Posted by: heatherandandybrown | February 29, 2012

An Unpacked House

We wish we could personally give you a tour of our little mountain home, but until you can make it out here we invite you on a virtual tour! 

Click Here For HOUSE PHOTOS

Advertisements
Posted by: heatherandandybrown | February 21, 2012

Exploring the Trails

The past week and a half we have had fun exploring slices of the Evergreen area.  There are SO many trails and parks within minutes of our house… our little Winter Wonderland.

We went Skiing at Echo Mountain (about 40mins away) and had a blast. It was my first time skiing and the day was a roller coaster of emotions. Before I got the hang of slowing down or turning, sliding on my butt was my go-to move. By the end of the day I was able to get down (most) of the hill without falling. Andy was a great teacher and hung out with me on the greens until I was exhausted. No broken bones or concussions…a successful first ski in my book. At the end, Andy did a couple runs down the terrain park and got some impressive air on the jumps. He continues to amaze me!

I have really enjoyed getting bundled up and going on a trek through the woods. With the ground covered in a  blanket of snow the forest seems so clean and peaceful. Yesterday we discovered a beautiful hike right down the road with plunging cliffs and mountain vistas. We don’t have to go far to go on a hike though, the house that we are renting is on three quarters of an acre, enough to make short trails in our backyard. Our property also has a lot of downed trees that Andy has cut up into firewood and has even carved some into furniture! In the album below, there is a photo of a coat-tree that he made.

Unfortunately, there are currently no teaching positions available in the county that we live in, in part because of the time of year and also due to budget cuts. I applied for a substitute position and have orientation tomorrow. I met with a local principal and she assured me that I could have a sub job everyday if i wanted because majority of the subs do not live in the mountains and do not want to commute up here. I think this will be a good opportunity to feel out the local schools and get my foot in the door. I’m looking forward to getting back in the classroom.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS

Peace and Love,

Heather, Andy & Ollie

Posted by: heatherandandybrown | February 9, 2012

Snowstorm

We asked for snow and we got snow! About 3 ft of the fluffiest snow I’ve ever seen. Fortune would have it that we were already moved in and a little bit settled before the snowstorm came through.

Andy and his father took advantage of the fresh powder and went skiing in Loveland. They met up with Andy’s half brother, Mark, and his two kids Matthew and Emily who live in Greeley (about 2 hours away). They returned with no injuries and all smiles. My inaugural ski will have to wait until my eye infection goes away.

The next morning, we woke up to even more snow and created a sledding run beside our house. By the end of the day, we managed to break both of our sleds. It might have been the “ramp” at the end that launched us in the air or the fact that they aren’t rated for adults. Here is a video that Andy took of me going down the run:

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SNOW PHOTOS

Almost every morning we have been treated to a visit from our local deer. They see us  through the windows long before we can spot them. They seem unaffected by us and continue to lounge under the trees in our backyard or search through the snow for something to nibble on.

After about a week, almost all of our boxes are unpacked and our house is starting to feel more like a home. Work starts soon, but until then we will enjoy our mountain vacation.

Off to end the evening with a glass of wine next to a crackling fire.

Peace and love,

Heather, Andy & Ollie

Posted by: heatherandandybrown | February 2, 2012

Making a home in Colorado

We can now cross off a line on our “bucket list”:                                                         Have a house in the mountains with a view 

Looking left off of our front porch

Looking right, out of our bedroom sliding glass doors

The past couple months have been a wonderful whirlwind of traveling, planning, biking, and driving. For now, we have put our nomadic adventures aside and are planting roots in Evergreen, Colorado. Until we know for sure where we want to purchase our Colorado home, we are renting a quaint mountain-top house 15 minutes outside of town. Our little abode sits at about 8,000 feet above sea level up a windy mountain road. By moving here, we have traded the conveniences of urban living for towering pines and panoramic views. Driving 25 minutes to the closest grocery store is going to take some getting used to, but it is a nice change from sharing walls with 2 other families and having a 10ft x10ft backyard.

Ollie sunbathing

Upon moving in, our property manager informed us that black bears, mountain lions, and various other wildlife are abundant in our area (Exciting, but a little frightening too).  We haven’t seen any predators yet, but the past two mornings we have seen several fat deer grazing outside our kitchen window.

