Settling down….just for a little bit! ;-)
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Well, the adventure had to come to an end some time…..well maybe just put it on pause for a little bit ;-) Cathy and I are back in Northern Virginia and life is good! The job thing was not panning out in Co. so we have decided to set up shop back in NoVA. We have been back in the area for a few months now, and I have just landed a Logistics Specialist position with General Dynamics……and YES, I’ll admit it has been pretty rough getting out of bed early every morning, but it is also really nice to be back earning money again! Cathy has gone back to interpreting, and is also excited about the start of the lacrosse season. For the mean time we are still crashing at my sister’s place, but by June we should be back in the condo in Brambleton. To organize the blog a little better, we have created a ‘The Trip’ heading, which organizes all the post in a  much easier chronological order for looking back on the adventures we had. For those we have not yet caught up with since being home, we look forward to seeing you, and for those we have, we look forward to spending more time with you. Till the next adventure, remember……..the world is always calling! ;-)

Cathy and Jamie

Nuptials Weekend, October 17-20, 2013
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It’s official! Jamie and I tied the knot this past weekend, celebrating with an event filled few days with family and friends.  We got so lucky with 4 days of great weather in Windham, New York.  Jamie and I arrived very early and had a few days to chill out with my parents. We tied up some loose ends for the party weekend, played a round of golf and then moved into our rental house.

Our venue Ski Windham
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Our venue Ski Windham

Our venue, Ski Windham
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Ski Windham

Ski Windham patio
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Ski Windham patio

Jamie on the patio at Ski Windham, this is where we held the cocktail hour
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Jamie on the patio at Ski Windham, this is where we held the cocktail hour

Windham golf with Mom and Dad
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Windham golf with Mom and Dad

Jamie and Pops on the golf course
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Jamie and Pops on the golf course

Our Rental House for the weekend in Windham, Morningstar Chalet
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Our Rental House for the weekend in Windham, Morningstar Chalet

Back deck of the rental house
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Back deck of the rental house

Inside
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Inside, the party space!

Jamie’s parents came up early on Wednesday afternoon so with them and my parents the 6 of us had a really nice dinner out at Vesuvio’s in Windham.  The following day, Thursday, would be the start of our weekend festivities.  Our goal was to offer a weekend getaway for our family and friends and then toss in some nuptials some where in the middle.  I think we accomplished our goals to provide a fun and relaxing weekend away!  We started with an open house Thursday night at our rental pad for anyone arriving early.  These are the pictures from Thursday.

Open House Party on Thursday night!  View from the loft
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Open House Party on Thursday night! View from the loft

Rino-Rudo Clan
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Rino-Rudo Clan

Hanging on the deck. From left, Renee, Rick, Nancy, Laurie and Steve
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Hanging on the deck. From left, Renee, Rick, Nancy, Laurie and Steve

Ben, Sue and John
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Ben, Sue and John

Cathy and Chris
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Cathy and Chris

From left; Laurie, Sheri, Steve, Cathy and Renee
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From left; Laurie, Sheri, Steve, Cathy and Renee

Cathy, Jenn, Laurie
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Cathy, Jenn, Laurie

Nancy and Renee
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Nancy and Renee

Nancy and Pam
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Tracey, Nancy and Pam

Pops, Joanne and Debbie
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Pops, Joanne and Debbie

Joe and Rick
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Joe and Rick

Some fun in the Rec Room at the awesome rental house
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Some fun in the Rec Room at the awesome rental house

Ed and Chris
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Ed and Chris

Cathy, Porter, Courtney and Brandon
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Cathy, Porter, Courtney and Brandon

Tom, Ben and Jamie
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Tom, Ben and Jamie

Cathy chillin' with the tall people, Ben, Robbie and John!
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Cathy chillin’ with the tall people, Ben, Robbie and John! (I’m squatting!)

Jamie with Genny and Abby
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Jamie with Genny and Abby

Renee and Tyler
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Renee and Tyler

Tom and Tricia
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Tom and Tricia

Tom and Rebecca
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Tom and Rebecca

Grandma Dee and Momma Russo
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Grandma Dee and Momma Russo

Sheri, Debbie, Joanne and Matt
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Sheri, Debbie, Joanne and Matt

Cathy and Mr. Welpott
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Cathy and Mr. Welpott

Jenn and Jonas
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Jenn and Jonas

Momma Russo, John and Robbie Bouman, Cathy, Joanne and Jamie
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Momma Russo, John and Robbie Bouman, Cathy, Joanne and Jamie

John and Cathy
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John and Cathy

Jenn and Ed
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Jenn and Ed

Carole, John, Pat, Cathy, Chris
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Carole, John, Pat, Cathy, Chris

Tracey and Chuck
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Tracey and Chuck

Don, Jodi and Caroline
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Don, Jodi and Caroline

Gettin crazy with Tracey, Chuck and Tom
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Gettin crazy with Tracey, Chuck and Tom

Joanne and Poppa Russo
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Joanne and Poppa Russo

John, Jenn and Pat
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John, Jenn and Pat

Chris and Cathy

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Thursday night was definitely a blast!! But Friday was the big day.  Prior to the nuptials beginning at 5:00pm, everyone who was in town relaxed during the day, went hiking, or hung out in the town of Windham.  We started with the cocktail hour outside on the patio at Ski Windham.  It was chilly and a bit windy but not too bad with the heat lamps and a fire pit!

Friday Fun Day at the Range
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Friday Fun Day at the Range prior to the party

The Club Room at Windham Mountain
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The Club Room at Windham Mountain

A few last touches to the room
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A few last touches to the room

New York Maple Syrup
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New York Maple Syrup

Cocktail hour on the patio

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Cocktail Hour on the Patio
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Cocktail Hour on the Patio

Cocktail Hour
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Cocktail Hour

Rookwood-Kettinger Family
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Rookwood-Kettinger Family

Russo Family
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Russo Family

My parents and my new in-laws!
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My parents and my new in-laws!

