Sunday, July 12, 2015

We are everywhere man....

Hello faithful blog readers,

We haven't updated the blog in like 4 years but I wanted to give an update in case you were curious. All of our road trippers are scattered like the wind across the world.

Paul and Kate are... still... traveling. They are in Argentina and loving it. Before that they lived in DC and Portland. So great to see them still exploring the world. Here is their new blog:

Tommy is doing his thing. Him and Wilson who we linked up with on the trip started their own alcoholic beverage company. Their signature brew Snakebite (half beer half cider for the n00bs) is a huge success in SF and they are spreading across the nation. I have to say, its delicious and refreshing as hell. Learn more here:

Swells aka Sarah aka the one who left us but we still love her has been in the Middle East loving life last I heard. She was also in San Fransisco. She was in Jordan? I don't even know. I saw her a few years back when she was a baker in Portland and living in a closet. Basically I think she's doing fine. Paul said she is doing a farming apprenticeship in Southern Oregon. That sounds cool. I'm gonna call her actually after I write this. If you want to friend her on Facebook this is the link to her profile.

You also might remember Annie Graeter? She joined us for an epic stint. Annie is also doing well. Just so all of our readers know, after the trip Annie sent us all personalized backpacking spice packs. Because she is nicest person ever and everyone should try to be friends with her. She is now still working in the wilderness. She did NOLS for a while and now works for a national park as a ranger I think. So cool!

And then there's me, Ben. Its been a hell of a ride since the road trip for me. Continued to live in a tent for a stretch near the White House for a few months. Then started organizing fast food workers all over the country for the Fight for $15. If you don't know, ask somebody. You can usually find me in New Orleans.

Beautiful Road Trip photo by Swells from a Jam Sesh in Maine.

Friday, March 15, 2013


In true fashion, we've made you wait quite a while for this last post.

We left New Orleans, nearly out of money, and headed due north, camping in Mississippi before finding our way into magnificent Memphis, TN. We crashed a night with a old friend of Tommy's, Matt Frank. Great food, some playoff baseball, and a tour of Beal Street kept us busy and thoroughly entertained. From Memphis, we drove clear across Tennessee to Nashville to meet up with another CC alum and ultimate frisbee extraordinaire, Nicky Spiva. Nicky gave us an awesome tour of the Vanderbilt campus, and we got some delicious local brews before heading out to the famous Station Inn for some live bluegrass music. A packed crowd and multiple banjos made for a regular barn-burner.

But alas, we had to keep moving, as our funds dwindled even further. We made our way southeast and in the same day hit the Jack Daniels Distillery and the Unclaimed Baggage Center. That's right, whiskey and thrift shopping. We arrived in the Great Smokey Mountains just before sunset and set up camp in a gorgeous mix of orange, red, and yellow leaves.

The next day, we set off on our final backpacking trip into the Smokies. We hiked miles on the Appalachian trail before arriving at an awesomely maintained back-country shelter. Believe it or not, after all our experience as back-country chefs, our last supper was the worst meal of the entire trip. Back in the crowded parking lot, we had at least two dozen people inquire about our sticker-covered top carrier, or ask us if we had done the entire trail.

We drove through Asheville, NC (stopped to people watch and grab a cup of coffee) on our way to Chapel Hill, NC. We stayed with Mr. David Daddio, and met up with Ms. Kat Mclaughlin. Interestingly, we had seen both of these people previously on the trip, in Boston and Maine, respectively. Daddio is finishing up grad school at UNC while Kat is trying to regain her health after a string of unlucky injuries.

We left Chapel Hill, with Daddio (also from the area), and headed home. We arrived in our beloved nation's capital just in time to sit in rush hour traffic. How sweet it is to be home.

We would like to thank everyone who followed up with our blog. But also we want to thank all of you who we got to hang out with, dine with, visit with, and stay with. You guys are the ones that made our trip amazing and unforgettable. And, in the thanksgiving spirit, I'm thankful that we made it around the country and back without being pulled over once, and without any major car problems! So if you're in the D.C. area, hit us up....'cause we're unemployed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Down South - Long drives and good eats

Pulling into Denver in early October, we had generally left the mountains and wilderness behind and moved on to the major cities of the southwest, Texas, and now the swampy bayou of the gulf coast.

