Thursday, July 1, 2010

32-hour non-stop expedition home sweet home/SNEAK ATTACK

32-hour non-stop expedition home sweet home/SNEAK ATTACK

Yup. I said it. After the Manitou incline our bodies were aching and so were our hearts for home. Our tentative plan was to spend the night in CO springs at our main man jeffy’s…but as a group ruling the paper ballot was in favor of home sweet home. Jeffy we still love you, & you tooo sethy! The legendary Durango drifters steer the bow of the boat towards the east coast straight across I-70 east for a solid 32 hours plus pit stops. We began our trek at 11:30 mountain time, the boys rode shot gun for the first 17 hours… cobra took the first shift, followed by Billy with the graveyard shift, we pulled into a gas station to fuel up and swop seats around 4 am near the Mississippi river. As the Durango was fueling up with gas, Amy & I fueled our veins up with a large coffee. I was Amy’s co-pilot/ photographer. As we drove across the Mississippi river, Billy is yelling “tric, take a pic, take a pic…. SNAP! I took it just it time!!,,, except the flash was on whoops. FAIL. Amy chipped away at a good 10 hrs or so. During this time, the boys are passed out in the back, positioning themselves every so often… we did capture some pictures of it… but Billy got his sticky hands on them…and pressed the delete button, but since Amy is brilliant yet again and knew he was going to try to delete them, she secretly locked them. Billy retaliated with swiftly taking the memory card out of the camera and stuck it out the window only gripping it with his dumb and pointer finger. This went on for about 10 minutes, until it somehow it was settled. I’m not to sure about the ending, since I was driving at the time. But I know the pictures were deleted and we saved the memory card from flying out the window. Amy chipped away at 8hrs of driving time before I took over. When I took over, it was a very quiet drive… everyone was to himself or herself, sleeping, reading, and or listening to music. Except the bursts of energy out of cobra & Billy from the backseat… dropping it like it’s hot. I ended my route at Penn State and Billy took over from there. We are approximately an hr and a half from good old Milford.. wooo wooo! I think its about time we all get out of this car…. 32 hrs of stiffness, anxiety, & homesick.. Oh and ps. Our AC decided to cut out too! But through it all, the hills & plains, valley & deserts…there aint no mountain high enough, no river low enough to keep us drifters apart! Guys, it has been quite the ride, experience, and privilege to have you by my side during our journey… I will hold onto all the memories & never will I forget that one summer the Durango drifters romped around the country! Thanks for making it happen! Love you all! & will def miss waking up next to you guys each morning, I will miss the “I got first showers,” the sardine canned Durango, the laughs, and most of all YOU GUYS!

pps. This is a sneak attack home to surprise the rents… Amy just told her mom we were in Kansas, but really we are on I-81… she plans to jump out of her bedroom closest when she walks in her room to put her slippers on… (craccckerrrrjacccck)

ppps. So cobra calls his mom and says hey I’m in Kansas as were on 84, and says yeahhh were going Mountain biking tomorrow…. (I know in Kansas, the home of flatness.. he’s brilliant too) and then were heading down to NC to visit Amy’s coach…I won’t be home til Wednesday. That’s cobra for you!

I wont be getting home until we make our rounds … dropping off Amy, cobra, and a surprise visit to Casey’s (Billy’s girlfriend, for all you who don’t know).

LUCKKYYY MEEEE,! Must be nice to be chauffeured.

Forever young,

Colorado xo

Coloradoo xo

Red dirt road.

Uncle Myron’s at last. (Amy’s great uncle, who is probably the coolest cowboy who ever walked this earth). We trucked through the night to reunite with our home sweet cabin tucked peacefully about half a football field away from the ranch. No cabin fever here. It was all fixed up for us and touched with love by Aunt Janine. ( great Aunt, who is the most in shape 50 year old I will probably ever meet, still whooping us youngin’s on the Manitou incline—I will explain in a few). It was about 2 am by the time we settled and tucked ourselves in. We sure did get our 5am wake up call, COCKA DOOODLE DOOOOO, but all chose to pay no heed to it and rolled over to catch more shuteye. Although, Amy set her alarm for 8:30 and 8:35 (she always sets two, because if she snoozes the first one without setting another one she will undoable sleep right through it), to try catch Aunt Janine & Uncle Myron before they headed to work. The rest of us started stirring around 10:30 ish and headed down to east some “eggs in a basket”, made with love by Amy. Yes, if you all were wondering what “eggs in a basket” is (don’t worry I was just informed as well). But its quite delicious, it’s a pretty complex dish… a piece of bread, cut a hole out of the center..(with your teeth or the circumference of a cup) plop an egg in the hole and fry it sunny side up). Children under 13… do not try this at home without parental supervision. Anyhow, we than all frolicked around the pasture, collected the chicken eggs, fed the horses, fooled around on the ATV for a bit. Billy fervently wanted jump on a horse and ride it bare back but we forewarned him not to all we needed was him to be bucked off a 1400 lb brawny black beauty.

