Monday, June 28, 2010


I am in Boulder, CO after camping for four days in and around various state parks throughout Utah. Utah wasn't originally really on our radar (When I think Utah, I think Mormons and skiing), but they have some really amazing scenery there!

We woke up in St. George early so that we could get to the first-come-first served campsite in Zion. I caught the last 20 minutes of USA vs Algeria. It was nerve-wracking, but so exciting! The small fans in the car made the drive bearable, and it was only an hour or so to get to the park. Since it was really hot, we set up our tent and relaxed in some shade under a tree. We grabbed some lunch, went on some errands to get firewood, and then headed for the trails. We were a little worried about hiking in the heat, but we took the river walk trail and hiked through the river to where the canyons narrow. The water was freezing and sometimes it was as high up as my waist, but we stayed cool and in the shade! Plus, it was really cool being by cliffs that tower over you! I made the smart decision of putting my camera in Harrison's backpack because I don't really have the greatest balance. It turned out to be a good life decision because I ended up taking a pretty epic fall. We were wading through a part where the the rapids were a bit stronger. My right foot got stuck on one side of a rock and the current started pushing my left foot off another rock. I practically did the splits before I tumbled into the water. Then I just sat there laughing for while before actually getting up because I looked pretty ridiculous. But yeah, if I had my camera in my own bag it would not have survived, which would have been very upsetting. The hike was still amazing and well worth getting soaked. I would highly recommend it, but definitely take a walking stick. Without mine, I probably would have fallen about 30 more times.

We also saw a few deer along the way, and Harrison contributed to the random "rock castles" (small rock towers) on our way back. We had a lovely pasta dinner and just relaxed in the cool desert air before going to sleep. We had to wake up early the next day to get out the east entrance to Bryce Canyon before they closed the road for construction. I ended up not sleeping well that night because it got extremely windy at night and the tent was really noisy getting blown around. Melanie also tends to move around in her sleep a lot and was practically rolling on top of me. Bryan Canyon wasn't that far, but it took us a bit longer than expected to get there because we accidentally went to the wrong campsite at first. We ended up not really doing much on Thursday because we were all a little tired, and it was extremely hot. We hung around our campsite's pool, did laundry, and napped. It was actually nice to relax a little.

On Friday morning, we woke up with the sun because it was so bright outside! It was much cooler in the morning, too, so we thought it would be better to explore the canyon when it was cooler outside. We went hiking on a combination of the Navajo Loop and the Queen's garden loop, about a 3 mile hike overall. The trail went down into the canyon and looped around through the hoodoos (what they call the rock formations). The canyon was really pretty, and there were so many different colors in the rocks and plants! One part on the trail had a very large collection of little rock castles like the ones we saw on the river in Zion. I think one person must've thought "I think I'll make a rock tower" and then more people saw it and made their own. Some of them were pretty impressive and had arches or delicately balanced rocks.

We stopped and ate our lunch at the park lodge and went to the Bryce and Inspiration viewpoints before heading to the Grand Staircase National Park in the afternoon. We had seen pictures of some canyon narrows, or slot canyons, and that park had the closest ones. The roads in the park were poorly maintained (most of them were dirt or sand roads) and I was a little worried that our van might get stuck out there. We took the Willis Creek trail which had some smaller canyons. They were cool, but not as spectacular as Zion. We turned around before the end of the trail because it started raining (yes, raining in the desert!) It ended up not raining too much, just a little thunder, but we didn't want to risk getting caught out there. We were all pretty tired from the hikes and such, so we went back to camp and went to sleep early.

On Saturday, we woke up and headed north to Moab, a small town close to Arches National Park. We took the scenic route 12, which goes through more of the Grand Staircase park and some national forests and other parks. The views were gorgeous!! There was one part that was very gray and ugly, and what we imagined the moon might look like. We checked into our campsite, and then headed to the Moab brewery (they make several Microbrews and their own ginger ale!) to grab lunch and watch he US/Ghana game. A little disappointing, but oh well.

While at the brewery, Melanie found a brochure for this place called Hole N' The Rock, and we decided to check it out because Arches is really hot during the day. It turned out to be a museum of a home in a rock that this crazy couple made. Seriously, the husband was in the mining business and basically blew out a large portion of a rock to make a cave/house. The tour was $5 but totally worth it because I haven't laughed that hard in a good while. They left the house the way it was since the wife died in the 70s. She had a collection of really creepy old dolls and collected random trinkets that she put in random notches on the cave walls. The husband was an amateur taxidermist and there were 3 stuffed and extremely creepily posed animals in the home, one of which was by the couple's bed. He also had a bunch of paintings of Jesus all around the house, and he was apparently really obsessed with FDR because he painted a portrait of him, made a bust of him, and carved his face into the rock on the side of their house. I waited until we were out of the building before I doubled over laughing. It was definitely one of the funniest/most bizarre roadside attractions ever.

When the sun started setting we headed to Arches, and went on a few short hikes (about 1 mile each) to see the different arches and fun rock formations like the balanced rock and the petrified dunes. We watched the sunset in a spot recommended by a park ranger, and it was beautiful! The rocks changed color in the light and it was really neat. We went back to the campsite when it got dark for a late dinner. Our neighbor came over and chatted with us for a while. We told him we were gonna make s'mores and he didn't know what they were. I don't really know how anyone could not know what s'mores are considering they are one of the most delicious treats in the universe, but we showed him how to make one. Seriously though, how do you not know what s'mores are?! So sad.

P.S. Melanie has her pictures from the trip on Picasa if you want to check them out!:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Grand Canyon and Las Vegas!

We left Glenn's house on Sunday morning, and since it was Father's Day, we snuck out early in the morning so they could serve their dad breakfast in bed. Unfortunately we only got to spend one night at the Grand Canyon because you apparently have to book WAY in advance for the campsites in the park (which we didn't realize). Our one night came from a cancellation, so we got lucky with that. We got to the park fairly early, driving past the Mojave desert and dirt-caked hills. We set up camp and ate a snack before catching a park shuttle to Hopi Point to watch the sunset. The shuttles are nice because they reduce car traffic and they're free! We explored a part of the South Rim and found a great spot to watch it. The canyon is seriously one of the coolest things I've ever seen. It was so awesome! After it got dark, we headed back to our campsite, where Melanie fixed some delicious chili for dinner. We decided to go to bed early so that we could get up early in time to do some hiking before we made our was to Las Vegas.

Yesterday morning, we packed up our stuff and parked our car near a shuttle stop, and rode the shuttle to the trailhead for the Bright Angel Trail. The whole trail goes all the way down to the bottom of the canyon and all the way to the other rim, but we clearly did not have time to do that. We chose the 3-mile option. The trail has several rest-houses with bathrooms and water along the way, the first of which is a mile and a half down. It was a fun hike, but very hot and kinda grueling going back up. We stopped in a few shady spots to rest on the way up, but we finished the hike in under 2 hours! I was really sad to leave, but Vegas awaited us.

We took route 93 into Vegas and went past the Hoover Dam. There was a lot of construction going on around the dam so it took a while to get through. Our air conditioner also started acting up, so we had our windows down. The dam was pretty disappointing. I mean, it was kinda cool, but it's not as big as you would expect, and it's really not that exciting. Vegas, however, was AWESOME. We stayed at Bill's Gamblin'Hall & Saloon, and it was great! It's right in the middle of the strip! And it's a great deal, only $60ish a night! We spent the night hotel/casino hopping, and it was great! One of my favorites was the Bellagio fountains. They go off every 15 minutes, and I think they do different songs, but the one we caught was "Proud to be an American." I'm not gonna lie, it was hilarious! But also awesome at the same time. At a bar we visited in MGM, the music randomly got loud and all the bartenders preceded to jump on the bar and dance. We spent most of the night at Mandalay Bay because the bar there also had a dance floor (no cover charge!). We tried a few slots for fun, but none of us are really big gamblers. I won $4! Wooooo! haha.

Today we started driving to Zion National Park, but stopped an hour short because the AC was completely dead and we wanted to see if we could get it easily fixed. Driving through a desert with no AC is not pleasant. We took the van to an auto repair shop, who originally thought it just needed more freon. But it turned out a part of the actual system was broken. The repairs would cost more than what the van is really worth (it's on it's last leg and this trip was kind of its last hurrah). We've decided to suck it up, but went to a local wal-mart and bought a bunch of fans. We ended up staying in St. George, Utah (where we stopped) because we were all tired from the night before and very hot. So we're in a cheap hotel for now and will head out to Zion tomorrow! We will most likely not have internet for the next 4 or 5 days since we'll be camping in various places around Utah, so I think this is my last update for now. At least I caught up!

