Thursday, July 30, 2009

Back from Vacation in Idaho!

I am back from my vacation, sadly. I am working too many hours to make up for the lost time but that is the cost of a taste of freedom I suppose. The good news is that the demo on my house has begun. I hope to see the place come together quickly. It should be a lot of fun.

Re-cap of my trip!

Day 1:

Flew into Salt Lake City. Had lunch at Vertical Diner. Jamie and I were very surprised at how great the place was. I had fried chicken and potatoes with a mint chocolate shake, Jamie had a fajita type thing and a smoothie. We shared a banana split.

Then it was off to the health food store to get some supplies.

From there, we drove north toward Bear Lake. The first stop was on the side of the road. We spotted a small cave with bubbling blue water. I am not sure it there was an aquifer there but it was very cool regardless. I tried to get in it but it was far to cold and almost hurt my feet.
Once we got to Bear Lake we took some pictures on an overlook. Bear Lake was huge and tucked into the mountains. There was a lot of nice sights while driving by the lake.

The drive toward Jackson Hole Wyoming was very nice. It actually was one of my favorite drives during the entire trip. There were so many old barns and whatnot that were rotting in fields. Great stuff. It is nice to know that the earth might re-claim the destruction we have created at after we are gone.
We camped out under the mountains about 20 miles outside Jackson Hole that night. It had been several years since I camped out like this. It was a nice experience and we even saw a cute wild bunny as we were driving to the site.
Day 2:

In the morning we went and toured Jackson Hole and even went to their annual arts festival. There were local artist and artists from afar. It was a good time. After, we headed into the Grand Tetons National Park. This place was amazing! Huge mountains. We took a boat ride across Jenny Lake and hiked up a steep mountain to Inspiration Point. This was a great few of the Teton area. This day stands out in my mind as one of the best days. The mountains were amazing. They were so much bigger then the Applications here on the east coast. That night was another camping in the mountains night.

Day 3:

Yellowstone. We saw some wildlife! Let's see, a baby bear, baby bison, adult bison, deer, elk, so much! Jamie loves her wildlife. She was worried when I went chasing after the bear to get a good picture though. We saw Old Faithful erupt, numerous hot springs, some great waterfalls, and mammoth hot springs (they looked like ice). We popped our heads into Montana for a second just to see the gate into Yellowstone. We camped in Yellowstone that night.

Day 4:

We left Yellowstone with a slight car crisis averted. We saw "Montana the Gopher" sitting on a guardrail greeting everyone. It made a funny start for a slow down type day. We went to see Mesa Falls in Idaho. The upper falls were amazing but the lower falls were a major let down. They were to far away and seemed overgrown. We got to see a double rainbow at the Upper Falls and that more then made up for it.

We headed toward Idaho Falls for the evening when we saw a sign for a place called Cave Falls. We decided to check it out. After an hour drive down a shady dirt road we ended up back in Yellowstone and were pleasantly surprised by a great waterfall. It was not a high fall but it was very long. We got to climb right to the base of the falls which was nice. We climbed out onto the rocks in front of the falls and were cooled by the mist. It was worth the drive. We stayed in Idaho Falls that night. A bad experience at a thai place was something not to be remembered. There were a ton of ducks that lived outside of the hotel we stayed in and that was kind of cool.Day 5:

We drove to central Idaho and stopped at Craters of the Moon. This place was awesome! We got to crawl around in lava created caves under the burning hot desert heat. This place was so desolate and yet flourished with wild flowers. This was one of my favorite stops on our trip. Climbing around in caves with no lights was dangerous but more fun then I had hoped for!

After we left, we drove to Stanley Idaho, in the sawtooth mountian range. We camped at the trail head.

Day 6:

Into the Sawtooth Wildreness we go! This was a 6 mile hike, the last third was all up a steep mountian side. It was a very strenous hike but when we finally got to sawtooth lake, it was all worth it...except for seeing that snake of the trail. We were at the top of the montains and there was snow everywhere.

After hiking back out we drove on to Boise. A very nice scenic drive. Boise sucked. We found a decent Indian place for dinner but there was not much else to be offered.

Day 7:

Breakfast at the Dream Cafe in Boise was horrid. Then it was up to Horseshoe Bend for a day of white water rafting! I had never been and it was a ton of fun. Jamie and I even jumped out and swam for a bit. Good stuff. Sadly, we forgot out underwater camera so there are no pictures. After, it was down to Twin Falls. This was a nice drive through the Idaho dessert as well. We got to Twin Falls as the sun was setting and got some nice pictures.
Day 8:

We went to see several falls that were in the area. They were all a let down due to the city of Twin Falls plugging them up with power plants. Unreal. Very disappointing. We headed north to Shoshone Ice Cave. We were pumped but again, it was a tourist trap and a major let down. Not all was lost however, we found a great roadside treasure in Idaho Mammoth Cave. After several minutes down a dirt road in the desert, we came to some old home. Inside we rented lanterns and hiked through a huge and amazing cave on his property. It was a lot of fun and was the highlight of the day, by far. We also saw 3 guys base jump off a bridge. That night we drove back to Salt Lake City.
Day 9:

Day 9 was breakfast at Sage's Cafe. It was nice, run by the same people who ran the Vertical Diner. I had french toast and Jamie had blueberry flapjacks and a soy latte.

From there we went to the zoo and had a nice day with the skunkies and a sloth! I like sloths. After the zoo, we could not resist going back to the Vertical Diner. Jamie had nachos and I had a fried chicken sandwich.

Then we went out to see the Great Salt Lake. It was disgusting. Flies everywhere, lava mud sand, just nasty. It was entertaining and a "check it off the list" type of thing never the less.

Then we went back to our hotel and swam in the pool to get the feeling of bugs off us. We turned in early for a long day of flying back to Atlanta. Sad but true. I wish I was still in the mountains.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Good Friends, Good Houses, and Idaho

Some of my old friends came into town this weekend. It was nice to see some old faces, sharing stories and laughs. It was an enjoyable time and I hate to see them head out tomorrow morning.

It has been an eventful week. I had a very nice discussion with my Realtor about investing in some properties. He shared much of his knowledge with me and I have a lot to consider. I think I will at least start working on getting a real estate license. There is no harm in it. From there, we will see where it ends up.

Work should begin on the house later this week....I hope. It is a frustrating process but I am still enjoying it. I went to the house on Sat and was relieved that everything is still looking good and is intact. I also met the neighbor! That feels so weird to say. He is a nice guy and I hope he lets me swim in his pool.

Sat is Idaho! I am pumped! I can not wait for all the great sites I will see. Jamie and I made car rental reservations today and looked at what out first few days there might be. I am going to take a ton of pictures and hope I get the motivation to share them. Jamie is bringing her laptop (i think) and I may be able to make a post of two while we are out. If anyone knows where we can eat, please say so!

Oh...I made fried rice on Friday.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Chocolate Banana Pecan Cake

Today I got my hair cut. I have not paid for a hair cut in years. It was an interesting experience. I think it looks good. Nice and short.

I may go kayaking later this week. I think it will be a good time. I have never been before. I hope hoping that Jamie and I will get to do some white water rafting when we are in Idaho. We leave in 12 days! Expect many pictures when we get back.

I made a great cake yesterday. It was very moist with a nice hint of banana nut bread flavor. Yum!

Chocolate Banana Pecan Cake

2 1/4 cups of flour
1 1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of soy milk
2 bananas (over ripened)
3/4 cup of coco powder
1/2 cup of crushed pecans
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 teaspoon of cloves
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 round 9 inch cake pans.

In a large mixing bowl, mash 2 ripened bananas. Once they are well mashed, add the flour, coco powder, and sugar. Mix well. Add the soy milk and stir. The mixture should be moist and slightly thick. Then add all other ingredients. The vinegar will cause a slight reaction with the soy milk, smelling almost sour. No worries, that is what you want. Pour into the cake pans evenly and bake for 35-40 mins or until fully cooked. Test with a toothpick in the middle. Let cook, frost however you like and enjoy!

Jamie made these potatoes. She is becoming a great cook.