Friday, May 29, 2009

My Master Card Commercial

If I could write a master card commercial for my cross country drive it would go something like this...

Gas = $227.94

Lodging = $178

Food = $60

Speeding Ticket = $50

Driving 3,000 miles across the country to start a new life adventure?


Those Navajo Police Will Getcha

Normally, I wouldn't be broadcasting the fact that I got pulled over and was cited for speeding on an Indian Reservation. However, I think the circumstances make this story worth while. After I left White Sands, I was headed for Mexican Hat, Utah to stay the night. I knew I was going to be passing a National Monument in Arizona and I decided to make a huge effort to see it.

I arrived in the Canyon De Chelley National Monument area a couple of hours before sunset and I decided I had about an hour to do some exploring. After I visited the first scenic over look, I was going to just get in my car and drive the remaining two hours to Mexican Hat. But, I ran into some locals who convinced me that the next couple of stops would be well worth my while.

I was so impressed with what I had already seen, and so excited to get to the next spot, that I wasn't even paying attention to how fast I was driving. I just knew that I wanted to see the next awesome thing, and before I knew it a cop was pulling me over. At that point, I didn't know how bad the damage would be since I didn't know how fast I was going.

As it turns out, I was speeding 14 mph over the speed limit and I was given a tribal citation. The only thing a person needs to know about a Tribal citation is that it doesn't affect your license or your insurance and for that I'm very lucky.
Lesson learned: Too much excitement will get you in trouble!

You Haven't Seen White Until...

Well, you haven't seen sand this white until you visit White Sands, New Mexico. It could have been the gorgeous blue sky or my bright orange shirt as contrast, but this place absolutely blew me away. Miles and miles of endless white sand dunes, all at the base of a huge Mountain range. How did that sand even get there?

I went on a mile hike dscovering the different animals that have adapted themselves to live in this desert sand. I also drove the entire scenic drive and got out to take pictures in different areas. It was impossible to actually capture the amazing awe of this place on film, but I did my best.

Enjoy the pictures :-)

Run With Your Heart

I read a book called Ultramarathon Man, and in the book the author talks about how his High School track coach always told him to "run with his heart". Well, when you are in the middle of nowhere, Texas, and you need gas, you should also tell your car to run with its heart. And that is exactly what I did, when I realized my gas light had come on and I was 32 miles away from a gas station.

This story has a happy end as I didn't run out of gas. Boy was I thankful for this little gas station I found. It was the most old school pump I had come across probably ever, and the guy working there had to use binoculars to look at the pump to see how much I owed. Even though I almost had a heart attack, the whole experience was quite funny in the end. I will never again second guess getting gas when I think I probably should.

Leason officially learned.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

750 Feet Under

The first scenic stop I made along the way was at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. I decided to go on the Natural Entrance self guided tour as it would take about an hour. I was very excited to use my newly purchased annual National Park Pass for free admission into the caverns.
The trail takes you winding down farther and farther through amazing formations. It first starts outside where the amphitheater for the evening bat viewing lies. Unfortunately I wasn't able to stay until dusk when the bats fly, but this is something I would love to come back for! The cavern experience was a good opportunity to practice my photography skills, as well as to use my new tri pod. At times I had to keep my shutter open for nearly a minute, only to come up with a barely lit photograph. I did get a few pictures that took in enough light though.

After I finished at the Caverns, my plan was to head for Guadalupe Mountains National Park. I was really hoping, because of time, that this would be something I could take a scenic drive through. However, when I got there I realized that the park was primarily a hiking park and therefore, I wouldn't have enough time to really do anything there. I did get a few pictures of the Mountains that I would someday like to hike. In most cases, paved roads through natural beauty really bothers me, but this was the one time I had been hoping for mankind to have stepped in. I guess I will have to go back someday!

The Route

Here is a VISUAL of the route that I took out west. It was a total of about 3,100 miles and 50 hours of driving and all totally worth it.

Much thanks to Buffy and Iain for housing me along the way!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sometimes you need a good whoopin

A couple of months ago I decided to join a co-ed softball league with some of my friends from High School. Because of a lot of different reasons, the games kept getting pushed back. First the league was supposed to start in March and then they switched it to April. Once the league was finally starting, the weather decided to rain every time we were supposed to have a game. So, after delays and two game cancellations we finally had our first game last Thursday. We all got matching shirts in Red and White and boy did we look good. Well, unfortunately you don't win games by looking good. You also don't win games when the opposing team has 3 female players that have played college softball. We knew this team meant business when one of the girls on the other team dove for third base. Shouldn't it be considered cheating to have that many college softball players on your team?

Well anyways, we ended up losing 15-0. I did get two base hits, but it just wasn't enough. However, we decided that we deserved the victory based on a highlight reel play two guys on my team made. One guy went to catch it, it went off his glove, hit his foot and flew back in the air for my other teammate to catch. He was so excited he totally forgot to throw the ball back to the infield. Maybe not worthy of a W, but certainly worthy of some serious style points.

I learned from this game something I have learned a few times in my tennis career and that is that sometimes you just need a good ass whooping!