Our Everyday Adventures

We are not adventurers by choice but by fate – Van Gogh

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A Change in Venue

Post by:  Jake & Veronica

When thinking about what to write about next, Veronica suggested, “Write about making a huge life changing decision that takes you to a new state where you don’t know anyone.”  As most everyone knows, we’ve relocated to the High Rockies of Colorado.  Leadville to be exact.  Home to roughly 2,800 people, Leadville sits at 10,200 foot elevation, higher than any other incorporated city in the US.  Adjusting to the elevation just takes a matter of time.  Adjusting to “small town life” where we know almost no one, certainly takes more than just time.

Jake’s Perspective:

Adjusting to “small town life” has been fairly easy for me.  I work with several people around my age.  For the most part, I get to work in the office as much as I want, or go out and work in the field as much as I want.  My new job is a ton of fun, and I really like the people I’m working with.  The weekends are exciting and are filled with exploring our new surroundings.  I’m hosting a poker night with a few guys from work; and for the most part, I’ve found the adjustment to “small town life” to be fairly easy.  The hardest part about the move for me has been losing “residency” and not being able to afford to hunt or fish as an “out of state” person.  Apart from hunting and fishing, I’ve really been enjoying our new surroundings; collecting firewood, biking and running the extensive trail network, and taking the occasional road trip into “the city” (Denver).  Mud season has been a little boring at times, but the snow keeps flying and it’s only a matter of time till the backcountry is skiable.

Veronica’s Perspective:

Moving has certainly been an out-of-my-comfort-zone experience.  Not to say that I’ve lived a sheltered life, it’s just worked out that up until now, all of my worldly exploration has come from short vacations, not long-term moves.  A part of me has always wanted to move to a place where I don’t know anyone – not sure why I cast that spell upon myself but I certainly got my wish!

In the month we’ve been in Leadville, the few people I’ve interacted with are very nice.  The only problem is that I have to force myself out of the house to meet anyone.  My job is a work-from-home deal.  I’ve been working remotely for a boutique PR firm for two and a half years.  The flexibility of my work was a huge blessing in regards to pursuing this new opportunity for Jake.  I wouldn’t have to try to find a job in such a limited market.  Unfortunately, it also means that I don’t have a built-in network to meet new friends.

Luckily for me, Jake’s built-in network has also welcomed me in many ways.  One of his co-workers and I have gone for a few runs, which has been great since it gives me some girl-time but also helps show me the extensive trail system around town.  I was also invited to play on the college’s community-league volleyball team.

But one of the things I learned quickly is that I can’t sit at home and wait for my new community to open their arms and welcome me into their lives.  If I want to be embraced by the community, I have to reach out and embrace the community myself.  So the first week we officially settled back into our routine, I took a leap of faith, made a phone call and signed up to get involved.  Now, Wednesday nights I volunteer at the middle school after-school program, helping with homework and a free community meal.

A few weeks ago, we treated ourselves to lunch at the Chinese restaurant. And although I am normally underwhelmed by the words of wisdom on my fortune cookie – this time I was pleasantly surprised.  “Sometimes travel to new places leads to great transformations.”

How poignant.  How true.  Here we are in a new place – meeting new people, exploring new places.  And although it will still take a while for Leadville to feel like “home” and for us to make a handful of great friends, this is an adventure that will no doubt grow us, change us, and transform us.  By the way… That’s our Halloween costumes.  Can you guess what we are?


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We’re Back!

Post by:  Jake

The move is over and we’re finally getting settled into our new place in Leadville, Colorado.  While we arrived about two weeks ago, we’ve been furiously cleaning, unpacking, and I’ve even started my new job.   The transition was eerily much easier than I could have ever imaged.  Our house in Montana sold in 1.5 days and similar doors and hurtles have all been crossed exactly as needed.  We don’t know why, but we’re pretty sure this is exactly where we are supposed to be right now.


Apart from my new job (which is very cool) I’m most looking forward to the nearby proximity to everything outdoors.  We’ve got season passes to Breckinridge, Keystone, and Arapahoe Basin.  Dozens of miles of groomed cross country ski trails surround our home.  I can look out of just about any window in any building and see several of the highest peaks in the nation.  The two highest in Colorado (Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive) are literally across the valley.  Ice climbing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, mountaineering… This is a winter sports fanatic’s Holy Land.


We’d like to thank you for sticking with us through September and the big transition.  As the blog comes back to life I’ll be working on setting up several more give-away’s.   We’ve got several amazing adventures to share from the past couple months, and are thrilled at all the new adventures that await us in Colorado.   We’ll be hitting the slopes hard, but also desperately trying to find creative new ways to stay in shape for our summer adventures.  Treadmills?  Spin Classes (not sure those exist here.)?  We do have a great swimming pool, but as far as we can see, that’s about it.


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New Adventures — And FREE STUFF

Post by:  Jake

Thanks again for sticking with us through September while we moved to Colorado.  I’m working hard on setting up a sweet November give-away contest.   Any requests????  Also, I wanted to let everyone in on one of the next big adventures we have planned.

This spring or summer, Veronica and I have been planning for several months now to take a foreign travel adventure.  At first we were thinking about a European bike/train tour, but the more we started reading, the more we started falling in love with the idea of a Bike/Train Tour in Ireland and Scotland.  We’ll spend at least two full weeks traveling by train and bike around as much of the two countries as possible.   Flat tires, rough country roads, and lots and lots of rain will surely be encountered; as will colorful locals, incredible castles, and breathtaking scenery.

We hope you’ll stick with us, and enjoy what is to come.  As always, if you have any adventures you’d like to share, we’d LOVE to have you write a guest post.  Just shoot us an e-mail at OurEverydayAdventures@gmail.com


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Update and Nuun notice

Well Veronica and I are just about ready to make the move to Colorado.  All the boxes are just about packed, the moving truck is reserved, and the going away party is scheduled.  We even have an accepted offer on our house after 1.5 days on the market!  As soon as we get settled in down in Leadville the content on the blog will pick up again, and believe me, there’s been A LOT going on to write about.

In the mean time, I wanted to give everyone a heads up about a sweet deal that just got posted on The Clymb.  The deal is for $10 off the multi pack of Nuun hydration tablets.  Veronica and I have been using these all year, for running races, training, hikes, bike rides, adventure races, triathlons, ect…    What is Nuun?  ”Active Hydration”  It’s a tablet that you drop into a bottle of water and it dissolves quickly like an Airborn tablet or AlkaSeltzer. It’s got ZERO sugar as opposed to most sports drinks, and they taste great.  They’ve got a fairly mild taste, which is real nice when your working out.   Nuun is packed with electrolytes and potassium so it helps avoid cramping.  It’s also got some key ingredients that help your body absorb the water quicker, very cool when your racing and need to quickly replace your water loss.   Check out their nutrition claims here.  We’ve been using it all year and we love it.  It flat out works exactly like they claim it to.   I’ve never seen this stuff go on sale, so I thought it was important enough to share with everyone that it’s actually on a pretty good sale at The Clymb.  Get some,  You’ll LOVE IT!!!

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We’re Moving to Colorado!

That’s right,  Veronica and I are starting a new chapter in our lives.  We’re packing up and heading south.  ”Moving south” usually means going to warmer weather,  not the case here.  We’re moving to the top of the world,  Leadville, Colorado at 10,200 feet!  

We’re a little anxious as anyone could imagine, leaving all our friends and family behind and moving to a very small town in the mountains; but we’re also very excited about all the new adventures ahead of us.  New places to explore, new friends to meet, and new memories to make. 

Over the next month and 1/2 we’ll be transitioning south, so new content on the blog may be a little light for a while, but stick with us as this transition will surely breed MANY new and exciting adventures!  If you know someone in Leadville, or have any good stories or memories about a visit,  let us know!

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My first flat–should I be this excited?!