Steve and Laurie with Sydney and Tyler
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Steve and Laurie with Sydney and Tyler

Jamie with Mom and Sis!
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Jamie with Mom and Sis!

Jamie with my Dad and sister Joanne
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Jamie with my Dad and sister Joanne

Me and Mara

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Renee and Sydney
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Renee and Sydney

Jamie with his nieces and nephews
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Jamie with his nieces and nephews

The Happy Couple!
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The Happy Couple!

We then moved inside for the nuptials with the judge and the main event where we partied the rest of the night!!

Guests entering the Club Room
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Guests entering the Club Room

Relax before the ceremony
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Relax before the ceremony

Nuptials
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Nuptials

Time to seal the deal!
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Time to seal the deal!

Having fun with our personal vows
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Having fun with our personal vows

The Vows
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The Vows

The Rings
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The Rings

The Kiss!
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The Kiss!

Our first dance to Van Morrison~I'll Be Your Lover Too
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Our first dance to Van Morrison~I’ll Be Your Lover Too

Happy Happy!
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Happy Happy!

Party Time!!

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Yummy Cheesecakes made by Mom and her friend Stephanie
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Yummy Cheesecakes made by Mom and her friend Stephanie

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The Cooper's looking all danced out!
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The Cooper’s looking all danced out!

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Gathering around for the last dance, Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond of course!
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Gathering around for the last dance, Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond of course!

The next day, Saturday, we planned for a golf outing for about 20 of us.  Everyone else scattered around the Catskill Mountains for various activities but most ended up at the Hunter Mountain Wine and Brew Festival which was only about 20 minutes from Windham.

Chairlift rides at Hunter Mountain
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Chairlift rides at Hunter Mountain

Jenn and Jonas at Hunter
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Jenn and Jonas at Hunter

Sandra, Joanne, Jenn and Bill at Hunter Festival
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Sandra, Joanne, Jenn and Bill at Hunter Festival

Michael, Jenn and Anna
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Michael, Jenn and Anna

Hungover golf on Saturday!
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Hungover golf on Saturday!

Golfing on Saturday
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Golfing on Saturday

Chris lining up the shot
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Chris lining up the shot

Ben chillin' in the cart
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Ben chillin’ in the cart

That evening, following the festival and the golf outing, we all met up at 5:30 at the Windham Country Club where we hosted a BBQ dinner.  It was a low key night for most of us as many of us were still recovering from Friday night!!

Jamie, Tom, Jodi, Sam, Nina, and Tracey at The Golf Club BBQ
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Jamie, Tom, Jodi, Sam, Nina, and Tracey at The Golf Club BBQ

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The bar at the Windham Country Club
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The bar at the Windham Country Club

Tricia and Lillian
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Tricia and Lillian

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The Buckeyes beat Iowa that day!
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The Buckeyes beat Iowa that day!

Ben, in the middle, traveled from Australia to be with us, Thank you BEN!!!
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Ben, in the middle, traveled from Australia to be with us, Thank you BEN!!!

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My niece Lillian
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My niece Lillian

Group shot at the end of the BBQ dinner
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Group shot at the end of the BBQ dinner

...and then the group got bigger!
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…and then the group got bigger!

We couldn’t just end it here, we had to host one more party! A Sunday brunch at our rental house to feed everyone before they take off on their journeys home.  Some close, some very far away.  Our friends and family traveled from NY, NJ, NC, FL, VA, RI, MA, ME, MD, PA, Ohio, Colorado, Brussels, and Australia!

Yummy food thanks to my Mom, Sister Jenn and the Windham Country Store for catering!
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Yummy food thanks to my Mom, Sister Jenn and the Windham Country Store for catering!

Momma Russo
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Momma Russo

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One of the coolest surprises of the weekend was a gift from my sisters Tricia and Jenn and my brother-in-law Harold.  They found an online service that took our entire blog from our website www.wanderingtheplanet.net and converted it into a book! 410 pages, 73 chapters.  Every picture we ever took, every word we ever wrote on that blog is in this book for us to keep forever.  Amazing!

The Awesome Blog Book!
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The Awesome Blog Book!

The Blog Book
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The Blog Book

There are hundreds of more pictures! We plan to post more in the gallery of this blog and upload the rest to a Google Picasso album.

We want to thank our family and friends for your endless support and love throughout the years.  Jamie and I had an incredible time spending this special weekend with all of you!

We will continue blogging until we figure out where we will be living and what we will be doing!!

~ Cathy & Jamie

may the adventures never stop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arkansas to Virginia
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After leaving the 24HHH in Arkansas we made a plan to take a couple days on the southern route through Tennessee to visit Memphis and Nashville.  We figured there is no way we could drive through Memphis without stopping off for a visit to Graceland.  When we first pulled up to the parking lot we both shared the same feeling of “this is not what I expected”.  We purchased our tickets and were then directed to a shuttle bus which took us across the street and into a gated compound. Aha, now this is what I imagined.  We drove up a long driveway toward Elvis’s beautiful home, Graceland.  After being instructed on what to do and where to go, we began the tour of his home, the real deal, all the furniture and appliances and art work everything, was his, it was really cool.  We took loads of shots of the house.

GRACELAND!!!!
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GRACELAND!!!!

This home and the 13 acres of property was purchased by Elvis in the mid 50′s for only $100,000!

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The main living room with a 15 foot white sofa!
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The main living room with a 15 foot white sofa! Elvis renovated the whole interior on the 70′s

Beautiful stained glass
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Beautiful stained glass

The Brady Bunch style kitchen
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The Brady Bunch style kitchen, notice the carpeted floor!

