Tag Archives: good times

bee boppin

It all started with Lisa and Jeanne. They showed up one night at ‘Bout Time with a new Jeep Wrangler.

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Anyone who knows me knows that the Wolfe genes run strong and deep inside me. One of those genes is passed directly to me from my father and his father, and that gene is the “new car gene.” My grandparents lived in Arizona for most of my life, and I remember every time they came to visit my grandfather had a different car. The joke that was as soon as the new car smell was gone, so was the car. If he had been a smoker, it was likely he would have gotten a new car anytime the ashtray filled up. So, shortly after New Year’s I headed to the dealership and before I knew it I had traded in my trusty little Escape for a new Jeep Wrangler.

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The specific Wrangler I picked out had some pretty nice wheels and tires on it, but after going back and forth with the dealer for the ridiculous amount of money they wanted for the package, I told them just to put the stock wheels back on. Little did I know how dramatic the difference would be, and when I returned to pick up the Wrangler I was sure it was not the same one. This meant the top priority was to get new wheels and tires, and about a week later the Jeep was looking good again.

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We wasted no time taking it out with Lisa, Jeanne and Jer for some dirt road fun. The first outing was to the Joshua Tree Scenic Byway that starts very close to our house. The roads aren’t super intense, but they are bumpy, dirty and fun, and the scenery is pretty awesome. We took Kendall on the first trip, and she had a blast during our many “water” breaks.

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We took a detour out to the Bloomington Cave entrance. The entrance is blocked by a locked gate, and you have to visit the BLM office to get the code. But, after seeing the map and the entrance, I’m intrigued. Against my better judgement and my claustrophobia, I really want to make a go of the cave.

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About a week later, MPK and Roger were in town, so we took them on the same outing. MPK is in love with joshua trees, so it was a great afternoon for him. The fact we could top it off in Mesquite for some Bingo and slots was just the icing on the cake. And, Roger was a Bingo winner, so it was well worth the trip!

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IMG_1230A couple weekends later, we decided to bee bop with the girls and Jer again. We hit a backroad that winds through the Red Cliffs Preserve. The road is about 20 miles from St. George to Leeds, and sections of it were quite muddy and rough.

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There was still some snow on parts of the road. Along the way we ended up at an amazing canyon that we didn’t even know existed. The views of the steep rocks were spectacular, and we spent about an hour testing the echo while we enjoyed our “water.”

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So far, the Wrangler has been awesome. I have wanted a four door model for years, and have always missed my 2000 two door model that I owned for a few years. I’m excited about many more years of bee boppin adventures! There really is nothing like a Jeep.

 

 

 

 

four…

The 4th of July holiday was a little weird this year since it fell on a Thursday. So, after a day off then a day on, we made plans to head up to Happy Fish to escape the heat of southern Utah. Temps have been well over 100F for the last couple weeks, and the holiday was no exception.

IMG_4260Col, Lisa, Cheryl, Katie, Angela and I all got up at the crack of dawn to run the inaugural Uncle Sam 5K. It was around 90F when the race started at 6:30AM, so the provided beards and hats were a little warm. After that, Col and I spent most of the day being lazy before heading into town for a late lunch of Mexican and a couple pitchers of beer. Afterward, we met up with Jeramy and went to the Dixie Sun Bowl for a concert and  big fireworks show.

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I rode up to the cabin with Jer and Cheryl on Friday afternoon. Lisa, Jeanne, Heidi and Terry were already up there with the dogs, and Col joined us on Saturday afternoon after he got off work. With highs in the mid 70s, it was much cooler and a nice change from the baking heat of St. George. We had a great afternoon of relaxing, a ring toss tournament (I beat Jer!) and a crazy downpour. A fun evening of chicken tacos and Shotzee (Yahtzee with booze) rounded out the day.

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Saturday was a mellow day, mostly spent enjoying the wildlife, another ring toss tournament (doesn’t matter who won if it wasn’t me!) and more rain showers after lunch. We retreated to the game room for a round of darts while we waited for Col to make it up, then spent the afternoon playing games and hanging out. This is what I really love about our time at Happy Fish…just the relaxing, fun times with great friends.

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Sunday morning was another beautiful one, and after breakfast Cheryl, Lisa, Jeanne, Terry, Col and I put together a game of frisbee golf. We worked our way around the cabin and into the meadow as the day warmed up, enjoying cold beer along the way.

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Lisa, Jeanne and I picked cheap, crappy discs that were too light to get any good distance. After three beers and several rounds way above par, I took to just chucking mine as hard as  I could to make it roll, instead of fly, for distance. The strategy only paid off in that I didn’t come in last. Col, Terry and Cheryl had frisbees that got some nice air as we worked through the course.

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The meadow was full of wildflowers, and Terry picked a small bouquet to take back to Heidi. Too bad at least three of his picks are technically illegal to take. Shhhh.