Cowgirl up!
And then we decided to do a little saddle horseback riding ourselves. We called a near by place and giddy up we went riding. Cowgirl up! We hit the happy trails and trotted. It was pretty much Billy’s first time riding & same with Cobra’s. I was a beginner too, (except for last July when I rode a mule for 6hrs and got horse burn and swamp ass galore). And Amy she circled intermediate on the contract, (could have guessed right? She’s always outdoing us) Kidddinggg… she has rode a handful of times. WHOAA! But since she checked intermediate she was dealt with Kane, (the horse with the attitude) she handled his reins like a cowgirl though, except when the Kane trots… the little girl side of her comes out again, “Guys, how aren’t you pissing your pants!” And then laughs uncontrollably. When our trail ride came to an end, we brought em’ back to the carrel and hurried home for Uncle Myron’s famous cooking! A pork dinner. More like a feast! Tender pork, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, salad, sprinkled with the thickest cowboy accent, “ It’s all ready now, come & eat.” Did I mention he is the coolest cowboy ever? And boy, did we eat. Especially Cobra, who slapped on at least a half of dozen pieces of pork in his plate. But, what do you expect he’s a cobra. After dinner, we digested ourselves with a ride through the 11-mile canyon much thanks to Aunt Janine. Pure Gorgeous it was. And now back to the Manitou incline part above, once we returned Amy & headed back up to the cabin and hit the hay, knowing we had to wake up a 430 am to tackle the dreadful MANITOU INCLINE. The boys chatted with Uncle Myron for a bit down at the ranch, and followed us not long after.

Stairway to Hell

So for those who aren’t familiar with the Manitou incline… Google it now, but its basically it’s a 1 mile of hell steep rising up to 2000 ft in altitude on 2800 railroad ties. :) So we needed our rest, mentally and physically. Last year, Amy & I took on this same challenge and were hoping to beat our times. (mine, 1 hr and 27 min & Amy 57 min) As for Aunt Janine, her able-body faithfully masters this task weekly with a jaw-dropping time of any where in the mid thirty’s. She’s a pistol. COCK A DOOODLE DOOOO, but this time its Amy’s cell phone alarm, at 4:23 am, yes another one was set at 4:27 and that’s when Amy & I rolled out of bed in misery to put on our incline gear an scurried down to the ranch for peanut butter on toast (supposedly the right nutrients for this hike). With my eyes barely open I scarffed it down and filled up my camelback. You’re probably wondering where the boys are huh? They are still comfy- cozy in bed. But hold up, waiiiiitttt a minute, a text comes through from Billy, “did you guys leave yet.” And in time he jumps on the quad and we greet him in the driveway with his orange and 3 cookies. Cobra, is still in a coma, not liking the idea of a 430 am wake up call followed by the hike to hell. So therefore, he continued to dream. The rest of us, including Whit (Amy’s cousin) ventured off to Manitou Springs, home of the incline. It was a bit cold, but that faded quickly after the first couple steps of the hike. Aunt Janine & Billy neck to neck for most of the time took the lead, followed by Amy in the distance, Whit behind her, and well for me last…Because if your not first your last… humming Miley Cyrus’ the climb… wiping the sweat of brow, talking to myself in the third person, “come on Tric, keep digging.” And I dug. I wasn’t giving up for the world. A few hands and knees crawls later I heard from the top “Come onn tric, almost there, as the rest of them were cheering me on…. And I clocked in at 51 minutes on the nose!!!!! 36 minutes of improvement from the previous year,,,wooo woo! Mustve been my membership at the gym.. or… And for the other’s Aunt Janine finished in 35 minutes, Billy next with 37, followed by Amy with 45 min, & Whit with 48! Butttttt, I was rewarded with the most improved player! I didn’t get a trophy though, but we all did get a victory picture at the top. And then it was time for the trek down the switchbacks, my busted hip isn’t a fan of downhill jogs so myself or hip wasn’t the happiest of campers. And there she was, glowing in her lit up circular light…STARBUCKS…. we treated ourselves to & hugged and thanked Janine as she went off to work. It was only about 8 ish and I already hiked a mile up and about 4 miles down…so that’s what it feels like to wake up in the crack of dawn. It felt like lunchtime. We drove back to the middle of no where lake George, and fixed ourselves some of Uncle Myron’s famous pancake mix with strips of bacon to accompany it. Mmmm another delicious feast! If your wondering about Cobra, he is still up at the cabin… sleeping the day away..! It’s a beautiful morningg!!!!

keep climbing,

Day 34 to Day 36: Moab, UT

I never thought that it was possible to spend SO MUCH money yet live so simply. We spent the past three nights in Moab, UT – the Mecca of outdoor sports – forgoing showers, electricity, running water, and toilets in order to take advantage of the area’s resources. After a few short stops in Bryce NP, we pulled up to Moab’s Adventure Center to find out our options – rock climbing, canyoneering, kayaking, rafting, skydiving, and off-roading. It ALL sounded intriguing, but we had decisions to make considering our scanty wallets and time constraints. Kris (our scavenger secretary) had pre-booked a river trip on the Colorado River for the 28th, and after some realistic calculations we figured we could finagle ONE more adventure...There wasn’t much to discuss – we unanimously decided to go ahead with our original plan to rent a few quads and romp the canyons. We could pay out of our butts and rent for a half day (5 hours) or pay out of our butts plus $20 and keep em for an entire 24 hours. We went with the latter, and undoubtedly got our moneys worth. (You’d be proud, Momma ☺) We spent a solid 12 HOURS riding an upwards of 80 miles through desert trails, over sand dunes and up the sides of mountains. The whole experience was ideal. I was due for a little alone time, and although we were riding together, it was a great time to refuel, refresh and reflect…and it didn’t hurt that we were surrounded by some of the most beautiful views.

