The Tangerine Time Bomb: Before the Breakdown

Okay, so we know we never explained how we went from the Tangerine Travelers to the Meandering Martians, and why we’ve been MIA for so long, so here it comes…

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Tangerine Traveler: mid paint job

Rolling into Mendota, IL all the way from Cornwall Bridge, CT, we knew we were going to be staying a few days, but it seemed a bit longer than anticipated with the problems we kept running into. Alright, let me just give you the low-down on what went down:

We leave CT, everything is running pretty smoothly, and we end up stopping about midway through PA, to sleep for a bit.

Brad and I get up around 4am and take-off with Sugar and Kayleen still snoozin’ in the back. We drove till we needed gas.

Stepping out of the car, I put my hand on the hood and it felt like a hot iron. We kept our eye on the thermometer as we kept going, but later realized we forgot to put the overdrive on. Dumb asses.

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Interior of the camper

So…after realizing our idiotic ways, we were back on the road, but not for long until it started pouring. “This will be a good test to see if the camper is waterproof,” Kayleen exclaimed. I was caught a little off-guard, expecting the truck we were traveling 3,000 miles in to be waterproof before we began the trip.

The floodgates opened, and we quickly found out that our roof was, in fact, not so waterproof after all. Rain was coming down hard in the camper now. Kayleen at the wheel, yelled back, “well, I guess we don’t need a shower anymore,” while Brad and I held up towels. We cleared the puddles, but no, it didn’t stop there. We had a couple more hours of showers, until we stopped for waterproofing materials (thanks Flex Seal!), and let the rain pass.

On our way again, we were soon at my family’s home in Mendota, where we worked on the camper for the rest of the week.

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Kayleen, Sugar, Bronwen, Brad in front of the unpainted camper

As if we didn’t have enough problems, the first day working on it, I went to roll up the passenger side window and it shattered all over me. Quite disheartened, and covered in glass, I was about to say, fuck it, but Brad kept me cool, so I got up on that camper and waterproofed the shit out of it.

While in Mendota, we were able to get it all painted with that fresh tangerine coat, and spruce up the inside as well. Handy-woman, Kayleen, was also able to get the solar panel, inverter, and refrigerator all hooked-up. I’d say, it was coming along quite nicely!

Thinking it was smooth sailing from there, we began to cruise to Colorado, praying that the waterproofing would hold up. The camper was getting a lot of thumbs up, and everything seemed okay…for now. Little did we know, that was just the beginning of our troubles.That camper was a ticking time bomb.

 

 

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Searchin’ for a Squatch

Finally, we made it to Bigfoot’s lair, Olympic National Park. It was easy to understand how this notorious giant had hidden all these years within the dense forest and behind the hanging moss. It was beautiful, and mysterious within the dripping, spongy, emerald forest.

We traveled through the inland, up from Seattle, passing through Port Angeles by the sea, then headed into the national park from there. Driving through the mountains, we headed toward Hurricane Ridge, buried a little deeper in the park.

Standing on the edge of a mountain near the Ridge, we looked out into the bay, where we could faintly see Vancouver Island through the haze. We had just spent this past spring break on Vancouver Island, in Parksville, and wished we had time to travel back on this trip. Although, Olympic was extremely reminiscent of our time spent on Vancouver Island, and the days spent trekking through the lush Cathedral Grove. Both temperate rainforests, the land is thick with tall cedars draped in cobwebs of lichen and moss. Ferns are scattered underneath the canopy of needles, growing on top of the fallen giants. These fallen giants, the older trees that have since crashed, provide a great source of nutrients for the younger trees and ferns sprouting up.

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Archway in the Hall of Moss, Hoh Ranforest

We had to travel further into the forest, all the way to the Hoh Rainforest, to see the true brilliance of these brightly colored young trees growing out of the saturated moss. Walking through the Hall of Mosses, it was difficult to capture all of its beauty on film. The colors were surreal, bright, vibrant, and out of this world.

Leaving the Hoh Rainforest, we traveled further south, toward the coast, setting out to see the sunset at Ruby Beach.

The coast was filled with trees, and various other souvenirs, washed ashore from Japan.

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The washed up shore at Ruby Beach

Climbing over the washed up logs, we passed through the obstacle course to
make it to shore.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by millions of smoothly round stones, and the icy chill of the pacific waters.

