Category Archives: Cross Country Trip

Where in the world are Reese and Chris???

Yes yes most of you must be wondering where we are due to the lack of posting. We stayed in San Diego until Sunday July 6th and then left and started driving up the coast. We only drove about an hour or so because we left pretty late from Kevin’s. We also had nooo food, so before we stopped at the state park where we were going to spend the night on the beach we made a trip to Albertson’s to stock up. Of course this turned into Chris reading the newspaper as I shopped for food, but hey what do you expect, he is a boy. He did pick out a handle of Jack Daniels that was on sale for $30.

We pack up our food and drive over to San Clemente State Beach and realize that there is a “campsites full” sign outside; great, just what we needed. We decided to drive through there anyways because we were still sooo tired and recovering from our crazy week with Kevin. Luckily there was an empty spot so we plugged in and pretty much went straight to bed. The next day we woke up and tried to reserve the campsite we were staying in again for Monday night that way we would wake up at the beach on my birthday, but no it was reserved. We stayed in that spot 2 hours past what we were supposed to (we wanted to get our full $34 out of it) and when the next people were honking to get in the spot, we quickly unplugged and drove over to the beach (we didn’t have to pay the ten dollar fee to park at the beach because we had already paid to camp the night before).

We spent the whole day hanging out at the beach, napping, and watching all the surfers. The waves are pretty crazy there but the water was WAY to cold for us to go in. Right behind the little stretch of beach that we were sitting on was the oceanfront railroad tracks and we saw at least 5 passenger cars go by us that day. The sun was beginning to set, so we hiked back up to the parking lot and made dinner right there (one of the convinces of living in and rv).

It’s around ten o’clock and night and we were still homeless for the night. Chris wanted to just sleep in the parking lot at the beach but I didn’t want to wake up on my birthday to someone towing us or an expensive parking ticket. Instead we drove 2 miles away to another state campground that was also completely full. We drove through and found a nice secluded spot and plugged in. Chris made a fire and we just relaxed until midnight when….I turned 22. (I even got a really cool video of little Kuhsie duck singing happy birthday with a corn muffin and candle. Maybe I can upload it later with Chris’s help.)

We woke up and cleaned up the campsite, and then went to go take showers, which cost 25 cents for 2.5 minutes!! Well we of course have no quarters so we go up to the booth and they don’t have any change at all either. We go back to the rv and dug around for change and came up with 5 quarters to share (i wonder who used more time…).

We left the campground and continued up the coast to Laguna Beach where we were going to have lunch for the day. After the short 45 minute dive we had to figure out where we could park our house. Parking was ten dollars most places so instead of giving money to a parking lot, we decided to pay ten dollars and park at a state campground, which we ended up regretting because they were all assholes to us and kept giving us Such a hard time when we were loading and unloading the dirt bike (they even accused Chris of riding around in the park and he had to continuously tell them that we were only using it to get to town.)

Well we rode into town and drove all around Laguna Beach (to me it didn’t look the same as what the tv shows looked like). Yes the houses were all huge and nice and there were a lot of nice cars everywhere but it’s not one of my favorite stops on this trip. We find this little Mexican place that you can see the water and the beach from their balcony. I ask if they have any weekday or happy hour specials (Chris and I are always looking for a great deal) and the waiter says “um I don’t think anyone has ever asked me that before” I guess they aren’t used to cheapos like us. Well we have a nice 50 dollar Mexican food lunch and head back to the rv so we can continue onward to LA.

Chris drove this next stretch because there was no way I was going to drive the rv through LA’s traffic.  People are speeding around us left and right and blinkers, well I don’t think they mean anything to people in LA. Chris had to put on music after awhile to calm his road rage. We get to Culver City (about 8 miles outside of LA) and check into the Radisson there (I had a free stay saved up from a bad experience Chris and I had at a Radisson in Niagara Falls for my birthday last year).

We have a nice bottle of wine in the room and call a Taxi to head off to dinner. We were going to  pay the $45 each way to go into Hollywood but instead we just went and ate at this really nice Cheesecake factory right on the water. The food and drinks were all really good and it was awesome to eat right on the beach. (my mom said that I could charge a dinner under 100 dollars and it just happened that our bill came out to 99.99 with tip:) haha I’m so tricky. After dinner we walked over to this really cool bar where we had some big margaritas and watched some motocross on tv. The bar was two stories, had a fire pit and plasma tvs everywhere. Our waitress was awesome and Chris asked if I could get a free shot since it was my birthday. She said sure as long as I went downstairs and took it with the head bartender because her birthday was in two days. We finish our drinks and go down to get my shot at the big bar. The bartender said it was another guys birthday too! His birthday was the 9th, mines was the 8th and the bartenders was the 10th. She pours us all (even Chris) a free shot a Patron…whoop whoop!!

