Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Record Setting Drive Up Mt. Washington

Having hiked up this mountain a few times, the thought of making it up in less than 6 1/2 minutes is mindblowing...

Originally posted on Autoblog. 

Video: Watch Travis Pastrana's run up Mt. Washington


Travis Pastrana at Mt. Washington – Click above to view the video after the jump

We broke the news, now watch video of Travis Pastrana's record-setting run up Mt. Washington behind the wheel of a race-prepped Subaru WRX STI. Sure beats the hell out of Herr Neff's time of 20-some minutes...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finally settled in CA for a few weeks

I have been so blessed by all of you who have been following my travels this summer. It has been frustrating to not have a regular internet connection since Arizona, so for all of you faithfully following us, here is a snapshot of our trip since then!
July 4th we went and saw the Grand Canyon. What an amazing sight! It was spectacular. We wished we had more time to enjoy a hike, but we needed to end up in San Diego that night and had to leave by lunchtime. The drive took us through the Mohave desert. I have been impressed with the rugged beauty of the desert. Vast, hot and we went miles and miles between any signs of life. This leg of the trip was also where Micah discovered a love for photography and honored us with a self-portrait in the car!
We dropped Jess of with her friend Liz in San Diego and then headed over to the Embassy Suites for 2 nights. We went to Legoland on the 5th and enjoyed some cool weather, with the high temp. only at 70 that day. The park was just the right size and we all had a great time. The next morning we had a leisurely morning at the hotel and got back on the road around noon. I believe the hotel was just as exciting for Mandy and Micah as Legoland! They enjoyed the pool, each had their own bed/couch to sleep on, were delighted at the all-you-could eat breakfast, and jumped at "jobs" like filling the ice bucket or calling the elevator.
On our way to my sister's home in San Luis Obispo (SLO), we stopped in Santa Barbara and visited with Marina and wandered through the Westmont campus. I had pictures taken outside Clark P/Q, my freshman year residence and enjoyed fond memories as we toured the campus. There is much reconstruction on campus due to new building projects and changes due to the fires from 1+ year ago. We crashed with my sister and brother-in-law in SLO with a yummy dinner of chicken fajitas and Madonna Inn cake.
Wednesday we finally reached my family's' house just up the hill from Paradise, CA. We took our time and enjoyed the breathtaking views from route 1 which winds up the coastline. We took that road from SLO up to Santa Cruz, and then headed into San Fransisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was cool and windy along the coast, but as soon as we headed inland, the temps rose quickly. In northern California, we skirted the southern edge of wine country around dinner-time and made it to my parent's home just after 9pm. We were treated to one of the most beautiful sunset's I've seen as we drove highway 70 north of Sacramento up through the farming fields around Oroville. Pictures cannot do it justice.
We had one day of rest and prep at home before we headed 2 hours north into the mountains for a weekend at my parent's cabin at Lake Almanor. That adventure will have to wait until next time. It is time to wrap up the writing for the day and spend a few hours with the kids.
Enjoy the photos! I'll update again tomorrow if all goes well!
Cami Foerster

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Stefan is with us!

Today was a beautiful drive through the southwest, with unexpected views along the way. We left Mariwyn in El Paso, TX around 10:30am to continue trekking west. We so thoroughly enjoyed their hospitality overnight that the best way I can describe it is an oasis along the way. From swimming, to roasting marshmallows over a fire pit Friday evening to sleeping in a bit and being treated to a fantastic breakfast of pancakes, bacon and fresh fruit.
The drive from El Paso to Flagstaff took most of the day, but only because we enjoyed 3-4 hours in downtown Phoenix after we picked up Stefan at the airport. We ate dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, walked through downtown, and had Cold Stone Creamery ice cream for dessert. I love not being in a rush during the summer. I also love that Stefan is with us now for the rest of the trip! It is good to have the family all together.
Surprises along the drive: a giant roadrunner sculpture / statue along the side of Interstate 10; the rugged beauty of the boulders and cacti throughout Arizona; the bright evening stars in a moon-less sky along the dark road.
Thanks for joining us! Tomorrow morning we are off to the Grand Canyon! Then it is San Diego or bust. California, here we come!
Blessings from the road!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The epic trip to Texas