When Elvis was young, he promised his parents that one day he would make it big and when he did he would take care of them and offer them a lifestyle they couldn’t otherwise afford, and he did! His parents moved in with him and his family after he purchased Graceland.

Elvis's parents slept in this bedroom
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Elvis’s parents slept in this bedroom

The pool room, this room is covered in 350 yards of fabric, including the ceiling!
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The pool room, this room is covered in 350 yards of fabric, including the ceiling!

The King
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The King, a self portrait in the stairway

Priscilla and Lisa Marie
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Priscilla and Lisa Marie

The Jungle Room, covered in shag carpet, including the ceiling
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The Jungle Room, covered in shag carpet, including the ceiling!

Jungle furniture
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Jungle furniture

Media Room
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Media Room

Funky Monkey on the table!
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Funky Monkey on the table!

There were a few detached buildings from the main house, Vernon’s office (Elvis’s Dad) where he collected fan mail among other things, a racquet ball house, a trophy house and a meditation garden.

Elvis's personal racquet ball court converted to a trophy room
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Elvis’s personal racquet ball court converted to a trophy room

Elvis's ensembles
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Elvis’s ensembles

Wardrobes from Vegas
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Wardrobes from Vegas

The Trophy Building
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The Trophy Building

Of course, you cannot be the King of Rock and not own your own fleet of cars and private jets!

Elvis's 1st plane he bought in the 70's and named it "Lisa Marie"
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Elvis’s 1st plane he bought in the 70′s and named it “Lisa Marie”

Elvis spent $500K for the plane and another $250K removing the 96 seats and decking it out to become a home in the air.

Inside the "Lisa Marie"
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Inside the “Lisa Marie”

The planes conference room
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The planes conference room

The planes bathroom with a 14K gold sink!
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The planes bathroom with a 14K gold sink!

and Elvis's master bedroom on the plane
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and Elvis’s master bedroom on the plane

 

The famous pink cadillac he sang about and then gave to his mother
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The famous pink cadillac he sang about and then gave to his mother

We miss Elvis!
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We miss Elvis!

The Meditation Area in the backyard with the graves of Elvis, his parents and a tombstone memorializing Elvis's twin stillborn brother
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The Meditation Area in the backyard with the graves of Elvis, his parents and a tombstone memorializing Elvis’s twin stillborn brother

RIP Elvis
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RIP Elvis

Graceland was a really good experience and we recommend it to anyone passing through Memphis!!

We continued east making a quick stop in Nashville for dinner, we didn’t do or see much but we had a great meal at Merchant’s Cafe on Broadway

The only pic from Nashville, Broadway Ave
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The only pic from Nashville, Broadway Ave

We finally made it back to the east coast and stopped at the New River Gorge for a couple days of climbing at Sandstonia and Summersville.

Climbing at Sandstonia, on Butterfly Flake 5.7
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Climbing at Sandstonia, on Butterfly Flake 5.7

Jamie on Butterfly Flake
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Jamie on Butterfly Flake

At the top of Butterfly Flake
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At the top of Butterfly Flake

At the top of Butterfly Flake
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At the top of Butterfly Flake

Our last campsite of the world tour at the American Alpine Club at the New
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Our last campsite of the world tour at the American Alpine Club at the New

And that was it!! The end!! We have officially wrapped up our 15 months of wandering the planet and now we are back in good old VA preparing ourselves to face reality and responsibility : )

Check back in in a couple weeks and we’ll be blogging about our upcoming nuptials!

~Cathy

 

 

 

24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell!
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The 24HHH comp started last Friday, 10am to 10am Sat, and Jamie, Chris and Jodi were more than prepared.  The rest of our friends, Corey, Josh, Chris, Torey, Ryan, Melissa, and Ed, arrived from VA the Wednesday prior when all of us moved into a cabin for the weekend.  Everyone but myself would be competing in the 24HHH.  We spent Thursday walking around the Ranch since Ed was the only one from our group who had never been to AR and was new to the competition so we showed him around and he climbed a couple trad routes to get familiar with the area.

Thursday before the comp, scouting the area with Ed
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Thursday before the comp, scouting the area with Ed

Ed getting familiar with the climbing at the Ranch
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Ed getting familiar with the climbing at the Ranch

Ed getting his crank on with a trad route at HCR
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Ed getting his crank on with a trad route at HCR

Free haircuts for climbers from the Rogue Barber
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Free haircuts for climbers from the Rogue Barber

Another climber getting a free haircut, this guy actually won "Best Haircut"!
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Another climber getting a free haircut, this guy actually won “Best Haircut”!

Our friend Torey getting a piton shaved out of his hair
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Our friend Torey getting a piton shaved out of his hair

We all took it easy on Thursday night, hung out at the cabin and made a pre comp family dinner to fuel everybody up.

Family dinner at the cabin
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Family dinner at the cabin

The day had finally arrived and our 10 competitors were pumped up for a day they had been training for for so long.  We all got to the Ranch early in preparation and the place was buzzing with climbers and vendors, everyone enjoying the pre-comp activity.  Our friends, John and Lori from VA flew out to Little Rock for a long weekend to visit their relatives but came out to the Ranch all day Friday to witness 24HHH and support Jamie.

Team VA super fans, John and Lori
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Team VA super fans, John and Lori

Andy Chasteen is the founder and director of the event and he was making announcement and going over rules before the part we all look forward to, the Climbers Creed.

Andy going over rules prior to the start
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Andy going over rules prior to the start

Andy announcing every team name, 140 teams!
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Andy announcing every team name, 140 teams!

