Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coeur d'Alene, ID

Definitely one of the best segments from MN to WA is the section of I-90 that passes through Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The freeway overpass offers spectacular views of Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Lake Coeur d'Alene is a natural lake in the Idaho Panhandle, located in the vicinity of the city of the same name. It spans 25 miles (40 km) long, ranges from 1 to 3 miles (4.8 km) wide and has over 109 miles (175 km) of shoreline.
Here is a short video that we took. It hardly does this drive justice.

We have done this drive several times over the years, but this time we decided to actually get off the freeway and go into the town of Coeur d'Alene. This was partially so Clarinda could do her Idaho run along this gorgeous lake.

We arrived relatively early in the morning and parked at the public library. After Clarinda finished her run along the Mudgy & Millie trail, we walked around the library a bit.

Coeur d'Alene public library water

Coeur d'Alene public library water

Coeur d'Alene public library sculpture

Coeur d'Alene public library flowers

Coeur d'Alene public library flowers

Coeur d'Alene public library flowers

Coeur d'Alene is a quaint little town - one we wish we'd had more time to explore. The lake offers gorgeous views, of course, plus there are lots of cute little shops in town.

Have you ever visited Coeur d'Alene, ID?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beautiful Montana!

We know. It's been months. We've been very bad bloggers.

Once we decided to settle in Vegas, we got consumed with exploring the city and job hunting and settling into our studio apartment.

Honestly, though, we have no good reasons for not updating our blog. Please forgive us.

We have started to make our way through our videos and photos, so stay tuned for some updates. We're also thinking about how to change our description, since we aren't actually traveling as originally intended. We plan on keeping Liberty around, so we can explore more of southern NV, UT, CA, and maybe northern AZ. Perhaps other areas as well.

So, we'll still be traveling with Liberty - just not as extensively.

That being said, travel with us back to June 2 as we drive through the beautiful state of Montana.

We promise will we continue with updates from pre-Vegas sooner than later.

Thanks for following along on our crazy adventures!

Jeff and Clarinda

Monday, July 2, 2012

We didn't make it very far...

We really did leave Las Vegas. Honest.

We made it all the way to the Hoover Dam.

Well, about 3.5 miles from the Hoover Dam, that is. From there, we parked Liberty, unloaded our bikes and biked along the Historic Railroad Trail (full trail review coming soon!) until we reached the Hoover Dam. We completely wore ourselves out!

The bike ride was tough and later we discovered that it really isn't recommended to do it during the summer months. Oops. We nearly collapsed after returning to Liberty, and it took us several hours of relaxing to recuperate.

In the meantime, it was a huge eye-opener to us about doing this trip during the hot, hot summer months in the southern states. It became abundantly clear that sleeping in the van would be unbearable in the summer. We both still really wanted to do the trip, though, so we decided to try to make it to St George, UT, that night and then make a decision on exactly how to proceed from there.

It was already dark. Clarinda (aka the navigator) was super tired. So, we decided to stick to the freeway from the dam to St George, which would, of course, take us right back through Las Vegas.

As we were driving through Vegas, we saw a sign that said:
I-15 Northbound Closed.
Use alternate routes. 
We didn't know any alternate routes.

And our conversation went a little something like...

Jeff: Now what?
Clarinda: I don't know. Maybe it's a sign.
Jeff: A Sign? What? Where?
Clarinda: No, no. A sign. Like an omen.

And so, we proceeded back to the hotel we'd checked out of earlier that day, and checked back in.

After considering all the problems, with the heat, that Sallie had; the mechanical issues with Liberty (brakes, suspension); complications with Liberty's title transfer from the MN DMV we decided to stay in Vegas for a few months -- add to that the fact that we loved Las Vegas and its low cost of living, we were excited about our temporary stay.

The next day we began looking for short-term leases, and Friday we signed a lease for a cute little studio at a very pet-friendly complex complete with not one, but three, pools.

Hey, we told you this would be an organic trip. :-)

We're hoping to hit the open road again in 6-months when the weather is a bit cooler. In the meantime, we'll try our best to explore this area and maybe a bit of Southern CA. We've still got a few posts to write about our trip so far, and there will be additional posts about our adventures in and around Las Vegas, so please check back now and again.

Now, to find jobs for the next few months.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Leaving Las Vegas

Today, we leave Las Vegas. Finally.

We got such a great deal on a hotel for Jeff while Clarinda stayed on the Strip with her college friends that after they all went back to their homes, we decided to stay an extra two nights.

And then another night.

And another night.

Now, we're itching to get back on the road to see where it takes us.

