Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kansas City

We left Paul and Marion's house and took off for Denver to check out some old stomping grounds of Dad's. I fell asleep in the back of the car, dreaming of my bed and home. Dad began to realize that he didn't really know much of the area anymore because it had blown up so much since he'd been there last. We went to see Red Sky Condominiums, Topaz at the Mall, and Riverfalls (old places Mom and Dad lived) and then drove down to see the house that I was born in, so to speak. Mom and Dad built this house in Elizabeth, and I spent my first years of life there. Dad was thinking how he'd always be torn between the two states he's lived in.
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We ended up at Aunt Debbie's house in Westwood, KS after another long drive across I-70. We were able to finally take a look at all of the pictures we had taken since San Diego, and it was great to be in a comfy house. After loading all of our pictures, Debbie brought out some old pictures of Mom as a young lady. That was a hoot! We ate out at Johnny's Barbeque and were able to get in a swim at the Sylvester Powell Community Center near Debbie's house.
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We'll be taking off for home soon and we can't wait to be there.

Friday, July 29, 2011

comments

i see that no one has commented on the recent blogs..... whats up with that??

Old Friends in Old Neighborhoods

We found our friends, Paul and Marion, and spent some time talking about old times and catching up with each others' lives.

Paul is sending this peacock rock home to Grandpa Jones. Miners used to look for this sort of rock because it's easier to see and once it's seen, the miners would know that they were close to finding some gold.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rocky Mountain Bound

After a long night in the car in Green River, Utah, we set our sights upon the Rocky Mountains. Driving to Glenwood Springs, CO to take a swim in the spring-fed sulfur pools, we lounged around at the "Spa of the Rockies". Two pools, one 80-90 degrees and one 104 degrees, all spring fed, all year long. We got to go down water slides and swim laps and just enjoy the warm, relaxing waters. We at at Tequilas where I ate a spicy shrimp and mushroom dish. Well, I ate the spicy shrimp part, not so much the mushrooms.


From Glenwood Springs, we went on to Loveland Pass on continental divide. There were still a lot of snow patches in the higher elevations, so we partook in a small, yet futile, snowball fight. Being belted with snowballs in July is much, much nicer than in February. However, it was short lived due to a hail storm on the mountain. We both had a bit of a hard time catching our breath due to the altitudes. So much for being in shape! I thought people born in high elevations were naturally equipped to deal with this sort of thing. I demand a refund!

We attempted to go to Mt. Evans but the hail storm turned into a downpour, so we opted out. Next, we tried to go to an old favorite camping spot in Empire, but the 4 wheel drive was making some awful noises, so we didn't press our luck trying to make it up the mountain.

Then we visited Lookout Mountain which overlooks the Coors Brewery in Golden, and Denver in the distance. It was raining the whole time. After the lookout, we swung by mom's old house, which of course stirred up some of Dad's old memories of how they first met. We saw Sheridan Green Elementary school where Marissa went to school and just cruised around Mom's old neighborhood.

We're currently looking for some old neighbors of Mom and Dad's, but they aren't home right now. We're supposed to spend the night there, but we're not sure what will happen, as we showed up several days earlier than we thought... damn that gravitational force again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hoover Dam and Utah

This morning Dad took off to the pool for a while until it started to rain on him, thus cutting his swimming short and being the cause of me waking up early. We checked out of our room and headed over to hang out with some of Dad's favorite celebrities. No, it wasn't Celine Dion, Cher, Wayne Newton, or Prince we were off to see. More like The Old Man, Rick, Corey, and of course Chumlee over at Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. The Pawn Stars themselves weren't in as they were on vacation this week (of all weeks to go on vacation!), but we still got to look around at the tons of things they had and talked to some very informative guys about buying silver and gold. The place was a lot smaller than we expected, but really nice.

After leaving Vegas we took a quick jaunt over to the Hoover Dam. It was very impressive to look at, but before we were allowed to go near it, we had to have our whole car inspected including opening the coolers and such. Can't be too safe in this day and age of terrorists and whackos I suppose. Lucky for us we had no dirty underwear just hanging out in the car. Lucky for the inspectors actually! We got lots of pictures of it, but they're on the other camera, so they'll have to come later and you'll have to make due with this one:

Upon leaving the Hoover Dam, we drove through Utah. The plan was to go to Zion National Park while there, but we decided against it. The gravitational force known as "home" is really starting to tug at us and it gets stronger with each passing day. While in Utah, Dad thought of his old friend Kenny who had passed away and thought about how different things would be if he were still alive today, and how we'd be stopping by to visit him on this trip and having an excellent time. He was a bit saddened, but the happy memories were really good.