After the bar we walk down to the beach and sit on the lifeguard stand for a little while. It was nice and cool out and we knew this was going to be the last time we were at the beach for a while. We started to walk back and there was a little convenience store were we bought a couple of really good cheap bottles of wine and Chris bought me the newest Cosmo magazine (since it was my birthday). We go to call a cab and see that there is one right outside of the bar we were just at. We go up to the cab and I guess some foreign girl had called for it and was trying to round up her friends inside. The driver didn’t care one bit, he told us to just hop in and $17 dollars later we were back at the hotel. It was a fun night and nice to come back to a big room.

In the morning we started to pack up (and of course got an extension on our checkout like we do everywhere). Chris does some work and we decide that since we are on this side of LA, we should take the dirt bike out to do all the sightseeing this afternoon before we got to City of Industry to see VIS and Seibon for Chris’s work. We left the rv in the parking lot and drove off to Rodeo Drive and Hollywood.

First we arrived at Rodeo drive and drove down looking at all the expensive stores that I won’t be able to afford until way after my law school debts are paid off. I didn’t even want to go look in the shops because I know I can’t afford anything. We did see about 50 people outside of one store with a bunch of cameras so we guessed someone famous was in there. We drove on trying to find a place to eat lunch and couldn’t find restaurants anywhere; people in LA must not eat. We finally see this place that has a nice patio outside and flowers, I think it was call Chick a Roo??? We order our food and go to sit down outside. I grab a magazine because Chris loves to read things while he waits for food. I opened it and start to realize that it had a lot of like gay news in it. I thought that was just how the issue was. Then Chris looks up and realizes that there are two big rainbow flags in the street; we totally stopped to eat in the gay part of town without knowing it. It worked out because everyone was super nice and the food was pretty reasonable.

From there we drove into Hollywood. We parked the dirt bike and walked the main strip where all the stars are and the Chinese Theatre. We did the touristy thing and put our hands and feet in the molds and walked the street while getting harassed by people trying to sell maps of stars homes. After a little bit of walking, I actually got to shop for the FIRST time this whole trip. I think I went in like 3-4 stores and bought 3 new dresses (all on sale). After I got a few new clothes, Chris decided that he really wanted a new cool “west coast style” t-shirt to wear. For those of you who don’t know, it’s the t shirts that have a lot of designs on them, skulls sometimes, they are the cool things to wear. Well we started looking and most the ones we likes were right around 100 dollars; there is no way Chris was going to pay that for a t-shirt. So we keep walking.

And walking. We kept walking down the road going in tons of stores that sold that style of shirt. Chris didn’t want too extreme of a shirt because he wants to still be able to wear it on the east coast and didn’t want to pay over 40 dollars for a shirt. Finally we find this store that had a shirt we both liked for around 40 dollars. It was a smaller store away from the tourist area so the owner comes up and offers Chris a 15% discount. After we hear that, we find another one that he likes and end up getting both shirts for a good deal….almost an hour and a half after our search began.

We walk back to the dirt bike and head back to the hotel we were are sure the rv is racking up a crazy parking bill. We also had to get out to City of Industry to we could meet Irving for dinner. (Chris’s VIS rep that he has never met and done business with for years) I go inside the hotel to pay out parking bill and somehow talked the guy into validating it for FREE…total score because it saved us almost 30 dollars. We loaded the dirt bike and headed off on the hour drive to the other side of LA, through rush hour traffic, while trying to find a decent hotel to stay at.

San Diego, CA

We got to San Diego around 2:30 on Monday night and have been staying and Chris’s Uncle Kevin’s house since then. His house is awesome and really unique. He has a lot of artwork hanging everywhere and not a white wall to be seen. It is nice to have a bed to sleep in and a shower that you don’t have to wear shoes in. He even had a bunch of candles lit for our arrival (I am sure he does the same for you too Susan) We hung out and had a few beers and before we knew it, the sun was rising.