Well, we have a pretty good idea. In fact, Clarinda has made lots of notations in the atlas, so we won't have to stop and consult Mr. Google too often.

Clarinda will most likely blog about her portion of the stop in Vegas over at Enjoying the Course. She walked the Strip about a bazillion times and ate some amazing food.

Our time together in Vegas was spent off the Strip.

One evening we did bike to the Strip and then walk to NY, NY Clarinda's favorite hotel. It was a great little excursion, and while we did bring the camera, we forgot to put in the memory card, and it's internal memory was full. Fail.

We were so disappointed. :-(

Other than that little excursion, we basically spent the rest of our time in Vegas lounging by the pool.

And planning where to go from Vegas.

Liberty got her oil changed while we were in Vegas, and she got diagnosed with a few things that make us not so confident about taking her down through Mexico and into Belize.

So, for now, our plan has changed a bit.

Instead of only going to Weeki Wachi in FL, we're pretty set on driving all the way south through the FL Keys -- instead of ultimately heading to Belize. 

Even though Liberty's got some troubles, we've decided to continue road tripping across America, and we'll see where we end up. For now, we've all but decided to return to Vegas, but who knows...? We'll see how Liberty holds up.

For now, we're taking things one day at a time.

Starting with a visit to Hoover Dam.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Visiting Jeff's Dad

One day during our stay in Bridgeport, we made the drive up to Tonasket to visit with Jeff's father. On the way, we drove through Okanogan and caught the tail end of Okanogan Days.

Where Sallie got to meet a couple oxen.

Which pretty much freaked her out.

She also met a couple doggie friends.

Which she loved.

From there, we continued to Tonasket, where we got to reconnect with Jeff's Dad.

There was a bit of a language barrier, but it was nice for Jeff to see his dad and for Clarinda to meet him. He had a beautifully landscaped yard with some really gorgeous flowers.

The picture above was in front of his dad's favorite bush, because it stays in bloom the longest.

A few more shots from his backyard.

Sallie, of course, found a few spots to roll around in.

Definitely an afternoon well spent.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Leaving the Pacific Northwest

Today, we'll be leaving the Pacific Northwest and heading down to Las Vegas.

Visiting family has been a great start to our adventure.

Our first stop, and our longest, was in Bridgeport, WA. A big, huge THANK YOU to Bill and Mel for welcoming us into their home for more than 10 days. Enjoyed many days of great conversation. It was fun to reconnect with them and all their kids.

Clarinda also enjoyed going for several runs in and around Bridgeport. Her favorite run was to the Chief Joseph Dam. You can read about it here.

A major reason for stopping in Bridgeport was to drop off our china set and free up some room in Liberty. Well, we also purchased a few items. There was still quite a bit of Tetris going on when re-loading Liberty to continue on our way.

We left Bridgeport on Thurs and headed to The Dalles, OR to stop at Jeff's sister's house to drop off a painting and some DVDs.

We drove through Chelan and stopped to take some pictures of the gorgeous lake there.

And a little video.

It was a really pretty drive the rest of the way to The Dalles - though Clarinda did doze quite a bit.

The most stunning was driving up to this view.

And crossing into Oregon was one of the prettiest state crossings - from crossing the Columbia river to seeing Mt Hood in the background.

This was also the scariest part of the drive.

The Columbia River Gorge area is known for its wind, and that's no joke! Liberty was being whipped around like a huge kite. There was one point when we were really afraid of losing Lily and Lloyd (our bikes). Have we introduced you to them yet? We'll have to do that in a future post. The wind whipped the straps of our bike rack so violently, that we were really afraid that the straps were going to disengage. We'd be sad to say good-bye to our bikes, but even more devastating would have been having to say good-bye to Liberty. We're not sure she would survive running over two bikes while driving 45-55mph.

Finally we made it to The Dalles, OR.

Unfortunately, while we had an address, we'd failed to actually look up directions. So... we pulled into a gas station right off the freeway and asked for directions. We were a little hesitant because the cashier didn't seem very confident, but the directions turned out to be perfect!

We easily found our way to Jeff's sister's house, where we stayed the night. Thanks, Trudy! Clarinda and Trudy even went for a run/walk the next morning. It was too brief of a stay but so great to see them again.

From there we went to spend a couple hours visiting with Jeff's mom.

And then back into WA to visit with Jeff's cousin, Rebecca. We sat around and chatted, helped with her son's birthday party, and chatted some more. What a fun visit!

Plus, one of the softest, most comfortable beds EVER! Her daughter is so lucky. :)

Vegas is next on our agenda. We'll be taking our time with the drive and should arrive in Vegas sometime Tuesday afternoon.

