A Travellerspoint blog

Yooo Bear

I must say it is quite the difference going from the Utah Dessert to the Rockies of the east. I actually got stuck in Idaho Falls Friday waiting for my medication to arrive but I think it was a moment that I will hopefully look back on and it realized it was a turn for the best. It actually didn’t turn out to be too bad as I spent the afternoon sipping on a Heineken watching the puppies play at the edge of the river. After leaving the 100+ heat of the desert I couldn’t help but to join them and go for a soak myself. After washing up I headed back to my second home *Walmart and had another beer and then headed off to BWW. It was a bit of a walk and the wings I got were terrible but I did meet someone who pointed me in the right direction for my drive into Grand Teton which proved to be a scenic route along 33. He was a bit weird and kept talking about how he was so lucky because he just bartended a wedding and made 75 bucks, wooo hooo. Once his friend arrived and they began talking in cling on and pretending it was cool I figured that was my cue. In the morning I drove around town hoping to spot a fed ex truck but with no luck I decided to I stop off at the local farmers market and took in the “falls” of Idaho. The shipment was late but not by much and I grabbed my meds, loaded up on some water and left Idaho Falls. I know some of you may be wondering why no arches blog and I did a video blog but am having a hard time uploading it* to be continued……

Next up was Teton and so far it has the step up on Yellow Stone the mountain range on the skyline was pretty intense. Before entering the park I stopped in Jackson Hole which is a cool little town, it’s got a real mountain feel to it with a lot of cool shops. I walked in a few shops and purchased a T shirt and some post cards in one many t-shirts stores that line the street. As you begin the drive north the mountain’s peaks start edging themselves on the skyline. As you drive the range gets closer and closer and the pictures get better and better. I entered the park maybe around 4 to find most of the camp grounds were full except for Gre something which was just outside the park at the base and lizard creek about a 40 minute drive so I debated and opted for the drive up north. Of course I lost the battle of the camp grounds, it’s first come first serve in the national parks and they fill up quick. When I got up to Lizard Creek, well first the ride up is like no other it runs parallel to the Grand Teton Range and every mile you find yourself stopping to admire the range and take a picture, just when you think it won’t get better it does. The best part is they have turnaround and viewing points to pull off and take in the scenery rather than just passing it by going 40. By the way what’s the deal with the intense camera gear, I mean these lenses are ridiculous they could probably shoot a bird on the face of these mountain’s, oh one other thing the Asian culture (no offense) are always holding up their tablets to take video’s and pics idk I just find it weird that and the photo shoots. Back to the Teton’s as I was saying a lot of good spots to take in the sights but again I lost the battle for the campground and found myself 25 miles from the main entrance and the only campground open. So the question was do I press on to YS or go back to “base camp” (like I’m climbing K2) for me this was an easy one I mean the mountain range is unreal so I made the journey back down stopping along the way.

