Tag Archives: car

Sweatier’n’a sumo wrestler in a sauna!

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Allow me to rant for one moment.  Did you know it has been over 90 degrees every day for the past four days here, even getting up to 101 degrees at one point?  Holy bonkers, that is hot!  I thought I left Central America!  Apparently this week has been “historic” for high temperatures, as it has been all over the country pretty much.  Running has been pretty miserable as you can imagine.  But you know what the worst part is?  We don’t have A/C in the car, and I have a 20+ minute drive to work.  That’s 20 minutes of sweating before I arrive to serve tables.  I show up looking like I just ran a marathon.  It’s gross.  Also, I have been trying to get a third job, so showing up for interviews after driving in the heat has been a real barrel of fun.  I’ve had to start wearing different clothes in the car, then change, reapply powder and body spray in a nearby fast food place bathroom.  It’s awesome.

Plus, our electricity is not included in our rent, and neither of us has ever had a separate electric bill before.  We have no idea how much we can run the A/C without racking it up to $100 a month.  We’ve been trying to run it as little as possible, but we have to have it at night and a few times a day.  Not looking forward to that bill.

Oh, first world problems.  Well, poor people in the first world problems.  Most people who can afford it have A/C in their car, I think.

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116 and no shade!

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Death Valley was a crazy place!  It took us about 2 hours to drive through it, stopping a few times to take fun pictures with my new tripod.  We didn’t hike or anything because it was literally 116 degrees!!!  We blasted the AC in the car and still sweated the whole way through.  Any time we got out of the car we could instantly feel heat radiating off of everything and the sun sucking every last drop of moisture out of our bodies.  I was chugging water the whole time and still thirsty all day.  What a crazy place!  Here are some pics:

That's Zach, way up there!

Death Valley is the 8th lowest dry land in the world. The lowest point in the valley is 282 feet below sea level.

Starting to try crazy things with the tripod and timer.

This could be an album cover pic, I think.

So long, Arizona

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Do me a favor.  Start here.  Meg’s post about doing things we’re afraid of is so well written and TRUE.

There was a short but bright rainbow in the sky tonight.  A sign of good luck for the start of our journey tomorrow!  It’s been a weekend of goodbyes and wrap-ups.  Packing sucked.  As usual, I found myself with a way-too-big pile of “essential” clothes and a way-too-small suitcase.  Trying to convince myself that I don’t need these, I really don’t need these, I don’t!  Who cares about variety?  The car is packed to the gills with camping supplies, clothes, food, and camera equipment.  But I’m sure we’re still forgetting something.  The rest is in boxes in a closet here.  So of course I’ll come back, because after a year of only what I stuffed in one suitcase, I’m gonna want to see the rest of my clothes again!

It’s been a year.  A seemingly quiet one compared to last year, but I still can’t believe all that’s happened.  I’ve learned how to live with someone in a real, day-to-day, “in this for the long haul” relationship, survived our first real fights, and found myself more in love than ever.  I’ve worked two new jobs and started my own business.  I’ve learned to snowboard, tried rock climbing, hiked long distances, cliff jumped from 50 feet, and climbed my first two mountains.  I’ve been to Mexico for the first time.  Biked many miles, saved many dollars, made new friends, started to integrate into a whole other family.  Tasted western microbrews and Spanish wines.  Shared so many homemade pizzas with couchsurfers from around the world.  What a year.

