Jeff Pinnow

Joined June 2016Living in: Davis, CA

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  • When I eventually got up after a long sleep it was really bright and sunny already. Even after getting some food in us we were groggy from the day before. Dad had gotten up earlier and had eaten so I ate while he packed the tent stuff. When we got going it still wasn't hot out which was really nice. The sky started out completely clear then slowly filled with clouds of the white and fluffy type. We needed to do laundry so we stopped at a laundromat in Gallup to do washing and lunch eating. I had to sort which quarters we could spent and which I wanted to keep. Dad worked the laundry while I talked on the phone wishing Petra a happy birthday. He also bought a $2 burrito (made God knows where) from two kids for our lunch. A little while later we stopped and bought some lubricant for the motorcycle chain. Soon after that we stopped again at a grocery store, we got a couple things plus some mini scones 😋 for breakfast. We went the rest of the way to the cottonwood camp in Chinle,set up, and then headed out to dinner the place we wanted to go was closed for the holiday so we went to Denny's. We came back and listened to people setting off fireworks even though it wasn't dark out yet.Read more

  • Day 23

    I wake up at about 4 AM when the wind starts blowing hard. I manage to get back to sleep, but at dawn, the wind is still blowing, the sky is gray, and the temperature is about 60°. We bust out the jackets for the first time in three weeks. Because of the wind we grab breakfast out and then head south for Palo Duro Canyon. The canyon is pretty amazing, especially because you can't see it until you're there. On our short hike we find centipedes all up and down the trail. After a couple of hours of checking out the canyon it's time to saddle up and hit the road for Santa Fe.

    Today turns out to be a long travel day and I'm getting sick of interstate 40 so when we get close to Santa Fe I head north on highway 3 to follow the Pecos River. Highway 3 is a pretty sweet motorcycle road until we come around a sharp corner and find a truck stopped in the middle of the narrow road. Unfortunately the reason the truck is stopped because the dog they have chained in the back fell out and got dragged. The dog doesn't look too bad but he's crying like crazy and the old man can barely lift him back into the truck. Shortly thereafter there's another truck coming at us in our lane. I brake and pull to the right and the driver finally figures it out and moves back into his lane. I'm starting to hear banjos playing here. We roll in to the campsite pretty late, grab some dinner, and then catch showers and crash. It's finally cool and there are no bugs except the stinkbugs which Gwen hates.
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  • This is pretty much a travel day across the rest of Oklahoma into Texas. We're planning to check out Palo Duro Canyon tomorrow. We grind along I-40 until our butts need a break and hop off onto old 66 in Maclean, home of the Texas Route 66/Devil's Rope/Old Farming stuff museum. Free! This place is chock full of random goodness.

    We roll into the Amarillo KOA around 6:30,set up, and go for a swim. Back at our campsite we see a limo from the Big Texan Steakhouse go by. We catch the 7:30 limo and when we get to the Big Texan it's a packed Saturday night and the wait is an hour. Dammit, I'm hungry. When we get seated it's upstairs so we can see the whole place and the waitress is super nice. A couple of elderly gentlemen with a guitar and fiddle come by and ask if we'd like a song. Being as I'm tired, wearing clothes several days in a row, and am on my second beer (thank you limo) I ask them to play Johnny Cash's "Sunday morning". They whip it out, singing and all. Amazing; they earned the fiver.Read more

  • The morning started out with the two of us trying to multitask, pack up and not get eaten alive by mosquitos. We rode for a half hour before getting breakfast. We had pancakes with sausage and eggs. Next we headed for a crystal mine at Mount Ida. They drove us and a young couple from Texas out to the mine in the forest, showed us what to look for, and said they'd be back for us in two hours. There were a few nice crystals but a lot were cracked or broken. Some were also sharp so I cut my finger. Also check out the cool pygmy rattlesnake dad found. As we were getting ready to leave it began raining hard. Dad and I waited until it wasn't coming down as hard then rode hard to make up for the time we had lost mining. Dad made a mistake and went past the exit we wanted so we had to turn around to get our dinner. The place we went was pretty packed but that is only because the food is good and it's a Friday night. We had to set up as it was getting dark but it wasn't that bad. I'm going to sleep good tonight after the relaxing shower I took.Read more

  • We left camp by 7:15 and headed down the Natchez Trace Parkway toward Vicksburg and the Vicksburg National Battlefield Monument. After the informative orientation film we did the driving tour of the site including the USS Cairo, a Union ironclad salvaged in 1960. Excluding the grave headstones there have to be over 500+ monuments or markers at the battlefield site. Being from California it's easy to lose sight of how much the Civil War affected the rest of the country. Touring Vicksburg makes you understand. The USS Cairo is a pretty amazing piece of engineering, especially since she and and five other "City class" ironclads were built in 5 months.

    We headed out North then West through farm country to cross the muddy Mississippi into Arkansas. This whole area looks just like Clarsburg. We stopped at a visitor center to get a map and decide where to live for the night. We debated quite a bit and decided that Cane Creek State Park would work out. We made a few pit stops along the way. Set up camp as usual and headed into the close by town of Star City for a yummy dinner. Ribeye steak with fixins and drinks for $15 total. What a deal.
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  • Today was pretty much a travel day. We left Chewacla State park early and hit the Dunkin Donuts. The breakfast of champions with a pint and a half of coffee. Perfect. The Tuskegee Airmen National monument (Moton field) is close so we head over there to check it out. Unfortunately we're early and don't want to wait 40 minutes for them to open up. We walk the outside area, snap a pic or two, and saddle up. We end up traveling through quite a bit of rural Alabama on the way to Mississippi. Almost everybody drives with the hammer down so we get passed a lot.

    When we stop for gas and lunch about 1 pm, we notice that there are two crockpots of boiled peanuts on the counter, so we get a cup to go. Our lunch consists of boiled peanuts, busted bagel chips, and dried fruit. The boiled peanuts are strange but good and they're so salty I feel dizzy after lunch. Onward towards Jackson, Missippi where we plan to crash at the big lake northeast of town. Tried white chocolate bread pudding for dessert. It was really good, but I have no idea how they get sourdough to be that dense.
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  • After a good nights sleep Gwen and get up and fire up oatmeal in the microwave. Then it's time to hunt for coffee. It's harder than it sounds. In the western states you can't swing a cat without hitting at least three cafes, but finding coffee in Florida seems to usually require at least a five mile drive. Within walking distance we find a hotel that has an industrial keurig type machine and score caffeine for $2.50. What a bargain.

    We sign up for the afternoon boat trip and relax the rest of the morning. It's been a tough two weeks.

    At about 1:45 we finally board the dive boat with 17 scuba divers and head out to French reef, about 5 miles offshore into the Atlantic. Captain Mike warns us that the swell is about 4 foot and it's a little choppy. Out at the reef there is moderate swell and current but Gwen soldiers on and does a giant stride off the boat. The water is 84 F and about 35 feet deep but we can see at least 100 feet. Despite fighting the current and swell we get in about 45 minutes of fish watching. When we got out for a break Mike pointed out a big barracuda. Gwen was watching it from the tip of the boat until she started feeling seasick from the constant rocking. We got a drink of icewater and sat in the middle of the boat where it moved the least. About 20-30 minutes later all the scuba people were all onboard and ready to go. When the boat was moving Gwen felt slightly better but then we stopped at M and tha waves took over again. We never got in the water again but Gwen threw up, and we showered off the salt with cold, freshwaterat the back of the boat. After another hour or so we went back to the hotel. Once we got off Gwen was perfectly fine. We went to dinner at the nearby Conch House and ordered the whole Hogfish. We gave the presentation a ten. It was tasty too.
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  • We stopped at Kona's coffee in Venice for tasty beverages and scones. Gwen narfed down a huge soup bowl of hot chocolate and we pulled out the map and phone to make plans. We scored a two day reservation at the Amoray dive resort in Key Largo and the hit the road about 11:30. 250 miles left to go today. Ugh! Instead of taking hwy 75 (alligator alley) we elect to take old highway 41, the Tamiami trail based on some advice we received in Sarasota. Supposedly 75 is fenced the whole way and there's not much to see, and 41 runs right through the glades. It's hot out and we're hoping for a nice cool rain. We get our wish and it rains torrentially for about a half hour and then off and on thereafter. We're totally soaked and our boots are full of water. When we stop for gas in Ochopee the mosquitos are fierce under the station canopy despite the surrounding downpour. Onward down hwy 41 where we stop at the Big Cypress Oasis visitor center. Tons of gators here and they are not shy like the ones in Louisiana. Before we leave we figure out that the Xcelerator hand dryers in the bathroom dry your chonees if you direct the blast down your pants. Noting like having at least a semi-dry butt. Also dried our socks and got some water out of our boots. Back on the road and into the rain. We pass quite a few places that offer air boat rides and one place with gator wrestling. Many are clsed or not too busy because the tourist season is really in the winter. Anyway, no time to stop. When we turn off 41 to go south we hit traffic and a lot agriculture and palm nurseries around Homestead. We roll into Amoray dive resort around 7 pm and it looks like paradise. It's an older place but well kept and the staff are great. Off to Thai food for dinner.Read more

