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Sightseeing

Sometimes we have to take a break from all the climbing, rappelling and hiking and just enjoy soaking in the cool things around us. These are a few of the interesting sights we'd like to share with you:
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Once Upon a Boulder...

Once upon a time we (and a group of our Utah friends) were sitting around having coffee one fine afternoon.  Conversations whirled about and at some point, energy vortexes in Sedona were brought up.  Someone else responded with "Oh, Boulder Utah has those too" upon which yet another person said "Interesting... we should go there... like right now!"  At this point in most "normal" conversations, the group would chuckle to themselves at the absurd suggestion of travel 5 to 6 hours away at a last minute's notice.  This was no such conversation.   Read more

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Urban Exploration: San Jose Editon

After a few quick email exchanges via CouchSurfing, we jumped on the bus with our Czech friend Michal to go meet a (mostly) total stranger in San José for some coffee and urban exploration. Upon our arrival, we stepped out of the Puriscal Bus Terminal to see Mariano waiting there for us on his trusty little blue Fiat. Curbside pickup. Right on :) As we drove to find a good parking spot, we got to know each other a bit and Mariano explained the disorganized driving habits of Central America to us. Mariano found a suitable spot and as we started to head toward Avenida Central, he was stopped by a "watchy man" (an under-the-table person who keeps an eye on your car if you pay him... if not, not guarantee of what might happen). He paid the watchy man and we moved on.   Read more

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Did Somebody Say Volcano?

The sun had barely cracked the horizon, its warm glow moving down the adjacent slope of the Rio Quebrada Honda valley as we rolled out of bed. While rubbing my eyes and peering out the hazy window at the early morning spectacle I begin to wonder, "Why did we sign up for this again? Oh yeah... volcano." It seems as though the very word was designed to suck the interest of anyone who dared glance at a Lonely Planet Guide. We stumbled into some CouchSurfing friends the night before and as soon as the word was mentioned, it sounded good to us and we agreed to meet up and go together. Luckily our bags were pre-packed and limited clothing makes for limited selection time. We rouse Michal, the Czech CouchSurfer staying in the room next door.  Out the door and down the road.   Read more

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The Great Smokey Mountain Tourist Watch

Leaving Knoxville late at night, we stopped at a Walmart to rest for the night. At this particular Walmart, we were chancing our luck not to be towed away. Even with "No Overnight RV Parking"  signs posted, we figured it would be okay since others were more than obviously parked for the night. Safety in numbers, right!? The restless night went by and eventually I fell fast asleep.  Early in the morning, Josh woke to make our way to The Great Smokey Mountains.  Beyond exhausted, we stopped at an outdoor store to stock up on cooking fuel.  The store yet to open, Josh climbed back into bed for a couple hours to wait it out.  When we woke, the parking lot was full and Josh headed in.   He was lucky to come out with fuel as he mentioned the store was mainly for tourists with money burning in their pockets. Still bring a bit early, we made our way to a visitors center just outside the park. This feeling like yet another tourist trap, we found ourselves back in bed again.

Our excessive morning sleep caused us to head into the Smokies later than expected, but we pushed forward. Upon entering the park's main Visitor's Center, we were faced with the worst part of the only free (and most visited) National Park on the country- traffic. It's like Christmas-time traffic where everyone is busy getting somewhere, distracted and in some kind of dumb-founded bubble. Drivers aren't kind here for the most part. It took us a few circles to find parking and due to traffic chaos mixed with growling bellies and petty arguing follows suit. We finally made into the visitor center which was littered with aimlessly wandering tourists showing souvenir hunger in their eyes.   Read more

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