Before entering the camp site I took about 20 minutes to sit on my car and check out one of the main peaks and I know I’ve said that several times already but pictures don’t do them justice as they are very overwhelming and surreal. By the time I entered the camp site it was closed so basically you pick a spot drop 20 and your set. I knew I wanted to get an early start today for two reasons, I don’t want to hike in the heat and two I want to reach yellow stone to assure I get a spot for the night. I had a few beers made some polish spaghetti, eh him growing sick of pasta but it’s easy and then turned in for the night. Now in case you don’t know I usually go to sleep listening to Sirius or with the TV on but with no solid connection I watched one of my 4 movies on my laptop as I regretted not bringing my Seinfeld/curbed dvd’s. I woke up several times during the night mainly because I had to go to the bathroom but it was so cold, I believe it dipped down to the low 40’s and tonight’s low is 37. Lucky for me I had the gift of Matt’s sleeping bag with me which helped me fight off the cold. I was actually debating sleeping in my hammock tonight but 37??? Ouch!. Not to mention the Camp host just came by to ask me if I was planning on leaving it up because the animals passing through could get caught or eat me. Anyways I got a nice early start as I was up at 530am and headed to the trail that I had researched the night before. After not finding my original trail I stumbled on something that looked good it was a 3 mile hike just below Grand Teton peak up to beaver lake. From the minute I started the hike I was in aw, the mountain range grows closer and you truly realize how magnificent and enormous they are. You may be asking why I titled it yo bear, well on my way I came across a sign that said don’t hike along and carry bear spray so to put myself at ease I walked back and got my pepper spray not even knowing if that would works but again it put me at ease. The trail at times was more open into the valley and other times it got tighter with a dense tree line, YOOOO BEAR yes as I walked I would throw out a YO BEAR every hundred yards or so. Again it may sound silly but that’s they say that’s the thing to do or sing but not sure if anyone wants to hear that. Again I got there early and I was one of three hiking that early in the morning and plus if Bear Grills does it’s fine by me YOOO Bear, say it you know you want to. The hike was really good and I got a lot of awesome pictures and was able to make it all the way to Bradley Lake and back. This was my first hike with a Camel Bag and I must say they are a huge plus, lightweight, good storage and can’t beat sucking on your shoulder for some h20. I could go on and on and tell you about the range and my hike but quite honestly it wouldn’t do it any justice. Grand Teton is just so monumental and compelling and as you drive north you just see car after car quickly pull over as they are struck by its beauty and feel the need to capture the sight. Yooo Beaar, lol I should say on the return end of the hike I picked up a walking stick that I would bang against the rocks or a tree but lucky for me all I saw were chipmunks. My return hike did drag a bit because again I was so struck by the landscape it was hard to leave it behind me. The Teton’s like the arches left me thinking to myself how lucky I was to experience these inspiring landscapes. As I sat on a boulder eating a granola bar this morning staring at the peak’s I just get overwhelmed by this amazing journey that was always thought but is now reality, am I really here?.

I’ll get into YS next blog as I will be spending at least another day and possibly a night tomorrow. This evening before dinner as I walked down to the lake it again hit home of the solitude of the trip and not being able to share these moments like the arches of Utah, the Teton’s of Wyoming or my 5 star camp meals with someone else. I’m not asking for sympathy just writing my thoughts but in the end this is the course I chose and whether it is right or wrong time will tell. The one thing I do know is that I realize how lucky I am to be taking this trip and don’t take it for granted for a minute. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “your so lucky” or “wow, sounds like a great trip” and every day I am reminded how truly awesome this trip really is……Yooo Beeeeear!!!

Zubie

Check out rest of Teton , lots more in photo section!

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Posted by zubie831 19:43 Comments (0)

Boulder to the Arches

Pretty Awesome, I am sitting here in Arches National Park just throwing some thoughts down but I Imagine it won’t be too long as I want to soak up as much as the night skyline I can. It was a lot harder leaving Boulder than I thought and as much as I messed with the house I think the “Boulder Trap” does exist. Sunday morning we ventured on a brief 4 mile hike but it was a good way for me to the break the ice and I can see the hiking appeal. It was really awesome being out there walking the tracks, so peaceful and calm. I was actually surprised on how much I really did like the hike and I’m already looking forward to my next one in the morning. Boulder by far is one of the more unique cities I’ve ever been to and after spending a few days I can totally understand how some go and never come back, it’s just an awesome place to be with real sense of energy all around you.

After leaving Boulder I decided to make my way through Denver and drove around a bit before heading over to Blackhawk, Colorado. It’s a funny little town I mean they have so many “casino’s” basically some are just one rooms filled with slots. They are trying to grab this appeal of an old mine town with gambling. I walked around for a bit but then found myself over at Ameristar which was a very nice casino well run, well maintained and a good mix of games. I sat thinking I was only going to play for an hour or two but I decided that I was too tired to start making progress on Moab and figured I would play cards have a few beers and then pass out. The wind in Arches is a bit crazy it’s almost like it someone talking to you as it comes and goes and the stars pretty unreal looks like a planetarium. So back to the casino I know most don’t like my poker talk so I’ll keep it short. One table over won the bad beat jackpot for 100k!!! INSANE the dealer said it was like 1 in 42 million hands dealt so it was quads over quads winner got 40k loser, if you could say that got 30k and the table split the rest perrrrty good. The highlight of my night was getting that picture with the guy with the crazy outfit, no idea what his deal was I tried to talk but he didn’t give up much.