We have landed in El Paso, TX. The weather is a bit cooler than their norm, which means it is warm and perfect pool weather! The kids are swimming and I've had a nap, so we're ready for the rest of the day. Our trip here is story worthy, so let me see if I can remember it ll.
Did you ever have a day when nothing seemed to go as planned, but it turned out to be better, overall, than your original plan? That is a good summary of yesterday. I should have suspected we were in for a bit of a different day when the first unusual thing we saw was 4 hay bales, piled on top of each other, painted to look like Sponge-Bob Square Pants. That was a new one for me. Shortly afterward, we encountered a detour due to a closed road. What we didn't realize until afterward was that Kansas detours take you 15-20 miles out of the way, and are not well marked, so you are constantly wondering if you missed the turn. Then you remind yourself you haven't passed any turns yet so you couldn't possibly have missed one!
Next we followed our google directions to the Little House on the Prairie site in Independence, Kansas. While google may have given us the most direct route, it was unaware that it took us COMPLETELY down a dirt road with an obstacle course of tractor tire ruts at the end for some excitement. Needless to say, it took us some extra time. The absurdity of the whole situation climaxed as Jess and I asked ourselves what some poor farmer may have thought if he saw our mini-van with MA plates bouncing through the cornfields...this thought was followed by 5 minutes of laughter and tears! Oh my!
We finally found a main road and got to the house. It was a cute stop and the kids had fun. I was thankful I had a mini-van to cross the country with and not their covered wagon! After stretching our legs we got back on the road and headed to Claremore, OK to visit Lucy. We arrived HOURS after we had intended to leave. Jess and I decided it was useless to be in any kind of a hurry at that point, so we hung out with Lucy for quiet a while. She gave us the grand tour of the sheep farm she is working at, gave Micah some hands on experience in spinning wool to yarn and introduced us to all the barnyard animals. She was able to get some time off so she accompanied us to Tulsa, OK for dinner at the Olive Garden. At the end of our dinner time, Cory Strnad joined us and everyone had a good time catching up.
At 9pm-ish we pointed the car south and began our drive through OK. Being behind, but so grateful and at peace with all time spent visiting friends, we opted to head straight for El Paso, TX and not stop in Waco. I was sad to not spend time with the Lockes, but we had a 14 hour drive ahead of us and chose to drive round the clock to get in to El Paso as early as possible. Jess and I drove in shifts and we only stopped for both of us to sleep at a rest stop from 5:30am-7:00am. We pulled into to Mariwyn's drive at 11:30am. Despite the sleepyness, I did really appreciate the beauty of the landscape here. It is teh most unique scenery we have seen thus far. And it is amazingly beautiful.
Today we have napped, the kids have swam, we had fantastic Mexican food for dinner, got a tour of downtown El Paso and are relaxing in the backyard. During the tour, we saw Tres Puntos, the mountain at which Mexico, Texas and New Mexico touch. We also observed the contrast of El Paso next to Juarez, Mexico. As we drove along, literally just across the fence we were looking into Mexico. It was quite the stark contrast of American and Mexican. Tonight we will relax, regroup a bit, and sleep. Tomorrow we head out between 9-10am to pick up Stefan at the Phoenix airport!

Blessings till tomorrow!
Cami Foerster

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Getting ready for Texas

Good morning. We have had a fantastic time here is Texas. It was a welcomed stop along the way. After a looooong drive of 700 miles on Tuesday it was nice to have a day not in the car. Although the kids did great and didn't melt down until about hour 11 in car, the change of pace has been well-timed.

Along the drive on Tuesday some things I saw for the first time were: a truck pulling a trailer of buffalo along the highway (in TN); The St. Louis Arch...quite a site; the Kansas City Royals staduim.

