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Parrottrek Journal 2006

May 1st -
Even though the weather report called for rain all day Sunday and Monday it turned out to be a beautiful day and they were able to finish the entire race. Our trailer was placed in such a great location that we could see the big screen TV at the end of the track. It was fun to be able to watch everyone go down the track and to see all of the instant re-plays in slow motion. Usually we just to get to hear it on the radio or loud speakers, so this was a treat. Our Budweiser team didn't do too bad. We only lost by 4/1000th of a second. It was a great race, but heartbreaking to loose by such a narrow margin. We did have one of the Top Fuel drivers literally blow up while making a qualifying run on Friday night. Cory Mac's car came off of the ground and as it began to flip over it burst into flames and blew to bits as the frame skidded

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Frank gets a free shuttle to the third floor of the hospital.  Nothing keeps Frank down. He still rides the motorcycle through the pits to and from work. Note the fancy boot on his right foot.

down the rest of the track. Watching it live was terrifying to say the least. We really thought he may have been killed. I'm sure everyone has seen it on the news by now, but it seemed like an eternity between watching the crash and waiting for the Safety Safari to let us all know that he was in fact okay. Praise God! Cory didn't even have a scratch on him. They heli-vaced him out to the emergency room just to be sure, but he was back at the track later that night in one piece. It took almost an hour to clean the car off of the track since it blew apart so badly they literally had to sweep parts of it up. Unfortunately our poor Frank wasn't so luckily with his spill. Saturday morning while stepping out of our trailer he caught the edge of the lower step, lost his balance and fell. The prognosis? A broken fifth metatarsal - translation? He broke his baby toe. Ouch!!! The poor guy had to drive himself to the doctor since we were all at work and it was the middle of the busy time when he had to leave. This morning we took him to an orthopedic doctor to make sure that everything would be okay in the healing process and that he didn't need a full cast. Luckily it all looks good as far as broken bones go, and he should be back to normal in 4-6 weeks. The doctor said he could walk on it a bit, drive if he felt okay with control and even continue to ride the motorcycle. He is a bit slow going for the time being as he limps along. It's fun to go shopping however since most of the big stores have motorized scooter shopping carts. He has always wanted to drive around Wal-Mart in one, and now he gets his wish. They gave him crutches and a cane. The cane is a bit hard to master, but on his crutches he is faster than he was with two good feet.

May 8th -

Atlanta, Georgia. The deep south! What's it like?  Everyone asks us that. Let's just say that it never ceases to amaze us just how different each region of this country is and the way people live, dress and act. Southerners have a very distinct way of life. They don't put too much money in their homes or their teeth. To stay politically correct we will just leave it at that. The race was very very slow and it almost rained out on Sunday. We were very glad to get it in otherwise they would have carried it over to today. The races ended around 10pm which is really late for a Sunday, usually we are out of work by 6:00 or so on Sunday evening. Our team didn't do too badly considering that we blew out a tire in one round and bent the frame in another. The round that the tire blew out on ended up getting us #1 qualifying for the weekend. Luckily the tire didn't blow until the car was coming to the finish line and Brandon was already pulling the parachutes. He said if it had happened any earlier he would have been in a world of hurt. Thank you God for keeping him safe. We have over a week off now so we will head to a fun campground at a nearby lake.

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Our house nestled in the trees

The fun little motorboat we rented

Smores anyone????? Mmmmmm!

May 12th -
Lake Hartwell, South Carolina. Okay, so not all of the south is totally scary. South Carolina is beautiful and the lake we are at is amazing. We are here with two other couples from work and we are having a wonderful relaxing time. Frank and I rented a little boat one day and explored the lake since we were both having such great withdrawals from the open water. It's so pretty to see woods and green grass all around the lake. What a difference from the lakes back in California. There are over 95 miles of shoreline here so needless to say we were only able to see a section of it. We explored a big island in the middle of the lake and just floated in a cove for awhile, had lunch and read. While we were having lunch, a family of geese floated up to us. We of course shared our lunch with them and gave them all the crackers we had on board. They were darling. It was odd though because there were two sets of babies differing in age, but only one momma goose and three boy geese. Hmmmmm! Figure that one out. The six of us bar-b-qued each night and had campfires where we roasted marshmallows. Usually they don't let you have open fires in the RV Parks so this was a treat. It rained a little on a couple days but other than that we had great weather. Peggy and I ran about 2 miles each morning on the nature trails that weaved all around the lake and through the forest where we would gather more fire wood for that evening. We have made a pact to keep up with a running schedule at least four days a week. Wish us luck! We figure the buddy system will keep each of us motivated.