We woke up on Tuesday around noon because people kept calling for Illstreet. (unfortunately now since we are actually in California, Chris opens at 8 am and closes at 5.) Chris was pretty backed up on his work since we had only a little cell phone and internet connection for the past few days and he was closed for hiking the grand canyon. So Chris worked for the next five hours straight and I watched some tv and playing with Spike (Kevin’s American Bulldog, super relaxed and laid back dog). I watched the news to see the 1000 fires that are in California right now and that might affect our drive north. Everyone has told us to go to Big Sur and right now, we are not sure if we are going to be able to go there or Napa. :(

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We also found out that San Diego has a new “no drinking alcohol on the beach” law here. (which is total crap) They even have this flashlight wand that they can wave over your drink and it sucks in the vapors to tell if there is liquor or beer in it(in case you try to sneak booze in a cup.) The fine is 100 dollars for your first offense. Uncle Kevin said the beaches have been empty since this law began; it will also have a big affect on the fireworks this year.

So after work and the news, Chris and I rode bikes around trying to get to the beach. One left turn instead of a right turn and no water was to be seen. So we headed back to the house and got on the dirt bike to head off to dinner. Before we got to Old Town Mexican Cafe (the bar/restaurant Kevin manages) we stopped at Pacific Beach and walked the boardwalk for a little while. The waves were so much bigger than anywhere we had seen before and we were shocked at how cool the weather was. Chris and I both had jeans on and we were still chilly.

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We hopped back on the dirt bike and went off to get some dinner. The food at the Mexican Cafe was ammmazzingg. They make all their tortillas by hand where you can watch and of course the margaritas rocked since we had an experienced bar tender hooking us up. We literally had about 5 plates of food in front of us and I think we finished almost all of it. Chris and I were still really tired at this point from not sleeping much so we just headed home and ended up falling asleep on the couch shortly after. (not exciting I know, but the rest of our weekend is going to be crazy, we have to save up for it)

We woke up early again today because we definitely wanted to spend the day at the beach. Tomorrow, Uncle Kevin’s girlfriend Susan is coming to town for the fourth of July and we are going to spend all day Friday outside and going to a bunch of Kevin’s friends places to watch the fireworks. Chris and Kevin are off picking up one of his nine cars right now (which means I am back to my blogging duties since Chris nnneeevverr writes anything.)

Overall, San Diego has kicked ass so far and we can’t wait to see more of it. Oh yes, and I forgot to say the most important thing….less than a week until my biirtthhdayy :) We don’t know where we will be spending my big 2-2 yet but hopefully it will be somewhere fabulous. Kevin has some crazy things planned for the weekend so I hope Chris and I can keep up.

Stuff to write about still:

Went down to the boardwalk

Met Kevin at Nicks at the Beach and had a very drinks

Drove the bikes up the cross but it was too foggy so we went back in the morning

Seal Beach

Lambo/Ferrari shopping

Mexican food for lunch at this cool burrito place

Nude Beach

Susan got in and we went to eat at Olde Town Cafe

Trying to get a very prickly cactus into Susan’s Sebring convertible

Chris and Kevin went mountain biking (the wheel fell off of Chris’ mountain bike)

Went to a bar and met up with Kevin’s friends at the beach (20 dollar shots from Billy)

Went and bought Susan her watermelon; and we got burgers beers and liquor

Took showers and got ready in less than an hour (all 4 people with one bathroom)

Went to a really nice house and picked up some of Kevin’s friends; we went right up the street to Dave’s (gorgeous 5-6 million dollar home with amazing views of downtown San Diego.

Walked in with about 10 people and watched a fireworks show over the whole city with 7 coinciding fireworks shows

Then went to a loft downtown to hang out some more; After that Chris and I walked Spike and Roxy for a couple of hours

Susan and I went to get mani/pedi and Chris was a little hungover

Went and watched Ultimate Fighting (super cool)

Sunday- we went and saw Kevin’s condos and a bunch of different beaches. We went and ate at a steakhouse for dinner and then went back to Kevin’s for a little bit before we left San Diego around 9 pm.

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Border Patrol

It is around 11 o’clock Pacific time….yes yes we made it to CALIFORNIA!! Well we are driving west on I-8 and realized that we are literally driving next to the Mexican border; we even have to go through border patrol checks. They make you stop and ask if you are a USA citizen and if we are the only two people in the car. We were scared we were going to have to get out and get searched. Luckily, that was not the case; Chris and I must look American enough.

