Friday, May 27, 2011

Cahutta, Georgia – Part 5

Cahutta, Georgia
Our last day there we were asked to clear a whole mountainside down to the ground. Now we were cutting trees down and clearing away brush but this time they wanted us to clear everything that stood above our knees. So out came the weed whackers with a chainsaw blades and a variety of clippers and of course, my personal favorite the machete.

We started at the base of the hill and worked our way up, then over across maybe two hundred feet of steep hill. We left the trees but cut down all the shrubs, which consisted of mostly small trees and a collage of vines and thorns. We did this all the way till the sun went down. We must have carried away fifteen trailer loads of brush before we could no long work.

We headed back to the cabin, showered, ate and then said goodbye to the camp staff. There was a twenty minute talk about how grateful they were and then we climbed into the cars. We had brought a CRV hooked up to a trailer full of supplies, food and bags and a Dodge Caravan we had rented from Budget.

I would tell you the rest of the trip but I honestly slept the entire way back. I woke up to us unloading the vehicles and collecting all our personal belongings. For a mission trip it was great, exhausting but great. We got a ton of work done and we had a really good time doing it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cahutta, Georgia – Part 4

Paintballing in the woods of Cahutta!The next day as we continued to clear the mountainside by machete, axe and weed whackers the camp maintenance manager came down to ask if we wanted to play paintball that night. Of course just about everyone said yes, most of us having worked around the new courses hanging nets we got real excited when they told us we could play.

They had us all geared up and ready to go after lunch. They had purchased 200,000 paintballs for the kids that would be coming throughout the year; we also got to use the guns they had just purchased. Originally they had told us we would be playing against the camp staff, but they ended up not being able to get away from their work. So we split our group up five verse four (one didn’t want to play) and went at it.

The courses were very small so the games went quick. When you have so many people shooting at each other with paintballs most players get out in the first thirty seconds. But there was always that occasional one on one stand off where both players were afraid to come out of their hiding spots. But there is nothing like the echo of paintball guns of the mountains, it made the guns actually feel powerful.

I also thought it was funny how many precautions people take to avoid the pain of the paintballs. One of the guys on the trip was wearing three shirts and two sweaters; he looked like a bloated target running around. Regardless the game was awesome, we must have fired six thousand rounds in just less than two hours. By the time we were done we were all covered in paint and had the welts to prove we played.

Half of us were talking about purchasing guns when we got home, but finding a place to play would be kind of hard in Central Florida. Regardless it was the highlight of our trip to Cahutta Georgia.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A trek up north

Dodge Challenger srt-8So I had to go and see the family in New York so I figured I get a rental car to drive up there. Where else would I go besides Rental Car Momma to get an unbeatable rate? I got to use their online coupons in order to book my dream car. It was a Dodge Challenger srt-8. That thing was awesome. It had a huge v8 that sang beautifully whenever you stepped on the throttle. You will surely fall in love with this machine if you ever find yourself behind the wheel. You will want to get the most out of your rental car so make sure you book it ahead of time and choose the company that best suits you.

We started out in Orlando, Florida and we drove up North to reach New York in one day. It was a long trip, but we did make it nonetheless. You wouldn't beleive the amazing scenery we saw while trekking north. I got to see stunning swamplands all the way to the northern mountains of the US. You will surely be amazed when driving this route. We soon made it in about 10 hours of fierce driving. I never found myself this far North in America so it was pretty cool to see the "big apple" for myself.

When we finally got into town we had to meet up with my uncle since he was getting married and help arrange the marriage hall for everyone. It was a couple days worth of work and we knocked it out and then we had fun at the reception. I had the time of my life, and it wasn't even my wedding. I'll tell ya, there is nothing else like a good wedding with some BBQ and beer. It would put a smile on anyone's face.

