Another Random Night!

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So, one of the great things about van life is that you get to sleep around. In fact we never quite know where we will end up spending the night. This past Friday night was no exception..

The drive out from Zion National Park was incredible. Landscapes unlike any other. The colors were fiery, even the asphalt was colored red.

As we left the park, the colors changed. The drive was still beautiful, just different.

Notice how the color of the road changes!

We pulled into the town of Kanab in Southern Utah right as it was getting dark. The moon lit the town up beautifully and set a nice frame around our dinner at a local patio.

Our waitress was a lovely girl from the South who had never before met anybody on their honeymoon in Kanab. She thought it was so cute that she gave us free dessert!

“Mmmmmmyyyyessssss”

When asking the locals around us where we should go on a Friday night, they said in unison, “Arizona!” The strict alcohol restrictions in Utah make people travel over the border to party, so we did. Only a couple minutes later, we found the recommended Buckskin Tavern. Behind the bar the lovely Sheila served up cheap beer and gave life advice to her clientelle. Kyler and I shot a couple rounds of pool while taking in the scene.

After we had been there a little while we put the cues down and figured it was time to head back to Kanab where we had planned to park the van outside McDonalds. However, we got chatty with Sheila and she offered us to stay outside the bar. “Nobody’s going to bother you there!” “Well, in that case we’ll have one of those,” we replied as we pointed to the pitchers and moved the van to the side of the bar for the night.

How much? $8 for the big thing!

We met so many nice people and had an absolute blast! Music was played and stories were shared. One story was about a tattoo that didn’t turn out quite as planned.

Life lesson: Always trust your tattoo artist!

We woke up the next morning to a great view (and a bit of a tight helmet.)

Thank you, Buckskin Tavern!

Zion National Park is on Fire!

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After recommendations from friends, we decided to drive North on highway 15 from Las Vegas to Zion National Park. It is a 264 km drive that took a little over a day since we stopped here and stopped there (aka sleeping at Walmart) on the way.

After speaking with the locals, we decided to do the “strenuous” Angels Landing hike. We payed the $25 park fee, parked, took the shuttle bus and started the hike. The surroundings were on fire! Never have I ever seen such a vibrant red color in mountains.

Kyler is saying, “Let’s go up there, eh?!”

We zig zagged our way up, unknowing of the incredible prize awaiting at the top.

The trail slithered its way up the mountain like a snake.

The red arrow is pointed to a person for scale.

The zig zag continues.

When we thought we had reached the summit, we discovered we were only at Scout Lookout and that the main part still remained!

“Look, that’s where we are going!”

Wikipedia describes the last part of the hike: Scout Lookout is generally the turnaround point for those who are unwilling to make the final summit push to the top of Angels Landing. The last half-mile of the trail is strenuous and littered with sharp drop offs and narrow paths. Chains to grip are provided for portions of the last half-mile to the top at 5,790 feet (1,760 m).

It was steep and awesome. With the view becoming increasingly incredible it was hard to focus on where to put you feet, but we kept our cool until we reached the top!!

Time to scale our way down in search of safer grounds for lunch.

Check out the color of the rock! I said Zion’s on fire!

A hike worth a jump – or two!

The drive out of the park was just stunning.

Honey is one lucky van!

The Last of Las Vegas

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We have now left the lights and sounds of Las Vegas and are in a different state – but we did do the last of Las Vegas in style!

I mentioned earlier that we have been staying with aunt Sam and uncle Jim in Henderson. They have a big house where we had our own suite and we had a great time with them. They are seniors and along with the neighbours in their friendly neighbourhood, we had time for coffee in the morning, hanging out in the garage, visiting, chatting, cleaning the van and fixing a couple things. Our Honey is now in tiptop shape. Sam and Jim’s vehicles, a 40 Chevy and a 54 Chevy, are worth a showing:

They even trusted us to take it for a drive!

Back to our last night in Vegas: Have you guys heard of the app Hotel Tonight? We were told about it just a couple days ago and checked it out for our last night in Las Vegas. Turned out we got a room at Planet Hollywood for $10! We were very happy about the price, and figured that even if they put us in the basement, it’s a great deal.

So, we check in and let them know we are on our honeymoon – it never hurts to try! The receptionist then proceeds to inform us that we have been upgraded to a suite with a view of the Strip! Whaaat! Pretty psyched we get in the elevator and find our sweet suite. It has a circular bathroom, Arnold’s original Terminator jacket, a lounge and a view. How cool! $10!