Soooo this lead to us thinking about how many Mexicans we could smuggle in the rv without being seen. Here is how it works out: 4 above the driver cab; 3 in the bathroom; 1 under the couch; 1 under the table; 1 under the dirtbike cover on the back of the rv; 2 (one in each of the kayaks on the roof while putting the skirts over them so no one could see in.) So overall that means we could smuggle at least 12 Mexicans into the country safely!

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Haha hopefully everyone found that amusing and not offensive. Chris also figured out that if he was to actually smuggle Mexicans, he would get a beat up Ford F150 and dress like a redneck. He would add stickers that would say “Voluntary Boarder Control” “Terrorist Hunter” and other redneck things. He said this would be the best way to sneak them around.

In case you are wondering….YES we have seen people get caught so far. There are bright lights, fences, and hills everywhere. Cars and border patrol are hiding everywhere. We have seen at least a few people get caught just a few feet from the highway we are driving on. Literally California is on our right and Mexico on our left. Hopefully we don’t have to stop at anymore checkpoints now since they know our smugling plan. Well we will be in San Diego in about 2 hours; I will make sure and update if we see any funny signs or any more really cool busts.

Phoenix, AZ

Can anyone here say HOT! Because that is how Chris and I would describe Phoenix. We had only a 2+ hour drive from Sedona, but that short drive feels very long in 115 degree heat and NO air-conditioning. We saw probably at least 20 trucks stopped on the side of the road, broken down from overheating. It was still very hilly and had lots of steep grades so after a while; Chris pulled off the highway to try and find some shade to park in and let the rv “cool down.”

At this point, we couldn’t figure out if it was better to have to windows open or closed. The breeze felt like a blowdryer blowing hot air on your face and with the windows closed, we had to have ice packs on our neck to keep cool. We had to drive through Phoenix anyways to get to San Diego and I wanted to stop and see one of my favorite cousins Kaine and his preggers girlfriend Lacey.

We show up to their new apartment complex (Costco across the street..haha another obsession with my family) and Chris and I drove around until we found 3 spots we could take up in the back. We get ready to walk in when we realize that the back door won’t close and lock. This is a nice area of town, right by downtown Scottsdale but Chris and I have 3 laptops, xbox, flat screen tv ect., way too much to risk leaving it open. Chris proceeds to take apart the door handle (for about the 3rd time) and try to fix it. It took him about 30 minutes and we were all yucky and hot.

Kaine called to make sure we weren’t lost and I explained our little situation. Instead of us walking to their place, they came and picked us up from the back and took us out to dinner. We went to this really cool restaurant and ate outside on couches (they also have these really cool misting things that hang from the ceiling all over around there). For some reason I can’t remember the name of the restaurant (Kaine can comment about it if he is not too busy at work to check out our cool blog..haha) They had at least 75 beers on tap, most of which were ones that Chris and I have never heard of, yummy.

We ate and chatted about our trip, Kaine’s work, family, and the new baby Dillon Robert (of course not born yet, only 7.5 months pregnant). I don’t know how Lacey does it being pregnant in the heat down here, it must be intense. Chris liked looking at all the really cools cars and lifts that you could see everywhere around there (Westlake people, the downtown there is kind of like Crocker Park but bigger).

After dinner we went back to their apartment and hung out for a little while longer. We got the see the baby’s new room and all the decorating they have already done for it. It was great to get to see both of them. I met Lacey at Thanksgiving this past year and that’s the last time I saw Kaine too since they live soooo far away in Arizona. They seem really excited for the new baby and both seem really happy.

Around 9 o’clock, we had to get back on the road so we could get a few hours out of phoenix before morning traffic. We said our goodbyes and packed back up in our very hot rv. You would think that since it was dark it might have cooled down, but no. Hot Hot Hot Hot.

Chris knew we couldn’t make it too far because the rv had started making noises earlier and he wanted to stop for the night and replace the spark plugs wires again and the bushing. We only made it about 45 minutes down the road he said we had to pull over. So he gets out to check the engine and realizes that we have NO oil. (he had just done a full oil change before we left.) Unfortunately we are in the middle of no where (nearest gas station is 6 miles back from where we came from). Chris unloads the dirtbike and of course I am going with him (no way am I sitting in the rv on the side of the road alone for 20 minutes)

Thanks for the dirtbike, we got the oil and luckily no damage was done to the engine. Chris knew at that point that we really needed to stop at the soonest rv park (about 30 miles down the road). I gave him directions and then accidentally fell asleep ( I was tired from unpacking from the Grand Canyon, doing a bunch of loads of laundry, and a counter full of dishes earlier). So we miss that park and instead end up at a different rv resort another 30 miles down the road (truly a blessing in disguise).

