The Plan

A couple of months ago the plan was to bring in the new year with our closest friends and family in the desert..camping. It all sounded great until a few days ago when the plan started to sound…let’s say…mentally challenged.

Winter decided to make an appearance in Arizona!   We haven’t seen any snow in the suburbs outside of Phoenix but it rained all day yesterday and it was less than 30 Fahrenheit for the low. We would have died in our sleep. No doubt about it.

Jason and I thought it would be a better idea to have the celebration at our place. Have a nice cozy fire in the backyard (yep, on a NO BURN DAY, we would’ve totally done it) with our friends and our dogs and our drinks. That plan was perfect and the best thing about it? We wouldn’t have to drive anywhere…

For the most part, everyone was all in but…there’s always a but…they all have children under twelve. Of course the children would have been welcome BUT.. we have nothing entertaining at all for children to do in our house. They would have been bored to crazy.

Plan C…get our daughter to drive us to our friends house and then we could take a taxi home! Brilliant! 🙂 But…she left and went up north with her friends AND..that would mean we would be leaving our fur babies at home..alone…scared..to deal with the loud firecracker noises.

In the end, we decided to stay home with our fur babies and power through episode after episode of Orange is the New Black season two. In between we ate a delicious Jager Schnitzel with hunter sauce, beets and mashed potatoes courtesy of chef Jason. There was also whiskey and wine..of course.

Happy New Year people! In my heart of hearts I wish nothing but peace, love and prosperity to er’yone! 🙂

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Adventures in Camping..

Physically, I am not here today. It’s been a super long work week and I am so ready to start the weekend. I find myself daydreaming about my last weekend adventure with friends and the Mr.

The dogs, myself and the Mr. piled into the Tacoma and drove up to the Wal-Mart (yea, yea, yea..shut it…). Immediately, I am a teeny bit irked..Why oh why would we have not gone to the store the day before to get the food necessities? Now, certainly someone was going to have to stay..in the parking lot…with the dogs..while the other went into the abyss that is Wal-Mart.

We both knew who was going to play what role..no way was I going to go in..Mainly, it’s not my favorite place but secondly, I would inevitably forget important things..The man is MUCH better at making sure we have all we need.

Our friends met us, the “boys” went shopping and us ladies hung out in the parking lot all fancy and what not with my dogs. Who, by the way, were terrorizing anything and anyone who may pass by on foot or wheels. So embarrassing – I have NO control over those monsters.

About an hour later we were on our way!

Northbound to cooler weather. Or so we thought..It was dry and 90, the sun was piercing and we didn’t really quite know exactly where we were going. I loved it. Investigating our state for a fun new spot!

We stopped in Clarkdale, which is a neat quiet little town that I think I could live in.. While the guys figured out which way to turn, Amy and I got out to explore.

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This is a little tourist/gift shop. I didn’t go in – only peaked through the window. Amy said they had soaps that she wanted to by but we never went back..

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Interested in the art, I wandered across the street until I was told… “get back in the truck, lets go”!

Pavement to off road we enjoyed the bumpy ride, the breeze and of course the scenery. Untouched Arizona really is beautiful. When I first moved here (a gazillion years ago) I did not appreciate the desert landscaping at all..I thought cactus were ugly and I very much disliked the color brown. Cut to today..I can choreograph a simple dance based on the different arm poses of each cactus and brown? I look good in brown earthy tones so, were cool too.

Our second stop was Sycamore Canyon.

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Mental notes were made..we must come back and do the hike down the canyon and long the river when we did not have the dogs and when miss Amy was fully recovered from a recent surgery…

The breeze was nice and it looked like a storm was rolling in from the south (no such luck). Strangers and their dogs were making the way up the path from their hike and our four legged terrorists were on full guard..which could only mean..Time to go!

One more stop as made for a view and a beer!

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This seemed like a nice place to camp for the night but we all voted to press on to see what else was around the corner..

Thankfully so!

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No long after we found the “perfect” spot to set up!