We spent that evening and the previous at a primitive campsite in the backwoods with nothing but a fire ring. I’m sure you could imagine the stench emanating from our bodies after two days in 100+ degree weather without showers and the film of dirt on every inch of us after 12 hours of riding through the desert…sooo we finally sucked it up and PAID for a campsite so we could wash up. It was either that or pay 5 bucks for a shower at the Shell station. The boys are famous for dropping 5-10 bucks on showers, but us little ladies like to rough it every so often…either that or we’re just crazy cheap. Maybe a combination of the two.

That night we enjoyed a three-hour dinner at Eddie McStiff’s – a local restaurant that was advertising $6 mojitos. Tric had just endured a solid week of “sobriety” and after a forty and a Gatorade/Parrot Bay concoction back at the campground, she excitedly asked our waitress, “How are the mojitos?!” With equal excitement, she answered, “DELICIOUS!”….. “I actually had one when I got to work ☺” We started to wonder if ONE was an understatement when tables came and went as we waited for our food. In the meantime, Kyle was running back to the campground to grab his ID because the mojito deal was just too good to be true. Upon his return we had a very deep philosophical discussion about our generations’ superior kids’ television in comparison to todays’. Nothing holds a candle to Guts, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Legend of the Hidden Temple, Doug, The Wild Thornberrys, David the Knomb, Hey Arnold, Rugrats, and Figure It Out. On account of our late food, our waitress comped us 10% of the bill which according to Tric made her $6 mojito $3. I smiled and kindly informed her that 10% off of $6 was 60 cents making her mojito $5.40. That’s ALMOST $3. Good attempt, T.

We walked back to the campground around 11:30pm and decided to use the restroom before we made our way back to the cheaper tent sites that were a solid 5-minute walk from the bathroom. We assumed the boys had finished up before us, so we began the walk back. We actually made it back despite the fact that we had to go down a stairwell and over a bridge in sheer darkness, but we DID end up taking a baby detour when we saw a skunk scurry across our path. We busted our butts back to the campsite and took refuge in the tent. Two nights before, we had a similar run in with some wildlife. As I led the way to our primitive campsite that was nestled under a huge Lion King-looking tree, across another creek, I spotted a pair of eyes in the tall grass. After the reading the Moab guide that day and seeing MOUNTAIN LIONS and BOBCATS listed in the local mammals, I held up and asked everyone else if they saw what I saw. Tric assured us that she saw the same thing and it was just a bat, and we all kind of shoved each other forward, shimmying like a four-person unit until we broke loose and hussled towards the tent.

We woke up around 6:30 this morning in order to give us enough time to get the Durango to a shop before our rafting adventure. Oh yeah, about that…We cracked our left roter somewhere along the way. I didn’t hear it till we were hauling our four ATVs back and forth from the shop to the trailhead, but Billy says it started before that. I guess he would know best since Tric and I have driven a total of 18 hours this entire trip. It would be the Durango’s 4th trip to the shop in our 35-day adventure. I guess that’s what happens when you drive 8,000 miles in a month.

It was 7:32am and we were supposed to meet for rafting at 7:45am meaning we’d have to run about a mile and a half in 13 minutes. Totally doable…but I’m kind of over timed runs, so we called the rafting company and they scooped us up just in time. We got on the mint green school bus with about 25 other people which included 3 of the most outrageous/chill people I’ve ever met in my 23 years walking this earth – Collin, Danny and Brian. Collin was a Massachusetts-native who skipped around the U.S. for a few years till he started his rafting gig about 5 years ago. He takes a 3-month vacay in South America every summer and while in Moab, he lives out his 70’s van. Tric and I smiled at eachother as I nudged her to turn around to find him brushing his teeth from he back of the raft and he couldn’t wait to get in the water to get his “bath.” He still rocked an old school flip phone and probably lives one of the most fulfilling lives. A Renaissance-man – he does it all: kayaks past alligators in Costa Rica; hikes the entire Appalachian Trail in six and a half months; and plans to base jump any chance he gets. I’m sure he’s chockfull of stories, but we didn’t want to pry too much.

Unfortunately, Danny (a Noah-from-the-Notebook look-alike), lead the other paddle boat so we didn’t get too much dirt on him, but from our 30-second conversation on the bus, he grew up about an hour from my birthplace in Jersey and his brother used to work for a pencil factory until it went under and now he works as a clown, making balloon hats and puppies. Brian rowed the oar raft, and laughed uncontrollably at just about anything he said. His laugh is like that of an evil pirate and we referred to his raft as the evil pirate ship the entire time.

