Havasupai – The Beautiful Falls

imageHavasu Falls was just a short walk from our campsite. Like walking from your hotel room to the pool  but the hotel is the entire Grand Canyon, and the pool is the most amazing turquoise-blue waterfall with amazing vegetation and dramatic cliffs! 🙂imageMicah, the man smart and nice enough to make the reservation for everyone, getting ready to jump off a set of falls.
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I wanted to stay another couple weeks at this beautiful falls, but no pass and running out of food. Will go for a week or three next time 🙂

Havasupai – Trek to the Falls

Havasupai – Trek to the Falls
image Starting the 10-mile trek from the top of the Grand Canyon, across the canyon floor, and into the Supai village  image A native driving horses out of the Canyon. There are no cars in the Canyon. It’s interesting to see people using horses for transportation and hauling, the same way they have for hundreds and thousands of years. image Enormous rock formation on the way to the falls. The history of the Grand Canyon is that Chuck Norris jumped out of a helicopter and dropped a mean round-house kick on the Canyon – shearing the walls. Then he spit and formed the waterfalls – forever creating one of the most beautiful places on Earth! 😉image Rachel and Sarah on the way through the Canyon..image After about 4 or 5 hours of hiking, we came across beautiful Havasu falls – the first large waterfall of the trek. The beautiful turquoise water is due to the lime/travertine-heavy rocks, and make a beautiful pool to swim in 🙂
imageThanks for bringing me along Sarah!! 🙂

Havasupai: Nonsense at Hotel on the Way

image Zoomie the Dinosaur was relocated from another location where the town didn’t think it fit in with the western vibe. How would a big sea foam green brontosaurus not fit in anywhere?!?
image Raaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!image We played a fun game called tickle the tassels. Someone sits in the golf cart while contestants try to skim the hanging tassels with a frisbee – and extra points for hitting the scorekeeper inside 🙂
image Rachel preparing another classic game – hit the beer off the PVC pole with a frisbee. Nick was king! Rachel has some work to do 😉image Sister Sarah chillaxin on the Tassle Cart.
image Preparing for Tickle the TassleimageBeautiful sunset over the motel on the evening before we headed out to Havasupai. We were drinking quite a bit this evening, which made an awesome 4:30AM start the next morning! 😉

Havasupai – Grand Canyon – On the Way

Havasupai: On the Way – Dinosaurs, Supplies, Smile, Moose, & Middle of Nowhere
image Ever read “The Things They Carried?” This trip was less metaphorical, but just as many things in the pack! My sister Sarah was nice enough to get food and other supplies so we were organized 🙂 image We stopped at a roadside cafe on Route 66 for our last hot meal before heading to the hotel nearest the Supai land. The Moose was calling to us! Photographer Bryan, Sister Sarah, Sarah’s super hiker friend Rachel, and Frisbee extraordinnaire Nick.
image Things got a little squirrelly at times heheheimage Lifes not that bad, even when it’s shitty! Let alone when you’re on your way to one of the most beautiful places on Earth! There was another sign about smiling above the Checkin counter. Ironically, the woman at the front desk didn’t smile at all :-/
image “Thank you for staying with us in the Middle of Nowhere. We appreciate it?” This may have been a communication issue, but still pretty funny hehe. The Grand Canyon Caverns Motel really is in the middle of nowhere. No cell service. No internet. This was my first time away form the Internet for several days since I quit my job for my furnished rental business, so got a little nervous! :-/
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TriSarahTops! Much love! Our hotel came not only with a mini putt-putt golf course, but dinosaurs!! Raaaaaarrrrrrrrrr!!!!!

More Hanoi

HANOI – Strangers, Food, Club, Balloons

imageDelicious Bun Cha and fried rolls. Chase it down with some Hanoi beer. You put all the basil, mint, garlic, leafy greens in the fish sauce and pork – then throw in some vermicelli noodles 🙂 yummmmy!
imageJen and I ended up eating/drinking/working from his restaurant (mostly drinking hehe) for about 6 hours or so, and chatting to this lovely young Vietnamese woman, Amy.
image Amy was so friendly and fantastic 🙂 She told us about life in Vietnam, dating, marriage, paying for government jobs… Shockingly, she has never traveled further than Halong Bay (a few hours by scooter from Hanoi). So I invited her out for a free stay in San Francisco  hopefully she’ll make it! 🙂

imageThis was after many beers and rice wine, just outside the restaurant. Delicious Bun Cha, flowing booze, awesome company! 🙂

imageSome street vendors I was chatting with for a while. The two young guys run a street stall in a busy alley packed with locals and tourists. They were helping me hunt down supplies on the street, so I hung out at the restaurant for a while, had some food and beers. These 2 were pretty funny. They love American stuff and western culture. Bleached blonde hair. English writing on clothes. The woman stopped for a drink after selling me an awesome Hanoi tshirt.
imageThey were selling balloons in the back of the club for 30k dong, or about $1.25 USD. They were pumping these things out!!
imageView on the way up the stairs to the mezzanine.
imageDoesn’t look too different from a club in the US.. All American music too. Mostly rap/hip hop music.
imageOn the way out to the airport, another car hit the back of my taxi at a slow speed. My driver got out, and after yelling at each other for a few minutes, the other driver gave him a small wad of cash, and we were on our way! No insurance. No authorities. Just cash.

Hanoi – What can fit on a scooter?

What can fit on a scooter? You’d be surprised! Scooters are a way of life in Hanoi. The workhorses of transportation. And I was shocked what can fit on them! image There are only 3 here, but have seen up to a family of 5 on a scooter! Young beautiful people also like to just cruise around at night. Vespa’s are the most prized possessions (as are IPhones and other more expensive imports)  image what else? About 40 dozen eggs!! There are racks on the back of many scooters, which fold down, to pile supplies on. Shot this from my own scooter, which was carrying… Only me!
imageAbout 300 pounds of concrete mix! Not even piled on the back. This guy is filling his partners lap wh bags of concrete. Fortunately, the ballast will keep him safe, rather than wearing a helmet 😉

image This was one of the larger loads I saw strapped in.. Ropes, bungees, and a lot of luck! This was mostly filled with toys for the Mid-Autumn festival, which is a bright, loud, festive holiday – like a harvest festival.
imageBia Ha Noi!!! 3 kegs is nothing! This is the most popular beer in Ha Noi. Something like their PBR or Budweiser.  I like Bia Saigon, which is a little skunkier, like Heinekenn.

Hanoi, Vietnam- More Adventures on the Street

More Hanoi!img_0253This is the second story engineering for one building on a major road. The end of each stick has a notch in it to rest on the wood below, thus providing unsurpassed structural support. They just don’t build ’em like they used to! This is one of many examples of the tradeoff between cost, independence, and probably contributor to an overall lower life span in Hanoi. Among building issues, there are all kinds of “health and safety” issues in real estate and food that would make the nicest inspector in the US retire on the spot.

What’s a good tradeoff between safety and cost? How realistic is it to have locals maintain what standards of building to protect people from occasional catastrophes,  while still allowing small, stall-type businesses where many Vietnamese make their money, survive?  I don’t know. img_0261Everything is done on the sidewalks here. EVERYTHING! You’ll see more examples later. But businesses/people clean/cook/skin/raise/park/live on the sidewalk just outside each business. It is the restaurant, the café, the “water cooler,” the street corner, or wherever people in the world meet to get together, and more.  Just outside our hotel/hostel in the old quarters, tomorrow’s dinner!img_0271The police/security smoking cigarettes on the right shut down the entrance of the street for packed nights leading up to the mid-Autumn festival. It’s busy down here right now! Lots of families getting noisy/blinky toys for their kids. Small flowers people pin to the top of their heads like Dr Seuss characters. Someone I met locally said it a Chinese “thing” that is supposed to be stylish, where people clip a flower to the middle of their head. Interesting! img_0263Burned my leg on the exhaust pipe of a scooter next to me when pulling up to park my scooter to get some Vietnamese coffee. Ouch!!! Yes, that’s a blister in the middle. Part of life! Everyone riding around on a scooter has burn marks on their legs, so guess I’ve been initiated!img_0265The Cong coffee shop has delicious coconut cold Vietnamese coffee, guerrilla-green uniforms with Che fighter hats, and Socialist dictator pics plastered around the shop. Delicious coffee!!img_0270Here is PART of a loaded scooter, ready to bring goods across town for the big festival. It’s amazing what people load up on bicycles or scooters – more than we could fit in most cars..

NV > CENTRAL COAST, CA – Ghost Town, Desert Aliens, & BB&B!

As I was driving through the middle of the desert, I saw a phenomenal beam of light rising from the desert floor. And there were a series of hundreds of beaming lights powering that super-beam. I thought that certainly this must be aliens.. And maybe it was! But it also looks like power! IMG_4640I believe these arrays of mirrors super-heat the big contraption in the middle, heating some kind of liquid that turns a turbine of some kind to generate electricity. For all the heat out there, I’m glad they’re doing something with itIMG_4649Ghost Town! Calico is an abandoned mining town out in the desert. I was hoping it would just be desolate, abandoned  buildings – but of course, it has been turned into a tourist attraction. They refurbished some of the buildings and have little lessons of the old days taught for the kids.. Not exactly what I was expecting. But interesting to seeIMG_4686My trip came mostly to a wrap-up when I arrived in Nipomo, CA for an annual family/friend gathering called the BB&B (Beer, BBQ,  & Baseball) each summer. IMG_4734We visited a neighbors’ party, and this is my Mom and Dad walking my little 1yo nephew down the driveway..IMG_4663Destruction derby! Every year before the BB&B, my family goes to the fairgrounds to watch destruction derby. If you’ve never seen it, cars driving around in circles slamming into each other, trying not to disable their car. The last car running wins! Ironically, this was probably the most seemingly-southern-inspired thing I did on my trip to the South, and not until I got back to my parents’ house in CA! lol

 

LAS VEGAS, NV – STRIP, STRANGERS, & KISS TATTOOS

LAS VEGAS – STRIP, STRANGERS, & KISS TATTOESIMG_4586Cruising down the strip in the convertible on a nice warm night was awesome 🙂 Haven’t been here since I last went sky-diving, as a late-night drunken decision lolIMG_4623Met some strangers at the bar. One thing I found on my trip is that military dudes know how to drink! Everyone Vet I met knows how to slam a beer or two 😉  We had some drinks, lost some money, then saw a lonely lady at the end of the bar.. Come on over!IMG_4600This woman was sitting alone at the end of the other side of the bar, so I asked her to come over and join us. She’s Eastern European and loves this particular bar because they play 70’s/80’s rock. Some further conversation leads to… KISS!!!IMG_4599…KISS!! The band that is!!! I can appreciate anyone who is passionate enough about something to tattoo it in large black figures across their body lol. Still not exactly sure what she is wearing her. But this whole experience was super fun!/funny!! 🙂

ROUTE 66 – Cadillac Ranch, Ukulele, & Get Your Kicks!!

ROUTE 66 –  Cadillac Ranch, Ukulele, & Get Your KIMG_4542Come on! Get your kicks! On Route 66!! Route 66 is a mix of interesting, sad, and adventure. But more on that later.. One of the more unusual gems on Route 66 is the Cadillac Ranch, or “Cadillac Stonehenge.” This started as an art project funded by an eccentric and wealthy gentleman in TX. It was originally arranged like Stonehenge, but then was moved. It’s officially on private property in the middle of a farm. But the gate is open, and they encourage you to bring paint cans to transform the monument while you are thIMG_4554Surprisingly nice paint on this building, for it being a closed-down gas station. Sad to see so many businesses closed down.. IMG_4560This is an abandoned hotel on Route 66. One of many abandoned hotels and businesses. The parking lot is empty and weeds growing rampant through the cracked blacktop. The lobby door is kicked in and swung open, with trash and squatter’s remains strewn about the still-intact building.  The sign stands bold on the roof, but is no longer lit. This was probably a busy road-side hotel for families before they built the interstate system, leaving many of the businesses alongside Route 66 to die. IMG_4566Such beautiful scenery and rocks coming back in towards New Mexico. I stopped for a while to relax and play ukulele on the way back 🙂 Learned a few songs on the road!

 

 

WEST TEXAS – Massive Windmill & Train Track Coins

WEST TEXAS – MASSIVE WINDMILL & TRAIN TRACK COINS

Ever put coins on a train track to flatten them? I have, and it’s a fun souvenir!IMG_4391Bam! Just like that, some fresh, new change 😉  *Don’t try this at home kids. Always be careful playing on the train tracks 😉IMG_4444Ka-chingIMG_4466This was particularly amazing to me. As I was driving down the 10 in Texas, I saw this ENORMOUS windmill that was still on the ground, just off the freeway. I took the Bimmer offroad to go check it out. It was the most enormous thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Multiples larger/longer than the biggest 737.

IMG_4517This second picture with my car up close to the base show’s a fraction of the enormity of this thing. It was eerie out there in the quiet; a warm breeze blowing; and the enormous mass of windmill creaking slowly in the wind, tethered by a few chains, resting on several blocks of wood. As the massive hull of these blades groaned with movement in the wind, I wondered how flat they could crush my car and body if it fell over…?  (But I got out safely 😉

MISSISSIPPI – Americana: Ice Cube, Firecrackers, Bullshit Peanuts, & Jesus

MISSISSIPPI – Americana: Ice Cube, Firecrackers, Peanuts, & JIMG_4344ICE CUBE! A lot of places I saw in the South put a picture of Ice Cube on the ice machine. Thought that was hilarious! Perfect little scowl too grrrr  :-#IMG_4354Next to apple pie and baseball, everyone knows there’s nothing more patriotic than buying cheap firecrackers imported from China!!! And hey! It was even close to 4th of July! How did I get hooked into this? Marketing!!! As I was driving by the sign below, with the shabby trailer in back, I knew I had to check it oIMG_4352“Happy Independence Day. Light the sky with colorful artillery shell.”  Flanked by flags!?!  USA! USA! USA! The purveyor of the store was about a 532 year old gentleman with no teeth, who lived in the back of the shop (and he smokes! :-/ )  It’s a different world out herIMG_4348Just up from the firework place was this business selling headstones (for the very dead) and a teal corvette (for the very living). I’m sure you could get a package deal if you feel like you’re going to crash the ‘IMG_4345BOILED PEANUTS ARE BULLSHIT!
Boiled peanuts are everywhere in the South. Every gas station, corner store, and outhouse both has them, and advertises them. And I’m still not sure why. Some are even served cold and mushy. My cousin Dominic said something like, “They taste like soggy peanuts that have been sitting in a tub of water for a couple days.” Well I agree! And that’s what they are!! lol

The picture above is actually of an old peanut roaster, at a peanuttery in Biloxi if I’m not mistaken. The peanuts that came out of here were delicious! Throw away those boiled peanut crockpots,  and get more roasters!!IMG_4363 IMG_4373

JACKSONVILLE, FL – Beaches, Bikes, Booty-Shakin’, Fun, & Sun!

JULY 2017

Florida was one of my favorite surprise states!! I almost went up to Charleston instead of visiting Florida, but glad I came to Jacksonville!! I LOVE the beaches here!!

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The Sunrise view from my hotel room in Jacksonville Beach. I had to get some work done today, but not a bad place to work from!!

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The water is SO nice and warm in Jacksonville. On a summer day, perfect to hop in any time!!  IMG_4338Booty-Shakin!!  I ended up meeting and hanging out with this crazy, fun-loving traveler for the last night in Jacksonville. As we walked down the sidewalk from the bar, 3 women were having a booty-shaking contest outside the club as we approached. So he decided to start it back up when we got there lol

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BEACH CRUISER!! <3  The beaches are firm enough by the shore to ride a cruiser bike down, and I love it!!! The beaches are also SOOOO long, you can ride forever. Can’t do this in California! Or jump in the water any time..  Don’t tell CA, but I think the beaches in Florida are better!!IMG_4238

SAVANNAH, GA – 4th of July, Food & Drink, and Family

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Dominic! The man! My 2nd cousin and I didn’t even know what each other looked like before I called him on the way to Atlanta. Yet he invited me into his home and showed me around like we were brothers. Thanks so much Dom! And for all you do to keep helping our troops 🙂 Keep on rockin!! Welcome out to SF for a tour any time!

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We stopped into this bar late-night, and they were pouring shots of fireball for the entire bar *on the house* about every 30 minutes or so! Wow! The bartenders were super awesome and fun too 🙂

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Some jazz and steaks at Ruth’s Chris on 4th of July before the fireworks. Such a delicious steak, as always, on par with lil’ ol Jocko’s in Nipomo, CA. Steaks. Whiskey. Beer. Fireworks. What could be more American?

Was really interesting.  We were chatting with the lead player in the jazz band is part of some secret society type thing in San Francisco, with corporate execs, high-level government officials, and some musicians. IMG_4158

U S A! U S A!

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Hit up a warehouse-style brewer in Hotlanta for some tasty brews. I think this is the longest my beard has ever been. Joining the Amish soon! Out of control!!!

SOUTH CAROLINA – Country, Deer, Guns, Darts, USA, & Family

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My Cousins, Aunt, and wonderful kids all together in Sumter, South Carolina. Thanks Heidi, Rodney, and fam for having me over! Appreciate it so much, and had such a great time!! 🙂  Shooting, fishing, darts and drinking.. a little bit of everything 😉

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Straight off the porch, looking out past the American Flag, over the corn field, just before 4th of July..

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Getting my hair braided so I can be more stylish in Sumter..

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Beautiful Sunset.

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Target practice. Everyone gets to shoot!

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We got to go fishing in this beautiful pond on a neighbor’s property. Beautifully still 🙂

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