decided to stay the week we had some time to drive down to Austin, TX and visit one my college friends, Katie, who has worked as a teacher for last 5 years there. We were able to tour the Texas capitol building which was a beautifully designed building that told the story of one of the most unique states in the union. Then back up to Dallas for a fun filled weekend as Jamie and Micah celebrated their recent wedding with a reception for the Texan family and friends. Jamie's parents, John and Lori, came down from Wisconsin to help celebrate and we had a fantastic weekend of fun that was capped with the Dallas Cowboys game in the ridiculously large, glitzy stadium that houses the largest center hung screen in any stadium, measuring 160 across and 70 feet high... crazy. On top of all that, another college friend of mine, Chris, recently started school at the Dallas Theological Seminary and was able to get tickets to the Dallas Symphony which was absolutely amazing. Needless to say Jessi and I are so grateful for everything we experienced and all the Lichtey family provided during our stay... something tells me this won't be our last time in Texas


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mom's House

After Minnesota round 2 we finally, made our way to mom's house in Missouri. A place close to the Lake of the Ozarks. They have a pretty sweet house and the trees were just starting to change so it made it even more beautiful.

We had lots of activities planned. Our first priority was to get a new camera. We ended up getting a camera that takes underwater pictures. We figured it would be nice to be able to have two camera's for different things. So now we can take pictures while snorkeling and surfing, which will be really fun.

Mom and Rick had Wednesday and Thursday off and took us to the Bass Pro Shop, a gigantic outdoor gear shop, and we also visited Fort Leonardwood, where my mom is a barber on base. There is a great historical museum if you ever find yourself in that area. They decided to have a tour of the caves and we visited Meramak Caverns. Jesse James' hideout after he stole a bunch of money from the Colorado railroad. We also went to the St. James Winery. It was an interesting take on the wine world. Not the usual California winery but still very nice with a few good wines. After that they took us to a restaurant located in a cave. Yes, I know it sounds really weird but it was in a cave. The food was pretty good but overall it was just an interesting experience.

We left on Saturday for Dallas but didn't leave until later in the day because we were waiting for some books to arrive in the mail. Fifteen minutes before we left I get a call from Jesse asking me to come help him find his glasses. He was long boarding down the road in the back of mom's house and rolled over some wet leaves and flew off of his skateboard. He is still nursing his wounds but I think he is going to live.

Grandma Carolyn

Upon our departure from Iowa we received word that Great Grandma Carolyn was in bad shape and would not live until her 100th birthday. This was our que to head back to Minnesota instead of our planned departure towards Missouri. We went to Minnesota and celebrated the life of an amazing woman and are grateful that it happened before we entered Mexico. Although some may feel as though the death of a person is a sad time, this sure wasn't. She never wanted to live until 100, so she lived until she was 99 years and 364 days old.

After we did the funeral and hung out with family we went straight to Jesse's mom's and it started snowing. The date was Oct 10th. Unfortunately, we only have one picture from this snow storm because as we were setting the camera up on the tripod, after the first picture was taken, a gust of wind blew, knocked our camera over and broke it. It was very funny,tragic and sad but we are getting it repaired and will have it back in December. I have posted the picture of this for all to see.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Golden Kernel

After Minnesota we ventured south diagonally through Iowa to visit our families and friends in the Quad Cities and outer areas. We were in the area for a little over two weeks and it was very fulfilling. On the way we had to stop at the Iowa 80 truck stop which is, in case you were wondering, the World's Largest Truck Stop EVER!!!

We hung out with Dad (Gail), Cody, Wyatt, Cody’s new BF Bob, Dad (Keith), Carolyn and Taylor most of the nights. We got some quality Ben and Joe time for a few days. That's always Nice!!! I even got to hang out with Wyatt during the days while Cody was at work sometimes. I was getting in my aunt time since we are going to be gone for a while. We did lots of relaxing and eating and some more eating and some more relaxing. Other things we did while in the Quad Cities included, driving in the cornfield to get pictures of our van which lead to the usage of 4 wheel drive in our van that eventually broke and got fixed all in the same 48 hours. Better in Illinois than Mexico, right?? The van also got some sexy new shocks. They look so hot!! The back of our van got a really nice makeover, too. Jesse and his dad built up the back with a surfboard compartment and extra storage underneath so we can keep things nice and tidy during out trip. On top of the surfboards are two sheets of plywood that have a foam mattress on top from my dad’s camper, so if we do have to sleep in the van we can. Also, when either one of us is driving the other one can sleep in the back.

The second weekend we were there we left for Madison for Jamie and Micah’s wedding. It was probably one of the most exciting weddings ever! Lots of dancing, beer and great German songs. We love you Micah and Jamie. Thanks for the good time!!

After our stay in the QC, we both feel as though we have had enough red meat and potatoes for the next year. We will be ready for it again when the time comes. We love our families and will miss you while we are traveling!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Minnesota! The Mother Land.

It seams as though our time in Minnesota was ages ago and I, Jesse, will take full responsibility for the delinquent behavior. Although it was some time ago our time in Minnesota was among our most relaxing and rejuvenating since we left California. It started off with an epic evening of Wakeboarding with college buddies Trent Johnson and Jaime Timm on the beautiful Clear Lake in Minnesota. Jessi got up on the wake board first time ever, what an athlete. Adventure and rest for us while our Van saw some amazing highlights including a record (for our van only) 18 passengers. We were also in the great town of Waconia to watch a hard fought second place finish of my brothers 3 on 3 basket ball team, witnessed a home win of the Minnesota Twins on their way to win the AL central division title, and we were able to see future hall-of-famer Bret Favre in his first start as a Minnesota Viking (that was on tv but exciting none-the-less). Something about coming home to this great state leaves me feeling like there isn't a better place in the world but then I think about everything else Jessi and I have yet to see and it feels really good to leave.