Sunday, October 23, 2005

Life has slowed down a bit since coming back to Ames. Jennifer and I hare started making preliminary plans for moving to Philadelphia, but nothing super concrete yet. The plan is to move out there after Thanksgiving. We haven't been home for Thanksgiving for 2 years, and that is far to long to be without my dad's barbecued turkey and my mom's pies. Damn, I haven't eaten much today and this stuff sounds awesome!

I went rock climbing yesterday with Chad, my parents' neighbor, my brothers' soccer coach and my de-facto older brother. He eats at my house more than I do. We went out to Blue Mounds state park in Minnesota. It's a hell of a drive, 4 hours, but we made it more bearable by staying at Jennifer's family's cabin on Spirit Lake. Spirit Lake is one of the Iowa Great Lakes, as designated by the local tourist board. It neighbors the more resorty Lake Okiboji and was a popular tourist destination much the same way Minnetonka and Calhoun were in the Twin Cities. Now it's just lined with lake homes. I guess that the trememdous drive is just part of being a rock climber in Iowa. Shit. It was a great day, though the snow was a bit of a pain. Now, back safe in Ames, I would kill for another day on the rocks.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ok, so we totally "did" the East. Philly was good, we liked it so much that we're thinking of moving there. Really though, "liking it so much" involves merely being able to see myself living there. Additionally, there are jobs, not shitloads but jobs nonetheless. Cheese steak is good as well. Man, I could go for a good cheese steak right now.

After philly we drove through lovely Gettysburg PA, home of the famous address was given by our great leader, Abraham Lincoln. From Gettysburg we drove on to Bedford Pennsylvania where Cannondale bicycles are manufactured. Cannondale is the only major manufacturer of bicycles to still make all of its frames in the US (with the exception of 1 model) and I met the guy who made the machines that make the bikes. It was COOL! We saw the process from raw aluminum tubes all the way to finished bicycles. SWEET!! After the lovely tour of Cannondale, we drove our way to Niagra Falls. It's amazing how the awesome splendor of nature can spur such shitty tourist development as in Niagra Falls NY and Canada.

Next on the tour was me going climbing in the Shawangunk Mountains in upstate NY. I sucked here, very badly and was rewarded by getting my ass stuck on the cliff face for 4.5 hours, 2 of which were in the dark. Yay climbing!

After the disappointment of sucking badly, we drove north to Lake Placid and hiked up Mt. Marcy, the highest of the adirondac peaks, it was nice, but surprisingly sweaty work and we spent a clammy night in the tent before hiking back the next morning under cloudy skies.

Next stop was the Ben and Jerry's factory for some awesome ice cream goodness, and then north to Montreal to see Lara and Shane. Montreal is good, but it's only awesome if you're french (I think) though it might be good after establishing oneself there.

Last, after an all-night driving binge, we arrived in the Twin Cities. Ahh, the Midwest, how I love thee. It was great to see people, and it really made me think that, had I not all ready lived there for 4 years, I would definitely be moving up to that Paris of the North. Anyway, I'm sure I'll catch some people up there for the MIAC conference meet in two weeks, but until then, I'll be at home, chillin like only the jobless know how.