And Kasey Makes Three- February 9, 2008
We adopted a puppy, so we now have three! His name is Kasey
Clint and Kasey at 11 Weeks and he came to us from a coworker of Clint's at 11 weeks old. He is a black lab and has an excellent temperment. Stoli is not too fond of him and has thus started obedience class, which he has needed for a long time. Having a puppy is a lot of work, but as puppies go, he is not hard to handle.
We are in the middle of the volleyball season and we are enjoying it a lot. We have won more games this session than the previous 3 addded together! Time goes so fast, but consdering how unpleasant winter is, especially this year, that is a good thing. We have already heard from our softball managers and that time is approaching quickly. The World Series is in Seattle, Washington this year, so we may be making that trek again during the fall. We have even talked about a long trip to incorporate a visit to Alaska.
Our next trip is just a month away. We are going to pull the Hurricane out of storage and drive south for a Pre-Paid Legal Convention in Oklahoma City before heading through the southern states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia on our way to Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina/Tennessee. On the way home we will visit Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky and possibly Indiana Dunes in Indiana. Our friend Jake is stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi, so after a couple of days in New Orleans, we'll stop to say hi to him as well.
On the home front, not a lot is new. Along with Ian we joined the newly remodeled Eden Prairie Community Center and Clint has been fastidious in his workout regimen. Clint painted the master bathroom, but other than that, we have just been too busy to do much else. Mark has a lot of reading and research for his three classes this semester and on top of that we are working to build our Pre-Paid Legal business.
A New Business Venture - January 18, 2008
We ended 2007 by starting a new business
Clint Remarcik - Independent Associate marketing business legal plans, family legal service plans and identity theft protection. Despite the fact that multi-level marketing has a bad reputation, we are excited and optimistic about the product and the business. An estimated 80% of Americans are in need of this "legal insurance", so we hope you'll give it consideration for yourself. Above is a sample banner which will take you to the business website. We invite any questions you might have.
We must be having a ton of fun because time is certainly flying.Fun in the past 4.5 months included a 9 day trek southwest to the 2007 NAAAGA World Series in Phoenix. Clint updated our photo album with pictures from the 4,000 miles trip which included 10 National Park sites, the highlight of which was probably Arches National Park. The Balloon Fiesta was also amazing, though we had only a short time to visit.
We've started the winter session of volleyball. We finished last during the regular schedule but took 3rd out of 6 teams in the tournament and had fun throughout. Yesterday was our first match of the 6 week winter session and we started off with 3 wins despite 4 of our 6 regular players being out of town.
Our roommate and friend Jake moved out and entered the Air Force. Hopefully he is doing well. We have two new roommates, Ian and Ajay, so it's a full house. Before winter arrived, we managed to make headway on the deck framing and installed a door from the garage that makes access much easier. We also framed the deck off the master bedroom which allowed us to replace the patio door. The old one leaked like a sieve, both air and water, so that is a major improvement. We also installed a glass shower door in the master bedroom, so after many years, we have a fully functioning shower. We still have some trim work to do, but it already looks great.
Classes start tomorrow for Mark. This semester he is taking SPAN 5721 - Spanish Phonology Lab, LING 8005 - Research Workshop, and LING 8200 - Verb Semantics. If all goes well and he writes his Plan B and it is approved, he should get his Masters in May. Then hopefully within two years his PhD. Clint is studying to retake the MCAT in April while still exploring other possibilities for grad school including Neuroscience, Microbial Engineering, and others.
The McKay-Remarcik Hurricane - September 3, 2007
Our apologies on the slow updates. We try to update our site on a montly basis, but we have been so busy, quarterly will have to do. Mark heads back to school tomorrow, his second year as a graduate student. He hopes to earn his Masters in May and keep working toward his PhD, which he hopes to finish by 2010. This semester he is continuing his work as an Instructional Technology Fellow for ILES and FRIT while taking two courses, LING 8920 - Topics in Language and Cognition (Language Evolution), and SPAN 5711 - The Structure of Spanish: Phonology. He will be busy, but a little less demanding than last year.
