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Parrottrek Journal 2016

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An outdoor free concert in the park on the banks of Lake Tahoe

Two different bands kept us entertained until our boat left

Setting sail around Lake Tahoe to watch the sunset

What a place to day dream

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June 19th - Enjoying Lake Tahoe -
There are very few places that make us think of settling down and traveling less, but we did come across one this week. Lake Tahoe has got to be one of the most wondrous places in this country. There are activities all year long for every season. There are world famous ski resorts for your winter pleasure, numerous water recreations in the spring, summer, and fall, bike trails everywhere, and enough outdoor activities to pack your calendar. If you are more an indoor type there are casinos with enough games to make your head swim, and concert venues that have huge names performing all year long. We have been enjoying as much of the Tahoe life we can until our exit date arrives.

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The moon rose as the sun set which made for beautiful views

Fabulous paved bike trails that lead all around the lake and all over the towns

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180 lb man attempts to ride a 2000lb pissed off bull for eight seconds holding on with only one hand... ... seems logical

Man goes flying off of said bull. Note man hudled in corner, fanny end up, as bull fighters try and distract angry bull

Yes, there is a clown inside that barrel the bull is using for a soccer ball and knocking around the arena

Another victory for the bull, but 10 points for the backflip the cowboy performed on his dismount

June 15th - A Fun Filled Thursday Night at the PRCA Ultimate Bulls -
Bull riding. One of my most favorite sports to not watch while watching. What do I mean by this you ask? Well, as long as the bull rider hangs on and doesn't turn into a rag doll being thrown about, including being launched into the medal sides of the bullpens that they just came out of, I enjoy watching it. Since most of the time these young men are in fact turned into rag dolls, I tend to cover by eyes throughout most of these events. Tonight however, I was a bit braver than usual and actually watched most of the event. Usually when we go to the rodeo they have all of the events, but tonight we noticed that the whole 2 and a half hour event was all bull riding. Color us happy. The reason the bull riding is my favorite is that it seems a little more fair to the animals. When it comes to calf roping, or steer wrestling, the poor little things look so scared half the time I always find myself cheering for them to outrun the cowboys... which tends to cause unhappy faces on the fans around me. For some reason most of the people who come to watch these events cheer for the cowboys, but when the man and horse outweigh their target, I cheer for the underdog. Bull riding however is a great match. The bull weighs about 2000lbs, is a muscular, not to mention gorgeous, animal, and is fun to watch how he throws these little flies off of his back. What is even more entertaining is watching all the men in the arena scatter when the bull charges them. These bull fighters can scale a fence in less than a second and run the full length of the arena in about 2. I smuggled in my good camera tonight and got some great shots of all the action from our perfectly situated eighth row seats.

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The flag for the Pledge of Allegiance

What a bunking bronco should look like in action

What a stubborn bunking bronco looks like not wanting any action

Steer wrestling, where I always cheer when the steer gets away

June 16th - Reno Rodeo -
This evening's outdoor entertainment had the whole gamut of rodeo events, from the tame sport of muttin' bustin', where little kids wrap their arms around the neck of a docile, wooly sheep and try and hang on for eight seconds, to bull riding where grown men tie one hand to a beast about 20x their weight and strength and try and hang on for the same length of time. The big difference? When the kids fall off the sheep, they go running to their mother, who is in the corner of the arena being held on a leash by its owner. Yes folks, I'm talking about the sheep here, not the child... what country do you think we're in? When the bull rider falls off their animal of choice it tries to trample the rider and everything around him, including the bullfighter and the clowns that are there to sacrifice themselves in order for the bull rider to get to safety, assuming he can stand up and walk after his thrill ride. Another job of the bullfighter is to release the bull's flank-strap, the piece of soft cotton rope tied around the bull's flank that "encourages" the bull to use his back legs even more.... yikes! In between these two different sports various cowboys and cowgirls show off their abilities to rope calves, wrestle steers, run their gorgeous horses around barels in the shortest time possible, and ride wild horses. The bucking broncos are probably my second favorite, and even though the look on the cowboy's face appears to be sheer pain most of the time during their ride, the look of triumph when they dismount after accomplishing their eight second goal is priceless.

