Friday, June 11, 2010


I'm done with Blogger. You can find my new blog here:

Friday, June 4, 2010


Dane and I shared the picture taking duties on this trip, but he is a far better and more patient photographer than I am. Chances are good that if you like the photo it is his.

The desert was in bloom:

This is an ancient grainery (place for storing grain) in the Needles District of Canyonlands.

See all that bumpy ground? That's cryptobiotic crust. It's a community of lichens, mosses, bacteria and other little critters that develops on bare ground. It helps stabilize the soil and takes decades to form. This is one of the best examples I've ever seem.

This is the backside of Castle Valley. You can see the "castle" in the middle of the photo way off in the distance.

The Apartment

I'll start with pictures of the apartment and move on to the trip. I love how there is neatly framed art on the walls and random crap spread all over the floor. We've cleaned it up a little bit, but it's impossible to get it too tidy when we don't have things like hangers, dressers or desks. The movers will bring those things in a few weeks. We are hoping sooner rather than later, but it's looking like later. Boo to them!!

Below is a picture of the front entry and kitchen. The bathroom is just to the left as you enter.

Here is another angle from the corner of the living room.

Here is the bedroom looking into the living room and kitchen!

And that's it! It's a cute space and I'm excited to get to know all it's nooks and crannies as we figure out how to make a 2 bedroom, 1000 square foot apartment fit into a 1 bedroom 700 square foot space. I think I'm up for the challenge.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A New Home

We did it! I'm writing this blog post from inside our new apartment!

Within 24 hours of arriving in the city and after looking at only two apartments (and literally hundreds of craigslist ads), we made what may look like a very rash decision. We agreed to buy the equivalent of an MacBook Pro, an iPad, and an iPod Touch for our landlords every single month for a year. Yikes. I can already tell my sense of reality slipping away from me. However, in our defense, it met absolutely all of our requirements for an apartment and was even 100-200 dollars less per month than our maximum willingness to pay.

It's a one bedroom apartment on the third story of a five story building right at the edge of downtown Berkeley. We have the city out our front door and neighborhoods and park out the back. We're 4 blocks from the downtown Berkeley BART (the subway) so it's relatively easy for Dane to commute.

The kitchen has a gas stove (!), dishwasher, built-in microwave, and garbage disposal. I know those may all seem like pretty standard kitchen items, but it was really hard to find them in this city. I don't care about stuff like granite counter tops, but we also have those too. Nerd Alert: Technically it is not granite because granite is a specific kind of intrusive igneous rock.

The unit includes a high efficiency washer and dryer! For some reason the first load turned our new white towels a very pale green. Hopefully that won't continue to happen. I think it's nothing a little bleach can't fix. I believe it's because it's a brand new washer. I don't think I mentioned earlier that this is a brand new, never-been-occupied building.

There's a cute dining room with a pass over counter from the kitchen. The living room is small, but we can deal. The bedroom is big enough that I think we may be able to keep some of the stuff we thought we would have to get rid of for sure. I think we have enough closet space to keep all of our camping gear.

We have a secure assigned parking spot in the lot below the complex. It's so nice to be able to leave the car and forget about it.

I'll take pictures and post them when we get the place cleaned up a bit. I also need to fill you in on the rest of our road trip. Since I last wrote we've been to Death Valley, Bodie (a ghost town), Mono Lake, Reno, the Cascades, and Bend, Oregon. Plus I need to upload pictures of the entire thing. There is much to do and I finally feel like I have plenty of time to do it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Reporting from inside Caesar's Palace!

Would you believe it if I told you that we started the day in the middle of the Navajo Reservation, hit the Grand Canyon by 9:30 this morning, drove over the Hoover Dam, and ended the day in beautiful Las Vegas? Well, that is exactly what we did. Crazy? Yes. Fun? Absolutely.

Gotta go! Plenty more to do!

Viva Las Vegas!

p.s. To Regina: sorry I didn't let you know about our Grand Canyon appearance, but we were only there for about three hours, so it really wasn't worth your while to drive up from Tucson.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Slow internet update

Dane and I are currently sitting in a coffee shop in Moab, Utah sipping on delicious and overpriced fruit smoothies and using the slowest internet connection this side of the Rockies. I wanted to do a "picture blog," but this connection is going to make it impossible. I just spent 10 minutes sending an email with two photos. We'll stick with text.

Day 1: Bloomington, Indiana to Omaha, Nebraska.
We checked out of our apartment and left Bloomington about 10:30 am. The check-out went well. They were amazed we actually cleaned the place. We were amazed other people are so casual about getting their deposit back. We blazed through Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. We were excited to put all the "I" states behind us. We ended the night by bottoming out the car in the Super 8 parking lot. I don't think anything got broken.

Day 2: Omaha, Nebraska to Fort Collins, Colorado
Nebraska was more interesting than I remembered. We spent a lot of time listening to country music and really enjoyed the hourly livestock price updates and herbicide ads and we smelled some truly foul feedlots. Even though we spent a few hours in Wyoming, I don't think we ever stepped foot outside the car. Dane's amazing friends from college were our hosts for the night in Fort Collins. They took us out from two-for-one tempe burgers and ice cream. So yummy!

Day 3: Fort Collins, Colorado to Some Random Piece of BLM Land 20 miles outside Castle Valley, Utah and right next to the Colorado River.
We started the day by stopping at REI to return a jacket Dane didn't like and buy a new Camelbak for me. Then we drove through the snowy mountains. It was a tad terrifying, but Dane did a great job at the wheel. There's something about mountain passes with a car full of valuable possessions, snow, ice, and speeding trucks that is the opposite of relaxing. I was happy when we made it to the desert flats of Utah. We decided to take the scenic route to Castle Valley, our proposed destination for the evening. The road was AMAZING with very few people, few signs, and steep curves right above the Colorado River. We came across a place to camp about 8 pm, a little earlier than we planned to stop, but the site along the river was so inviting that we called it a night.

Day 4: Some Random Piece of BLM Land 20 miles outside Castle Valley, Utah and right next to the Colorado River to Big Bend Campground about 5 miles outside Moab, Utah.
We spent the day in Arches National Park! Beautiful and breathtaking does not begin to describe it. Dane and I took turns driving so we could take in all the beauty. We did about a 3 mile hike up one of the valleys and saw about 10 different arches. Now it's back to our campsite for dinner and relaxing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Graduation, Packing, Wine, Fire Towers, Ice Cream!

Graduation was a blast. We somehow entertained and fed 9 people in our apartment, got hooded as Masters, and packed 80% of our stuff all since last 5 days. We are tired. Dane is taking a nap as we speak. Here are some pictures of the last week taken on the brand new digital camera my Dad gave me for graduation. Thanks, Dad! It's working great!

It's hard to see, but I swear the picture below is me getting hooded with my Masters hood.

Dane is so excited about packing!

He seems more genuinely excited about climbing to the top of a fire tower. We are up above the trees.

We also went to Oliver Winery to sample wine and eat some tasty cheese.

We've also been taking frequent breaks for ice cream.