We started out “party boat-style” with all three boats tied together, and the trip started out smooth. We only hit a few baby rapids before we stopped for lunch, got our safety talk, separated the boats, and headed for the class fours. After each major rapid we would paddle our way to a safety eddy which were sometimes difficult to get into considering the strong current. The guides had bets going…for every eddy their raft DIDN’T make it into, they owed a the others a 30-pack. As we approached each rapid, Collin would give us our plan of attack and then communicate our paddle strokes as we were fighting through. As we approached “The Doom Room,” he went into very detailed instruction and explained that if we didn’t execute it properly, we could easily fall in or get the boat stuck in the relentless swirling waters. He told us of one time where he had abandon ship and hike out of there because once you’re in there, there really isn’t much sense trying to get out. It’s virtually impossible. If you’re lucky, there is a little area where you can pull yourself out of the water and onto dry land. I knew that this would be a pretty scary one, and that it was, but we did exactly what was asked it made it through with smiles and laughter. We pulled off to an eddy to watch the other two come through. The oar boat came crashing through and kept everybody aboard, but the other paddleboat wasn’t so lucky. We saw five people get thrown from the boat and get sucked under. We saw at least a few pop up out of the water only to get thrashed around on the rocks and plummeted by their raft. I sat there in disbelief; it all seemed pretty unreal. The raft got out of the water tornado and came rushing towards us with three people floating pretty close behind. We were relieved to see them safely pulled into the raft, but as the guides communicated with hand signals through the loud rushing waters, they held up two fingers and screamed out, “TWO! THERE’s TWO IN THE ROOM!” My heart was in my stomach and I immediately did the only thing I felt like I COULD do at that point – pray. Our guide instructed the boys to tie us to a rock, and ran up the mountainside to hike over and around to where the two people were last seen. We stared up river in an eerie silence trying to decipher whether the other two were out of the water. Finally Brian came down in the oar boat to tell us they had both made it out of the water and they were hiking their way back around to us. We clapped and cheered. The relief and emotion that ran through me was overwhelming, and my eyes welled up with tears. I kept thinking if that was Tric, Billy or Kyle, I don’t even know what I would do. Ugh, it still makes my stomach turn. I just THANK GOD that we’re all sitting in this Durango right now on our way to our next stop – Lake George, CO – to see Uncle Myron, Aunt Janine and Whit! ☺ & hopefully Sethy & Jeffy!!

Much love,
A. Hendricks

Friday, June 25, 2010

One Man Down. Four hearts broken.

So for those who didn’t know, the Durango is back on the road. Except, the scavenger/ reservationist Kristina is not :(. During our unplanned stay in St. George, Utah waiting for the Durango to return, Kristina received a voice mail…. South Side HS in Rockville Centre, NY (Top 50 High School in the US) called her to come in for an interview. Now that’s when the ole saying comes in “caught between a rock and a hard place,” well that she was. Does she miss out on a great opportunity and finish the last 2 weeks with the Drifters. Or... Does she shuttle over to Vegas and catch a redeye flight? After all morning of contemplation, weighing the pros and cons, and receiving advice from family & friends…her decision was made although, her little heart was looking forward to the Colorado River adventure. Through some tears and frustration, her flight was booked. (We all really think she mustered this up to go reunite with her sugar daddy friend Kirk at the Craps table in Vegas.) As much as it hurts to lose a drifter, the rest of the crew thought she was doing the right thing. With our encouraging words, and last self-timer photo with Kristina outside of Comfort Inn as she awaits for the shuttle to Vegas airport, we said our farewells, gave hugs, and wished her the best of luck. The rest of us repeated our routine and jumped in the (now roomy) Durango and headed towards our next destination…Zion National Park. (Another spot Kristina was looking most forward to) Looking through the rearview mirror, there she was a hot mess wiping the tears from her eyes… (Let me be honest, it was a bit eerie without her with us for the next couple hundred miles) Billy, from time to time shouting, “Hey, Kris here’s the receipt.” Cobra saying, “Now who’s going to make the reservations?” Amy & I still couldn’t wrap our heads around the fact that she was really gone. Durango Drifters down to four… (Kris, we are collecting you rocks everywhere we go, don’t you worry). We all miss you already; you are here in spirit with us. We mostly miss, “Hi, What are your rates for tonight? Do you have continental breakfast? What time is checkout?” Nail the interview girl, but either way, drifters for lifffeee!

