The Ultimate Adventure Report

Ever watch the show "Justified"? It took place in Harlen, KY.

It wasn't actually filmed there, but the town does exist. It is an old coal mining town. Not much there, but a nice museum - about coal mining. We visited there 3 years ago, on the first long trip with the teardrop.

It is in eastern Kentucky, if you are interested. You know, to say you've been there.... ;)
Looks like it's in an interesting area to visit. Never seen the show but this song is regularly on my playlist.

Depending on the timing I may traverse Virginia over that direction and come home down through TN. I've got about 15 minutes worth of "work" to do in Chesapeake. All depends on if that "work" ends up happening Wednesday or Friday...
Well, instead of an epic exploratory drive through Virginia I ended up with a dull interstate commute with regular stops for work. The only "adventure" was renting this at LaGuardia:


And then driving it through the midtown tunnel and into the heart of Manhattan during the height of rush hour.



Other than the approach to the Holland tunnel it actually wasn't that bad. When the vehicle is that big all but the most stubborn of motorists (even cab drivers) get out of your way.

Except Manhattan backhoes.


Overall I put 1007 miles on this 2017 F250 4x4 XLT (6.2l v8 gas). It averaged 15.3 mpg with me cruising at between 70 and 80 mph. Rides like a truck, but like most Fords that are sprung to haul would probably ride much more comfortably with a pallet of concrete (or a camper) in the bed. The brakes were a bit soft and disappointing, but I got used to them pretty quickly.

My new car fetish has me jonesing for one, but I think I need to overcome that addiction and settle for renting them.
My schedule has me in Austin Texas for the month of July. Anyone have suggestions on things to see/do?

If I score any multi-day breaks (which I believe I will) Big Bend appears to be a short 6 1/2 hour drive away...
It's the live music capital of the world; go see a show in a dive bar (bonus: you can laugh at the sprezzatura of the hipsters). There's always Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic.
It's the live music capital of the world; go see a show in a dive bar (bonus: you can laugh at the sprezzatura of the hipsters). There's always Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic.
Oh live music we'll definitely be on the list while I'm there. Hipster shaming is a specialty of mine as well. Somehow I need to figure out how to stay until August 3rd. Zac Brown Band is taking their first performance for Austin City Limits.

Considering the Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic, but only a few artists in the line up interest me and they aren't the headliners...Might be fun though.
Well I'm in Austin. The first order of business when flying in and starting a work project is picking an appropriate rental vehicle. Ideally you want a rental vehicle that accents your hotel this:


For anyone on the fence about buying a Jeep because they're worried that the doors won't fit on a luggage cart and in an elevator...don't worry, they will.



With the rental vehicle decision made it was time for a couple overnight shifts leading up to the 4th of July. Having the night of the 4th off I debated making the drive to Big Bend (8 hours), but decided I really needed two days to make it worth the trip. Hoping I can arrange that sometime during my month here...

Today the dive bars were packed, downtown was crazy busy and it's 103 degrees so I decided to take the Jeep and go wander around. I hit up random roads making my way toward the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge offers limited hiking and human access (it's a refuge for animals), and there wasn't a lot in the way of views from the areas I accessed. Unfortunately the hills in Texas "hill country" would barely register as hills in the majority of the rest of the country. I did, however, find plenty of single and double lane back roads that meandered through nothing. With the air rushing through the Jeep, the radio blasting Eddie Vedder and the sun shining down it was the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the holiday in Austin.





One road in particular meandered along Cow Creek. The creek was pretty low, but the exposed creek bed and the water that was flowing made for some very interesting road side stops. The bridges over the creek are designed to have the water flow over top during flooding. If the marks on the flood gauges are any indication there are times that these crossings have been 7 or 8 feet under water.



Toward the end of the road where it rejoined the highway there was a piece of private land that had a deep pool of green water with a small waterfall flowing into it. I wasn't able to get a good picture of it without trespassing (something I'm firmly against), but if I were this land owner I certainly would have been enjoying a swim in this pool today.


After tomorrow night I'll have my schedule for the remainder of the month nailed down and should know if I'll be able to make it out to Big Bend while I'm here. The areas around Austin seem pretty developed, but I'm sure there's some more exploring to be had...
Thanks to some really efficient floor polishing contractors my Texas trip was cut short and I ended up coming home early.

While in Austin I came across Austin Canoe and Kayak. These guys have some of the best customer service ever and killer package deals. After some discussions with the CFO back home an order was placed for two Vapor 10 kayaks and all the appropriate goodies to go with them.

Less than a week after ordering them they arrived at my door yesterday. Time to expand my adventures to the water!

I'd be happy to come up there, but I don't know how good I would be with the pointers. I am rather new to this kayak thing.

Now, if it had a sail on it, I could help...
I can count on one hand the number of times I've been in a kayak in my life so we could do things wrong at the same time! I know even less about things with sails.
Upcoming trip - Rosenburg TX in August

This is another one of those "babysit the construction crew" jobs that comes with time off each week. Any recommendations for things to see around Houston?
Surprise work projects are the best. Since Austin ended early I was shuffled back into the mix in Manhattan. This time I took my daughter with me since it was her last week before going back to school. So what's the first thing you do when you get to Manhattan? drive to New Jersey to find a store that sells models of Gundams.