The next one is going to be even better.  A circular journey that will take us through two continents and back.  The western US, Ohio again, all of South America, and back to Ohio by August 2012.  After that, who knows?  These next six weeks we’ll be living out of the car, couchsurfing, exploring new national parks, and going to Burning Man.  I do have several goals for our time on the road:

1. Study Spanish every day.

2. Hike or run every day.  Work my way up to running a 10k.

3. Dumpster dive.

4. Keep the car clean and organized.

5. Take amazing photographs.

6. Keep up this blog.

7. Eat healthy.

8. Enjoy myself!!!!!

So tomorrow we begin.  First a quick stop in Las Vegas, for Zach to sell some of the scrap copper wire he’s collected at work.  Yes, we really are that poor.  And as Zach said “What great story doesn’t start with driving to Vegas to sell something?”  Lol.  Then to Death Valley NP in California, where apparently the highs can be over 120 degrees this time of  year.  Yikes.  Now it’s time to share a bottle of wine in hopes of being able to sleep tonight.  I’ll catch up with you again from somewhere in California!

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”-Christopher McCandless

Nomadic Tendencies

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How does one become a nomad?  Especially after being raised in the USA?  Sure, we have mobility between cities and states but we are definitely not a nomadic culture.  In fact, I think very few cultures are nomadic in the sense I feel nomadic.  I want to constantly be on the move, exploring new cities, countries, continents.  I know there were small signs as I was growing up, like when I declared at age 11 (half-joking, half-serious) that I wanted to be “a hobo” when I grew up.  The fact is, I’ve got the itch and I’ve got it bad.  It’s now been over a year that I’ve been back in the US, 10 months that I’ve been living here in Arizona.  The mountains, deserts, rocks, and beauty of the southwest is great, and we’ve had amazing day and weekend trips out here.  But I’m getting to that inevitable point I always reach, where I just feel done with it.  I’m done working, done coming home to the same house, I’m ready to GO!  Unfortunately this point usually hits a good few months before my actual departure date, and this time is no exception.  Zach and I have a little over two months before we’re bookin’ it out of this town.  This is necessitated purely by finances; if they were not an issue we’d be long gone by now.

We have such insatiable wanderlust. Our happiest times have been on the road, on the trail, approaching a new city or mountain or anything NEW.  There is nothing like the thrill of constant movement.  We can’t stay in one place for long without feeling stuck and beginning to desperately plan a new adventure.  And now, we are so, so close to get-up-and-go time.  On August 22 we will pack the car and drive to California–camping in Death Valley, Yosemite, then Lake Tahoe before swooping down upon Black Rock City to experience another world at Burning Man.  From there we’ll head back west to spend a week in San Francisco and NorCal wine country.  Then Salt Lake City to see all the Mormons, and a good two weeks in Colorado for lots of hiking and brewery tours.  Iowa City and Chicago will be our final stops in the midwest before arriving back in Columbus.  This will be our longest road trip yet and it is only the prequel to our big adventure, the escape to South America.  We’ll be back in Columbus for a few weeks, just long enough to pack it up and say goodbye to friends and family before our flight to Medellin, Colombia, on October 27.

It takes a certain kind of person to really understand wanderlust.  We’re lucky that although our families and many of our friends don’t get it, we’ve found a vast network of other wanderers through Couchsurfing and are sure to meet more at Burning Man and in South America.  Honestly, I would be fully open to the idea of NOT coming back to the US after a year down there.  Who knows what opportunities may present themselves?  The ultimate dream is to find a way to travel indefinitely.  Maybe that dream will change someday, but for now we are embracing it and chasing it at full speed.  We’re young.  What better time than now to live out of a car, a backpack, a tent, to watch the man burn, to hike the Andes, sail the Amazon, and create countless other stories?

Easter/Gross Sensory Memories

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Zach and I started a new tradition today…an Easter picnic!  We drove down the mountain to Sedona after I got off work at 3 and had just enough time to find a nice trailhead, eat a delicious picnic dinner (deviled eggs mmmmm!!!), and go for a short hike among the red rocks.  It was peaceful and lovely.

On to the second half of the post title…we saw a jeep tour vehicle drive by and joked about the company name: “Arizona Safari Company.”  I was like, “Ha, I wonder how many animals they saw on their ‘safari’!”  A moment later the jeep zoomed past us and kicked up a ton of dust from the dirt road, flooding our car with it before I got the sunroof closed.

