Wednesday, September 30, 2009


My new favorite site for humor:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Dave told us about a new store in Austin called Sprouts - not exactly Whole Foods or Trader Joes, but similar. I stopped by yesterday to check it out.

The large selection of produce was tempting, especially with some really good prices on much of it. It all looked good, but nothing too different from HEB where I went next. I was expecting more "Farmers Market" but didn't really see that.

Then I got home and made a salad - and I discovered some of the best-tasting grocery store vegetables we've had outside of Europe! Tomatoes, green beans, carrots, and three flavors of bell pepper, all delicious. OK, I'm sold!

Renewable Energy Round-up

Last weekend John and I went to Fredericksburg for a renewable energy expo. We enjoyed checking out all the booths and brainstorming on what we can do specifically to/in our travel trailer to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption and waste.

The best part of the weekend was the plethora of interesting and informative talks. Some highlights included:

* Learning about biodiesel and how we can use it right now in our truck without any modifications to it

* A talk about permaculture as a vast improvement to agriculture (but good luck with any sweeping changes anytime soon)

* Hearing about international projects in Latin America and Afghanistan that bring solar power and water to developing countries

* Different approaches to rainwater collection systems, including a cheap manual way to capture rainwater for drinking

* One talk that tried to promote the benefits of living in a smaller space/smaller footprint, which didn't come anywhere close to our floorplan in Howie (150 ft2), so I mostly just laughed at this one

* Good info on photovoltaic (PV) solar systems that we might be able to adapt for our use

* An amazing, inspiration talk by the mayor of Greensburg, KS. His town was mostly wiped out by a tornado in 2007; the town decided to rebuild as "green" as possible, included LEED-rated municipal buildings, bike and walking lanes, energy efficient homes, solar and wind power, and LED streetlights. Would be an interesting place to visit!

All-in-all, an excellent weekend for us.

A solar powered bubble-blower: :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

GTA 2010 - race announcement

We raced last year in the Grande Traversee des Alpes, a 14-day stage race in the French Alps from Lac Leman to the Mediterranean Sea. It was an incredible experience, on beautiful trails, and it's hard to imagine running that far but somehow we did it. The race is happening again in 2010, and we highly recommend it for anyone looking for an interesting challenge in an amazing place. I *love* the French Alps!


August 16-29, 2010
Starting in Thonon-les-Bains, finishing in Menton (or Nice)
640 kilometers in 14 stages (approximately a mountain marathon each day)
34,000 meters elevation gain/loss
1300 Euros (or 700 Euros for either Week 1 or Week 2)
Includes lodging, breakfast and dinner, one aid station per day, bag transport, medical and massage support, and course maps
Deadline for registration is December 31, 2009 (so they can set up lodging in the alpine B&B's)

If anyone is considering going but would like some help with French translation, let me know.

Some photos from the GTA in 2008:

My race report from last year with many more photos:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A little blog humor

Courtesy of Kip, an apt comic for this blog:

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I've discovered a way to reduce our plastic recycling AND have fizzy water whenever I want. I love seltzer water, mixing it with juice and even (as I recently discovered) drinking it straight. Instead of buying lots of bottles of it, we bought a SodaStream fizz-maker.

It's pretty cool - one big CO2 cartridge, instant bubbles :)

Yep, I've moved from travel blogging to marketing... I need to do some races or something

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Turned around

Imagine waking up one morning and finding that your house is facing a different direction. Would that be weird?

We're in the same Austin RV park that we have always stayed in, but for the first time we're in a spot that points south instead of north. I wake up knowing approximately where I am, but I'm still not sure what I'll see when I open the shades on each side.

It's just a little strange...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back to the Lone Star State

Friday evening we finished our Santa Fe week with several quick stops: Fiesta music at the Plaza, a free visit to the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, and a short "art walk" on Canyon Road for a bit of food, drink, and gallery gazing (I love art walks!).

Saturday morning we returned to the Farmers Market and bought a bunch of fresh food - tomatoes, carrots, sweet corn, honey, bread, and eggs (I love good Farmers Markets!). Then we hooked Tug up to Howie and started our journey toward home.