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It was another relaxing and fun weekend of good times at Happy Fish. We’re already planning an August trip, and like July, I’m sure we’ll need the break from the heat!

have another beer

A week in Munich, Germany for work made for a great excuse to plan a little European adventure. Since my airfare was covered it was just a matter of arranging lodging, transportation and food. And what better way to travel Europe than with a group of friends? After my business in Munich ended, Col, Lisa, Jeanne and Jeramy flew over and met me for a week of hopping from Bavaria to Vienna to Prague.

I’ve been to Germany twice before, but never to the southern part of the country. The differences between Munich and the more central and northern cities is stark. While much of Munich was rebuilt after the war, the buildings were mostly fashioned to resemble their destroyed predecessors, so the city maintains the charm that makes it a truly special place.

Everyone arrived on a Saturday morning, and after showers and a change of clothes from their very long travel day (actually days), we headed out to explore Munich beyond the restaurants I’d seen over the past week. The weather was amazing, and as we wandered a large city park we noticed a lot of people out enjoying one of the first warm Spring weekends. I mean…really enjoying it. To say we saw some interesting German sausages is an understatement. Europe cracks me up. We spent the rest of the day sampling beer and just soaking up the local vibe before heading to the apartment we had booked for the three nights in town.

Our second day was a bit more adventurous. Wanting to get out of the city centre, we rented a car headed south to experience some outdoor fun. The Zugspitze is the tallest peak in Germany (almost 3,000 meters) and from it you can see into Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. We drove to the town of Garmisch (I made sure to take our little rental Opel over 100 MPH on the Autobahn) to start our ascent to the peak via a historic cog-wheel train and gondola.

At the first “plateau” lies a restaurant and bar serving several ski lifts and jumping off points to various runs. Up the hill a ways is a small church, and during the winter an outdoor bar and an igloo “hotel.” If we had the time and money (about $200 per person per night) a night in the igloo would have been fun.

I’m not a fan of cable-car/gondola contraptions, but I have to admit the views from the car taking us to the peak were amazing. At the top we had some great views and watched as a storm started rolling in. After a few quick photos (including one where we all “straddled” the border between Germany and Austria) we decided it was best to take the long gondola straight down to the mountain base. We had heard stories of tourists getting “stranded” at the peak when storms come in and make the gondolas unusable.

Even though it was getting late, we decided to try to get over to see the Neuschwanstein Castle. The drive was beautiful, crossing in and out of Austria on the way. We arrived too late, as the road to the castle is closed and the busses had stopped running. It wasn’t too big a disappointment because the castle is almost completely covered in scaffolding and wrapping as a part of a restoration continuing through 2012. So, we didn’t miss much. We were able to walk up to see Hohenschwangau Castle overlooking the village, but it was also closed and we didn’t get to see inside.

Our long adventure day got even longer when we decided to find a monastery Lisa read about and have dinner there. The monks supposedly brew amazing beer, so we made the effort to track the place down. Several wrong turns and getting lost (even with a GPS) and we finally found the road leading to the monastery. Earlier we had seen a sign warning of frogs. We thought it was a joke. It wasn’t. The entire road was covered in giant frogs. It was like a game of dodgeball trying not to run them over…and I’m sure I killed a few dozen anyway. We made it to the monastery just before closing and were warmly welcomed and fed. The food and drink lived up to the hype.

Our last day in Munich was spent sightseeing, hanging out and drinking beer. Overall our three days in Bavaria were great, and we enjoyed good food, drink and weather. Next stop…Vienna.

Here is the entire photoset: Munich, Germany – March 2012

is this thing on?

As has become the tradition, I sent the old year off with a bon voyage and welcomed the new one with close friends at Lisa’s Happy Fish cabin on Fish Lake. Col and I met Lisa, Jeanne, Cheryl and Jeramy at Happy Fish for our annual NYE celebration. We had a smaller group than normal (last year was more than a dozen and the year before was almost 20), but that didn’t mean our celebration was any less rowdy and inappropriate.

We kicked the night off with pizza and our annual Dollar Store gift exchange. Lisa and Jeanne took this year’s best wrapped and best gift trophies. In blowing up all the balloons for the midnight drop, we discovered one weird balloon that resembled a bird. So, I made some paper plate wings and Jer colored the beak and Downy the New Year’s Dove (name changed to protect the innocent) was born. Downy enjoyed a fun filled weekend of activities with the gang and was an excellent house guest.

Drinks, drinks and more drinks pulled us through to midnight, and after that the memories get a little…fuzzy. I do remember we created our own private discotheque. Beyond that the details aren’t really fit to publish.