After getting ourselves calmed down, we ventured out into the deep of old Las Vegas – Fremont Street. At Fremont Street we met up with super cool Sam and Jim. Fremont Street is crazy. You will see all types of people. Women with beards, men with their junk tucked back in a bikini, Micheal Jackson, Elvis (a few of them), Tupac, people who put themselves into boxes, women and men with big boobs, small boobs, feathers and sequins, people who state they are too ugly to be in porn and ask for money instead. It’s all pretty wild, wildly entertaining.

Every hour the music is blasted and the Fremont Street light show is on. Some people sit to watch, some people stand to watch, some people lie down to watch, some people are busy pouring vodka from the top of their head and some people are simply too drunk to know anything is going on at all. It is all good.

Sam and Jim took us to a biker bar called Hogs and Heifers just off Fremont Street. The bar is often danced on and women love to leave their bras there. I didn’t do either of those things, but I did have fun anyways. Sam and I were lucky to get a picture with the security beef in the corner. First we got this shot:

Then he asked us: Do you want a real Hogs and Heifers shot? And we got this one:

That’s how badass this place is. We fit right in.

So, Las Vegas, we left our sins behind and hit the road again. Where to? North on Highway 15 – we are going to Zion National Park! (North?!? Yeah, I know!)

The happiest people at Lake Las Vegas

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We are the happy and lucky receivers of a gift certificate for a night at the Westin Lake Las Vegas! These past few nights we have been stying with Kyler’s aunt Sam and uncle Jim, who lives nearby in Henderson. Their neighbor had won the certificate a long time ago, but never found a time to go. When two honeymooners residing in a van rolled in, I guess it seemed like a good time:) What an incredible gift to give us!

Since yesterday we have therefore been indulging in all this incredible hotel has to offer. It’s a beautiful place with Southern European/Marroccan style exterior and interior. The garden and pool area are incredible and it’s location is grand, right along the man made Lake Las Vegas.

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In addition to the two pool areas and a beach, the resort has ping pong tables, a basketball court and a tennis court; enough to keep us busy!

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We had a great dinner last night and a great breakfast this morning. Free water and newspaper made it even better!

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Our room has lake views and is awesome! The reception area is grand!

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Celine Dion is one of the celebs living in the hood, at the price we paid I feel like we are the luckiest one here! Yiiihaaa!

LMFAO in Vegas

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Since we shuffled it up at our wedding we decided to party rock in Las Vegas.

Redfoo from LMFAO played at the Marquee at Cosmopolitan. We got up right close and personal. After hours of waiting for them to start, I was super happy to see they were pouring water to the people up front! Classy glass bottles and everything. I opened my mouth, ready for a refreshing taste of water. It was not water. It was vodka. How can I be so naive?

They really party rocked hard and looked like they had been for some time. More party rocking than working out, anyways. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Monday night in Las Vegas. It seems like the weekend every night.  It was a great time!

Viva Las Vegas!

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Lights, sounds, people, buildings, music. You name it. Las Vegas is shock full of impressions, keeping all senses busy.

All senses alert!

We rolled into Vegas on Saturday. Just like we did in 2005 we cruised the strip before parking at the Bellagio. In 2005 we had to push our van into the parking lot since we ran out of gas. When we proceded to fill up some gas from the jerry can that we were carrying with us, the nozzle broke and spilled gasoline all over us. Walking into the Bellagio to try clean off gasoline and general dirt gathered over a week in Mexico felt like a walk of shame.

This time was a different story, it had only been 2 days since our last shower.

Honey cruised in, parked and looked good. We put on some clothes that were decently clean and walked into the Bellagio with our heads held high. We were looking for a table on the Strip to perform some serious people watching. It was busy and we didn’t find any so we got a 4 beers for $4 deal and sat on a bench. A perfect people watching session! We planned to have dinner at New York New York, so we strolled over there.

We suddenly found ourselves at the entrace to the Cirque de Soleil show Zumanity. A lady with a stagette approached us and asked if we were looking for tickets. Kyler was disappointed they were not looking for entertainment. We were not really looking for tickets as the show was in 10 minutes and we had not yet had dinner. However, when the price dropped from $86 to $25, we were all in!

