Monday, January 30, 2006


Well it's 11PM CST and we just arrived in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Population not sure but not alot - Heidi says 50,000 over my shoulder. We could see the lights from Denver reflecting off the cloud cover. Neither of us realized Denver was so close to Wyoming. We drove almost 650 miles today from Des Moines to Cheyenne - driving clear across the exciting state of Nebraska. We did make a couple of stops. Once to eat - you have to have a steak when you're Nebraska - and it was very good. We also stopped to take a look at the stars - Heidi's idea, and very good one at that. As soon as we got off interstate 80 it was gravel road and pitch black. Must be a new moon. Anyway we are headed to the hot tub and both kind of exhausted so more to come later and pics as well - later.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Getting excited...

One more day before it's time to head to Portland, OR! I'm anxious to get this new chapter started. I'm also getting excited and anxious to see Heidi since it's been 4 long painful weeks since we last saw each other involving all sorts of wierd hours and time spent talking on the phone. Both of us have been running each other ragged staying up late talking - a price we have both been willing to pay.

The past few days I've spent hanging with my Dad in Belvidere, IL. A small town just outside of Rockford, IL. We went to the movies a couple of times. Saw The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at the show on Wednesday. I've only walked out of the show 1 time in my life and this was almost the 2nd. It was that bad. We then went and saw Underworld: Evolution on Thursday. Not bad - 3 out of 5 stars for that one. Mostly we've just been talking, hanging out, and playing computer games (old school Kohan - the 1st - for any geeks reading this). Also went and had dinner with my brother, his wife and my two neices.

Here's something they don't have much of in Portland, OR. Snowplows. This guy was out tearing up the asphalt on Tuesday. Check out the shot with the salt being dumped. From what Heidi tells me they do NOT use salt in Oregon for fear of what it does to the environment. They use something more expensive that does the same thing - but maybe not as good. Well it doesn't really snow there - only gets icy once in a while. We'll find out.

I'm dying to ride my bicycle. It's been almost over a week since I last rode. My next ride won't be until I hit Portland. It will be interesting to see how much harder it is to ride being that the city is not very flat. There'll be alot of hill climbs and Heidi lives right on the side of a hill that has an elevation of 1000 feet. There's going to be some suffering. More on that later.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Heroin Girl

Yesterday I busted ass. Let's count the trips:
  • 4 Full loads to Goodwill
  • 1 trip to paper shredding company (not a bad deal $20/100lbs of paper)
  • 1 trip to bank
  • 1 trip to CD resale shop (yea I off loaded 300+ CD's)

Needless to say it was a long day. I felt like errand boy. Started at 7 am and dropped off the last load at 6:30 pm.

I rewarded myself with dinner at P.F. Chang's and a stop at the Apple Store in Mayfair mall. I've been eyeing up an iPod for months now. I have almost 4000 songs or 30GB of music. I walked out with a 60GB black video iPod, an FM transmitter and car charger (this should help make the road trip a little more enjoyable), and a portable speaker system including S-Video hookup. I'm thinking this will work great in the hotel rooms we stay at along the way to Portland.

No one said it was going to take 8+ hours to load the iPod... it's been going since 6 am this morning and it's currently copying 2,820 of 3,869. I wonder how much a USB 2.0 hookup would speed it up?

Since the going away part part 1 I've been hooked on Everclear. Not the late 90's pop rock stuff but the stuff off their 1st 2 CD's. When Heroin Girl came on that night we all starting jamming... I know the lead singer's name is Art HowEverTheHellYouPronounceHisLastName but Heidi can say it no problem (he is from Portland - I think the whole band is for that matter). In another post I'll have to cover all the Oregonisms for pronounciations. BTW, it's not OregOn it's Oragin or as I saw on a bumper sticker out there 'Orygun'.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Ice fishing

Danielle and I stopped in Lake Geneva on our way back from the party Sunday morning. That got me thinking about Lake Geneva and how some old friends taught me how to windsurf on that Lake. Crystal clear water, spring fed, extremely deep - I have nothing but good memories of that lake.

The locals, and I did live there for 2 years, all also know what a resort town it is - especially for Illinois folk that drive up from Chicagoland. The population is like 10,000 in the winter but balloons to like 30,000 in the summer months it seems like. There's a large number of restaurants because of that and one good breakfast joint is amazingly called Scuttlebutt's. They're known for their Swedish pancakes. That also got me to thinking about something I take for granted and that is seeing frozen lakes. I don't think I'll be seeing much of that in Portland. Not to mention that droves of ice fishermen who sit out on the ice for hours at a time in their huts. I've heard of huts being pretty decked out with heat and TV. So for posterity sake here's some shots of the locals fishing on Lake Geneva.

Yea that's open water on the horizon in the shot below... every year a few people drown falling through the ice or their vehicle falls through the ice - I also hear it's darn expensive. The Wisco DNR fines you each day and you have to pay to get it removed - sometime via helicopter.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Rock star night

Last night we had a going away party Part 1 at my friend Ryan's house. Started it off with a little red wine and food. Chicken and venison cooked on the grill all masterfully prepared by our late arriving chef Chris. Afer that we jammed tunes and played ship-captain-crew, 6-5-4, or whatever your local custom calls the dice game. The dice needed to stay on the board and many a yellow flag was thrown for stray dice tosses - one even landing in someone's drink. Things went pretty well for Ray and I and we both walked away with some pocket change thanks to Ryan and Chris.

It also gave me a chance to visit Woodstock, IL one last time, including DC Cobbs, the local bar hangout. I did get a chance to see Ian, the old frontman for a band we used to follow around called Charging Hoses. A quick google only found me this old CD - although I could've sworn that they had a song that got released on a soundtrack - I guess I could be thinking of Bender. Ian and his new band were playing tunes to keep us occupied whilst drinking pitchers of Blue Moon.

I actually had more fun just playing ship-captain-crew and hanging with all my old friends then going to the bar. The smoking thing really bothers my eyes these days. It was a fun night even though I didn't get to bed until 4 am.

I'm looking forward to checking out the local band scene in Portland, OR. I wonder if they have any dice games out there?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Getting dumped on

We were forecasted to get 1 inch of snow and instead it dropped about 4-5 inches.

It is beautiful but I'm not going to miss this because I know it's just going to melt in a week or so when the temps fluctuate again. Actually I'm hoping that it will continue to dump snow on us and then tempurates drop below zero - that way when I leave on Sunday I will be smiling that this is the last time I will have to experience this.

I will say that my new tires rocked. Normally I slide around - I suppose it didn't help that I needed new tires for some time. I didn't even have to put the truck into 4-wheel drive at all with these babies. I'm looking forward to using em out west.