Clint continues to work at Park Nicollet Clinic, and is now in his third year. He grows restless, however, and is looking into his options for graduate programs and other job opportunites that better utilize his degree and skill set. He would love to work at the U of M, but such opportunity has yet to present itself. We'll keep you posted on his progress.
Last week we sold our Kodiak and bought a Hurricane
Our new Motorhome! 2001 Four Winds Hurricane 29D, both on the same day. The way we travel with a lot of driving and a short period of time at each place makes a motorhome much more practical. This way, when we arrive, basically we can just go to bed! We don't have to unfold tent beds in the dark (or rain or snow), and when we are ready to go in the morning, off we go. It's also a lot more comfortable for the passengers. This past weekend we took the Hurricane (the brand, but also our name for it) to Wisconsin for Mark's son Travis' wedding. Mark's sister and nephew joined us and we had a good time. We might take it up to Clint's family cabin next weekend so the pups can come with us.
In a couple of weeks, Clint will be Best Man in his best friend Dana's wedding. It will be the last of 6 weddings we were invited to between the summer bookend holidays. Last month we joined Dana for his Bachelor Party which included an afternoon of Paintball (in the pouring rain) and an evening on his friend Jon's Party bus. Between the two, we make a quick appearance at the wedding of a friend of Clint's family.
Softball came to an end last month and after a six week break, we will be heading to Phoenix for the World Series. As Clint isn't a big fan of flying, we are going to take the Hurricane and do some sightseeing on the way including some National Park sites in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. We also plan to visit the annual International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque which should be an amazing sight. We will surely have more beautiful pictures to share when we return. That's all we have for now. We'll do our best to update more regulary, but if we don't, it just means we are having fun!
6,000 Miles, 7 States, 17 Days - June 3, 2007
We just returned from our road trip to Seattle and back, racking up over 6000 miles across 7 states in 17 days. Our friend Adam joined us and the three of us had a great time visiting National Park sites and family. Clint posted some of the better pictures online, so check them out. Eventually we will get them up to our site. The Kodiak camper performed well, enduring temperatures as low as 28 degrees (and 3 inches of snow at Grand Teton National Park). Mark created a Trip Plan on Yahoo that we followed pretty closely. We will have to go back and make the appropriate changes and add a Trip Journal to tell our stories. We took hunreds, maybe thousands of pictures and were really pretty luck with the weather (despite the 13 mile hike in the heavy snow at Teton). The National Park Sites we saw included Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Craters of the Moon, Minidoka Internment, Haggerman Fossil Beds, Crater Lake, Mount St. Helens, Olympic, Mount Rainier, Glacier, Little Bighorn Battlefield, and Devils Tower. Mark also updated our US Travels
Where we have been! Green=Together or just Mark, Purple=Mark, Blue=Together and Separately, Red=Separately, though he still needs to make a Legend.
Our indoor volleyball season ended and we managed to win a game in the season ending tournament, but were eliminated quickly after that. Softball started a month later and we are off to a slow start, but hopefully we can recover. This year the World Series is in early October rather than the usual mid August as the tournament site is Phoenix, AZ. We still don't know yet whether we will be able to make it there after our long recent vacation and with Mark having class. We'll have to see what happens. For now, we are enjoying the rest of the summer.
A Kodiak that Sleeps Six - March 17, 2007
Happy St. Patrick's Day! We don't have any big plans for the wearin' o' the green and will probably have a relaxed evening because tomorrow morning we play in our season-end volleyball tournament. We finished the season at 1-17, but the last two weeks we were competitive in every game, so we improved a lot. Hopefully we will have a good showing in the tournament. Everyone on the team seems to be interested in playing sand volleyball so hopefully we will be able to put something together for the spring/summer.
Daylight Saving Time started early this year on March 11th and we were treated to springlike weather early last week. Mark was on spring break this past week so he took the opportunity to drive to Green Bay to pick up our new camper. It's a 2005 Kodiak K160
Our new camper! 2005 Kodiak K160 hybrid travel trailer. The hybrid part is that it has fold out beds
Each side has a queen-size fold out bed, yet it is completely self-contained with a bathroom
The bathroom with shower, sink, and toilet including a toilet and shower, and a kitchen
Kitchen with fridge, freezer, microwave, stove, oven, and sink with a fridge, freezer, microwave, stove, and oven. It has LP gas heat, electric A/C, and can sleep 6. Spring arrives on Wednesday and Clint has Friday off so we are going to go give it a test run at a state park not too far from here in preparation for our trip West in late May.
