Saturday, May 28, 2011

One Week from the AT!

We are just days from starting our big hike and things are super busy, but I am long overdue for updates.

Numero uno thing requires a back story. J can't eat nuts. On the trail, one of the best sources of protein is nuts. Most granola bars contain nuts for this reason (I assume). J has been on a 10-year search for a granola bar he likes and can eat. Recently, Uncle SlickG introduced him to SOYJOY bars. Six of their 7 bars do NOT contain nuts, as their main source of protein is ground whole soybeans. So J wrote SOYJOY a letter telling them about our upcoming hike and how happy he was to discover SOYJOYs. He added a request for any "assistance" they can give. Well, a few days ago, he got a response back and SOYJOY is sending 140 bars for him (and me)! That's pretty much 1 bar a day for him (not to mention, he had been stocking up on them for a bit already). And he will definitely share his "joy" of the SOYJOY bars with other hikers!!

A second bit of good news is that the trail to Katahdin in Baxter State Park (our starting point) opened today!!! I was getting nervous about our June 6 start date because there was a lot of buzz among AT southbounders about a delayed opening of the mountain. Typically the trails to the peak do open by the end of May, but Maine had a lot of late-season snowfall and it was looking iffy. There is still snow on some parts of the trail, but I'm just happy it's not completely closed. Baxter allows hiking to the peak using a class system and I would love a "Class I" day (completely clear and safe) ... not going to get my hopes up high though.

Our mail drops are all packed (although I keep adding things everyday) and addressed waiting at my mom's house to be sent. I do believe the mail drop preparation was the worst part of AT planning. Trying to plan what we are going to eat 3 months from now is about as fun as getting a root canal.That's about it. We are completely moved out of NH and our packs are waiting patiently with our friends there for when we fly back in. I already know we are over-packed and over-prepared. Without water, they weighed in at 33 and 30 pounds ... what do you think of that Misti???

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Valley of the SUN

We spent 4 days in Phoenix. It was certainly nice to see the sun, since NH has apparently strayed far, far, far from the center of the solar system. Here's how I know we are lacking in our vitamin D.

Homeless Man in the Park says to J: Brother, you need to get some sun.
Then looks at me and says: You two sure need to get out of the house more often.

True story.

Regardless, I tend to forget how hot Phoenix is. Call it old age. Or blocking out that memory. But it was hot the whole time we were there.

Day 1 - Thursday
We ate In-N-Out Burger at 10am. This was 2 hours before our lunch date with a friend at a Mexican restaurant. Don't judge. We were on EST still and hungry for lunch ... By the way, if anyone can figure out how to send us In-N-Out Burger on the trail, we will pay you $1 million.

We then spent the afternoon with this awesome surrogate mom and dad from Phoenix. I sure wish I could see them more often.In the evening, I attended the wildest bachelorette party eveh, while J went to a bball game with the boys. The girls painted pottery tiles for the bride-to-be. I am thankful I didn't have a hangover the night.Oh and it was hot that day.

Day 2 - Friday
When we planned our trip out to Phoenix for this wedding, we included a plan to hike Humphrey's, the tallest peak in AZ (12,600 ft). I think it would have been successful if the mountain didn't get an unexpected foot of snow the day before!Without snowshoes, we could only make it halfway. There were all sorts of blowdowns and the trail got tricky when the snow went up to our knees. So strange that it's 30 degrees up there, but 90 degrees 2 hours away in Phoenix.In any case, I am very bummed not to reach the top. This is my third attempt! The first time, I got a wicked headache and turned back not .5 miles from the top. I was young and not ambitious enough. The second time I was with J, but we had tried to hike after getting up at 3am and hiking 10 miles up Havasupi Canyon. Old and stupid, I suppose. I thought three's a charm, but I guess not.

We rewarded ourselves that evening with more In-N-Out.

Day 3 - Saturday
This day was jam-packed (and it was hot), beginning with an early morning surprise baby shower for this preggolicious couple.We played baby shower games that involved smelling diapers and guessing the source, as well as identifying nursery rhymes. J & I failed miserably, proving further that we should not be parents. The peer-pressure-induced hair incident occurred after everyone left to get ready for the wedding later that afternoon. 20 INCHES PEOPLE. My friend cut off 20 INCHES OF HAIR. I actually LOVE my new haircut, but the main reason I love it is it will be easier to search for ticks every night on the trail!
I've donated the hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths and amazingly enough, you need 6 hair donations or so to make one wig!

Later in the day, we attended the wedding for this lovely couple.PS-Miss Sunshine wore a dress that was 70 years old and worn by her grandmother, mother, aunt, cat, etc. What a neat tradition, except I couldn't appreciate it as much since I was sweating just looking at her in the long-sleeved dress as the temps rose above 90 degrees.Day 4 - Sunday
Once again, it was hot.

We recovered from the wedding and just mainly hung out with the same people we had been hanging out with for days. I couldn't go to Phoenix without eating at Los Olivos, my all-time favorite Mexican restaurant, so we met my old work friends there that evening.
We took a red-eye home that night. I am trying to prove my youth by taking a red-eye. Except that I immediately had to take a power nap when we got home Monday morning. A younger version of me would have rocked the day like it was any other.

Now that we are back in NH, it's back to packing, which is 70 percent done. Oh and we have to clean up Mr. McKinley's piles of vomit every 5 minutes because he is NOT AT ALL PLEASED WITH ALL THE PACKING AND MOVING. We got your message loud and clear Mr. McKinley. But too bad. Just man up.

We move out on Thursday!! Trail in 12 days!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chop, Chop

We're still in Phoenix and it's hot. We are getting ready to attend Sunshine's wedding and we were all sitting around hanging out, including my old hairdresser from when I lived here.

Well, we got to talking about me cutting my hair before the trail and donating it. I had a hair appt scheduled for wednesday in NH, but it made sense for Andrew to do the deed on my hair.

So without further ado, I present the new me ...






It ended up being 20 inches that he cut!!!

Location:W Indianola Ave,Phoenix,United States

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Adios Fernando

We sold my car yesterday. It was bittersweet for me because Fernando & I have been together longer than J & I have been! He has lived coast to coast with me and we have shared 124,000 miles together. I know his new owner will take very good care of him, so that helps.


We also sold our living room set yesterday! Yeah for selling stuff!

Now we are at the airport on our way to Phoenix for the weekend! I hear the temps will be in the 80s and 90s. It hit a high of 50 today and has not stopped raining since March.

Location:Contoocook

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Cake

It always happens that we make our friends when we are leaving a place. I've found as adults, it takes 3 years to settle into a place and make friends, especially when you don't have kids to make it happen for you. We've been in NH for 3 years, 10 months. So without fail, for the past year, our friendships here have blossomed.

In particular, I have my "soul sisters." I've been scrapbooking with a group of ladies consistently since June. We have shared so many laughs, stories and memories, I think it is one of the things I will miss most about NH. Sorry to get all sappy on you. I'll stop now.
Instead, I will present the third going away cake I received from my fellow scrappers. Apparently, everyone is trying to help fatten us up before we hit the trail!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th

Today is J's last day of work. He decided to wear his favorite green shirt.Out of the 3 years, 10 months he has been in this position, he probably wore this shirt once a week.

We said more goodbyes this week. J had his spring gathering with other rec directors around the state on Wednesday and then on Thursday, one of his fellow town employees and the seniors threw him a goodbye party, to which I was invited.Besides the seniors, there was a stream of townspeople, rec committee members, former selectmen and others coming in and out to say goodbyes. This town is very special and we both have loved getting to know the residents so well. We have definitely made some lifelong friendships.I especially loved some of the seniors who are truly an inspiration. Talk about living life! They actually make getting old sound fun ...

Still busy packing and selling (the futon is GONE and the living room set is close to being gone). Oddly enough, I've been a little busy with WORK. That's right, work. I'm finishing up some contract work ... gotta make every dollar I suppose! Also this week, I got 2 calls about full-time jobs. One was deep in the city of Boston that would make for an hour and 45-minute commute without traffic. I politely rescinded my resume.