Sunday afternoon we poured some roadies (hot buttered rum) and headed down to the lake. Normally, we have to park on the main road and snowshoe all our supplies into the cabin. Since this was the driest December in Utah’s recorded history, there was no snow and we were able to drive right up to the cabin. The days were relatively warm, considering the 9,000+ feet elevation, but that hasn’t stopped the lake from freezing. We ventured out onto the ice to check out some of the ice fishing holes and chatted up some of the fishermen who were having a great day.

My favorite part of Happy Fish is that my phone doesn’t work. No calls. No voicemail. No text messages. No email. We left Monday afternoon to head home, and I was entertained when all my text messages dropped into the phone:

  • Big Sis – “Got your SPOT message”
  • Lil Sis – “Oops! I fawted are you drunk yet?”
  • Berry – “I like midgets riding donkeys. There’s your first drunk NYE text. your welcome”

Happy New Year everyone!

Predictably, not many of the photos from NYE weekend can be shared. Here are the few that I can post for all the world to see – New Year’s 2012 – December 2011 to January 2012

just a little bite

A couple days in NYC for work meetings meant free airfare, and with all my travel this year I had enough points to score a weekend at the Marriott Marquis at Times Square. We found a really cheap ticket for Col, invited Lisa and Jeanne to come out and headed to the Big Apple for a long weekend.

We had planned on three days of fun before Col and the girls headed back home and I stayed for my meetings. But, in the end, it only ended up being two full days, which meant it was pretty hard to see and do everything we wanted to on Col’s first trip to the city (Lisa and Jeanne had been once before). In the end, I think we got a nice mix of activities to satisfy the “tourist” need as well as some local flavor.

We started the trip with dinner at Junior’s (best cheesecake ever) and a tour of Grand Central Terminal. After that we wandered around Times Square and Bryant Park checking out the ice skating and all the shops.

We grabbed breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts on Saturday and headed downtown. The new World Trade Center tower is really progressing, and it’s visible from just about anywhere downtown. We wandered around Wall Street for a bit, taking some time to check out what’s left of the OWS movement (not much), then walked over to Battery Park. A nice stroll around the park led us to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, so we hopped on to get a nice tour of the harbor and see the Statue of Liberty. I love the ferry because it’s clean, easy to use and still free. There’s not much that’s free in NYC.

I’d never actually been to Staten Island. And, about the time the ferry pulled in, we were ready for a bite to eat and some beer. So, we thought we’d get off and find something nearby…maybe a nice pub to park for an hour or so before returning to Manhattan. We made it about a block from the terminal before we realized this was a big mistake. Big. Huge. We quickly turned around before we were shanked or shot, and jumped back on the return ferry. Crisis averted and lesson learned.

Back downtown, we wandered looking for an Irish bar and found the White Horse Tavern (not the famous one in Greenwich Village), complete with an actual Irish bartender. Happy hour was in full swing, so we crammed into a booth and started ordering pints and some greasy pub food. Then, it was time to roll to the next meal.

We jumped on the LIRR (coming from UT, you really gotta love that you can buy draft beer in to-go cups and take it on the train) and headed to Long Beach to meet my friends Debbie and Jen for dinner. Long Beach is the coolest little village on Long Island. The girls live about 2 blocks from the beach, which includes an awesome boardwalk and reminds me of most southern California beaches. We met at their house and walked to dinner at Lola’s, which is a nicer wine bar and restaurant. Jen thinks it has a Cuban atmosphere, but the rest of us think she was smoking something good. Several wine flights, martini flights and delicious entrees later, we walked down to the beach (I continued to find sand in my hotel bed for the next three days) before jumping back on the train for the city. Four drunks navigating the NYC train and subway system, as well as Times Square was quite a treat. I have a series of very funny photos that I’ve sworn will never be shared. At least I got some good blackmail material.

Sunday started early with brunch with my cousin in Greenwich Village. Then, we headed to the UES where we walked most of the length of Central Park. We stopped in for a couple hours at the Met before walking back to the hotel to meet a co-worker and her husband. From there, we went back downtown and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was really cool to do this at night, and the views of the city lights were amazing. We enjoyed some delicious authentic Brooklyn style pizza before heading back into Manhattan.

We got off the train about 13 blocks north of the hotel, so we decided on a pub crawl back. We set up some rules, such as only one drink at each stop. The next pub had to be at least one block closer to the hotel. Each pub had to be Irish. Those rules lasted about one stop, and we ended up for the rest of the night at the same pub…The Pig and Whistle, which was about the fourth one on our tour. I don’t remember much about the rest of the night, but my co-worker apparently has some very interesting photos and videos on her phone. Yikes.

Monday morning it was time for the Gang to pack up and return to Utah. We had time to walk up Fifth Avenue and check out the shops, and grab a hot dog from a street vendor before they headed out. It was a fun start to an otherwise tedious week of meetings and travel. I’m happy Col finally got to see the city, even if just a few things. It always seems like time gets away from you, and there’s never enough to see everyone and do everything.

Here is the photoset from the trip: New York City – December 2011