Ryan, Torey and Chris gearing up for the start
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Ryan, Torey and Chris gearing up for the start

Every year, one of the organizers, Jeremy, writes up the climbers creed and announces it moments before the start of the comp. Climbers have to repeat what he says and this year it was pretty good…

Partner, the day, has finally arrived
My colorful leather boots, quiver in morbid anticipation
My belay hand lie in wait for your divine ascents
You partner, are the scabbard
…I am the sword
Partner, I will now speak in a horrible fake accent
Thou must now wish to distract me from my fear and trembling
Partner, the wind is nide before lost and yet our knots are not yet knotted
It is better to check thy knot than not, lest the rock be forgotten
Partner, thou must not freakin’ drop me!
Today we climb for victory, with muscles well honed our torsos well toned, our crimping and clipping are bad to thy bone
Partner, thou must not freakin’ drop me, for if thou does, I will slight thee on a bed of poles, or a burning cross, or drag you behind a herd of goats, or worse, tell everyone on Facebook
Partner, I chose you not for thy skill, but for thy determination and will
We battle our own battle
We fight our own fight
When the sun rises upon tomorrow
We will rise like zombies from the battles of night
Partner, we are more than climbers, WE ARE WARRIORS!!
We are lions in a field of lions
PARTNER!! CLIMB WITH ME!!!
LET’S RIDE…… 

Check out the video of the Climbers Creed on YouTube! http://youtu.be/vcQzZPjrcuM

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Surprisingly, the first 14 hours flew by! I say 14 because John and Lori and I left at midnight to head back to the cabin to sleep.  We talked about feeling guilty since everyone would continue climbing until 10am Saturday but hey, it’s their choice to punish their bodes in such a way so we went to bed!! But we didn’t leave without getting some great shots throughout the day and night.
Jamie working one of the harder routes at Ren and Stimpy area, first thing Friday morning
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Jamie working one of the harder routes at Ren and Stimpy area, first thing Friday morning

Jamie working a roof at Ren and Stimpy
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Jamie working a roof at Ren and Stimpy

Chris, Ren and Stimpy area
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Chris at Ren and Stimpy area, banging out the hard routes early!

Ed and Jodi ticking off Pantry Moth Invasion, 10b
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Ed and Jodi ticking off Pantry Moth Invasion, 10b

Chris climbing in The Land Beyond area
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Chris climbing in The Land Beyond area

Jamie working the same move
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Jamie working the same move

Jamie and Chris running between routes to keep up their pace
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Jamie and Chris running between routes to keep up their pace

Tallying up the scores so far, this is about 2pm on Friday
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Tallying up the scores so far, this is about 2pm on Friday, first score cards will be due at 10pm so the guys need to keep up with their route count

Chris working the hardest line he'll climb at Kindergarten Boulder, Crab Louse, 12b
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Chris working the hardest line he’ll climb at the comp, Kindergarten Boulder, Crab Louse, 12b

A couple of volunteers and a few random spectators
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A couple of volunteers and a few random spectators

John, Lori and I had fun watching everyone climb but we were also up for a little fun of our own.  The Ranch installed a Zipline the summer prior which is 400 ft off the ground and half a mile long plus they were offering 50% off for all climbers and spectators so we took advantage of this.

At the top of the cliff, ready to take off on the Zipline
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At the top of the cliff, ready to take off on the Zipline

I was the first one to take off, it was awesome!
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I was the first one to take off, it was awesome!

Lori coming off her Zipline high
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Lori coming off her first Zipline high

After Zipline and leaving the Ranch for a little dinner we came back to watch the night climbing.

Jamie sportin' the head lamp belay
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Jamie sportin’ the head lamp belay

Corey and Josh climbing a 5.10 at night
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Corey and Josh climbing a 5.10 at night

Head lamps light up the North Forty
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Head lamps light up the North Forty

The next morning, we returned early enough to catch the last hour of the comp.  It was another beautiful day and the vibe was still strong but I think the climbers were ready for the finish line!

Chris working was of his final routes on Saturday morning
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Chris working one of his final routes on Saturday morning

Many people appreciated the couch brought up from the Trading Co. especially Chris, far right
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Many people appreciated the couch brought up from the Trading Co. especially Chris, far right

Torey, Ed and Jodi expressing their "I'm Done" face
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Torey, Ed and Jodi expressing their “I’m Done” face

Jamie still happy after 23 hours of climbing!
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Jamie still happy after 23 hours of climbing and belaying!

John and Jamie
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Super fan John and Jamie

Getting in the last minute routes before the final call
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Getting in the last minute routes before the final call to turn in score cards

Jamie and Chris tallying up their final numbers
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Jamie and Chris tallying up their final numbers

Jamie racing to the climber check in tent to submit score cards by 10:15am
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Jamie racing to the climber check in tent to submit score cards by 10:15am

With Chris following
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With Chris following

Turning in the final score cards, it's over!!
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Turning in the final score cards, it’s over!!

A couple of proud boys who smashed their prior year numbers
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A couple of proud boys who smashed their prior year numbers

Chris and Jamie's tortured hands
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Chris and Jamie’s tortured hands

Jamie and Chris chattin' with Dick and Nathalie, the only partners who have been competing together since the first comp 8 years ago
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Jamie and Chris chattin’ with Dick and Nathalie, the only partners who have been competing together since the first comp 8 years ago

Ryan and Melissa enjoying post comp free massages
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Ryan and Melissa enjoying post-comp free massages

From left; Lori, Ed, Jodi, John, Jamie, Chris, Torey
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From left; Lori, Ed, Jodi, John, Jamie, Chris, Torey, all happy to be done!

Our crew from VA and CO
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Our crew Team VA – CO

...and their beat up hands
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…and their beat up hands

We headed home for a few hours of shut eye before having to return to the Ranch for the free pasta dinner and after party.  Our group of 10 climbers cleaned up pretty good at the awards ceremony that night!!

Pasta dinner back at the ranch following naps by everyone
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Pasta dinner back at the ranch following naps by everyone

Chris, Ryan and Melissa enjoying the free pasta dinner Saturday evening
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Chris, Ryan and Melissa enjoying the free pasta dinner Saturday evening

The weather was awful so the outdoor awards ceremony was moved into the camping pavilion, it was tight!
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The weather was awful so the outdoor awards ceremony was moved into the camping pavilion, it was tight!

Corey and Josh placed in their Intermediate category for overall points
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Corey and Josh placed in their Intermediate category for overall points

Corey wins again but I forget what for!
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Corey wins again but I forget what for!

Ryan and Melissa win for most amount of 5.7's climbed in the Recreation category
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Ryan and Melissa win for most amount of 5.7′s climbed in the Recreation category

Jodi placed for female overall points in her category
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Jodi placed for female overall points in her category! Go Yolanda!!

Jodi, aka “Yolanda the Climbing Phenom”, would like to personally thank her climbing partner, Ed, aka “Bubba Shrimp from south of Macon Georgia north of Tallahassee Florida” for his 24 hours of support and non-stop southern spirit!!

Jamie and Chris crushed it with 170 routes each for a team total of 340 routes in 24 hours!! An amazing accomplishment!! Official results will be posted soon at:

http://www.twofourhell.com/24HHH/Home.html

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We hope everyone had a safe trip home and we thank John and Lori for coming out to support Team VA-CO.  Congratulations climbers!!!

~Cathy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch
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Hey Everyone! We left Colorado Springs two Saturdays ago, and it took us two days to drive across country to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas. On the way over we stayed the night in Tulsa! We didn’t spend too much time there, except to really just stay the night. However, thanks to Cathy’s sister Tricia, we did visit the Center of the Universe….who knew it was in Tulsa!! ;-) Basically, there is this anomaly in the middle of the city where if you stand in this one exact spot, when you speak your voice sounds like it is echoing, but only to you, to everyone else it sound the same. It is really weird, because they can’t really explain it……so you feel like you are at the Center of the Universe!

Cathy standing in the Center of the Universe!
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Cathy standing in the Center of the Universe!

That afternoon we settled into our camp spot at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. For those who don’t know, the Ranch is a great place to climb, and it hosts a 24 hour climbing competition every year in September ( http://twofourhell.com/24HHH/Home.html ). I didn’t do it last year since we were overseas, but I did compete in 2010 and 2011, and my climbing partner Chris and I are doing it again this year. So we are here at the Ranch early to get some more endurance training in, and get some of the routes dialed down. Here are a couple of shots of life at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch.

Arriving at the ranch
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Arriving at the ranch

Our campsite with some visitors
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Our campsite with some visitors

There friendly horses!!
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The friendly horses!!

They tend to be very curious....so you have to keep an eye on your stuff!
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They tend to be very curious….so you have to keep an eye on your stuff!

Chris and I are going for a new personal record for our team this year, so we have been working hard. As a man over 40 now :(  I know that if you work hard you need to also rest. Cathy and I have taken a couple of days off and done some exploring around the Ozark Mountains. On one day we did some scenic drives, and there was not a lot to see, but we did get a good shot towards the end of the drive.

Ozark Mountains
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Ozark Mountains

On the other day we had a good workout in the morning at a really nice park in the town of Jasper. It was right on the Buffalo River, which can make your workout a little nicer!

Cool river running through Jasper
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Buffalo River running through Jasper

We then headed to a classic Arkansas hike called Hawksbill Crag. A really nice hike through the woods with some really good views at the end.

Cathy at Hawksbill Crag
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Cathy at Hawksbill Crag

Cool B/W near Hawksbill Crag
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Cool B/W near Hawksbill Crag

Nice scenery from the Hawksbill Crag lookout
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Nice scenery from the Hawksbill Crag lookout

The past coupe of days we have spent climbing some more, and doing a little more exploring of some of the new crags at the Ranch. Cathy has really turned up her game, and has been leading a bunch of routes and lead her first 5.10b route today! Here are couple of pics from the past couple of days.

View of the ranch from the East side of the canyon
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View of the ranch from the East side of the canyon

Cathy climbing the route Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
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Cathy climbing the route Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, 5.11a

Jodi, Chris, and I climbing on the East side of the ranch
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Jodi, Chris, and I climbing on the East side of the ranch

Jamie pulling the crux moves of Mine, Mine, Mine
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Jamie pulling the crux moves of Mine, Mine, Mine, 5.11d

We are going to spend tomorrow doing a little climbing, then it will be rest time to make sure the body is in tip top shape for the comp. It starts this Friday at 10am, and we climb until 10am Saturday! Our team name this year is “He’s 40….I am not!”…..needless to say, I did not come up with that one! Wish us luck and we will post how we did after the comp.

- Jamie

 

 

 

Colorado Springs II
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Just a quick update as we start to move into our last parts of the trip. We have spent the past week and a half at our friend Chuck’s place in Colorado Springs. On our way to Colorado Springs we forgot to post up the following two pictures…..they kinda speak for themselves, and we were laughing when we saw them ;-)

Hmmmm....why not?
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This sign says…DON’T PICK UP HITCHHIKERS, Hmmmm….why not?

Ohhhhh......ok, no hitchikers!
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This next sign said…PRISON ESCAPE CARSON CITY AREA, ….Ohhhhh……ok, no hitchikers!

We have filled our time here with getting the groovy mobile serviced and cleaned, training at the local gym for the up coming 24HHH, and getting a little climbing in outside. We wanted to climb outside more, but the rain has been relentless here, so good thing Co Springs has an awesome climbing gym called City Rock. Luckily we did get one good day in out at Devil’s Head before the rain storms showed up.

Cathy ready to launch off a route at Devil's Head
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Cathy ready to launch off a route at Devil’s Head…..cool place.

Another thing we were able to get in just before the rain showed up was another crack at the Incline Hike. If you remember from our July 20 post we both gave it a shot, and for my first time I logged a time of 39 minutes. All the hiking over the summer at altitude has really paid off. Cathy shaved 25 minutes off her last time, and I logged a 32:33 time this go. Here is a pic from the summit with the fog looming below us.

Happy to be at the top of the Incline
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Happy to be at the top of the Incline

Anyone who comes to Colorado Springs should give it a go…..it is a great challenge!

We spent our last day getting all our stuff back into our clean groovy mobile, and getting ready to blast off for Arkansas tomorrow. On a side note, I was coming and going from Chuck’s front door to the truck when all of a sudden I started hearing this buzzing sound. I looked around and just outside Chuck’s front door is a pile of rocks, and there was one huge bumble bee stuck in a web….and he was about to become lunch….check it out!

Yikes!!! I don't much about spiders but I know a black widow when I see one....sorry Mr. Bumble Bee
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Yikes!!! I don’t know much about spiders but I know a Black Widow when I see one….sorry Mr. Bumble Bee

We are off to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas tomorrow. It should take us a couple of days to get there, but this will be our first stop on our way back to the East Coast. Hopefully we are going to get plenty of climbing/training in over the next two weeks! ;-)

- Jamie

 

Bryce Canyon to Colorado Springs
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The drive north on 89 toward Bryce Canyon gave us a lot of opportunities to pull over and get some good shots.

Scenic pull off along 89
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Scenic pull off along 89

Hoodoos on Highway 89
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Hoodoos on Highway 89

Jamie messing around with a large boulder hoodoo
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Jamie messing around with a large boulder hoodoo

Arch bridge were about to drive through
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Arch bridge were about to drive through

Bryce Canyon is a small national park when compared to the other parks we have visited. There is one main road in and out of the park with scenic stops along the north side of the road. It only took us about 2 hours in and out, it was a nice day even though a storm brewing in the distance. We captured a few good shots of the “hoodoos” around the park.

A good introduction to what Bryce Canyon is all about
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A good introduction to what Bryce Canyon is all about

Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon
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Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon
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Bryce Canyon

Natural Bridge, Bryce Canyon
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Natural Bridge, Bryce Canyon

More hoodoos of Bryce
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More hoodoos of Bryce

Bryce Canyon
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Bryce Canyon

Following Bryce we were making our way east across southern Utah which naturally took us through the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.  The grand staircase part of the name comes from the formation of the sharp rocks in layers looking like a staircase, although we never found this particular section of the park it is what we learned about it.  We didn’t explore this are too much so there are no pictures!

We spent the night at cool little campground outside Escalante.  We met a really nice Danish couple who pulled in next to us, so we had great neighbors on top of a great view!

Our camp spot outside Escalante
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Our camp spot outside Escalante

The view from our camp spot
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The view from our camp spot

The next day we made our way north toward Salt Lake City with intentions to climb at Maple Canyon.  The weather was way too hot so we canned that idea and instead spent a couple days doing the city thing.  We never actually went into SLC, we stayed south near Sandy, UT, camped free at a Wal Mart, indoor climbed at Monument Rock Climbing gym and took a couple excursions into the Provo Canyon.  We stopped off at Bridal Veil Falls which is a 607-foot-tall double cataract waterfall viewable from the highway.

Bridal Veil Falls
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Bridal Veil Falls

Our second stop was Sundance Resort which is owned by Robert Redford and is where the Sundance Film Festival originated.  It became so popular they had to move it to Park City where it is now held every January.  The Sundance Resort is very small but very quaint and rustic, a really cool place tucked away in the Canyons.

Soon after, we arrived in Moab, UT where we would spend the next 3 days relaxing and exploring our last 2 national parks, at least for now, these are the last! Once again way too hot to climb, temps were in the upper 90′s so instead we spent the day in the truck exploring Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, both in one day.  We learned quickly that 2 parks in one day is a bit much.  First we drove through Arches.

First scenic pullout as you enter Arches NP
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First scenic pullout as you enter Arches NP

Park Avenue Viewpoint, Arches NP
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Park Avenue Viewpoint, Arches NP

Balance Rock
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Balance Rock

Turret Arch, Arches NP
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Turret Arch, Arches NP

North and South Windows, Arches NP
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North and South Windows, Arches NP

North and South Arch
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North and South Arch

Straight after leaving Arches we made our way to Canyonlands NP and explored the park by driving the White Rim Road.  Canyonlands is 337,000 acres of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries.  While much different than the incredible arches of Arches NP, Canyonlands provides its own drastic beauty.

Canyonlands
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Canyonlands

Our first view of the Canyonlands from Shafer Point
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Our first view of the Canyonlands from Shafer Point

Shafer Canyon Overlook, Canyonlands
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Shafer Canyon Overlook, Canyonlands

Canyonlands
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Canyonlands

We wrapped up our time in Moab and began the journey back toward Colorado Springs where we’ll spend some time at Chuck’s house again and recharge our batteries for the last leg of the Western tour! Arkansas and then back toward the east coast!

~Cathy

Grand Canyon to Zion National Park
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After the Hoover Dam we cruised on for a few hours in the rain till we crashed for the night in Williams, AZ. Luck was on our side in the morning as we headed off to check out the Grand Canyon, as the clouds lifted for us for a few hours. This my first visit to the Canyon, and I always hoped it would live up to my expectations…….and it did….it is massive!

