It was the summer of 2010…

First off, I’d like to thank Raffi Kodikian for the inspiration for this trip…which in turn I guess Jack Kerouac also who I believe inspired Raffi’s cross country adventures.  Raffi, I wish we had the time to drive up PCH and visit San Fran, but time was short.  We’ll catch you on the next trip!!

If you are new  here, start with the first entry…

So, summer is over and the kids have flown back to TN for the school year.  Lil Reny now a “Senior” and Zoe the freshman.  Both in the same school again…uh oh…  I meant to write this blog last night, but I started skimming through all the shots I got and just got caught up reliving the small moments.

So let me do it again…

Nothing ever goes as planned and this trip started off no different.  Our intentions were to leave Monday, July 5th.  But being busy at work, moving BACK into the new house and a kick ass 4th of July Pool party…we had to push it back to Tuesday morning.  I guess it was the anticipation of leaving that gave me the energy to get up and out of bed at 5am, because the festivities of the 4th were still ringing in my head.

Since we lost a day, we decided to try and make it up by trucking straight through to California and only stopping if we had to. Not much ont he route there but desert and more desert…Our first stop was Houston..   Reny had an old flame there so we wound up staying a little longer than anticipated.  Yes, they kept me waiting in the hot car while they laughed, flirted and chatted up on old times. A couple angry honks later we were back on the road….to San Antonio.  That was our next intended fuel and dinner stop….but in a nutshell We got lost, found, broke my camera (and realizing will only have my iphone for pics the next 2 weeks,) saw the  Alamo, dinner at Hard Rock, forgot a phone, had a waitress sprinting to return phone,  drove 30mins out of city, realized credit card was gone, 30 min drive back, obtain credit card and back on road…


Random area of I10 Westbound toward Arizona

Yes, you read that right…me, without a camera for a 2 week road trip through some of the most beautiful country to drive through. F*CK ME SIDEWAYS…the moment I realized this, my heart sunk.  I contacted my buddy in CA at a chance there is a local Canon repair shop…there was, so I crossed my fingers and headed Westward…………….

Somewhere near the New Mexico border...

troubles behind us...?

Tombstone ahead of us...

Tombstone main street afterhours...

Tombstone Arizona…The only “touristy” stop we made on our drive Westward.  We visited the small town a few years ago, but figured it was only about 40 mins out of the way from the main interstate so we decided to stop for dinner and possibly camp the night.  Unfortunately there is no tent camping near the town, and we certainly needed a few hours sleep at the least! Luckily I found a room at an old redone bed and breakfast on the site of an old Bordello and Saloon.  We grabbed some dinner at the Big Nose Kate’s (Doc Holiday’s woman) after exploring the town a bit and retiring to the room for a couple hours sleep.

outside Big Nose Kate's Saloon

We got kicked from sitting at the bar...underage. lol

NOT far now…about 12 hours or less  to Costa Mesa, CA.  and the weather has already started to feel crisp, cooler and lacking humidity.  (Why does our business have to be in Louisiana?  I ask myself that every time I visit somewhere with more suitable weather…)

After driving all night, we crossed the CA border around 8ish from what my failing memory recalls.  Not far into CA we came to Joshua Tree National Park.  This would have been a wonderful spot to camp, but we only explored for about 30mins.  Took a dirt road or 2 and snapped a few pictures. Mark that one on my list of places to return!

R & R...

From a random hiking loop at Joshua

Regular version of the above

Thank goodness the iPhone has a decent camera and some nifty apps to make some of the cool shots I grabbed. But the best part is, I don’t have 1000′s of photos to go through and edit had my Canon not broken

Newport Beach

By 3pm, we had already reached the Pacific!  Put our feet in  water at Newport Beach, grabbed some grub at TK Burger and scoped out the scene at Huntington Beach.  Sadly, the weather was 65degrees and totally gloomy.  Bummer…


The next 2 days we bummed out between Costa Mesa and LA.  Hanging with Dick and Dave, 2 good friends (no gay lovers) in Huntington And Lil Ren even had a girl he met at Stanford  from last summer which lived in Irvine that he disappeared with for a few hours to catch up….Then Art and Blair up in LA. .  It was my first time in the LA area in quite a few years and Lil Ren’s first time ever.  We snacked on a dog at the famous Pinks (which btw, ain’t ALL that…Lucky Dog owns) strolled Hollywood, West Hollywood, Venice, Beverly Hills and took a ride down Rodeo.  But the most memorable part has to be the private tour of the Playboy Mansion Art hooked us up with.  Thanks Art, you made a 17 year olds dream come true…

Chinese Theater - Hollywood Blvd

Canon 5D setup for video. Not sure what he was filming, I think stock footage of the street for use with something. There was no one else around that we could see.