Anyway the time came to say goodbye and set out in our srt-8 to head south and arrive in Orlando once again. We drove a little slower this time to enjoy the road and the view. We stopped and stayed at a hotel over night to make things easier on us. When we then hit the road again we put the challenger to the test to see what it was made of, and it did nothing short of pleasing me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cahutta, Georgia – Part 3

The Cabins we stayed inWe woke up early the next morning to the now traditional “Get up maggots, its time for breakfast.” Strangely enough our leader had somehow found an air horn, and thought it was comical to blast it in door ways at 5am, so it was wise to be out of bed and downstairs as he suggested.

We ended up taking a variety of chainsaws up the side of the mountain that day to clear away trees. Since they own nearly a hundred and fifty acres of land they could have a team of workers on the side of the mountain all year round and they would never finish cleaning up the year’s wear and tear. So we ended up taking down nearly twenty dead trees as well as four or five large oaks to make way for a wooden staircase they planned to put in along the hillside in the near future.

The worst par about it all was that all the wood needed to make its way up hill instead of down. That meant throwing logs over your shoulder and walking up a steep incline. To make matters worse it had recently rained and just about everything had a fresh layer of water over top of it. We originally tried having one team pull up logs with a rope while the rest tied, but it was taking way to long. So we ended up just grabbing freshly cut logs and walking up the hill.

After a grueling day of work it finally seemed as if we were getting something done. We had a twelve foot high pile of logs and the cuts and bruises to prove it. They kept telling us that they were going to have a large bonfire when the wet season came… and here I thought it was the wet season.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cahutta, Georgia – Part 2

The wreckage of an old tornado left behind this lakeThe first two days we were there they had us putting up nets and basketball hoops. At the top of the mountain they had an asphalt basketball court that needed real hoops and a protective netting to go around it. They told us that when a basketball got loose on a mountain that it only went a short ways before you realized that it wasn’t coming back. So to help with their runaway basketball problem we were given several large four by four poles, shovels, concrete and a weatherproof net.

Normally a job like this would take less than a day. Dig ten or fifteen holes, concrete the rods in and then hang the net. Unfortunately about four inches under the red Georgia clay we hit solid stone. Worst of all this wasn’t the kind of stone that you just dig out and throw in the pile… no this was part of the mountain. We grabbed two sixteen pound steel rods and started to smash our way through the rock. By the end of the first day we had literally hewed out several 2 foot deep holes out of solid stone. Shortly after we had cemented the rods in place and hung the net around the court.

All this time we fought the gnats, flies, other insects and poison ivy that we were not prepared for. Luckily after we got our bug spray out and wore pants the rest of the trip we effectively avoided those challenges.

Later they had us surround some freshly made paintball courses that they had spent last summer making. They wanted to ensure that no paintballs found their way off the course and into unsuspecting kids. It took us only a couple of hours to put the net in, because luckily there was no rock to carve out of. Surprisingly enough the paintball courses they had made were very elaborate, with ditches, bunkers and even elevated platforms.

We went to bed slightly less than satisfied with such a slow start, after two days there was very little progress to see, two days and only two nets had been placed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cahutta, Georgia – Part 1

The view from the side of the mountain!We go to a local church here in the Central Florida area and they decided to take a trip up to Cahutta for a mission’s trip. You see, there is this great summer camp for kids up in the mountains… way up in the mountains of Georgia. In fact we were told that having cell phone reception would be unlikely and that they didn’t have internet up on the hill. Which meant to the average Floridian we were “huffing it” like a rich camping experience.

Now when we originally set out there was a lot of dispute about whose cars we should take. We were supposed to be taking nearly twenty volunteers to do some good manual labor, but as the date arrived a variety of complications kept the others from going, so it ended up just being ten of us. We originally were going to take a Honda CRV and two small cars, but when I suggest we take a rental car it was quickly shot down because of the price. But I told them we could do it for cheaper than what they had looked at and when I showed them the prices on for a minivan we were in business. We got the car the day before and loaded it up with bags and food. Then as a duo we pulled out in a Dodge Caravan from Budget and the Honda CRV closely behind with a trailer full of tools.

