Things we miss in NOLA

The barathon must be tonight…


How many people will beat Vinnie…?

A Thursday with Morey

On the wing and a prayer we ended up at the Morey house in Phoenix last night. Sean is a long time NFL alumni who I played against for many years.


Also, a heckuva good guy who has become a good friend.


Instead of sleeping in the van, he offered a guest bedroom, some food, hot tub and a cold beer.

His three daughters (Devan, Kate, Piper) were asleep and his wife Cara was at a hockey game but we got to meet them all this morning before they left for school.


Afterwords Sean, Cara and Piper joined us The Good Egg for breakfast.

We are super grateful to Shawn and his family for letting us ‘storm the palace’. *”The hot showers and nighttime toilet were sweet too!” -MV

Randomly, we saw Keith Poole outside the restaurant. He was a teammate of mine in New Orleans and the original LWD. Great to see him.



Where it all started…

Family Road Trips:

We passed this car today and it took me back to my childhood


Every summer my mom and my brother and I would drive from Spokane, Washington to Redwood City, California. We would generally take three or four days to get there. We would take different routes every summer and try to stop at points of interest along the way. I remember going through Reno, Nevada one time. I remember visiting Sutter’s Mill in California. We regularly with stop at petrified forests and grab souvenirs, fossils and amethyst. Some of my strongest memories were laying in the back seat of the station wagon while mom would drive through the night. Times have changed, I suppose. Now we have to strive our kids in to car seats to make a bank deposit.
We didn’t have any air conditioning so we have to yell at each other in order to talk with all the windows down. A couple of years we went all the way to San Diego and Mexico.
The wonder years. I am very grateful for them. I guess that’s where this all started.


You “Go Girl”

So, we had to stop and pee today. It happens a lot, especially with a pregnant momma. This time was different. I pulled off the interstate onto a dirt road. Thinking that we may not be far enough off the interstate, I look to Michelle. She said, this is fine. I told her that people would be able to see her from the interstate.

She responded, no, this is fine.
I got out, walked to the passenger side of the van and started to pee. Midstream I felt something splashing on my right leg. I looked over and saw Michel standing and peeing!

Of course! She was using her “go girl”!!

She obviously needs some practice, as she splattered on me during the process. Unfortunately, I did not get an action photo but I promise to have one soon.


No justice done by this photo; after the fact.

Morning Swim

We had a pretty great morning. I slept a lot better last night than my last two tries. Steve started in the top bunk because it was cooler and then moved down with me after we had a pee together at 4:35am.


There’s this huge spring pool that we walked to for a morning dip. Luckily it was nice and hot outside or one of us wouldn’t have gotten in. There are tiny fish in there that dont swim away when you get in by them. They take little nibbles of you then just hang around.

We swam to the other side. The shallowest point is 3ft – the deepest is 25ft. On the other side there is a sign that says “slippery steps”.
It’s no joke. Steve slipped off one and cut up his legs, and then I went to help him and slipped right back in the water. The belly is unscathed, luckily.

We then took our first public shower.
Steve’s was hot. Mine was not.

— MV




On the way out we stopped at a Balmorhea corner grocery and got fresh potato and cheese burritos right
off the grill. The baby really, really enjoyed them.


Mountain Time & Leaving Texas

Back to the future:
We crossed into the Mountain Time Zone earlier today. That’s fun. If we hurry up a bit can we go back in time and make everything right again?


A view into Mexico:
El Paso borders Mexico (Cuidad Juarez I believe). For anyone who has passed through, you know that it is a crazy contrast of lifestyles. One side rainbow colored shacks, on the other side, less than a mile away, Wells Fargo sky scrapers and “Jesus Lives” signs.
For those of you who have not been through El Paso, I suggest going with Michel. She happened to be driving today and nearly drove us into the Rio Grande. Bellowing things like…
Can you believe it!
I mean, it’s right over there!
Do you see the Rio Grande!
No wonder they want to come over here!
Look at their pretty colored shacks!

It got bad enough that we had to turn around to see if she could put her feet into Rio Grande. Then, she wanted to know if we could cross over into Juarez. I talked her out of that.



Isn’t this a little patronizing?


Shunpiking in real life:
After a brief trip through the bottom part of New Mexico we crossed into Arizona but missed the state entry sign! As a result, we had to do some shunpiking of our own.
We made a quick U-turn between the Interstate 10 freeway and safely made it back across the border to catch our picture.


Balmorhea and the San Solomon Spring

Tonight, our plan was to stop at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. We were both exhausted by 8 PM so we chose to stop in a little Texas town called Balmorhea. Steve stopped here last December when he drove to California. There is a state park a few miles from town where there is a massive spring called San Solomon’s spring. It’s a nice little campground and the spring is pretty amazing. The water comes from an underground artesian spring at a rate of 1 million gallons per hour . It’s not a hot Spring, per se but it is 72 – 76°F all year round.

For dinner we stopped at Juan Carassaco Mercantile.


It’s a fine little shop with a nice selection of microbrews, a friendly proprietor and homemade burritos!


We used our new A/V equipment from prestige audio tonight. We played “THE RITE” from my phone and watched from the top bunk. Middle of nowhere Texas, full moon, late night. We thought this a perfect setting to watch a scary movie…
We both fell asleep in 5 minutes. We’ll finish it today.

The Ironhorse in the stable. She’s itching for some wilderness:


Back on the Road

So. The bumper and the wench are officially part of Team Gleason. We have become at least 30% more redneck.

After hanging out at Sportsmobile since we woke up in their driveway early this morning (and peeing on the driveway without realizing there were 24hr surveillance cameras..) – we are back on the road.

We ate chilled leftovers from a delicious Mexican meal at papacitos last night in Houston. The fridge seems to be working quite nicely. And we shared a compostable spoon, which also did the trick just fine.
I also munched on a couple of travel sized Twix bars and kit kats.

We are now headed to a campsite in Carlsbad, NM. The weather is quite nice.



New Bumper & Winch

We are in Austin this morning getting a custom bumper installed. The bumper has a winch on it, which was our primary goal.

During install:


We got in late last night to Sportsmobile Austin. We wanted to stop by Colonel Quinn’s house north of Austin but ended up getting in too late.

We plugged in at Sportsmobile instead:


I can say that Kevin, Paul and Susan have been very helpful during the whole research/buying/upgrade process.

Nice place:


Michel takes the wheel as we hit Texas


We just crossed the Texas border. Only 800 or so miles to go before we reemerge.


We know where home is Mr. Texan


Michel is now in the captains chair. Asking for skittles…