Having lived in Charlotte, we came here with virtually no “mountain-living gear,” so today we went shopping! We came home with 2 snow shovels, an ice scrapper, an axe, a splitting wedge, tire chains and tensioners for Andy’s Honda, and non-perishable food that we stored away. Some of our new treasures will soon come in handy because it is forecasted to snow for the next 3 days 🙂

Peace and Love,

Heather, Andy & Ollie

Posted by: heatherandandybrown | January 19, 2012

New Orleans (part 2)

Contrary to my prior misconception, there’s more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street! What I discovered was that New Orleans is a brilliant mosaic of culture, food and music. Some of our favorite experiences were:

  • Bar hopping on Frenchman Street, an endless selection of live music ranging from Creole to the Blues. The most fascinating act we saw was one featuring a talented washboard player.
  • Eating Beignets (Fried dough covered with powdered sugar) at Cafe Du Monde!
  • Sipping on warm Irish Coffees at an Irish pub in the French Quarter.
  • Taking a free fairy ride across the Mississippi River
  • Driving through the Garden District to view the Victorian homes
  • Visiting the historic St. Louis Cemetery No 1. Among the weathered and crumbling graves an “out of place” 10 ft high pyramid caught our eye. I was intrigued by the Latin inscription so took a photograph of it so I could google it when I got home. To my surprise, it is the future burial spot for Nicolas Cage! article The infamous voodoo queen Marie Laveau and chess master, Paul Charles Morphy are also buried here.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTOS 

Upon our return home, I sorted through our stack of mail to find  Adventure Cycling’s photo clad Catalog of 2012 bike tours. They featured a week long tour around Silverthorne, CO (an hour and a half from where we are moving). The itch to ride has not left us since we got home. Instead of driving the 28miles to pick up Andy’s car from my parent’s property in York, SC we rode our bikes. Hopefully there will be some good road biking by our new home!

We would like to thank all of our friends and family for the moral support on our trip. The phone calls, texts, e-mails, and comments were always in the back of our minds to keep us going when we needed it most.

Thank you for taking the journey with us!

Heather, Andy, & Ollie

Posted by: heatherandandybrown | January 15, 2012

Journey’s End at “The Big Easy”

Day 32– 38.8miles – Slidell, LA to New Orleans, LA – 3hrs 16mins in the saddle– Sunny & Windy

It was a bitter sweet feeling rolling into New Orleans. Excited beyond words that we had biked over 1,000 miles to reach our destination and simultaneously coming to the sobering realization that this is the last day of being self sufficient on two wheels. We playfully hoped that we would hit it big at the casino so that we could keep riding.

Here are some quick stats from our trip:

  • 1,168 Miles
  • 98 Hours on the saddle
  • 32 Days on the road
  • 6 States
  • 2 Flat Tires (Andy & Ollie)
  • 1 Jar of Peanut Butter
  • 0 Accidents or Injuries
  

My parents (and their dog Barney) drove all the way down from Charlotte to hang out with us in New Orleans and to drive us back. I feel very fortunate to have such supportive parents! We are driving back to Charlotte tomorrow. More photos and videos to come when we get home, but for now The Big Easy is calling!

Peace & Love,
Heather, Andy & Ollie

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR ROUTE(You have to scroll down to the bottom of the sidebar and click page2 to see the most recent part of our trip)

Posted by: heatherandandybrown | January 11, 2012

The End Is In Sight

Day 28- 5.2miles (around town) – Dauphin Island, AL – 32mins in the saddle– Warm & Sunny

Day 29– 43.6miles – Dauphin Island, AL  to Pascagoula, MS – 3hs 25mins in the saddle– Warm & Humid

Day 30- 28.7miles – Pascagoula, MS to Biloxi, MS- 2hrs 10mins in the saddle– Warm & Mostly Cloudy

Day 31– 55.4miles – Biloxi, MS to Slidell, LA – 4hrs 20mins in the saddle– Cloudy, Windy, & Rain (last 45mins)

    

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS

3 States in 3 Days, Alabama to Mississippi to Louisiana! We enjoyed a rest day in Dauphin Island by exploring a bird sanctuary and relaxing on the beach. Ollie went swimming in the ocean and we caught a glimpse of our second alligator. Leaving Dauphin Island, we ran into Nishant who left Seattle in May and is biking the whole perimeter of the United States. Best of luck to you!!

In Biloxi, we took turns going into The Hard Rock Casino to try our luck at some slots. Andy quickly lost his $10 while Heather was down and got back up to $10 and cashed out.

We found ourselves in “neutral territory” (Mississippi) for the BCS College Football game between Alabama State and Louisiana State. On our ride that day, Andy picked up a LSU flag off the side of the road so he saw it fitting to pull for them. Heather is a sucker for the underdogs so she cheered on Bama. If you didn’t catch the game, Bama shout out LSU…Roll Tide!

“If there was one thing you are carrying that you could exchange for something you left behind, what would it be and why?” -Pam

Andy: “If we were starting all over again I wouldn’t have brought our solar chargers since we only tried to use them twice and they didn’t work very well.  We were able to find enough outlets to keep all our electronics charged.  I would have rather brought a little tripod so I could have taken some more videos and steadier photos.”

Heather: “After 32 days of wearing nothing but sports bras, no make-up, and no jewelry, I wish I would have brought something feminine to make me feel pretty. Maybe a light weight skirt or necklace. I didn’t use my Nook at all and would have traded that out.” 

What city/town you would visit again in order to spend more time? -Sarah “If we were camping: Skidaway Island off the coast of GA. The massive live Oak trees draped with Spanish moss and the extensive network of nature trails were awesome. If we were beaching it: Pensacola Beach. It wasn’t overly touristy, had pristine beaches, and a fun atmosphere.” 

What was the best and worst parts of your journey? -Ben “The worst was definitely watching a dog get hit by a car. It wasn’t leashed in it’s yard and ran into the road. The best part was getting to spend so much quality time with each other and Ollie dog.”

 

Next time you hear from us we will be drinking a beer on Bourbon Street!

Andy, Heather, & Ollie

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR ROUTE (You have to scroll down to the bottom of the sidebar and click page2 to see the most recent part of our trip)

Posted by: heatherandandybrown | January 7, 2012

Goodbye Florida, Hello Alabama!

Day 24- 37.6miles – Panama City Beach, FL to Destin, FL – 3hrs 32mins in the saddle- Below Freezing and Windy

Day 25– 47.6miles – Destin, FL to Pensacola Beach, FL – 3hs 48mins in the saddle- Cool & Mostly Sunny

Day 26- 41.4miles – Pensacola Beach, FL to Gulf Shores, AL- 3hrs 33mins in the saddle- Warm & Windy

Day 27– 31.5miles – Gulf Shores, AL to Dauphin Island, AL – 2hrs 35mins in the saddle- Mostly Cloudy & Warm

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS

Our first day back on the road from our break in Panama Beach City we experienced our coldest  weather yet. Florida was not spared from the “Arctic Blast” that ran through the East with temperatures hoovering around freezing all day and pretty strong headwinds. We dressed for the weather and stayed relatively warm. The day’s route had us going through some spectacular beach communities (two that we remember are Alys Beach and Rosemary Beach). We stopped in a cute town center to take a bathroom break and eat some snacks. Just as we were about to leave we noticed that Ollie’s trailer had a completely flat tire. The bike gods were shinning down on us that day because 20ft away was a bike rental shop where we borrowed a stand-up bike pump.

Day 25 was our reward for making it through the cold day before. There was absolutely no wind and there was very little traffic all day! Our favorite stretch was 8 miles through the Santa Rosa National Park which had sand dunes as big as buildings. If your travels ever take you to Pensacola Beach, we highly recommend that you stay at the family owned Paradise Inn. The room had a rustic Italian character, they have their own private beach and an attached bar and grill. Our back door even opened up to a fenced in dog run where Ollie enjoyed some off the leash fun.

After 18 days of trekking through Florida, we crossed over the Alabama state line. So far, the Alabama coast has not been that different than Florida. We have seen some beautiful bodies of water, lots of white sand, and have continued to enjoy the Gulf’s freshest seafood. Today’s journey culminated with a peaceful ferry ride over to Dauphin Island. We had been warned that the ferry might be closed due to mechanical issues (The alternate route would have added 80 miles onto our trip). Good fortune continued to follow us as the ferry opened this afternoon after days of being closed.

As we are nearing the end of our adventure, we would like our next post to be “Reader’s Choice.” Leave any question you have about our trip as a comment on this post and we will answer it 🙂

Peace and love,

Heather, Andy & Ollie

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR ROUTE  (You have to scroll down to the bottom of the sidebar and click page2 to see the most recent part of our trip)

Posted by: heatherandandybrown | January 2, 2012

Panama City Beach, FL

Day 20- 64.1miles – Blountstown, FL to Panama City Beach, FL- 5hrs 24mins in the saddle- Warm & Sunny

Day 21– 8.2miles – Panama City, FL to Panama City Beach, FL – 47mins in the saddle- Warm & Sunny

Day 22 – 0 miles – Panama City Beach, FL – Cool & Mostly Cloudy

Day 23 – 0 miles – Panama City Beach, FL – Cold & Windy

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS

Ahhhh… gulf shore breezes, white sandy beaches, painted skies… this is what I have been dreaming of for the past 440miles (since we left the Atlantic Coast).

98% of the 64miles that we rode leaving Blountstown was on HWYs, some of which there was no shoulder and stretches where the speed limit was 65mph. We rode quickly and defensively. Fortunately, the remainder of our journey has us hugging the gulf coast most of which I think will be on slower scenic roads.