The trip was comfortable with the van full of people and the CRV full of equipment. We fit four in the CRV and six in the van, even though it could hold seven. That meant that no one had to sit up right next to another person, so it was comfortable the whole way. When we arrived at night we made our way through the winding roads, where you would have plenty of time to contemplate how you had spent your life if you were to accidently swerve off the edge. Once we were at what seemed liked the highest point in the mountains we saw the sign that reluctantly told us that our eleven hour trip had come to an end.

They had us all staying in a four story cabin that they usually use for campers. There was two sides, when campers are there they either split it by gender or just fill the whole place up with girls or boys, depending on how the camp sign ups go. We had a fantastic meal that night and then went to bed so we could get up early and get to work. I mean the whole reason for our being there was to clean up the camp for the summer.

We woke up the next day to our leader screaming “Get to work maggots!” at roughly five in the morning. We were downstairs and eating quickly and then we were pushed out the door at six o’clock to start our work day. Our leader kept saying that he had missed his calling; he jovially told us that he could have been a drill sergeant.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hello Alaska

2011 Ford FocusSo in my search for a cheap rental car I stumbled across a great coupon from Herty saving me 35 dollars on my rental car on Rental Car Momma. These guys were awesome. They were there every step of the way for me with unbeleivable customer service. It seemed like no matter what time I called, I was the only person that they were focusing on and they were quick to help me out and answer my questions.

The car I ended up renting was a new 2011 Ford Focus. It was a very cool car with an impressive interior to say the least. Another great thing is that it got 40 miles to the gallon. I know it's insane, right? The car was fun and roomy at the same time, my whole family had room to move around and put their stuff in it while we were trekking across Alaska's plains and mountains. We loved the all wheel drive system it came with as well. I can't wait to get another rental from these guys.

The actual driving across Alaska wasn't bad at all. I had expected timely delays and bad roads, but actually the opposite was true. They keep their roads in exceptional condition and they are always open. I guess the continental states can learn a thing or two from our colossal brother up north. Alaksa all in all was a beautiful place with many wonderful attractions. I even got to go fishing while we were there which was simply amazing. I cannot wait to go back already.

While staying there in Anchorage we got to discover downtown and how the state operated. It was really differnt than say Chicago or New York. The people were much more friendly and down to Earth to say the least. You could always ask a question and expect an honest answer. They had some amazing restaraunts there to eat at. I surely had my fish fix while we were there. All the fish were caught locally and cooked right there in sort of a self sufficient kind of way. There is no other place like it in the world. The buildings there in Anchorage were amazing. They were all constructed to withstand extreme elements and severe freezes. The very core of this city was hard and so was the surrounding countrside that was littered with broken glaciers and frozen tundras. The expeditions that went out daily to this haphhazard wastelands was a thought for me to say the least, however I had the family with me so I had to say "maybe another day." Whenever I come back to the beautiful town of Anchorage I surely plan to explore the frozen Tundra and farther toward the Artic Circle. I think it will be a rush to experience the freezing temperatures that are to be had there. I experieced the hot 130 degree deserts of Iraq and Kuwait, so why not experience the exact opposite? I can't say enough good about Alaska, but what I can say is that if you are looking for a relaxing, beautiful place to spend your next family vacation that is IN the US, then this is where you need to go. No passport nonsense is needed to keep you entertained during your trip.

If you were planning out your next trip, I'd say your first stop has to be to Rental Car Momma to utilize one of their unbeatable coupons. You can save tons of money and even get free upgrades from these guys. Where else can you get a Camaro for the price of a Aveo? The bottom line is their prices are unbeatable and they have the best customer service around, so why book with anyone else? The trip was amazing and so was the money saved. It was put to good use anyway, I went out and bought a brand new 2011 Ford Focus because I liked it so much.

