Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Last Night in SD

We did some crazy hiking today: five or so hours worth. It was crazy but not as crazy as the jumping pillow as shown above. All I can think of is the Bill Cosby skit in which he says, that if there aint adults playing on it, neither will I.

Nough said. Going to go play with fire and cook some sugar.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On The Road Again

And off we go, leaving Jackson on our way to South Dakota.

Ben had cooled some beer for me as a surprise when I got out of the shower, but I wasn't feeling well and fell asleep without drinking any! Eli and his Aunts gave us some of their left over beer since they are moving also.

Anyways, getting some gas and some breakfast (fast food chains are everywhere!).

Hm, I should probably set that reservation for tonight soon...

The Badlands

So, we're at The Badlands. No, not as in World of Warcraft.

This is a sneak peak of some of the pictures we took while here today. It is an unexpected view after a day of farms and slight hills. So, more to come!

Monday, July 20, 2009

And We Skip a Few Days

So, while we have tons of pictures (more like 3000) and been having lots of fun, we've been having too much fun to actually post anything. And instead of trying to put up posts in chronological order, we decided to go with the most current and then fill in the gaps (and then reorganize them in the end?).

Right now we are actually in Jackson, Minnesota staying at a KOA (Kampgrounds of America) on our way to Mount Rushmore. The original plan has us staying Kennebec, SD but yesterday, when halfway to Minneapolis to visit Ben's uncle Spike we discovered that we left Ben's license in Chicago (3.5 hours back). So, we went back to Chicago and spent an extra night with Eli and his aunts. Which, really, we don't mind (it was a shame we missed Spike though).

Minnesota is a beautiful state. With lots of farmland on hills and breathtaking views. And more windfarms! Which are very creepy when there are about twenty of them all together and not moving...Pictures to follow eventually.

Ben drove to most of the way through Wisconsin (the first half is only exciting the first time though), and then Yanessa drove two and a half hours into Minnesota (and then we were hungry), and then Ben drove the rest while we listened to Bill Cosby.

I guess that's it for now. We will eventually write real posts again soon. We promise :)

PS. At this KOA, there is a small dog (one of those tiny fluffy long-haired chihuahua looking dogs) that the owner groomed to look like a lion. With the mane and the poof of hair at the end of the tail. Its funny and sad in a weird way. Maybe I'll get a picture of it tomorrow...

PPS. Posted from Ben's crack-berry, typed by Yanessa, edited by Ben.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We made a fire!

Last night's was actually more amazing, but this one works too. In Streetsboro, OH.

Ohio seems nice

More to follow post grocery run. Apparently we're in an award-winning KOA.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Niagara Falls!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tent is up

The tent is up! Forgot stakes for the fly, but whatevs

Milkshake break

Quick bite at Friendly's halfway through PA. Bubbles!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Philly cheese steak

22" goodness

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 6: Montreal to Exeter

After 4 and a half days of fun and relaxation, it was time to head to our next destination: the Exeter Inn, where we had our wedding reception in January.

Yanessa and I rose early to pack everything into the car, and then took the time to enjoy coffee with everyone. Matt had spent the night (his clothes were drying after the rain), so he joined us as well.

Sophia took the time to tend to her garden as well. The plants had grown quite a bit from the beginning of the week when Yanessa painted them:

After saying our goodbyes, we set out. The mural had grown some new details as well:

Once in the car, Yanessa set herself up with the camera to take some shots of Montreal that we didn't get on the way in. She also decided that the power line stanchions (or whatever you call them) look like our cat, Griselda, but angry...

She also took advantage of the opportunity to snap a few shots of the curious road signs and traffic signals.

Our next stop was the border crossing station. There were many more cars here at noon on Saturday, July 4, than there had been on Monday, but I guess that makes sense. There was a lot more security for entering the U.S. than exiting, though, which is always curious. The official we spoke to had an interesting accent, and a very even intonation across all of his questions making it difficult to tell if he was suspicious or just being thorough.

After that, it was a much sunnier drive through Vermont and on to the Inn!

Once we got to the Inn, we found ourselves to be very tired. We hung out for a while, and then went downtown to get dinner at Szechuan Taste. Of course, we got fried ice cream (our favorite), which we finally divined is lit using Bacardi 151, but only around the ice cream, not on it. (That was my mistake at home). Here's a video:

After that, we relaxed in the Jacuzzi and then hit the sack!

Day 5: Last Day in Montreal

Neither Lil or Soph had class (no-class Fridays are sweet!), so we had a slow morning. I made French Toast for everyone while Lil and Sophia edited a paper that was due in the evening so that we could hang out for the rest of the day.

Yanessa tried her hand at ‘Hit the Spot’, a puzzle which requires some manual dexterity and manipulation of slopes. I thought I had been doing very well the night before, when it turns out the table it was resting on was slanted towards me (I didn’t know, I swear!).

After breakfast and some final edits on Soph’s paper, we all piled into my car. It was the first time we’d been in the car all week, surprisingly. It was really nice to be able to walk most places. On our way out, we noticed that the little café/bookstore/hang-out-spot on the first floor had added a mural facing the parking lot:

Driving in the city of Montreal wasn’t as bad as I feared – it was much less crazy than Boston. I think the city was planned out a little better, with enough space for the traffic (at least at
midday). Yanessa snapped some shots of some highlights:

The Chinatown gates

A big, kinda scary mural. I think the artist may have been somewhat well known (at least in Montreal).

Molson’s headquarters in Montreal. They’re pretty proud of their beer, apparently… Probably the way I would be proud of Harpoon (as opposed to Sam Adams) as a Boston Resident.

Our first stop was at the Parc Lafontaine, which apparently is in the Plateau, the neighborhood where Sophia lived before her current digs. As we walked along the Parc, Lil and Yanessa started discussing the architecture of the brownstones, and how it’s somewhat similar to New York with walkups. I wonder how the walkups fare in the winter though, as since the steps are floating, they must freeze very easily.

We stopped by a restaurant/diner that specializes in pouttine(sp?), Montreal’s ‘unique’ food. Pouttine is basically French fries with melted cheese curds and gravy, but you can add extra stuff as well. Yanessa and I tried the Pouttine Dan Dan, which had bacon, pepperoni, and grilled onions in addition to the regular goodness.

It was pretty good, but really, too much food. Between the two of us, we ate at most 2/3 of the dish.

While at the parc, we saw a few ducklings in the water.

Yanessa also saw a cloud which reminded us of the characters in ‘Partly Cloudy’, the latest Pixar short:

Afterwards we met up with Matt again and browsed through a few stops before going to a Café on Rue Saint Denis called Julienne et Chocolat. They specialize in chocolate drinks and desserts. We of course neglected to take pictures, but if you’re ever in Montreal, you have to go! Very delicious. A great assortment of alcoholic drinks as well – Yanessa had a ‘Chocolate Ruby’, which is dark-ish chocolate, some brandy (I think), and a scoop of raspberry sherbet which melts into the rest of the drink over time. I had a chocolate fondant with salted caramel melted all over it, which was (of course) amazing.

After that, everyone was pretty full and tired (and it started to rain!), so we went back to the apartment. Sophia’s friend Yoshi brought over a bottle of wine, and we watched Lars and the Real Girl (very good, touching movie).

Yanessa also found this on Rue Saint Denis:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

About Day 4:Montreal, Canada on Day 10:West Chester, PA

So, now, let me try to remember what happened day 4...

Best way to do it is to see what photos we took that day. Apparently it was the day that Soph and Lil left us to our own devices in the city. We ate lunch at our favorite chain bakery:

And then walked back into the city for some more shopping. I got myself some more paint (running a little low), some more canvases, and finally found what we wanted to get Steve (the awesome photographer from the wedding). And then did some personal shopping (the people in Montreal and the stores are ridiculously helpful and straight-forward). We got a little lost walking back to Atwater (Ben says we were just adventuring).

In our adventuring though, we saw the from of the Forum, where hockey used to be played. Apparently the Bruins used to be awesome...

And by that point, well, we were hungry. So we ate this place:

Which was pretty nice and the food was fun. Especially the Spanish coffee (brandy and coffee) and the Tiramisu. Although, The Daily Catch in Boston is still my favorite for drinks, food, and desert (Italian and seafood).

And then, well, we headed back to the apartment and chilled. Lil and Sophia have the DVDs of Planet Earth, so we watched the one about the deep ocean - very cool.

Yanessa's new haircut

So short!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

About Day 3:Montreal, Canada on Day 9:West Chester, PA

So, we are pretty behind on posts, but I figure it's okay. Especially since we are behind because we are having too much fun hanging out with Lil, Soph, and their friends that writing posts just doesn't compare.

Anyways, the Finnish pancakes were awesome! (Yes, we are actually that far behind: writing about day 3 on day 9 (I actually had the post done the 6th, but wasn't able to post)). Soph and Lil made the pancakes and eggs while Ben and I worked on some awesome Priscilla-Pudding and berries. I'm not sure if Ben mentioned the pudding, but it's amazingly awesome and amazingly simple. It's just sour cream and brown sugar, but it tastes like so much more.
After the super hearty breakfast: since both Lil and Soph had work to do (homework and real work), I decided to do some painting out on their porch and Ben decided to play some Baldur's Gate. Soph has some amazing plants growing on the porch. The plants include Zucchini, Celery, and Onion.
I struggled a bit with the first painting. The pot I was painting was nicely glazed and thus nicely reflecting the world back at me. That and enough sunlight was making the shadows nearly non existent...
So I didn't finish that pot, and decided to simplify my subject:
That is the new green paint we got the day before. It's similar to the blue in the sense that its really oily and hard to keep dark. But it was more fun than working with the pot. And by that point, it was very hot outside, so I decided to move on in doors.

Eventually we went out grocery shopping with Soph (after feeding us some veggies and peanut butter). We went to a super market called Super C. Think of it as a blend between Costco and Super Stop and Shop. There were regular size stuff next to Costco-sized versions. You could also buy 3 liters of milk in plastic bags. Which is pretty awesome. We also picked up some cheese (sauvagine) at the Atwater Market and some olive bread (amazing!) from our favorite bakery chain.

Once we got back to their place, Soph made everyone some regular hummus and some white bean hummus (recipes can be found in the previous posts). A friend, Matt, came over for dinner, and while Lil and Soph got the food ready, we made our way through the cheese and the bread. Sophia cooked some tofu in some sesame oil and seasonings, some thin rice noodles, and fried some eggs and honey. Lil (and Matt) cut up some zuccini, scallions, cucumber, mushrooms, peppers, and mango. They also made some peanut sauce. Then, once this was all prepared, Soph softtened up some rice papers in warm water. We then took the rice papers and stuffed them with any combination of the above. It was deliciousness. And surprisingly filling.

We then took a break and Matt, Lil, and Ben played some guitar while Soph read some of the paper and I read a coffee table book about the golden age of barns (and we all drank some tea). Then, once the food settled a bit more, we went for the fruit tart the Ben and I bought for the group. Nom nom.

And this is how we celebrated Canada Day. Yup. There were fireworks (Montreal has an international fireworks festival: every Wednesday a different country sponsors fireworks) but there were rumors of thunderstorms:
Sadly though, we somehow have no pictures of this meal. But we will totally host this meal for dinner in CA.