As soon as I felt the layer of dirt settle over the seats, my forehead, everything, I thought, “Wow, it kinda does feel like Africa now!”  I remembered something my friend Kristie said when we were in Kenya about how her boogers were black from the inside of her nose being constantly coated in dust.  I totally felt that way after that jeep gave us a dust-bath and it did bring me back to Africa in such a quick, sensory way.

So yeah, black boogers and a sweaty layer of dust on your face.  That’s the feeling.

Cracks Kill

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What a clever title, eh?????  You know it’s awesome.

Everyone knows that you can really drive 5 mph over the speed limit and never get a ticket, right?  Maybe even 10 mph over on the highway?  I don’t think I’m alone in this practice.  Well, I grew up in Ohio where the highway speed limit is 65mph, meaning I would drive 70-75mph.  Out west here though, the speed limit is actually 75mph!  That means Carrie gets to speed her way home at 85mph with no worries, baby!!!  Go go speed racer!!!

Well, an unfortunate consequence of this extremely high speed limit is that when rocks hit your windshield at 85mph, they do a lot more damage then they do at 75mph.  Or so I have come to believe, thanks to TWO little cracks I got in my windshield after only 5 months of having my current car.  Of course my cheapo Safe Auto insurance doesn’t cover glass repair, and I am BROKE, ugh!  Normally, I wouldn’t really care that much about the cracks.  But I am trying to be more responsible and on top of things lately, so I said to myself “Self, you know you should really just get those two cracks fixed NOW before they get worse.  Be a good responsible adult even though you don’t care about two tiny chips in your windshield.”  So I scheduled a repair with Safelite Auto Glass.  $145 was the estimate.  Again, ugh.

The Safelite guy came to my work to fix my windshield right where I was parked.  Convenient, right?  I was feeling all proud of myself for making this happen, when the repairman guy comes back inside and knocks on my office door and says “Umm…I just put the suction on the first one to fix it and it started spreading right away, so I can’t do it.  Sorry.  Here’s my manager’s business card; you should call him to see about getting a discount on a new windshield.”

AHHH!!!!!!  As soon as he left I turned to my co-worker Matt and asked, “Am I right in thinking he just told me that he broke my windshield more???????”  Matt goes, “Yep, I’m pretty sure that’s what he said.”  And sure enough, one of my cracks had spread from both sides, although it was still much smaller than a dollar bill.  I proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon freaking out about having to get a new windshield and how I could NOT afford that.  I even looked at switching to new insurance but that would cost even more.  In general, I was NOT feeling validated in my attempt to act like a responsible, on-top-of-things adult.  I was also feeling hatred for the fact that I must even have a car and fantasizing about moving to NYC sooner rather than later and going all-public-transportation.

Luckily, I refused to believe Mr. Safelite Windshield Breaker-Man and decided to call some other places.  I called the first place that came up when I googled “Flagstaff Auto Glass” and it was a little independently-owned shop.  The guy there seemed quite happy at the opportunity to steal a customer from Safelite and assured me that he could fix my windshield without having to replace it.  I was skeptical but holding onto a tiny grain of optimism so I took my car there the next morning.  He looked at my windshield, scoffed “They couldn’t fix that?” and told me he’d have it done in an hour.  I asked for a quote, just hoping it would be no more than the $145 Safelite had been planning to charge me, and get this????  “Fifty bucks,” said this amazing new-best-friend of mine.

Add to that the 15% coupon they had on their website, and I paid about $43 for the job.  You can still see a tiny bit of one of the cracks but as long as neither is in danger of spreading I am fine with that.  So, I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes Plan A fails for a reason.  Mr. Safelite Windshield Breaker-Man did cause me some frustration but in the end I paid only 1/3 of what I had originally intended to.  And I got a reminder that the biggest, most well-known company is not always the best or the cheapest.  Shop around, people.