Friday, January 25, 2013

My Jeep, the Tank

Current scores: 
Crashes/unscathed Jeep Wrangler- 5  Crashes/unscathed cars that smash into it- 0
My at-fault accidents: 0  Other accidents: Ummm...

It must be hard to resist crashing into my Jeep, especially with the soft top down.  And especially when I'm innocently stopped at red lights.


The latest guy to obliterate his front end on my tailgate got off easier than some of the Jeep's past victims, but it was still pretty bad.  His truck is no longer truck-shaped anymore.  I'm glad he was okay, but I feel so sorry for him.  What a horrible way to start out his new year!

Aside from a slightly pinched spare tire, the Wrangler got a clean bill of health this week.  Barely a scratch, as usual.

Why is this not surprising?  Here's why:  My Jeep has been hit in parking lots.  My Jeep was accidentally rammed on Superbowl Sunday.  And my BlogSpot post from July 2009, A Week of Jeep Smash-Ups (link), tells of the 72 hour window in which my Jeep got rear-ended TWICE while I was stopped at red lights. The first accident resulted in a totaled-out Taurus.   In spectacular fashion, the next crash pinned the Jeep near the front of a seven car pile-up!

Seven car pile-up by the Nike World Campus in Beaverton!  My Jeep Wrangler was the fourth vehicle hit by an out-of-control U-Haul van.  This was the second time that my Jeep got hit in 72 hours!

Let's save the Jeep retrospective blog for another time.  After all, you BlogSpot readers need to build up some stamina for the upcoming Lena picture-fest that I'm gonna drop next week.

Suffice it to say that Jeeps take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.  So far, my Wrangler has been rugged enough to:

Navigate rocky, snowy and icy roads to the mountain for hiking, backpacking, camping and skiing
...carry surfboards to the ocean, skis to the slopes, water toys to the lake, and gear to the trails
...trek offroad through mud, water, and an array of obstacles
...haul around middle school, high school, and college students
...appear in parades for WP College and the occasional TV commercial
...and survive the daily commute to PDX airport, church, and various photo studios/sets.

It's been said that Jeep Wranglers have nine lives.  How many lives does this Jeep have left?

Coming next Friday on BlogSpot...

A blog starring 15 month old Lena is long overdue!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Next Time- Central America

Several friends who read last weekend's post about leaving for Ecuador (link) on Friday have been asking left and right:  What's up with the Garth sightings all over town this week?

The answer:  My plans to climb Mt. Cotopaxi over the weekend were foiled by full flights out of PDX.  Plan B, a Chinese weekend in Beijing, also hit a snag due to last minute troubles with documentation.  Such is the life of a standby traveler.

No regrets.  The weekend was freed up to catch up with friends, groove to some live music, and go on a couple of local hikes/trail runs.

When a bachelor weekend of climbing Ecuador's Mt. Cotopaxi falls through, sometimes you've gotta settle for a treacherously icy trail run on the Lower Macleay trail up into Forest Park.

But I also stayed home and knocked out some of those travel-time projects I mentioned on Friday, like a responsible adult?  Right?  (Coyly clears throat).

The only bummer was the timing.  Kathy and Lena were out of town for our sister Cheryl's bachelorette party, so I was a bachelor for yet another weekend.  This cute little face was desperately missed:
Lena bangs on an old laptop keyboard, makes a mess, and flashes another variation of her scrunchy-faced smile of excitement for Daddy.

Rescheduling another international weekend getaway will be a breeze.  My extra vacation days (for flight "bump protection") at Delta were easily cancelled.  Who knows where in the world my next mini-trek will be? Central America? Asia? Europe? South Africa?

If it's South America, then Ecuador or Belize would really hit the spot.

Coming this Friday on BlogSpot...


Crash! Do Jeep Wranglers really have nine lives?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ecuador or China?

Dobro jutro, 2013!!

That's right, some of you know who I'm talking to.  I'm coming for you later this year!

This is Day 2 of my attempted weekend getaway to Parque Nacional Cotopaxi, Ecuador.  Each of the flights out of PDX have been too oversold to accept standby passengers.  China is my backup plan.

Climbing Mt. Cotopaxi is my first choice, but mountain biking through the volcanic national park might be a good fallback if I run out of weekend in Ecuador.  Although I plan my own tours, thanks to for this photo!

En route to the actual South American adventure, I could use my Galaxy Tab to knock out so many projects during the plane/bus/van rides:  my three full-length sermons for February, the student ministry teaching for next week, a few more credentialing book reports, and a Warner Pacific Alumni Council meeting agenda for Homecoming weekend.

Yet another flight has departed this morning without open seats.  Beijing, China is looking more and more appealing.  There are open Business Elite seats on our Tokyo flight, tonight's connection to Beijing, and the return trip on Tuesday or Thursday.  My pre-approved "emergency" Delta vacation days (a backup for getting stuck in Quito, Ecuador this weekend) could stay on the books.  Since the additional days fall on Kathy's and my scheduled workweek, childcare for baby Lena is already covered.

The unknowns about Beijing:  Conflicting information about the January 1st kickoff of China's new 72 hour visa waiver program... and pretty much everything else.  I accidentally fell asleep last night without doing a lick of research on Beijing, so I'd better start downloading some free maps and guidebook samples to my tablet ASAP!

10:22 a.m. update:

My original itinerary to Ecuador has been scrubbed.  I'm now listed for today's flight to Beijing, via Tokyo.  Clarification on that 72 hour visa for China still needs to happen, though.  Even when improvising, breaking international law is never on the agenda.

The list of travel time busywork (above) excluded the biggest thing of interest to our readers:  new BlogSpot posts for 2013!  Blogging about some of my unmentioned 2012 overseas trips should keep me busy for a while.

Whatever happens on my trip this weekend, I'll make sure to publish a post or two next week to kick off a new year of Garth's Blog!