Angels Landing

The rest of us climbed that day. Climbed is an understatement. We scaled up a mountain, holding on to a link chain for dear life. Angels landing is about a 5-mile hike, steep switchbacks, and difficulty level: strenuous. We all thought, “Come on, we hiked Half Dome, pssh this is nothing” Well, for me any steepness calls for misery. As for, Amy, the division 1 Field Hockey player, Billy, the I can ingest any food I want & still be in shape, & Cobra, come on he’s a venomous snake…tackled it with somewhat ease. Except, for the last .5 miles of basically rock-climbing without a harness. But we were VICTORIOUS…we made it to the top! The way back down was a bit nerve-wracking at times, one miss footing would have perhaps turned into a bit of a free-fall. But the technique was nice and easy, shuffle, steps. Once we returned to the bottom of the climbing part…of course, Amy the D1 athlete decides to run the entire way back down…”she met her so-called future husband”, but he lived in Seattle…FAIL. We eventually met up with Amy, and frolicked in the river. From there, we took the shuttle back and there was one thing on all our minds… FOOOOD! We found a historic place called “Blondies” and masticated our meals, and topped it off with a milkshake for all but Amy, she decided to go with a vanilla rainbow sprinkled cone. It was time to hit the road again; we drove until we hit a campground about 100 miles in between Zion & Bryce. At last, a KOA—with Hot Showers! We called it an early night, (my legs are still hurting from half-dome). We did a quick pitch, showered and hit the hay.

Ps. We will be romping around Moab, UT tomorrow for 24 hrs on our ATVS and camping out in the hoodoo's tomorrow night...and hitting up the rapids the next day or so... we will not have service so until then much love... tric. xo

pss. pics for this post will be coming soon...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Durango Drifters Beautiful Disaster :)

Triple AAA again...but this time our friend Chad's quick fix remedy of wigglin' the battery wire with a splash of coke isn't going to miracously fix the hanging by a thread belt on the front side of the engine. Which also happens to operate the AC compressor and cooling agent. (100 degrees+ temps here, windows down are going to cut it). But looking at the glass half full, thankfully we made it here to St. George Utah and this did not happen yesterday. If so, we were driving through the desert heat surrounded by geicos and dry cactus for 7 hours and every so often saw signs that read "111 miles to the nearest gas station." The boys are towing it now to the nearest garage to find out the damage done, and more importantly the friendly donation we have to dish out for the fix. Keep your fingers crossed with us. We actually blame the entire incident on Kristina, who said yesterday morning when we got whiffs of burnt peanut butter from the engine... "yeah i saw a squirrel underneath the engine nibbling on a gronola bar wrapper." (When she stuck around the campsite all day, as the rest of us took on half dome). Then we pull out a chocolate chip/ peanut butter gronola bar that is finely wrapped into a ball stuck somewhere in the engine. Thanks Kris, for the heads up. Or for 'shoo-ing' away the squirrel, it was a squirrel, not a BEAR! So now that were nesteled up in the Comfort Inn (check out time was at 11 am) we are either a.) booking another night if we are not blessed enough with good news and little labor...(will probably find the nearest cinema and hitch hike to toy story 3 tonight) or b.)are blessed enough with a 'bang-bang play' fixture and will continue to drift on to Bryce/Zion our suppose to be destination for today. (We should probably tell housekeeping our decision but furst we have to hear back from the boys on what kind of day its going to be...)We will keep you posted. Stay tuned for more on the beautiful disaster of the durango drifters.

Embrace the unexpected,

ps. if you'd like to make a donation, please simply stay on the line.. or press 1 for more options :)

pss. the boys just came back with the breaking news...AC COMPRESSOR BELT SHOT/ if we would have kept driving the result would have been a hot engine bust. We are exercising plan A. the car will be fixed late afternoon...with a whopping 1k.

Looks like skydiving dreams just plummeted to the ground :(

Happy Summer, & stay cool.

Day 27 to Day 30: Las Vegas, NV to Mammoth Lakes, CA to Yosemite, CA


Well, I didn’t find me a Kirk, but I DID find me a MAYWEATHER!!! Yes, Floyd Mayweather…the most disciplined, cockiest, best-looking 145-lb boxer to grace the sport. I was walking through the casino bumming about the fact that I just dropped 2 bucks on the grossest McD’s sundae I’ve ever eaten, chatting with Tric and Kris when I immediately slowed my walk, stared in amazement and mustered up a “oh. my. gosh.” with the very little breath I had left in me. There he was. FREAKING MAYWEATHER just strolling through the Palms followed by his little posse. Tric and Kris walked by like he was Joe Blow, but I knew…and he knew that I knew. He looked at me and kind of smirked probably finding my reaction entertaining. I’m sure he gets it all the time…but I’m just gonna tell myself that it was a love smirk….juuuust kiddiiin’. He was much tinier than I expected! I guess I should’ve assumed so…I weigh 10 pounds more than him and he’s SOLID. Anyhow, I’m pretty sure I didn’t stop talking about it all night. Anyone that initiated the faintest hello or even just made eye contact HAD to hear my big news J

Meanwhile, back in the room…Billy was texting a dude that snatched my pen & wrote his number in my journal while I was writing at the pool that day. I’m still trying to remember exactly how Billy got a hold of it (I think Kris read it off to him while I was reminiscing about our day at Pauly D’s pool party), but Billy being Billy initiated a text conversation with a, “Remember me??” Apparently my dear friend remembered (or at least pretended to) despite the fact that he slurred his words and reeked of hard alcohol at 11am that morning…That’s Vegas for ya. He asked “me” (aka Billy) what I was doing that night and Billy told him I was going to “In-N-Out” (the west coast’s version on McD’s). That’s obviously the cool place to be in Vegas on a Friday night. Anyhow, I know the conversation ensued past that, but hardly anything worth mention except that he told us that Lohan was at The Playboy Club that night. I thought she had some kind of DUI anklet on her leg? But then again Weezy has a cell phone and laptop in his jail cell. Lifestyles of the rich and the famous.


