Chicago

Gus and I took a quick trip to Chicago to surprise my aunt for her 74th birthday. (Her reaction was priceless and perfect and it was everything I could have hoped for!)

 Gus had never been to Chicago and I really wanted to show him downtown, so we stayed two nights in the city. We had such a great time wandering around. We got a lot done in two days!  I brought my backup camera so that Gus could have his first go at photography! He caught on really quickly and I’m excited that he’s excited about having a camera in his hands.

Here’s what we captured on our trip! More photos to come once I get some film developed!

Chicago via Jessie:

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Chicago via Gus:

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Adopting Pierre

For the last few weeks, Gus and I have been on the look out for a small, vintage trailer light enough for his car to tow. We’ve been scouring Craigslist and eBay. At first it was just for fun, but then we started taking the search a little more seriously. We plan on eloping to Washington in August, and we thought it could be really beneficial and cost efficient for us to have a small home on wheels for the two weeks we’ll be on the road together. Not to mention there are plenty of other locations we want to explore one day, so we knew it would be a good, long-term investment.

It was difficult for us to find a small trailer under 1,500 pounds, let alone one that fit within our budget. We toyed with the idea of renting one, but the estimated cost ended up being more than half of what we’d expect to spend on owning one. We figure, if we’re going to stretch that far into the budget, why not put it towards something that we won’t have to turn back in when we’re done? After hours and hours of diligent craigslist surfing one night, we finally found a potential contender tucked away in the lowest southwest corner of Arizona – an odd little town called Yuma.

We contacted the owner, and after receiving more detailed shots of the interior, we were ecstatic. We had yet to come across a camper in this great of condition at such a low price. After reviewing the photos and finding out more information about it, we gave each other this look like, “Alright, I guess we’re going to Arizona this week.” We moved our schedules around and planned to leave early Thursday morning and make a day trip out of it.

Of course, Scotty joined us:

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I always like to see if there will be anything cool along the way when I’m going somewhere new. I scrolled and zoomed around on the map between us and our potential new Little Home On Wheels, and spotted a large body of water. I zoom in to see it’s named “Salton Sea”.

“What a coincidence!” I thought. My co-worker had JUST told me about this place just the day before, stating that it would be a great place for me and Gus to check out. She told me she learned about it through a documentary.  Apparently it’s a man-made lake, the largest one in all of California, and it used to be a resort back in the 50’s. Unfortunately, the environment is inhabitable for the fish, so they wash up on shore. There are many abandoned buildings and rusted, dilapidated cars around the shore. As she told me the history of this place, I was instantly intrigued. I knew we had to put it on our bucket list.

As it turns out, our journey would guide us right along side the lake, so naturally we decided to pull over and check it out.

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As soon as we got out of our car, we smelled something foul. I can’t really even describe it other than really, really, really unpleasant. We had heard about the fish washing up on shore, but we didn’t see any from a distance, so we chalked it up to the lake just being a gross lake. As we got closer to the shore, we noticed an abundance of rocks sitting in the sand. I looked down and found a single fish skeleton and said, “Gus, look! I found one!” but he was already pointing at the hundreds, maybe thousands of fish carcasses circling the entire perimeter of the lake. What we thought were rocks were actually fish. (You can kind of see a few of them in the bottom left corner in the image above.)

We walked along the edge of the lake, carefully placing our steps in any gaps we could find between them all. We ran across a few dead seagulls, and even a crane.

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We couldn’t stay for long since we were racing against the sun, so we got back in the car and planned to come back again in the future to thoroughly explore Bombay Beach, the town that was once a vacation spot.

We probably spent about 5 hours on the road including pit stops. The sky was pretty incredible along the entire way.

And we saw a controlled fire.

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We finally made it to the town and pulled up to the seller’s house and took a peek at the little mobile abode and immediately fell in love with it. At one point we looked at each other and simultaneously nodded in agreement which said, “Yes, yes, absolutely yes.” It was in better condition than we had even thought, and she threw in a window AC unit + generator. We hooked him up to Gus’s car and headed back on the road home.

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The entire way home we talked about how excited we are. We even pulled over in a parking lot in a small town and ate the lunches we had brought for ourselves in it. It was a great test run to get a feel for what it will be like when this thing is in action.

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We’ve been brainstorming some different things we can do to customize it and make it our own. The theme the previous owner had it was brown, yellow, and turquoise, and it has a bit of a Southwestern desert feel to it. It’s very cute, and we don’t actually have a lot of changes to make structure wise, but we definitely want to give it our own touch. We are thinking of painting the interior white and turquoise to open it up more, and giving the exterior a two-toned job with turquoise on the bottom to give it a pop of color.

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Needless to say, we are stoked. Absolutely thrilled. We opted to name him Pierre, after Gus’s french roots.

We can’t wait to see what this little dude has in store for us!

Soda Lake – Jessie’s 26th Birthday

I knew that I wanted to see something new for my 26th birthday, so we made a last minute decision to go to Soda Lake in southeastern San Luis Obispo County. We wanted to make a day trip out of it, so we packed a couple things in Gus’s car and drove off towards the mountains.

Immediately we both felt this sense of purpose while being together on the road. I turned to Gus and said, “Doesn’t this just feel right? Like this is something we’re meant to do together?” He nodded in agreement and said, “I whole-heartedly agree.” We’ve talked about going on different road trips throughout our entire relationship, but we hadn’t been on one together in almost a year.

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Along the way we were fascinated by the different terrains we ran into every 10 miles or so. First it was jagged mountains with desert landscapes, then we we ran into a huge cloud of fog out of nowhere, and within minutes of that we were driving through completely flat plains that seemed to go on for eternity. Shortly after came bright green rolling hills that reminded us so much of Ireland, then miles of orchards and crop fields, free range cattle (Scotty was thrilled to witness this), and a disturbing stretch of land infested with oil rigs, mindlessly churning the ground for fortune.

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When we finally got to our destination, we were pretty awe-struck by the view. It was completely silent aside from some nearby birds singing and a few coyotes out in the distance. We had to walk about a mile before we got to the actual lake bed. It was like walking on brownies covered in powered sugar. Scotty had the time of his life. We let him off his leash and he ran around, dug holes, and smelled the crisp, fresh air.

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We couldn’t stay for long because we wanted to hit the road home before sun down, but we made another stop to take in the sunset.

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