The drive on I-25 from Santa Fe to Las Vegas (the NM version this time) is very pretty. From there we followed the Santa Fe Trail route quite a ways toward the Oklahoma border on a slight detour to the northeast.

This photo is for Bob:

A strange - I don't know what to call it! - in the middle of nowhere:

Info about the Santa Fe Trail:

Sometimes the trail was more visible with wide tracks in the field next to the road, sometimes not so much (I believe it heads off toward the horizon here):

Our detour took us to the Black Mesa where we climbed to the highest point in Oklahoma. Photos and details are here:

Other interesting sights and such:
* Two huge black tarantulas hanging out in the middle of the road (and a third one that wasn't so... alive)
* A Star Party gathering with a bunch of RV's, tents, and gigantic telescopes, hoping for clearing skies last night
* Odd smells while driving through several towns with feed lots and oil fields
* All-day clouds and rain today - how odd and refreshing! We're in Burnet, TX for the night, and it's still raining.

Tomorrow we return to Austin - it will be good to get back to "work" and to see a bunch of friends and family again. But I guess the blog will be a little less interesting for a while...

More New Mexico photos

More travel in and around Santa Fe...

On the way to Taos we stopped at the Classical Gas Museum - very cool!

A postcard from Taos Pueblo where we took a very interesting tour - an excellent place to learn more about Native American culture and lifestyles:

The gorge bridge near Taos:

And the Rio Grande below it:

John took the hard way across:

We visited the "Earthship" community near Taos. They build mostly-off-the-grid houses, in New Mexico and around the world. We could learn a lot from their systems and design. Some photos of the display buildings:

The drive (both the Low and High roads) between Santa Fe and Taos was also very scenic.

Back in Santa Fe, we spent a day on Museum Hill:

It said "Try These On", so how could we resist??

Tea and dessert at the Chocolate Maven, yay!

Folk art on Canyon Road:

Outdoor furniture and/or art:

We (sadly) brought Kathy and Bob to Albuquerque so they could pick up their rental car and head west. What a wonderful week we had with them!

Time for us to drive back to Texas...

Santa Fe photos from Kathy/Bob

Kathy and Bob took some great photos during our week in Santa Fe. Here are a few of them - thank you Kathy and Bob for sharing them!

During the Santa Fe 400-year birthday celebration:

Canyon Road art:

At Bandelier:

Hanging out with us in Howie:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I finally decided to try Facebook - didn't know I had so many friends there! :)

I still don't appreciate that you have to create a Facebook account in order to see things that people post there, but I guess I can look past that and get in line with modern technology...

Bandelier NM

Yesterday we took a wonderful trip up to Bandelier National Monument to see some cliff dwellings and beautiful scenery. Great suggestion, Kath!

View of the Rio Grande from White Rock:

An ancient city:

Bob the Cameraman:

In all our travels to date, we haven't seen rocks quite like these! Made from volcanic tuff, it's rather holey and makes for some interesting features (and places to live, apparently):

Which way is up?

Rock faces:

Climbing up to Alcove House:

We did it!

Local fauna:

Another beautiful day in New Mexico:

Santa Fe days

We're in Santa Fe with our friends Kathy and Bob for a week - what fun! They decided on a whim to come travel with us on their way to Las Vegas, and we're really glad they did.

The theme of this post is "Public Art in Santa Fe".

This may or may not fit your definition of art, but it made us laugh:

Back to school:

We interrupt this Public Art broadcast for a group bongo drum lesson at the Santa Fe 400-year anniversary festival - fun!!

OK, back to the "weird" stuff:

Fish stick (tm Kathy) - actually in Los Alamos:

Seret and Sons warehouse - amazing (and huge) set of intricate and interesting doors, walls, columns, facades, and other random salvaged stuff from all over the world - John and Bob might have stayed all day if we hadn't pulled them away:

Burro mural on the wall... (tm me and Bob)

Typical Santa Fe adobe (this one happens to be the Santa Fe Art Museum):

An awesome meal with friends!