*If you’re not a friend or fam, this probably would have very little interest to you. Just trying to save you a few minutes of your life J

We woke up the next morning to head towards Yosemite. It’d be a long day on the road…so I didn’t expect it to be very eventful, but it proved to be quite the opposite - I might go as far to say it might be the most pivotal moment of my life thus far.

For those of you that don’t know, I’m in between jobs right now. Graduated in May ‘09; did a 10-month internship with the young adults’ ministry at my church in Connecticut; and looking to find a “real job” now. I had decided I either wanted to work in sport event management or be a coach. I had interned at Octagon, a sport marketing company my junior year and LOVED it. They had a few things on the job board, but I couldn’t apply and then peace out for 45 days so I hollered out to my contacts and went from there. As for coaching, I knew I’d have to apply and hope to take phone interviews on the road cause preseason starts in August and they would probably have filled all of their positions by the time I got home. I threw out a few applications and understood that I may be losing out on a few opportunities since I wouldn’t be able to interview in-person, but I was willing to take the chance. I heard back from AppState just a day or two after I applied, and had mixed feelings. I initially planned to only apply for the positions under 5 hours away and preferably very close to CT, but I remember always going back to their job description and thinking how PERFECT it would be for me…if it was only in the northeast. I mentioned it a few times to Tric and eventually decided that I at least had to apply since I couldn’t kick it. I said, “What’s the worst that could happen? They hire me?” Tric agreed but would always jokingly say “GO TO BOOOONE!” whenever I got on her slightest nerve. A couple weeks passed and I hadn’t heard from AppState, so I figured it was pretty safe to assume that they had filled the position. I began getting VERY comfortable with the fact that I would be back in Fairfield where I had great friends, a great church, and my family only two hours away…so comfortable that the day before I wrote on one of my best friend’s FB walls: "i needed this trip to realize how much i would miss you guys if i were to move to CO or NC or any of my other CRAZY IDEAS.” Well, I got a call the day we were leaving Vegas to find out that I got the position. As soon as I hung up with the coach, I immediately started crying. I hated knowing that I’d be turning down an opportunity to pursue something I could be HAPPY and FULFILLED doing but I also hated knowing I’d leave everything I know and love. I remember Tric saying, “You have to go,” and feeling overwhelmed with emotion knowing that she’d much rather me here with her romping around and heading off to God-knows-where every weekend, but after spending the past year side-by-side, she also knows my heart and my thoughts and how God has literally wired me to coach. A peace immediately rushed over me, and my decision was preeetty much made there…but no decision is ever final without the advice of my two biggest mentors: Mom and Gramps. They were also having the same premonitions. My Mom’s only piece of advice otherwise was to “pray about it.” This was something I had been bringing before my big man for over a year – Where do you want me? What do you want me doing? How can I glorify you? He made it very clear that day that this was an answer to those prayers, and I am so grateful for his faithfulness. So ironically Tric, I’m “GOIN TO BOOOONE!” My emotions were initially so whacked out. I was excited and sad all at the same time, but as time goes on, it begins to transform into more and more excitement and less and less sadness. I’m excited to see what JC has up his sleeve for me in Boone, NC.

Fast forward a few days (last night)…Tric hands me a few pieces of her journal paper, folded in half and drowning in ink. We were just about to hit the hay so I pulled out my headlamp, put on my iPod and got reading. Two sentences in, I could already feel my eyes welling up with tears and the frog in my throat about to explode. I read through the eight pages of pure love and finally put it down, threw my arm over my face and lost it. Tric joined in the festivities, and we both began to take in the reality of it all. Thankfully we have Billy who is incapable of taking anything seriously so he provided a little comic relief, but I literally just cried and cried and cried. I honestly think that’s only the second time I can honestly say “I cried myself to sleep.” I know I’m pushin it, but as soon as I get home I’m applying T to AppState to see what the credit transfers and everything would look like. Sorry Lean :/ Let a girl dreeeeam a little.


We stayed a night in Mammoth Lakes, CA because we ran out of daylight and still had a few hours to go till Yosemite. That night was basically spent just raping AppState’s website to get a feel for what my life would look like as of next month!

