Kayaking with killer whales

May 31, 2011

After spending the night on the cutest little fishing island in Washington (and checking out the best brewery in town), we're headed to the San Juan Islands to do something we've been dreaming about for years...kayak with killer whales. We first heard about it from the Rough Guide's book "Ultimate Adventures", and it recently made the New York Times list of top 41 places to go in 2011. Click the link below to see the article:

41 Places to Go in 2011

The best time to spot the whales is late May until July and since we just so happened to be in the area in late May, we couldn't pass up this opportunity!

We're on an hour long ferry ride up the coast headed to the islands...

Wish us luck and cross your fingers we spot some big ones!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


May 30, 2011

Sasquatch was insane...by far one of our favorite festivals to attend. It was most definitely in the best location...you just can't beat the Gorge.

Here's a few pics from our phones of the weekend so far (many more to come):

The highlight of the weekend for Josh was Modest Mouse and mine was Local Natives and Cold War Kids. All of their shows were mind blowing...we're already dying to see them all again!

Off to the next leg of this adventure...

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

We decided to keep on bloggin'

May 26, 2011

We initially started blogging a few weeks ago during a 3 week west coast road trip. For any of yall who don't know, here's the abridged version of our little vacay: we hit an elk, totaled our car, got a rental car, completely re-routed our entire trip, got 2 bikes stolen, and then Josh broke his toe while surfing. It wasn't quite the trip we had planned, but it turned out to provide some pretty entertaining posts (from what we've been told), and it was definitely the experience of a lifetime. Therefore, we couldn't resist the opportunity to continue blogging about our past and future adventures! We hope to keep the blog updated a few times a week...whether it's about our current travels, our taste in music & food, or just an entertaining video! Bookmark us and stay tuned :)

Right now we are packing up to fly to Seattle and drive to the Gorge for the Sasquatch Music Festival over the weekend...and then on Tuesday all our dreams will come true and we will get to kayak with killer whales around the San Juan Islands!

The Original Dashboard Diary [Day 19 & 20]

May 18, 2011

"U-Haul? More like Yee-Haw!"
Wednesday May 18, 2011

We were more than thrilled to return our rental car to our best friends at Enterprise. 
Chris was our closest “friend” there and once we received his card and read his last name, Josh couldn’t help but start the jokes.
The best one was “I wanna go to this guy’s family reunion so I could just look around and say ‘Man, thats a bunch of Baloney’”

On to vehicle number 3 . . . we are definitely moving on to much bigger and better things:

We are now cruising stylishly in a 14ft U-Haul truck.
Why a 14 footer you may ask?
Supposedly, it was the cheapest vehicle they had that provided seating for 3 people.

We have been privileged with the opportunity to listen to wonderful music options provided by the radio, which is torture for three people who tend to rely on their iPods for “wake me up” music when driving for long periods of time.
Britney Spears “Hold It Against Me” just doesn’t quite work the same magic as listening to every Dave Matthews Band Live Trax 1-19 consecutively.

But hey, we can’t complain.
We are blessed with the amenities of airbags, an air conditioner, and a cigarette lighter to keep our phones charged . . . and the best surprise of all:

Samoas! given to us by the kind folks at the U-Haul store in Scottsdale.

Naturally, as soon as we start transferring everything from the Tahoe to the U-Haul, the clouds roll in and the flood gates open.
It felt like we were in a hurricane. David, our buddy from the repair shop, told us that it hadn’t rained in Phoenix in 3 months.
Imagine that.

18 hours of quality time . . .

It wouldn’t make sense if we went the whole trip without getting pulled over.
 Why not get pulled over at 3 in the morning on the Texas/Mexico Border to make it a little more exciting?
We somehow managed to get away with just a warning, claiming that since we were from another state, we were unaware of the 65 at night speed limit in Texas.

"After this vacation . . . . we need a vacation"
Friday May 20, 2011

We were incredibly relieved to get rid of the U-Haul this afternoon when we picked up Josh’s new car that magically looks identical to his old car (minus the elk poo and air bag deployment).

We were SO excited to get back and see Charlie . . . but I think he may have been more excited to see us!

Even though this was our last major trip before we become grown ups and got grown up jobs, we still feel like we were forced to handle many "grown up" things in the past few weeks:
    -we totaled a car
    -we filed an insurance claim
    -got a rental car
    -got a u-haul
    -bought a new car
(all of which included a lot of impressive hassling & bargaining . . . our specialty)

Regardless of the fact that there may have been a liiiiitle stress involved, given our circumstances I think we all kept great attitudes and handled it everything so well. 
It all ended up working out to be nearly perfect in the end. 
We experienced the trip of a lifetime and will never be able to forget the memories we made in these past few weeks.

Josh had the idea to keep a runnin tab of how much we spent on gas. 
When we started this list, we would have never guessed that by the end of the trip, we would have had to fill the gas tanks of 4 different vehicles . . . 

At one gas station near Yosemite, we actually saw (and quickly sped away from) Unleaded gas for $4.99 a gallon. Yikes.