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I was secretly thankful Amy was instructed by her doctor to remain on light duty for a few more weeks post surgery. She was not able to help Danny out with camp set up so it made me not look so bad being my normal not so helpful self. 🙂

While the guys made our home for the night all cozy Amy and I played around with our cameras and be silly..with the aid of boxed wine of course….

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Yep, this one was all my idea haha…I decided it would be so funny to pretend like we were leaping off the edge of the cliff..convinced?

All too soon, our view of the beautiful blue sky, the red painted mountains and the green lushness of the Sedona-ish valley were drowned out by the light of the moon and darkness had fully taken its place.

We had a warm fire (not that we needed it for warmth – even after the sunset the weather was still about 70 Fahrenheit). Have you ever smelled Juniper wood burn in a camp fire? It’s delightful!

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Around the fire we ate the best cheeseburgers – well, maybe not the “the” best cheeseburgers but honestly…the Mr knows how to make a tasty burger!

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Oh and there were hot dogs too. The guys left them out overnight as some sort of experiment and surprisingly enough..they had not been eaten by any wildlife…

Earlier, while the Mr was setting up camp I had asked him what kind of wildlife we may run into out here and COYOTE could not have come out of his mouth any faster..literally he spewed out “coyote” before I had finished my question.

This scared me but lucky for me…I forget easily and I paid no mind to wildlife thereafter..well until…

Bellies full, camp set..the four of us sitting around the fire talking, listening to music while I sang loudly along to my bestie and (obviously) having a few drinks. We had seen a couple of camp fires about a mile out and below our area so it didn’t surprise me to hear a loud “woooooooooooo” coming from the wilderness. I, of course, excited to share with our neighbors that we too were having a great time so I answered back with a louder, “WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOO”.. The guys quickly jump to their feet and got pistol ready… apparently….I was answering a COYOTE… some may now call me forever the coyote whisperer :/

Just as fast as the guys became pistol ready (which was really sexy..by the way…very manly) I rounded up all three dogs and made them get in the truck until I was told we were safe enough.

The drama combined with the box o’ wine made me sleepy..I crawled into the tent and that was the end of my fun for the night.

Come sunrise, I was the first and only one up and about. Normally, when we camp with the dogs they go bat shit crazy, can’t relax and bark at every little noise. Not the case this trip! It was so quiet and the pups chilled out in the tent and waited for their master to wake up…not me…

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This one, though..may have been a little on guard. 🙂 She didn’t move from that spot for like a half hour.

It wasn’t too long after we had to pack up and head out..the stupid sun was coming out to burn us alive.

So long magical Sedona…

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Beerfest 2014 ~ 10 Year Anniversary

The first weekend of August, for the past seven or eight years (I can’t remember which), Jason, me, the dogs and our daughter head up the hill to the Mogollon Rim with oh about 100 of our “closest” friends to participate in the annual event which is names…Backwoods Beerfest.

Beerfest was started by a close friend of ours ten years ago this year… we missed out on the first two or three but have not missed one since.

If you live or have heard of the hellish hotness that is the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix metro area) you can bet your life we all become super excited to beat the heat, lose touch with the modern world, drink, connect with friends and become one with Mother Nature herself.

Weather wise..we never know what we are going to get..some years it is in the 80’s, dry and hot and some years it’s nothing but torrential rains..this year..we we lucky to get the best of both worlds.

My friend and I sent our other halves up the hill a day early so they could grab a sweet spot and set up camp. We would have loved to go up with them but we had to work…BOOO…who am I kidding 😉 it was the BEST rolling into camp with everything set up already!

This was home for three days and two nights. The mister is so good at making sure everything is as perfect as can be for his lady..his mutts and his self.

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I really should not have allowed an entire week to go by before I told you my story because I’ll be honest..I don’t remember much 😉 It is after all…BEERFEST *should be deemed…drunkfest!*

Thinking about it now..I know we arrived around 4 in the afternoon on Friday the 31st..That’s all I remember from that night..not because I was wasted but I think the events of Saturday completely overshadowed my first night in the woods. Holy crap..honestly..there is nothing significant that I remember from Friday..it’s like it didn’t even happen. I do know..it was lovely to be there..the weather was perfect and I behaved myself…as much as this kid can…

The next morning was full of relaxation..

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Even the mister enjoy the most comfy spot in the house..

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There were more than a few “nature walks” ~ My major complaint of Beerfest…It is neat that a bunch of people come together BUT..that also means I have to walk like 1/4 mile just to pee……I know..I know..they have private toilets available for camping but I’m sorry..to me? That’s just gross..

 

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This year, someone bought a live pig, raised it, slaughtered it and brought it to camp for a pig roast.

* Side note: what is a better word for slaughter? The person(s) who raised this pig and “sacrificed” it for the sake of our tummies treated this little guy so much..I mean SO MUCH..better than ANY animal we could ever buy at the meat counter in our grocery stores..to use the word slaughter or sacrifice seems inappropriate. *

Anyway, here is the little guy who served us so selflessly

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They started Mr. Piggy around 0530 because he needed to roast for like 8 to 10 hours.. I had coffee and continued my stent in the hammock until my friends woke up and made me a bloody mary. So good..the perfect amount of horseradish and olives and vodka and mary mix and whatever else goes into the making of this morning treat! Another one of our camp mates had made a bloody maria..I am not a big fan of those. I had one sip and didn’t like it. I will give it just one more “shot” but it will have to be a different tequila..Jose..is NOT a friend of mine..I am pretty sure the end result will be the same. Mary will win over Maria.

Sometime in the day the rain came in and was more than welcome..her timing was perfect too, rain for a few hours, stopped in time for all of us to gather around the beer tables for the annual tasting! Let the fun begin!

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Yup, someone brought these flamingos and I LOVE this idea 🙂 NOTHING screams “I am a redneck” more than pink flamingos in your front yard and a rebel flag hah!

There was, of course, even event security 😉

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I mean really..with all of these people here combined with all the beer..you would think it was needed ** Luckily..all was good and I think the shirts were just for fun **

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Shortly after, the rain started again and we all ventured to the pig for some delicious snack time.

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Yup! Red solo wine cup and BBQ topped with cole slaw. We know how to camp. 🙂

Sadly, No more pictures of this day… it’s just as well though because had I been running around the forest with my camera..it would not have survived..at least I had enough sense to put it away during the torrential down pour.

That was the beginning of the end for me woooo partay time! Box o’ wine was flowing, red and white. I am pretty sure I made it to all the campsites to spread my joyful cheer until I was poured into my tent for the night. I did not even care that my sleeping bag was soaked along with my pillow and the rest of my clothes. Did you know that when you buy a tent it does not already come waterproof?? That is the goofiest thing ever. A tent is to protect you from the elements..you would think one of those elements would include RAIN..nope.. you buy a tent..you have to water proof it. Apparently the mister knew of this because he said he has a spray that seals the tent..but for whatever reason..didnt do it. Word to the wise..

The next morning we took our sweet time, packed up, said our goodbyes and headed down the hill.

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Until next year Rim….photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wild Wild West…

What better way to show our Swiss friends the outlaw ways of the wild west than to take them to the desert and put firearms in their hands? 🙂

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I wondered, until I started reading,  what the difference between the US and Switzerland  guns laws. There is way too much information to read through and I’m really not that interested..just curious. I quickly bored of the topic and moved on BUT the one thing that stuck in my memory is that Switzerland is number three (only behind the US and Yemen)  on the list of highest per capita gun ownership in the world.

That was surprising to me..but this is not a blog about gun politics and I don’t wish to discuss gun politics sooooo let’s move on to our funnin, gunnin’ and runnin’ filled Saturday! 🙂

Necessary equipment for a day in the dirt..

1. Truck or van capable of driving through a dry river bed

2. Easy ups to protect us from the BRUTAL sun

3. Tables to display and for easy access to the firearms

4. Chairs

5. Water – that should actually be number one but I just remembered so it’s sitting at number 5

6. Firearms

7. Friendly people..don’t bring jack asses — no on wants a jack ass with a gun

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Look at that smile 😉 I think He liked it..again again!

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Can I try this one next?

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Instructions

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Carmen was shooting a golf ball launcher in the photo above. There is no purpose of this gun..it’s just funny I guess to launch a golf ball with a weapon. I shot it too – it was neat but every time it was shot, I could never actually SEE the ball fly out of it nor could I see where it landed. It was still neat and pure silliness.

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I almost forgot! Make sure to add a portable grill, burger, cheese and buns to the list of necessary items!

You will get hungry having fun in the sun!

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Our friends live only five minutes away from the shooting range so after we packed up and CLEANED up our mess,  ** ALWAYS..clean up after yourselves! **, we drove back to their place for more red neck fun!

ROCK CRAWLING!

Our friends daughter and her guy are very much into rock crawling Broncos. Our Swiss friends and a nine year old were the first to hope in an get driven through the homemade rock crawling practice course (set up in the backyard of their desert property).

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All buckled up and ready to crawl!

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A little harmless one sided ramp..look at how stretched out those blue spring things are…it’s like a big ole slinky on wheels.

Once their ride was over I was a little eager to get in and give it a shot! Those of you who know me..know I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to driving. Getting tightly buckled into the back seat of this beast, sitting in the back seat with a driver – who is btw maybe twenty years old – was a HUGE feat for me. My thought on the whole thing was hey..if the nine year old did it..so can I 😉

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I love roller coasters so I played it off to myself this was nothing but a roller coaster ride. I LOVED it!

So much fun!

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Austin, the driver, says, “Do you want to go up the ramp”? My reply, of course, was, “YES, PLEASE”!

He strategically placed both tires on the ramp and slowly crawled up and up and a little further, maybe just a little further. I was feeling a little anxious and thinking how cool is this and also feeling a little like..I think we’re going to tip and then thinking maybe this is how it’s supposed to feel and then… ** screams like a girl, ahhhhhhh ** you know? Like you do when you’re on a roller coaster..and then…

BOOM…

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He dumped us. My first off road rock climbing experience and I am the victim of Austins first flip.  Luckily we were basically not moving so it was only a mere jolt when we landed and Austin handled us like a pro. He CALMLY instructed the people on the left side of the Bronco to hold onto the roll bars, unbuckle and climb out. What a RUSH! 🙂

I will do this again and hopefully no flipping will be involved next time!

After we escaped, mostly unscathed, it was time for high fives, hugs, drink and some music.

Do you think we Arizonans provided our Swiss friends a most excellent display of the Wild Wild West?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Down the Mountain We Went…

Tent –  tarp = waking up with the sun..which is O.K by me!

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I mean..who wants to waste a perfectly gorgeous day in nature…sleeping it away?? Not this lady! 

Darn, I just realized..I completely forgot to take a snapshot of the mess I woke up to. When I sat up for the first time I peeked out the mesh of the tent and spotted a H.U.G.E crow wondering around our campsite. He picked up, what looked to be, a piece of bread and fluttered himself up onto the bench of the picnic table. This guy was extremely “healthy”. Now I’m really bummed I didn’t get a photo of him, I just tried to Google “fat crow” and “huge crow” and NOTHING came up as big as the crow I saw… and no one else was awake to verify my story….oh well just believe it..

I crawled out of the tent and all three of the bags Jason had put in the tree the previous night were on the ground riddled with beak holes. Buns, chips, bottles, packaging for the meat were strewn all over our camp area. That bird ate, four hamburgers, three hotdogs, like eight slices of pepper-jack cheese, a bunch of buns and some chips. As much as I don’t like birds (aka rats with wings), I certainly hope that creature is OK. :/ That pepper jack cheese could NOT have been good for him…eeeek.. I would hate to be walking along minding my own business while he was flying over head when that cheese kicked in!! WOOOO 

 Pretty much as soon as I finished cleaning up the birds party mess up..everyone woke up and we all started packing up to head down the mountain. 

But first! We had to stop at the Watch Tower:

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We climbed up and up and up and up, I have no idea how many flights of stairs but it felt like it was never ending. Totally worth it..the view was amazing and the inside with the drawings (not sure if they are original or if they were drawn on as an added effect) were super neat as well. Gahhh…another missed photo opportunity.. when we reached the top there was yet another flight of stairs that was roped off with a really tempting note that said something along the lines of: “Do not climb these stairs that lead to the top of the tower”.. haha surprisingly, as much as we all wanted to, we did not disobey their request. 🙂

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Thoroughly at peace and happy with our intake of the Grand Canyon, we strolled on over to the trading post for a quick bite and a to-go of java. Both of which were completely sub par..the best part of the teeny burrito Jason and I shared was the jalapeño hot sauce we doused it in and I’m pretty sure the coffee was Folgers..made with too much water and not enough grounds.. By the way..normally Jason and I don’t share plates but we wanted to save our appetites for lunch at the famous Rock Springs Cafe on the way home. 

With some fuel in our bellies we were ready to roll! 

Jason brilliantly suggested we take the back route and hit Slide Rock on our way home. Taking the scenic 89A route from Flagstaff to Slide Rock is a MUST. The geological transformation from the forests of Flagstaff into the red rocks of Sedona is an amazing display of Mother Natures pure awesomeness. Breath it, live it, feel it and go hug a tree! 😉 

The last time I went to Slide Rock, parking was along the one lane two way highway..dangerous and it was pretty hard to come by a spot!

Since then, a parking lot has been built and now for a small fee of 10.00 you can park and have great fun at the park until they close if you like. 

A little walk

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A little hike

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And just a little further is a peaceful oasis that in the summer time might be the perfect swimming hole! 

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Unless your Jason..it’s perfect now!! NUTBALL! That water was like 50 Fahrenheit!! 

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Going in for round two!

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Sandro was VERY much tossing around the idea of free falling 

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While Carmen and I sat back and watched the show 🙂

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I can’t even imagine how PACKED this place must be in the dead of summer?? Shoes and jackets came off as the heat set in a bit so we could put our toes in the water to cool off. Jason won the badge of bravery for the day! 🙂 

No doubt we could have all spent the night in that very spot but with lunch to eat, showers to take and friends to meet..We had to go.

We pit stopped at the famous Rock Springs Cafe for lunch and pie, sped home (as safely as possible of course), showered, rested and readied ourselves for guests!  ** Click on Rock Springs Cafe..this little place deserves a blog all its own. Super friendly people, excellent food, out of this world pies and old saloon type decor. My subliminal message to you is…You must go !! ** 

No pictures from here on out because by lunch time Kristi Kodak was closed for business. 🙂 Trust me when I tell you we had more great food, great drinks and great friends! We didn’t over do it because the next day ..there were plans of more shenanigans!  

 

 

 

Beerfest 9 – 2013

Another great weekend! Every year for the past six years, Jason, Kiah and I join our friends up on the Mogollon Rim (pronounced muggy on rim) for a few days of “getting off the grid”. This Backwoods beerfest occurs the first weekend every August. The guys who started it brought maybe fifteen people up, all close knit friends and they were all instructed to bring a six pack of off the wall beer for every one to sample. When Jason and I hooked up with our old high school friends we went along for the fun back in 2007 or 2008. Now I am not a camper per se..but I do enjoy my time when there. Dont get me wrong I love the outdoorsy stuff but I prefer to camp near a body of water..just my thing. I am never thrilled about going..not as thrilled as everyone else but when I get there it’s just so beautiful and I get such a great sense of freedom and “oneness” with the earth that I do genuinely love these get togethers.

Luckily, Jason is SUCH an organized and experienced outdoors man, he makes it easy for me. Occasionally he will give me a list of things I may need to pickup at the store but for the most part, I am told to get in the truck and we leave. 🙂 I know enough to pack the right clothing!

In the first part of August, here in Arizona, we sometimes have a monsoon season. Sometimes it rains the entire weekend, sometimes it’s dry and hot and other times (like this weekend) …it’s an absolute perfect mixture of the two!

On the way up the hill I was actually “allowed” — no allowed isn’t the word because Jason actually said, “You can play your ipod if you want”..what?? 🙂 Happy girl! It was a crappy drive getting out of the city but once on the road –smooth sailing!

Once we hit Payson we stopped at the Safeway to pickup some Advil — an definite necessity when going to BEERFEST..

On the road again, it started raining…a GOOD rain too. The weather cooled off pretty dramatically..We were coming up from the Phoenix area where we left behind a 106 degree day so when I say dramatically – I might be dramatizing just a little because it was maybe 70 degrees 🙂 

The drive up was just beautiful…see for yourself!

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We arrived to the camp site around three in the afternoon on Friday. There were already about thirty people there and everyone was pretty mellow – those that had arrived the previous night had whooped it up their first night. I was a little nervous because Jason set our camp up pretty close to the general population and I do not deal well with large crowds and loud shenanigans at night when I am ready to sleep. I rolled with it, didn’t complain and turns out…it was perfect!

 

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After the camp was magically set up (AKA..Jason did everything 🙂 ) we made ourselves a couple of drinks and started making our rounds to say hello and talk to people. I don’t remember too much – I had three glasses of wine — but I do remember meeting some really cool people I had never met before. It’s not often I hit it off well with another female so I was so happy to have met Liz! We sat and talked for a couple of hours and our conversation just flowed so well..

Around 11:30, I looked up at Jason – as he was taking his last swig of MOONSHINE – his eyes glazed over and he said “I’m ready” so I helped him along to our camp and we fell fast fast asleep!

At first sunlight, I’m wide awake, took a hike to the woods for the morning nature call, came back made coffee and relaxed.

Relaxed under this gorgeous view:

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I literally could have stayed there all day. It was under this tree I realized, I forgot my laptop…I had no paper..no pen..nothing to write with. This would have been a perfect spot to laze about and write a little something. Oh well, stuck with enjoying mother nature in her entirety. 🙂

Poor Jason was hurting and thankful we remembered to make that pit stop for Advil! He slept until about noon, ate then napped until 2! Around the time he woke up the rain started — thankful our tent and easy-up were in great condition and nothing got wet!! Usually 3pm the beer tables come out and we all bring our offerings – thankful the rain stopped just in time for the festivities!

I am not a huge beer drinker – in fact, I dont even know what kind of beer “we” brought to offer. I drank my wine and took pictures 🙂

Not the greatest shot but you get the gist…

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With the amount of people who were there I am happy to say there was……NO DRAMA!

I spent the evening bouncing around from camp to camp talking, laughing and enjoying the neat people that were there. Just before dinner, Kiah’s boyfriend and his friends arrived so her and I walked down to where they were setting up camp to make sure they had everything they needed – they did so I went to bed…Yea..went to bed — I think it may have been 930, ha!

Groundhogs day…I woke up at day break again..took a nature hike, had coffee, visited with our camping neighbors and relaxed. Now I am sitting here thinking…I wonder how many times I have used the word relaxed? I’m thinking alot but I’m also thinking…that’s a good thing!

If you have read any of my other posts you know the hubs, Jason, is in a rock band called
Hogjaw. They used our last day at camp to start video production of their music video for a song called “The Wolf” I can’t wait to see the final production because the scenery, their “costumes” and the song are awesome.

Here a few behind the scene photos:

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After the video shots were done – we packed up and headed out. But wait! Flat tire..boooo..

One of the truck tires was about 20lbs light on air..Luck was on our side again and one of our camping buddies came better prepared than we and had a  hand held air compressor. It took a little while but we were back in business soon enough.

The ride home was uneventful until one of the dogs threw up on Kiahs feet…then the other dog…oh good lord what did they eat???! It was grody – we cleaned up as best we could and tried to get home as fast as possible without getting pulled over 🙂

Until my next adventure or random thought of the day!

Best,

Kristi