We went in not knowing anything about the show. We soon discovered it was different than other Cirque de Soleil shows. Well, not that different, just waaaay less clothing… Hot in Vegas!

 

Knott’s Berry Farm

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Before we headed inland to Perris for the skydive event, Kyler and I dedicated a day to complete madness and fun at Knott’s Berry Farm in Anaheim. It was mid-week-ish and honestly barely any people there.

Remember the occasional time as a kid when you went to the fair or amusement park and were able to ride the roller coaster again – and again – maybe without even getting off in between? That’s the type of day we had. We didn’t have to get off the rides. We would run between rides and hop straight on. AWESOME!

At the end of the day we had been running around like crazies, we were probably dehydrated. When we started seeing black and almost fainted in the loops we decided it was time to call it a day. Pretty grown up decision, I must say…

I like this:

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[When Vonnegut tells his wife he’s going out to buy an envelope] Oh, she says, well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don’t know. The moral of the story is, is we’re here on Earth to fart around.

Kurt Vonnegut

Wingsuit Flying World Record Attempt

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If I could choose one super-power, it would be to fly. The wingsuit flyers here are getting as close as possible to that. Wingsuit flying is amazing!

We are currently in Perris, California – a mecca for skydivers.

Our relative, Shellie Anderson, is part of the team attempting to set a new world record in wingsuit formation flying. 100 of the best wingsuit flyers in the world are working on forming a diamond in the air. We spent the day here yesterday and my dad will not be happy to hear how inspired I am to start skydiving! There are all sorts of people from all around the world here. We are surrounded by so much positivity the air is vibrating.

Several of the wingsuit flyers are also BASE jumpers. Norway, and especially Kjerag, is a big destination for BASE jumpers and many of the flyers here have been there.

We spoke with one guy from California who prefers to be left un-named. He gets his biggest kicks from BASE jumping and has been travelling the world to jump off things. One of the jumps he has done took him a year and a half to plan and was off a building in a big city in the US. He had to figure out the best time in terms of weather, the traffic light pattern as well as how to get to the top of the building. One night, after dressing up as an electrician and making the security guard believe that he was there to perform a check up of the lights on the roof of the building, he got up to the top. Then he got the “go” via radio from his friends waiting in a van at the bottom. No way back, he’s sweating, scared to shit – and jumps! He has one parachute, one attempt and only very few seconds to do what is necessary to save his own life. Intense. It was very interesting talking to somebody who do what you only really read about in the papers, and often only when someone died. BASE jumping is undoubtably the most dangerous recreational sport, but from the conversations we had these people do not have a death wish. They take any measure they can to play it “safe” and feel alive. They are looking to get a rush, that other people might get from other things in life.

The picture below shows the 100 wingsuit flyers practicing on the ground in the morning sunrise. Today is the first day they are doing the full 100. The previous days they have been forming a diamond of 81 people. Flying this many people at the same time provides many challenges. There’s a risk of colliding in the air, as well as in the landing. It’s therefore very important to know what’s arround you, stick to the plan and land at the assigned spot. We were able to join in on two de-briefings yesterday. It gave us an insight into the efforts and collaboration required for this magnitude of a jump.

Perris Skydive Resort takes care of its guests!

Another tough day in the office! Bye, bye – for now!

Follow up live on the record attempt here!

A visit to San Diego

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Soo, we are a few days behind here… Too much fun in the sun is the reason for that. At the moment we are watching the most radical action imaginable: wing suit flying – 81 of them at the same time! Before I tell you more about that I’ll turn back time a few days and show some photos from San Diego!

As Ron Burgundy put it: “Mmm. San Diego. Drink it in, it always goes down smooth. Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diago, which of course in German means “a whale’s vagina”.”

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We have watched Anchorman numerous times, but neither one of us had been to the whale’s vagina, so (as usual) we were excited to check it out. Being close to Mexico and knowing that border areas can be fairly sketchy, we didn’t imagine the beautiful paradise San Diego proved to be.

We had a wonderful day cruising around taking in the quaint, big city. You know some places you go to, you just get a feeling that people are happy to be there. You see people on their own walking down the street with a big smile on their face. That’s what we felt in San Diego. No big stress, just sunshine, flowers and palm trees in the breeze. On our way back north we drove through one little beach town after another like beautiful beads on a string. Surf is everywhere. Surfers, surf shops, surf signs, surf statues, surf shirts – quite the lifestyle!

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