Monday, May 9, 2011

London still Calling

Houses of Parliament
The next morning we decided to go to one the iconic places in London, which is the Houses of Parliament. This place is like Congress here in the States. Once you walked into, we saw few guys with their white toupe and their large black robes. Two young guys from the parliament were wearing this and Alejandra immediately have them posing and taking few shots. We walk to the other side of the building into the direction of the Clock Tower, where the Big Ben is located. The nickname comes from the actual bell which is huge, but many people during the ages have extended the name to the entire Clock Tower. One thing is to see it in pictures and in the pages of the magazine, but another distinct is to see it live. Pictures doesn’t do justice on the sheer grandness of the clock. It is a thing of beauty. One thing, wait until its close to noon time, so you can hear the chimes ringing. And then laugh when you see the troupe of people coming out in every angle cause they don’t wanna missed their tea time. Alejandra was taking pictures of this funny thing, it was hilarious, who knows if the tea is a little “spike” with god knows what other liquor! We promised that we’ll comeback during the night to take pictures cause an old lady told us that if we wanna see a lovely sight of the Tower and the Parliament, we should do it at night.

The next thing we did was going to the Eye of London, which offers a magnificent view of London. we got the pleasure to board one the cubicles, and they were really spacious, sure you cant expect to walk inside it but its comfy enough, plus it has a/c. I cant tell you enough about the spectacular view. Alejandra has such an eye with the sights of London, and she immediately told me to get her a special lens that changes the light spectrum to infrared, she did some tweaking in her camera and voila, the same picture but with a totally different look, more with a red hue. She then to be funny spot the camera on me and started to shoot some pictures, for a moment she caught me off guard, but then I started out to make funny and silly faces, and she was in her “stay quiet, pose for me handsome man!”, which was totally funny coming from her!

Next day happens to be a little more monarchy cause we are planning on visiting some of the nicest palaces and castles in the area. Stay tune for more about this England trip with Alejandra.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trip to the west coast

Volkswagen TDIWhen deciding where to get my next rental car for my upcoming road trip I decided to use an online coupon I found from Avis. I got 30% off my rental which came out to a staggering savings across the board. You won't imagine the amazing price I got on the car and man was it sweet. I rented me a Volkswagen TDI(turbo diesel injection). It was sweet. It got 50 miles to the gallon and ran off low sulfur diesel. There is no better type of engine out there. The car was amazing inside and out. It had some great leather seats and a comfortable ride to match. I loved driving the car, it made me feel like a king in the drivers seat, knowing I had some of Germany's top engineers having worked on the very car that I was driving was a cool idea.

So me and the wife decided to head to the west coast to enjoy some time in California where the sun is bright and the beaches are endless. Oh man did we have a good time there. We got to play in the water, surf, jet ski, fish and so much more. For any one looking for a vacation to relax I can't recommend any place else than California. It's called the wonderland for a reason. I didn't want to leave the amazing place once we got there. We also enjoyed some charter boat fishing which was amazing. I caught some snapper, trout, jack and tuna. I had the time of my life out there on the water. It was a workout and great adventure at the same time. There's nothing else like fishing out on the beautiful oceans of America. I cannot wait til my next trip to the coast so I can put my angling skills to the ultimate test and maybe catch myself a Blue Marlin or a Dolphin. That will sure be the day. So we headed back in our amazing Volkswagen TDI that we got so affordable and easily from the folks at Avis and enjoyed the scenic route home.

Friday, May 6, 2011

London Calling

Ms. Hotness Alejandra received a call from one of her clients and wanted her to travel all the way to the U.K. to get some pictures and use it in his website. As you all know she is a gifted photographer, she took that project with joy!

So, she told me about it, and you know how girls tend to be sometimes, right? Yep, throwing a little the “I am going to be alone there, and I’ll gonna miss you” a sort of invitation without being formally invited. What a gentleman has to do, right?...that’s why I ended up doing a trip to the old country, London!

As usual, for the trips I do to the old continent, I usually got Avis. one thing that you guys don’t know about this beautiful woman is that she is a total “Green” lady, she is into protecting the environment, so she picked the nicest car which also happens to be a hybrid, the Peugeot 3008. Let me tell you, that car is a thing of beauty from the outside, but inside is so comfy and you barely hear the hum of the engine, but be careful cause I underestimated this car. It runs amazingly well and push the accelerator and you’ll be going fast in no time!