Our first view of canyon....pretty impressive!
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Our first view of the canyon….pretty impressive!

Enjoying the views
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Enjoying the views

More of the spectacular scenery
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More of the spectacular scenery

After a few hours of checking out the canyon the rain clouds decided to kick in, but that allowed us to get some some cool shots.

I think it is going to rain!
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I think it is going to rain!

Rain moving through the canyon
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Rain moving through the canyon

The weather that day gave us an impressive desert drive to Zion National Park. There were a lot of low level clouds as we drove through the desert.

Cool views across the dessert
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Cool views across the desert

Groovy mobile in the dessert
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Groovy mobile in the desert

On the way to Zion we stopped off and checked out the Navajo Bridge over the Little Colorado River.

Navajo Bridge
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Navajo Bridge

Little Colorado River......with all the rain....just a bit muddy!
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Little Colorado River……with all the rain….just a bit muddy!

We ended up crashing for the night in the town of Kanab, UT. Which, by the way, is the Hollywood of Utah, because they supposedly filmed a lot of western movies there. We didn’t see much of that, since it rained all night long…..our wettest night so far on this portion of the trip. The next day, the weather turned around for us as we entered Zion National Park. We both agree, Zion has to be one of the top parks we have visited so far…….awesome!! Here is a pic as we just entered the park.

First glimpse of Zion
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First glimpse of Zion

We were able to get a spot at the popular Watchman campground for the night.

Pretty sweet view from our spot....too bad they were booked, and we could only stay here one night
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Pretty sweet view from our spot….too bad they were booked, and we could only stay here one night

Since we had our accommodations sorted for the night we decided to head off for some adventure climbing! On the other side of Zion there is a Canyon called Kolob Canyon, which supposedly has the best sport route in Utah, a climb called Namaste. It is a 14 bolt long, overhanging endurance fest route, my type of climbing! So we decided to check it out. The hike into the canyon and to the climbing wall is about 45 minutes. I loved it, since there was not another soul around…..Cathy on the other hand…..had concerns of mountain lions and rattle snakes! Eh….it’s an adventure! The canyon is gorgeous, and we found the wall with no problems. Here are some pics from the hike and climbing area.

Heading into Kolob Canyon
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Heading into Kolob Canyon

Some of cool views in the Kolob Canyon
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Some cool views in the Kolob Canyon

Further up the canyon
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Further up the canyon

Getting to launch off!
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Getting ready to launch off!

Cathy top-roping a route on the Namste Wall
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Cathy top-roping a route on the Namaste Wall

Working the route Namaste....a bit wet and dirty in a few spots
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Working the route Namaste….an awesome route, but this day it was a bit wet and dirty in a few spots

The next morning we headed off into the heart of Zion to do the famous Angel’s Landing hike. Cathy and I both agreed that this has to be one of our top five hikes we have done on our whole trip. You gain a lot of elevation pretty quickly, so it can be strenuous, but the last .5 mile is over a ridge line that takes you to the summit. They have installed a chain to help people, and with the amount of exposure on the last part, I was really surprised how many people were doing it. Check out the pictures.

Starting up Angel's Landing, you actually summit the peak in the upper right corner of the pic
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Starting up Angel’s Landing, you actually summit the peak in the upper right corner of the pic

Looking down from about a third of the way up
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Looking down from about a third of the way up, you can see the trail on the right side of the pic

The view from the start of the last half mile ridge line hike to the summit
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The view from the start of the last half mile ridge line hike to the summit

Cathy coming across one of the narrow parts
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Cathy coming across one of the narrow parts

It's a long way down!
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It’s a long way down!

This gives a good idea of the ridge line you hike along with the chain
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This gives a good idea of the ridge line you hike along with the chain

Near the summit
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Near the summit

The ultimate reward.....the view from the summit is spectacular!
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The ultimate reward…..the view from the summit is spectacular!

After the hike we grabbed the shuttle bus to the end of the main canyon, and checked out the Narrows. This is one of the most popular hikes in the canyon…….and it was packed! We only hiked up to the start of the Narrows, as you have to walk through a lot of water on the hike, and since there had been a lot of rainfalls recently the water wasn’t looking too appealing!

The start of the Narrows..... anybody up for walking through some muddy water! ;)
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The start of the Narrows….. anybody up for walking through some muddy water! ;)

Cool rock cairn at the start of the hike
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Cool rock cairn at the start of the hike

That night we ended up moving to the South Campground, as the Watchman was all booked up. It was a nice spot where you get visitors at dusk and dawn.

Visitors to our campsite
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Visitors to our campsite

The next morning, we broke down camp and headed back to Kolob Canyon. I wanted to give Namaste another run. Our first time there I discovered while I was climbing it that is was wet in spots, and there was a lot of mud on it from the water and sand mixing in some of the holds. We hiked back into the canyon and I gave it another run……it was dry this time, and the climb went down first go! I ended up doing a few laps in the canyon that day……great endurance training, as everything is overhung. Thanks again to my awesome bride-to-be for the catches!!

My awesome belayer!
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My awesome belayer!

Looking at the route Namaste
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Looking up the route, Namaste

Tick!
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Tick!

We are now making our way further along into Utah…..next stop, Bryce Canyon!

- Jamie

 

Vegas Baby!!
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We arrived into Vegas last Thursday evening. The bad news was that is was hot, and the campground out by Red Rock Canyon is closed this time of year. The good news is, we had accumulated enough Marriott awards points for a really nice room at the Courtyard Marriott for a really cheap price!! After living out of the truck for the past month and a half….I have to admit, it was really nice have a nice hotel room for a few nights!

On Friday we woke early and headed off to do a 6 pitch climb called Frogland. I had done this climb many years ago, and I thought it would be a great first multi-pitch climb in Vegas for Cathy, since most of it goes in the shade by around 10am. The climb was a lot of fun, and we knocked the climbing out in 4.5 hours. Here are a couple of shots from our day.