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Muttin' bustin' - the cutest thing to watch

Barrel racing

Team calf roping

Bull riding

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Our tropical and tranquil campsite for a nice long week

Cody, Bradley, and I sitting out listening to music during breakfast

A fun Fourth of July party and volleyball game with neighbors and new friends

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July 4th - Fun in the Sun - Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort -
As we make our way through a second lap of our territory and meet with clients for a second time this year, we find ourselves having even more fun than the first visit. Faces are more familiar, campgrounds are more comfortable, and the invites to social events are more common. We usually try and visit our campground clients during the time of yea that their campgrounds aren't full, where they have a little break in their schedules to meet with us, and the aren't in the throws of their busy season. This week our stop is in Las Vegas, Nevada. Everyone wonders why would we want to spend part of July in Las Vegas? Well, first off, because it's part of work, and second because we wanted to spend some time in a fabulous place called Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort. The site we are "camped" at has four palapas that provide all day shade, a tiki bar, a full kitchen, two comfy couches that are perfect to snuggle on and read or listen to music.

Lounging by the quiet pool doing a bit of work

We have spent our mornings catching up on paperwork and emails under the palapas at the kitchen counter, afternoons hitting the gym to stretch our legs from sitting all morning, and just as it so happens swimming laps in our very own private pool just 10 steps away from home. Well, it isn't actually our private pool, but considering we haven't seen a soul there all week we have staked claim on it as our own. Our total stay here will be 10 days, which to us is the perfect length of time. Long enough to get our fill of the area and the fun things to do, and the long enough to get a smidgen antsy and be ready to head out on our next adventure and our next stop, wherever that may be.
In the middle of our 10 day stay the Fourth of July hit, and almost the entire resort got together for a festive BBQ, a fun day by the pool, a slightly competitive volley ball game, followed by music and dancing. Once the sun went down and most people went home, Frank and I sat by the pool with a glass of wine and watched the fireworks shows all around us. From our vantage point we could literally see 200 degrees of fire works shows from our lounge chairs that lasted over an hour. There were so many going off at so many locations around us that no matter where we looked the night sky was lit up with the reminder that we live in the greatest country there is.

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Always a smile on her face

A wonderful loving mother and an inspiration to know and love - 2010

Halloween 2001 we went as Betty Boop and Felix the Cat

Hawaii 2003, right after we finished the 26.2 mile Honolulu Marathon

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July 16, 2016 - Heartbroken in Santa Ynez, Ca -
I lost a part of my soul today, and I don't think I'll ever get it back. My wonderful, dear, beautiful friend Rochelle left the earth today and left all of us behind absolutely heartbroken. To know Rochelle was to love her. Her smile and her spirit could light up a room, her friendship to me is irreplaceable. The two of us have been friends for almost 20 years but I feel like I've known her the length of two lifetimes. She had a very rare type of cancer that was somehow stronger than she was. Her poor body put up as big of a fight as it could, but eventually lost. I know she is now at peace and no longer in pain, so this makes things a little easier, but I also know I'm a little mad and a little selfish.

Such a great sense of humor, and always the life of the party

I spent countless festivities with her and her sweet daughter Shelby

I'd like to know why her fight with cancer had to start in the first place. Why the hell are such wonderful people struck down with such horrible things? Why would a loving mother of a beautiful, smart 12 year old have to tell that little face that she isn't going to be there to see her graduate from high school, or college, or ever see her drive. She will never meet her daughter's first date, or attend her wedding, or be there when she has babies of her own. Why should a sweet, spunky 12 year old lose her hero and her mother at such a young age? I'm told it isn't for us to ask, but I think that is a load of crap. Apparently it is not for us to ever know, because I guarantee there will be no good outcome of losing Rochelle. No one is going to stand up cheering in 10 years due to some random act that would make not having her now be tolerable. Now we can only cherish our memories of her, treasure the photos we have of her, and thank our lucky stars that we were able to have her in our lives as long as we did. I'm thankful that I was able to stand my her side as her matron of honor the day she got married, I'll never forget the day I held her hand through her contractions when she gave birth to her perfectly healthy daughter, and I'll never forget that just two weeks ago we were all planning her 50th birthday party with her, now we are planning her memorial service without her. Tell me how that's fair?

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We spent a couple afternoons having long lunches with my dad and Juliana

Dinner with our niece Hayley and a long walk along the Pacific Ocean

Paddle boarding in Ventura Harbor and around all the pretty boats

And a little routine maintenance on the engine before he head across the country

Two weeks in July - Visiting Friends and Family -
So, this hasn't happened in a looong time. We actually had to work while we were in our hometown of Santa Barbara. No, not anything like 8-5 Monday through Friday, that would be, but a few days here and there visiting campgrounds, revisiting campgrounds, and trying to get photos of our clients that are campgrounds. Of course knowing us we had to throw in some fun in the middle of these work days. Things like long lunches with my sweet little parents, scenic walks on the beach after dinner with our beautiful niece, Hayley, and paddle boarding with the great Account Coordinator we could ever image. What is an Account Coordinator, you ask? Well, she is the one who takes all of our crazy contracts, detailed notes, photos, ratings, write-ups, and other "work stuff" which translates to pages and pages of campground information on hundreds of parks, and turns it into amazing things in the Good Sam Campground Directory and on all the Good Sam websites, such as www,goodsam.com She is also the one that we call in a pinch when we need any of those little details changed, and she happily does it. We have worked with her for over three years now, and have gotten to be good friends as well as co-workers. We always try and get together with her somewhere fun in the country at least once a year, and this year we were lucky enough to see her three times. This time right in her back yard, which is the little town of Ventura, where the ocean marinas are huge and the paddle boarding areas are picturesque.
Another wonderful place in Ventura is Gen Equipment. A little shop with some very smart mechanics. When we find ourselves on this side of the country needing some engine work done this is our favorite place in all of California to get it done. The mechanics here know everything there is to know about our type of engine, and get us in and out lickity-split.

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Frank, the master of selfies gets us all in for a fun photo

Frank, Goldie, and Toby head up the hill of the log jammer

Kari, Goldie, and Rosie on the swings of Camp Snoopy

Kari and I played and screamed like 5 year olds on all the rides

July 21st - Just the Day I Needed - Knott's Berry Farm -
Kari and I have been friends since we were about 5 years old. In fact I've known her and her family so long, I barely remember not knowing them. Some of my dearest childhood memories include the two of us going to amusement parks with each other and my dad, so when she told me we needed to come with her family for a day of fun, and knew I needed to get my mind off losing another dear friend, I quickly took her up on her offer. As the sun peaked out early this morning the 6 of us headed down to Buena Park in the King family mini van. We arrived at its gates just minutes after they opened and hit as many rides as we could all day. The weather was a little warm, but the park was almost empty, so the lines for the roller coasters were short and the water rides were refreshing. It was a great day full of new memories made and long ago memories remembered. We stayed at Knott's until the doors were closed, had dinner together and headed home. As the car rocked the little ones to sleep Kari and I chatted away as though not a day had past since our last visit. Thank you Chicken Head for such a fun day. It was just what I needed.

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With the Olympics just around the corner, we had to check this place out

We are ready to ride the Olympic Bobsled. And yes, our life insurance is paid up

The G's in this turn were so strong, I couldn't even scream... FUN!

We crossed the finish line with an average speed of 71 mph

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August 3rd - Olympic Bobsled - Park City, Utah -
What a day! Our current home for the week is beautiful Park City. The views of the mountains are amazing, the town is picturesque, and the daily activities are numerous. We started out the morning paddle boarding on Lake Jordanelle, followed by lunch and a bit of exploring at Utah Olympic Park. As we wandered the grounds of where the 2002 Winter Olympics here held, we noticed the bobsled track, and then we heard it. After finding out that they let the average Joe climb inside a bobsled and take their turn on its twists and turns, we signed up. What a rush! We took a van ride to the very top and boarded our sled.

The ski jump is a slide in the summer

Dinner in downtown Park City

Of course they do have a professional driver, which is a good thing since we could barely hang on to the little fabric handles that hung on to the sides of the sled, there was no way either of us would have had any idea what to do with a steering wheel. There were so many G's at moments of the ride that I couldn't pull enough air into my lungs to actually scream, and it was awesome! The entire ride was over a minute long, which doesn't sound very long, but when you're sure you're going to flip upside down at any moment, and careen to the finish line on your head, it feels like a lot longer. On the way home we decided to must look up Cool Runnings on Netflix and see if it is even an option to watch, because I'm pretty sure we now have a whole new respect for those Jamaicans.

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