Here's our tentative route:

If you're familiar with this area, and know of any must-see stops, feel free to leave us a comment below, and we'll do our best to provide some pictures.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lulu's Market and Deli - St Paul, MN

After checking out of our apartment, we had a few errands to run before heading out on our adventure. After a trip to Clarinda's parents' house, the auto store, and the bike store, we were pretty hungry.

While out and about, we stumbled upon Lulu's Market & Deli.

It looked like a cute little place to grab some food and enjoy our last day of beautiful MN weather. well, beautiful that day, at least.

We ordered hummus with pita chips and fried cheese curds.

We were very pleasantly surprised to find that the pita chips were freshly made - right in the store! They were the perfect mix of crunchy and chewy and tasted oh, so good with the freshly made hummus. It was a delectable treat after the stressful few days we'd just had.

Clarinda:How do you like the cheese curds? Are they better than those at the State Fair?
Jeff:Yes, I think they might be.
Clarinda (laughing):That's just what their menu said you'd say.

from their menu...
CHEESE CURDS You know 'em, you love 'em. Hand battered delicious fried cheese. We're not sayin' they're better than the State Fair, but you might. Served with a side of Red Sauce.
Although we ordered food, we also glanced around the market briefly. Such a cute little store with many of the essentials you might need from food to personal items to cleaning supplies. It had a very clean, fresh look and feel to it with nice wide aisles for shopping and plenty of seating for dining.

The folks working there were pretty friendly and accommodating. They even allowed me to order and got the food started while Jeff made a quick jaunt over to Liberty, parked 1½ blocks away, to grab his wallet. There may be a few parking spots in back, but mostly it's street parking. Though it's just a block off Snelling Ave, it's a fairly residential area and doesn't appear that parking would be too difficult - but, again, we stopped in on a late Thursday afternoon.

All-in-all, we were very impressed with Lulu's Market & Deli and would definitely recommend it to anyone - especially any of our Twin Cities followers.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Camping bug

School's out for summer! At least I think that's probably true for most schools by now ... or very soon, at least.

Since leaving MN, it seems we'll perpetually be on summer vacation. :) Not that we're complaining.

For many families, summer vacation means playing outdoors, enjoying nature, and, perhaps, camping trips.  There is nothing better than grabbing your camping tent and heading for the hills or lakes or wherever. There is definitely something to the peaceful serenity that comes from camping.

Leave your worries behind and ENJOY all that nature has to offer.

But, it's also important to be prepared. There are lots of very cool toys available for camping nowadays. Seriously, it doesn't need to be all rough-and-tumble, but you can actually be quite comfortable out in the woods.

We've used lots of camping gear to outfit Liberty for our trip, and there are a lot more camping goodies out there that we'd like to get when we're able. Whether you need a new tent for camping or simply some camping creature comforts, look no further than

You know where we're going; where will you be heading this summer?

Monday, June 4, 2012

On the road...

From here on out, we could probably title all our posts this way. :-)

We officially headed out from the Twin Cities the morning of June 1st. Our first destination was Bridgeport, WA. We have family there - and a place to store our china set.

Since we were carrying an extra big tote, space was very limited in Liberty. It was awkward and not very spacious at all, so we tried to get to WA as soon as we could. We only stopped for gas, potty breaks, and for Clarinda to run in each state.

Sallie has an incredible ability to sleep in the most uncomfortable looking positions.

We almost made it all the way through North Dakota the first day of driving. We're trying to be as conservative as possible with our fuel consumption, so we're trying our best to drive around 55mph.

Yeah, we're that van.

We woke up Saturday morning, and as I was walking Sallie, I realized that we'd parked at the beginning of a bike trail. I tried to convince Jeff to take a bike ride before hitting the road again, but our desire to get to WA outweighed all the work it would take to dismount the bikes, etc.

Despite being in a hurry, we were able to snap quick videos as we passed each state line. Here we are crossing into North Dakota. You can see this and other videos on our FB page.

After this segment, we'll be avoiding freeways, but for this first segment, we stuck to I-94 and I-90. Being on the interstates, we were no strangers to this route. Still, we were both amazed at the beauty around us. 

We've been at Jeff's brother's house now since Sunday afternoon. We'll likely be hanging out here for about a week before heading south to the Portland area.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Killer Commute

None of this for us!

Of course, we'll be spending a lot of time driving, but we won't have the stress of commuting.

Killer Commute
Created by:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making Progress

We've still got a ways to go, but we're making some serious progress in our quest to sell everything. Our apartment is looking quite barren.