Speaking of our trip, our friend Adam is going to join us on the adventure. We are all really looking forward to going. Mark continues to plan our itinerary using Yahoo Trip Planner, Google Earth, and the plethora of materials he has gathered from tourism bureaus, National Parks, the library, and the internet. Since our trip includes Memorial Day weekend, we will need reservations for some of the places. The weather will still be cool, but that actually lends well to hiking.
On the homefront, the tile in the family room is now finished and we painted
Our new paint colors: Jubilee and Antique White the stairway, landing, and east wall Antique White, and the north wall Jubilee, a slate-blue/gray color. We still have to paint the south walls (including behind the TV) and the ceilings. We still have several little projects in the basement, but it is looking great and we are close to being done in the basement until we are ready to put in the basement bathroom. That, however, is not in the near future.
Stainless Steel in the Kitchen - February 13, 2007
Mark has been back in school for a month now and is enjoying his classes and a workload more suitable to his liking. He is taking the second half of Field Methods in Linguistics and a class in Semantics. He was also asked to join a reading group for the book "The Big Book of Concepts" which deals with an interest he has in Prototype Theory. His advisor suggested he register for Directed Study credit, so that is a bonus. Mark has also been learning Latin for fun (along side our friend Adam who is taking it Independent Study), and he has also been reading a Portuguese Lingusitics book and listening to Portuguese language instruction CDs to prepare for classes in Portuguese this coming fall. He just submitted his nomination forms for a Foreign Language Areas Study for Portuguese Fellowship next year. He will know sometime next month.
Clint was dissappointed that he was not called back for a second interview at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He was an alternate two years ago and has since only strengthened his experience, so it is a big surprise. He is formulating his options adn trying to decide whether he will retake the MCAT, apply to a Physicians Assistant program, consider Microbiology, or maybe even Chiropractic school.
We continue to work on the house, though much slower these days. The master bathroom is tiled and awaiting a shower door, a coat of paint, stain for the doors, and trim. It looks great and will be nice to have a finished and usable shower again after nearly ten years. Our new appliances arrived a month ago and they look great. For now we are going to hold off on remodeling the kitchen. Soon the basement tile will be installed, the walls will be painted, and the family room will be complete.
Mark has been using Google Earth a lot to plan our trip to Washington state in May. We are both very excited to see all the parks: Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore National Monument, Jewel Cave National Park, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, Devils Tower National Monument, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Mindoka Interment National Monument, Crater Lake National Park, Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Mount Rainier National Park, Seattle, Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Glacier National Park. Phew! All that in 14 days. Well, I guess we will see what we accomplish.
The Holiday Hustle - January 2, 2007
Jake returned from his trip and "moved back" just after Christmas. We still have a couple of things to do on his room, but It's much better than it was when he used it last. We are unsure as to whether we will take on another roommate. It would have to be a very good fit for us to consider it and we are not advertising. Mark likes to be able to use his office on the main level and we both like having the upper level to ourselves.
We continue to make progress on our remodeling projects. We finished painting the living room in three colors: the north wall is Tanbark
Flower Pot paint up the stairs and landing, the upper landing which we painted Flower Pot
Flower Pot paint up the stairs and landing, and the rest of the walls are painted Bagel
Everything else in the living/dining room is painted Bagel. It looks really nice. Clint painted the kitchen (Mark was busy with final papers and final exams) Basil
Basil paint in the Kitchn. We ordered new appliances which arrive on January 10th, so the kitchen will have a new look. We want to redo the countertops, though we are not sure which route to take yet. Mark drew up plans to move the refridgerator to the west wall, move the pantry flush with the basement door wall, and create a 3 foot by 5 foot center island. We would love to put granite cabinets, but might just do a faux granite laminate. We'll have to see, the remodeling fund are drying up a bit.