May 13th -
Today's activity???? Tennis - it was quite comical I must say since none of us have played more than 3 times in our entire lives, but we had a great time and burned more calories laughing at ourselves and each other than we did by playing. Needless to say, professional tennis isn't in the future for any of us. Frank of course sat at the sidelines, but his foot is doing a little better each day and he no longer uses the crutches.

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Feeding a family of Geese. The little ones were soooo soft!

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Peggy and Suzy vs. Kurt and Phyllis - Note the perfect form in our swings ha ha ha

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Who could ask for better or dryer seats?

The Jet Dragster gets ready to race

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May 14th - Happy Mother's Day -
Friends of ours, Vicki and Ron Smith, own a racetrack here in West Virginia so that is our current home for the weekend. It feels so odd to be at a race and not have to work, but we aren't complaining. Last night we watched the junior dragster competition. It's so fun to see the little kids have so much fun. They also had a special event which was a Jet Dragster go down the track. It was very impressive and she (yes the driver was a girl) was almost as fast as Top Fuel Dragsters.

This track however is only an 1/8 mile so the cars don't quite get up to the speed that they would on the usual 1/4 mile track that we are used to. The race did eventually get rained out which was too bad since the Jet Dragster was supposed to go two more rounds down the track. We were parked perpendicular to the center of the track so we had a bird's eye view of all the racing. Vicki and Ron gave us such VIP treatment. Thanks guys! We had a great time! Just up the road from us is the town of Point Pleasant. A few years back they had a huge accident where a commuter bridge collapsed during rush hour traffic, killing many and injuring more. The accident was the inspiration of the movie "Mothman Prophecies" which starred Richard Gere. Frank and I were going to take a motorcycle ride and explore the town a bit today but it hasn't stopped raining yet so we may be out of luck. When dinner time rolled around John broke out the bar-b-que, since the rain had stopped, and cooked us all dinner. It was great. There's nothing like a Texan that knows how to Bar-b-que with the best of them! No worries! Peggy and I are still jogging almost every morning to offset our over eating this weekend!

May 21st - WE WON WE WON WE WON AGAIN!!! -
What started out as a really slow and rain soaked event, turned out to be another victory for the Budweiser Team! The races rained out on Thursday and rained out again on Friday night at 10:30pm after waiting for hours to dry the track only to find that the frost level was too great and the moisture would not go away no matter how many times they ran the  jet dryers down the quarter mile track. Saturday was a beautiful day without a drop of rain and the forecast only called for rain early Sunday in the pre-dawn hours. Just as we thought all was going well, we woke up to thick gray clouds and steady rainfall.  No Worries!!! The sun finally came out and all of the clouds went away around noon so the final eliminations began about 1:00. Since that time it's been a great day!!  We love it when the temperature is anywhere under 90 degrees, but 70 degrees was almost too good to be true!! Brandon, Kenny and the rest of the team had another great day full of winning rounds. In a couple rounds the races were only a few hundredths of a second apart and nerve racking to watch, but nonetheless we were victorious in each of them, which led us all to the Winner's Circle. Almost every one of the guys on the team had their family attend this weekend's race since it so close to home for all of them, which made the festivities in the Winner's Circle even more joyous. Frank and I were right there with them, and even had a

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The team puts on the finishing touches to the 7000 horsepower car

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In the winner's circle with Wally, Brandon, Kenny and Tim

photo op with Brandon and Kenny and the winning Budweiser machine. It's quite an impressive car going down the track with four foot flames shooting the rear, but standing next to it holding a Wally (the winning trophy) in one hand and the frame of the car in the other is equally and a rare opportunity if you aren't the driver!

May 22nd - We have officially been on the road for an entire year!!!
Can you believe it?? One year ago today we said goodbye to our California family and friends and embarked on what has been the best year of our lives yet! When we decided to take this leap we knew we would enjoy traveling and seeing the country and we knew God had great things in store for us, but each day we are still amazed at just how much fun it is and just how much there is to do and see out here.  Our nationwide group of family and friends has grown so much and God has given us so many wonderful people to travel and camp with and meet along the way, that we are thankful everyday for each new adventure and we are greatly look forward to those memories we are yet to make! We keep asking ourselves "Why didn't we do this sooner????"

