After leaving Richfield, Utah I headed to Idaho to check out St. Anthony. Many of my desert friends want to visit St. Anthony because the dunes are arguably the tallest in the US at a height of over 500 feet. Also St. Anthony is neighbor to Yellow Stone Park and has a view of the Grand Teton mountains which made it the perfect destination.
The most popular spots to explore are Crapo Hill (Thunder Mountain), Deadhorse Bowl, Devil’s Dune, and Choke Cherry Hill. Choke Cherry (pictured) is probably the steepest hill I've climbed in my UTV. Note: I did not make it up with the 15" paddles, but I did make it up when I switched to the stock big horn tires (all terrain tires). They were not kidding about this being "Choke Cherry".. You really need some horsepower to make the last ten or so feet to crest the hill.
These white quartz sand dunes are also fun to hike, look for local wildlife, including deer, elk and moose, or relaxing by Egin Lake. Hour Happy with drinks, snacks, and watching the sunset was our favorite reason to hang out by the lake.
I have a great story about Trump and confederate flags all around me. Also why being eight miles from the nearest Walmart or highway was daunting the first night. The internet will ruin you.
Stay tuned for the next blog. I still have so much to post.
I was really excited to experience Yellowstone National Park , which is said to be the world's first national park. It really didn’t disappoint with amazing views of the mountains, forests, and lakes. This was my first time seeing bison up close, maybe a little too close when I walked within the 250ft advised by the park. The bison gave me the, “come any closer” look and there will be trouble. So, I decided to retreat back to my truck. Neo didn’t know what to make of the large animals. He stared quietly from the truck not even hinting that he wanted to get out for a closer look.
I spent two days exploring the volcanic activity rising up into the colorful hot springs, mudpots, and geysers. I ended day two with a few challenging hikes, with one ending with a peaceful view of the sunset.
I also took a trek over to the Grand Teton National Park . More beautiful views of the majestic mountains, lakes, and wildlife. If you want to be immersed in nature these are two amazing parks to visit.
The mahogany seats, brass fittings, and exposed ceiling light bulbs is what you will experience when you board one of the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world. For more than 150 years, the streetcar symbolizes the charm and romance of the City of New Orleans.
I boarded the street car at the very end of St. Charles St. These streetcars pass through the Central Business District which is the oldest and most majestic section of uptown New Orleans. You will see dozens of antebellum mansions, historic monuments, Loyola and Tulane universities, the sweeping grounds of the Zoological Gardens, shopping centers, fine restaurants, and hotels.
Jump off the streetcar and head into French Quarters and explore the landscape for hours. The French Market, museums, shops, cemetaries, etc... You might be pleasantly surprised by all the free outdoors concerts and art exhibits available.
Who doesn't go to New Orleans for the food. Café du Monde is one of the many popular New Orleans food destination specializing in beignets with powdered sugar.
There are so many great place to dine. You will be able to any of the traditional dishes like, Gumbo, Crawfish Étouffée, Muffulettas, Jambalaya, and Red Beans and Rice just about at any restaurant or venue. I would have had more pictures but for some reason my food would disappear quickly.
The waves crashed down on me. At the same time, I was being rolled like clothes in a washing machine. I was underwater and wasn’t sure which way to the surface. Fear rushed in as I was starting to run out of breath. I really didn’t realize how tired I was from all the paddling through the break, which made holding my breath so much harder. The crashing water was so heavy and violent injecting the strong feeling of helplessness. All I could do was submit and cling to the board knowing that the board would eventually find the surface, but would the board bring me to the surface before I ran out of breath?
So many things flashed through my mind. The first thing was the simple fact that I was out there alone without a Bay Watch Life Guard on duty. Second, just minutes ago I was on the beach looking out at the ocean wondering if Jaws was waiting for me. Last but not lease, was the thought of drowning. It seems that number three was coming into existence.
I’ve always wanted to learn how to surf after watching several movies of dudes catching waves and explaining the feeling. When I arrived in San Diego near Mission Beach, I was already planning my week of surfing. It was winter so I knew the beaches wouldn’t be crowded especially in the cold of the morning.
The first day as I was strolling the beach looking for a shop to rent a board and I saw a wave machine. I thought that it would be a good idea to try the machine before heading to the ocean. It turns out that, it was a great because there was somebody available to help and guide me on technique. As with most things, I picked it up really fast starting with the four jets (small wave - video below) for the first session. The second session they turn on all the jets to create a full wave with a tunnel. During the second session I was able to stay in the tunnel for a few seconds before eating shit and being blown out the top. It was great because I learned how to move forward, back, and side to side on the water. I was feeling really confident after the second sessions, so I headed to the shop to rent a board.
