Southwest Summer Adventure – 6/3/2019

This day started off with a morning swim in the pool and some sauna time. We came back up to the room to change before breakfast when we got a surprise. The fire alarm went off. This one was turned up to 11, so there was no reprise from the noise anywhere in the hotel. We got the most important bags and headed out to see what happened. Eventually it went off and we then had to fight the crowds in the breakfast room. We got our food and eventually went back up to the room to pack up and head out.

Our first stop was Petroglyphs. We got in and Sonora wasn’t happy. She and I hiked while Danelle and Corvin went around. C/S both didn’t really care for it, so we left after not much time in the park. Funny how you expect something to be good and spend time there and it ends up a bust!

I enjoyed the desert flowers and the hike, but the kids were having none of it. Rather than try to force it, we decided Danelle and I could come back some day on our own and visit.

I decided to take the family to Whataburger for lunch. Its still fast food, but the family had never been to one together and I was quickly running out of options. With ice cream shakes in hand, the kids were satisfied as we left. The day wasn’t lost just yet.

Corvin started driving but had trouble staying awake. I took us straight to Shiprock, NM to get photos of the rock. I wanted to get closer, but we didn’t have enough time.

After Shiprock, we headed to 4 Corners Monument. There, you can stand at the geographical center of 4 states at the same time. We got in with the obligatory photo.

While we were there, Corvin and I each uni-cycled around the outside.

Finally when that was all done, we headed to Bluff, Utah. There we logged an early night to allow Danelle and Sonora to watch the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final.

Hogan Haake

Southwest Summer Adventure – 6/2/2019

Today was looking up. We partly cloudy skies and a full parking lot of people escaping the rain the night before. It wasn’t much of a drive before we made it to the New Mexico border. It almost seems like they were worried you might miss the state border…

With the border out of the way, we headed to Tucamari, NM where we would unicycle for New Mexico. You can read about the unicycle portion of the trip on a different post. What I want to focus on is Tucamari. This feels like a dying town that got passed up by the interstate highway. Its part of historic Route 66. If I didn’t know better, it was the setting for an old Pixar movie.

You might be wondering why we went to this town if its dying. The answer is that they are known for their murals. Last I checked, there are 33 of them. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the mural telling you where all of the others are. Here are a few that we saw!

Eventually, we saw as many murals as we were going to see and decided to strike off for our next destination. We hopped back on the interstate and headed to Albuquerque, NM. While driving there, Sonora made the mistake of asking me how to spell Albuquerque. I told her to hang on, I would play a song for her that spelled it for her. That song is Weird Al’s Albuquerque! If you’re not familiar with it, its a 12 minute song telling a long story. At the end, he [mostly] spells Albuquerque. The kids were not too sure about the song and gave me strange looks during the whole song. Later in the vacation, this would become our theme song with the kids playing it once a day and laughing!

We arrived in Albuquerque in early afternoon and headed to this day’s main attraction. I knew it would be a bit expensive, but worth every penny. When we arrived at the Sandia Peak Tramway, the kids were in awe. They had seen mountains as we drove towards them, but now they were going to interact with them. Before we left the van to get tickets, we switched into hiking boots and I packed what extra clothes I could into my water backpack. The kids had no idea how cold it would get at the top.

The tramway is a 2.7 mile ride in a suspended cable car that gets nearly 1,000 feet off the ground and raises you up 6,559 feet to over 10,000 feet in elevation. This was going to be awesome!

It didn’t take long before we were up on top with a fantastic view of everything!

Sonora was getting lightheaded and didn’t want to hike once we got to the top. There is an interesting stone cabin built about a mile away from the top of the tramway. Corvin and Danelle took off to see it while I hung out with Sonora.

Sonora and hung out and made jokes together and I got her to slowly hike at her pace out a bit down the trail.

Meanwhile, Danelle was trying to satisfy Corvin’s thirst for danger with this compromise to get to the edge.

They made it to the cabin and got photos.

It took lots of convincing on my end, but Sonora and I eventually struck out and did the same hike about 45 minutes later. We met about 1/2 mile from the top, but couldn’t convince them to come back to the top with us again.

At the very top, I’m pretty sure we saw some tiny amounts of snow or hail. Sonora got my flannel shirt cause she was freezing!

How about an 11 minute tram ride sped up to 26 seconds!

 

After we got back down to the parking lot, we found the Fairfield Marriott where we were staying for the night. We took turns between the pool, hot tub, and sauna. Talk about a perfect day!

Hogan Haake

 

Southwest Summer Adventure – 6/1/2019

Our first full day of vacation started with Corvin, Danelle, and I getting up early. Sonora slept in as we crept down for a preview of the hotel’s included breakfast before heading to a bike path in downtown Tulsa. This was Corvin’s and my first state to record in our 48 wheels trip to unicycle all lower 48 states for an hour.we were all super excited and Danelle was there to record it. I’ll leave a few photos here, but you can check out our official log of Oklahoma.

After riding, we went back to the hotel to shower and pack for the day. After we cleaned up, the four of us went down for breakfast (some of us for a second time). With food out of the way, it was time to drive! One of the drawbacks of seeing so many states is the requirement to drive as much as we did.

We drove through some threatening weather. Corvin and were worried about how we would get our uni-cycling done, but it ended up not being an issue. We drove through and out the other side of the storm. We got to Texas a bit earlier than expected and decided to have an early dinner before uni-cycling. We at at The Big Texan steakhouse. I’ve read about this restaurant and wanted to try it out for myself. It was going to be our big expense for the day, but we decided it would be worth it.

The food and atmosphere were both great. Corvin was just dumb enough to try the jalapeno pepper on his plate. He figured a tiny bite wouldn’t be that much and drank a ton trying to cool his tongue off.

With dinner out of the way, we had the rest of the afternoon/evening to visit Palo Duro Canyon. This is where Corvin and I would log our second unicycle state. Immediately upon entering the park, we were all taken away with the beauty of the canyon.

While Corvin and I were off riding for our hour, Danelle and Sonora took a scenic hike.

Eventually, we all met back at the van after our various activities. We wanted to stay longer and explore the park, but it was getting late, there was an event going on that blocked out half the park, and it appeared a thunderstorm was moving in.

We decided to drive out to the town of Amarillo and catch Highway I-40 west a bit before stopping for the night. Before we were half way back to Amarillo, the rain started. Danelle wondered if there could be flash flooding and asked me to stop at a nearby gas station. The land around was very flat and we didn’t know local conditions. When we stopped we got hailed on for a bit and I was glad I wasn’t driving during that. I got impatient and continued on into town.

When we got into town, things got real interesting. The whole town was not designed for this type of storm. Most of the roads were covered in water a few inches deep and moving fairly quickly. I kept thinking if I could just get to the north side of town and the interstate, we could get out of there and to safety. I followed some cars through some deep water in the van and turned around at other intersections where I didn’t know how deep the water was.

At one point, we stopped and hung out at a local repair shop in their parking lot because I thought the water was too deep to cross. Eventually I was too tempted after seeing so many other vehicles successfully cross the intersection and decided to go for it. I followed another vehicle into deep water. We did make it, but we had a wave that would have swamped a sedan. Our license plate was bent from the water coming against the grill of the van. I never want to experience a flash flood again like this. And if you didn’t think I learned my lesson after reading this, going through the very deep water caused a micro crack in my exhaust header of the van. When we got back, the repair bill was $1700 to get it fixed!

Watch the video we took of the flooding and stay out of flooded roads!

Hogan Haake

Southwest Summer Adventure – 5/31/2019

Today is the first day of our summer family vacation. I’m a bit nervous because we’re taking a 2 week vacation. I’m always a bit worried when I leave work for an extended period of time. Thinking if my job will be there when I get back, do they still need me. These thoughts all pass after a few days, but make the first day the hardest.

One of the other interesting things about this trip is that we’re kicking off 48 wheels. This is Corvin’s and my attempt to unicycle in all continental 48 states for 1 hour each state before he graduates high school. I’ve talked about big trips before, but this is where the rubber meets the road. Our vacation revolves around visiting 9 states to allow us to reach our uni-cycling goal.

Van is packed with two unicycles on the left.

Not long after I get home from work, we head out straight for Tulsa, Oklahoma. But first, one of our goals is to get a photo at each state sign as part of our documentation that we were there!

After the photo, we headed into Tulsa for sleeping as we had uni-cycling to complete the next morning.

Hogan Haake

Unicycles at the Pump Track – 5/4/2019

Corvin and I went for an afternoon unicycle ride. We ended up riding by a neighborhood pump track. We both tried and failed pretty good! There was video, but we got psyched out before really doing anything.

After the pump track, the rest of the ride was pretty laid back.

Corvin looks like he’s coming from a school meeting.

I did try a new mount and ended up getting scraped up, but I’ll be fine!

Hogan Haake