March 23, 2008

Spring Break 2008 Part I

Small Town, Large Family

I was fortunate enough to get a spring break this year even though I am now working in the “real” world, in fact because of this I actually got paid for my adventures this year. Laura and I embarked on a road trip (see part II for details) to deliver Brooke and her sister Kaitlyn (friends from UD) to their home in Ouray, Colorado.

Ouray is a small mountain town that was founded by coal miners and today survives on tourism in the summer and ice climbing in the winter. It is completely surrounded by reddish towering cliff faces and snow capped peaks.

Speaking of snow, Colorado apparently hit record breaking snowfall this winter and there was snow everywhere (at least three feet thick and up to nine in places). I easily saw more snow in four days then I have witnessed in my entire life.

Brooke has an amazing family that warmly opened their house to us; sharing meals, toys, and conversation. Her older brother Caleb provided us with a place to sleep. We met seven of the eight Maclennan siblings and experienced the joy of a large family.

They took us snowshoeing on Tuesday. I know I am not in the best shape, but going up a mountain in snowshoes while not being adjusted to the elevation was a little strenuous. Brighton was literally running circles around us. The hike did pay off with some good views and a good snow ball fight.

Within walking distance from their house in the middle of town, there was several natural wonders. There was a narrow canyon covered in large sheets of ice that was used by ice climbers. There was another narrow canyon with a large waterfall from snow melt. And there was a pool fed by a local hot springs that was 97 degrees while snow covered mountains rose up in every direction.

We enjoyed the slowness of the town and the unbelievable activity from Brooke’s family. The pristine snow covered valley and the living room scattered with Kinexs. The exhaustion from a good hike and relaxation from an afternoon nap. This trip was a great reminder of the benefits that both small towns and large families have to offer.

More pictures here

Spring Break 2008 Part II

Road Trip

Our trip up to Colorado and back turned out to be a great road trip, one in a long line of trips to explore the west. I particularly enjoy the openness and the harshness of the west and it lends itself to some very long but very rewarding road trips. On this trip the majority of the time on the road was spent in New Mexico and the majority of what we spent our time looking at was rocks. Underground rock formations, sand dunes, volcanic lava rock, rock canyons, rocks piled up by the Anazasis, rocks carved out by mountain rivers, colored rock mesas, etc. Made us wish we were traveling with a geologist.

The Monahan’s sandhills out by my parents house.

The road up to Carlsbad caverns.

Inside the caverns

Hardened lava flow off the side of the highway.

Fajada Bute in Chaco canyon.

Pueblo Bonita in Chaco canyon

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Some random rock formation in northern New Mexico

We also saw a lot of very random signs along the road. Though we didn’t take pictures of most of them, here is the few that we can remember:

Dirt 4 Sale (pretty funny considering as far as the eye could see was dirt)

A cow crossing sign that was spraypainted to make the cow into a poodle.

Gusty Winds May Exist and Icy Conditions May Exist (quite metaphysical)

Old Hogs Are Beautiful

50+ billboards for a single truck stop that never told you when to exit (so we missed it)

The UFO museum in Roswell.

More pictures here

March 4, 2008


It snowed last night! In the eighties on Sunday and below freezing last night: a prime example of Global warming…I mean Texas weather.

In other news, the Texas primaries are today, so the only acceptable excuses for you not voting would be:
-you don’t live in Texas
-you don’t have a clue about anyone who is running (acceptable might be a misclassification)
-you are extremely busy with work and don’t know where your voter’s registration card is…