We ended up spending the night in a truck stop in Green River, Utah, sleeping in the car. No more ritzy 19th floor hotel rooms for us!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Sin City

We walked the strip tonight and definately got our fill of VERY interesting people. We walked around to quite a few of the free shows in town, such as the water fountains at The Belagio, the fire show at The Mirage, and the battle between the pirates at Treasure Island. After that dad went to pay homage to the local casinos for a bit while I stuck around our awesome room and watched some movies. I tried to convince him I had a lucky streak going and I should go with but he wasn't going for it. I don't think I'd get by with my newly acquired driver's lisence either. Darn vertical IDs!





Monday, July 25, 2011

The Strip

Here's a few pictures we snapped while checking out the strip tonight.





Our Hotel:

Vegas Baby!

We arrived in Vegas around 4:30pm after departing from a 5 day layover in San Diego with Marissa and Ben. The five hour drive was worth it after checking into the New York, New York Casino for the evening.

We're up on the 19th floor with a spectacular view of the strip. We got some free room service and they filled our fridge with pop and water. The tub in our room is big enough to swim in... or sleep in in Nathan's case:

We're getting ready to head out and hit the strip right now, so hopefully the next time we post we'll be rich!...from all of the new experiences we're going to have. (Sheesh, you guys thought we were going to gamble away our trip money didn't you?)

Thanks

We would like to thank Marissa and Ben for letting us stay for a few days. Thanks for the chance to try new foods and thanks to Ben for supporting Marissa and my dad at the triathlon. Thanks for the new places/experiences, and for letting dad LOSE at Mario Party 8    =P    
Thanks for the overall hospitality and for the concert... we had such a great time.
     
P.S. Because dad liked Ben's computer better we decided to take it home with us haha


                                            !!Thank you-Thank you-Thank you!!

On the road again.. but on the bright side we are heading to New York, New York! Ok, ok. We're not heading to NY, but we are heading to the NY, NY Casino in Las Vegas, NV!
blog u soon!!! cya!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Concert

Yesterday, we went to a concert. Ben's running friends put on a great concert/pool party the night before the race.
This was a very special event because the band is a bunch of college friends. They live hundreds of miles apart and only get together a few times a year. That means their set was unrehearsed and still pretty good. They also don't actually have a singer, so Ben's friends Jeff was brave enough to sing for everyone.



Here is the band CARNAGE performing! They did Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young.

Special guest Richard, from England, sang "Low Budget:"

video


Ben's uncle, Bobby, doing security for the event. As you can see from the kids climbing all over the stage in the photo of the band, security was lax.

Race Day

We all woke up at 4:45 to head out to the race. The race was a 400 meter swim, 9 mile bike ride, then a 3.1 mile run. Marissa's wave went first. She made it through the first few waves fine, but she got a little bit out and got taken out by huge wave. Her goggles came off and she was pretty disoriented for a bit.

When she got out of the water, she yelled to dad to let him know that the water was rough. Dad started getting really worried. If Marissa had trouble, he would be in big trouble. Just before dad's wave started, the crowd noticed some fins out in the water. Luckily they were dolphins.

It turned out dad didn't have to worry at all. The swim was way easier than he thought it would be and he ended up passing a few people during the swim.

The start line! Your can see the first buoy; the second buoy is a little bit further back and to the right.

Meanwhile, Marissa got through the bike part pretty easily, but when she jumped off her bike to start her run, her legs felt like noodles. She didn't know if she was going to be able to run three miles with those legs. However, she made it by running REALLY slow, but she did run the whole way.

Dad also had an easy time on the bike. He made it about a mile and a half before he had to walk. However, when he got closer to the finish line, everyone was cheering and yelling so he picked up the pace and sprinted into the finish line like a pro.


Dad coming in strong!

Here are some results:

The winner:

CATEGORY PLACE O'ALL BIB NAME AGE WAVE CITY FINISH
MALE ELITE 1 1 529 LEWIS ELLIOT 2 SCOTTSDALE 0:47:28

Us:

MALE 45-49 64 1054 790 SCOTT JONES 48 10 NEW PHILADELPHI 1:35:09
FEMALE 25-29 80 1071 1434 MARISSA WALTER 26 3 SAN DIEGO 1:37:35

After the race, we all went out to eat some pizza and drink some beer as a reward for all that hard work.

My first beer!

My sister is the best!


Next stop is New York New York in Las Vegas. We have one of the nicest rooms they have. It should be fun!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Screwing Around In San Diego

Yesterday we went to the world famous Ranchos. It's Ben's favorite place, but we went without him, muah! We went to the pawn shop and found some swords and coins. Then, we headed down to La Jolla to see the tide pools. Tide pools are made when the tide goes out, but marine life gets trapped in the crevices in rocks. It's pretty cool. We saw fish and crabs and sea urchins! We also saw some sea lions playing in the water. We would have more pictures but SOMEONE (Marissa) forgot to put the SD chip back in the camera. Then it was dark, so we explored some beach caves with flashlights.