We had made it from the Atlantic, all the way to the Pacific Coast. How many people can actually say they have driven from coast to coast, and actually took the time to experience our beautiful country outside of their comfort zone? Not many.

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Ruby Beach

We couldn’t have been more proud of ourselves, and couldn’t have arrived at Ruby Beach at a more perfect time, as the sun was setting in the west. Watching the colors change from bright blue to streaky pink; they were now a blood orange color that fade into the dark blue backdrop. The ruby sun set, and the colors faded to black.

Greetings From Glacier

We heard it rustling in the trees to the right of us, and before I could even look, it was already staring at us with its big brown eyes. I tensed up; every muscle in my body was tightening, preparing for the worst. I was searching her face, wondering what her next move was going to be. She didn’t move, just froze, gazing intently at my eyes, trying to figure out if we were a threat to her. Her massive silhouette terrified me, and I remembered what all of the signs said, walk slowly and do not stare into their eyes, so I quickly looked away, nudging Brad to keep walking.

Hiking these trails, you see signs scattered throughout, “Bear Frequenting Area,” along with warnings for various other species of wildlife, but it’s the bears that they tell you to be most cautious about. I had been begging to see a bear, but I did not want the encounter to be this close. Cautious, we inched foreword, unsure of what type of creature was lurking behind those trees.

At first glance, looking at this big girl, I thought she was a Grizzly, come down through the trail to get some water at the glacier lake. Her fur was thick brown, exactly matching my notion of a Grizzly’s fur. But, with a closer look, I remembered the coloring of the Grizzly and cub we had seen the previous day through a stranger’s telescope, and it didn’t match-up. The bears’ coloring was a lighter brown than this creature, and the cub almost fully blonde. The critter we were faced with now, using the trees as camouflage, was a rich, chestnut brown coloring. It couldn’t be a Grizzly.

My eyes adjusted after the initial shock of seeing this mammoth of an animal, and focusing on her face, I realized she was moose, eating leaves off the trees. I relaxed a little, but this big girl watching my every move still terrified me. Although moose are herbivores, they are still massive creatures that could stomp you into the ground in a second if they wanted to. Especially during mating season, a male moose will do anything in his power to destroy you if you’re between him and his female.

Brad heard another noise, and I feared it was the male. We just kept walking, very slowly and carefully, and they left us alone. But just when we thought our wildlife encounters were done for the day, a big mule deer stepped in our path. We knew, hiking the Grinnell Glacier trail, we’d see some wildlife, but they are literally right there on the trail with you. It was awesome!

Before our encounter with the moose, we bumped into a big horn sheep too. They are way bigger than you’d imagine, purely muscle, with huge horns, curling underneath their ears, giving them their name.

We were definitely in critter country now. But the critters weren’t the only cool aspect of Glacier; the breathtaking landscapes were the real reason we ventured up north after

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Many Glacier Lake, Glacier National Park

 

Yellowstone. And we were spot on. Ten times more breathtaking than Yellowstone, Glacier is filled with icy blue lakes and rivers, naturally fed by the gigantic glaciers that are scattered throughout the park. The running waters were identical to the crystal lakes I had seen a few years back in Interlaken, Switzerland. Even the Many Glacier Hotel we stayed at was modeled after a Swiss Alpine lodge. Fittingly, they named the main lodge the Interlaken Lounge.

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Many Glacier Hotel

The view from our bedroom was breathtaking. I honestly do not think that it is possible to
have a bad view at Glacier. As I said, it is an amazing landscape, that captures you in awe, and hiking up to the glaciers is even more magnificent. Magnificent, that is the perfect word to describe these wondrous glaciers. It is sad to think that, due to global climate change, these glaciers are expected to be completely depleted by 2030. They have already gravely decreased in number; down from the original 150 glaciers in the park during the late 1800’s, now only 25 remain. The glaciers are the main water source that make up those icy blue rivers and lakes, so when they are gone, the ecosystem will be devastated, leaving all of the wondrous wildlife struggling to survive.

Environmental education is necessary if we want to prevent this devastation from happening. It all begins with education, and

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View from our hotel room

then change can take place. Visiting all of these parks and forests has given us knowledge that we were without before; vital knowledge about our world that people need to grasp to fully understand this impending climate change problem. Without education, our world will never change, and it will be over before we even get the chance to see all its beauty. We need to work together to educate one another and make this change possible.