We have spent the past couple days at a quaint mom and pop hotel on Panama City Beach. There are few amenities, but the view and location are perfect. There is a small sand dune lined with sea-grass separating our front door from the beach and we are minutes away from Pier Park, an outdoor mall.

New Year’s Eve, the high was in the mid-70s, not too warm, not too cool, the perfect temperature to lie lazily on the beach and soak up the sun. Serendipity would have it that we are a few blocks away from the Hofbrau German Beer Garden where we enjoyed jagersnitzel and liters of beer straight from Munich.

At 8pm we headed to Pier Park to witness the annual “Beach Ball Drop.” Suspended above the street were huge cargo nets holding back thousands of inflatable beach balls. We were more excited than the crowd of children around us while we waited with anticipation for the massive volley ball game that was surly going to ensue. “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1” For a few glorious seconds the sky rained beach balls, but to our bitter surprise very few of the balls were bounced in the air. Grown-ups and children were selfishly grabbing up as many balls as they could hold and started waddling towards the exit. Some adults passed by with 3 or 4 balls tucked under their arms, balls that you can most likely find 3/$1 at the Dollar Store. Where’s the fun in that!?

It’s 11:15pm and we are struggling to stay awake so we turn on the TV to watch the countdown Live from NYC. To our surprise, confetti is falling in Time Square and we hear “It’s 15 minutes into 2012, we hope your new year has started out well.” We look at our phones and confer that they both display 11:15. Are we in an episode of The Twilight Zone? What is going on!? For a couple of minutes we were very confused and spooked.  After some googling, we come to find out that we are right on the edge of the central time zone. It didn’t occur to us that we had biked through the entire East coast time zone J

At midnight (12am central time 😉 there was a magnificent display of fireworks shot off from the pier. Ollie didn’t care much for the echoing booms, but the mirrored fireworks in the water below made for a breathtaking start to the New Year.

Wishing you lots of peace and happiness in the new year!

Heather, Andy & Ollie

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR ROUTE (You have to scroll down to the bottom of the sidebar and click page2 to see the most recent part of our trip)

Posted by: heatherandandybrown | December 30, 2011

Middle of Florida

DAY 16-  42miles- Lake City, FL to Suwannee River State Park, FL – 3 hrs 14 mins in the saddle – Cool & Mostly Sunny

DAY 17-  53.4miles- Suwannee River State Park, FL to Monticello, FL – 4 hrs 46 mins in the saddle – Sunny & WINDY

DAY 18-  47.6miles- Monticello, FL to Tallahassee, FL – 4 hrs 2 mins in the saddle – Cool & Mostly Sunny

DAY 19- 50.8miles- Tallahassee, FL to Blountsville, FL – 3 hrs 58 mins in the saddle – Sunny

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS

In Suwannee River State Park, we built our camp site with a highly engineered canopy made from a tarp as we expected heavy rain/thunderstorms that night and all the next day.  We expected the thunderstorms to prevent us from riding much the next day (it was 50+ miles to the next town with camping/hotels) and thought we would just take a day off at the State Park.  Our efforts kept us dry through the night and we lucked out because the rain stopped late in the morning.

We headed out on day 17 to face strong headwinds (11+mph with up to 33mph gusts) the entire day.  The 53.4 miles we road felt more like 100!  To top it all off we ended up in Monticello Florida which is Italian for “little mountain”.  They named it appropriately because it was one of our longest accents.

The next day we road to Tallahassee, home of the Florida State University Seminoles.  Based on the number of hills/climbs in Tallahassee we think that it must translate to “many hills”.  Whoever said that Florida was flat?  It sure hasn’t seemed like that lately.

Yesterday (Day 19) we decided to ditch the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) maps that had us heading North West to DeFuniak Florida and B-line it for the beach.  We felt like we had seen enough of rural Florida.  The ACA maps would have put us at the beach in about 5 more days but by altering our route using the Google Bicycle mapping system we could get there in two.  Before we headed out riding I told Heather that “there goes our chance of running into any other people that are also on a bicycle tour” since we are going off of the ACA routes.  It just so happened that 15 miles into our trek we saw two fully loaded riders in our rear view mirrors.  Jason and Amanda had been taking a break at a gas station when they saw us ride by.  They told us they jumped on their bikes to catch us.  We road with them for over 30 miles and learned that they had been riding from New York to Florida.  From Florida they were heading West to California.  They have been on the road for over 2 months and said we were only the second bicycle tour-ers they had seen on their entire trip.  It was awesome to ride with them and share stories.  We hope to run into them again along the way…possibly in New Orleans…which is getting close!

Today we are heading to the beach, specifically Panama City Beach.

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR ROUTE

Have a safe and exciting New Years!

Andy, Heather & Ollie

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories