Archive for the 'tourist traps' Category

Best Summer Job Ever!

April 29th, 2010

Hall of White Giants

After a lackluster winter at Amazon’s Fernley facility, Jenn and I decided we’d be better off looking for a job we enjoyed than one that promised big bucks and may or may not deliver. As one of our interests is caving, we decided to try and get jobs at a cave for the summer, even if it meant working the gift shop and cleaning restrooms. It turns out that we lucked into one of the most amazing jobs we could hope for.

Our first choice of positions came through and we got workcamping positions at Caverns of Sonora. For those of you that have never heard of it, Caverns of Sonora is one of the most decorated caves on the planet. While there hasn’t been a study that I’m aware of, I believe it could very well be the most decorated cave in the world based on formations per square inch. We are lucky enough to be spending a fair portion of every day guiding tours in this cave.

The tour is a very up close and personal experience. We are literally inches away from formations throughout much of the tour. On top of that, we are working for some of the best people you could hope to be around. The cave is owned by a family that has owned the land surrounding it for five generations and the general manager has been a true caver for forty-six years. I can’t imagine a better work experience.

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Words cannot begin to describe this beautiful cave. But to give you a general idea, we spent a week training with two to three tours a day that are close to two hours long and on our first day off, we took two tours through the cave just to enjoy it and take photos. I snapped five hundred and forty some odd pictures in three and a half hours. Almost eighty have been uploaded to the gallery. The pictures do not do the experience justice, but they are far better than words could ever be. I only wish I had half the photographic skill of the professionals who have done the off-trail photos.

The pictures for this post are chosen more or less at random as I would be very hard pressed to pick favorites from the photos we’ve taken so far. At twenty bucks a person, the tour pushes the limits of our budget, but it really makes me stop and think what beautiful things we may have missed over the past two years by being thrifty. I hope none of them were nearly as beautiful as this, but I will definitely think twice the next time we pass a ‘tourist trap’ by because we don’t want to throw our money away. Some of those traps are probably every bit as worthwhile as this one. Please take a look at the gallery. I’ve yet to see someone come out of a tour disappointed; in fact, the most frequent comment is ‘this is the prettiest cave I’ve ever seen.’

Rocking and rolling in Arizona

January 22nd, 2010

Whew! The weather has been pretty nutty around here lately. We spent a couple of days in Quartzsite putting up fliers for freecampsites.net and got rained on every evening. One mid-day shower caught us while out on the scooter. Fun!

Quartzsite is just not our scene. Two days would have been more than enough even if the weather had been great.  It was pretty crazy to pull into the BLM area the first night and see rigs lined up awning to awning just like a commercial campground. We had to go about a quarter mile deep into the area before we found a spot where we could get a mere hundred feet from a couple of neighbors. The next morning, we found out why the area was so ‘sparsely’ populated as the kids in the converted school bus had breakfast and blasted the MTV version of the Grateful Dead over the world’s crappiest PA system. Ah, well… at least it wasn’t polka.

This morning, we got up ‘early’ to try and make it back to Slab City by dark. Apparently, I was still on California time and not really adhering to Jenn’s schedule. Still, we got out at a reasonable time and then sat in mid-morning traffic at Quartzsite while the rain started splattering. The wind had not stopped in at least 24 hours.

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That Old Mississippi Mud!

February 3rd, 2009

Mississippi Mud - Stuck

Internet connectivity has been spotty, but not as spotty as the sides of the truck. About a week ago, we stopped overnight at a horse trail in the national forest just off the Natchez Trace. On pulling in, we saw a rather deep looking mud puddle and in our infinite wisdom, decided to try and keep the truck clean. A few words of advice: in Mississippi, if the road looks bad, the ground around it is awful. Fifteen feet off the road, the ground sunk in bad enough that we needed to put the truck in 4WD and lock the hubs to get out.

Now this is the point where everybody tells you that 4WD allows you to get stuck deeper in. The smart course of action, would have been to back out. However, I looked at the ruts we’d already made and looked ahead. No big deal, just a little 10″ deep ditch. Nothing the truck can’t handle, right? At this point, the ditch, with water running through it, somehow, looked better than the foot deep mud behind us. I guess everybody that’s spent much time in the mud is giggling about now. I hadn’t taken into account that a ditch, WITH WATER IN IT, is likely to be at least as gooey as the ground around it.

So, long story short, another fifteen feet of driving put us in quite a bit of nasty crud and the poor, overloaded truck refused to budge any direction but down. I got out and started digging in some hope of flattening the area out. Jenn decided it was a great time to snap a picture. Women! I can’t fault her too much though, by the time the night was over, she did her share of digging.

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When animals attack!

June 8th, 2008

We’re currently about eight miles from even a small town in the Smoky Mountains. Believe it or not, we’ve managed to completely escape ubiquitous cellular service. We’re heading into Highlands every few days to check voice mail and email, but we’re spending more time hiking, reading and relaxing than hanging out on the internet.

Until we get some of our latest pictures ready for perusal, I’ll leave you with some goofiness from the Myrtle Beach area. There was quite an array of giant animals attacking everything from buildings to vehicles in the Myrtle Beach-Surfside area.

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Not quite Jurassic Park

August 12th, 2007

As it was still early and we had this beautiful day going for us, we were loathe to call it a day. We wandered around a bit finding a couple more truck campers to look at. Nothing much to speak of as these were low-end units that had apparently been traded in to get a few bucks off that 40′ Class A.

And then, we ran into this sign:


Of course, we had to pull in.

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