Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Old Person Camping

Brian and I bought a pop-up camper- and it has air conditioning!

We took it out on it's maiden voyage this last weekend and had an absolute blast.  Some people say that using a camper isn't camping, but in Brian's words, "we found something to make the crappy parts of camping better".  No more sweating in the sweltering heat, no more moist tents, no more air mattress.

It's a hotel room on wheels!  It comes with a heater, a refrigerator (that runs on 12v, 115v, or propane), a nice external awning, and a sink that can run off of an internal 10 gallon tank or city water. Brian even hooked us up with the interwebs and TV! He also already has plans for a bunch of modifications (you know how he is), like a better faucet and built-in radio.

The model of the camper we bought is a 2009 Flagstaff 206 LTD.  We had to drive 5 hours to Walcott, Iowa to get the best deal (Brian found the deal online- the place was beating local dealers by thousands of dollars). We weren't expecting to buy new, but after looking at a bunch of crappy 10 year old campers, still being sold for $3000 or more, we decided that the extra money for brand new was worth it.  It actually has a lot of great features that the older models don't have, such as a five-piece canvas (if you create a tear, you can get that small section replaced versus the whole canvas) and an electric sink.

We already can't wait to take it on some fun road trips.  We are of course taking it to Talladega, and we are heading up to Smithville this weekend, but I think we will be able to squeeze in a few more trips before the summer is over.

But wait, it has a heater, so the fun doesn't have to stop when summer is over!

You can find a few more pics here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Home, Home on the Range

2009 Symphony in the Flint Hills

Last Saturday, Brian and I had the pleasure of attending the Symphony on the Flint Hills with both of our mom's.

What is Symphony in the Flint Hills you ask? Well, every year the Kansas City Symphony travels to a remote location in the Kansas Flint Hills to play a concert consisting of songs that invoke the spirit of the prairie. Every year the location is different, and this year it happened to be at the Doyle Land and Cattle Company near Cedar Point, which is about an hour west of Emporia.

We had a really great time. The weather was absolutely perfect. Besides getting to listen to the symphony, there were many other great activities to participate in such as informational talks, storytelling, guided nature walks, arts and crafts tents, and covered wagon rides.

To help invoke the wild west spirit, all of the workers were dressed up in traditional prairie outfits, as well as native American garb.

We arrived out at the ranch around 3 P.M. and were able to enjoy a nice hayride up to the location (it's about a mile uphill from where we parked). For some reason I really wanted to ride on the covered wagon, so we waited in the long, but quickly moving line, and got to experience the bumpy ride of a horse-drawn covered wagon.

After the ride, we were all starving so we ate an early BBQ dinner provided by Bad 'Ol Burns from Emporia. Once our bellies were full, we walked around a bit more, checked out the arts and crafts, and then had time for a drink before the symphony was scheduled to start.

At 6:45pm, we found our seats (we had staked them out as soon as we arrived, you can bring your own camping chair, or you can rent seats for $2) and the show began.

They played a few songs I was familiar with, and a few I was not, but they all were reminiscent of life on the prairie. Of course, they had to end the concert with the audience joining in and singing Home on the Range.

The show ended at 9 P.M. just as the sun was beginning to set. We had been warned that it would possibly take several hours to leave the event, so we hoofed it back to my mom's car to try and escape before things got too bad. Luckily the traffic wasn't bad at all, and we made it back to Emporia in good time, and then on to Kansas City.

It was a great evening, and it would be fun to do it again next year. It never hurts to have a little culture in our lives.

You can find all of our picture here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Big Apple

Checking things off the list in NYC

Brian and I took a trip to New York City last weekend to visit my brother, see Nine Inch Nails live for the last time, and check a few things off of our to-do list.  There is a lot to talk about, so I will just give you the big highlights of the trip.

We ate the best pastrami sandwiches at Katz's Deli (world-famous for their pastrami).  It was crazy crowded, but we managed to find a table and even got to talk to the owner!  But be forewarned- this place is very expensive- $26 for one sandwich, one order of fries and two waters. Did I mention that the Pastrami was amazing?

Next on our list of things to do was the Museum of Modern Art (or MoMA for really cool people).  Since it was pouring down rain (very unpleasant in a city where your mode of transportation is walking) we were not the only people that had the bright idea of heading inside for the afternoon, but we still got to enjoy many famous pieces of art by the likes of Dali, Picasso, Matisse and Pollock.

We took it easy the rest of the evening by eating Thai, frozen yogurt at Pinkberry and renting the movie Taken.

Before heading out to NJ for the NIN concert, we ate lunch at an all-you-can-eat sushi joint called Ichiumi (formerly Todai).  They had a ton of food to choose from, and the quality of sushi was just as good, if not better, than what you can get here in KC.  And for $20 each, it was an awesome deal.  We stuffed ourselves. Brian said he'd never eaten so much sushi in his entire life.

After lunch we picked up our car (a Hyundai Accent which was surprisingly nice for a cheap car) and began our adventure into NJ.  Driving out of the city wasn't too bad.  There's a little heavy traffic, but Brian said it was kind of fun to navigate.  I don't believe he ever honked at anybody (to his disappointment I'm sure).

Never driven underwater before:

Our first sightseeing stop in NJ was a little town called Keasnburg with what was described as a "seedy boardwalk and amusement park, but in a good way".  I guess that is how we would describe it too.  It was nice seeing the ocean for a bit and getting to look at some interesting "Neew Jersy" folk.

We drove on over to Highlands (another small ocean-front town) and ate dinner on the water at a place called The Clam Hut.  We didn't eat any clams, but we ate massive fish sandwiches that sufficiently stuffed us before the concert.

After dinner we headed to the show at the PNC Bank Arts Amphitheater.  It was an interesting venue, with about twice as many people there as Starlight, which made for an awesome show.

Street Sweeper Social Club rocked us again, and Nine Inch Nails brought massive energy and excitement; they were even better than KC even though we had worse seats.  They played enough different songs to make it feel like a completely different concert.

Jane's Addiction was very good again, and we finally got to see a completely topless Dave Navarro and Perry Ferrell.

On the way back into the city, we experienced what you think of when driving in Manhattan- an hour long traffic jam at 1 A.M.  Only in NY!

To end the night, my brother insisted that we come out and experience a night on the town, so we proceeded to drink way to much in a 2 hour time span, heading home for good at 4 A.M.

We woke up to another beautiful day, slightly hungover (really more tired than anything), and headed out for a 3-hour boat ride around the island of Manhattan on Circle Line Cruises.  I spaced out for most of the ride (the wind in my face can do that), but Brian learned a lot of interesting facts that he shared with my brother and I later in the evening.  The boat ride was a little long, but I would say it is totally worth the $34.

Next, we headed over to B and H Photo; this place never ceases to amaze me (you have to experience it in person).  We almost bought a monopod, but changed our minds at the last minute.

Afterwords, we met my brother back at his apartment and headed out to grab dinner at the Shake Shack and eat it at Central Park.  While at Shake Shack we saw A-Rod (Alex Rogriguez) who apparently takes taxis just like the rest of us (well, not Brian and I, we slum on the subway).

We ate dinner in a secluded area of Central Park and then walked around seeing things we had not seen yet- a giant fountain, a boat house, and ball parks.  We saw some other famous female actore, but we couldn't remember her name, or what movies she was in.

Finally, we headed back towards my brother's apartment and made one last stop at Pinkberry to get our frozen yogurt fix before calling it a night.

We left the city at 9:30 and got back to KC at 2 P.M.

We already want to go back at least one more time.  We still need to see the Metropolitan Museum Art and we want to do one of those bus tours on a double-decker bus.  You can never run out of things to do in NYC!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

We Should Do This More Often

Bull Letz

  • Rescue Me is great this season.

  • I spent two hours in the pouring rain today with a massive steel spear, a hi-lift jack, and a hand trowel... trying to remove a fence post from my yard- it was exhilarating.

  • People selling shit on Craiglist are a pain in the ass.

  • New York in 3 days, I can't wait to see Van Gogh's Starry Night at the Moma.

  • Nine Inch Nails in 4 days- I'm giddy.

  • I want to be Tommy Gavin.

  • I really need to start playing the lottery.

  • I want a canoe.

  • I'm getting a pop-up camper!

  • Talladega is coming.

  • Bacon-flavored Scotch... that would be good.