Mountains, Rocks, and Beer

20140730-230235.jpg Colorado!!

We enter from the south and head straight to Great Sand Dunes National Park, where we attempt to hike and instead settle for lying still in our tent, gasping for air. Altitude is tough to get used to!

The dunes, the turtle, and wildlife!





Zapata Falls, a cool rock scramble up a glacial stream and into a cave from the hiking trail.


Garden of the Gods, our first rock climbing of the trip!



Rexy braving the mountain passes.


Next post, Denver and Boulder!
Lots of love!!
C and J



The Lone Star State

In which we spend five days sweatin’ through Texas:

20140728-080138.jpg J checking out the cowboy boots. We enter Texas from the east, and it looks like this:

Then we get to Austin, and it looks like this:

Austin has a great charm- hipster cool while still being very decidedly western and Texan. The gluttony continues as we feast on Tex-mex and BBQ in epic portion sizes.

20140728-075827.jpg Blue Ox BBQ. A great food truck permanently parked on the patio at a bar. Symbiosis!


20140728-080702.jpg Barton Springs. Right in town, a natural springs done up in the 1930s with pool-like edges, a diving board, and the most aesthetically pleasing changing room facilities I’ve ever seen, complete with a courtyard and interior garden.

20140728-081508.jpg Northern Texas had a huge number of fences and wind farms. Apparently the vast expanse of flat scrubland is mostly private property. It is also experiencing a pretty severe drought. Above, the lake we were planning to camp next to for the night.

20140728-081408.jpg Our last stop in Texas, Palo Duro Canyon State Park!

20140728-081953.jpg The view out from Juliette Cave.
Hailed as the second Grand Canyon, we had an excruciatingly hot adventure scrambling on rocks, playing in the clay, and camping on the canyon floor.
New Mexico: we drive northwest, skirting through the corner of the state, which pretty much just looked like this:

Now in Colorado, rock climbing, hiking, and gasping for oxygen every 4th breath.

Lots of love!
C and J


Road Trip: The American South

In which we pack Rexy to the gills and begin another voyage!!
20140722-233438.jpgEverything we own.

Florida: Did you know northern Florida has a huge network of underground rivers and springs? People go scuba diving in them! We swam around at the surface. But the current coming upwards was quite strong! Ichetucknee Springs, and the turtle.
Georgia: It’s quite lush here! We muse about how plentiful these forests must be and however did the Native Americans native to these hills and valleys survive once we exiled them to Oklahoma? In any case, they were replaced by a strong southern culture. C’s first Cracker Barrel!
Alabama: Bodday!! No photos taken, but it looked just like this, about a decade older:
Mississippi: Still lush! Still driving. We didn’t spend a lot of time in Mississippi, but we did discover the benefit to driving with everything you own in the car: body pillow at the ready!
Louisiana: A glorious weekend in New Orleans! We begin an extreme regimen of gluttony (po boys! oysters! beignets! mufaletta! boudin! bloody marys!) punctuated by thunderstorms, streetcars, and awesome live jazz.

The mighty Mississippi.


The biggest oyster I’ve ever seen/eaten. Tasted surprisingly like how I imagine the Mississippi might taste – a silty flavor which also emerges in all the local beers, and isn’t particularly delicious.


Flood warning!


Jazz at the Spotted Cat on Frenchmen St.

20140723-001021.jpg And a completely unexpected appearance by the Victory Belles- a trio of satin-ed ladies singing God Bless America and WWII era classics.

Currently in Austen, TX, continuing the gluttony!
Lots of love!
C and J



We began our Eastern USA Adventuring with a Cantor family reunion, and now we’re finishing with a Prieto family vacation – A week in the Florida Keys with J’s maternal side family.


It’s an idyllic, relaxing vacation for which I packed all sorts of cute outfits, then wore nothing but a bathing suit and sarong all week long. Above, the dock at Topsider, where the Prieto family has been vacationing for 32 years. Below, cousins! (minus Eddie J)


We spend the week doing this:




And this:


C water-skied! J slalomed! We canoed amongst the mangroves, biked around the island, ate delicious seafood and played some rousing board games. Also, Manatees! Squee!


I definitely didn’t pet it and feed it water from the hose and hang out with it for hours because they’re an endangered species and that’s definitely illegal. In lieu of all that, 10 fun facts about manatees!

1. Manatees can easily grow 12 feet long, weigh up to 1,200 lbs, and live up to 60 years.

2. Manatees eat about ten percent of their body weight in plant matter every day.

3. Manatees require water that is at least 60-70 degrees. They’re not actually as fat and blubbery as they look – it’s mostly stomach and digestive tract.

4. The closest living relative to the Manatee family is the elephant.

5. The brain to body size ratio in a Manatee is the smallest in any mammal. However, they can learn basic tricks, and can differentiate colors!

6. Manatees are generally solitary, but babies stick with mom for up to two years.

7. Manatee flippers have three toenails.

8. Manatees are the only aquatic mammal that is an herbivore.

9. Adult manatees are so frequently wounded by boat propellers that scientists use the pattern of their scarring to tell them apart. The second most common cause of death is ingestion of abandoned fishing tackle wrapped in vegetation.

10. Manatees have no natural predators in the wild except for humans.

After a wonderful couple of months in Miami, we depart tomorrow to road trip across the country to Seattle! A few departing photos of the Larmiers: J, dad Philippe, and bros Antoine and Alex (so much more clean-shaven than his last blog appearance in SE Asia!)


And Prietos: Martha, Mimi, and J.


Farewell, Miami!


Next up: The American South.

Lots of love!

C & J

Wedding part deux

May 5 – 15, 2014. Up the East Coast

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We take a vacation from our vacation to visit friends on the east coast before traveling westwards. First stop,¬†Maryland! We spend a day in Baltimore, then divide and conquer to visit friends¬†in the ‘burbs.¬†Above, J in Baltimore! Below, pups at Jill and Wes’ incredible (not really new at all but new to me) house they’ve completely re-done inside.


*no friends were pictured in the making of this visit.

Then, to Annapolis for another wedding: dear friends Winston and Liza from DC. Hooray!

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In what is now my new favorite plan for a wedding ever, Winston and Liza rent a vacation house on the water via airbnb and an ebbing and flowing collection of friends and relatives spend the whole weekend hanging out, swimming off the dock, playing volleyball, frolicking, and making merry. We sleep summer-camp style in bunks upstairs, with lots of additional yard-space for tents.


J doing some deep-fryer magic, with a view.


The main event, on Saturday eve, is a ridiculously fun and happy affair. And a pretty epic dance party.


*not true to life. This photo refuses to be turned upright.

After a single night back in DC (just can’t get enough!) we bus up to New York City for J’s birthday!


Continuing our world trek through Koreatown! Also sushi and ramen in Little Tokyo, Columbian, Georgian, Vietnamese, NYC-style pizza and hot dogs, and just about everything else we could possibly find and eat.


We stayed in the East Village with friends Margaret and Nina, also not pictured. But here’s J and¬†their new pup!

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We have an amazing time in NYC visiting some amazing peeps and doing very New-York-ey things like frisbee in Central Park, musical theater,¬†awesome¬†city-scape views, and we even discover a secret hidden bar in Brooklyn!¬†Above, Kinky Boots on Broadway for J’s birthday – a great, feel-good kind of a show with lots of sequins and drag queens.


Escaping from natural history.

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Look, friends!



And now we’re caught up to the present! Just two more weeks in Miami before we take off road tripping.

Lots of love!

C and J