Around midnight we pull in and go to sleep, running the air conditioner but it is still soooo warm in the rv. We had to pay to plug in because you couldn’t sleep in a rest stop with no cool air.

In the morning, we wake up at 9 am and Chris goes outside to start working on the bushing before it gets too hot. So he is banging and banging, using a hammer and a crowbar to try and get the old one off. The noise brought out the owner of Oasis Rv Park, Jim, on his golfcart, asking if Chris needed any help. We thought we were going to get yelled at because we still hadn’t paid from pulling in the night before, but instead he offered Chris some really amazing help. The owner called a shop and actually lent Chris a car to go and drive there!! The first shop couldn’t do it so he went to a second one about 30 minutes away. I can’t believe that the owner was so nice and willing to do that for us. I stayed behind and answered all his Illstreet calls and cleaned up again.

While Chris was driving he swears he saw Big Black (from a MTV show he likes called Rob & Big) He said the driver looked exactly like him and he was driving a new, clean, black Jeep Cherokee with big wheels, tinted windows, and had a big silver BB sign in the back (Big Blacks symbol).

He gets back and thanks the owner for being so nice and they chat about how hot this place is in the summer. 117 today. The owner of Oasis is retired from the navy and traveled all over the world. He decided to buy some land and his dream was to live in the Sunbelt and own an rv park, not necessarily for the money but more for the lifestyle. He said in the winter, it is packed full of people here. He told Chris that we can’t leave until later because the rest of the drive is very hilly and hot (he basically said the rv couldn’t make it if we left now.) So basically we have been sitting here, Chris working and me watching a movie, drinking water and still sweating with the ac running. Later on he also gave Chris a tire patch kit and an aircompressor as well. (we had somehow run over a pair of scissors in our journey)

At this point, we can’t wait to get to San Diego where we will be staying with Chris’s Uncle Kevin until the 4th of July. We are only about 3 hours away and should get there tonight, hopefully experiencing some much cooler weather.

Sedona, Arizona

If any of you have ever driven from the Grand Canyon to Sedona, you will understand how difficult the drive is to do in a rv. I had lines of cars following me because it is a twisting, turning, slow, difficult drive where you have a 7% grade and drop 2000 feet in a couple of miles. I was scared to go over 15-20 mph because I didn’t want to be responsible for driving us off a cliff. Occasionally I would pull over and let the train of cars pass me (I know if I was driving a normal car, I would be none to happy to be stuck behind a slow rv). Although at one point, I had a car continuously ride up on my tail and start honking; let’s just say I didn’t pull over for them. In fact I went even slower and Chris took care of the rest (imagination at work).

So once again a 2 hour drive turned into a 3 or so hour drive. The only problem with that was we HAD to check in at the rv park before dark. Unfortunately, we didn’t know if dark meant sunset, headlights on, or pure blackness. Well anyways we made it and got the pleasure of following a fire truck down into Lo Lo Mai rv resort.

Don’t worry; there wasn’t a fire, just a rattlesnake that they wanted to get rid of. So we checked in and decided to order some yummy pizza because we were too tired to cook and too hungry to go without eating. While waiting for our food we saw lots of wildlife. The rv resort has a huge pond with geese and ducks (missing our own little Koozie Duck), raccoons, dogs, cats, skunks, snakes etc. (the owners liked feeding wild animals). It was actually pretty cool. There was a creek nearby and lots of trees (shade is always appreciated. It was 32 dollars a night but the park was very secluded, clean, friendly, and had good bathrooms and laundry area.

We were soooo tired but we still had to set up camp. Our neighbors were impressed that we still even hung our cool outdoor lights even though we just hiked up the Grand Canyon. The only downside to Lo Lo Mai was that we had NO cell phone service. No calls in or out and no internet. That wasn’t too bad for us because it was the weekend so Chris didn’t need to answer calls and we were too tired to talk to anyone. We could still send and receive text messages so we weren’t completely disconnected. Chris tried to put a movie in but we basically just fell asleep.