At the beach, I sat and watched a handful of surfers. I watched this older gentleman paddle out, which seemed to take him fifteen minutes to get past the break and be able to sit on his board on calm waters. I’m sure that "paddle", "break", and "set" maybe foreign words to you but, they are the very definition of surfing.
As he paddled out, I watched him “duck-dive” through the waves. I later found out from some surfers there are a few ways to negotiate the break. I watched him stay on top of his board and seemingly push down and pop up on the other side of the wave. It looked really easy until I jumped on my board and started paddling out. Well, that shit half worked for me on a seven-foot board. I tried to duck-dive under the first three-foot wave only to find myself upside down being tossed around like a rag doll. As soon as I reached the surface, another wave hit me. In just a few seconds I was out of breath and was pushed back to where I could stand up. I was full of saltwater and felt like I was hit by a truck.
After I gather my composure, I noticed that a few guys were standing waiting not too far from me. It looked like they were waiting for something. I noticed that the waves started to separate a bit more. They both jumped on their boards and started to paddle out so I did the same. This time, I was much more stable and able to duck-dive. With the waves being a little bit more spaced, I was able to get passed the break. Still, it was a lot of work and at times I felt like I wasn’t moving forward no matter how hard I paddled.
It was so peaceful passed the roaring movement of the break. I could sit on my board and float. The beach felt like it was miles away, which started me thinking about Jaws lurking underneath this deep dark green water. It's funny how the love and peacefulness of floating would at the same time be interrupted briefly by shadows from the sun or possible movement under the surface of the water. The small chills of fear up my spine were outweighed by seemingly now being part of the ocean.
However, I made a point to slowly move closer to the other surfers that seemed to be unbothered and just talking to one another. Once close enough, we exchanged pleasantries. I sat there and told them my story. They were really inviting. They gave me a bunch of information and stories about their first time. “Here comes a good set!” One of the guys pointed out. I didn’t see anything. “Get ready to paddle!” I laid down on my board. They were still sitting up looking. I really couldn’t see anything different, just some small rolling swells. “PADDLE!!!” yelled one of the guys I was floating near. I could feel the water rising underneath me so I paddled hard and fast towards the beach.
The 4-foot wave swelled beneath my surfboard as I paddled. I could feel the momentum building with my board starting to move forward; I pushed up with my arms, and jumped up throwing my right foot forward, I was able to stabilize but felt awkward. FUCK YEAH!!!! I yelled. I was up on the board riding the wave. “JUMP OFF!!!” I heard someone yell in the distance so I jumped. I was on the board only a little more then a few seconds but it felt great.
I paddled back out and waited for the other guys. It took a minute but I realized why they told me to jump. Its best not to ride the wave all the way to the beach to avoid paddling back out the entire distance. By jumping off early, you could turn and paddle a short distance so that you can catch a few more sets. Save your last set for the ride all the way to the beach.
A week of surfing, bonfires, and making some new friends. I loved hearing all the stories of these guys chasing waves and living the nomad life. I know that I’m not ready to chase “Mavericks” but it wouldn’t take me long to gain enough experience to give it a go.
I loved San Diego. The Gas Lamp district (not pictured) has an extremely fun night life. There are a ton of clubs and bars in walking distance. Also there are some really awesome places to ride bikes and catch the sunset.
This was my second trip to Moab, Utah. The first time was all about mountain-biking and hiking. I hit all the major trails like the "Whole Enchilada" and "Portal". Hiked “Arches”, “Canyonlands”, etc.. I spent over a month exploring Utah and all the different adventures and attractions including Bryce and Zion. This time, I wanted to experience all the trails with my UTV. I covered over 30 miles of trails a day riding the more technical stuff in the morning/afternoon and then ripping out into the open desert near the river after lunch. The street legal rules are a little more stringent so I had to trailer my UTV to the different locations which wasn’t a problem.
The first morning of riding I bumped into Ernie of Outlaw Jeep Tours, Shawn, and Melissa. I have the best luck for meeting great people. Being able to tag along with them for the first time on the "slrickrock" was perfect. Ernie showed me what my UTV was capable of so that I could avoid many beginner mistakes. You can YouTube videos of people flipping and sliding off obstacles damaging their own and rented vehicles. I don’t have the money to pay my deductible. LOL So, spending the afternoon with them was a great learning experience. I really loved Shawn and Melissa’s energy. I could not have been more fortunate to meet such a wonderful group.