I gambled a bit this morning and I think I left up 45 at Ameristar but hey it pays the days gas so I can’t complain. I didn’t have a set plan for the day other than heading west to Moab and the Arches and now that Im here I just wish I got here sooner. After driving today and detouring off the highway around red cliff and lake turquoise I realized that in certain parts of the country you should never drive at night. Imagine If I drove all night to Moab the things I would have missed. I mean driving around the Rockies today was AMAZING you stop and look at the scenery and think to yourself that it’s not even real. Here I am throwing rocks and fishing in a beautiful lake in the Rockies. I must have taken like 50 pictures, it’s just so majestic you can’t really imagine the true size of these land masses as you weave in and out of them. Trip wise I think this has been the best two days by far, I mean sitting on the edge of those valleys or looking through the pines down on the lake I was just walking in was just so memorable. I really did my best to slow down today and I think Matt said it best saying that this is a one shot deal and you have to slow down to appreciate it which is what I did today. Sometimes it’s best to take that road less traveled do something out of your comfort zone and really live your life. I just can’t get over some of the things I have experienced in the last 48 hours, just awesome. Okay I’m going to finish my beer and enjoy the night sky and tomorrow it’s hiking the ARCHES!

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Zubie

Posted by zubie831 09:26 Comments (0)

Last Night in Boulder

I arrived in Boulder Thursday afternoon to meet up with my friend Matt who has been living here for the past year or so after moving from NY. I was surprised how flat Colorado was on my drive on 76 West but as I got closer to Denver the foothills of the Rockies started to appear in the distance. After spending a few days in Boulder it is by far one of more unique places I’ve ever been. I remember hearing Jonah Hill on Howard Stern saying how Boulder was such a party city and basically most of the students go there for the activities outside of the classroom rather than in and it seems he was right. The people here all seem to have a similar mind set, just a real free spirit, care free way of living life. It’s quite the change from the fast pace of NY and the focus here is on enjoying life more than I’ve seen in any other places I’ve been to. Everyone out here is doing something involving the outdoors and hiking is huge but I guess when you live at the foothills of one of the biggest mountain ranges in the country you can expect that. I myself am looking forward to doing some hiking and was able to finally do a little fishing on a awesome lake on the edge of the hills. It was pretty hot out and I didn’t fish too long but the lake had a great view and a few times I stopped thought to myself am I really here? I can see how people come here and have a bit of the “Woodstock syndrome” and never leave again. Take for instance the guys who run the sandwich shop that is mobbed by college kids daily, I would bet they were past students at one of the two major universities and just could never say goodbye. Don’t get me wrong I am not knocking the lifestyle out here by any means but just rather giving my opinion on Boulder. It is basically when I expected but again it just seems everyone has a very similar mind set and it’s a shame that more cities don’t have the same feel.

Boulder is a beautiful city tucked on the edge of the Rockies with numerous outdoor activities. Once you walk out of Matt’s door you are looking at the mountain range and it is pretty cool. The city of Boulder itself is very nice with a main shopping and restaurant area that acts as the center of the city. I can’t imagine how crazy it gets around here when school is in session I mean I hear the University of Boulder has close to 60k students! I was actually joking with Matt saying that maybe I should stay out here get a job and start free feeling with the rest of the Boulder crowd. Marijuana is legal out here for “medical purposes” but it seems the drug scene (the trippy kind) out here it intense as most people smoke and it is socially acceptable. Boulder is a mix of people coming from all parts of the country I mean in Matt’s house alone you have 2 people from NY and 1 from Mass. We have gone out the past two nights, the first night we headed out on our bikes to explore the city and hit a few bars. Matt himself doesn't drive and for a lot of people the two wheels is the best form of transportation. Even as we shot pool the people we were talking to 1 was from Hartford and the other Bedford Mass, like I said they come and boulder doesn’t let them go. Now coming from Westchester County has relatively low elevation but boulder I believe is close to 5k but I was actually surprised that I adjusted to the elevation with no problem and the only time I felt it was the ride back where I felt like someone was pushing on my face but than again I was a few beers and a whiskey sour deep at that point. Again even the night life has this “chill” feel to it and people are very mellow but it wasn’t too busy with classes being out. The second night we went to a Concert featuring Karl Denson Beastie Boy Tribute with Matt and some cool friends including his dad, awesome!. I’m not to crazy about music but the concert was pretty good and had a good mix of funk and beastie boy covers and the place was packed. Is it me or does everyone have a similar style out here like they just robbed a urban Pac.