  • After a late night and poor sleep due to some ding dongs in the campground blaring marimba music we hit the road for Casperson beach aka shark tooth beach near Venice. We spend a few hours swimming and sifting the sand for fossilized shark teeth. No luck. Back at the showers Gwen notices the shark teeth embedded in the concrete and makes a checklist for the next time we visit here. The salient items are a chisel and hammer. Off to find coffee and make some plans.Read more

  • We got up, packed and ate in Chasshowtzka. We hit the road for 25 miles to Weeki Wachi. We were hoping to take a tandem kayak down the river, but we hadn't made a reservation so all they had left was a canoe and a few stand-up paddle boards even though it was early. We chose the canoe. I couldn't go paddle boarding for 5.5 miles. Dad paddled while I took tons of pictures. We saw a river otter, some kind of water snake, birds, fish, fish, more fish, and dragonflies were everywhere. There weren't any manatees in sight and that bummed me out. Once in a while we would pull over and go swimmy swimmy. We got taken back in a van that had a trailer for the boats. We saw some peacocks at the state park and we got a lunch at one of the restaurants that was also in the park. We finished and got in line for the mermaid show. It was packed and after seeing the show I understood why. Fish Tails was awesome and I loved how they spun in a circle. They had it to music so they were lip singing the words underwater. I was really glad we went. We finished our miles when we arrived at the Sun 'n Fun in Sarasota. We did the usual swim, shower, then it was time for dinner so we crossed the street to a smokehouse. The food was good but when they brought out the receipt for dad to sign, the credit card he gave them to swipe wasn't inside. According to dad it is customary to return it after they swipe it. We went to talk about it and it turns out that they lost it. Great, just what we need. Luckily dad has another card in his wallet. Dad called the bank to cancel it and it was nighty night for us.Read more

  • Camping on the bayou with gators, armadillos, turtles, and frogs. We saw 10 gators before dinner only a 60 foot walk from our tent. In was nice to get off the beaten path a bit after being on I-10 for most of the day. There were a bunch of wrecks just West of Lafayette. Tomorrow, crawfish for lunch and hey ho for NOLA.

  • On the morning of day 9 we went to space by accident. We got up in Texas City brushed teeth and ate in the lobby. We suited up and got about thirty miles before we saw the Houston/Johnson Space Center. It looked interesting so we pulled in. We took pictures even before we went inside. After finding a tour to take in about 20 minutes we explored a shuttle that was attached to the top of a plane for transportation. It was time to go. The tour took us to first to the training facility that contained moduals, rovers, and robotics. Next it took us to rocket park with a Saturn V. The park was self guided. It was funny that we saw some deer wandering around the station's lawns. We returned to the air conditioned visitor center and looked around at some Myth Busters exibits and space improvements and tests. Last but not least; potty, drinking water, and getting a bumper sticker.Read more