We spent our final day in Denver sampling some of Colorado's finest brews and then feasted on chili-lime acorn squash, baked brie, and white chocolate dipped strawberries made by our hostess with the mostess, Denali Johnson. YUMMMM. Ben missed out on this delicious meal, but apparently had a grand ol' time with his camp buddy, Ryan Schillinberg, in Fort Collins. We met up later with CC homie Laura Turner and a William's alum, Trey "treybombs" Pendeary.

Four to five hours of sleep later... we headed west *for possibly the last time* for our last hurrah in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. Several hours and three thousand feet later we had summited our first 14ers of the trip (and Tommy's 1st ever!) Grays and Torreys Peaks. For those tuning in from outside of Colorado... fourteener is the term used for a mountain exceeding 14,000 feet above sea level. Major thanks to the enthusiastic man who gave us a lift up the road to the trailhead and snapped these photos of us. Somehow in our 6am delirium we forgot to bring the camera, but thankfully he posted them on!

Grays Peak - 14,278 ft.

On our way south to Colorado Springs, we stopped at the CC ski bum favorite, Dorothys, for buffalo tamales with red chili in true southwest fashion. Arriving at the CC campus, Paul's fabulous former boss and best friend, Lynnette, treated us to yummy sandwiches - Thanks! Fully wiped from our busy day, we ventured to the dollar theater for a good laugh at Horrible Bosses and then met some friends at Front Range Barbecue for bluegrass and local brews.

The next few days at Colorado College were spent making scrumptious tortilla soup at Lily McCoy's humble abode, thrifting at the ARC, visiting with old friends, and frequenting our favorite spots in Colorado Springs. Luckily Ben made it down to the Springs in time to join Kate and Annie for the Manitou Springs Incline - the strenuous 3/4 of a mile hike that extends 2000 ft. up the base of Pike's Peak.

Be weary of the false summit...

But alas, the college fun had to end as the road trip continued south down I-25. As it was Yom Kippur, Ben found a temple in New Mexico to observe Yom Kippur and the rest of the gang flocked to the Jemez Hot Springs outside Santa Fe for a good soak.

Cold Beers, Hot Springs

That night we met up with Silver Spring's finest - Tina Termini - who's getting her PhD in Albuquerque. Exhausted, we all kicked it at home and reminisced of the "good 'ol days." Trying to pack everything in, we woke up at five to find a sweet perch on top of the town to get a view of the Balloon Festival at dawn. As you can imagine, it was magical.

Just a few of the 1400 balloons...

Intimidated by our 11 hour drive to Dallas, the gang hit the road. We stopped at eccentric America's Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Tx and finally made use of the spray-paint can we had been lugging around the country. For the night we crashed at Copper Breaks State Park and cooked steak pad thai for dinner! The next day we finished our drive to Dallas and arrived to a delicious Tex-Mex dinner with Paul's cousin, Amy Goins, her husband Nate, and awesome kids Baylor, Rinner, and Parke. We were all pumped for what tomorrow had to bring - The Texas State Fair. We can't even begin to convey how many amazing things come together at the Cotton Bowl.

Fried Snickers

Deep-fried EVERYTHING (snickers, pumpkin pie, frito pies, bread pudding, etc...), friends, family, rides (yes Rinner, rides!), smiles, laughs, and cheap beers made this day a highlight of our trip.


Thanks for showing us around Amy!

We hit the road after the fair to see more of the Goins family in Austin, Tx. Paul's aunt Sandy and uncle Jon welcomed us in and even grilled us burgers at 10:30 (way past our bed-time). The next morning, we woke up ready to tour Austin. With stomachs full of Austin's customary breakfast tacos, we hit the town with lots of recommendations. We caught Mr. Cam Savage on his lunch break from work, who sent us down to Barton Springs. Its three bucks and an awesome place to spend an afternoon. They've dammed up a natural spring into a huge swimming pool equipped with a diving board and hidden underwater caves!