Ah, a bright new day and OW we are SORE. Man you think you are tired after the hike but try walking the next day. Sedona is known for their amazing red rocks and the Jeep Tours that you go off-roading on. Instead of paying $150-200 to have someone else ride us around in a Jeep (Chris’s Jeep is sitting at his parent’s house in Spartanburg) we decide to take the dirtbike out

We change into grungy clothes, fill up our camel backs (small backpacks that hold 2 liters of water each) and head off to the trails. At first, the trails aren’t how I remembered them. I had been there with my family some years ago and I remembered it being more extreme (trust me we hit those just a little later on). We stopped first at some old ruins that we had to hike out to. They were really cool and built under this cliff. After seeing those, we asked the woman at the beginning of the trail where the best places to go were. She sent us off on 60 miles of fun riding (although I am sure Chris wished at some points that I wasn’t on the back, it’s much easier to ride with only one person.)

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We finished riding and we were hot, thirsty and dirty so we decided to go into Sedona and check out the downtown area. (Lo Lo Mai is about 8 miles south of actual Sedona) We got smoothies and checked out some of the tourist shopping; most of it was out of our price range. Instead of eating there, we drove back to West Sedona where we saw a nice Mexican restaurant that had happy hour specials from 4-6.

We go it and sit at the bar because we were still dirty from riding. We get $4.00 big margaritas, chips and salsa, and calamari. The drinks and food were delicious but the best part of our night came a little later on. A couple came in and sat down next to us at the bar. We ended up small talking about the food and drinks and then Chris and I find out that they have been living in Sedona for 7 years. We ask them what else we should see or do before they leave in the morning and they proceed to tell us about this amazing, secluded place to see the sunset.

After getting detailed directions, we start to tell them about our trip and explaining how Chris runs his own business from the road and was South Carolina’s entrepreneur of the year this past spring. Well that must have set of a light bulb in Terry’s head, (the couples names are Terry and Jeanette). He is a venture capitalist, and he and Chris started talking business and cars. We continue talking, finishing our drinks and they remind us that we have to get going if we are going to catch the sunset. We go to leave and they say “instead of driving all the way out to that other place, why don’t you just come back to our house and watch the sunset from our balcony.” Chris and I of course agree.

We follow them back and pull up to an amazing house (even nicer than the houses we had driven around looking at earlier). They have a fountain in front, two very friendly dogs, a donkey that lives next door, and a view that is breathtaking. We couldn’t believe how friendly and nice they were! Inviting two dirty strangers inside their beautiful house to hang out with for the night. We pour some wine and tequila (not mixed of course) and go upstairs to sit on the top balcony and watch the sunset.

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We stayed there until past 11 o’clock just talking, looking and the view, having the guys look at some amazing cars Terry has, and feeding carrots to the donkey next door. At the end of the night, Chris of course gets their information (venture capitalist + entrepreneur = hopefully a good idea and a lot of money some day)

We had such an amazing night, probably one of the most entertaining we had so far on this adventure. Who knows, Chris might even have found a future investor in his business.

We hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon!

Chris and I successfully climbed up and down the Grand Canyon. We left our campsite Thursday morning around 5 am and drove to the back country office to park the rv (we were allowed to park there overnight for free) and then had to wait for the express shuttle to take us to the South Kaibab trail. We got a slightly later start than we wanted but what do you expect, Chris and I aren’t morning people.

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So we started hiking, and hiking, and we saw a few people in the zone on their way up. And down further we go. Chris kept looking at the gps to calculate how far we had gone and at one point, we asked this other group if they knew how long the trail was; they said “About 6 miles.” We see the amazing views of the canyon that this trail is known for and take some pictures. We saw mules carrying people and loads down and were pretty impressed with the two restroom stops. This trail has NO water on it so we packed over 4 liters for each of us. Once we got close to 6 miles, Chris and I were like “wow this wasn’t that bad, we weren’t even that exhausted.” But oh no, that woman was very wrong.

We still had another 3 miles to go downhill. Ugh! By this point, Chris was carrying the big pack and I was carrying the backpack. We switched on and off the first few miles but my knee was started to get weak. Having a trekking pole saved my life when it came to getting up and down the canyon. (I bought mine for 30 dollars the day before but we found out later that you can rent them for $2 a pole per day. Definitely rent them if you are going to do this hike!)