When we were exploring the caves, dad stepped on a lose stone and almost fell in the water with all the crabs. Coming out of the cave, Marissa steeped on the exact same stone and also almost fell in the water.


For some information about the heated San Diego sea lion debate click here!









Today (7/23/2011), Marissa and dad went to register for the triathlon. Dad wanted to get up early and be there an hour early. Marissa was having none of that and refused to leave her bedroom until 10:00 am. Marissa got a wetsuit and they learned a little about triathlons. Apparently, sting rays hang out in the sand in the morning. Luckily, the first wave will probably kick them all up, so us slow people don't have to worry about ending up like Steve Irwin.

Scott and Marissa have to be at the triathlon by 5:30. That means we have to leave by 5:00am. Nathan and Marissa are super excited to be up early. Wish us all luck!


The Ramp we will be running up after the swimming leg of the triathlon.


Ready for race day!


All marked up and ready to go!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Days of Relaxation

Today and yesterday marked a few days of rest and relaxation for us.

Yesterday we spent the day at the beach and then just hanging out with Marissa. We had some yummy Cicilian pizza and got to play some Wii. We also did some much needed laundry, so no need to worry about us stinking Marissa out of her own place!
Last night we went to Crazy Burger. Dad ate an alligator burger!

Dad got up today to swim at the local Y. They have a health bar there the he was excited about. He's making a formal request to add one in New Philly as soon as he gets home. (Be prepared to sign a petition or two.)

Dad went to the beach for the most of the day and enjoyed some good ol' people watching and wave watching. I got to stick around Marissa's and play some video games. This Jones was jonesin' for some technology. Being disconnected too long makes me get the shakes. (Ok maybe not the shakes, but it is nice to relax and play some games for a while.)

Tonight we're heading off to a wine bar!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Very Sad

On Tuesday, a short 48 hours or so after we were there, a tragic event happened at Vernal Falls in Yosemite. Three visitors jumped a fence and fell into the Merced River only to be swept over the falls. Having seen these falls up close, I am just astounded by the news.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sequoias

This morning we got up at 6:30am to make our way to Sequoia National Park. We were way too tired to try Kings Canyon, but we enjoyed the trees anyways. However, after seeing about 20 or 30 giant trees it just becomes repetitive. It was a very unique place and we really enjoyed it, just not something you spend a full day doing.

We're off to San Diego right now. We should be at Marissa's place about 11:00pm. We're really looking forward to not having to go anywhere. Just to be able to sit on the beach and chill for a while.

Monday

Although we didn't want to leave the park last night, we were left with no choice as no one is allowed in the park overnight. We ended up spending the night back in Bridgeport, CA again. At least we didn't lose any toes frostbite or vermin by just pitching camp any ol' place.

Today we woke up very early to head back into the park. We still planned on renting some first come, first serve bikes for the 13 mile trip around the valley floor. Got our bikes, but just as we started to head down the trail, we realized it was flooded out, and we couldn't take the trip we had planned on. That's ok, right? We'll just take a different scenic bike tour through Yosemite. Nothing's getting us down today! ... Wrong.

Dad's bike was just a piece of junk. Comparatively speaking, if Lance Armstrong rides the Rolls Royce of bicycles, Dad was riding the AMC Gremlin. A jalopy that squeaked, rattled, and rolled... barely. Even the chain kept coming off every time he'd try to stand up and pedal. Needless to say, we didn't make it very long before heading back to the bike station to turn in our bikes.

After that debacle, we head on back to the car only to find a notice on the car. It seems we had accidentally left a grape drink on the hood when we left for the bike "ride". The note said that the grape drink had been impounded. Impounded! What?!?! Oh no... don't impound my half empty drink can! Hahaha. We went to the coolers strapped at the back the car to grab a new (not impounded) drink when lo and behold, our coolers were missing too!

You know, we knew this cross-country trip was going to be full of learning experiences. Learning to drive. Learning how to rough it. Learning about each other. But really, do we need a "lesson learned" moment every single day?

Sigh... Lesson of the day: Do not leave coolers unattended at your parked car while in Yosemite Park. Apparently bears will find them and can rip them open. To avoid that, they will just impound.