After soaking up some sun, we hit the Whole Foods headquarters for about 3.5 laps of free samples. We walked the hip strip of South Congress Street before heading over to Lake Austin to spend the night with Cam, on his 23rd birthday (don't worry, he's still accepting belated gifts). Ben, Paul, and Tommy all got wakeboarding lessons before Cam got up and literally did laps, circles, flips, and spins around us. We finally (after being in Texas a few days now) got some kick-ass BARBECUE at the County Line restaurant. Being Cam's birthday and all, we had a couple drinks, fraternized and all participated in some mischief before a late night crash landing into the pillow.

We all woke feeling just dandy (especially Tommy)! While we saw Texas in all its glory at the fair, this day was a pretty close second. We were headed to the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Tx (Yes, thats where they make the Box of Bocks). Paul and Ben did the tasting for the group, as a few of us (Tommy) weren't up for anymore Shiner. After Paul and Ben's share of malted water with hops, we hit the road for Blue Bell Creameries (because we all scream for ice cream).

Graeters > Blue Bell?

Heiress Graeter came out swingin' with some stumper questions, but for the most part, we crushed their delicious ice cream and enjoyed the scene. Upon entering Houston, Tommy demanded we pay a visit to his part-time lover, Boris the school bus. (If you haven't heard him talk about Boris, you're probably the only one. Feel free to ask Mr. Hester yourself.)

Boris - in all her camouflage glory

After consuming only beer and ice cream all day, we gladly arrived for dinner at the third Goins stop in Houston. Paul's cousin Eric, his wife Becca, and kids Cooper and Zoe dined us out by their pool and Cooper gave us a high-octane tour of their beautiful house. That night we went out to a bar, AvantGarden, to meet up with Patrick Moreno-Covington, a 2011 CC Grad, and Ben's friend from Tulane and Houston native, Zoe.

We woke up the next morning to Sesame street and got a great idea for Tommy's Halloween costume. But, with some more driving ahead of us, we hit the road to New Orleans. Upon arrival, Annie met up with her boo, heart-throb Rob Glassman for dinner. The three of us headed to Tulane underage favorite, The Boot for 3 for 1 Happy hour drinks. We were met by CC alums Lauren Sinnott and Jimmy Singer before making it to Paul's favorite spot in New Orleans, Frenchman St for those who love live music. Big New Orleans shout out to Hank "Henry the" Mann for driving us around town and hooking us up at his pizza joint with a house pie and a couple comp. beers. New Orleans has been good to us. The Spotted Cat, BMC, the Palms, the Boot, Saturn Bar, FandM's, La Nuit, Snake and Jakes, Kingpin. We've hit some bars.

If you're ever in Nola, take a break from drinking, grab a po-boy, and head to Audubon ("the fly", specifically) for a scenic view of the Mississippi.

Also, don't miss the tree of many names - tree of life, dylan tree, giving tree, etc - right around the corner.

Oh yeah, we couldn't rob you guys of this one......

Ben Sleeps

Last but not least.......

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Returning to the Mile High

While we continue to promise “more posts,” we’re realizing that we really can’t live up to that. Our internet access is truly few and far between and (as you may have read about) we do awesome shit all day long and don’t want to slow down to sit on the internet. But alas, we’ve arrived at Ben’s Aunt Laurie and Uncle Gar’s wonderful abode in Littleton, Colorado (and you guessed it, they got them interwebs). So I get to catch all you loyal (and demanding) readers up on the events of weeks past.

First off, we must apologize for foolishly leaving out one of our most dedicated readers - Mr. Arnold Wihtol of Palo Alto, CA. On our drive back to the Bay Area from Big Sur, Kate's grandpa welcomed us into his home with open arms, fresh cherries, cold beverages, Latvian vocab lessons, and a grizzly beard rivaling Ben and Tommy's. We only wish we could have stayed longer. Thanks for everything!

After leaving San Diego, we arrived in Joshua Tree with Sir Daniel "Sneezebird" of Cohen and set out for a one night out-and-back trip to MARS! Joshua Tree is truly specatcular and if you haven't been, I highly recommend it. We did an awesome loop hike called the Panorama Loop, so as you can imagine, the views were simply divine. The silhouettes of the wacky Joshua Trees (not actually trees mind you, they're closely related to the yucca cactus) at sunrise and sunset were a personal favorite. But the weekend ended (a little too quickly) and Danny had to head back to LA to get his grown man on.