Post by:  Veronica

Mile 32 of 45.  My back tire starts whistling like a firework.  ”That can’t be good,” I think to myself as I come to a stop.  Sure enough, I officially had my first flat. I’ve changed a car tire before and I’ve watched people change a bike tire before–but never had I done it myself.  Although no one really wants to get a flat tire…I must admit that secretly I was stoked!  First of all, the weather was nice and I was out with a group of friends so there was no reason to panic or feel rushed.  And truth be told, I felt like it was the official initiation into the sport of cycling.  Finally I was in the club!
And sure, it wasn’t the smoothest, quickest change a bike tire has ever seen (it was a bit awkward and it took us a while to figure out the new pump!) but I managed to do it 98% on my own… with the moral support of those around.   Am I proud?…just a little! :-)

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Glacier National Park — Mountain Biking Beyond the Barriers

Post by:  Jake

Over the 4th of July holiday weekend Veronica and I joined a couple other family members on our annual trip to Glacier National Park.  My family has had a cabin near Glacier for over twenty years and I’ve spent countless summers up there exploring as much of the park as possible. Despite my best efforts there is still so much in the park I have yet to see or experience.  This recent trip was a great example of that.  The famous Going-To-The-Sun-Road is still closed to vehicle traffic and likely will be for the next several weeks as an unbelievable amount of snow is still blanketing the park.  In some areas they’ve seen as much as 300-400% of the average snowpack, and it simply isn’t melting as fast as it would during a “normal” year.

Knowing the road would likely still be closed to vehicle traffic, we thought we’d try something new this year and bring our mountain bikes to bike the section of Logan Pass (Going-To-The-Sun-Road) open to hikers and bikers. Upon arrival, the ranger at the entrance stated there were no restrictions to bike/hiker traffic that morning since the plows were not running.  She stated we could go all the way up to “the big drift” if we wanted, but we’d probably want to turn around there.  I could hardly believe what I was hearing and thought to myself how incredible it will be to bike one of the most beautiful roads in the nation, with zero traffic!

Although the grade is between 6-7%, we never tired out as we could hardly bike 500 feet before stopping for more pictures.  Familiar sites took on a completely new look as we slowly pedaled by, examining the landscape in detail instead of through the windshield or sunroof of a fast moving car. Countless times we stopped right in the middle of the road and set down our bikes wherever we pleased so we could walk a few feet and touch the snow, peer over a cliff, or feel the cascading water dripping down over rocky faces.

Once at “The Big Drift” we locked up our bikes and continued on foot through the last 1/2-mile to the visitors center on top of Logan Pass.  As we walked around the deserted visitor center and empty parking lot, we had an eerie feeling as if we were being filmed in one of those “end of the world” type movies.  I was half expecting a heard of zombies to start chasing us off the mountain.  Instead, we were greeted by unusually shy ground squirrels that hadn’t seen humans in nearly 10 months.

Back on our bikes we started to descend the twisted path.  Speeding around one of the first corners we slammed on our brakes, nearly running head on into a couple very large big horn sheep that were walking up the vacant road.  Not really knowing what to do, our party stared at the sheep while they stared back in similar apprehension.  We scooted over as much as we could on the two-lane road while they simply walked passed in the other lane.  It was truly an up-close once-in-a-lifetime encounter we won’t soon forget.

The next day we biked the west side of Logan Pass, however this time hikers/bikers were restricted to the first 11 miles past the vehicle closure, a few miles shy of the roads summit.  A different landscape, and another unique experience, the west side of Logan Pass proved to be just as incredible as the east side.  While the east side of the park felt relatively deserted, the west side was packed with hikers and bikers traveling up and down the road.  Even with crowds of people we were still able to enjoy the park in a slower, up close and personal fashion, and we enjoyed every second of it!

Even though we’ve visited the park countless times, each trip brings exciting new adventures and experiences.  Biking Going-to-the-Sun-Road without vehicle traffic is truly an incredible experience.  If you ever get the opportunity to do it, jump at the chance.  Unless we can get the parks department to close the road to private vehicle traffic (they can keep running the buss shuttles) one day a week, you’ll have to hit it just before they are done plowing, but before serious road construction starts.  There’s a window of about 2 weeks each year while they are finishing up plowing operations.  Keep an eye on the parks updates to the plowing status and try and plan a trip for a weekend date that falls near the end of the plowing season.  It’s incredibly challenging to plan since the snowpack is different every year, but on normal years the months of May and June are typically the plowing season.  The earliest I’ve ever seen the road open to vehicle traffic is on Memorial Day weekend.  And the latest… well, check back in a few weeks as this year has shattered all previous records. 


