Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thurs-Sat (june 26-28)

Holy big tree batman!

Thursday and Friday were more of the same, hiking and weeding, which seems like what ill be doing for the first few weeks of this internship. It is actually more fun than it sounds, I get to be outside all day in the mountains, so it doesn’t really matter that im doing the grueling work of pulling weeds, haha. Saturday was the best day so far out here. Our crew and a member from the fire crew took a hike up to Twin Lakes in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. It was a 4.5 mile hike in to the lakes, which were beautiful. Everyone wanted to swim, which I wasn’t thrilled about because the water was really damn cold. I gave in and jumped into the water, which promptly took my breath away in shock. After being in the water for a minute or 2 it was actually nice (either that or I was so numb I didn’t notice anymore
Me in the back, Jeff from the fire crew, and then natalie and ashley from my crew all freezing our asses off in the lake!

about to cross a river (which one of the girls slipped and fell into. It was funny and thankfully she didnt get hurt)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

6-23 to 6-25

How could you not like it out here with this being your backyard! (literally, this is right outside my bunkhouse)

First week of work (so far)

Monday was a pretty good day, minus the still aching blisters on my feet from my boots. We did a tour of the facilities and then went on a nice long hike, so a pretty low key first day. That night I opened up the bottle of cognac I got from Britt (thanks!) and pulled out my birthday cigar, a 1999 Partagas Lusitiana. It was kind of weird not being around any family, friends or laurie for my birthday, but at least I had some amazing scenery.

Tuesday was our first real day of work, which consisted of hiking and doing A LOT of noxious and invasive plant control. Basically we go to different trail heads and pull weeds to prevent the spread of these invasive plants out into the wilderness. This happens by hikers tracking seeds up the trails, so the more weeds we get rid of, the less chance of these plants taking over the wilderness.

Wednesday was meetings, all day. It was what you would expect from a forest service meeting, emphasizing on safety, the dangers and benefits of fire, emergency procedure, how to cook meth…..that last one isn’t a joke. There was this drug enforcement taskforce guy there who was talking about how they are finding a lot of people cooking meth in the woods and he basically told us exactly what we need to know to set up a successful meth lab, including the dangers. The point of all of this was to show us what do to if we come across any of these materials and proper procedure so we don’t get hurt. It was a bit odd though since he really told us how to make it. Maybe he is running out of meth heads to bust and wanted to create some more so he would have something to do….

This is my tiny room in the bunkhouse

Sunday, June 22, 2008

June 22nd

I found a little shop about 5 miles from my bunkhouse where i can get online, so that problem is solved, haha. Leavenworth is amazing, albeit a little odd. Its this tiny german town nestled right in the mountains, which i havent had a chance to get out to take pics of yet. My actual bunkhouse isnt bad at all. I have my own room, which is tiny, and there is a big living room, kitchen and bathroom. The rest of the guys seem pretty cool, and the 2 women on my crew havent arrived yet.

I took my first hike yesterday, which promptly kicked my ass. No one told me it was one of the steepest and harder trails around here. Apparently my boots still need to be broken in a bit since i got some blisters already, so i need to take care of those today so im ready to work tomorrow. Not sure what ill be doing for my birthday tomorrow night after work, probably just sitting around. Hopefully the next update will include a bunch of good pictures!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Seattle antics

Getting ready to take off from seattle to head over to leavenworth where my internship is. Last night was insane. Dre shows up at around 4:30 and we head out for a beer. After that we went out for mexican food and some random anejo tequilas, then off to the only bar in seattle that allows you to smoke cigars on their porch. I drank cognac and port there, and probably some other stuff too. Following the cigar bar we went to this biker bar that ended up having a burlesque show that was pretty freaking awesome. We drank more beer and random other stuff too (i think?) The guys decided they werent ready to call it a night, so we hit up a bar called Cowgirls, which is a coyote ugly style bar that was definitely the craziest bar ive experienced. I dont know how dre and demon drink as much as they do, i couldnt quite keep up the pace towards the end of the night. After MORE beer and shots of tequila we called it a night. Dre went his seperate way to his hotel (he had an 8am ferry to catch this morning and i can pretty much guarantee that didnt happen) and demon and i headed back here where i promptly passed out. Im not used to this kind of partying, but im actually not doing bad at all this morning. great way to start the summer out in WA!

Brandon (digital demon), me, and Dre

Us again with brandon's friend justin

Dre trying to be cool

After the bars came the cheesesteaks!

I can't thank these guys enough. Demon was a great host and very generous (cigars, food, booze, couch to sleep on) and dre was also insanely generous, picking up drink tabs left and right

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Travel time

Monday June 16th

First day on the road I took it easy and drove 6 hours to Minneapolis to my friend Bill’s. We went to a few different bars, the coolest being a rooftop patio overlooking the city. While up there drinking a very good mojito, I happened to look down to the parking lot adjacent to the bar and see a guy running with a few purses, with 5 or 6 people in quick pursuit of the purse snatcher. They caught him, but he got away which was disappointing, I was waiting to watch them beat the hell out of the guy but I guess they got their stuff back and let him run away. Pansies.

Tuesday June 17th

Just raising me up a crop of dental floss

I took off around 7:30 am for a very long drive, 13 hours today. North Dakota sucked, A LOT. What a boring drive with nothing to see, other than a few pelicans that seemed oddly out of place. Oh, and I saw a sign for “buffalo for sale” which was also pretty strange. North Dakota is not only a really boring state, but also a bit strange as well apparently. Montana was a much nicer drive, actually some stuff to look at along the drive. I stopped in Billings at a semi-shitty red roof inn. Of course this hotel sucks and didn’t have WIFI, but what can you expect for $65 a night.

Wed June 18th

Left at 6:30am from Billings for a very nice drive through the rockys! It was a good drive, other than the scary as shit part of driving down the mountains at an uncontrollable speed going through hairpin turns. That part wasn’t my favorite. The mountains in Washington were amazing to drive through, bigger than the rockies, b ut more approachable. It took me a little over 12 hours to get to seattle, then another 35 min to actually get into the city because of rushour traffic. My friend im staying with was still at band practice when I got here, so I sat in the bar downstairs drinking mojitos while writing this! Im very glad to be here and out of the goddamn car.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Im outta here!

Well, tomorrow is the big day! Ill be leaving around 10am and heading up to Minneapolis to stay with my buddy Bill for the night. Tuesday im hoping to get to around Billings, Montana, about a 12 hour drive and find somewhere to stay. Then its off to Seattle to meet up with a few friends from the cigar forum. Friday ill be heading to Leavenworth to my bunkhouse, and starting work on monday.

All the laundry and packing is done, other than my computer and some small stuff,which i will do in the morning. Here is the big pile of crap that ill be loading into the car tomorrow:

Oh, and of course here are all the cigars ill be taking with me, haha. Not sure if it will be enough or not, depends how often i get a chance to sit back and relax on my days off.

Ill be updating as much as possible, not sure how often ill get into town to get online. What im going to try to do is to write up stuff beforehand so i can just copy it onto the blog. Wish me luck! 30 hours on the road by myself is going to get very, very boring.

Saturday night

Well, the day is almost over, which means i have one more day until i leave! I still have a stupid amount of stuff to do, i havent started packing yet....(other than to see how many cigars i can cram into my travel humidor-around 45). Went out to Rockford today with laurie to see the Hulk, which was a really fun movie, and then out to famous daves where i think i ate my weight in ribs.
I was able to see most of the people i wanted to get in touch with before i head out, got to see my friend rachel, sara ee, hang out with my family, that kind of stuff. We did my bday early since ill be gone for it, which was also quite fun. I got a GPS unit which will provide the navigational support i need to get out to Washington, ive never been the best with maps... I also got a watch, which oddly ive never had before and wearing one will take some getting used to. oh! i also got a package in the mail from a very generous friend as a thank you for some work ive been helping him with. He sent me a solar charger for damn near any electronic device out there! Its called a Solio and will charge my laptop, phone, ipod, and whatever else i can plug into the gazillion adapters it comes with. Ive seen these before, and they are quite the little gadget! (I bet by the time i get back Don will have one as well, we all know how he likes his toys and i can see him liking something like this.)

I should be getting one more blog out there before i head out monday morning, and then im not sure how often ill be updating, but i will as much as possible!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cigar of the day 6-4-08

busy day today. Took my car to the shop to get it ready for the long drive, oil change, tire rotation, that kind of fun stuff. Ran some other errands with laurie, and stopped by the cigar shop to pick up a few things as well. Got home, and decided i needed to relax with something good out of my humidor! Today i went with a San Cristobal De La Habana La Punta. This is the last cigar out of this box (SEP 06 box i think) and it is very tasty. Lots of woody and nutty notes with a little spice,but not a lot. I am pairing this cigar with a glass of sweet iced tea, which is working quite well with this particular cigar.
This is the way to really enjoy an afternoon.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tonights cigar 6-1-08

George came over tonight for a cigar, nice night to sit outside! I smoked a Tatuaje cojonu 2003.

I gave him a Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Robusto. It was good to catch up over a few beers and cigars, it had been a while since we were able to hang out between our busy schedules. Heres a few pics of the night:

My tattoo is finally done!

Well, it took about a year and 20 hours of work,but my half sleeve is finally done! It started almost 3 years ago with my Namaste tattoo, which is a Sanskrit greeting that translates to something like "the divine in me bows to the divine in you." (or the gods in me bow to the gods in you). Then we decided to finally start the fingerprint, which is my moms. The idea of this being a half sleeve hadn't entered my head yet, and i went ahead and added the Ka part to it, which is a word for the path of life from Stephen King's Dark Tower series. After we did all of that work, my artist and i decided what the hell, lets do this right! I had the idea for the leaves, which Isaac Velasco, my tattoo artist did freehand. He decided to do the background as water to tie it all together, which i couldn't be happier with. He has done an amazing job and really did this in a unique style that i haven't seen before on skin, it almost looks like a painting. Here are some finished pictures!