Fortunately, we're all still unemployed and got to head out to VEGAS on Monday instead of to a desk job (I'm takin shots at you Danny mostly cause your job sounds sweet). But Vegas, now that's a town, man. We paid, I repeat, paid for a room on the strip at the Imperial Palace. It was momentous for us, as that was our first, only, and last time paying for lodging on the trip. So we showered and proceded to acquaint ourselves with 1.75L of Black Velvet whiskey. Unfortunately, Kate hit it off with Mr. Velvet and he snatched her away from Paul for the evening. Kate decided to stay in for the night, but the Bros were set on the free drinks at the blackjack tables. We all took out too much money from the ATM and hit the tables.

Ben was off to a quick start and got to ride out his fuzzy night with stacks of chips in front of him. That is, until he started picking up his cards (I think because he had trouble reading them, this is a serious faux pas) and spilled a drink on the table. If you're wondering, that's a quick way to get red flagged. Ben quietly took his chips and cashed out, up about 100 dollars, and on top of the world. Tommy also had some good luck, by way of hitting Black Jack two or three successive times and came out with about 40 dollars he had never seen before! But, we can't all win. Towards the end of the evening Paul was down nearly $80 until Mr. Velvet and his friend Free Drink convinced Paul to put down $25 dollars on the last hand. With a King-Four (terrible) the dealer gave Paul advice to Stay. And with tears of fear (and momentarily joy), the dealer busted and Paul scraped back up to a manageable loss on the evening.

The next day was our slowest of the trip. But, slow is relative for us. We headed back west, ("But I thought you guys were headed east now?") to check out DEATH VALLEY. Now, we headed west because we did really want to see this crazy geological valley and hit the lowest spot in the United States, but we also had a piece of great news that we're about to share with you readers. A fifth person had agreed to fly into Las Vegas the following day to join our road trip and D.E.A.R.T. (drop everything and road trip). As much fun as we had in Vegas, we couldn't spend another full day there. We kicked it in the scalding-hot Death Valley before the arrival of our new roommate, companion, chef extraordinaire, fellow CC grad, and best friend, Miss Andrea Christine Graeter!! You heard it here first ladies and gentlemen.

We left Death Valley, picked up Annie in Vegas, and promptly left the scene before Paul could lose any more money. We spent the night in Dixie National Forest and began a backpacking trip into Zion Canyon National Park. If you're ever there, forget the crowded Angel's Landing, and hit up Cable Mountain. This place had the best view of the canyon and some great history to it. After getting nice and dirty on our trip, we got lucky and realized that it was the Zion Canyon Music Festival that night, catered by Zion Canyon Brewing and some sweet bluegrass music. Ben killed it with the grassy Zion ladies, and with a little more time would have no doubt, sealed. the. deal. But alas, we had to find a place to lay our tarp and spend the night.

The next day we drove over to another canyon, (the theme of the week) Bryce Canyon National Park. We hiked around the rim of the canyon before descending into the ridiculous hoodoos and seeing Thor's Hammer. That place is truly another planet. If you're an aspiring astronaut, go there. We drove late that evening to let Paul play tour guide of Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument. (Paul spent last spring break in Escalante with Sneezebird, Lyle, and Kraus).

The goal was to complete the elusive slot canyon EGYPT 3, a four mile winding 127 Hours-esque slot. With no rain in the forecast, we twisted, turned, squeezed, slid around and got really, really dirty. But I'm pretty sure we'd all agree it was worth it, even though Kate, Annie, and Ben all took some silly spills into some pretty stagnant mud/water pools.

The next day, we trekked to the grandest of all canyons. You guessed it, (and I kinda gave it away) The Grand Canyon. We were determined not to leave without making it all the way down to the Colorado River and seeing the floor of the Grand Canyon. But, I guess a lot of people are interested in doing so. We had to wait around a few days, (I know, it was just terrible) to get the backcountry permit to camp down in the canyon. But 14 miles and about 6,000 feet later, we made it to the bottom, celebrated Rosh Hashanah, and climbed out.