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The sun started to get hotter and our stops became slightly more frequent. Yes we did get passed by a 15 year old boy hiking by himself (we think he was a boy scout trying to get a badge or something because he was hauling ass) And around 10:30 we were passed by this guy who was heading up the mountain. He stopped in our shady rest area and told us how he had ran down the bright angel trail and was now running up this trail AND he had left the same time we did in the morning. Some of these people are nuts; they made me feel really out of shape.

Finally, around noon, we made it to the tunnel that leads to the bridge. We had finally made it down. We cross the bridge thinking we were there but oh no, there is another MILE walk to the Phantom Ranch! Chris and I decided early on that we were going to go straight to Phantom Ranch and buy a 4 dollar cold beer to celebrate as soon as we got down. So we dunked our heads in water and slowly started to make our way uphill. We got our beers, 2 Tecate’s each, carried down the canyon by mule. We also got some bagels because we were too tired to make our freeze dried meals.

After our beers, we went and checked out the campsites by the creek. It was sooo hot that the temperature was 105 but felt like 125 in the sun. All of the full shade sites were gone so we took a half shade site that had 4 trees for us to tie our jungle hammocks too. (tents are way too heavy to carry down, and the ground is way too uncomfortable to sleep on so the hammocks were perfect) We sat in the creek and drank some wine, so we could be cool and do what my parents did when they hiked down, even though we didn’t hike down and up in one day (Sitting in the creek is what EVERYONE does down there. It is too hot to be anywhere else so all the hikers just sit in this 2 foot deep cold clear creek until the sun sets).

Chris set up his hammock and then accidentally fell asleep before setting up mine. I tried to go sleep on a picnic table in the shade but it didn’t work too well. I ended up sitting in the river for another 2 hours until he woke up. We made freeze dried lasagna which was actually pretty tasty. After dinner, we decided to go for a walk (and no we aren’t crazy, we just wanted to see the Colorado River) So we went and sat on a different bridge overlooking a rapid and then went to the sandy beach once the sun set. The stars down there were breathtaking. I have never seen stars that clearly in my life. And the weirdest part of the beach was that bats were flying 6 inches over our head as we laid there.

We started to get sleepy so we went to leave and Chris realized that he had left his knife in the sand. We had brought only one head lamp and after skimming the beach, we realized it must have gotten buried. This was a knife Chris has had since he was little so after some digging, we finally found it. By this point it was 9:45 and we had to get back to the ranch store to try and get mole skin for my blisters and a few other things. Unfortunately, by the time we hiked up there, it was closed. We flashed our light in and a woman opened a window asking if we needed anything. We convinced her to let us in to just buy the mole skin.

We went back to our campsite and made a second freeze dried meal, beef teriyaki, climbed in our hammocks and went to sleep for a few hours. The people next to us got up at 2:30 and our alarm went off at 3:30……nooo thank you. We were way too tired to get up then. Around 4, Chris gets out and convinces me to get out of bed. We packed up our gear, ate freeze dried scrambled eggs (yuck they were horrible, I didn’t eat any, I had a granola bar.)

We get on the Bright Angel Trail around 5 am, about 2 hours later than they recommended. So we hike and hike and the trail is completely different than the trail we took down. This one passes by a few creeks and actually had a few trees at the beginning.

We were making pretty good time and filled up with water and the 3 different watering stations. By the time we reached 3 mile (3 miles from the top) we started to see a lot a day hikers and people that were WAY less tired than we were. The next mile and a half took us an hour and a half to complete. It was starting to get very hot and very steep. We made it though with the help on this family who gave us some trail mix to help replenish our salt.

chris-restingwe-made-it

We got a mile from the top and I couldn’t go any further because I felt very sick. I had only eaten 300 calories that day and my body literally had no energy left to burn. One of our fellow friendly hikers gave me a bag of trail mix that had 900 calories, enough to boost up my energy so we could make it to the top. By the time we were close, we were stopping about every 200 feet because we were soo hot and tired. But guess what…WE MADE IT!!

After we made it out, we were sooo exhausted and looked pretty awkward and dirty compared to the rest of the tourists. (We were pretty much stumbling around using our walking sticks for guidance) We had NO desire to walk the mile to our car so we waited in a line for about 15 minutes to eat some ice cream. We sat on the ground and ate while turning our cell phones back on and calling home. The ice cream gave us some energy so we went in the store right there to buy our shirts that say we hiked the Grand Canyon. Still carrying our packs and half delusional from exhaustion, we head off in search of our rv. We couldn’t really remember were the backcountry office was so we just stumbled on the railroad tracks (we remembered we parked right by them) And Yay we made to the rv and everything was still in tack. We throw our gear in and decide that we want some Wendys, which is about ten minutes away.

