Monday, December 8, 2014

Catch Up and Planing!!

Well everyone, its been awhile. We have been back to real life working, school,working more. We still think about this trip we had everyday. It was an amazing time.

Chelsea has been Teaching and coaching girls basketball. I have been working, going to school and brewing beer. We went out to Denver twice this summer after our big trip. We went out for Riotfest, saw some great bands over the 3 day festival.We had a great time staying with my uncle and aunt.
A month later we went back for the Great American Beer fest. My friend Mitch worked at the competition so he got us the highly sought after tickets; I heard they sold out in less then a hour. There were 720 plus breweries to try! It was amazing time. We also went to 6 breweries while there: Odell brewing, Great divide brewing, Funkworks, Equinox Brewing, New Belgium brewing, and Epic brewing.

We are now getting planing started on where we want to go this next summer. Right now it looks like Colorado to Utah to New Mexico to Home.An my dad might join us of the Utah section! This trip will not be as long, expansive or expensive (hopefully) but we are still overly excited to go and see some more of the country. Hope you follow along as we continue are travels.

Thank you every one for following and commenting!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The end... (For now!)

We can not believe that the trip is really over!  It was a long 5 weeks, but it was full of memories that will last a lifetime.  It was nice to come home and see our family, friends, and dog after being gone for so long.  Telling our stories and reliving the trip has been so much fun!

I wanted to do one last little post to tie up this amazing adventure.  I am so lucky to have had such an amazing person to call my travel partner.  Brad did so much to make sure this trip was possible.  Whether it was planning, budgeting, or fixing the damn van, he did everything he could to make this once in a life trip happen.  We saw some of the most amazing places and did some amazing things and the best part of all of it is that we did it all together.  I am a lucky girl.

This was just the first of so many more adventures!  Thanks to everyone for following us as we took on this adventure!  Brad will continue posting with updates on more van repair!

For now, Chelsea    

Friday, July 11, 2014

Grand Tetons!

We left Yellowstone on Wednesday morning. We were kind of happy to get away from all of the people!  We headed south out of the park which ran right into Grand Teton National Park. After entering, we soon saw why people love the park so much. The mountains were gorgeous!!  We were mesmerized by them!  Stunning. We drove through the park and and pulled off at a few look out spots. We headed towards Jackson Lake where we were camping for the night. The lake was huge and beautiful. We had an amazing view of the mountains at the lake.  We stopped for lunch at one of the lodges and enjoyed an amazing meal.  We found our spot and tried to figure out what to do with our day.  We decided to drive to two different horse riding stations to set a a horse back ride, but they were booked four days out!  We then stopped by a little store and had some icecream and looked at a map some more. We then saw that the lake we were staying at rented out kayaks. This made us so happy!!!  We knew they did boat rentals but not kayaks. We headed back to the lake and rented two kayaks. We kayaked to an island on the middle of the lake and had a stellar view of the mountains. We floated and gazed at the amazing scenery around us.  It was so much fun and so beautiful. We were on the lake for two hours.  It also turned out to be a lot cheaper than what we were planning on, so that was a plus:) 

After kayaking, we headed back to our campsite. I received a text message from a colleague of mine that lives in the Tetons for the summer.  She invited us out for drinks. We accepted the invited and headed a few miles down the main road for some drinks and great company. Susanna and her husband Greg are really amazing people!  We could have talked with them all night. Susanna is the art teacher at Central Park and she really helped me get through my first year of teaching by being a great listener and a great friend. We had drinks on the patio of the bar and enjoyed watching the sun set on the mountains. A really great view. We made plans to meet for dinner the next day and then were on our way back to camp for some sleep.  

The next morning, we set out towards our new campsite at the south end of the park.  On the way, we took the scenic drive of Jenny Lake. It was very beautiful and right up against the mountains. It was a lovely drive. We then got to the new campsite and set up our reservation. We then planned our next two days. We booked a white water rafting trip for Friday and then decided to do some hiking and go to Jackson on this particular day. We headed to the trail head for Taggart lake and started our 4.5 mile hike.  We hike by some beautiful streams and flowers. We got to the lake and enjoyed the view and then headed back down. It looks like it was going to rain so we headed back quick to try and make sure we would not get caught in rain. We did not:)   We then changed our clothes and headed to Jackson. We found some parking, which was tough and then walked around the town. They have so many amazing shops there!  We did a little shopping and walking around and then decided to pop into a brewery for some happy hour beers!  It was the weirdest place. It was a Thai food restaraunt that then started brewing beer also. We had a few great beers why watching subtitled kung fu on the tvs and listening to old rap. Weird stuff!  We had a great time there!  Then we met up with Susanna and Greg for dinner. We picked Snake River Brewery for dinner - surprise surprise!  We enjoyed a beer and some trout cakes why waiting for them. We then had a great dinner and even better conversation. What a wonderful time it was!  We said our "see you in Augusts" and we headed back to our campsite for the night. Thanks for the amazing company in a truly amazing place Susanna and Greg! 

The final morning in the Tetons, we had to wake up very early to get out to the rafting place. We had an 8:30 time slot and we wanted to get the early to get everything signed and ready. We stopped for coffee on the way :) this was a treat. We got to Jackson Hole White Water Rafting Company and then got on the bus!  They bussed us about 30 minutes to the launch spot. The bus driver was a riot!  You could tell he really loved his job. He told us stories and gave us snip it's of information about the area. We got to the launch site, got our gear, met our guide and then headed out!  It was so much fun!  Nothing too crazy, but just enough to give you a little rush. The Snake River was beutiful as well as the views around it. We went down the river for eight miles hitting several different rapids. We had an absolutely amazing guide named Tristan that was sociable and funny.  We had a great time talking with him while he lead us down the river. After it was all over,  we headed back to the bus and back to the main store. We then decided we were hungry. 

We had lunch at a tavern in Jackson and had another great meal. We then walked around to the areas of the town we had not been to yet and shopped a little bit more. Then we headed back to our campground to catch a nap. We were both tired from a terrible nights sleep and rafting in the morning. We snuggled up with our books and then snoozed for a bit. We awoke to the sound of thunder. A big thunder storm was rolling in. This was fine with us. We had not gotten rained on the whole time we have been away!  We have been lucky. We sat in the van, read a little and really enjoyed the thunder and rain. A lazy evening :)  

Tomorrow we head out. Our adventure is coming to an end. It is a very bitter sweet feeling.  


This is the half order. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


The drive to Yellowstone was a nice drive. Had great views and wide open valleys. We stopped by Wendy's for some lunch. We arrived to Yellowstone around 4 and found our campsite. We then sat down at the table and planed the next two days. Yellowstone is a massive park with many things to see. We camped in the Maddison campground, which was a great base camp because it is centrally located. We split the park into two different round trips. One for Monday and one for Tuesday. That night we made some delicious chili and lentils for dinner played some cards that I won and read before going to sleep.

The next day we started our north loop of the park. We stopped at several waterfalls along the drive. They were beautiful. The only problem was the amount of people.  It was insanely packed wherever we went. It was very aggravating. We then headed west and did a short one mile hike to wrath falls.  This was amazing because it was one of the few things to see that you actually had to hike to see, not just drive right up to it. We enjoyed this a lot because not only did we have to work to get the amazing view, there was maybe 10 people on the trail!!  This was such a relief and made us both extremely happy. We then drove to Mammoth Hot Springs. You would have thought that we were trying to find parking outside of a one direction concert.  Freaking ridiculous. We were both so discouraged by the touristy crap. We walked the springs along with about 200 other people.  Needless to say, I was grumpy and had a very hard time enjoying the sites. I could not believe how many stupid people I was surrounded by. People unaware of their surroundings, people not staying on paths or following the rules set up.  We left Mammoth and headed to Norris Geyser Basin. This was pretty neat too. We probably enjoyed this more than some of the other places. It was pretty well spread out so the over population was a little more bearable. 

We then headed back to the campsite and enjoyed the peaceful evening. We discussed how disappointed we were in Yellowstone. We could not believe the amount of people, the lack of hiking trails and the whole tourist setup of the park.  You could not go 15 miles without seeing a gift shop the size of a Walmart and a restaurant that served five course meals. It was utterly ridiculous.  There were more hotels, shops, and restaurants than there were campsites. Brad described the park as the Disney World of National Parks. That was the perfect way to describe it. 

The next day we were ready to do a south loop of the park. We stopped at Old Faithful first and had quite the touristy experience there.  It was painful. We waited about 20 minutes for the geyser to erupt. It was truly magnificent, but the large number of people around us really lessened the experience. We wished it would have been a situation were we could have hiked three miles to come to the amazing view we had. We wanted to work for it damn it!!!  We were so used to the previous parks that were amazing and we had to hike to get to the truly amazing parts.  Don't get me wrong,  all the stops in Yellowstone were Amazing, but it was like this ...  1. Drive to the site. 2. Drive around for 15 minutes to try and find a parking spot. 3. Walk a short distance to the sight. 4.  Wait for 40 people to take 16 pictures of their kid and husband and then linger in the way so no one else can see. 5. Finally see the waterfall/geyser/sight we wanted to see. 6. Go back to car and repeat.  Not what we particularly enjoy. On the south loop day, we had a beautiful drive along the lake.  We then ended up at the Mud Volcano area. This was the highlight of this day.  We walked though and saw the awesome geysers and mud pots. We saw a lot of bison while at this site too. They were so close to us. At one point there were people standing WAY too close to the buffalo and Brad and I thought we were going to see these people get mauled by a buffalo. Unfortunately, the people got smart and left the buffalo alone. We continued the walk and saw several more buffalo. On the way back to camp, we were stopped in weird traffic on the side of the road and realized that there was an elk to the left of us. It started running in our direction and down the side of the road.  We got a great view and great pictures of the huge moose. My first time seeing an elk or a buffalo. 

We returned to camp and got a good nights sleep for the next day in Grand Tetons.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Craters of the Moon.

We arrived at Craters of the Moon after a long 10+hour drive. We got to the campsite and talked to the ranger about what we should do the following morning before going to Yellowstone. She had several suggestions that really peaked our interests. It was getting late so we set up camp and had dinner.  We relaxed for a bit while I read and Brad played with is camera. He got some pretty neat photos.

Craters of the Moon is a vast area all covered in lava rock and lava tubes from the volcanic eruption that occurred about 2,000 years ago. It was truly amazing and unlike anything we had ever seen before. It got it's name because it actually looks like the surface of the moon!! How cool!   

We woke up bright and early ready to take on the day of small hikes and driving. The ranger had told us about a ranger lead cave walk and we decided that we needed to go.  We stopped at a few splatter cones before heading to the trail head for the caves or huge lava tubes. 

The ranger was extremely knowledgable and took us on a great little hike to the different caves.  We stopped along the way and learned a lot about the eruption and how the park was created.  The ranger lead us to the guided cave-Indian cave. This was a HUGE cave that was filled with lava rock and mystery.  It had ab40 ft tall ceiling. After the ranger let us go, we walked through the rest of the Indian cave and climbed out through the end. We then walked awhile longer to find more of the caves.  We walked by the boy scout cave and then went to beauty cave.  This was a huge cave and extremely dark.  We only have a puiny little flashlight that did not do much for us as we tried to walk through the cave.  We go about halfway through before we decided that the flashlight was not enough to see.  We were a little bummed but really enjoyed the half of the awesome cave.

We walked back to the car and started our 4 hour drive to Yellowstone.  Looking forward to seeing it and spending the next two days there !! 


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Back to the open road.

Yesterday was our last day in Portland. We slept in late and then Brad walked to Voodoo Doughnuts again so we could have the amazing doughnuts for breakfast one more time.  We hung out for a bit and started to get our stuff packed and ready for the next morning. 

For lunch, we decided to hit up a burger place right next to our hotel.  It was a really great burger in a little dive place.  After our lunch we walked to the heart of downtown Portland. We decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at the Portland Art Museum. We had such a great time walking through their two four floor buildings. We saw some really amazing art. We left just before they closed around 5:00pm and headed out for Deschutes Brewery. 

Brad and I enjoyed more beer and a great dinner. I had their twilight summer ale which was really good and refreshing. I also had their fresh squeezed ipa, which is now my favorite ipa :)  Brad had their mirror pond ale and then he had the xpa which was an experimental ipa on nitro. That xpa was really good too! 

After enjoying another night out, we headed back to the hotel room for the evening.  We planned to wake up early for our 10 hour drive the following day.  We wanted to get a good nights sleep for our last night in a real bed until we get home :) 

We are driving to Craters of the Moon National Monument today as a sleeping point before Yellowstone. We hope to get to Craters of the Moon and set up camp and get to sleep shortly after.  Hopefully, in the morning, we will have a few hours to explore before heading to Yellowstone for a few days. 

Xo- Chelsea 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Portland = Beer, Great Food and more BEER!


After getting our oil change the other day, Brad and I made our way to downtown Portland to our hotel.  The Jupiter Hotel is super awesome and hip!  Surprise, surprise Portland :)  We made our way to our room and set up our living space for the next three days.  We then looked at Brad's untapped app and realized that we had about 18 breweries within a 3 mile radius.  HOLY CRAP!  Needless to say, we were both stoked and asked our livers to "hang in there".

We decided to go to Burnside Brewing that evening for dinner and brews.  It was a really nice place with a great beer menu.  We each had three delicious beers and a great meal.  One of the beers I had was a lime kolsch that was TO DIE FOR!  Screw Summer Shandy, I want to drink that lime kolsch every day, all summer, and every summer.  I also had their stout (surprise) and a sweet heat.  The sweet heat was a chili beer that was actually surprisingly good.  It had a great taste and then came the heat.  I enjoyed it.  Brad had an IPA (duh), a permafrost and the firefly blonde.  The permafrost was a Christmas in July beer- pretty fun idea.  We talked and talked and drank and drank.  We then walked back to our hotel for the night.    

