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  • 9/10/07- Sedona, Arizona: After leaving the big hole (Grand Canyon), Steph and I drove south to Sedona. My cousins wonderful wife Mia had offered to let us stay there at a cottage they own, and we would never turn up a chance to sleep in a real bed! People you don't know how good you got it! Try lying on a cot for the majority of 3.5 months. Can you say chiropractor? As we drove through the picturesque town, we were blown away by the red rock formations that surround the area. We pasted through the town and drove south to the village of Oak Creek were the cabin is located. It is a cute little place that Mia has painstakingly set up. It had everything we could desire, washer/dryer, dishwasher and etc. Since we were going to be there for the weekend, there was one thing on our mind. I bet some of you can guess what that was. No, get your mind out of the gutter! FOOTBALL! Opening weekend and we weren't traveling anywhere! A team of wild grizzlies couldn't have moved us from that spot. It was also nice to have some down time in this quiet neighborhood. First order of business was yup you guessed it, beer, chips, and salsa, the staples of Sunday. Now living on the east coast my whole life, I was unaccustomed to watching football starting at 10 am. I guess it's not too early to drink beer then right? It's football after all. It was such a glorious day, although they didn't have the Patriots game on. So I have to thank Scott and Mia for the one slice of normal life that we have been able to experience since the trip has started. We are forever grateful! To anyone looking to get away for a while, the cabin is a rental and we can get the information or check out the web site. until next time, down, set, hut, hut, hike. Widge

  • 9/08/07- Grand Canyon N.P.: After driving east from California, we made our way into southern Nevada. I wanted Steph to be able to see Hoover Dam and lake Meade. We made it to Boulder city in the early evening. We drove to lake Meade where we were going to stay for the night. It was a nice campground on the edge of the lake, even though the lakeshore was a quarter mile away because the water level was so low! After setting up camp Steph and I sat down to melt in the extreme heat of the southern Nevada desert! We were watching the cute quail birds chirping and walking around our campsite when Steph noticed a coyote close by. We watched as he made his way through the brush and found what must have been a small bird. He snatched it up and scooted off. It was a little disturbing to hear the bird crunching in his mouth like a fist full of potato chips! EWW! Such as nature I guess. After our sweltering night we were overjoyed to climb in the car and turn the a/c on high! So I want to say I don't know how many miles we have traveled so far but the Jeep has been great. We have been getting the oil changed pretty regularly and I just changed the breaks because we could hear them squealing sometimes. Well this day we were headed to the Grand Canyon and with out incident we had made it to Wilson Arizona were we stopped to fill the tank. When Steph got back in, she turned the key and nothing happened. Not a click, buzz, or ding. Oh crap, I couldn't understand why, we didn't have a problem up to now and all of a sudden dead battery. Immediately I thought, "thank god it wasn't yesterday when we were in the middle of the desert with nothing that we could see for miles and I was out taking pictures. Now we were in a quaint little town with service stations and places to stay if we need them. I grabbed the jumper cables and asked a Hispanic man at the pump if he could give us a jump. He said si and pulled around to help. After several minutes with no success he thought that it wasn't the battery but it must not be getting any gas, because it turned over but wouldn't start. I thanked him "gracias!" because he didn't speak much English and Steph and I pushed the Jeep from the pumps to a spot nearby. I had a suspicion that we hadn't let it charge long enough and gave it another shot. A wonderful woman who worked at the store let us use her car and we let it charge for a bit. After several attempts we finally got the Jeep started! I know that a dead battery shouldn't be that hard to start but we had been using a lot of power charging several things in the car that day. Someone was smiling on use because there was a parts store a block down the street. We drove there and I went in to see if they could test the battery and alternator. The store and the men inside reminded me of Cooter from the TV show the Dukes of Hazard! We shut the car off to test the battery and sure enough it was very low. Was it the battery or the alternator? Of coarse to check the alternator we had to start the car and it wasn't having any of that. They brought out a charger and we attempted to start the car again several times without success. I finally decided to just buy a new battery and hope that that was the only problem. After getting the new battery, they were nice enough to let me use some tools that they had behind the desk. After rummaging through the tools I think I would have better off just leaving them where they were. Luckily I had brought along some of my electricians tools and can usually work miracles with lineman pliers. Once the new battery was in we turned the key and the Jeep sprang to life! They tested the alternator and said that it was ok but on the verge of being bad. I wasn't sure to trust it and decided to chance that it was well enough to keep traveling. We got to the Grand Canyon without incident and spent a day at the south rim taking pictures and seeing the sights. Once again being off-season it was nice not dealing with the crowds! I will say it was amazing but after first few over looks you aren't going to see anything different at the next one.  Widge

  • 9/04/07- Shandon, CA: We rolled into Shandon just before Labor day weekend. It was exciting for me to know that I was about to see my good friend Jon who once suffered with me through electrical apprentice classes in NH. He and his wife kyle had since moved to CA and started a family. I admire Jon because of knowing his background and starting with nothing he has made a very nice life for himself, although I think Kyle played a pretty big part in that as well. We spent a fun few days laughing and reminiscing about old times. We spent a day hiking were we saw a large rattlesnake. Steph spotted it and luckily it didn't want anything to do with us. We also went to the beach and got to laugh as we watched their son Cooper play in the sand. I don't think he ate too much! Kyle and Jon are partly to thank or blame for our trip. They had done a trip like this only it was in Australia and it was for six months! They made me feel that our trip was possible, which I probably would have been a lot more nervous about. Steph and I also got to help out and baby sit for Cooper. I have to say he is a good kid even at only a year old. He didn't give us any trouble. I also had time to replace the brakes in the Jeep for the return journey across country. After the long and smile filled weekend we departed for the Grand Canyon. It was sad to leave but they have promised to move back to NH soon and we can spend more time together. Jon has requested that I sign off with my nickname because it is strange for him to call me Jay. So until next time. Widge

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Stephanie and Jason

"To go boldly go, where we have not"

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September 2007

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