The Master Bathroom is taking shape. The floor is tiled with 18" travertine
The floor is 18" square travertine tile and it looks great. The new toilet is in and we are moving to the shower and the vanity. We may even add a couple of windows over the tub to brighten it up. That is, if Mark can find some at a reasonable price.
Thanksgiving in Long Prairie - December 10, 2006
On the remodeling front, we have made a lot of progress. Jake's room in the basement is nearly finished and is liveable for when he returns at the end of the month. We gutted his room and replaced the walls, ceilings, fixtures, put in a new Andersen Frenchwood gliding patio door, and new carpet. All we have left to do is replace the interior door and build a built in bookcase.
Mark bought an impulse finish nailer from our contractor Mike and has been doing lots of trim work. Both of us have been painting like mad. Clint was even on top of the ladder painting the vaults. We'll have some pictures forthcoming; we really like the colors we chose. We went with Sherwin William's paint as our friend Adam works at one of their stores. The north wall is a chocolate color (tanbark), the south wall (to the right of the stairs) is a reddish color (flower pot), and the rest of the walls are a tan (bagel). All that is left to paint is the landing on the upper level, but we are going to wait a bit until the construction in the bathroom is completed.
We had a nice thanksgiving with Mark's family. His son Travis and his girlfriend Stacy hosted in Long Prairie. We went up the night before and stayed with them and helped out a little. They will be moving to Menomenie Wisconsin in January so Stacy can finish up her schooling at Stout. It will be nice for them to be a little closer.
We hosted a small get together with some of Mark's friends from school. Adam, Alex and his girlfriend Bailey, and Caleb and his girlfriend Pankuri. We made kabobs on our new grill and played Time's Up. it was a lot of fun.
The semester is coming to a close next week and Mark is looking forward to a break and to a lighter schedule next semester. Clint is filling out secondary applications to medical school, then the waiting begins. We are confident
Rebuilding the Basement Bedroom - November 11, 2006
We also started remodeling the master bathroom with the help of a contractor that Mark is designing a website for in exchange for his services. It is a win win situation for everyone and after over 8 years, that bathroom will finally be functional again! We are putting a corner whirlpool and plan to use travertine tile and a granit top vanity. it should look great. Stay tuned for updates and photos.
Clint has submitted his applications for medical school and is awaiting word from the 8 schools he selected. Hopefully he will be accepted by the U of M this time, but if not, he will have options.
Volleyball wraps up this weekend with a tournament. It has been fun and we will probably play again. Clint has improved quite a bit in his first organized experience and we have both made some friends on way and reconnected with others.
Let's Play Volleyball - September 29, 2006
School and work are going well for Mark. He is really enjoying being part of the process of enhancing courses with technology. He has been doign a lot of work with classroom managment applications like WebCT and Moodle as well as some audio and video editing projects.
Mark played in the Minneapolis Fall Classic volleyball tournament last weekend with the Handymen and had a blast. Our Friend Jeff was going to play but broke his ankle practicing about a month ago so Mark asked our friend Cody to play. Then another player backed out so we asked our friend and softball teammate Bryan played. While the team didn't win a lot of games (3 of 12) they were competitive in every game. Not bad considering they only practiced together once. Most importantly, fun was had and new friendships were made.
We are both playing volleyball on Get 'Er Done in the GLASS Fall League which starts this Sunday and lasts for six weeks. It will be Clint's first exposure to organized volleyball but he is looking forward to playing and improving so he can play in the next tournament.
The work on the house has slowed significantly, though Mark did get the garage insulated and organized enough so that Clint will be able to park his new car in the garage. Our goal is still to finish the patio, decks, and patio doors before the snow flies, but we ran into a bit of a snag last week when we found out the the foundation repair is going to cost at least $10,000. One bid was more than double that. amount..
Florida, Take Two - August 20, 2006
We drove with the top down through the keys until we met a thunderstorm at Key Largo. From that point I think it rained at least once every day, which didn't do much for our tournament. All three of our Pool Play games were delayed at least 6 hours, most of which was spent on the fields or in the parking lot waiting. That drastically cut down on our beach/pool time, but we still managed to get a good bit of sun. We lost two and tied one of our games in pool play, lost our first game of the double elimination, won our second, and lost our third so 1-4-1 overall which is half a game better than we have ever done before.
>We stayed at the Hard Rock Casino Hotel in Hollywood, FL. It was a beautiful hotel, a great room, and an awesome pool with a waterslide. a couple of days the team hung out at the pool, went down the waterslide, and played volleyball which was a lot of fun. Mark made a friend, a green gecko that was swiming in the pool, but he found a palm tree and climbed to the top. Overall it was a very nice trip. Now it is back to work and almost time for school!
A Crack in the Foundation...of the House - August 5, 2006
We bought new bicycles yesterday and took a quick ride home through Purgatory Creek. It will be fun to ride around Eden Prairie and Minneapolis together for fresh air and exercise. Several of our friends ride plus we can take them camping to the north shore. Clint may even ride to work on occasion.
We leave for Florida August 12th for the World Series, but first we are going to drive our rented convertible down to Key West, stay over night, and take a high speed catamaran to Dry Tortugas National Park the next day. When we return to Key West we will drive back to Ft. Lauderdale and stay with our team at the Hard Rock Seminole Hotel & Casino. Pool play games are Tuesday and Wednesday, then the tournament begins on Thursday. If we do well we may play Friday and maybe even Saturday. If not, we have the beach, a Marlin's Game, and several other National Parks to visit. It should be a fun tournament and a nice vacation
Hot Tub on a Hot Day - July 15, 2006
We finally got our hot tub moved, wired, filled, and heated and gave it a test run tonight. Ironically it was the warmest day of the year at 94F and is supposed to be warmer tomorrow. At 80F it was like a normal pool which would have been great at the peak of the day, but the sun had already passed behind a tree, there was a breeze, and Mark is a cold water wimp so we kept heating it. By nightfall it was at 96F and we were enjoying it immensely.
We have been taking a lot of pictures as we work on the house, so many that we decided to have separate link until we get the website redesigned. Check out Our House and see what we have accomplished.
Three Years Strong - July 1, 2006
Softball has been fun so far, though it is nice to have a two week break for Pride and Independence Day weekend. Both Mark and Clint are batting over .500 and the team has been playing well together. The World Series in Ft. Lauderdale is only six weeks away!
Speaking of time flying, Mark and Clint celebrated three years together in June and gave each other gifts of leather. Ha ha, not what you might think...a new softball glove for Clint and new softball cleats for Mark.
The house and the yard have kept both of us busy to say the least. We planted a garden on the lower patio with carrots, corn, cucumbers, green peppers, spinach, tomatos, and watermelon. We had the patio door on the main level replaced with an Andersen Frenchwood gliding door and repaired all the water damage caused by the previous door. We tore out the old retaining wall under the deck and replaced it with a new boulder wall which we did ourselves for about $500. We also bought a big hot tub which is sitting in our driveway until we have concrete poured later this month. Coordinating all the work has been a ton of work, but it will all be worth it. We still have to replace the decks and the patio doors on the other two levels, but hopefully by the time we leave for Ft. Lauderdale, it will all be done!
To Snore, or Not to Snore - April 26, 2006
Mark is still recovering from minor surgery to improve breathing through his nose (and hopefully reduce snoring). The procedure went smootly (septoplasty and turbinoplasty), was of the outpatient variety and left no mark and after a week with four inch stints in each nostril, they were removed and his nose is starting to heal. His nose is still a bit sore, but hopefully it will heal quickly and be breathing better.
on May 14th, Mark graduates from the U of M, so he is busy with the last two weeks of class, finals, and preparing for his open house. He is also searching for a Graduate Assistantship to begin this summer or fall. Hopefully all will work out in that area. Clint is also going back to school in the Fall in all likelihood, though whether it is for another Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology or a Masters in Clinical Laboratory is yet to be determined.
The Red Eye from Vegas - March 18, 2006
We arrived Saturday night March 11, 2006 about 11:15 PM, but it took 45 minutes to get our luggage. By the time we rented our convertible from Alamo and drove down the strip to the Stratosphere Hotel and checked in, it was already after 1:00 AM; too late to go out to any clubs so we just crashed.