In the same day, we attempted the 8+ hour drive to Moab, but clearly didn't make it. Fortunately we found some National Forest to spend the night. As fate would have it, we realized we were about 5 miles from Natural Bridges National Monument. And so we check out the Bridges before hitting Moab to see Arches National Park. We saw the window arches, hiked to Delicate Arch at sunset, grabbed some beers at Moab Brewing Co and camped at Gold Bar, the "CC entrance to Utah".

After a wild, wonderful, and Police Free (a feat for travelers with out-of-state liscence plates) time in Utah we headed to Colorful Colorado. After a quick pitstop for burritos at Los Jilbertos in Grand Junction, we made it to Aspen to see the changing colors at the Maroon Bells.

We had planned on doing arguably the best hike in Colorado, the Four Pass Loop, but with rain in the forecast for the next five days, we reluctantly moved on. We stopped in Leadville, the highest town in the U.S. at 10,152 ft and went to some awesome thrift stores and the one of a kind Melanzana outdoor store where Paul and Kate each bought highly coveted hoodies. After another brief stop in Idaho Springs to get some hot-sauce at Two Brothers Deli, we made it to Littleton where Aunt Laurie greeted us with open arms (not really, she hosed us off outside).

We were pointed towards the showers and laundry before delicious appetizers, beers, and upon request, a wonderful chicken recipe that had left our mouths watering from months before when we met up with Aunt Laurie for the first time at the lake house in Minnesota. We have a special award given to Laurie, as she is the first person on the road trip that we have seen twice, about a month in and with about a month to go.

After dinner we headed uptown Denver to meet with a gaggle of CC graduates. Shout out Denali Johnson, (who got 36 freaking points from the Baltimore defense to beat Paulito in fantasy football this week to put him at a gentleman's 0-12 on the year), Britt Landis, Joe Wood (CFAB), Aaron Bandler, and Lizzy Stephan (who comes in at a close second to Aunt Laurie, seeing us in both Brooklyn and Denver.) It was weird seeing two different people, for the second time, both on the same day! The jazz club we hit up was sweet, equipped with buck fity PBRs.

Today we're headed up to Longmont, Boulder, and Fort Collins to hit an assortment of Oskar Blues, Left Hand, Boulder, and Odell's Breweries. We'll let ya know.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

California... Knows How to Party... Californuhuh... Knows How to Partayay

We left Berkeley with an ipod full of new podcasts and high expectations for Monterrey, the scenic coastal views from highway 1, and the nearby wilderness of the Big Sur area. How could anything possibly go wrong? Well, we realized that something was in fact quite wrong when passing cars waved us down while pointing to our sticker-laden top carrier. Aptly named Odysseus, the top carrier plays a critical role in shlepping our camping gear, guitar, and other miscellaneous road trip items. Unfortunately for us, the poor guy seemed to have enough after three months, having blown out one of his hinges. Luckily, we were able to make a quick duct tape fix and move on towards the coast.

Visibly shaken from the near demise of our dear friend Odysseus, we continued on to Paul's aunt and uncle's house in Pebble Beach. From the moment we got there, Pebble Beach and neighboring Monterrey were simply a gas. Gary, Terri, and Marcy welcomed us to their home with open arms, and we were able to see the world-renowned Pebble Beach golf course and the strikingly beautiful Point Lobos. Also, if you are ever in the area, make sure you hit up the clam chowder at Fisherman's Warf for the price of on the house. Seriously. Dudes are just standing outside restaurants slinging out clam chowder to passerbys like its there job (because it actually is their job).

The next stop on our tour of California brought us further down the coast to Big Sur for a two-night backpacking trip. Oh what a trip it was. The views from on top of these mountains were simply divine, the pine cones were the largest any of us have ever seen and the camp sites in the Los Padres National Forest were top notch. The only complaint that we could muster upon arriving back at the car was that the trails were a bit overgrown at times.