Venice Beach...Them wacky Californian's...

THE Muscle Beach...but no one was really working out..

Playboy Mansion - Thanks again Art for arranging this!

Checking out the Playboy weight room...If you look closely, you can see Art, Lil Reny and I think he's Armenian mafia. Either way, good peoples. ;-) Has a really cool accent.

Grotto was HUGE!

That's how a movie star looks eating a donut in West

Alas this stop was just the fulcrum of our trip.  We reached the farthest west (of the mainland) and now, little did we expect..out trip was going to reach it’s peak!

On the Strip

Although Lil Reny is only 17, I thought it wouldn’t be right to be this close to Vegas and not at least walk down the strip.  So after we said our good byes we headed to the City of Sin.  Arriving at the campground,  a parking lot….we opted to treat ourselves to a night at Hard Rock Hotel.  There was an NBA summer league tourny going on, so we got lucky and scored tickets to see the Hornets blow the final minutes of a game against the Heat. least dinner at  the Harley Davidson Cafe was good.  A quick walk on the strip and we were back in the hotel room for the night.


Virgin, Utah. Just outside of Zion National Park - a stop on our Jeep tour

When we arrived in Vegas, I was scouting our route for camping near the Grand Canyon and came across a link for Zion National Park.  I’ve always seen the pictures of this area and realizing how close we were we decided to fit at least a day in there.  We both agree, this was our  most memorable moment of the 2 weeks.  Everything fell into place from this point on.  At the risk of sounding corny (which btw, I most certainly am) I think we were led here. Everyone we met at Zion and later at the Grand Canyon made the trip worth everything a modern day adventure is made of.

Bottom of a secret canyon - Virgin River - Jeep tour stop

From the Kamikaze jeep tour guide, Jorge… to the best damn Quesadilla’s We’ve ever eaten, to the old man who serviced our jeep suggesting an “alternate” road to Sedona…every day was a memory worth keeping.  But most of all was Jorge’s urging for us to hike the Narrow’s.  Something I definitely want to repeat and share with wife.  I LOVE seeing her eyes light up with excitement at new life experiences just like a special ed kid given an ice cream cone!  HA, I kid…but seriously, she’s one of few people I know who totally immerses herself into the joy and appreciation of seeing discovering something new.  On the other side of that coin, she can totally make it a living hell if she’s not  happy…hey, as Tracy Byrd once sang… If Momma ain’t Happy, ain’t nobody Happy. haha j/k babe.  I know you are reading.

Jorge jumped we did too...

That water was cooooold. 65 degrees

find the pictograph?

Canyoneer guide, mountain climber and part time stunt driver - Jorge.

Point where The Narrow meet Orderville Canyon

Back to the Zion and the Narrows….so yeah, we wound up staying another  night so we could do the hike.  Although it only took us about 5 or 6 hours to do a 6 mile hike, the terrain made it most tiring.

Back near the mouth of the trail head...

North Rim – Grand Canyon

We visited the South Rim before, but the North almost seems like a different Canyon all together.  Thick high pine forests made for a very secluded wilderness feel.  Upon arriving the Rangers said there was no camp sites available, but said to try our luck and ask the campground ranger 10 more miles ahead.  If not, there is plenty of BLM area to free camp but we got lucky again with a site. Only 1 left! whoops… (BLM is Bureau of Land Management land which allows you to camp anywhere you want on it.  Utah and Arizona have PLENTY of free camp areas…)

Although North Rim in general is much nicer…the sunset wasn’t as cool at it is hitting the South Rim.  Maybe it was just that one evening we were there..idk.