On Sunday it was sunny but a cool 54 degrees. We had breakfast on the strip, stopping first at IHOP but that was packed so we just had McDonalds. I think we have eaten at McDonald's in every city we have visited. Thank goodness for the Golden Arches. We walked through the Forum Shops at Ceasar's Palace and ordered a family history for Remarcik to frame and hang alongside the McKay family history. We walked through the Casino to find our way back to the strip and Mark put $10 in one of the slot machines and doubled his money. We walked through thegardens of Bellagio Hotel and the Lion's Den at the MGM where Mark lost his $10 as fast as he won it at Ceasar's. Our legs were tired but we were too cheap to spend $5 each to ride the monorail back, so we endured and hoofed it back to our hotel and relaxed for the afternoon. After dinner and some light gambling, we decided to check out the local nightlife and took in the drag show at Gipsy to the tune of $7 each. It was not a bad little bar albeit too dark, but you've seen one drag show, you've seen them all. during the Intermission we walked across the street to Free Zone, another little bar with a dance floor and pool tables, but the crowd was sparse so we didn't stay. We returned to Gipsy for half an hour before returning to our hotel.
On Monday, we went to the top of the Stratosphere tower to took in the aerial view of the city. Clint was a little nervous because he does not do well with heights, but as he has each time in the past, overcame his fear and visited both the inside and outside observation decks. Mark wanted to go on the rides, but decided to wait until it was a bit warmer. Instead, we hopped in the convertible and drove to the Hoover Dam. Again it was sunny, but only 57, so we only put the top down when we approached the dam. Before taking in the tour, we walked all the way across the dam, crossing on one side and returing on the other. The tour was interesting, showing us a short film on the construction of the dam and then taking us down into the generator area. When we got back to the hotel we relaxed and watched Brokeback Mountain and then stayed in for the night.
On Tuesday morning we departed the hotel for a two day hiking excursion to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. The 300+ mile drive to the Grand Canyon began on highway 93 heading South which once again took us across the Hoover Dam where we lost an hour at the Arizona border. At Kingman we turned East on interstate 40 which was only 30 miles from Mark's father's land in Wikieup in Mohave County. At Williams, Arizona we turned North on highway 64 which took us to Tusayan, just outside the park entrance. We fueled up at McDonalds, and proceeded to park entance where we purchased an annual National Parks Pass of which $20 would have been spent on Grand Canyon National Park alone. Once in the park, we found a parking spot along the road and took in the view. Again Clint was nervous but excited too. We took a plethora of pictures from every view inluding one of a yucca cactus covered in nearly a foot of snow. The temperature was somewhere in the mid 50's but the sun was nice and warm. We rode the shuttle bus into Grand Canyon Village and then walked the Rim Trail all the way back to our car, stopping frequently to capture the memories on Clint's new cybershot digital camera. We drove east toward Desert View, stopping once at Navajo Point for a photo opportunity. By this time the sun had started to fall from its apex and some light clouds had appeared in the sky, but the view was spectacular none-the-less, this view showing more of the river than any previous, especially from the observation tower built of stone. From Desert View we continued east and found a scenic view outside the main park. There were a few cars parked on a rutted gravel road with a native american craft stand to one side. As we approached the overlook we encountered a sign that read: 800 ft Sheer Cliffs, Control Pets and Children. This canyon, carved by the Little Colorado River, was more yellow than red, and we could only see dry riverbeds but spectacular cliffs. At one point a small plane roared in from the east and made sharp turns following the canyon. It was quite the sight. From there we continuted east on highway 64 our way to highway 89 north which would take us to our lodging for the night. We could see snow covered mountains to the southeast. The sun was starting to wane as we turned north on highway 89 and headed through striated ranges and strange dirt mounds that seemed to pop out of nowhere. It was dark as we crossed over Marble Canyon on the Navajo bridge on 89A, 9 miles from our destination at Cliff Dweller's Lodge on the fringe of the Vermillion Cliffs. It was only 7:00 PM but after showering and perusing a four corners map, we went to bed early.
