Monday, March 31, 2008

Guns for Grandma - Death of a Tape Deck

While we were hunting bunnies on the Burr Trail, we took a moment to destroy the old tape deck from the pathfinder. We hadn't had very much luck killing bunnies at this point, so it was nice to have a stationary target for a change.

This old tape deck was a gigantic pain in the butt - the LCD no longer worked so you had to guess what radio station you were on, or wait for the DJ to identify the station. My brother in law Mike helped me switch it out with a new stereo - long story short it wasn't easy and/or pretty.

I'm afraid that someone or something had to suffer for the hours of frustration we endured - this tape deck had it coming:

video

The little voice you heard saying, "I wanna shoot one too!" is that of Eli, my pride and joy! I could hardly deny my own son the opportunity to reek revenge. Sorry Valerie, you aren't going to like this one:

video

Thanks to Mike for taking the video!

The great Brough migration - Spring 2008

Every once in a while, Becca get's this homicidal look in her eyes (okay, maybe it's a little more frequent than that) which lets me know that it's time to get her out. Out of these four walls, out of this city, as far away as time/money will permit. A little over a month ago, I recognized the early warning signs and realized that I needed to take action immediately. We decided to use some of the precious little vacation time that hasn't been used for my final ROTC class, and head down to Capitol Reef.

Becca is planning on blogging this trip as well - if you want the "warm fuzzy" version of the trip, then you'd better read her blog - this version is the "hardcore awesome" version.

Day 1 - We left Salt Lake in the afternoon, the same day that I took my first Army PT test in about 2 years (I still am hurting, but I passed). We drove for about 3.5 hours until we arrived at our hotel in Torrey. I know that a hotel is not very "hardcore", but after a long day of hiking, off roading, and shooting stuff... relaxing in the hot tub seemed like an acceptable alternative to sleeping in a tent in Fruita.

You can see the picture of Eli setup for the road trip with his portable DVD player and big glass of rootbeer. We ate dinner at a cool place called Slackers - which had the BEST burgers we've tasted in a long time.

Day 2 - We woke up early in the morning and headed into the park - looking for any hikes that Eli would be able to complete on his own legs.

Amazingly enough, he dawdled during the short walk through Capitol Gorge to The Tanks, but he led the charge up the side of the Grand Wash to Cassidy Arch - a 3.5 mile round trip hike that ascends over 1,000 feet from the valley floor. Apparently all he needs is motivation (bring on the suck - Eli loves suffering and pain!). His primary motivation is that he was our leader - he carried the GPS the entire trip and pointed out over sign or trail marker we came across.


The pictures we took on the trail to Cassidy Arch don't do justice to the views we experienced.










Later on that night, Becca's brothers, Danny and Mike showed up - Eli was a little unhappy that this meant he now had to sleep on the floor - but that's a sacrifice that I was willing to make (I'm not making father of the year any time soon).






Day 3 - we took the Notom road along the Water Pocket Fold (ancient coral reef that runs the entire length of the park) down to the Burr Trail. Close to the intersection of these two dirt roads is a stretch of road on the Burr Trail call "The Switchbacks". I don't know how high they climb, but it was an amazing drive that made Becca very nervous in the passenger seat.

We climbed the Strike Valley Overlook where Danny and Mike got some awesome pictures of themselves looking cool in an equally cool setting, and then set out for our main event of the day - killing commies... er... rabbits. We drove around on a dirt road off of the Burr Trail, looking for the hordes of rabbits that had menaced us in that area last year.

We executed a few bunnies, and then along the way, we somehow got the pathfinder stuck on a part of the jeep trail which had been washed out by the spring rains (the cause of this incident is something we don't bring up in conversation around our house). We used an e-tool (folding shovel), a jack, and a lot of rocks which Becca found to lift up the pathfinder, which had been high centered, and spent close to an hour getting it out of the hole I drove it into on the road that Becca didn't want us to drive on :-)
In the end, we all agreed that we had a lot of fun getting the pathfinder unstuck.

As a bonus, on the way back to the Burr Trail, we saw a bunch of rabbits just STANDING/SITTING (whatever the hell jackrabbits do) STILL BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!!! I stopped the car and was about the shoot the first one, and Becca told me to give her the gun and let her shoot. This was a true test of our love, and I almost failed. I finally gave Becca the gun, and let her shoot at the passive rabbit - which she missed. Three times. She gave up, so I grabbed the gun, and went "tactical". For those of you who AREN'T in the Army, "tactical" means that while wearing shorts and a t-shirt, you go prone in a pile of thorns so you can accurately shoot a rabbit with an AR15 from about 80 feet.