Los Angeles

AAAAAAHH! I'm so far behind in my updates. It's kinda hard to update when you don't have internet access. Anyway, I guess I will continue with our LA visit even though I am now in Utah. Ok, so when we got to Glenn's house, she and her family were discussing all the different things we should do. They listed so many different things that we decided to just stay an extra day there! It ended up being good for us because we got to rest a little after 2 weeks (!) on the road.

Day one was our more tourist-y day of various parts of LA. We slept in some, and woke up in time to watch the U.S. play Slovenia. I'm still a little bitter about that call...Anyway, our first stop was Hollywood. We walked along the walk of fame, got bombarded by random people trying to sell tours (however Glenn was our private tour guide). We also stopped by the Chinese theater where the lucky few stars get to put their hand/footprints in the cement. We also saw the Kodak Theater (where the academy awards are filmed, and El Capitain (where all Disney films premier). We also got a view of the Hollywood sign, but never got particularly close.

Next we drove through Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, and Bel Air. We didn't have any of those star maps to figure out where celebrities live, but most of the houses are behind enormous brick walls, so it's not like you can really see anything anyway. From there we drove past UCLA and went to a shopping area nearby. Glenn took us to this place called Diddy Riese, where you can design your own ice cream cookie sandwich!! They had a bunch of different cookies and ice cream flavors to choose from, and it was only $1.50! So delicious!

A trip to LA wouldn't be complete without a visit to the beach, so we spent the rest of the afternoon on Santa Monica beach. Harrison, Glenn, and I ventured to go into the Pacific, but Melanie thought it was too cold. It was very chilly, but you get used to. We walked around by the boardwalk and the beach playgrounds and had dinner at a great restaurant near the Third Street Promenade. We finished our evening watching the sunset on the pier, then watching the Wedding Singer before bed (read previous post to understand significance of said movie).

The second day of our visit was Pasadena day! We stayed in the area to see what was going on. We stopped by the Norton Simon Museum (it's free for students with ID!), which is where The Thinker is. They had a lot of really cool and interesting artwork. Then we went to a Mexican restaurant for a taste of REAL Mexican food. I had taquitos and they were delicious! Next we went to this chalk festival around a shopping area. A bunch of artists made really cool and intricate drawings in chalk! I took lots of pictures. They also had a free concert series around the town at various locations as a part of the city's kick-off for their summer concerts. There were a lot of interesting people, including a man dressed as Darth Vader. A lot of people in LA just like to dress up as different characters and wander the streets. We were all a little tired from being out in the sun, so we went home to take a quick nap before we met up with another school friend, Drew, for dinner at Islands Burgers. I got the Maui burger. It had guacamole on it and it was delicious! We finished the night chilling out and trying to work out plans for the next few days.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

San Francisco to LA

The past few days have been pretty great! Our friend Brad (who we stayed with in Sonoma) works at Ravens Wood winery and gave us a private tour of their facilities on Wednesday morning. We got to sample some of their wines right out of the barrel. It was pretty cool cause we got to actually see the different parts of the wine-making process. The drive to San Francisco was about and hour, and we came in across the Golden Gate bridge. We stopped on top of a hill right before the bridge to get some nice pictures and a good view of the city. We were meeting my camp friend Maggie for lunch, but stopped off at our hostel to drop off our stuff.

According to the Google map on my phone, Maggie's apartment was only a mile away, so we decided to walk. We kinda forgot that we were in San Francisco and that there are HUGE hills. Fortunately we only had one monstrous hill to climb to get to her apartment. She took us to Little Italy for some great pasta and gelato. We also got to climb on the roof of her apartment for some great city views. After lunch, we decided to wander around by Pier 39 and around the wharf.

At Pier 39, they had a store called Lefty's that sells stuff specially made for left-handed people. As a lefty, I was pretty excited about it. I purchased a mug that, if held with the right hand, would pour the beverage onto the drinker because there is a hole in it. I found it quite amusing. We also checked out the sea lions who live there, and walked to Ghiardelli square. We got a free piece of chocolate when we walked into the Ghiardelli chocolate shop! Delicious! We relaxed in a park by the wharf for a while and devoured some more candy we got at a store that has barrels full of different candies.

For dinner and more exploring, we wanted to hit up Chinatown, so we bought a cable car (trolley!) pass and rode one over there. The shops had a lot of really funny and cool stuff, and people kept stopping us to try to get us to go to their restaurant. We finally decided on one, and ended up ordering WAY too much food! We ended up giving our leftovers to some people staying in the hostel. We finished off the night by exploring the Union Square area and riding the cable cars around some more. I mean, let's be real, who doesn't love them?!

On Thursday morning, we woke up to the "Free Willy" theme song! Seriously, one of the Swedish guys staying in our hostel room had it set as his alarm. We had a good laugh about it, and it was a pretty great way to get up. We headed to Los Angeles via route 1. We didn't stay on it the whole way because the drive was really long, but the coastline looked beautiful, and we drove past Big Sur. We made it to our friend Glenn's house in Pasadena just in time to catch the last few minutes of the NBA finals. Glenn and her family were really excited to have us and started discussing all of the things we should do in LA, and listed so many things, we decided to stay an extra day. Fun facts: Glenn's house is the house where Adam Sandler's character lives in "The Wedding Singer" and her great-grandmother is the Little Old Lady from Pasadena (as in the song!). I need to take a break from typing now, so I'll try to finish the rest of our LA expeditions before we leave for the Grand Canyon tomorrow. No guarantees though.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

All the Way to Wine Country!

We ended up staying at McMenamin's a bit later than planned. We went to their wine tasting and got to sample about 6 different wines for $3. And they weren't just little sips, they were pretty generous amounts of wine. We decided to stay for lunch to give ourselves some time to recover. The wine was excellent though! I bought a bottle of the estate wine to bring home with me. It should be good!

Since we stayed later than planned, and we wanted to take the scenic Oregon coast route to the Redwood Forest (well worth the extra time, by the way), we didn't quite make it to California. Around 8:30 we started looking for a campsite so we could set up camp and have dinner before it got too dark. We ended up staying at Cape Blanco, which was a state park. It wasn't nearly as cold as Yellowstone, but the wind made it feel much colder! It was so windy, we couldn't even get the fire going. We ended up using my super-old camp stove to try to cook some pasta, but it took FOREVER for the water to boil and it ended up not being so great of a dinner. Once we got in the tent though, it was quite warm and we slept pretty well!

This morning we got up early to get on the road to California. Cape Blanco turned out to be closer to the border than we thought! We drove through the Redwoods and went on 2 different hikes. The first was a mile-and-back hike to the beach at the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. It was a little steep, but bearable, and we got to explore some of the beach as well. The second hike was the mile-long loop of the Lady Bird Johnson Redwood grove in the Redwood National Forest. This trail had a lot of the old-growth redwoods, some of which were several hundred years old! The trail also had a guide that gave a lot of info about the trees and growth around them. A park ranger overheard us talking about some birds, and ended up walking with us a bit and telling us some cool stuff about the forest. We saw these giant clover-looking leaves. I can't remember what they were called, but they contain the same stuff that they use to make Sour Patch Kids sour. He told us we could eat them (but that we should wait until he left so that we wouldn't get in trouble). They were good, but weird! Whoever heard of a sour leaf?

After the forest, we made our way to Sonoma to stay with our friend Brad who works at a vineyard in the area. We're going to stop by his job on our way into San Fransisco for a private tour! Apparently Sonoma and Napa are somewhat rivals in the wine-making industry. Either way, it's fun to drive by all the vineyards! I'm really excited for San Fransisco, though. Goals: ride trolley, see Golden Gate, eat sourdough bread. It should be fun!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Yellowstone to Portland

We woke up bright and early, but ended up leaving a little later because we were talking to our campsite neighbors who happened to be from VCU. It was a couple who were traveling to the guy's dad's house in California. It took us a while to get around to our park exit, but we saw some mule deer and and elk on the way out! The car hit mileage 123456 shortly after we got gas, so we deemed it important to document it. We decided to drive to Boise for the night after our South Dakota driving fiasco, so the drive wasn't too long and was pretty uneventful. At one point Melanie's ipod started playing the Macarena, so we started dancing and a man driving on a motorcycle next to us started laughing and dancing along as well. It was pretty funny! Instead of taking us to the park where we wanted to camp, the GPS took us to the building of the offices that manage state parks....why? I have no idea! We tried calling but soon realized we had waited until too late to book a campsite. We ended up staying at Hostel Boise, just outside the city. It was run by a really friendly couple, and they gave us a deal ($15 per person) since there weren't many people there that night.