Tonight will be my last night in Bouder and after a morning hike I will head south to Denver explore the city, make a stop at Blackhawk Casino and than on down to Arches. Matt has convince me to see Glacier National Park and everyone seems to speak so highly of Montana I decided to alter my route and make a run for it. It has been awesome hanging out with friends from back home and taking a break from the open road. Tonight I am going to meet up with Matt and his father who is in town for some drinks and wake up to go on our hike which we are all excited to tackle. I will most likely depart tomorrow afternoon and I am looking forward to getting out west because after I leave Denver ahead of me are some of the greatest parks this country has to offer not to mention the pacific. It will be hard to leave Boulder but I better get out before I get trapped!! (more pics in My Photo section)

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Posted by zubie831 19:13 Comments (0)

Nebraska and Random Thoughts

I made another good decision yesterday to venture off the highway in Ogalla, NE. I soon found myself in an empty quiet place with dirt roads and fields of corn and wheat swaying in the wind. I remember watching cast away and at the end of the movie Tom Hanks is delivering a package to a rural farm area and find himself at a four way intersection debating the next move. I always found that to be one of my favorite parts of the movies and it was great to be in that similar spot yesterday. Life seems so simple out here and away from the congestion of the inner cities and mass movement of the highway. I use to think to myself who could live out in parts like these but I think after seeing It first-hand it makes you wonder, is it that bad? Don’t get me wrong I love where I live and grew up but probably would never move away from NY but I can understand why some are perfectly content in these rural settings. I am also intrigued by life on the farm, the moving of the cattle, the stripping of the land, putting it all on the line and hopefully cashing in on a successful harvest. I mean I don’t think I could handle the life of a farmer but at the same time I think it is something I would like to experience, a day in the life of a Nebraska farmer. So I spent an hour or so driving around the backroads of Ogalla and all thought some may think there is nothing out there it is has a certain quality to it where time seems to stand still. It seem's that was Nebraska in a nutshell and It was a quicker trip than expected across the state.

At the moment I am sitting in a bagel shop in Boulder after deciding on getting a haircut. It actually was a pretty decent cut and I was happy with it. I’ll get into boulder in a later blog but again Jonah Hill hit it on the nail and I can see how this is the number one college party city in the country. My friend Matt who I am visiting is working today but it has been good seeing him and he has really grown accustom to the lifestyle out here as most others have aswell. Tonight were off to see a tribute to the Beastie Boys performed by Karl Denson and now for random road comments but I forgot my book in the car so I'll have to wing it.

Random Road Comments – in no particular order

1.I haven’t seen a NY plates in a very long time and I also don’t think many cross country travelers go through Iowa or NE.
2.I love walking into a casino and getting that first roll on craps, hand in poker or spin of the roulette wheel it’s such a rush I can’t get enough of.
3.I need to download more music and am not fond of my current playlist.
4.I have an urge to watch cast away.
5.I’m surprised I am already in boulder and think I will slow down for my trip up north and than back down the coast.
6.It was very tempting to stop in the multiple firework depots but I didn’t but speaking of which I need to find a good spot for the fourth.
7.I would like a pet preferably a dog but was almost considering a mouse as I walked around petco today, lol.
8.I had a whiskey sour last night for the first time.
9.I find it a lot easier to sleep than I originally had thought and even spent the night in my car rather than on the couch last night but when I woke up I was looking at the foothills of the Rockies so can’t beat that.
10.I would like to do some fishing and looking forward to swimming.
11.I sense people realize I am from NY.
12.My poker and match collecting is growing.
13.I am constantly organizing my car and am still yet to use my single coleman burner.
14.I think my biggest challenge for the rest of the trip will be keeping things cool in the fridge.
15.I am still yet to stay in a hotel and am debating a tent for my next leg.
16.I had a coke and a chocolate chip bagel for lunch.
17. I often battle the technology of my trip and wonder why we don't have more free wifi options as a country?
18. I have learned since leaving Chicago to not let things get the best of me but rather let them roll off and move on.
19. I need to download a ring tone, I still like the duck idea!

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Posted by zubie831 13:20 Comments (0)

All you can Eat baby

Winning!
I always find it hard to start my writing but usually after it starts it’s a free flowing wheat field which I saw a lot of today. It seems I’m always one day behind but perhaps I will catch up when I get to Boulder. I’ll jump right into it I won the biggest hand of my poker career and I’ve played a lot of hands over the years. I decided to stop off at the Horseshoe in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It was the best casino I’ve been thus far and really had that AC/Vegas feel to it. The gaming area was big, bright, active and upon walking in the fresh oxygen hits you! I decided to sway from my normal routine of putting 20 down on roulette and head straight to the poker room which was also very nice. I bought in for 100 and soon realized this was a table that could be beat and was readable.