About to head into the Canyon
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About to head into the Canyon

Cathy coming up the first pitch
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Cathy coming up the first pitch

Cathy finishing up the 2nd pitch
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Cathy finishing up the 2nd pitch

All smiles at the top of the 3rd pitch
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All smiles at the top of the 3rd pitch

Getting ready to finish the last pitch of the Frogland
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Getting ready to finish the last pitch of Frogland

Toping out
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Toping out

Summit photo after an awesome climb, with Vegas off in the distance
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Summit photo after an awesome climb, with Vegas off in the distance

The next day we slept in a little, and then headed off for some sport climbing. I needed to get some laps in, so we headed to the Black Corridor, which is shaded all the time, and knocked out a bunch of climbs in a few hours. On another note…..Cathy also lead her first 5.9 sport climb!! She is really rocking the climbing on this trip.

Happy girl after leading her first 5.9
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Happy girl after leading her first 5.9

Climbing in Black Corridor.....plenty of shade!
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Climbing in Black Corridor…..plenty of shade!

That evening we were able to meet up with an old friend of mine, Brett. We played high school baseball together….way back in the day!! We met up with him and his wife Lizzy, and also got to meet their two year old son Archer (who we predict will be a future climber when he gets older ;-) Unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures, but had a great evening hanging out!

The next morning we slept in…..sooooo good! Then after a quick workout, headed off for Hoover Dam. We were able to get a few pics in before the heavens opened up.

Hoover Damn.......it's big!!!
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Hoover Dam…….it’s big!!!

Cathy at Hoover Damn
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Cathy at Hoover Dam……..by the way this was the after picture.

The wind was really blowing, so this was our first attempt at that picture ;-)

This was the before!
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This was the before!

Lake Meade side
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Lake Meade side

It pretty much rained the whole rest of the day. Our first real rain day since…….we think, since New Zealand. We are now just outside the Grand Canyon, and hopefully the weather will hold for us and come good as we make our way into Utah!

- Jamie

Yosemite National Park to Death Valley, CA
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On Monday, August 19th we left from our extended stay in Tahoe for Yosemite National Park.  We spent 2 days driving through Yosemite which is best characterized by its massive granite cliffs among many other things.

Driving the Tioga Road, Yosemite
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Driving the Tioga Road, Yosemite

Teyana Lake, Yosemite
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Teyana Lake, Yosemite

Tenaya Lake climbing area of Yosemite
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Tenaya Lake climbing area of Yosemite

Olmsted Point
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Olmsted Point with Half Dome in the distance

View of Half Dome from Olmsted Point
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View of Half Dome from Olmsted Point

El Cap and Half Dome in the distance while driving the Tioga Pass
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El Cap and Half Dome in the distance while driving the Tioga Road

El Capitan, a 3,300 foot face may be the most popular climbing destination in the world. We stopped off at El Cap a few times to check out the parties climbing the face and also hiked into the base of the most popular route, “The Nose”.

El Capitan
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El Capitan

The base of "The Nose", it will be climbed one day by this boy!
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The base of “The Nose”, it will be climbed one day by this boy!

El Cap and Half Dome in the background
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El Cap and Half Dome in the background

The 4,800 foot Half Dome, Yosemite Valley
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The 4,800 foot Half Dome, Yosemite Valley

We’ve been so lucky all summer as the weather has been amazing.  We’ve had typical mountain summer weather since we left VA and nights have been really cool.  Our lowest temp was 42F back in Bear Tooth Pass!  Well, all that is slowly changing : ( as we’ve made the turn south and out of Oregon we’ve really started to feel the heat.  Yosemite may be our highest temps of the summer so far when it reached 97F here.

It's a hot day in the Valley, 97F!
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It’s a hot day in the Valley, 97F!

Between Yosemite and Death Valley we stopped over at Owens River Gorge to do some climbing.  The Gorge is a steep 10 mile canyon on the upper Owens River in Eastern CA and has evolved into a popular climbing area.  The descent into the gorge was pretty steep and took us about 20 minutes to get into in and out of it.

Starting the descent into the Gorge
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Starting the descent into the Gorge

Gearing up to climb in the Gorge
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Gearing up to climb in the Gorge

From Chocolate to Morphine, Owens River Gorge
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From Chocolate to Morphine, Owens River Gorge

The storms are brewing around Bishop
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The storms are brewing around Bishop

Views around Owens River Gorge
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Views around Owens River Gorge

After Owens River we made our way to Death Valley National Park.  Located in CA and NE, Death Valley contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains. It is the hottest and driest place in North America.  Inside the park is Badwater Basin, the 2nd lowest point in the western hemisphere at 282 feet below sea level. During our drive through the park, temps topped out at 109F! It was very hot!!

It was even hotter in Death Valley, actually topped out at 109F!
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It was even hotter in Death Valley, actually topped out at 109F!

Beginning our drive through Death Valley
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Beginning our drive through Death Valley

The Devils Golf Course, Death Valley
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The Devils Golf Course, Death Valley

Badwater Basin, 2nd lowest point in Western Hemisphere, 282ft below sea level
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Badwater Basin, 2nd lowest point in Western Hemisphere, 282ft below sea level

Cool rock formation in Death Valley
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Cool rock formation in Death Valley

Zabriskie Point, Death Valley
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Zabriskie Point, Death Valley

So many National Parks in such a short span of time has been overwhelming and exciting. We will definitely return to some of them in the future to spend more time, hike new trails, and get some climbing in on the classic routes.  For now, we’re making our way to Las Vegas and Red Rocks National Conservation Park.

~Cathy