With one more day to kill before our real trek home, we planned on hitting the South Rim or at least Flagstaff.  Thinking back on it, we should have stayed and made the most of Zion and skipped the Grand Canyon, but  no regrets really.   Once we got to Flagstaff, we had hit 3k on the mileage and needed a servicing.  The old man at the station overheard us talking about Sedona and gave us a faster route there, however as we pulled out he came running out.  Asked if we had no time limit, there’s a really cool Jeep road through the mountains that would take us there in about 2 hours. 30mins on the HWY or 2 hours on a trail? ;-)

Well, it only took us about an hour and a half…and Sedona, although it’s a great little town was seemed uninteresting after the last 3 days.

Sadly, that was really the end of our journey.  The peak of the trip was passed and everything else seemed just uhh…cool, but nothing in comparison.  We did reroute the trip through Roswell New Mexico, BUT we arrived 30 mins too late.  All the main shops and museums had closed up.  Just 2 weeks prior they had the annual Alien fest..which is kinda like Mardi Gras, but all alien freaks.  So the town was dead and used up.

The remaining drive home was nothing but booooring.  The small country roads from Roswell, went straight through New Mexico and half way through Texas.  2 lane hwy through what seemed like an endless Twightlight Zone of open flat farm land.

Check out all the shots above and some I didn’t post…HERE! and HERE!

Did we accomplish what we set out to do?  Absolutely.  Through out the whole adventure of the trip, the main moments I’ll cherish is our laughter during the drive and the unspoken bond that strengthened between a father and son.  There were times we did argue about something stupid as directions or me worrying about his driving skills…but positive and negative forces ARE what binds…

So, at this moment, I have 2 more kids…so that’s at least 2 more life adventure’s I’ll be planning before I die.  Not to mention all the one’s planned with the wife!

Hope I didn’t terribly bore  you!  This blog was originally meant for me and lil Ren to come back and reflect on, but all the family and friends asked to keep it updated for them.  If you are reading right now, Thanks!  Hope you enjoyed.  It’s 11pm and I  have to wake at 5, so I’m not bothering to proof it!  Please excuse the grammar and spelling and don’t hold it against me!

Till then, I’ll see you on the road..

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Journey’s end…

Pacific R & R

So we made it home after a long drive through the back roads of New Mexico and Texas… 2 weeks went by so fast but now that it’s over, thinking back on everything… it’s hard to believe we really crammed that much in.  I know t his is the final entry or recap, but I’ll go back in time a bit and finally do my Zion write up.   Reny and I both agree this stop was what made the trip.   Truth is, nothing extraordinary happened. At least not by most definitions of the word.  It’s just something about those canyons, the early morning winds through the trees, the cold brisk water of the Virgin river, the desert sunsets, the hospitable people…everything. On top of that, sharing those moments with my son who equally appreciated it made for a perfect adventure.

The Narrow's - Zion National Park - Utah

You see, we never had any intentions on hiking the Narrows. Hell, we didn’t plan on going to Utah until the night before.  About an hour before we went to sleep to be precise.  After we got back from dinner in Vegas, I got on the computer and was Googling some camping spots for the Grand Canyon and ran across Zion.  I had heard of it before and saw pictures but never knew it was Zion and that it was that close.

The drive from Vegas was fairly quick.  Going by memory, I believe it was under 5 hours.  More like 3.5…but I could be very wrong. We drove a total of 4,800 miles in 2 weeks. lol.  Anyways, we arrived about noon.  Luckily there was some camp sites available!  Zion has 2 main camping areas, The Watchman and South Camp. I don’t think they reserve so get there early if you plan on trying to camp.  Weekends would probably be booked up and weekdays you have to take your chances.  We scored a decent site in South Camp!  If go during the summer, don’t expect to be “needing” the warmth of a campfire at night.  It drops enough to be tolerable, but it certainly isn’t cool.  The park is full of wildlife too!  From Squirrels to deer. And most  take no fear to humans as you can see in this shot just feet from our tent.