I decide to drive since Chris was even more tired than me because he had to carry the huge pack all the way up. About 2 minutes down the road, the rv started smoking. We stop immediately blocking traffic and Chris diagnoses the problem as an old wire that had come loose. He pulled it out and the smoke went away. 3 minutes later down the road, the rv started sputtering and oops we had run out of gas. Stopping traffic again, we filled up our tank with the 3 gallon reserve we kept bungee corded on the back. All we wanted some fooooddd. We had to stop at the nearest gas station and had to buy gas for 4.69!!!!!! After that, we ordered 17 dollars worth of Wendy’s from the dollar menu. Delicious!

We were tired and sore but knew we wanted to try and make it to Sedona that night since it was only 2 hours away. I start driving and we were off to Lo Lo Mai rv park in Sedona.

The Grand Canyon

The alarm goes off and after about 20 minutes(remember we went to bed at 3 and this is at 5 am), I drag myself up and continue driving. In case if anyone was wondering why we just didn’t stop for the night, we HAD to get to the Grand Canyon today on Wednesday so we could try to get a permit to hike into the Canyon on Thursday. Chris and I didn’t make any reservations on this trip and had already called the Backcountry office and campground. There was nothing available.

I stopped after about an hour to get McDonald’s breakfast (a treat for myself) and picked Chris some food too. I was letting him sleep until we got to the Canyon. It took me about 2.5 hours but the drive was really pretty. We finally get to the entrance and didn’t have to pay the $25 fee because we had bought a National Park Pass in Carlsbad. (For 80 dollars, you get admission to all national parks and a bunch of other stuff. The card is good for up to 4 people or one vehicle. We already saved 37 so hopefully we will earn the rest back in the next year.)

I have been to the Grand Canyon a long time ago with my family but Chris has never been here. On our way to the Backcountry Permit Office, we stop at Mather Point and jumped out so Chris can get his first view. I don’t even think there are words to describe it. Unfortunately this was a quick stop because we had some major begging to do.

We show up at the permit office and were greeted by a very friendly park ranger. We wanted to put our names on the waiting list to camp overnight in the canyon on Thursday but instead…..WE GOT THE PERMIT. You have no idea how stressed we were (well I was) that we weren’t going to get it. Our friendly ranger gave us lots of tips and advice on how to do the trip properly and safely. After all of our questions were answered, he even gave us free fuel for cooking that a camper had left behind.

After that experience, we were in such a good mood that we thought we should at least try to see if there were any cancellations or openings at the fully booked rv park and campgrounds. (We didn’t want to drive out of the park since we would have to be back here at 4-5 am. to hike) I walk into the rv campground, the only place with hookups for an hour radius, and ask if by any chance they had room for us. There was even a sign on the door that said, “All Booked, Reservations Only.” And guess what, WE GOT IT….haha and the girl working the desk was from good ole Greenville, SC. She let us check in right then (2 hours early) and gave us an awesome shady spot on the end of the row.

So overall, today had been AMAZING. Haha I don’t think anything could have worked out any better. Chris is working outside in the breeze and I started packing for our adventure tomorrow. There won’t be any more posts until Friday night because we will be farrr down the canyon. I am hoping that my knee will hold up (if any of you don’t know I have had two surgeries on my knee, one replacing my ACL).

One last thing before we head out for the day. My Dad’s sister Nuria Serrat died of dehydration while hiking on the trails of the Grand Canyon a couple years ago. We know the dangers and already packed more than enough water and have located the water stations along the trail. I was curious to see which trail it actually was that she was hiking and while I was looking that up, I realized that she began her hike on June 26, 1999. In case if any of you don’t know, tomorrow is June 26. This was completely unplanned and I just remember that she died in the summer and I couldn’t attend her funeral because I was away at a soccer camp.

So along with our permit on our pack, I have attached a note saying that we are hiking in memory of my Aunt Nuria. She was an avid hiker and outdoorsman and I know she will watch over us on our journey keeping us safe. Wish us luck and thank you all for your comments. We love hearing from everyone.