Monday, July 31

southern california

So we have now made our way down to Southern California. We spent a few days in Avila Beach, which is in the San Luis Obisbo area. We stayed at my Nana's house (this is sarah by the way), which is about a mile from the beach. unfortunately, we missed my nana, but it meant we had the house to ourselves. we spent two days at the beach, just laying around and doing not much of anything. we discovered that my nana had my old boogie board that i got when i was younger, so the first day at the beach was spent riding the waves. on boogie boards, not surf boards, but it was so much fun.

after avila, we headed down to mission viejo, which is in orange county, to visit brandon, a friend from jbu. we also went down to san diego and went the to the beach there. it's been really fun hanging out with brandon and his friends. so fun, in fact, that we decided to stay an extra day instead of heading to the grand canyon. so we'll leave tomorrow morning to go one of the hottest places in the country to go camping. but it will be fun.

today is our 2nd anniversary, so we went down to laguna beach and hung out at the montage, a resort by the ocean. we had a picnic lunch on the cliffs that overlooked the ocean and walked around the resort pretending that we were staying there. it was fun times.

anyway, i don't have much else to say and we haven't taken many pictures lately, so that's about it for now. on to the grand canyon tomorrow, so it'll be a while till we are able to update again. so peace out for now.

Wednesday, July 26

When will I ever see a bear?!

As you may have been able to guess, our time spent in Yosemite National Park did not result in the visual acquisition of any bear, large or small. This causes some sadness in my heart. I have never seen a bear in the wild, and it looks like I will have to wait a good bit before I get that chance.

Despite the lack of bear sightings, Yosemite was an incredible time. Our first two nights, we camped north of Yosemite Valley at the White Wolf campground. We got luck with our campsite. It had a creek running through the back of it, it was seperated from the other campsites by a large rock structure, and it was the largest in the campground. Woo hoo. We also got to build a fridge (out of rocks) in the creek until the park ranger found it and told us to put our stuff in the bear box.

The only seeming downside to the site, was that it happened to be the dwelling place of a young man named Micah. Micah is the five-year-old son of the Campground Host. He first made his presence known by awakening Sarah from her nap in order to tell us that we had to move our tent into the main campground area so that he could create a "backpacing atmosphere" in our campsite. He then tried to destroy our creek-fridge and kick me.

As that day and the next wore on, we got on Micah's good side by feeding him dinner and playing hide and seek with him in the rocks. In the end, we actually felt a bit sad as we left White Wolf Campground, knowing that we would probably not get another chance to see Micah. Unless of course, we do as he requested and come back in 11 years to teach him how to drive. Trust me, you need to meet Micah in order to understand.

The highlight of our Yosemite visit (for jason) was the hike to Lembert Dome. While, by some standards, this was not a particularly grueling nor impressive hike. It kicked our butts and we still made it to the top of Lembert Dome for an incredible view. We actually thought we had reached the top of the dome two times before that, only to see higher peaks in front of us. Those false summits will getcha.

For our last night, we decided to camp down in Yosemite Valley, the tourist trap that it is. While down there, I read that 95% of visitors to Yosemite only go to the Valley. In short, it was crowded. Though because we were there on a Monday it wasn't as bad as it could have been. We got a chance to see most of the necessary sites that one is supposed to see when visiting Yosemite including Yosemite Falls, Half-Dome, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Falls. We also spent about 45 seconds in the freezing cold river, this way the Pacific Ocean wouldn't feel nearly as cold.

PS Our attempts to upload pictures have failed, due to technical difficulty, but we do have all of the good Yosemite pictures in our photo album, including pictures with Micah and of the best views.

Friday, July 21

I left my calf muscles in San Franciso

We made it California, by the way.

We spent our first full day in California doing absolutely nothing. Sarah and I got to hang out with Andy, Karen, and Nickolas (Sarah's Uncle, Aunt, and Cousin) for the whole day. It was great timing for a break.

On day two, I (jason) accomplished a very coveted tourist achievement. In one day, I saw the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, and a Redwood Tree all for the first time. This is a feat that has only been acomplished 345, 646, 211 times in the past four years by other tourists to California. Yay for me!

The Golden Gate bridge was quite a thing to see. It was much bigger in person than I thought it was going to be. I couldn't believe how enormous it is, or how hundreds of oblivious, self-absorbed tourists could all exist on the bridge together without pushing someone into the Bay.

After leaving the bridge, we promptly got on the wrong bus, went all the way downtown, got off the bus just as it was about to turn around. Then we walked 8 or 9 blocks to a bus stop, and ended up on a city bus with approximatley 120 people on it at one point. It was a real taste of San Francisco. At one point, I thought there was going to be a gang war between some Elderly Ladies and some surfer kids who didn't want to give up their seats for the ladies. Luckily, the surfers gave up their seats before it got ugly.

On day 3 we decided to go downtown on purpose. We saw Fishermans Wharf and the Cable Cars and all that stuff. But the highlight was the San Francisco Bush Man. Basically, this guy's schtick is to hide behind a bush on the sidewalk and scare people as they walk by. A huge crowd was gathered around him, but most of the people walking didn't seem to notice before they got scared. It was awesome. We'll get some videos of it up as soon as we know how.

Day 4 is the motivation for today's title. We decided, with much vigor to complete a stairway walk through the northern SF Marina Neighborhood, walk Haight street, and climb to the top of Coit Tower, all in one day. While the former and latter walks provided cool views of the city, and the second provided cool views of hippies, our calves wish we had decided differently.

Thanks so much to Karen and Andy for all of their hospitality. We ate great and really enjoyed out time while we were in San Fran. We are currently in Fresno and will be leaving for Yosemite early tomorrow, so we'll be out of touch until next Tuesday or so. Be sure to check out the album for the latest pictures.

Jason and Sarah

Tuesday, July 18

Some catching up to do . . .

The title of this blog is the story of my (Jason's) life.

Of all the cities that we have visited so far on this trip. Portland is the one that I could most see myself living it. It is a very exciting place to be, there are always things going on, you can eat lots of cheap food, I've got friends already living there, and it's full of hippies. What more could you ask for? Did I mention the cheap food?

As my lovely wife as already told you, we did get to see a sand sculpture contest while in Portland, here are some of the entrants:

The king reading a book was my personal favorite. In case you didn't recognize the cover, he is reading "Where the Wild Things Are." The men and women who participated in the sand sculpting event impressed me for two reasons. First, they were very skilled in the art of sand sculpting. Second, I think most of them convinced their workplaces to give them the day off with pay so they could sculpt sand. These folks are clearly skilled both technically and relationally.

P.S. We will post more pictures on our albums this evening. Some from Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco.

PPS. I promise at least one picture of Nickolas, the cutest two-year-old I have ever met.

PPPS. It makes us happy when you comment. We feel validated as people.

PPPPS. Thank all of you who have called and asked about our plans and how they fit in with the latest news. Generally speaking, we are still planning on staying the course, if you are interested in talking about it or anything, feel free to give us a ring.

Sunday, July 16

well, we made it down to san francisco. good times. portland was really fun. matt and nicole are great hosts and we had a really good time with them and dave. a few highlights:
-the sand sculpture contest in pioneer square...we didn't get to participate (it was pretty hardcore and you had to actually like have a job or something b/c it was all companies), but it was so cool to watch.
-multnoma falls...the second tallest water fall in the states (i think, don't quote me on that though). we hiked to the top and enjoyed some really great views of the colombia river gorge.
-happy hours...this was my personal favorite thing in the city. every single bar or restaurant has happy hours. and good ones. twice a day!! they'll be from 4-6, and then again from 9-close. and the drinks aren't that good of a deal, but the food is all cheap also. cheap like $2.95 for an eight-inch pizza. can't beat that.
-seeing matt and nicole and dave...friends are so great.
-botchi ball...nicole and i are the real champions and jason and matt totally know that.

so that's a quick rundown of our time in portland. once again, we're not on our computer, so we'll have to post pictures later. our wireless card sometimes just decides not to pick up networks. oh well, what can you do? so tomorrow we're off to explore the city and see all the sites! we'll keep you updated.

Thursday, July 13


First, I do want to apologize for the lack of state-line pictures. As we have gone through the last few states we have either missed the signs, been too tired to stop, or it has been pouring down rain. We did however, get one state line sign, proving, once and for all, that Idaho does exist.

Take that doubters!

We are in Portland now, having spent the last few days in Vancouver and Seattle - two beautiful cities. The one full day we spent in Vancouver we ended up spending most of our time in the parks. One park offered a great view of Vancouver, while the other contained a suspension bridge about 20 meters over the water.

We ate our lunch of Ramen noodles in the picnic area of Lynn Canyon. While we were eating, two older chinese ladies came up and complimented our choice of lunch. Jeff and Jess were great hosts, and the best part of our trip was getting to know them better.

The first thing we did when we got to Seattle was to go down to Pike Place Market and check out the fisheries. It was like a traffic jam down there, except for people instead of cars. Also, it smelled like fish.

Aaron and Dana (well, mostly Dana) served us a great dinner and took us up to a park near their apartment to see a beautiful view of the city. The coolest thing about it, was that you could see the skyline, and behind it was the sound and then the mountains. It was a really cool combination of man-made beauty and natural beautry.

By the way, once we find the cable for the camera, we'll get some pictures of Seattle and Vancouver in the meantime, feel free to peruse the album that we'll set a link to shortly.

Monday, July 10

Bison, Bears, Geyser Safety, and Zidane

It has been five days since we last posted. During that time we've driven about 1300 miles, from Wheatland, WY to Vancouver, BC. We spent three nights at Yellowstone NP and one each in Ellensburg (sp?) Washington and Vancouver. Here are some pictures and details about the last few days.