Little did we know, a few of our merry travelers had been POISONED! (gasp)

Yes, poisoned. A poison most foul. Poisoned by a poisonous oak plant (after all we've been through with you oaks and other trees and plants, this is how you repay us?). Ben and Kate took the brunt of this hellacious attack from Mother Nature, with Paul and Tommy luckily coming out unscathed.

The fab 4 hit the road north on beautiful sunny coastal highway 1, took a quick (albeit necessary stop) back at Gary and Terry's for some grub and a shower and then continued north back to Berkeley for a Labor Day BBQ at Grace's pad.

We were met at the BBQ by our wayward fifth companion, Sarah. After the good times were over at Grace's, Paul, Kate, Tommy, and Ben, sleeping bags in hand, marched on over to Sarah's boyfriend's apartment for the night. It was then that Sarah dropped the bomb that she would not be continuing on the road trip with us. The four of us were deeply saddened by this news, but after some talking, we respected her decision. The now-not-quite-as-fab four will keep on keeping on, and we all wish Sarah the best with whatever the real world throws her way.

The next morning, we headed out with heavy hearts but our heads held high to enjoy San Francisco's vibrant downtown for the day. First stop, Chinatown. Ben has not shut up about how awesome the House of Nanking is for the entire trip, so he and Tommy had to chow down on their Sesame Chicken, delish. Paul and Kate went for Dim Sum, meh.

The squad then went and explored Golden Gate park for the rest of the day and enjoyed the drum circles, flowers and very pleasant weather for the afternoon. The remaining squad left San Francisco and met back with Wilson who treated us to some amazing Pong Pong Chicken (Paul now has to name his dog Wilson) before we got to Sacramento to kick it with our looooong time friend Matthew Cameron Wambsgans.

Classic Lombart Street pic, a touristy moment for Chief

Matt, his wonderful girlfriend June, and his equally fantastic roommates treated us to 2 days of pool, darts, smiles, and amazing meals. Matt drove us north of Sacramento to the Yuba River, which is such a chill spot. We brought Matt's dog Yoko and kicked it by the river with a couple dozen naked hippies. Par for the course in California apparently.

We waved goodbye to Matt and packed back in to Chief and headed to what we thought was going to be another spectacular backpacking trip, this time in Yosemite National Park. We headed into the wilderness two hours up a dirt logging road with our food in bear boxes and joy in our hearts. We tied up our boots and walked about a mile before it started raining. We put on our rain coats and trudged on. Then the thunder got really loud and the lightening appeared to be very close. Still, we persevered. Then there was a hail storm pelting us with ice balls the size of marbles. At that point we decided to bounce and went back to the car to wait out the storm. The Sierra National Forest was cool and all, but we were trying to do a sweet backpacking loop in Yosemite. Oh well. We hit the Grizzly Giant tree (very cool) in the Mariposa Grove and trekked south to Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks.

Now, at this point on the road trip we have seen our fair share of trees, so it was only right that we went on a pilgrimage in Sequoia National Park to see the widest (General Grant) and biggest (General Sherman) trees in the world.

While all of the giant sequoias in these groves were stunning, in an anonymous poll of the fab four, it was unanimous that the redwoods were the cream of the crop tree wise, beating out giant sequoias, dogwoods, birch trees, etc.

Now, this trip from the get go has been billed as a tour of America to get the 411 on all things associated with our beautiful country. And as any true American knows, Sundays are associated with two words: football season. Because of this it was our duty to go experience this cultural phenomenon by speeding out of King's Canyon to make it to a dive bar to catch the end of the Redskins game. As I'm sure you all know, it was a resounding victory for the skins (hail), something that we certainly had to celebrate the only way we knew how; with a trip to some free hot springs. After a little research, we found exactly what we were looking for in the southern reach of the Sequoia National Forest.