On Wednesday morning we awoke early and headed back west on 89A on the north side of the Grand Canyon. It was partly cloudy and cool, but the clouds quickly disapated to blue skies as we approached he North Rim which was closed for the season. The drive was beautiful as we ascended from about 4000 feet to nearly 8000 and then back down again. There was even more snow at the entrance to the North Rim, but none at all in the valley. At Fredonia, AZ we turned left on highway 389 and shortly after 9:00 AM arrived at Pipe Spring National Park on the Kaibab Indian Reservation, the site of an old Mormon fort and the location of the first telegraph in Arizona. We used our National Park Pass, another $10 saved, and learned that the vast strip of land called the Arizona Strip or Honeymooner's Strip was used for raising cattle and that the fort was never attacked by natives. From there we headed toward Utah where 389 changed to 59. Again we could see snow capped mountains as we descended into Hurricane, UT on a steep but beautiful drive. At Hurricane we turned right on high 9 and headed toward Zion National Park passing through Virgin, named for the river that carved Zion Canyon, then Rockville, and finally Springdale. We both really liked Springdale, a quiant but modern town just outside Zion National Park. Again we used our pass to save $20 and thus equaling the $50 we paid for the pass. We stamped our passports and then proceeded toward the scenid drive which is only open to private vehicles between November and April, first taking the top down on the convertible. The sky was a beautiful blue and with the top down the view was awesome. Clint was able to take pictures as we drove the 6 miles to Shrine of the Sinawava. We spent about an hour hiking and taking pictures before heading to our next stop, Weeping Rock. Again we spent about an hour on two short hikes. The first was to Weeping Rock which had little droplets of water coming from all over the inside of the rock, the result of snow melting at the top, seeping through the sandstone, and emerging from the hard layers at the sides of the rock. The second hike was toward a hidden canyon and offered a beautiful view of the river. We cut the hike short in order to insure we would have time to hike the Emerald Pool trails across from the main lodge. Our fourth hike of the day was the longest, taking nearly two hours. We crossed the river, barely 20 feet across, and ascended the snowy red path which took us to a side canyon to the west. At times the path was quite slushy and the footing a bit treacherous as it was so close to the cliff's edge. It was shady and thus quite a bit cooler as we approached the middle pool which flowed to a waterfall which dropped some 100 feet to the lower pool. We then hiked to the upper pool formed by an even bigger waterfall from the cliff above it. The upper pool was nearly frozen over as it was completely shaded, and the waterfall fell in sheets and seemed to disappear before it hit the water below. The hike back brought us under the middle falls which fell over a bowl like arc. The path back to the river was much less difficult as it was paved and not nearly as steep. It was nearly 2:30 PM and although we wanted to drive to Bryce Canyon National Park, it was a two hour drive and we already had at least two hours back to Las Vegas. We certainly agreed that a return to Zion was in our future, but next time, when the park was in full bloom. We could easily spend several days just seeing Zion and Bryce. In fact, we would love to see the other National Parks in Utah including Canyonlands and Arches. We considered foregoing out flight back and driving home to visit several other parks and visiting my grandparents in Grand Junction, CO, but we did not have enough time. We probably should have just driven in the first place and may take a week or two during the summer of 2007 to drive west all the way to California. We kept the convertible top down on the drive back to Hurricane, but then decided to put it up to drive on the interstate. At St. George, we turned south on Interstate 15 and two hours later arrived back in Las Vegas. We spent the rest of the night in the casino just relaxing.
On Thursday we slept in until 10:00 AM and spent most of the day at the Stratosphere. We had lunch at the buffet and then relaxed in our room. Mark played some blackjack, Clint tryed to win a car on the slots, but that was about it. We were going to head downtown to see the Freemont Experience, but we didn't have the energy. We did end up going out that night to Krave, but they wanted $10 each to get in and we just didn't think it was worth that much on a Thursday night, so we went to Free Zone instead. It was pretty busy but we only stayed for about an hour.