After chilling out on the porch and showering, we went downtown to Bardenay, the only restaurant that also makes its own vodka, rum, and gin. We found it in our Lonely Planet guide book. We tried their wings (delicious!) and their signature drinks that contained their spirits. Our favorite was the ginger rum cocktail. And all of the cocktails were relatively cheap. Well done, Lonely Planet!

After a good (and warm!) night's sleep, I got up and made pancakes in the hostel kitchen before we started making our way to Portland. We weren't too far from the border, and enjoyed driving through the drastic changing scenery from mountains to hills and plains. When we stopped for gas, I started to get out of the car, but an attendant immediately came over to help us. It's illegal for you to pump your own gas in Oregon. I don't really know why, but oh well.

The drive to our hostel wasn't too much farther after getting gas, and despite a bird casualty (it flew into our windshield), we all made it to McMenamins. I like to describe it as a hostel/hotel/winery/brewery. They also have gardens and a golf course and stuff, and wasn't too much more than a hostel in downtown Portland, so we decided to go for it. This is why I went exploring last night. They have a bunch of bars and restaurants, and lots of crazy artwork all over the walls.

We went downtown to Portland to explore a little and grab some dinner. Melanie needed a belt, so she went to Buffalo Exchange, which is a used clothing store, while Harrison and I checked out Powell's, the world's largest independent bookstore. No really, they have maps available for you to find things. My favorite was the rare book room. Their oldest book for sale is from the 1400's and their most expensive book is about $350,000!! They had a book written and autographed by JFK! I think my favorite, though was their first edition copy of Eloise! It was $700! For dinner, we went to this pizza place across the street called Rocco's. It was so good, but the pieces were HUGE! We couldn't finish it all, so we gave our extra pizza to a homeless guy sitting on a corner. In exchange for the pizza, he told us a joke that didn't really make sense, but he was really excited about getting the pizza so it was fine! Before heading back to our hostel, we stopped by the rose gardens as a recommendation from my friend Gina, and they were SO PRETTY! I've never seen so many different varieties and colors of roses! They had deep purples and almost neon pinks, and really cool multi-colored ones that looked like sunsets! Mad props to Gina for recommending.

I was a little worried about not getting sleep last night. While Harrison's room was virtually empty, the women's hostel room contained a bunch of women attending a wedding. They turned out to be really funny when they came back and talked to us about our travels. They even gave us extra goodie bags from the wedding! Anyway, we're planning on hanging out around here for a while after we check out to see the winery and brewery. Then we'll head down to California to check out the redwood forest and do some more camping!

From Minnetonka to Yellowstone!

I apologize for the lack of updates on the trip. The past few days we have been camping and haven't really even had cell phone service, much less internet access. I guess I will continue with the end of our visit in Minnesota. We got a bit of a late start because I had a phone interview and Melanie had a lot of stuff to do on her computer. We had lunch with Taylor at the 5-8 Diner, which is famous for it's burger called the Juicy Lucy. They're burgers with the cheese on the inside, and it oozes out when you bite into it. We all tried them, and they were quite delicious! After leaving Minneapolis, we decided to travel west to Darwin, MN, which is home to the world's largest ball of twine rolled by one man. It's HUGE! It was about 11 feet wide and is encased in a little house to protect it from the elements. We stopped by a local saloon for a bathroom break and the waitress told us that he probably did it because he was so bored and there was nothing else to do but roll twine for several hours a day. That waitress might be one of my favorite people we've met so far.