Friday, May 18, 2012

2nd Construction phase

Okay, so we thought, "in order to lessen the amount of live Tetris we have to play every night to prep the bed, we ought to build some more storage." The cavity in the conversion high-top made this a relatively easy project. Nothing funny really happened, there were no injuries, and we were so well prepared there was only one trip to Home Depot... So that just leaves the pictures.

As with everything for the trip, the upper loft is Sallie approved. 

If she seems a little mopey, it's because we told her the space was not for her personal use, but that it would be filled with necessities for the trip.

To which, she responded, "Oh really."

The space is roughly 4' deep, 5' wide, and 16" high.

Here is what it looks like with some stuff staged in for a photo; it will soon be full - above and below our sleeping space - with the accoutrements for the trip, and I think this should give us more than enough room.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Building a Lofted Bed with Storage Underneath

It took us all day, but we did it!!

When we originally purchased Liberty, we knew we'd be taking out the captain's chairs, but we were kind of excited about the cool bench seat in the back that electronically transformed into a bed with the push of a button. After close examination, we decided that really wouldn't work for us. Not only was it designed more for a bench seat than a bed making the bed lumpy and awkward to sleep on, but it had zero room for storing anything underneath.

So, Jeff came up with a brilliant plan on how to create a lofted bed for Liberty.

Well, a couple plans actually. After some discussion, we decided on one design and spent the entire day yesterday making it a reality.

We started out with a trip to Menards, but the quality of their 4x4s was poor. Plus we were trying to get to my brothers' house before 8am, so we could get into the garage where many of the tools we needed for the project were located.

After getting into the garage, we headed out to Home Depot to get a bit more hardware and, of course, the wood.

Once back at the garage, we realized there were still two seat belts bolted to the inside of the van that needed to be removed. They were in tight and proved to be a real bugger to remove. After loosening them a bit, we decided to saw them off the rest of the way.

We did have access to a reciprocating saw, but no appropriate blades.

Back to Home Depot we went.

Before we headed out, we had this conversation:
Clarinda: You want to go alone, while I stay here and continue to vacuum out the van?
Jeff: Think that through.
Clarinda: thinking ... thinking ... thinking ...
Clarinda: Oh! How I can stay and vacuum when you'll need the van to get to Home Depot!
D'oh! Clarinda was still giggling about this conversation hours later. Well, still this morning a little.

We both went to Home Depot. :-)

Once back from our second trip, we were really able to hunker down and get to work. We got those pesky seat belts removed. Jeff got to measuring the plywood while Clarinda concentrated on vacuuming out the van.

Getting the plywood into the van was a bit challenging and took a LOT of finagling, but we did it with little to no damage to the wood or the van.

Clarinda continued vacuuming while Jeff measured and cut the 4x4 into blocks to use as additional support.

Time to wedge those posts in. Perfect fit!

But will it support our weight?

In an early design, we were going to sleep curled up in this amount of space, but Jeff brilliantly devised a way to extend the length of the bed - using hinges.

Problem: The screws that came with the hinges were a tad too long.
Solution: Filing, sawing, sanding those babies smooth.

We did as much work as possible outside of the van, but there were times when Jeff had to lie on his back under the platform and use a drill very awkwardly. It was a little touch-and-go on how to maneuver all the tools and hardware while on his back with about 12" of clearance!


It was bit a slow going in the beginning, but once we got into a groove, the day really just flew by! It was hard to believe when 6pm rolled around.

Not to say it wasn't physically challenging. It was. And today, we are paying for it.

Overall, despite all the physical pain, it was incredibly satisfying to work on this project together and have it turn out so perfectly!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Virtual Moving Sale

Visit Our 20 Day Apartment Sale!

To explain, we are selling everything we own,
so we can travel around in our van.
We will be posting items on Craigslist,
but you can see everything at once on
our yard sale blog, and on May 24th and 26th
we will be having actual yard sales at:
2057 Laurel Ave, St Paul MN 55104

Everything is being sold at cheap prices,
and every price is negotiable (obo).
What doesn't sell will be donated to charity.

Here is a small sampling:

Decoration = Prices vary

4 Shelf pantry cabinet = $10

Abstract painting on stretched canvas 48" x 24" = $40

Locking hasp = $3

Running belt with water bottle = $10

Life jacket = $10

Work lights = $10

Shop broom = $15

Captain's chairs and back bench seat from Dodge van = 
Best offer

See Post

Ergonomic highly adjustable office chair = $250

Office chair = $10

Bookcase = $40

Telescope = $150

There's plenty more to see, and more posts are coming.
Come take a look: