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July 4

I spent my 4th of July working. I worked from 7 am till 2 am. Crazy i know, but it was worth it. One of my co-workers is Vietnamese and fought in the war, but he was on the good side. I got to hear part of his story and was blown away. He fought with our military for several years and translated for us as he could speak the mountain dialects. He was eventually caught and lived for five years as a P.O.W. I can only imagine that he was hated more than the Americans by the north Vietnamese. He told me how he and some others were able to overtake a guard and steal his rifle, however, as than ran for the jungle a machine gun opened fire and three of the prisoners fell. He and the others made it safely to the jungle, where they lived for a year before being found by the US forces. Yes, I said a year. I asked him "what did you eat?" He replied in his thick Vietnamese accent "there is plenty food in jungle". He went on and told me that there was deer, tiger, and elephant in the jungle. With surprise I asked if he hunted tiger and he said yes, as if was no big deal. Wow. After being found in the jungle he was brought back to the states. His family wasn't brought over for some time later.

I asked him later if he liked this country and without hesitation he said "I love this country, so much freedom". I was too moved to say anything else. It moved me even more to watch him as we recited the pledge of allegiance and sang the national anthem. To see a man that has been through so much reflect on where he came from and the freedom he now enjoys, well, it made my 4th of July.

Yes, this is still somewhat about travel. I think it would moving and inspiring to visit sites of the wars that we the United States have fought in. To walk the ground were young men fought and died, that I may live such a comfortable life. To all the soldiers and their families, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Long Live Freedom!


Yes, I'm still here. So all my readers and fans can take a deep breath and relax. Sorry I kept you waiting! On with the update!

Walking won the last poll, so I decided to discuss it here. Walking is one of most basic means of getting around. I think it is something we tend to take for granted and under appreciate,but walking is more than just a mode of travel, it's exercise! Did you know that the average person takes somewhere between 3000 to 5,000 steps a day? and the average distance of each stride is roughly 30 inches? Maybe you should google walking and see where it takes you.

Shoes, an important item to remember when walking. Make sure you have a comfy but supportive pair of shoes, or as my grade school P.E. teacher called them, "limousines of the feet". I have an old pair of asics, but I put a nice set of insoles in them. The insoles were pricey for me at 40 bucks, but I swear by them. They are made by smart feet and I don't see them in many stores here in the Austin area. I picked mine up at Sportsman's Ski Haus in MT. Having a good pair of shoes makes walking more fun and less tiring. So find a good pair of shoes and get out there and walk!

Happy Trails.

When I Travel

When I travel there are a certain few things I like to carry with me. Since most of my travel has been on the open road, I'm unsure if some of these would be allowed/practical on a plane.

  1. Small flashlight. I'm a flashlight nut as it is, and I firmly believe every vehicle should have at least one flashlight in it at all times for emergencies. My light of choice right now is an LED penlight made by energizer.
  2. Small digital camera.
  3. Healthy snacks. I've learned from experience that junk food on road trips, especially longer ones, just makes me feel bad. I try to drink water or iced tea and coffee as needed. I go with some sort of trail mix,(mixed nuts with raisins and M&Ms) some fruit(bananas and apples) and sunflower seeds to help keep me awake and for when nothing else sounds good.
  4. Sunglasses. Although I prefer to view nature with the naked eye, sunglasses allow my eyes to relax on bright days and reduce facial tension.
  5. Book. Most likely an entertaining novel and an easy read to keep my mind at ease and also to pass time on the plane.
These are a few things I take with me when I go. I'm sure I'll add to this list in the near future.

Happy Trails!

New Braunfels, TX

Bringing it back to Texas, I've just spent a few nights with my family in New Braunfels TX. It's a place that holds many childhood memories for me, as I grew up with this being the destination of our annual family vacation. We always stay at "The Other Place" which the comal river makes a horshoe bend around the property. Making it easy to float around the resort as long you want, without messing with shuttles and the sort and it is only about a 30 minute ride. The comal is spring fed which helps to keep it a constant 70-72 degrees. You can find out more about the comal and tubing the in the "Hill Country" here. http://www.tubetexas.com/rivers/comal-river.html

There a many attractions my family likes to take in, and one is this estimated 300 hundred year old oak tree.
When I was a kid there was no fence around it, and of course being boys, we would climb this massive tree. They say that Indians may have tied this tree to point in this direction as a signal. I seemed to be drawn to old and historical things and this tree reminds me how brief mans' life span is in the big picture. I will come and go and yet this tree may live on. I would say a must see if you are in New Braunfels.

Happy Trails!

Road Tripping

Ah road trips... where the journey can be as fun as the destination. I just thought I would share a few of my road tripping tips/guidelines/rules.

  1. Safety first. click it or ticket.
  2. The driver picks the music.
  3. Not that I have learned from experience, but fill up with gas before trekking across sparsely populated areas. i.e. Wyoming.
  4. You must stay at the destination longer than the total driving time.
  5. Be kind, roll down the window. (unless all others are sleeping)
  6. I guess you should make sure the vehicle of choice is in good running condition i.e. proper tire pressure and the sort.
  7. Part of the navigator's duties is to help the driver stay awake.
  8. Avoid safety corridors if at all possible
This will be an ongoing list as it seems every roads trip teaches me something new. My last road trip was a one way journey that brought me back to Texas from Montana. I took the scenic route passing through Yellowstone National Park, which had just opened. I came across this.

Now this was a treat! I sat and watched this grizzly feed on something in the grass for about 15 minutes and I would've watched for hours had light permitted. The bear didn't even look my way even though I was only about 70 yards away. It's hard to describe the feeling of being in the presence of an animal such as this. It fills me with awe and wonder and I hope this will not be the last time for this kind of encounter.

So I'm open to suggestions for the road tripping rules, however I do have veto power since this is my blog... Be safe out on there the open road.

Eats & Treats in Kalispell

Where I like to go after a long day or days in "The Park", is straight to Moose's Saloon. Some of the best pizza in the area and ice cold micro-brews to wash it down. There you'll find friendly bartenders, sawdust on the floors, and not a single piece of wood that doesn't have initials carved in it. Moose's atmosphere caters to those that dressed for a night on the town to those fresh off the trail, and both get the same friendly smile from the staff. On busy nights, it may take the better part of an hour to get your pizza, but friend, I tell you its worth the wait. Plus, it means you can relax and have another cold one. Moose's is a local legend and after going you'll know why.

My next suggestion is MacKenzie River Pizza Co. Completely different from Moose's, yet I say equally as good. I have liked everything I've tried off the menu. Every meal is made with fresh ingredients which makes every meal absolutely delicious. You really can't go wrong ordering here unless you miss something you're allergic to! MaKenzie's also has some mighty fine Montana brews that you can't get in stores, that tastes great alongside a pizza like the "rancher".

I hope you enjoy your visits to these tasty establishments! Drop me a line and tell me what you had!

Kalispell, MT

I was fortunate enough to spend a year working in Kalispell, which is located in the Flathead Valley. Two places I recommend for sight seeing: Lone Pine State Park and Glacier National Park. Lone Pine State Park is only minutes from Kalispell and offers an incredible panoramic view of the Flathead Valley, from the Flathead Lake to the south to Big Mountain in the north. You can visit the site here: http://fwp.mt.gov/lands/site_280065.aspx.

"The Park" as the locals call it, Glacier National Park is a must if you are visiting this region. This picture is from a hike my friend and I took up to gunsight lake. It is roughly a six mile hike one way, that takes you through forests, meadows, and across many streams and rivers, with one suspension bridge.

The Park is only about 45 minutes from Kalispell which makes it easy to plan a day trip, although I recommend spending more than one day in this heaven on earth. Most first time visitors head to Logan's Pass, which is on the main road through the park, and from there take the short three mile round trip hike to hidden lake overlook. This is a good place to start, however this will most likely be the most crowded area due to ease of access. I suggest consulting a map and a park ranger to find something more off the beaten path in addition to the pass.

This is the lake and suspension bridge.

You can find out more about the Park here: http://www.nps.gov/glac/

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