What's a Gundam you ask? Well without getting totally into geek mode they're giant robots from animated Japanese tv series and movies. My son loves to build the models and my daughter is into them too. Just like building a model car, plane or boat...but with arms and legs.

After doing a nights work in New Jersey we headed back into Manhattan and took up residence in my favorite Holiday Inn on 26th street just south of Times Square. A short walk later and we were taking blown out selfies with giant TV screens.

Just around the corner from Times Square is a cathedral that was open for tours. Beautiful architecture and sculptures.



After that it was time for a walk to Central Park. My daughter had never been to NY...or out of the south for that matter. All the references she had for this trip were based on TV, movies and YouTube videos. It was very neat to see her realize that things aren't always the way they appear via various media forms. She had this idea that central park was quite simply a rectangular park in the middle of the city...which it is...but it's much, much bigger than any movie or TV series would have you believe.


We made our way back down toward Rockefeller Center and hit up the Nintendo store for some more nerd goodness and video game history.


After this it was time for trips to Macy's, H&M, Addidas, MAC, etc... Hey, she's a teenage girl in is required.
The next day we did some college shopping.


This kid is going to drive me into bankruptcy.

NYU is in the southern portion of Manhattan so we kept going south toward Battery Park to take in the view of the Statue of Liberty. On the way we checked out the architecture, graffiti and stickers.





We made a stop at the World Trade Center Memorial. I've been here multiple times over the past 5 years and it's amazing to see the progress they've made on the construction here. It's equally amazing to me that they still have so far to go with everything that's being built. Once completed this is going to be a massive memorial. Quite humbling to stand where the towers once stood and take in all the names...


We walked on toward Battery Park discussing foreign policy and the agenda being pushed on my daughter by the public school system. I left my tinfoil hat in the hotel room...

When we got to Battery Park the view of the statue was nothing like they show on TV.

This wouldn't do at all. Time to get on a boat! Look at the excitement on this girl's face:



Once on the island the statue was much easier to see. Apparently to access the pedestal, crown or torch you have to have reservations and buy tickets in advance. Makes sense I guess because it's really not as big as it looks on TV. We walked around the island, read the history posted on the signs and hit the gift shop. In my past trips I'd never made it down this way, certainly worth visiting.



We headed back to the hotel where my daughter remained glued to the window taking pictures...


Finished up my project in Manhattan and after a required visit to my favorite bakery for cupcakes and pudding we pointed the rental 4Runner south and headed for home. With my daughter starting school on Friday it was time for the wife and I to take advantage of a weekday off together and hit Lake Burton with the new kayaks.



Rain threatened for most of the afternoon but never fell. The water was a little choppy but the lake wasn't overly busy. It was a good day of paddling.

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After we pulled the yaks out of the water we visited the fish hatchery nearby. I need one of these on a hook.

My project in Houston has for the next 41 days. It was messy getting out of Atlanta.

Delayed a few hours and made it to Houston just in time for the sunset.

Now I've said it before: I love my job. The travel, meeting new people and going new places...all while getting paid to do so. It's fantastic. There are those special times, however, that make this the best job ever. Like when the rental car company parks a "premier" level vehicle in the executive level section and you snag it with no upgrade fees.

Camaro SS with 455 horsepower and no roof? Yes please!

It's shaping up to be a good month here! Now to avoid speeding tickets and possible incarceration...
I'm getting really bad at keeping this thread up to date...and I haven't done anything too interesting on work trips lately.

I spent time in Houston watching concrete and paint dry:


And then ran away the night before Harvey made landfall.

While I was home waiting for the all clear to return to Houston I spent some time exploring southern Georgia on the motorcycle.



I love old buildings like this! They're vanishing all too quickly these days.


After checking off some honey-do items around the house I flew out to Redlands California where I am now. Never got the all clear to return to Houston and then I had taken the week off for APV so someone else finished up that project. Other than making a drive up 1N05 toward Big Bear the other day I haven't done much interesting here either. The sunrises from the store parking lot are nice though.


I also walked outside the other day to discover my retirement dream parked in the lot:


I'm staying in Loma Linda and found a fantastic Chinese place called Red Chili. I've now gotten 3 other folks here on the project hooked on it too:


I've got another week here and then I'm off to Denver in a couple weeks. I hope I have a little more time to explore there! Maybe @Sean Slavin can recommend some places to hit?


Grrrrrrr...Admins, here's another one of those photos that was inserted in the post above but sticks itself at the end of the post too. This seems to happen occasionally when dropping multiple photos into a post to upload. No matter how I edit the post it won't go away. @Dave , @BlkWgn , somebody? Can you guys get rid of this:

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While you're out on the left coast, don't forget In-N-Out!

I will be in San Diego next weekend, and you can be sure I'm going to In-N-Out - haven't been to one in 2 years!
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