Picadilly Circus at NightSo we drove all the way from Heathrow International Airport to the hotel, we were located in a lovely area in London. Close by, there’s the Piccadilly Circus road junction, which is a major tourist attraction, sort of similar to the famous New York intersection Times Square. Close to the middle of the junction there was a nice statue that is for an Earl, which is the English way to say a Count. And following into the street we saw the area where they have the neon signs, which they had a little note saying they change the neon for LED, which is a more efficient and conserves more energy! They had a Coca-Cola sign and a TDK (which is a recording company, tapes, CDs, etc.) and also a Sanyo billboard, which I was told was the only one that still has neon lights. Alejandra was with her Nikkon Camera and she was taking all sort of angles and I was helping her with her bag full of different lenses. One thing extraordinary is to see this woman in action, so focus and full of vitality. However, there were moments when she snaps from her business trance and goes into her usual flirty way, which is sexy to look at to say the least.

More about London next time....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Martha's Vineyard Pt.3

Gay Light HouseWe were pedaling a little more and found our way to the Gay Head Lighthouse, which is one lighthouse you have to see if you are in this area! Not only has some historical significance and some stories to tell, but is one of the oldest in the country! It is a thing of beauty, and one thing that adds up to the whole thing is the spectacular view it offers of the New Englander coast. The night was falling a bit and that’s when we saw the lighthouse gear into action, and that was something unexpectedly gratifying. To see the beaming light crossing the sky toward the ocean, you cannot go wrong, not only for lighthouse lovers but also as a romantic spot cause when we arrived there were few couples having a picnic dinner, I saw a few with caviar and crackers and a bottle of wine, I thought for a moment in making another trip to bring Alejandra Ms Hotness here!

It was getting late and we have enough time to have a nice little dinner and getting into the ferry boat. We heard from some of the locals that the Italian restaurant Lattanzi’s Restaurant was pretty good, so we decided to go there. All the pedaling was getting into my stomach and pretty much everyone was starving to death! This place has a very nice atmosphere, and we saw a couple of plates and we definitely realized that all the reviews were well deserved it. I got the Vongole con Blanco, which is clams with a white wine alfredo sauce, it was to lick your fingers! My aunt got the Ravioli that had lobster and let me tell you that everyone was talking about her choice, I decided that next time I am getting that one!

We have so much fun in Martha’s Vineyard, the place has its charmed and we said how wonderful it would be to live here, but the real estate here is very pricey though. However, you have to come here to Martha’s Vineyard cause you can have a really good time!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Martha's Vineyard Pt.2

The first place we arrive was the Vincent House, which happens to be the oldest house in the island. It is a museum and a the same time a testament to how was life in this area cause it sports in its five rooms the different designs of furniture from four centuries. It was built in 1672, and I was amazed by how they keep even the tiniest of details of the original construction, which adds to the uniqueness of the house. It was a good place to rest a little bit and chill out.

Flying Horses CarouselThen after ending our tour of that house, we headed to the Flying Horses Carousel. Once we arrived there it wasn’t a great thing, and actually I did said it…but my aunt shot me one of her “are you kidding me?” look, that made me stop in the tracks. As we headed toward the ticket selling booth, I saw a small inscription that made me realized that this place had an incredible story. It was built in 1876, and you can pretty much figured out that it is the oldest carousel in America. It is listed as a National Landmark! It is so old that it doesn’t go up and down, it just go around. But they have created a nifty little game, and that was the game we all were playing. It is called “the brass ring game”. They put two brass rings in a specific time, and everyone is trying to catch it. You may be thinking how weird and that is piece of cake, but let me tell you how weirdly difficult it is, you have to stay in your saddle and there’s just the harness to hold yourself, and then you can stretch so much or you fall, if you fall you are out of the game. So we all were competing for the ring, I stretch my hands sooo much as to grab it and it was going to darn fast that I couldn’t get it, then in the other side my sister was reaching to the outer side ring and then she got it…one local was like shouting saying that she has been trying it for over 5 years and never had the chance to get it. We all went off the carousel and the only one standing was my sister, that little cheeky girl! It was funny to see a grown woman jumping up and down in that horse and with a beaming smile that was totally geeky!