If you are ever in Moab Utah and are looking for a tour… OUTLAW JEEP TOURS and ask for Ernie.
When I wasn’t riding my UTV I hiked and tried some beginner free climbing near the Poison Spyder trail. I didn’t want to pay for a climbing tour but I highly recommend a tour. It was fun climbing up but extremely difficult coming down without proper equipment.
Sunday I was able to catch a Barrel Run for Bucks event. It was amazing to watch those folks rip around that barrels on horses. I remember riding a horse in the Black Hills of South Dakota without a guide and almost killing myself when my horse decided to take off with me in two across a field. It takes so much skill and a great relationship with the horse to ride at that level.
When I wasn’t riding my UTV, I hiked and tried some beginner free climbing near the Poison Spyder trail. I didn’t want to pay for a climbing tour, but I highly recommend a tour. It was fun climbing up but extremely difficult coming down without proper equipment.
Sunday, I was able to catch a Barrel Run for Bucks event. It was amazing to watch those folks rip around those barrels on horses. I remember riding a horse in the Black Hills of South Dakota without a guide and almost killing myself when my horse decided to take off with me in two across a field. It takes so much skill and a great relationship with the horse to ride at that level.
WILLIAMS / GRAND CANYON RAILWAY
I came across this place heading North. I heard so much about the mountain bike trails and Historic Route 66. What I didn't know was Williams, Arizona offered so much more. This place was named after William “Old Bill” Williams, an early day trapper. William's history is best known as the center of the Sante Fe Rail Line, ranching and old lumber mills.
This beautiful place still had much of its character from the past. As I drove down Route 66, I could imagine all the saloons, gambling halls, and brothels of an old frontier. Today, Williams, AZ is home to the world famous Grand Canyon Railway and Resort, that takes a scenic journey to the Grand Canyon aboard a century old steam-powered rail line. Watch the video below and take the trip with me aboard the Grand Canyon Railway to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
The train came to an abrupt stop under gun fire in the middle of the wilderness. The bandits boarded the train and made off with all the souvenirs.
If you love drive through zoos, you will really enjoy Bearizona Wildlife. Just a three-mile drive through the Ponderosa Pine Forest viewing several North American animals. I loved the bear and wolf sections. Both species seemed to be real friendly with my truck.
After the drive, there is a Fort with a 20 acre walk-thru area. You follow the paths through the Fort similar to a zoo. My favorite was the panther. I really felt sorry that all these beautiful and majestic animals had to be caged for their safety.
MOUNTAIN BIKE / UTV
There are tons of UTV and Mountain bike trails nearby. They allow you to drive your UTV into town on the surface roads with the proper permit and equipment. It was fun driving my UTV to the Safeway to pick up groceries.
I have received many questions about how I stay in shape on the road, especially when I was racing mountain bikes. Hell yes!!! It is very difficult to stay in cycling shape. When traveling, you never know if you will have somewhere safe to cycle or even an available gym. Most RV parks don't have a gym like hotels, which forces me to be creative at times.
The challenge with staying fit on the road is often due to not having the right mental attitude. Let's face it; if you are not consistent while at home, You will make any excuse to miss a workout or eat healthy while you travel.
Find a Gym - I use Google maps to search for gyms in the local area. You should be able to find a 24-hour fitness or local gym. Call them before you arrive and ask if they offer a daily or weekly membership rate, or if they offer free trials. I personally try to stay away from the big name gyms and so should you unless you already have a membership. I have been very lucky with finding inexpensive gyms at most locations.
Gym Workout - The little secret to burning fat for me is going heavy in the gym with compound exercises. I usually break my workouts into three days: leg, chest/tris, and back/bis days.
Example of Leg Day:
Workout – If I’m unable to find a gym, below is sample workout:
As time permits I will make a few workout videos. Also in the future I will have guest trainers provide input.
There’s no reason why you cannot complete a workout while traveling. You already know all the reasons why exercising is so freakin important. It helps build muscle, make you stronger, and keep you healthier – it also helps ensure that the calories you consume are going towards building muscle and not getting stored as fat.
EATING LIKE IT’S A VACATION:
Don’t let all the hard work and focus be lost when traveling. If you find yourself taking off an entire week or more from healthy eating, it will be extremely hard to get back on track.
Try to keep things really simple: I focus mostly on consuming lean protein, eating vegetables, and minimizing my alcohol intake. I try my best to stay away from fried foods and starchy foods like white rice, white potatoes, bread, etc.
Keep the momentum going while traveling. Don't worry too much about falling short; just know that you have options. For me, it will be extremely hard to get back on track.
I would love to hear about your struggles with maintaining a workout and healthy eating while traveling?
Leave a comment below and help out other fellow travelers. Also, there are a few items that I will get a percentage from if you purchase. Ladies a friend of mine said these yoga pants are awesome and I must say they look good. I personally have the copper compression and the ab wheel set.
The trip from San Antonio to El Paso was stressful. Usually I plan out my gas stops in advance. This time I thought it wouldn't be a problem since RT10 is the only major highway heading west from San Antonio. Two times I found myself down to 50 miles of fuel left based on a 5-7mpg average before I would see a sign for gas. I never like cutting it that close because I can't just pull into any gas station with a 13'8" tall trailer. Whomever laid out the distance between truck stops was on point.
It was great to meet up with Anthony aka Little Jin Grant. He gave me the best guided tour of El Paso. He showed me the Franklin Mountains which has a beautiful panoramic view of the city and part of Mexico. He pointed out all the interesting buildings, the rio grande river, and a club owned by a cartel. After that we headed to the west side to venture into Fort Bliss where he served in the Army. It was really good catching up with him because I have not seen him in over four years.
I didn't get to see any rattlesnakes. :-) I guess that's a good thing.
The drive from New Orleans to San Antonio was about 9 hours. Rt10 had some areas of construction that tried to shake every bolt loose in my brain and RV. Neo didn't seem to pleased either with the rough sections of road. Soon it will be a pleasant ride for travelers when the construction is complete.
YES THE ALAMO has a basement (You have to be a fan to understand). The Alamo was originally known as Misión San Antonio de Valero. It was founded in the 18th century as a Roman Catholic mission and fortress compound. Now it is a museum in the Alamo Plaza Historic District. "Remember the Alamo". The battle in 1836 and the documented soldiers that died there fighting for freedom Travis, Bowie,Crockett, and Esparza.
I really loved reading all of the history. They do not allow pictures inside the Alamo structure so take your time while inside. In the courtyard they have live history displays of the games, guns, and everyday life. I learned how to play the dice game that was used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie (side note - but fun).
Going during the week is highly recommended to avoid the crowd if you want to take your time reading the available displays.
THE RIVER WALK or Paseo del Rio is underneath the busy streets of the city. Its only a short distance from the Alamo.
I started my walk from La Villita (Little Village of San Antonio). It similar to the Riverwalk tucked away in the middle of the city wit shops and restaurants.
You can enter the River walk for La Villita through the Arneson River Theatre. The grassy steps are a beautiful quiet place to stop and meditate before starting the long walk.
I believe that the river has paths and sidewalks for 15 miles which provide access to the museums, the King William Historic District, 300-year-old Spanish missions, hotels, mall, shops, and restaurants.
NIGHT TIME - The place is freakin gorgeous at night. I could not capture the lights in the trees, the boats strobe lights, fountains, and restaurants. You have to see it in person.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of American experience in the war that change the world in a very unique way. It tells of how we fought, how it was won, and what it means to us today. As you walk the through the many elaborate displays you learn the price of freedom. This museum like others are meant for you to be inspired to do my research.
- Try several methods to purchase tickets:
- Information desk $2 - $5 off
- Tour Companies - Combine tours for better discounts
- PLAN TO STAY FOR 3+ HOURS
The Dog Tag at the top of the picture is an interactive card. It gives you the opportunity to follow the story of individuals they have captured. It also allows you to revisit your journey later online via your registered tag. You'll also find additional items selected by the curators which might be of interest. It is a great oral history from the time they boarded the train and headed off to war.
The movie ticket Beyond All Boundaries is a MUST SEE!!!!!... Tom Hanks narrates a 4D movie that is nothing short of incredible. Things drop down from the ceiling, fog effects, the chair movement, flashing lights across the audience, and most of all you don't require those glasses that cause me headaches. I recommend you try to watch the movie before entering the exhibits. It really tells the story and the museum is laid out similar to the progress of the movie.
WORTH EVERY PENNY!!!!!
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