So began the long hunt for the coolers. First we went to the ranger station. Waited in line... got a phone number to call... called the number. It was disconnected. So then we're told to go to another building. Head there... wait in line... told we're in the wrong place. Head to yet another building... wait in line. Yay! It's the right building. Now we have to get the coolers back to the parked car that is 1/2 a mile away and once there we can't leave them unattended. So a light bulb clicked. Why not just leave them "impounded" while we spend our day doing what we'd like to do and then be back by 5:00pm to pick them up? Great idea us! (high-five)

So we left our coolers (and also our backpacks) in the "impound lot" and decided to go rafting. We walked to the raft place, waited an hour in line, got a raft, and got shuttled to put-in. We took a nice hour or so raft ride down the Merced River. Then we waited in line for another hour just to catch a shuttle back. Next we had to walk back to the car and drive to the "impound lot" by 5:00pm. After a day like this, I bet you're thinking we didn't make it, huh? Well, we made it with about 15 minutes to spare! Phew! After a not so hot start to the day, we finally were back on track for a fun time.

We decided to leave the park again, as we didn't want to deal with the coolers again or get them impounded. So we set off towards the Giant Sequoia National Park. After looking at the map, we decided to skip Venice Beach because we weren't up for tackling our way through Los Angeles, traffic and all. We made it to Porterville, CA and are staying in a Best Western. It's easier to sugar coat the bad day's worth of events with full stomachs, showered bodies, and actual beds to sleep in.


Merced River Raft Trip:

Half Dome:

Lower Yosemite Falls:


Late night at Denny's in Porterville, CA one hour from Giant Sequoia National Park:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Yosemite

We're having a hard time connecting to the internet, so we apologize for the late posts.

We arrived in Yosemite early Sunday morning. Although we were only 25 miles from Yosemite last time we posted, that was only the entrance. It took us over an hour to get into the heart of the park.

Getting there at the crack of dawn is the way to go. We had all the roads to ourselves as most of the park visitors don't start rolling in until 8:30-9:00am. We were able to stop along the road whenever we wanted to sightsee and take some pictures. Later on the traffic was bumper to bumper. Early bird paid off for us!

We enjoyed a 5 hour hike on Mist trail today too. I swear you needed to be part mule to get up to the top. We saw some horses on the trails and it looked so scary to be on a horse or mule so close to the cliffs. There were tons of amazing waterfalls and lots of great scenery and breathtaking views along the way. Luckily we took a day pack with some dry clothes and snacks. I think we jogged for about 2 miles down the path at one point. It seriously kicked our butts. Sleep will be welcomed tonight!

We really don't know where we're going to sleep tonight. It's such a long drive into the park that leaving isn't really a good option as we still have lots we plan on doing. All the campsites we passed by the entrance were full, so we're going to ask if there's a place we can just sleep in the car or just pitch a tent. However, it got down into the 30s overnight last night, so I can't imagine how cold it will be tonight. Brrr!

Today was the best day so far and tomorrow we'll be doing a 13 mile bike ride.

Nevada Falls:

Nathan is the blue on the left:

Nevada Falls:

El Cap:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

california

We are finally in California! We are 25 miles from Yosemite, it was not a great day =( We had a 3 hr wait just to get 2 tires changed at Walmart in Elko, Nevada =/ . We went in because one tired looked pretty rough, but ended up getting two new tires out of the deal. All for the better I suppose... except we learned the hard way that banks track your purchases and will put holds on your accounts when your card is used places other than your normal area! Fraud protection is great... when you're actually not in need of that card half-way across the country. Bleh. All fixed now though and lesson learned.

Now we are pulled over in an empty lot across from a Gas'n'Go in Bridgeport, CA. It was $8 for a 6" sub at the Quiznos we stopped at, but dad is living off of bananas and peanut butter. We tried the MREs that were supposedly simple to make but it took us an hour to figure it out. Oh and it didn't even heat up all that well. They were as bad as you would imagine =). They had fruit punch mix, meatball marinara, combos, heat bread, almonds, chedder prtzels, and little pieces of gum ... And a spoon =)

We're both already missing home a bit, but having a great time nonetheless.

Picture of our home the last 2 nights in Bridgeport, CA:

care package 2

Thanks for the stuff! Dad uses the fan to blow his stink my way and now I might be able to get some sleep now that I don't have to listen to him snore all night =P Oh and the candy was a good snack

Another shot from Tensleep Canyon:

Friday, July 15, 2011

yellowstone

We woke up in Tensleep and started our way to Basin, Wyoming and got groceries. Then we went through the Tensleep Canyon. Next we went to Buffalo Bill Dam, after that we went through some more canyons to the east entrance of Yellowstone and we saw Old Faithful. Now.. We saw an elk and a buffalo, now we are on our way to Yosemite .... 20 hr drive =(



Snow in Yellowstone.

Camped in Tensleep. Went through beautiful canyon.



Wishing he had a real computer to talk to his friends back home.

Nathan at the helm

Tensleep