Unlike my previous night of play I decided to play my game which is patience and position. The table was filled with limpers which helped me when I doubled up by flopping a K high flush, after moving all in on the river she called rather quickly so I was thinking cooler Ace high but after asking if she had the flush it was clear she didn’t and I dragged the pot. Her bf didn’t seem to happy with me and quickly spitted out “1 47 you flop a flush” I simply collected my chips and said I’m not good with math, lol. Moving forward after taking a quick walk to my car I and again going over the game plan I made my way back to my seat. I made a few small plays, and then won a decent pot where I limped with AA and then RR PF.

So no it comes down to the big hand…..I look down at aces I’m sitting in seat 9 and I realize most of you wont appreciate the poker talk besides den but it was the biggest hand of my life! So this time with a live straddle of 6 I make it 36 to go, seat 1 “ATM” goes all in for 70 across from him “loose cannon” calls the 70 and has about 320 behind him, I knew my only move was to go heads up with the smaller stack and push but I took another glance at my cards like I didn’t remember what they were asked what "loose Cannon" was playing and then pushed in 215 pre flop ALL YOU CAN EAT. He thought about it and at this point I’m thinking just fold, especially since earlier he played Q8 and sucked out on the river to a four flush. The more I thought I finally said you know FI call me you’re not cracking my aces and sure enough he called. At the time of the flop I’m thinking no paint dealer and certainly no Kings but the flop was Q J K and at that point I’m asking for the dealer to throw a 10 because I’m thinking one of them hit a set! Turn Blank River Blank …AA? Small stack mucks and I look at the other guy and say I have Aces he looks at his hand looks at me motions to muck and I’m thinking he is mucking!! Which he did and I let out a few claps and a YEAAAAAAAAA! Pot was huge 650!! They say with Aces you win small pots or lose big ones well yesterday I won both and it was a great feeling. Most good poker players like myself walk into a poker room size up the competition and often think they are the best and that's apart of the game I love, the domination and yesterday I dominated that table.

Unfortunately my thrill was short lived as I was short my headphones a guy sat and I didn’t care for his table conversation and after getting the second time it got the best with some emotions so I decided to go back in and cash out. Now I would have loved to have stayed at that table for at least another hour you know big stack poker, go on a big run but the table had broken a bit so their wasn’t going to be as much action and I have rules when I play one of them is NOT playing when you are emotional or angry which I clearly was. So in the long run I left the casino up 5 and change made a quick stop at Harrah’s won a quick 30 in blackjack but was disappointed with the casino in general so 15 minutes later I was on the road.

I hit some rain on the way out and then headed over to cracker barrel for a chicken sandwich to go. I needed to make a stop at walmart to pick up a battery operated fan, thermometer, new air pump and a few other things. Had a bit of a detour on 80 as there was an accident but I was lucky to be where I was first foremost because I wasn’t involved (I did hit a ladder yesterday doing about 75 but no damage) and the fact that I was able to exit and didn’t get stuck in the back or front of the area. Other than that the night slipped away and I admired the Nebraska sunset, it really isn’t anything like you see back home. It almost doesn’t look real with the colors and the patterns of the clouds and seems more like a computer animation then the evening sky on the farmland. I drove to North Platte, NE and found a spot at J spot for the night around 12:30. I did notice it was getting cool in Nebraska but It was cold last night and dipped down to the low 40’s BRRRRR. Two nights ago I was hot and sweating and last night I’m cold and waiting for the sun to come up to warm me. As simple as it is to be sleeping out of your car it turns into a lot of little jobs you have to do on a daily basis from getting ice twice a day at a drive thru to making sure things are charging and that there is gas in the tank. I have really fallen into my routine with getting ready to start the day and ending it. I think the last 24 hours was my best yet not only because I won but it was just overall a good stretch, going from the chips at the Horseshoe to the wheat and cornfields of the back roads of Ogalla, NE. I’ll get into more of that later on …..

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Posted by zubie831 14:02 Comments (0)

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