Yesterday we regrouped and played. I unpacked the car, washed everything that needed to be washed, and repacked it. We also went swimming in a friend's pool and went to a park that reminded us that Kansas was the staging area for many of the wagon trains heading west to places like CA. Lacey Palmer (a student at Gordon) came by to say hello and I giggled as i saw her hometown / high school world collide with her Gordon College world as she greeted Jess and I at the home of her high school math teacher. Her face was priceless! I also was able to give to Pam a cross-stictch I had started 12 years ago for her wedding. It was completed Tuesday along the drive and was one of my favorites to do. We had a good laugh about how long it took me to complete it.

Today we have another long drive, although the car will not feel as cluttered and we are looking forward to some stops. We will go from here to Waco Texas - 600+ miles. We will stop at the homestead of the Wilders from Little House on the Prairie in Independence, KS and also visit Lucy Pleticha, another Gordon friend, who lives in Oklahoma. If I have a chance, I will post some pictures tomorrow.

Hope you are enjoying the journey with us! We are off to Texas!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mandy's Blog update from Kansas

Well, having fun here in Kansas, allthough missing friends in Mass and other East Coast friends. So far We've been through CT, NY, NJ,PA, DE, MD, D.C., VA, NC, GA, TN, KY, IL, MO, and KS. Right now it is Wednesday, June 30,2010 at 9:35-9:  . We (Jess Hansmeier, Mom, Micah, and I) are staying at our friends the Alexanders' house. They have two children named Sophia (age 7) and Jordan (age 9). As you might have guessed, I hang out with Sophia and Micah hangs out with Jordan. Well, it is time to finally give myself to sleepiness, sleep, and the night. Updaiting soon!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

From Lookout Mountain, Georgia!

Hello all!
It is late and I am tired but I wanted to post at least a little before bed. I'll try to do more on Wednesday when we spend a whole day without traveling.
Anyway today was an 8 hour trip from North Carolina to Georgia via Tennessee. It was our most beautiful drive yet! The Smokey Mountains are stunning. I always knew I was a mountain girl, but when I saw mountains on the horizon of NC - I felt joy. It was amazing. Another highlight for me was that we did not watch a movie at all today in the car. Books on ipod and card games were the theme for the drive. It was fantastic. The only hitch was...we had our first "getting sick" episode today. Poor Micah had a sore throat which ended up in me holding my cupped hands full of puke while we scrambled for plastic bags and got off at the first gas station. So out of the blue, so random. But all is well in the end.
At the end of the day I asked my kids what they saw today that they had never seen before. Micah replied, "A huge cross." (There was a church along the highway that had the biggest cross I had ever seen!) Mandy and I both talked about "Crazy Ed's" which had this sign outside...

the things you see from the road!
Anyway, I'll leave you with some photos from today's trip...and I'll update again on Wednesday. Tomorrow we have a 12+ hour drive from Georgia to Kansas. Here's hoping for smooth sailing!


Monday, June 28, 2010

North Carolina

Yesterday was warm (98), but beautiful!
Rachel was a beautiful bride! We slept in a bit and then realized the wedding venue was 45 minutes away. We stepped it up a bit and got on the road to the wedding. It was a fantastic beach-side wedding with an intimate gathering of friends and family. The wedding and reception were at the same place, so we watch the wedding from the deck of a house and then walked in through the slider door to the reception. The food and people were great. And Rachel was so happy.
We took Stefan to the airport by 7pm and headed to Barrett's home in Apex, NC. The drive was fine... we finished Kung Foo Panda and listened to some more of Harry Potter. It was a short drive today...only 4 hours.
Some of the highlights: on the way to the wedding, we passed a pond, lined with purple flowers and filled with beautiful lotus blossoms. Also, at the beach, Micah saw a baby shark (it was dead) that had washed up onto the sand. It was about 1 1/2 feet long. Also, I was mesmerized by a pod of dolphins feeding on a school of fish just off the shoreline. It was a fantastic sight. I could have watched for hours.
It was a good day. Today we are heading to Covenant College at Lookout Mountain, GA to stay with my friend Abby. It should be 7 1/2 hours of driving with a few stops along the way.
Blessings till later!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

We made it to Virginia!

If anyone is wondering,...it is a very long drive from Wenham, MA to Norfolk, VA via Washington DC. We left Saturday morning on time for us...which is an hour late of ideal. By 7am we were packed into the car (quite literally *packed* in the car) and heading south. We made it through NY traffic before lunch and our first stop to stretch our legs was at the Vince Lombardi rest stop off the New Jersey turnpike. It's just a rest stop...nothin' fancy. Anyway. After a little recharge, and a few laughs we got back on the road and made it to Washington DC by 5pm and met Stephanie for a great, leisurely dinner followed by frozen yogurt. Delicious! She gave us the quick driving tour of "the mall" and we saw in less than an hour: the white house, the capital, the supreme court, memorials to Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, the WW2 memorial and many of the Smithsonian museums. How amazing! Sometime after 7pm we headed into Virginia for the final push. We arrived in Norfolk around 11pm and settled in for the night. Sleep came around 12:30 - 1am.
The good and the hard: The car was FULL so each stop we played musical chairs to change things up. The back seats watched Miss Congeniality and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. We listened to country music at times and listened to Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix chapters 1-3. I only had to pull the mom, "Don't make me stop the car" line once. I remember noticing the purple flowers along Route 15 in Connecticut and how all of highway 95 is lined by trees so MA looks pretty much the same as VA except if you look closely...the trees are different. The moon rising over the trees in VA last night was beautiful. And at the end of a long trip, it is nice to be welcomed to smiles and the warm huge of friends that you wish you could see more often. I experienced laughing so hard i was crying (not recommended while driving!) as well as watching by daughter be so exhausted she couldn't bring herself to leave the car last night when we finally arrived. I think I will learn a lot about myself and my kids during this trip.
I'll be back tomorrow. Today, we slept in, and now have a beach-side wedding to look forward to. We'll say good-bye to Stefan tonight as he flies back to Boston, and we'll be sleeping in Apex, NC if all goes according to plan.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Eve before the Trip

The car is almost packed, and we are striving to remember everything that we are tempted to forget before we take a long nap and begin to drive across the United States tomorrow morning. The thought of living in my beloved little van for the next 12 days is both exciting and daunting. I am looking forward to seeing the country change before my eyes as we travel state by state. I am eager to see friends that now live scattered throughout the US. I am cautiously hopeful that we will become closer as a family and really enjoy one another along the way. I am also curious about what unexpected events will crop up along our trip.
We, as a family, will do our best to post daily throughout our trip and hopefully provide each one of you who are interested a glimpse into the story we will be living out through the next few days. We will post pictures when possible and try to faithfully record the highlights and trials...because they will all become part of the story. We are thankful you are tagging along with us for this trip. And hopefully we will see a few of you along the way.
Our stopping point tomorrow is Norfolk, VA. The car will be pack with gear, games and 6 warm bodies: Cami, Stefan, Jess, Barrett, Mandy and Micah. We pile in at 6:00am in an attempt at an early start. We will visit with a good friend of mine, Steph, in Washington DC to stretch our legs a bit. Then we continue on to VA to celebrate with Rachel and Steve at their beach wedding Sunday afternoon.
Blessings till the next post!

Friday, June 4, 2010

California Dreamin'

Phew! After a couple days of stressing about getting tickets for this summer's California vacation, I was finally able to get all of my reservations taken care of! Next step: finishing reservations for the kids...

For those who may not know, Cami's taking a road trip this summer w/ the kids! They're getting to her family's place in Paradise -- Paradise, California -- via Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Luis Obispo -- all in all, probably around 4,500 miles. Me? Well, she's planning on taking somewhere around a week to make that trip, and my vacation time would be stretched a little thin that way. So, I'll be flying out to meet them in Phoenix, after which we'll take a day to visit the Grand Canyon before making the trip to San Diego for a couple days. We've got some special plans for the kids in San Diego that I'm excited to see -- or to see them see... :)