Anyways, once we setup camp  we had a couple hours to waste before our Jeep tour so we took a ride up the main road of the park which goes winding up the mountain.  If you are not used to driving mountain roads, this one will surely break you in.  It’s narrow, bumpy and has great views as you drive up…of the edge and road below.  This road actually leads to Hwy 89 which takes you to the Grand Canyon North Rim…by flight is only 80 or so miles.  Driving it was little over a hundred I think.  Come 5 oclock we headed back down to town to catch our tour with Zion Rock Guides. One of the area’s premiere guides services in the area. Check out their website for more info.  They will do guides from everythign Mountain biking to climbing to canyoneering to simple Sunset Jeep tours.   Unless you get our driver.  Jorge

Mountain climber, Canyoneer, Stunt name it. - Jorge

I thought for sure I had a better picture of Jorge, but then again…the mystery fits it perfect.   Initially I was looking for follow ride tour.  Basically something we could follow in our own Jeep.  But nothing was offered.  However, Jorge said he’d be happy to let us follow him around! But after a little thought, being 3k miles away from home and using the only vehicle we had to get back…I decided to just sit in with the experienced guide who knows the trails.  Our trip was actually supposed to just be a Butte and Mesa tour.  Basically taking us atop for the views.  Which it was!  But Jorge style.   We took some of the roads less travelled and to some of places only the locals know about or go.  I won’t repeat my blog about this tour, but will say Jorge was worth the money.  I gave him the address to the site so I hope he’s reading, had read or will read this.  It was good to meet you Jorge and look forward to crossing paths again.

The Narrows

About a mile into the Narrows - bottom up

The diverse trek through Zion’s premier canyon is one of the most touted and breathtaking adventures in America. Extraordinary beauty and unique character describe this amazing gorge. Hanging gardens burst from dramatically colored perpendicular walls while trickling water threads its way through moss covered boulders. Gentle slopes give way to sheer walls funneling streams of water into fluted slides and twisting channels cutting deeper and deeper as the journey continues its path southward. Along the sandy perches of the banks, towering ponderosa send their roots downward, hungry for nutrients and water. The entire trip is wondrous. The Zion Narrows deserves its reputation as one of the best, if not the best, hike in the National Park System.

We had no intentions of attempting the Narrows hike.  Everything I  had read kinda made it sound like you really sh ouldn’t do it unless you planned well for it or had someone who did it with you.  But take it to Jorge to urge us on.  Actually, come to find out the true Hike for the Narrows is from the top down to the main park.  This route being some 16 miles and usually requiring an overnight camp somewhere mid way.  Requires a backwoods permit too…  But Jorge said do the bottom up route.  Which basically starts off at the end of the park and you trek upstream as far as you want.  Most people only go a few hundred yards, some a mile in and some reach Orderville Canyon.

Orderville Canyon

Orderville Canyon connects to The Narrows about 2 miles upstream hike.  I’m not exactly sure how far it goes, but it’s fairly narrow in comparison to the Narrows 2 miles from the bottom, which makes for some very cool views.  Jorge told us we have to reach Orderville.  Everything will tell us to turn around and go back, but trek on and at least get to Orderville.  It was worth the trip.  Sure enough, it was worth it.  A little about about the hike…It’s not exactly dangerous per se, but it can be strenuous.  The danger CAN arise if there’s a flash flood.  So if you don’t know how to swim, it’s more of a risk.  The guides say most younger athletic people who are prepared and educated can get through a flash flood, but the elderly or young are the ones that end up in trouble.  But Google canyoneering and flashflood and you can see anyone is at risk with a big enough flood.   What makes the hike strenuous is the terrain you have to navigate.  You are basically hiking through a river bed.  Stones of all sizes with rushing water over them can be tricky to navigate at times.  i f you have bad ankles, you’ll surely want to wear some support or don’t even go.  I twisted mine quite a few times on loose stones.  Had I not had the hiking sticks (provided by Jorge!) I may had fallen a couple times.  You dont’ need hiking sticks, but it’s a good idea.  It acts as your third leg…(no jokes please…lol)

The water is refreshingly 65 degrees! A bit chilly at first, but after treking through it for a while, it feels wonderful!  Some parts of the canyon you don’t even have to walk in the river, but some parts you are up to your waist and higher.  There were a few spots we ran into that we couldn’t feel the bottom, but you didn’t have to go that route and swim.  There was always some part of the canyon that allowed you to walk through.

"I can touch the bottom!"

Mother Nature is always the boss...