Anyways . . . we’ve been totally blown away by the reaction to this blog.
We just want to say thanks to everyone for keeping up with us and for all the encouragement! 
The blog has made many accomplishments in the past few weeks:
    -In only 20 days, we reached over 2,000 views
    -We have readers from 7 countries and 32 different states
    -Our most viewed entry was “When Life Gives You an Elk” (over 200 views!)

With rotations about to start, I definitely don’t have the time to keep blogging EVERY day, but I do hope to be able to continue blogging about our future adventures (and maybe some of our past too) so stay tuned! 

Present day follow up thoughts:
Even though I've been relatively busy with PA school, I have loved reliving this experience.
Funny how we were so entertained by those stats last year.
This was one of the greatest trips of my lifetime and I'm so happy to be able to share it with everyone.
I've enjoyed hearing the feedback from y'all and I CANT WAIT to get these darn tests over with and get back to blogging!

Here's one of my favorite comments on the original blog at the conclusion of our trip (from the blog's biggest fan, of course)

The Original Dashboard Diary [Day 18]

"Salvation Mountain"
Wednesday May 18, 2011

Well today is the day I’ve been looking forward to for as long as we’ve been planning this trip. I told Josh the only stop we were required to make on the whole west side of the country was Salvation Mountain. After seeing the movie “Into the Wild”, I mainly just wanted to get to meet Mr. Leonard Knight. Josh, Michael, and Taylor got to meet him last year when they came here and he even gave them a personal tour. I’ll try to post their video sometime when we get home.

For those of you who don’t know much about Salvation Mountain, it’s basically a brightly colored painted mountain that is a monument of Leonard Knight’s faith. He’s been living in the desert working on it for over 30 years. He built it all with no electricity, gas, running water, heating or air conditioner. He estimates he has put over 100,000 gallons of paint into his mountain. (If you have time, go to www.salvationmountain.us for his full story, its SO powerful!)

We got to visit with Mr. Leonard for a little while, as he was hard at work painting. 
He had friends there helping him, and they told us that he had recently been hospitalized for heart complications. 
80 years old, just got out of the hospital, and still wanting to paint out in the desert sun . . . . mind blowing. 
He was so happy. 
 When I asked him if he would mind taking a picture with me, he agreed but then kindly said that the paint was what I needed to be taking the pictures of because that’s what matters. 
I almost cried. 
I didn’t want to leave . . . I could have sat there all day just staring and listening to him talk. 

Here’s some of our pics:

That’s Leonard in the blue and his two friends behind him. We were at the top of the mountain looking down.

Someone had this picture made for Mr. Leonard and he incorporated it into the mountain.

Look closely at the ceiling and you can see Mr. Leonard’s bluebirds that he’s sooooo proud of.

Meeting Mr. Leonard was an unforgettable experience.

They were so sweet! They gave us a DVD documentary about Mr. Leonard. 

I could probably write 5,392,084,092,834,823 more blog posts about Salvation Mountain, but I’ll save you the torture of hearing me babble.

Anyways, we went to dinner last night at The Brewhouse in Santa Barbara.

The guys were particularly excited because they served Habenero Pilsner. 
As soon as I read an appetizer called “Extremely Cruel Prawn” on the menu, I cringed. 
I knew they would want to try it. 
The menu read: Made with Ghost Chile Pepper, hottest pepper known to man. 
Warning: The Brewhouse is not responsible for anything after the chile is ingested. 
We’ve always heard about the treacherous Ghost Chile on many Man vs. Food episodes . . .  so the boys can’t claim they weren’t warned. 
They faced their fears and dove right in . . . 

Notice their clothing in the before photo.

Katie was also very brave (MUCH braver than me) and tried the “Cruel Prawn” which was covered in Habanero sauce.

For the first few minutes, they were cool, calm, and collected. 

Then came the sweat & watering eyes. 

Then they started stripping. 

Then came other problems . . . thank goodness we have no photo evidence to document this portion of the “problems” but we will never be able to forget Bart throwing himself out of our moving cab to projectile vomit on the sidewalk in the rain for about 15 minutes. 
Josh never threw up, but I’ll spare you of enduring the details and just leave you with this tidbit: He’s been reading the website www.howtowipeyourbutt.com most of this morning. 

They are pretty entertained by googling the dumb things they’ve done after the fact, so here’s some info we learned about Ghost Chilis. 
This article was our favorite. (click here for article) It stated that eating a ghost chile was like drinking a cocktail of battery acid and shards of glass. Mmmmmmm, appetizing huh? There’s a heat factor index called the Scoville Scale in which the ghost chili ranks at an average of 1 million Scovilles and the only other closest chili is a Habenero, which is 100,000-350,000 Scovilles.   

I was fascinated by this gas sign on the way out of town. 
Different prices for cash and credit.  

Here’s some pics of the Mojave.
For a second I thought we were in Saudi Arabia . . . especially with Josh playing music from Aladdin in the background. 
He’s all about setting the mood if you haven’t noticed . . . 

Well now we’re on the way to Phoenix to drop of our rental car and pick up the U-Haul. 
Now the real adventure will begin . . . wahoooooooooooo
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