First, I want to say thank you to the Kirbrides for their hospitality and generosity to us. We really enjoyed the time we spent in Wheatland, especially the times just spent talking with and hanging out with y'all. So thanks a lot.

Yellowstone is a beautiful, beautiful place. Old faithful, the most famous landmark in Yellowstone, is not even half the story. The first view we got once we got inside Yellowstone was this. It's looking back on the Grand Tetons from just inside of Yellowstone.

It is so amazing that God would create a world with such beauty for us to enjoy, and even more amazing that he would give us the ability to appreciate that beauty. His grace to us begins far before he saved us from sin, it began with the act of creation.

The one thing about Yellowstone that really hacked me off was this. Everywhere we went, there were warnings about Bears, tips for avoiding Bears, and signs telling us that Bears were waiting around every corner to eat us. Naturally, this caused me (jason) to anticipate the chance of actually seeing a bear in the wild for the first time. No chance. We did not see any bears, any signs of bears, or even hear any stories of other people that had seen bears while we were there. Bahh. Hopefully we'll get to see one while in Yosemite later in the month. (sarah: not really--we really are hoping never to see a bear outside of a cage in a zoo)

We did get the chance to see tons of Elk, a Moose, and a few Bison while were in the park though. This picture was taken on our way out of Yellowstone on the last morning.

For those of you who don't know this, our camera doesn't exactly "zoom" very well. So we really were about 10-15 ft from this Bison. We couldn't get near as close to the other animals because we were repeatedly warned through signage "not to apprach the wildlife." Also, Sarah would have killed me if the Elk didn't if I tried to sneak up close enough to get a good picture. For those of you who are interested, we are going to try to figure out how to post a slideshow or photo album of the best pictures from our trip.

Speaking of great pictures, this is the subtle and understated warning sign that was posted in the geyster basins which warned us to stay on the boardwalks. You can decide for yourselves what the best part about this picture is. There is just so much to choose from.

The next interesting thing we did after leaving Yellowstone was our stop in Seattle to watch the World Cup final. We found the bar that French World Cup fans were using to follow the cup and joined in cheering on Les Bleu. When the footballer formerly known as the best midfielder in the world decided to sacrifice his team at the altar of himself, the predominantly French patrons of the bar were in agony, with much weeping and gnashing of teeth. One petite French woman asked me repeatedly why he would do such a thing. I tried my best to ignore her, but it failed. Sad day for the French, but there were more than a few happy Italians both in Seattle and later in the day in Vancouver. We saw one man being carried by a couple friends at about 8 o'clock at night. I am convinced that he had probably been drinking since 10 that morning. Oh the thrill of victory.

If we do not get kidnapped by any Canadians, we will be sure to post and let you know about our time in Vancouver in the next couple of days. For now, just know that beautiful city + terrible roads + Canadians makes for an interesting time.

PS. If anyone is trying to call us while we are in Vancouver we have tried to keep the phone off to avoid the outrageous charges for international calls. We'll get back to you as soon as we're back in the Good 'ol U. S. of A.

Wednesday, July 5

Shameless self-indulgence. Look at my pictures

We visited Garden of the God's twice while we were in Colorado Springs. Here are the favorite pics from those visits.

This is the best scenic shot that we got while we were there. The sun was setting so part of the mountain was shaded from the sun.

This is Sarah after we successfully climbed to the top of a mountain (at least that is what we'll be calling it). Unfortunately it started pouring down rain on the way back down, so our enthusiasm was a bit muted.

Sarah and Jason with some of the Jackson clan. It was so fun to hang out with these friends from when I (jason) lived in Austin. We had some amazing hosts while we were in the Springs, so thanks Borkets, Jacksons, and Trevor. If any of y'all want to stay with us (when we have a home that is) come right on.

wheatland, wy

well, this morning we left colorado springs and drove up to wheatland, wy. we had a cookout for dinner and watched an amazing firework show. for a small, country town they sure can light up the sky. driving through wyoming was quite an experience...and we're not that far into it. there is nothing around for miles and miles. you can see forever and there are deer and antalope right by the road. it's so beautiful and peaceful and just untouched.

colorado springs was great. we went to garden of the gods, hung out with some of jason's old friends, and went to whit's end. good times. we head up to yellowstone tomorrow for some camping, which i am really excited about. hopefully we won't get eaten by bears.

Monday, July 3

Quick excerpt from our travel journal, July 1, 2006.
9:15am cst: After picking up a few supplies at Wal-Mart, we're leaving to start our forty day trip.
9:17am cst: We get in our first fight.
9:18am cst: Distracted by Cherokee Casino, we lose most of the trip money and decide to adjust our plans. 40 day trip across the country becomes a 40 minute trip to Westville and back.

Ok, in reality we have successfully navigated the first leg of our journey, from Siloam Springs to Colorado Springs. As you can see, we decided to use the tired old cliche of taking pictures at every state line that we cross. This will continue for the remainder of our trip. If you can think of any other travel cliches that we should participate in, please let us know as soon as possible.