So we have 14 days left in NH (well, technically 10 days since we will be AZ next weekend) and 24 days until we start hiking.

BRING IT.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Surprise!

We are currently in Chicagoland! We surprised J's mom and grandma. For the past 4 years, we have been coming to Chicago for Mother's Day, but this year we said no can do. But we lied. And they were super surprised.


We got to see SILAdventure and DocDoc for all of 20 hours (6 hours of which we were sleeping). Those crazy birds are now off to Germany to do some major biking for 10 days!




Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Goods

J has the incredible ability to get things for a discount or even for free. That guy is one smooth talker ... He won me over with hello.

He has trained me and I have gotten better at this skill, but I will never be J. Just like Chris Angel will never be David Copperfield.

Recently, I scored us some free goods. For the 3.5 years we have lived here, we have tried to visit all the breweries in Vermont. They make it a challenge with a passport to fill and if you get to all of them, the state gives you $1 million. Or some tshirts, magnets, etc. Either way, we wanted to reach our goal.

We fell short. Hit only 10 breweries out of the 20ish.

So I still sent in our passports and thanked them for their great beer and the challenge, but told them we were off on adventure where there is no beer. A few days later, this showed up in the mail.








Location:Village St,Concord,United States

Monday, May 2, 2011

More QT with Friends

Our yard sale helped us get rid of some small stuff and we donated the rest. We still have some bigger items, like book shelves, etc., that we'd like to divest, but there's time and craigslist. Gotta love the craig.



The rest of the weekend was spent with friends. First, we went up north to celebrate Kristen's birthday. Kristen and Paul have a million friends and every time we go up there, we meet more of their friends. It's always a good time.  I may have gone a little crazy on ordering margaritas. I've seen a beer sampler and a martini sampler on menus, so I just couldn't pass up the rita sampler! It sure was a lot of tequila, but oh so good.

Dinner was followed by cake and pinata at Paul & Kristen's house. When broken, we had all the andes candies, red & white mints and clothes pins we wanted. That's right. Clothes pins. Genius, right? Everyone needs clothes pins ... Paul is somewhat of an eclectic guy, to say the least.

On Sunday, we went for a bike ride with our lovely landlords. We have one last dinner planned with them as well. Again, it will be sad to leave all the good people we've met in NH behind.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

ONE MONTH TO GO

WE ARE NOW 31 DAYS FROM STARTING OUR TREK.

Sorry for the all caps, but I am bursting with every emotion possible!

So anyways, 31 days. That's 744 hours. 44,640 minutes. You get the point. D-Day is almost upon us.

Oddly enough, June 6, our starting date, IS actually the anniversary of a real D-Day, the one in Normandy in 1944. It also marks 1 year and 2 days since I got laid off from full-time work. It's a new beginning for sure!

Still checking things off our list.

More packing. I am packing slowly and methodically. There's a chance we may not open these boxes for a year or more. I may not think I will need that recipe for black bottom cupcakes or King's College tshirt in the next year, but it would be my luck to have the need and it will be buried deep among the sea of boxes.

More selling. Mr. McKinley is not happy about all of that. For example, no matter where we put the futon mattress, he finds his way to it. No sale on the futon yet, so he may get to keep it afterall.Here's what the rest of May looks like.

J's last big work event is tomorrow. Of course I am volunteering. Of course.

J's last day is Friday, May 13 (eerie ...)

May 18-23 we will be in Phoenix!! Sunshine's wedding, visiting friends, hiking!

May 26 we are outta here!

May 27-May 31 we will be in NJ. J is going to 1900 concerts while he is there. MUST GET FILL OF LIVE MUSIC IN BEFORE HIKING. Top thing on his list of course. I, on the other hand, will be instructing my mom on mail drop management, visiting friends and family and getting the Mr. situated.

May 31-June 5 Good 'ol Danville, VA. Pack stuff in various storage spots, visit friends (maybe rock climb one day??), possible wedding celebration, meet tenant finally, say goodbye to civilization.

June 6 Fly back up to NH, drive to Baxter State Park to hopefully summit Katahdin June 6 to start our hike!