Our Next Tri and Summer Outdoor Retailer Show

Post by:  Jake

Apparently we did catch the Tri-bug because today Veronica and I signed up for our next sprint triathlon.  The Bountiful Reverse Triathlon on August 6th.  It’s a unique reverse sprint-tri where you start with a 5K run followed by an 11-mile bike and then a 350-yard swim through a pool.  The pool swim has me scratching my head as apparently it’s held in an indoor 25-yard pool in a “snake style” fashion.  All competitors jump in the pool following their bike ride, and we’ll all swim down one lane, cross the line, back down the next lane, and so on 14-times.  With a cap of 400 participants, and the swim coming at the end of the race, hopefully the pool won’t be too terribly crowded.  

We signed up for the Bountiful tri just outside of Salt Lake City because we’ll be down in the neighborhood that week anyways for the Summer Outdoor Retailer ShowThe Outdoor Retailer Show is a bi-annual outdoor industry gear expo that hosts over 1,000 sporting good manufacturers and vendors.  We’re excited to participate in the event again this summer.  You can check out our show review from the Winter Outdoor Retailer Show here.  Sporting goods manufacturers consistently debut their newest and most innovated products at the OR shows,  We’d LOVE to hear from you about what brands interest you most, or if there’s any questions in particular you’d like us to ask any brand at the show.

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Great American Backyard Campout

The snow is just barely starting to melt here in Montana, and we’ve all been dying of cabin fever!  Time to go camping!  Join us and the rest of the nation for the Great American Backyard Campout on Saturday June 25th, 2011.  The National Wildlife Federation is sponsoring the event as a way to get kids outside and connected with nature.  So bust out the marshmallows, chocolate bars, and flashlights and take a kid camping!  Visit the official site and get signed up for prizes here.

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My Favorite Family Camping Food #1

Post by:  Jake

Over the next few weeks I’ll share a few of my favorite recipes for car camping.  #1 on my list is a childhood favorite.  Something my family has always referred to as “Hobo’s”.  Hobo’s consist of a meat patty (ground turkey, beef, pork sausage, ect.) topped with assorted veggies of your choice. Wrap it all up in a double thick layer of tin foil and plop the oversized Hershey’s kiss onto a bed of coals on the edge of a fire.  Wait about 10-15 minutes, unwrap and eat.  The best part is there’s VERY little clean up and everyone gets to customize their own Hobo to suit their taste buds.

Here’s how I prepare it for my family… Start by cutting a bunch of tin foil pieces about 14-inches long, take 2 for each Hobo and lay them perpendicular to eachother (so they form a plus sign “+”).  Pre-shape several meat patty’s about the size of a hamburger, and place one on the center of the pair of tin foil pieces.  Chop up whatever mixed veggies you can find: zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, onions, celery, cilantro, parsley, bell peppers, ect… into coin size pieces, except the potatoes, I usually slice those into potato chip size flakes.  I usually have a bowl for each different veggie so that when people are ready for dinner they can take a little of each type of veggie they want.  Have people take their foil and hamburger patty and start loading veggies on top of the hamburger patty.  Once completed, top off your pile with whatever spices you want.  I like a dash of ”season all” salt, or just salt and pepper and garlic powder.  When your pile is complete, take the sides of the foil and wrap the whole thing up like an oversized Hershey’s Kiss, and set it directly onto a bed of coals.  The steam from the meat and veggies will cook everything pretty fast.  The tighter you wrap your foil the better the steam will cook everything.  Your end product will be steamed veggies, and a unique burger that is fairly caramelized on the bottom from all the veggie moisture and direct heat.

That’s it.  My favorite camping recipe.  It’s so simple anyone can be successful and I’ve never met anyone that didn’t like the outcome since they created it themselves.

What are your favorite camping meals?