We headed to our campground the next morning, and after we pitched tent and got things situated, Kris and I thought it’d be fun to kick the soccer ball around a bit and get some energy out after the car ride. As soon as she saw that I had the ball, she took off in a FULL SPRINT as she cut for the ball. “KRIS WATCH OUT FOR THE…….!!!!!!”……. “….STRING.” She face-planted into the dirt as she tripped over the string that holds our tent’s rainfly down. Actually, I guess it was more like a HIP-plant. All I know is that when she hit the string, her body seemed to be floating parallel to the ground before the came down. She rolled over in a half-laugh/half-cry which quickly turned into a full-laugh. I picked up her glasses which were now nestled on her upper lip, and I think we all laughed for a solid 15 minutes.

That next morning was the day we had been anticipating for weeks! HALFDOME. We had switched our entire itinerary around just to do this hike. We were originally supposed to do it right after SanFran, but the cables that are used to get to the top wouldn’t be installed till June 15th (Google “Half Dome” if you have no clue what we’re talking about.) Anyhow, we packed everything up and went to bed around 8:30pm so that we could wake up by 5am to hit the mountain. The entire hike typically takes people about 12 hours so we wanted to be sure to be fine on daylight. The alarm went off. We ate breakfast, grabbed our packs, and got walking. It was about 10-15 minutes to get from the campsite to the trailhead, and we started up the first incline. Just a few minutes in, Kristina stops abruptly, and says, “I’m going back.” Billy happened to have the Flip on hand and immediately began taping the epic scene. She insisted that the bear signs were freaking her out and she wanted to go back to the campsite. Billy wouldn’t give her the keys, and somewhere in the midst of all the banter, Kyle says, “Kris, you’re really gonna go back? You’re already half way there.” I turned to Tric and mumbled under my breath, “Ooor one-millionth of the way there.” It was actually 377 steps to be exact. We counted on the way back.

Well, the rest of us Drifters continued on via Mist Trail – the shorter, steeper path that takes you right along the waterfalls. “Mist” is actually an understatement…You walk out of the first waterfall soaked from head to toe. The scenery along the way was unbelievable. Mountain vistas, canopied forests, open meadows…and then you get to Sub Dome – the enormous rock/mountain at the base of Half Dome. The switchbacks on Sub Dome are pretty exhausting, and once you get to the top of it…There it is: Two cables supported by rods and plywood scaling the side of the mountain. I swear it looks like the people are walking perpendicularly up the side of the mountain. We sat and got a little fuel in us as we each stared in awe at our next feat. The first few steps on the cables were pretty terrifying for me although I kept it under wraps. My garden gloves gave me very little grip on the cables and my feet were slipping a bit. Thankfully, the way up is the same way down, and after I made conversation with a nice man who was passing on his way down, I asked him how much I could buy his gloves off him for. He laughed and handed me his gloves. It’s people like that that give me hope for this world.

Well, we did it. We spent a little over an hour at the top of Half Dome eating lunch, taking pictures and making friends. Billy had the whole mountain laughing as he posed on a dangerous ledge with his Gatorade bottle, and screamed, “Get me now! I’ll send it in to Gatorade.” He was so close to the edge and had my stomach in knots, but he insisted. The way back down was probably a little bit scarier since your momentum takes you, but as long as your slow and steady, you get to live.

We returned around 4:15pm to find Kris nestled up in the tent after a day-long nap. The boys have been ruthless – cracking jokes virtually every minute. I don’t think they’ll ever let her live it down.

Much love,


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 21 to Day 26: Glendale, AZ to Grand Canyon, AZ to Vegas, NV


San Diego – check! Next stop – Glendale, AZ! “What’s in Glendale, AZ??” I asked assuming there was some other national attraction, but instead something far better…NANNY!! Our three days in Glendale were probably the most uneventful in comparison to spelunking or polar bears, but it was like a glass of ice-cold lemonade on a hot summer day. After staying at hotels and campgrounds for a few weeks, it was so nice to be in a ‘home’ setting. Aunt Cathy was an all-star hostess making sure our bellies were full & sending us on our way with clean laundry and a couple air fresheners since the Durango was beginning to smell like five people had been living in it for three weeks. WEIRD. We also got to spend time with Aunt Peggy and Uncle Bill when they invited us over for a BBQ and surprised Tric and Kris with a little birthday celebration (June 1st and 14th respectively).

That following day (Kris’s actual birthday), Tric & I thought we’d celebrate by diving from the sky. We drove an hour and a half to Skydive Arizona, paid, signed our lives away, and watched one jump…just to find out that there was too much turbulence and they wouldn’t take us up. Faaaail. If that wasn’t bad enough, the A/C was blowing heat for the hour and a half drive home. Windows don’t work too well when its 104 degrees outside.

Otherwise most of our time was spent at the basketball courts BALLIIIIN’! We may have beat the boys in our campsite challenge, but they swept us in b-ball…even despite the fact that it was 3v2. I swear we would’ve won if we didn’t have Kristina ‘Kidd’ who cockily kissed the sky every time she put one up and probably ended up going 1 for 46 in the entire series.