After killing a few more rabbits, we drove on to Boulder, where we ate a delicious meal at the Boulder Mesa Cafe, where Eli played with a bucket of toy trains (his highlight of the trip, on par with swimming at the hotel in Torrey - just ask him if you don't believe me).

We drove across the east side of the Boulder mountain as quickly as possible in the dark, so as to make it back to the hotel before the pool closed. We took great care to avoid the skunks, deer, and elk that were crossing the highway, but managed to add a vehicular kill to the number of dead rabbits for that day (score one for the good guys!).

Day 4 - we were so sad to be coming home - we hiked up to Chimney Rock and ate lunch in Fruita before driving home to all of our problems back in SLC. Our timing couldn't have been better though, since it snowed/rain the entire drive home!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The "Sorensen Snort"

Becca's family has an endearing way of taking things they like, modifying them ever so slightly, and then renaming them with their own moniker.

For example, you know those delicious chocolate and coconut squares? You may know them as "magic cookie bars", but if Becca makes them for you, you'd better call them "Sorensen Squares".

Also, there's a delightful card game known in some circles as "Swiss". If you're playing with Becca and her family, you'd be surprised to find out that you're playing "Sorensen Swiss".

I don't know if I'm allowed to do this, but I've decided that it's MY turn to give something the Sorensen name: The "Sorensen Snort".

If you get Becca to laugh (not just giggle, but really laugh) sometimes she'll do this little snort. It's funny, because she'll get a little embarrassed and blush (it's really cute), but she won't be able to stop laughing.

An sample of the jokes that evoke the Sorensen Snort (courtesy of Alicia Carter's sister):

What do you call four bullfighters in quick sand?
Cuatro Sinko!

The funny thing is that Eli does the same snort if I viciously tickle him... It's genetic

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The "DB" incident...

I'm referring to this incident. Seriously, how bad is the word "douche bag"?

I forgot about saying "Bastards" too - thanks for reminding me Stacy.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ghost Towns and Gunfights

Yesterday, we decided we'd had enough "normal" Saturdays, so I managed to convince Becca and Eli that we could have fun visiting a few ghost towns in the area.

For those of you who don't know, Utah has quite a few ghost towns, mining boom towns and railroad towns that dwindled as quickly as they started up when the ore became scarce/difficult to mine or the railroad stopped using that stretch of line. Many of these old ghost towns are nothing more than a graveyard and a smattering of old foundations. Luckily, there are a few that still have some standing structures from the period when these towns were in their hay day.

We went to Ophir, Utah, in Tooele County. Ophir isn't a TRUE ghost town, because there are some people living there - as of the 2000 census, there are 23 people living in the down (the population fell from 25 in 1990 - wikipedia link).

The road to Ophir cuts through a winding canyon from the west side of the beautiful Oquirrh Mountains. Other than a small ranch at the mouth of the canyon, as you drive up the road, there is hardly any indication that there is a town at the top. After about 5-10 minutes of driving up the road, we came to a sign that told us "Welcome to Ophir! Quiet hourse between 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM"

Becca was pretty much freaking out that the people who lived here were psycho murderers who were going to kill us, so we didn't get out of the car, we just slowly drove through town taking in the scenery. I'm kicking myself for not taking our camera - but here are a couple of web pages that have some of the highlights of the town:

From ghosttowns.com and ghosttowngallery.com

If you get a chance, browse through these sites, pick a destination, and take a weekend to explore some of these places.

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After exploring the ghost town, "hunting" for rabbits at Eli's request, and visiting the Haight family in Tooele, we picked up some of the coolest things ever:These nerf guns are soooooo much fun. They have light sight that activates when you depress the trigger a little bit, allowing more accurate fire so you can be sure to hit your opponent in the eye (even if they are wearing glasses *wink wink* - Link) We bought three of them, with extra whistling darts, to strike fear into the hearts of our opponents, and then went home and declared Jihad on each other. Basically, my superior combat skills lead to Becca and Eli forming an alliance against me. Becca shamelessly and unethically used Eli for cover as a human shield, but I deprived her of this tactic by shooting at them regardless. Eli also discovered that if he was out of darts, his best option was to revert to hand to hand combat and attack me with a combination of tickling me until I curl up into the fetal position, then kicking me until his mother calls him off. After about an hour of battle we decided to hold a cease fire until the next day.