We encourage everyone to visit these amazing parks, not only for the adventure of it, but for all of the awesome experiences and wisdom you gain along the way. Thank you Glacier, for sharing all of your magnificence with us.

Next up: Washington! Check out the SlideShow below for more beautiful images of Glacier!!

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Rocky Mountain High

St. Louis is in the rear view, and after some serious rainstorms cut our nighttime driving short, we had a long road that still lay between Denver and us. Just a few hours over the boarder into Kansas we had about 10 hours of driving before we got to Denver and more importantly, a shower.

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Graffiti art on Larimer Street, Denver, CO

Very eager to get to Denver, we had been on the road for three days at that point, and aside from the few hours we spent bopping around St. Louis, the majority of the time was spent in the car. We were definitely looking forward to stretching our legs out on a nice soft bed to sleep and taking a nice warm shower (Did I mention that already? God this trip has made me appreciate showering). Luckily for us, thanks to Bronwen’s lifelong friend, Chloe, we had a beautiful apartment right in Denver, to do just that.

Although our stop in Denver was only a few days, it was definitely highlighted by our stroll down Larimer Street. Larimer Square is a very popular area in Denver, full of restaurants, shopping, and even home to some sports arenas. But, when we walked out of the bustling square to the fringe of the downtown area we found a treasure of beautiful street art and more distinctive craft breweries than we could count.

Ratio was one can’t miss brewery that we ventured into. Awesome place, that had some awesome beer, and played some awesome tunes.

After enjoying some city living for a few night,s we wandered to the backcountry for some camping in the Rockies at Golden Gate Canyon Park; about 30 miles outside of Boulder, Colorado.

Our first night of camping was textbook. Got the tent set-up in 10 minutes. Got the fire going without a hiccup. Roasted meats and mallows over an open flame all night.

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Everything was going perfect . . . until we went to sleep.

Being up in the mountains meant that the weather was extreme and the wildlife was plentiful. There were signs and reminders everywhere about the dangers of the wild animals. Mountain lions, elk, and bears, oh my. But aside from my shitty jokes, there was just enough signage to make you a little paranoid of animals coming and eating you in the middle of the night. So that, paired with the whipping winds that mother nature brought was enough to have Bronwen waking us both up every time she heard the noise of our tent rustling.

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Bronwen, photographing the Raccoon Trail, Golden, CO

We found out in the morning that the big scary noise was just some extra rope swaying into the tent with the big gusts of wind. We slept much better the next night.

Despite our lack of sleep, we dedicated the entirety of the next day to hiking. Two different trails totaling just about 10 miles, and we got a perfect day for it. The hikes were highlighted by a close encounter with a baby moose and the scenic views of the Rockies from Panorama Point. The views were rewarding but the altitude is real. We were definitely not adjusted to it, huffing and puffing more than usual on these ones.

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Walking the streets of Boulder, CO

Before we left the Boulder area we decided to see what downtown Boulder had to offer and explored the vivacious Pearl Street. Full of diverse restaurants, street performers, and neat little knick knack shops, Pearl Street definitely lived up to the standards that Larimer Street set. Shout out to Ryan for all of the awesome tips.

Next stop: Yellowstone, and yet another 10 hour stretch of driving.

P.S. On the way out of Colorado we stopped at this little town called Estes Park, right at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a cool little village town that has a vintage feel to it. Stephen King was supposedly inspired by this place when he wrote The Shining, and we also almost died via hot sauce. It was cool.

The Meandering Martians

Travel, adventure, food, photography, the outdoors, and much more are all rolled up into one with the Meandering Martians! Follow us, Brad & Bronwen, as we explore the US in our little Red Rocket, the Chevy Sonic. Traveling across the country, we hope to see as much as possible, which works out perfectly, considering we don’t have a set end-date for the trip. Our first stop will be the Gateway to the West, stopping in St. Louis to ride up in the Arch, our first National Landmark stop. Cities are not our only destination while we cruise the country; National Parks outweigh the cities for sure. We excitedly await for this adventure of a lifetime! Documenting every stop is important to us, and we are stoked that we get to share it with you! Stay tuned, the adventures begin August 22nd, when Bron & Brad take-off!

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