We went out with a bang our last night in Glendale. No, not at the local bar…at BINGO! We had the honors of taking Nanny for her last hoorah before she goes in for surgery. I felt like VIP rolling in with “Tessie” as everyone smiled and greeted us warmly. We even got a shout out on the mic during intermission! No one won big, and no one really cared…except for Kris who blurted out profanities as little old ladies shouted “BINGO!” This, combined with a glazed eyes and stern countenance, was the first indication of her gambling addiction. Uh-oh Vegaaas.


We rolled into Grand Canyon National Park without a reservation and almost relived the Huntington Beach/Hermosa episode. Campgrounds were booked for the night so Kris immediately got on the phone with hotels. Tric and I refused to stay in a hotel at the Grand Canyon, so after a good hour of controlled bickering, I heard Billy mention something about potentially hiking to the bottom of the canyon to camp. I snatched the number from him and got on the phone with Dean (the park ranger) to find out if it was possible to still get a permit. He said even if we could make it there in 6 minutes before they close, they didn’t even have any permits left. I asked him if there were any other options and he told me about Kabaib National Park that was just minutes from the south rim of the canyon where anyone could camp for free……..FREE!? I like free. Only catch was it was just woods. No hook-ups or bathrooms or neighbors, really…just us and the rattlesnakes. Kris didn’t like that idea. I thought she’d be excited since she was the one who bought a snake venom emergency kit. Did she plan to use that in the Best Western? She sat in the Durango as we all set up, but eventually emerged later to do what she does best – snap photos cause “she’s got an eye for that.”

Everyone slept well that night, and woke up around 8:30 to head to the canyon. We were contemplating getting that permit so we could hike down to the Colorado River, camp out and head back up that following morning, but Kris was pretty hesitant so we decided we’d do a smaller hike that day, and if we still wanted to, we could tack on an extra day. Well after a 6-miler into the canyon, it was pretty much assumed that we weren’t gonna get her to comply. So it’s official. My newest addition to the bucket list: hike the canyon rim to rim. I guess it’ll be nice to have something to look forward to. Gosh, after this trip I’m gonna have to go out of the country. They’ll be nothing left to see!

There was an open spot for that evening at Mather Campground within Grand Canyon National Park. We didn’t have hook-ups but we DID have neighbors which comforted Kris...apparently not enough though cause she refused to walk the 50 yards to the bathroom in broad daylight. That night, Kristina was the first to call it a night and Billy and Kyle followed suit shortly after leaving Tric and I to admire the fire aaaand the group of UNC Alum camping out next door. Nooo, just kiddiiiin’. We didn’t speak to them all night…whistling isn’t speaking, right? I’m not gonna say who whistled…I’m only gonna say it wasn’t me. Feel free to use the process of elimination. The whistle was unsuccessful…maybe because Kyle and Billy were screaming, “WHY ARE YOU WHISPERING AND STARING AT THOSE BOYS?? THEY’RE RIGHT THERE. DON’T BE SHY!” AND “TWO SINGLE LADIIIIES!” That probably didn’t help our cause.


En route to the Vegas we took a baby detour to see the Hoover Dam. There really isn’t much to say about it other than its’ traffic held us up for an extra hour and we met a lady who was from Denville, NJ…just miles from where most of my family lives and where I was born...Small world.

We arrived at The PALMS Casino and Resort in Vegas yesterday afternoon. Talk about extremes…We went from sleeping on the hard ground with no electricity or running water to a resort with a rooftop pool, a casino, 6 restaurants, 5 clubs, and a food court. It’s really nice and I’m actually surprised with how much I like it here. At the same time, it’s a heavy place. I now understand why they call it “Sin City:”

-I saw at least five people being CARRIED out of the resort last night because they were obliterated.

-I went into the bathroom last night to brush my teeth only to hear some chick screaming…and not because she was scared.

-People were blowing thousands of dollars without even blinking.

-Tric and I went for a walk to the packy yesterday, and a pamphlet blew up against my leg. I picked it up only to find out that it was selling sex. My heart dropped…I feel horrible that any girl feels like they have to resort to that L

There was a pool party today with special guest PAULIE D from Jersey Shore (first pump inserted here). Tric, Kris and I headed down early to snatch a lounge chair. Kris only lasted an hour in the hot Nevada sun, while Tric and I camped out from 9:08am to 5:46pm. That didn’t mix well with Tricia’s Irish skin. She’s scorched…but it was worth it! We danced our little hearts out, so don’t be surprised if you see us on the next episode of Jersey Shore. Don’t worry, Momma. I kept it PG J

So, remember that gambling addiction we suspected with Kris? Well, she was out till 4am gambling…but not with her money. She has quite the tactic: seek out a dude with a high stack of chips and a loooot of alcohol on his breath. Last nights’ victim: KIRK. He handed her a hundred dollar bill to play with and she cashed out with $60 bucks. I lost $30 on Craps and Tric, $20. I’m done gambling…unless I find me a Kirk. On that note, I’m gonna head down to the casino. Night! Sleep sweet J


Random Snippets:

-“Hey, I thought I ordered you for later.” –Cobra as Tric shakes her booty around in our Vegas hotel room

-“2 dollar showers? I’d rather have a Starbucks” as I opt out of a shower at the Grand Canyon

Much love,