We found a great campsite in the area next to a raging river and all went to sleep with dreams of 104 degree pools floating through our heads. The next day, our dreams became reality at the Remington Hot Spring. Located about two miles west of the Hobo Campground on Kern Canyon Road, which is off of highway 178 a little south of Lake Isabella (theres a parking lot on your right you can't miss it), the Remington Hot Spring is sort of like heaven on earth with three tubs of hot water right off of a river with a rope swing only a short float away. Additionally, at the hot spring there is a massive river eddy, which you can ride upriver only to ride the faster main current back down to the hot tubs. If any of you faithful readers are ever in the area or are looking for something to do in SoCal, we could not recommend this highly enough. (if you dont like seeing naked hippie butt then dont look to the right of this next picture)

After our relaxing hot springs, it was off to LA for some good times with some old friends. We stayed with Paul, Kate, and Tommy's friend Danny Cohen (sorry Ben) in Venice and had wonderful times going out to get beers and even some tacos with Tommy's amigo Isaac Nicholson and Ben's chum Joe Lennarz.

Once we had our fair share of the Hollywood lifestyle, we headed even further south to La Jolla to stay with Tommy's extended family, grabbing some frozen bananas on Balboa Island along the way (there's always money in the banana stand).

Although Uncle Kurt and Alex were both away from home and missing from the Eve clan, Aunt JJ and Kevin certainly picked up the slack, showing us an unbelievable amount of hospitality during our stay. Aunt JJ even rented us boards so we could attempt to go surfing (key word being attempt).

Today we are packing up and heading out to Joshua Tree National Park with Danny for the weekend and then VEGAS on Sunday. Should be a good time. California has been spectacular but its time to head east.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stage 4 - the BROad Trip

After arriving in Portland, Ben jetted off to Taos for a family vacation and Tommy finally joined us again after galavanting in Turkey for the past two weeks. Since Kate and Sarah hail from the grand ol' Rose City, we were able to use it as a home base of sorts and take a brief respite from the road. Many thanks to both of our families for your hospitality, food, and good times! Highlights of our Portland excursions include a hike in the Columbia Gorge, sample tasting at the Portland Farmer's Market, an afternoon at the Sauvie Island beaches, bike tours of the Portland's east side, collecting eggs straight from the coop with Tommy's friend, Abby Conyers, a day of swimming and cliff jumping at Three Pools, and touring the Deschutes, Rogue and Bridgeport ale houses.

Sarah is making the journey south with her boyfriend, so until we meet up in San Francisco it is just Kate and the dudes. The four of us left Portland on the 25th and headed to Oregon's lone National Park, Crater Lake. We made it just in time to hike up to the fire watch outlook point for an incredible view of the lake, Wizard Island, and the surrounding mountains.

The following day we headed southwest towards the famed highway 101, stopping for a quick dip at a little known swimming hole. If you're ever on highway 62 between Medford and Crater Lake, definitely take the turn onto Crowfoot Rd. between mileposts 29 and 30!

Next stop: the Redwoods! After an incredible drive on the Redwood Highway, we backpacked into the "Tall Trees Grove" in Redwood National Park near Orick, CA. This is probably the closest we've all come to feeling like ants among these giant trees, the tallest of which is 370 feet tall!

The entire experience went very smoothly, until we got back to the car the next day and realized we had left our pots and pans at the campground. Whammy! Three points to Kate for running back to get them.

Then we headed to Santa Rosa to tour the Lagunitas Brewery and visit Paul's Aunt Laurie for a scrumptious dinner. Afterward we headed to the local Russian River watering hole, home of two of the top-ranked beers en el mundo. Luckily the day's journey was over since Tommy's good friend Wilson lives just over the hill in Napa Valley. He graciously showed us around the vineyard laden hills for the next few days.

On Monday we headed into the city with Wilson and his friends for the Giant's game that night, making sure to stop for In n' Out on our way. Sadly the giants lost 7-0 to the Cubs despite our fervent enthusiasm for Tim Lincecum. Beer and baseball: this is what happens when the road trip goes 4/5 bro.

For the past few days we've been staying with Silver Spring's finest, Grace Reinhalter, across the bay in Berkeley. We've been showered with hospitality from all of our Bay Area friends and family. We dined on a sailboat with Ben's family friend Annie, toured the Cal campus with Paul's cousin, Carly, and chatted over lunch with the Rosen clan of Paul's family, Mark, Fonda, and their daughter Sasha. We also enjoyed exploring Tilden regional park and sampling world class beers at Toronados. Today we're heading south to Monterrey and Big Sur, so stay posted for more fun times in the golden state.