June 1st -
Home is where your heart is! Or should I say - Home is where you park it! That is so true. We are now at home in Jellystone National Park with Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Cindy Bear and Ranger Smith. Jellystone Park is actually an RV Park in Indiana but we have been spending most of our time just 30 minutes north of here in the beautiful city of Chicago, Illinois. Yesterday we drove out to Lincoln Park Zoo. It is the largest free zoo in America. It's amazing how many animals they had. It took us half the day just to walk around the park. After that we decided to drive into the city and explore. We weren't quite sure what to do and where to go so we decided to park the bike at Navy Pier and let someone else do the driving. It was a great decision. We took a fun double decker bus all around the city. We had front row seats on the top of the bus for most of the ride so the views were fabulous, even from the middle you could see everything, especially since most of the city is up in the sky! The tour was very informative as well. There is so much history here in Chicago.  We rode around in the bus until it took us back to our original stop which was over two hours later. We wanted to ride it again, but we were getting hungry and didn't want to have to drive home too late. We went back to Navy Pier and had dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp. It of course is from the movie Forrest Gump which was playing the whole time we had dinner. We have decided that we will go back tomorrow and ride the double decker bus again. The best part is that they let you jump off and get back on the bus at any point all throughout the day. This way we can explore on foot the places that we want to see a little closer.

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<- Here comes our fun double decker bus.

> Atop the second-level of the double decker beautiful city behind us. We are right next to Millennium Park with the library behind us.

June 2nd -
Today we toured the dunes of Indiana. We took a picnic lunch and made a day of it. We drove around all the pretty houses on the lake, and walked along the beach with waves and all. It is so strange to think it is a lake, and not the ocean. It sure looks like the ocean. They have miles and miles of marinas with thousands of boats, shipping ports for the local steel yards and coal mines, huge nuclear power plants that use the lake water for energy, and miles and miles of sand dunes. Where does the sand come from??? We are still looking into that. The only thing that Lake Michigan is missing is the salt water ocean air smell - since of course it is fresh water. We climbed to the top of Mt. Baldy which is the largest dune here in Indiana. It was enormous and took a bit of leg strength to climb since each step you took your feet would sink about a foot into the soft sand. We had to stop a few times since we were laughing at ourselves so hard. Once we made it to the top, running down the other side was a kick! You had to run faster and faster just to keep up with your legs and not fall. Again this was hard to do since we were sinking into the sand and laughing at what dorks we must look like.

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The views from the top of Sears Tower. The left shows The Hancock building and surrounding skyscrapers that complete the Chicago skyline. The right shows the Shed Aquarium on the point, surrounded by  Lake Michigan.

June 3rd -
We had another fun-filled day in Chicago today. We woke up extra early and got into town around 8:30 or so. Our motorcycle has been the best thing! We already have over 1000 miles on it and have owned it less than 2 months. If we still only had our scooter we never could have journeyed into town or done half the things we have been able to do. We again took the bus ride around town and got off at quite a few stops. We went to the top of the Sears Tower. Wow were the views amazing. You could see four different states. Lake Michigan is so big. It looks like an ocean from land, and it still looks like an ocean from the top of a 103 story building. They say that Lake Michigan is more dangerous to sail on than the ocean since the currents are so rough and come from so many different directions. For lunch? Well we had to try Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago right???? Of course we did. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good as Antonio's. After lunch we went down to the "Magnificent Mile" where the stores are huge and, as the name states, go on for over a mile. The buildings are enormous and you feel so tiny as you walk the streets between the skyscrapers. It was such a fun day. Again we could have stayed so much longer, but our parking meter was about to expire and the bus stops running around 6:00 or so, so we had to say goodbye to Chicago and head back to Jellystone Park. We hit the jacuzzi for awhile when we got home and then watched the movie "The Fugitive" to see if we recognized any of the buildings or scenery since it was filmed in Chicago. It was fun to see where we had been on the big screen.  Tomorrow we plan on relaxing by the pool all day since it is supposed to be nice and hot, and then Monday we will head to the track. We realized today that while living in California we never had, or would have, thought of Chicago as a place to visit or vacation. We always thought of New York or Washington D.C., which we will visit later this year, but never Chicago. Who knew it would be such a great city to explore. We are so glad that we have these opportunities to see places that we never would have had we not embarked on this new life! :-)  

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Mount Baldy! The picture doesn't quite give it's height justice, but your legs feel it.

Hooray!!! We made it to the top!

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Jellystone Park -  complete with Yogi Bear, who of course Abbey tried to pick a fight with but stopped just long enough to pose for a photo. They even have their very own geyser - Old Faceful. He is a bit smaller than Old Faithful and just like his name says, gives you a faceful of water when you look into the hole.

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<- A view of the Statue of Liberty from the ferry that took us out to explore her.

June 13th - New York City -
A new day, a new adventure! We spent today in New York City. We did everything one an do in a 7 hour period of time. We didn't quite realize how close we were to New York until we hit Mapquest. Finding out that Englishtown, New Jersey, where are next race will be, is only 42 miles from the Big Apple, we decided that we couldn't pass up the opportunity to tour the city. We drove our motorcycle, which by the way now has over 1200 miles on it, to Liberty State Park. Liberty State Park is just this side of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels so we knew it would be the best place to park and not have to deal with a lot of traffic. We took the ferry out to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. I had been there before, but it never ceases to amaze me just how big and impressive she is. We took the audio tour of both of them and learned quite a bit of history. After finishing up the tours we headed into Manhattan via a train and then a water taxi. It's beautiful to see the New York skyline from the ocean. It is very different however and a bit sad not seeing the enormous World Trade Center standing tall above the other buildings. Once we made it into Manhattan we walked around the city, did a little window shopping and had New York Pizza for dinner. The pizza had a bit more flavor than the Chicago restaurant we went to, but the thing about New York pizza places is that the pizzas are all precooked and the restaurants are very tiny narrow stores more like a glorified deli. We figure it must be this way since everyone in New York City is always in a hurry so no one wants to wait for pizza to be cooked. The pizza place we went to was directly across from Ground Zero. All of the buildings around Ground Zero have been restored to what they looked like before the tragedy, but wow! What an enormous hole there is in the middle them all. Seeing what happened on TV doesn't do it any justice. You can't believe it till you see it for yourself. They have now rebuilt the subway systems that run below it which was a huge project. Not living there you never realize just how much the subways were affected. There are still construction crews digging out parts of rubble from below. We walked all around Ground Zero, saw all the plans for the memorial and walked by the temporary memorial. We took the subway that runs directly below where the World Trade Center stood to get back to our train and home. New York is pretty with all it's buildings and beautiful bridges. The Statue of Liberty is a must see, and the smell of the ocean air while on the ferry is wonderful, however we have to say that we liked Chicago quite a bit more. New York is a bit dirty and very cramped as you walk down the streets. We didn't make it too far into Manhattan, so next year we will have to play tourist a little more. Chicago is very open for being such a big city, really clean and the history there is endless.

Ellis Island,Island, where hundreds of thousands of immigrants came each year to escape their country in hopes of finding a better life here in America.

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The skyline will never look the same without the towering World Trade Center

A view of the massive hole still left behind from the explosion on that fateful day

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The 9-11 Memorial that is on a brick wall across from Ground Zero with the words "May we never forget" above the fire engine with hoses that lead to the burning buildings. Lower left shows the flight paths of the planes used in the attacks. Lower right is the subway that is below Ground Zero. You can see the enormous hole the buildings left behind. Especially when you realize that we went down two flights of stairs and an escalator to get to the subway, and the hole is still below us.

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Maybe if we take the Double Decker Bus here in New York next year we will change our minds, but as for now we have to say Chicago is our favorite big city with San Francisco second. New Jersey is a different story. I don't think we would rate this state too high on the list of future places to live. Maybe it's just the area we were in. The area that we camped for the race was pretty with lots of trees and it smelled like the forest at night, but the however leave a little to be desired along with the climate, considering it was almost 100 degrees on Sunday with high humidity. We don't mind humidity, as long as there is a body of water near us to jump in. Insofar as the people, it's like watching the Sopranos being here in New Jersey with all the strong New York accents. However  five or six people asked me if I was from California, so apparently to them we talk funny too. Who knows!

June 20th -
We are in Madison, Illinois. It is a bit warm here usually, in fact last year it was over 100 degrees everyday so lets hope that the weather is a little nicer. It should be a really fun and busy race since it is literally in the backyard of the home offices of Anheuser-Busch aka Budweiser. St Louis, MO is only a few miles away so we will get to meet all the big-wigs of Anheuser-Busch.  We won this race last year which was great for moral and keeping the sponsors very happy, so hopefully we will do well again this year. Say a little prayer!! All our motorhomes are parked in the NASCAR track which is one of the longest ones around. It makes for wonderful jogging with the steep bank of the curves. Last year I ran around it 4 times thinking that I was doing a couple miles since most of the NASCAR tracks are around a half mile. Come to find out that it is in fact 1 1/2 miles. I wondered why my average mile time sucked that day!

June 25th -
What a weekend!!! We ended up in the finals, but lost that round to the Army team. It was a great weekend however in regards to moving up in the points. We did have a little incident with the trailer however. Luckily it wasn't our fault. While it was being transported to it's location in the pits one of our fellow employees accidentally drove it into the side of another sponsor trailer. OUCH! It left about a 20 foot scratch and dent in the back five panels, so the repair job is going to be lengthy. The good news is that MainGate will take it from here to Indianapolis to have the repairs done and then drive it out to Denver for us. We are trailer free for our three weeks off. Frank will be spoiled by the time we get to Denver. He always says that without the trailer the bus drives like a sports car. We are going to leave tomorrow and head to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery for a tour and then off to Lake of The Ozarks to meet up with friends. Three weeks off!!! What will we do with ourselves?? I'm sure we will find lots of things to do, or not do such as lay by the lake and relax!!!

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11 blissful days at Osage Beach by Lake of the Ozarks!   Camping fees = $200.00 Boat rides = $0.00 sunsets included

A day spent on a good friend's jet ski with the entire lake to explore and swim in? Rental = $0.00       Tank of fuel = $19.00

A motorcycle tour of the lake with all the best view points pointed out? Tour = $0.00 Tank of fuel = $9.35

Realizing after 9 years that you're still living Happily Ever After? = Priceless

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The lake peaks out through the trees as we hiked to Ha Ha Tonka

June 29th -
We are in Missouri at one of our favorite lakes. Lake of The Ozarks. It has over 1,150 miles of shoreline which is longer than the shore line of California's Pacific Ocean. We came here last year on a whim and had a great time, met some fellow campers whom have become good friends and decided to come back again. Boy are we glad we did. It doesn't seem like much time has past since we were last here but when we think back and share stories with others we realize just how much we have done in the last year. We went out on a fun boat ride with Tom and Coni yesterday. They currently have a condo out here, but are looking to upgrade to a house so we did a bit of house hunting with them. What better way to see which house you want on the lake except by being on the water. Most of these houses are not done justice by viewing them via land. We had dinner at a fun place in Toad Cove where they had a live band, good food and a fabulous view.

July 4th - Happy Fourth of July!!!!
Hope this happy festive day finds you all in good health and with loved ones. We are going to go out tonight and watch the fireworks show on the water with Tom, Coni and a boat load of their friends. Yesterday we took a nice long motorcycle ride with them all around the lake. It's great to have locals with you. This way they know all the great viewing areas of the lake, and all the best frozen custard places too. Yes we have hit quite a few of the frozen custard places during out week here. The Red Rocket is our favorite so far. It is right on the lake and has a fun building. We drove out to the dam on our motorcycle ride and again looked at a few houses. Frank and I even toured a few of the condos to see if this is a place we would like to have a summer home. The prices right now are quite reasonable and with the appeal of the lake growing every year we are a bit tempted. This way we could spend winters in Florida by the ocean and the summer here by the lake, but we aren't ready to stay anywhere too long yet so we will wait and see.

July 6th -
Good-bye Lake of the Ozarks. Our time here has gone so quickly, but boy was it fun. It was the perfect length of time. Just long enough to really relax and do everything we wanted to do but not too long in any one place. Being here reminds us a bit of being in Florida since we always have so much fun and it is one of the few places that we could stay longer than a week without getting to antsy to move on. This morning we had a goodbye breakfast with Tom and Coni. We hope to see them again at an upcoming race where they will work with us in the Nitro Mall. They are one of our many recruits for MainGate. That's the best part of traveling, since everyone you meet is also traveling you never know where you may run into each other next time.

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<-The old water tower at Ha Ha Tonka had about 3 miles of steps leading up to it. Needless to say in 90 degree weather we just looked at it from a distance

 

The Red  ->         Rocket. Our  favorite place  for dessert!!

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Nothing gets quite as upset as a pregnant  goat when you run out of food

 A happy cow

July 10th - Rolling Hills Adventure Park - Salina, Kansas -
We visited our favorite zoo today. Rolling Hills Adventure Park in Salina, Kansas. They have a huge feeding area with cows and goats and chickens and birds and all sorts of sheep. Frank didn't like feeding the cows since their tongues are about 4 feet long, very slimy, very squishy and they like to lick as they eat. The lay out here is much better than most zoos where they have a huge cavern between you animals in their habitats. At Rolling Hills all of the cages are only feet from you and completely enclosed. My favorite parts is the Big Cat section. One of the last things that I have on my "Must do before I die list" aside from flying in a F-14 jet, is to pet and play with a Tiger, someday it will happen. Luckily almost all of the other things are checked off.

July 10th - Golden Colorado - Coors Brewery -
The homeland and backyard of Budweiser's largest American competitor. So what did Frank and I do???? Stay home and boycott Coors? Heck no! We took a tour of the entire city, including the Coors Brewery, however we did leave our Budweiser wardrobe at home. We didn't want to upset them by wearing the superior beer's attire (ha ha) The brewery here is not half as pretty as the Budweiser facility in St. Louis, but it was a very informative tour to say the least. The inside of the brewery was fairly similar, but the layout was a bit different but that is to be expected since they make their beer a little different.

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The tour began by loading us on a little bus and taking us for a ride around the town showing us all the highlights of the city and then dropping us off at the front door of the brewery. We were showed all the different steps to making Coors beer, however it might not turn out as well if we tried it at home. The Mashing Bins that mash up all the ingredients were enormous with half ton legs that mashed the barley and hops together. Hmmm, maybe we could have Cody and Abbey mash them on the floor of their cage and then mix in the water. That wouldn't work since Cody would eat all the ingredients before they made it to the mix. Oh well, we will just stick with working for the competition. After the tour ended we drove downtown and walked around the quaint town of Golden. It had a huge river going through it that leads right to the Coors facility, so they have fresh mountain spring water delivered to them all day every day. Next to the river was a park with a very fun slide. As soon as you sat down on it you were at the bottom before you realized it. We also saw the world's largest can of beer, and a ginormous buffalo. I'm pretty sure that's the closest Frank will ever get to a buffalo of that size. The weather here is wonderful. A perfect 73 degrees. Lets hope it stays like this all week and into the weekend for the race.

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July 17th - On the road -
The East Coast is now far behind us as we make our way back to the West Coast. We left Denver this morning at 2am in order to have as much time as possible to put as many miles under us as we could. Frank is wonderful. He drove 18 1/2 hours straight so we could have dinner this evening with Kari, Toby, Kristi and Marigold in Boise, Idaho. We went to a nice pizza restaurant in the heart of downtown Boise called "Old Chicago". I thought that was appropriate since Frank and I had recently been to Chicago and had such fun there. We spent the night at the good old local Flying J and will spend tomorrow with the Kings as well. It was great catching up and just hanging out with lifelong friends. Kari and I met at age 5 and have been close friends ever since. It's great when you can see someone after months of not seeing them and pick up right where you left off as though no time had gone by since your last visit.

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July 18th - Boise, Idaho -
Another fun-filled day with the girls. We drove over to Kristi's little house which is conveniently located just a few blocks away from Kari and Toby's and will come in very handy for visiting friends and family once little Marigold arrives. The four of us spent most of the day lounging around at Kristi's since the outside temperature was around 95 which doesn't inspire one to do much physical activity. We did run one errand, well actually two - we found a shower squeegee at Bed Bath and Beyond which Frank and I have literally searched the country for. Who knew it would be so hard the perfect shower squeegee. Errand number tomorrow morning and drive the rest of the way into Seattle. Thanks guys for being such fun hosts.

Near Mishap Alert -
After leaving the King's house we arrived back at the motorhome and began the rituals of preparing to leave. As Frank circled the outside of the motorhome and trailer as he always does before we leave any location to ensure that we are still in one piece and safe for the road he noticed that we had a very flat tire on the trailer. If one were to find a flat tire on their vehicle in any parking lot anywhere in America, what would be the best place for this to happen? ... ...

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How about right outside a Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Center??? Thank you Jesus! Frank quickly went inside, found the necessary parts to change out the tire, remove the old and fill the new with air via the handy air tank on the bus. After replacing the new tire we checked all the other tires, deemed them all worthy of travel and hit the road again. The drive from Idaho into Oregon is quite pretty with the Snake River next to you for most of the drive. We drove till around 10:30 and are now safely at another Flying J with the trailer intact. I tell ya,our guardian angel is working overtime for us out here on the road and he is doing a marvelous job.

July 19th - An Adventure on the Road -
If you ever want to take one of the most beautiful drives in all of America, second to the hills of Pennsylvania,  take the drive through Washington across Highway 90. There are sights you cannot believe, and the camera does them little justice. The trees are taller then any you have ever seen and the lakes and streams you drive by are breathtaking. When you drive over a bridge on the highways of Washington and you look below you always see a pretty stream flowing below. Every time we pass over one of these rivers or streams  we think how fun it would be to float down them and see where the water takes us. Someday we will pull off the road and do just that.

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The Snake River which literally snakes it's  way through the hills of Idaho and Oregon

July 20th - Pacific Raceway Park - Washington -
Pacific Raceways in Seattle, Washington. A very nice track nestled in the hills and trees of the Washington Coast. Right above the racetrack is a beautiful view of snow covered Mount Rainer. Yes it is still covered in snow in July so lets hope that means that this weekend might be a bit cooler than the last one. The last few tracks have not only been a bit on the warm side but we have also had a long commute to work. This is when the motorcycle comes in very handy for Frank to get to work and I get the benefit of a nice workout while walking to work. I also get to sleep in a bit later since both of us don't have to be at work until the crowds get big. How long is our commute this week??? It takes us about 4 steps to get from the motorhome to the trailer, and we are directly across from our Budweiser teammates so it makes it an even shorter walk to lunch and we can check in on the birds as often as we need. We sure could get spoiled by this.

July 21st - Seattle, Washington -
The race has officially begun. Our Budweiser Team is the defending champions of this race last year so let's hope we can defend it and win again. Last weekend we had a bit of bad luck and lost in the first round, so going any further than that this weekend would help us greatly in the battle of the points.We have had a fun last couple days exploring the town of Seattle. Frank and I drove into town the other night and visited the world famous Pikes Place Fish Market where they are famous for their "throwing of the fish". It is a big outside fish market where they have every type of fresh fish one could want. You order on one side where the scales are and they yell out your order to the other side where all the fish are kept on ice. After you order your fish it then comes sailing across the air into the open arms of the weigher who is holding a sheet of butcher paper to safely catch your fish.  It's a very impressive feat to watch considering that all the fish are pretty much left whole, minus their heads, and some of them are huge and the distance they throw them is pretty far.  Downtown Seattle has an amazingly huge Farmer's Market that is permanent and goes for blocks and blocks and blocks. The fruit is wonderful and the fish restaurants are amazing. All of the restaurants are pretty much run down deli counters so at first glance your a bit scared to eat there after being used to the strict health codes of California, but you realize that they are all packed with locals for a reason. We braved on of the deli counters and had some excellent fish and chips and shrimp cocktail. Considering Seattle is literally over the ocean you sure can tell the fish is fresh. After dinner we headed out to the Space Needle where we met up with a group of friends for dessert and a bit of shopping. We were going to go up into the Space Needle to view all of Seattle and the Sound, but at $14.00 a head we decided against being sucked into the tourist trap and that the views of the ride around town would do. What a rip off just to look out a building.

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A beautiful drive up the Washington  coast

 The throwing of the fish

An open air restaurant with a bit of flare

Seattle's tourist trap - The Space Needle

July 22nd - Seattle, Washington -
So much for the useless and misleading snow capped mountain giving any indication of the weather this weekend. Today it is a scorching 95 degrees outside but there is a slight breeze and we are in the shade of the awning so when it gets too hot we can go inside the air conditioned motorhome and cool off. I guess it could be worse. We are very happy that we are heading out of here tonight HOORRRAAYY!! We won't have to deal with any more heat or dust. I swear we have cleaned the shelves of the trailer 100 times and the darn dust keeps coming back! UUGGHH!!We will drive tonight to Marathon in Coburg, Oregon where we bought our current home. Last year we were in such a hurry to get to Minnesota that they didn't get a chance to put in a counter that they owed us, so they said "next time you are in town stop by" Yes it has been a year but this is the first time we have been near so we will get our new counter and mirror and an oil change and be on our way to Sonoma, California. Hopefully the weather will be wonderful there and cool. It has been a bit above 100 degrees in that area, but according to weather.com it is supposed to be only 70 degrees for the weekend. Let's hope that's true. Although I won't speak too soon because I may jinx us into having another heat wave. :-( One can usually count on CA for great weather.

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