This really was an absolutely wonderful hike.   Not far from Zion there’s also Bryce Canyon ,Canyonlands , and Arches National Parks.  All equally possessing some great country to explore.  Utah is definitely some place I’ll plan another visit to some day.

A look upward

Every now and again during the hike I’d beat myself up for now having brought a backup camera.  If you read my earlier blogs…my 5D had a malfunction and I had to leave it at Canon in Orange County, CA.  So besides the cheap waterproof film camera shots, ALL of my vacation shots are with the iPhone 3GS.

Still Fresh!

Ok, starting to feel it now... j/k

I kinda resemble Sasquatch huh?

Ready to do it again...after a week of rest at least.

Once we reached Orderville, we hiked in a bit further.  Orderville’s river bottom wasn’t all rocky like the Narrows.  It was more slate and slippery.  And we ran into a few spots that were more than inaccessible by anyone without some climbing capabilities.  The climbs were worth it though. Orderville was much narrower than the part of the Narrows we had  hiked up.  What scared me though was the walls  were wet about 15ft up.  No water was dripping from above so, my reasoning was the levels were that high at some point during the day.

Mouth of Orderville..."DON'T GO INTO THE LIGHT CAROL ANN!"

IDK…or the rock’s were sweating with condensation…either way, the narrow walls and hardly any hiding spots to get behind in case of a flash flood made us not venture more than a mile in.

After that point, we turned back for the Narrows and hiked in about a quarter mile more then realized, we have to hike BACK to get oout.  At this point we were 4 hours into and tired.    The hike back was a bit faster since we knew the easier routes and didn’t stop much to site see.

I can’t wait to go back.  Tammy already agreed to do the 16 mile overnight hike from the top down with me.  On the river we ran into a few people who were making there way down with that trip and said it was well worth it.  Long and tiring, but well worth it.  I can’t see how it couldn’t be…

Well, I had full intentions on completing this recap blog of the whole trip but just realized it’s almost midnight!  I have to get up for 6am cardio!  Check back tomorrow after lunch for the official recap!


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North Rim – Trail of tears and a shower in 3 days…

Sorry no pictures for this yet…the crappy wifi here at the campgrounds general store won’t let me upload….but check the FB page.  FB search Pacific R&R.  If you see 2 handsome studs on the default, that’s us.

We’ve visited the Grand Canyon a couple of summers ago, but we were on the South Rim near Flagstaff.  IMO, the sunset on the South Rim was far superior than it was here on the North, however…The North Rim seems so much more peaceful and cool.  Still a good bit of tourist, but to reach the Canyon itself you have to drive at least 12 miles in from the main gate.    What was surprising in comparision to the South Rim were we visited before, was the dense vegetation/forests.  It’s awesome!  LOTS of pine…then you’ll catch a glance through it and see that the canyon is just beyond and a 5k foot drop.  Beautiful!

We arrived at the campground hoping a site would be open. Hey, lucky us…1 site open!  Perfect too…across from he bathrooms and short drive to showers!  We hadn’t showered since Vegas…haha  I know right?  But the climate in Zion was so dry you didn’t sweat really, and after hiking through the Virgin river in water up to our nipples at times it was like we bathed right?!!  So anyways,  we have the smart idea of renting some bikes.  Our first adventure here…There’s a bout a mile and half  trail that surrounds the park campgrounds which we eventually find…WEEEE great fun because most of it is downhill.  At the end of the trail there is a loong lookout over the Canyon.  Once we reached the end, at this point we nicknamed the rest of the trip – Trail of Tears.  HIking back up the damn forsaken canyon lookout was tough enough at 8kft elevation…but then we had to climb on the cursed stupid bikes and trek back up to our campsite!!!!  I NEVER FELT SO OUT OF SHAPE!  Whenever someone was hikign down, we’d stop and act like we were looking at the scenery while we sucked wind. F*CKER that shit was a chore.  When finally back, we returned the bikes with AUTHORITY!  Seriuosly, I would have rather taken the day hike up the Narrows again than that hell ride.

Later than evening we DROVE back to the point to catch the sunset.  In all honesty, it wasn’t all that spectactular.  Maybe if we hadn’t saw it a couple years ago…it just wasn’t as AWE jaw dropping.   Once we got back it was nightfall so we lit a fire, Reny played the guitar a bit then we showered and settled in. 