On Friday we had breakfast at IHOP and then once again went to the top of the Stratosphere so that Mark could ride the thrill rides. It was very windy but the sun was shining and the temperature was almost 70 degrees, so it was not too bad. Clint took videos of two of the three as Mark smiled from ear to ear. He liked the Big Shot the best of the three, but enjoyed all of them. We lounged around the rest of the day before packing up and checking out. We gave ourselves plenty of time to drop off the car and were checked in for our flight ove two hours early. The Flight from Las Vegas to Fargo was quite bumpy and Clint hated it. After an hour layover in Fargo and the quick flight to Minneapolis, we were back home, finally. It was a great trip, but as always, it was nice to be home. Next up: Ft. Lauderdale in August. To drive or to fly, that is the question. I think I know Clint's vote.
Let the Remodling Begin! - January 14, 2006
This weekend, the last before Spring semester starts at the U of M, we are going to do some work on the house. We had a new furnace and air conditioner installed yesterday by Sedgwick Heating and Air Conditioning complete with advanced filtration, humidifier, and touch screen thermostat. It was not cheap, but is a good system, significantly more efficient than the original which was 23 years old. One project down, three (major) projects left: master bathroom remodeling, patio door replacement, and deck replacement. Home Depot, here we come!
Viva Las Vegas! - December 29 , 2005
But the strip is not our only reason for choosing Las Vegas. We plan to visit the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon National Park, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and Valley of Fire State Park. We will be sure to bring our National Park Passport; it sounds like plenty of exercise! That is, if we have enough time. Who said a week in Vegas was too long? Maybe we will run into some friends or classmates while we are there.
Three Times Christmas - December 22, 2005
Goodbye QAF - August 22, 2005
Mark is between Summer and Fall semester working 40 hours a week at the Techinical Support Services at the U of M General College. Clint has been at Park Nicollet Clinic in Chanhassen nearly two months now. Aside from Clint's irregular hours, life has settled into a nice routine. We have been productive, working on the house and yard a bit. One significant change is that we now have a roommate named Jake. We got his room all fixed up and repainted and think it is going to work out well. It certainly helps the finances.
The past two weeks have seen the end of two of our favorite television shows, Queer as Folk and Six Feet Under, both ending after five successful years on Showtime and HBO, respectively. Our Sunday nights will not be the same without them and we were both moved by the finales. Hopefully another show that depicts the lives of gay people will come along soon. While we face most of the same challenges as a heterosexual couple, there are differences, and it is nice to have shows that break ground and open minds.
This coming weekend we are taking the dogs, and heading to Clint's family's cabin on Dam Lake north of Mille Lacs to spend the weekend with friends. The following weekend Mark's son Travis is coming down to the help us resheetrock a bathroom and to go to the State Fair. I think we will have a Labor Day cookout to celebrate Clint's Birthday.
Welcome to Park Nicollet - July 3, 2005
Last weekend Clint's Mom and Sister joined us for the annual Pride festival and Parade. It was a great day for a Parade and fun to share it with his family. With the holiday this weekend and Pride last weekend, we are on haitus from Softball until July 10th. Clint, Mark, and our Team (Minneapolis Mess) are all having an excellent year. We are 11-5 with two weeks to go in the regular season. Check our our game schedule and come watch us play sometime. Times and field locations are on the site.
Puerto Rico did not pan out for Mark, so he is taking two Spanish Courses and working on his Honors Thesis at the University of Minnesota. He continues to work for the General College and the Adult Learner Student Parents Committee and hopes to continue on through the fall. He would also like to be a Linguistics Teaching Assistant in the Fall if there are undergraduate openings.
Clint starts a new job on Tuesday at Park Nicollet Clinic as a Phlebotomist. He will be working between the Eden Prairie office and the brand new Chanhassen office. He is very excited to get some experience so he can reapply for Medical School or Graduate School in a year or two.
Congratulations on your Bachelors, Clint! - May 15, 2005
Mark finished up a his first full year at the College of Liberal Arts where he is an Honors student majoring in Lingistics and minoring in Spanish. He will be studying in Puerto Rico this summer (although still tentative), then has one more semester at the University of Minnesota to earn his BA in Linguistics.