This morning, Brad and I walked several blocks to experience the magic of Voodoo Doughnuts.  There was a good size line outside, but nothing was going to stop us from getting these strange and amazing treats.  We ended up ordering a butterfinger doughnut, a iconic voodoo doll doughnut, and a bacon maple bar.  The voodoo doll came with a pretzel stake through the doughy heart and a raspberry (blood) filling.  We both thought this was pretty great.  The bacon maple bar was by far the best tasting.  It had two mouth watering strips of caramelized bacon on the thick maple glazed.  NOM!

After enjoying our doughnuts, we walked to the Hippo Hardware store that was fully of vintage hardware.  We walked through the HUGE building that was cluttered with amazing pieces.  Everything was pretty expensive and we are poor, so we did not buy anything for the house :(

We left the hardware store and returned to the hotel room to relax for a bit.  We planned to hit a brewery for lunch and needed a little time to let our breakfast digest.  We decided to walk across the river to go to Deshutes Brewing.

We walked about 1.5 miles to Deshutes to find out that they had had a natural gas leak and we temporarly closed.  We changed our plans a little and decided to have lunch at Rogue Brewing today instead like we had planned for the next day.  We walked another couple block to Rouge.  We were both SUPER DUPER excited about this stop.  We walked in and found a nice booth which was our spot for the following two hours.  We had some great beers here as well.  They had 39 of their own beers on tap!  We were in heaven. I started with a  Track Town honey orange wheat that was really amazing.  After finishing that beer, I looked at the beer menu again and became so overwhelmed!  I wanted them all!  I decided to do a flight of four beers.  I tried the double chocolate stout, the oatmeal stout on nitro, a good chit pilsner and a braggot light.  I was extremely pleased with my choices.  Brad enjoyed an amazing scotch ale, and beard ale, and a strong wheat.  The beard ale was super interesting. It was made with yeast that was cultivated from the head brewers beard!  We could not help but order it and then enjoy it. We shared a pub pizza and a bowl of delicious beer cheese soup.  Wonderful lunch date.

We then walked back to the hotel, across the beautiful Willamette river and hung out in the room for a bit.  We had plans to hit another brewery in the evening so we relaxed a bit.

Around dinner time, we headed a few blocks down the street to Base Camp Brewing.  Really cool place!  It was all set up in a camping style and after the last 3.5 weeks, we really appreciated it :)  We had a few good beers and enjoyed the awesome atmosphere.  I had a smor'e stout that came with a freakin roasted marshmallow on the glass!  So yummy.  I also had an Oktoberfest that was pretty good.  Brad had a saison and a great India pale lager.  All really good.  We left the brewery and hit up the food truck just outside.  We grabbed some burritos to go and headed back to the hotel to enjoy our quick dinner and some netflix :)

What a great couple days we have had in Portland!  Tomorrow we plan on going back to Deshutes and hopefully hitting a few more breweries near by :)

Cheers- Chelsea 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Crater Lake --> Portland

We left the Redwoods on the first and set out for Crater Lake.  We took a really neat dirt road that wound through another Redwood Park.  It was a fun drive through the park with more great scenery.  This detour was well worth the fifteen minutes we lost :)

We arrived at our destination of Crater Lake that was only a one night stay.  We did not anticipate doing much other than setting up camp, sleeping and seeing the lake in the morning before heading to Portland.  We did just that.  Brad had to fix a part on the van (imagine that!) and so we had to let the glue dry over night.  It was a relaxing stop for both of us. 

We woke up early and got ourselves ready to go.  We are getting really good at tearing down the van to get it ready to go.  We then drove up to the lake.  We found a couple of view points of that lake that were pretty incredible.  It was nice to have the early morning sun reflecting on the huge lake that used to be a volcano.  We were extremely intrigued by the huge island in the middle of the lake.  The island itself is also a volcano.  We found out that they have a boat that will take people to the island and you can hike to the top.  We decided that we will have to do that in our lifetime.  We made a deal to come back and then had to head out.  

We were on our way to Portland.   We stopped about 2 hours from Portland and had an amazing breakfast at IHOP.  We both appreciated the hardy breakfast and then regretted eating so much immediately after.  We then finished the drive to Portland and found a VW dealer not far from our hotel.  We were in need of an oil change at this point.  We got in right away and hung out in the air conditioned and wifi filled lounge.  

Now everyone is up to date!!!  Thanks for following our adventure!  We still have 11 days left until we are back in HOMAHA! 


This is one of my favorite photos from the 2014 trip