Archive for Pictures

Happy Holidays!

The madness of the holidays is fast approaching, and we still have a van to unpack! Once things settle down we’re going to do some more posts about the trip as a whole, what we learned, if we’d recommend it, etc, so don’t be a stranger. In the mean time, enjoy your meager vacation-time and drive safely!

Happy Holidays

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Fayetteville, Arkansas

After Austin, we headed to Fayetteville, Arkansas to visit cousins of mine. It was really good to see them all two nights in a row. It’s always interesting to see people grow throughout the years, and since we seem to meet up every six or seven years, it always makes it more interesting catching up after/while going through various stages in life.

In fact, the last time we all got to hang out, my hair was dyed green, I had one visible piercing among others, and I was in the dead-center of my rave days having just taken the lease on a warehouse that would further change my life. Now, we’re growing up, drinking beer, getting married, and making our lives our own in the best ways we know how…whether it’s going back to school, living in a van, exploring e-commerce, or making your life and business 40 minutes outside of the nearest town.

In addition to catching up on lost time, Karma, Katherine, Bauer and I went on a beautiful hike through part of the Ozarks. One of the things we’ve mentioned on this blog, and even more often between Alexi and I, is that there seems to be an infinite number of environments in this country. The Ozarks brought yet another environment to explore.

The Ozarks feel as old as the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains, but instead of being on an igneous foundation of granite, they are on a sedimentary foundation of limestone (Though I’ve also heard there’s phenomenal sandstone climbing around there as well). Being that Fall is finally over, there were no leaves in the trees, offering an austere scene from the higher cliff lines.

We also got to see some of downtown Fayetteville’s massive spectacle of Christmas lights, their “very accurate Statue of Liberty”, and got our butts whipped at Mario Kart and shooting pool. I’d say that the humiliating defeats in sport and game really topped off the trip.

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The World’s Greatest Burrito

Anyone who knows me and my culinary preferences knows how much I love a good burrito.

Ben = Burrito lover. Burrito lover = Ben.

How can you not love a burrito? It’s a glorious configuration of nutrition (protein, carbs, and vegetables) and flavor (seasoned steak and hot sauce) all wrapped up in a neat, portable, shiny package. Anyone who argues against the deliciousness of a good burrito should check themselves into the looney bin. Now.

Those who are familiar with my burrito-love have also likely heard me declare the supremacy of a Texas chain called: Freebirds. Until this trip, I had only eaten at Qdoba, Chipotle, Moe’s and other miscellaneous Mexican restaurants with less of a focus on the burrito.

After this trip, I’ve eaten burritos at about a dozen cities throughout the continent. Aside from the uniquely fantastic burrito at “La Paz” in Los Angeles, my declaration of Freebirds having the world’s best burrito still stands.

To commemorate the verification of this declaration, I decided to celebrate.

I celebrated with what’s known as the “Super Monster.” Other than places like Golden Corral, it’s the epitome of gluttony: Two 14″ tortillas, end to end, in a massive 3+ pound structure and composition that’s larger than my face.

I prepared by eating 3 “Monster” burritos in 8 hours in Dallas, 3 days before. To shove this thing down your gullet requires sincere and dedicated preparation fit for the Olympics.

75% Done:

As symbolically as man’s landing on the moon, I finished it.

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Entering Yellowstone

Snow BallWe’re about to go to the dark side of the Moon. Almost. We’re actually driving up into Yellowstone National Park for a 4-night camping extravaganza, and there probably won’t be any sort of way to communicate. At least there wasn’t when we drove through Big Horn National Park, which was amazing. I’ve uploaded one picture to whet your appetites, more will be coming after we get back. Luckily my mother (henceforth referred to as “Mama,”) provided us a care package to supply us with a few warm meal options, including Tuna Helper! Now how did she know we loved tuna? : )

It’s also worth mentioning that we learned an important lesson about large vehicles. Trying to decelerate a 5000 pound vehicle over a 2000 foot drop in elevation can make your breaks catch on fire! Smoke, anyway. Apparently the sign that read “Trucks Use Low Gear” also applies to Class B RVs as well.

Give us a break, we’re computer guys.

(Edit: and by Yosemite, I meant Yellowstone :-))

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Back in Ship Shape

The van is fully functional! The guys at Frank’s did a great job, and cost significantly less than Ben’s dad’s estimate. If they weren’t busy helping other customers out when I left I was gonna snag an honorary H.t.b.o.t.I. photo.  Oh well.

Penguins  Orchids

While I waited I checked out the Lincoln Park Zoo (left) & Conservatory (right). They’re both surprisingly big, and pleasantly free. I got the broken-spirit vibe from a lot of the animals at the zoo, but the plants seemed to be decently happy. Surprisingly the Conservatory was the more interesting of the two. After feeling pumped up about my superior intelligence and opposable thumb, I proceeded to place my $18/5-day transit pass into the dollar bill scanner. The words “don’t act like a monkey” were all too audible despite Ben not being there.

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This One Goes Out to US Customs

We’re not sure if this rule always applies, but it seems like taking small roads across the boarder is a much better idea than larger ones. Getting into Canada via some tiny little road was a snap. The guy asked us if we were bringing anything in, Ben says “only what’s in the van,” and we cross over. Ok, maybe there was a little negligence on the Customs Officer’s part, but whatever. We’re good people.

Traffic at inspection Customs Sign

Getting back into the US we decided to shoot straight down I-87. BAD IDEA. The traffic there was horrible, as you can see in the left photo. As we finally got closer I saw a bunch of signs that I thought were amusing (right photo,) but apparently the Customs officers didn’t. They detained us for about 15 minutes, asking questions and attempting to delete my photos the entire time. While they didn’t manage to do that, they did manage to record a voice memo, which I kindly put at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

I can’t even operate the computers at work, I can’t operate a digital camera.

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Philadelphia…Hair Cuts, Modeling, Touristing, and Beer.

Yesterday was spent touring Philadelphia with Garrett and Brandy, and today is a work/travel day.

Our day started off doing a photo shoot (Yes, we’re also models…in very high demand.) for Garrett’s new shirt designs. Each design is a character from a comic book he just finished. They’ll soon be for sale and he’s given us a couple to model around the continent, taking pictures and whatnot for sales/internet material. As soon as he gets a website up, we’ll be letting you all know.

This, in turn, makes him our first sponsor, and we’ll be announcing another a few stops from now.

Next, we had lunch at Geno’s, world famous for their cheesesteaks and patriotism.

After the delicious lunch, we walked all over the city. We got to see Love Park, the Benjamin Franklin Institute, and various other parks along the way. Our last stop was the Museum of Art, famous for the Rocky scene where he runs up the steps, which offered a great view of the city at dusk.

Finally, we ended up at a bar called McGlinchey’s with well-priced drinks and a cute server.

Earlier in the day, I decided that I needed a haircut. Which, I did. I actually cut my own hair, with a 12 guard on clippers, all around. I’ve been wanting to use the “Left Ear” and “Right Ear” guards, so I did. Unfortunately, this looked utterly ridiculous. There was only one option from there: Shave it.

Click here for more pictures.


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