The campgrounds itself here on the North Rim is quite nice.  It’s in a fairly dense forested area so there’s shade everywhere.  Near the end where the lookout is, they have a lodge with quite a few small cabins for rent just near the edges of the canyon.  Probably makes for some beautiful sunrises.  Winter must be really nice since they do get some snow up here occasionally from what I understand.  Over all it’s a more user friendly campground compared to Zion…but Zion offers more adventure.  If we had another week we would have did the hike down the Canyon and camped…well actually, we’d probably have done the 16mile overnight trip in the Narrows before the Canyon.   Idk..toss up.   I’m DEFINITELY taking Tammy back to Utah once Lu get’s older or even a small weekend trip without Lu.  It’s really not some place I think you could enjoy with a baby and be able to do the hiking it has to offer at the same time.

Anyways, our journey is almost over…1 more camping night in Arizona. Flagstaff to be exact.  We’ll take it easy though. Get the Jeep’s oil changed, tires rotated and possibly 2 cracks filled in the windshield we acquired along the way here.

Sorry again I could post pictures here…I’ll try in Flagstaff.  Or check out the FB page for some uploads.  I was able to upload via my phone when we were on the lookout point.  Thats the ONLY place I had cell signal.

Till next stop!

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Zion – Jorge, offroading, The Narrows and Orderville…

When we first pulled into the park, I knew this was something of an amazing place.  The park nestled in the Canyon itself, you are surrounded by towering rock walls.  I was just praying we’d be able to get a campsite.  Luck’s been on our side the last few days, and it continued here in Zion.  We found a sweet lil spot in South Camp.  1 of 2 camps in Zion.  So we setup camp, (watched a deer graze just 10 feet away) then jumped in the jeep and headed off up the canyon for a quick ride.  We had a 5:30 Jeep tour scheduled, but had a couple hours to waste.  Driving up the Canyon hwy 9 I think it is, was very cool.  Small 2 lane road winding up back and forth.  We turned back sooner than we wanted to make the tour, but it was well worth it…

"What we are doing here, it's more dangerous than Canyoneering" -Jorge

Jorge – Rock climber, Canyoneer, amatuer offroad stunt driver!  This guy was awesome.  A Southern Cali native, he moved up to Utah some 20 years ago.  I wont’ say his age, but he’s more than double the above…I think.  Think of what might be your typical laid back Southern Cali personality (lingo to go along with it) and you have Jorge.   He says, this wasn’t really a 4×4 trip, but just a ride to see the sunset along the Messas.  But that’s too boring for Jorge right?  Hell yeah!   We start up the canyon at what seemed like a little bit of speed to his driving…which was confirmed once we hit flat open road.    He politely says, “Tell me to slow down if you want…”   I almost second guessed by decision to say no, for just up the road we nearly lose it…   The roads begin to wind and we are digging in cutting corners like it’s a Ferrari.  OOOPS! almost lost it on a turn!  But Jorge  recovered well and we were on our way.  LOL, but about an hour later while driving, he says, “You know, I really thought we were going to bite it back there.” HAHA!   Really, I couldn’t begin to tell you how beautiful of country we were driving (flyin) across.  Words do it no justice.  Jorge made this trip more than what we paid for.  He took us to a few different sites and hit some jeep trails along the way and inbetween.  Telling us stories of Zion, the people, the beauty, the land…all leading me to understand why he came here and hasn’t left after 20 years.  One of our stops was down this small canyon where they had begun diverting water many years ago for irrigation.  The place now is somewhat of a secret spot for locals to camp and swim in the Virgin River.  Getting down there was no easy task.  Many times I thought for sure the Jeep we were in wasnt’ goign to cut it.  Maybe if Jorge wasn’t driving it…  So after getting out at the bottom and walking around a bit I hear a splash.  It’s Jorge! He done jumped in and started rock climbing a small rock…then flipped off into the water.  Soon after Reny and I jumped in.  Seemed like the perfect thing to do.  Damn that was freezing… We ended up the tour on top of a high Messa near some govt. land they use for Jet engine testing or something.  That’s the shot you see above and here now.   So as we made our way down the mountain, Jorge gave us some tips on places to go and see not only here in Utah, but Arizona as well for our Grand Canyon stop.  He also asked if we did any hiking yet or planned to.  He said the Narrows was something we should NOT miss on this visit.  Adamantely so, he lent us the gear we’d need back at the shop no charge.  The Narrows and Orderville Canyon…that’s another blog in it’s own.  I promise to get to soon…it’s just too much to try and get out.  This really was the Adventure we were hoping to find.  Sleeping in a bordello in Tombstone, visiting the Playboy mansion, Walking Venice  beach…etc..nothing compared to the Narrows.  This was the trip.  Our discovery…our adventure.
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Bunnies, Hardrock, Virgin river…oh my

Where do I start?  Having gone the last few days without a quality internet connection we haven’t been able to update! Unless you’ve been following in FB, you’ve missed alot.  But even FB access via the phone has been quite sketchy.

The Playboy pool Grotto

A friend of mine Art, whom I met through Dave in was giving us a tour of LA and casually asks, “Hey, you guys want to visit the Playboy Mansion?”  Uhh…  Seems a friend of his is one of the estates employees and could get us in.  DAMN, that place is everything you’d imagine or more.   There’s easily a couple million worth of animals there.  It’s like a mini zoo!  And the Grotto…way bigger inside than I thought.  No, we didn’t see Hef or any of the bunnies.  They make sure private tours are done by 10am so they can have their privacy.  But it was soemthing of a treat to walk the grounds,  play in the playroom, check out the gym and imagine what goes on during those parties in all the pillow cushioned nooks and cranny’s throughout the entire place.  Thanks Art!  You made a 17 year old’s dream come true.  or at least part of it.

Driving away from LA, we thought…”Man, what could top that?”  Totally unexpected!  Our plan was to head out from LA and hit Las Vegas for a night then onward to the Grand Canyon…As the tagline above says, “no rules, just the road…” Things didn’t turn out that way.  We did stop in Vegas, but the campground was NAAAASTY.  All it was was a parking lot…wtf?  Luckily it was a Sunday and the rooms were cheap.  So we shacked up at the Hard Rock. Just a few blocks away from what we came to Vegas for.  NBA Summer league games.   So we trek down to the Cox Pavillion after dinner (Sushi) only to find THEY ARE SOLD OUT!! WTF!  However, we were reassured that they would probably open up more seats once the Hornets game was about to start.  Sure enough, we scored 2 seats.  And on a side note…Does any one know why there were SO MANY TRAMPY DRESSED girls at this event?  I would swear it was scouts or something bringing girls for the potential NBA players.  IDK…but the place had a 2 handfuls (pun intended) of scantily clad big boobed and butt women.  No complaints, just wondering WTF was up with that. 

We lost...sucky

After the game, we did a quick walk down the Strip.  A lot had changed since I was there in 08. But things were the same as well.  We stopped and watched the fountain at the Belaggio, dodged the Mexicans with the call girl cards and grabbed a late night dinner at the Harley Davidson Cafe.     We got back to the hotel about 12am.  Tired…but I still had to pull out a camping site from my ass fro tomorrow’s trip to the Grand Canyon.  So I got on the net and scoured…I came across soem photos of Zion National Park and new THAT had to be on our list of stops this trip.  It was a little closer than the Canyon so we headed off to Utah the next morning.    Zion though…deserves it’s own blog. Zion IS this trip.  If we did nothing else, it would have been worth it for today alone.

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Tombstone Arizona…

Irish Nellie - our room was named from her. Tombstone Whore. ("There ain't no whores gold!!" - name that movie quote)

After driving nearly all night and most of the day, we finally made it to Tombstone Arizona.  Ran into our first problem of having no tent campgrounds anywhere close by, just RV parks. WTF!  But we found a room at Crazy Annie’s Bordello.  Just going to grab some sights and dinner then rest up for a few hours and get back on the road.  Hope to make it to Cali by midmorning.

Outside Big Nose Kate's

Ok, off to dinner at Big Nose Kates Saloon! Be back with some pictures later.


On another note…we’ve talked about this trip for so long and I never really thought how tough it would be away from Tammy and Lulu.  I mean, I’m with them 24/7. HOme and work…You’d think I’d welcome the vacation away, but each moment I miss them stinks more and more. For Zoe’s trip, maybe they can come if Zoe wants.

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San Antonio…

Lil Ren here recapping some things that happened in our latest stop…San Antonio.

So to start off San Antonio wasn’t the most enjoyable and stress-free stops so far.  So many things went wrong that just reading this may cause you to experience the same stress we had to face.  First off, we visited the Alamo which wasn’t anything special due to the fact that it was closed.  Then, dad’s super cool camara broke on us.  One little tiny pin in the memory card slot was bent, therefore not allowing him to take any pictures with it.  Thank God for Iphones though.  Their camara’s work just fine.

We then went to the riverwalk to get something to eat.  By the way, the Hard Rock makes some extremely awesome burgers.  Dad got a salad because he’s a little girl and has to stick with his diet.  As we made our way to the car the waitress came sprinting toward us with my phone in her hand.  How it came into her possession, I don’t know. 

Thirty minutes out of the city we stop for gas.  There we realize we left the credit card at the Hard Rock.  So we make our way back to the city while listening to the annoying GPS voice telling us to go the wrong way like it has been doing all day.  Luckily, we got the card and hit the road once again.

Now we’re on our way to Tombstone rocking out to some ACDC and Guns N’ Roses.  It doesn’t really get any better that this.

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Taking a hour or so break in Houston.  After Katrina the kids went to school here for a while and Reny still keeps in touch with an old friend whom he’s going to visit…So I guess I’ll take the time to give a little travel info!

What we packing?  We’re packing light… Each with a bag of clothes, an icechest, camping gear and a guitar. 

A few other supplies include:  HP Mini laptop with AT&T 3G connection, handheld CB radio, Flipvideo camera, 5D Canon and a couple lens, Ipod, MIO GPS, and an inverter to power some of the stuff that needs powering.

Carrying us through our journey is a 2010 Jeep Wrangler Mountain Ed. Mango Tango baby…lol. 

Ok, time’s up we are oscar mike to rendevouz with the Houston native.  Next stop will be San Antonio for an extended break then plowing through to Tuscon and possibly having dinner and a beer at Kate’s Saloon in Tombstone.

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A Roadtrip…

I had my first child in 93 but  I was still pretty much a kid myself at the age of 17.   When Lil Reny was still just a little baby I would wonder what he was going to be like when he grew up, what I  would be like through those years. Will I make a good father? Will we be close? Can I really do this?  I love my own father unconditionally, but I can’t truly say we have the best relationship.  Not that it’s a bad one, just not as close as many fathers and sons. We have little in common I guess.  But he was ALWAYS there for us when needed.  He provided and then some.  So watching my own son growing up, I always hoped that I could be someone he could be a best friend to.  Not only provide the necessities one needs in life, but also companionship that makes up a fulfilled life.

When Reny turned 13, we often talked about a road trip we could share.  At the time it was just a fun idea we’d always come back to. Thinking of the different places we stop and what parts of America we could see.  Just something to talk about…But as I got older, as we both did this trip began to take a new meaning to me.  After Katrina he and his sister moved away to TN with their mom and much time was lost.  All the little things we normally takek for granted in our daily lives I missed,  helping with the homework, watching them play sports, late nights watching stupid movies…  then all of a sudden they are grown.  Going into the senior year, visiting colleges and planning a career and life of their own.  From 17 years old to 34… where did it go?  It’s funny…he’s 17 now, the age I was when I had him.  so maybe when he’s 34 he’ll be sitting down with his own son or daughter reading this blog to them saying, “This is the summer your grandpa and I went on an adventure….This is the summer your grandpa and I discovered the West…but most importantly, this is the summer we discovered ourselves over again and confirmed we are best friends…”

So, I invite you to follow along on this journey.  I promise not to make this blog as sentimental as this post.  And if you know me and Lil Ren, it’ll be quite filled with antics, mischief and most importantly humor!

I’ve also made a Facebook (Pacific R&R) page where we’ll upload shots and/or video of the trip!

Well, it’s 12:20am and I’ve gotta be up early.  See you soon!

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