Since we ended up going farther west, we took mostly back roads through Minnesota to get into South Dakota. It was fun to see lots of farmland and such. However, once we crossed the border into South Dakota, the main road was closed, and our GPS had us weaving in and out of dirt roads around these farms until we finally made it back to a paved road and into a little town. I got really stressed out on the dirt roads because I had no idea where we were and I was slightly worried about the van getting stuck in some muddy parts. Although we did see a fox, which was pretty cool. We drove through the night to the Black Hills, all the way on the other side of the state. Sadly, we did not get to stop at the world famous Wall-Drug, which Taylor told us is quite similar to South of the Border (for all you I-95 travelers). But that turned out to be the least of our worries. We overestimated our speed with driving and our arrival time wasn't until 2:00 in the morning, but really 3:00 for us because of the time change, and we got lost because we thought we had taken the wrong road, when in actuality we just didn't drive far enough on it. When we finally saw a sign for our campsite, we started going along this road with some of the craziest turns I've ever seen (we later found out parts of it were called "Pigtail bridge" because they curl like a pig's tail). The road also had 3 one lane tunnels, and we encountered a mountain goat in the middle of the road who would not move. We managed to drive around him though. Melanie decided to name him Syrup because he was licking a syrupy substance on the road. So after driving back and forth on the road about 3 times, we finally made it to our campsite around 5 am. We set up our tent without stakes and grabbed our sleeping bags to collapse for a few hours.

When we felt we had slept a decent enough amount, we got back in the car and, at the advice of the campsite manager, drove to Custer State Park. We went on a three mile hike called the Lover's Leap loop, which had some great views! Although the park ranger told us it was a nice stroll, we definitely had to jump over this creek about 15 times as it snaked along with the trail. It was still pretty fun though! We then took the "Wildlife loop" drive around the park and saw a variety of animals, including buffalo (what the park is famous for), prairie dogs, pronghorns, and burros! Some of the burros came up to our car and stuck their heads in the window in hopes we would feed them. Then from the park, we rode the Needles Scenic Highway to Mt. Rushmore. We called it the Needless Highway because we thought that's what the sign originally said. The highway had a lot of cool rock formations that looked like fingers and the Needles Eye, which was the topmost point and looked like the end of a needle where you would thread it. Our day ended at Mt. Rushmore. It turned out to be a lot smaller than I had always imagined it, but I decided that it only looks smaller since you're seeing it at a distance. We went back to the campsite for an early dinner so that we could get some sleep at a decent hour. Before we went to sleep I suggested we put the stakes down on the tent since it was raining some and getting windy. It proved to be a good life decision because large gusts of wind blew during the night, and I feared the tent would get blown over even with the stakes! We survived though!

The next day we took another scenic drive out of the Black Hills to get to the highway on the way to Yellowstone. We drove through Deadwood, which is a historic town that was illegally settled by outlaws during the Gold Rush. It's home to Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok. In fact, they apparently do reenactment's of Hickok's was an interesting town. We made it into Wyoming and saw, well, not much. There's pretty much nothing in Wyoming. Gas stations and rest stops are few and far between. We did stop once though to see Devil's Tower, which is a giant rock that towers over the plains. I now like to call it "Devil's Elbow" though, because Harrison accidentally called it that when he was making notes for his journal. So yeah, pretty much nothing in Wyoming...until we got closer to the Rockies! We drove through the Big Horn mountains, which were absolutely gorgeous! We also took a scenic drive into Yellowstone toward the East entrance. We stopped at a gift shop in Cody, and the people there gave us free samples of buffalo sausage and sarsaparilla. We contemplated going to a rodeo, but decided it was best to just get to the campsite. I did get some cool earrings in a $5 grab bag though! Yellowstone is BEAUTIFUL. We came in around a lake and through some towering cliffs. We even got into the park for free since the entry station was empty! We checked in and set up camp.

One thing we didn't anticipate for this campsite was the cold. It was FREEZING. I woke up several times in the middle of the night and had only somewhat irrational fears of getting frostbite on my toes. It did snow a little! We managed, though. I really wanted to go see Old Faithful, so that was our first stop of the day of our tour around the park on Friday. In addition to watching it, we also walked around to see some of the other, smaller geysers. Apparently there are actually other geysers that are more predictable, but I guess they just found Old Faithful first. They all released a lot of steam that felt nice but smelled like sulfur. We also visited the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, which was absolutely gorgeous! We also saw more buffalo and a moose! And we checked out the mud volcano area that had geysers that spew mud out instead of just water. All-in-all, the day was excellent. We finished off the night with Melanie's potato/carrot fire-cooking experiment that turned out to be quite tasty! We also slept much better because we bundled up for the night!

Well I'm going to stop here, but I do have a few more things to share as I am now in Oregon and have to tell you how I got there. However, I want to explore my hostel a little, so I will finish updating later!