Some times the best hikes are not the smartest hikes and
sometimes these become the best adventures.
Next Exit Gas Food Laughter is a journey of my adventures
through the trails and streams of Southern california. Some times I trail run,
some times I hike mountains and some times I just relax with a fishing pole in
my hand.
One way or another adventures always seem to happen and they
are quite constantly hilarious.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Night Out on the Town with Barock


      What one event would absolutely not be on my bucket list?
      Going on a date with Barack Obama.
      I could skip it.
      I would rather go the Kentucky Derby or climb Manchu Pichu.
      And than the other night this happened.
     Yes, that is a caricature of me and seemingly the 44th President of the United States. 
      According to this caricature that is what I did with my weekend.
     In all actuality I went to the Los Angeles County Fair with my boyfriend and we had caricatures done and than had some craft beers and ate way to much fried and delicious food.
     It may have slipt my mind that I am dating Barock Obamas doopleganger until that evening.
     A night out on the town with Barock O Bama may seem like part of my worst nightmare but it was an amazing fun night!
       We rode the Ferris wheel, ate delicious lobster grilled cheese and found  the only open bar at the LA County Fair!
      It may appeared, briefly, that I am dating the 44th President of the United States but that's okay.
      I stuffed myself full of fried pork belly bacon and lobster grilled cheese until I felt better.

The F Word

      The hills are a dry, dusty dirt mess as I head out of town. This drought is destroying our once beautiful national forest. Years ago when I commuted this mountain highway to work in the spring time the hills would be a bright and vibrant green reminding me of Ireland, a foreign land I have never walked the shores of. I imagined it looked as lushly green as these hills on the road to my hometown on a foggy spring morning, dew hanging in the cool mountain air.
       That dewy spring day seems worlds away from the intensely hot and hellish autumn we are living through in Southern California. ( I say living through, but when it's above 108 and humid for a week straight, every day is just surviving) The last few days the highs in the valleys below my mountain town have been 109 to 112, and that's not even Palm Springs I'm talking about; that's just in San Bernardino and Riverside! (50 miles closer to the Pacific Ocean than Palm Springs!)
       I commute each day from my precious forest, deep and dead in drought to the valley below, were they laugh at me when I complain that it was a horrendous 85 degrees at my cabin in the mountains today! This morning as I drank my coffee ( iced, obviously) and watched the news it was nothing but weather warnings. Southern Californua was under a heat advisory for the next few days. The drought dried grasses on the side of the highway were dry as a bone and every mountain resident had great fear in their hearts about the F word.
        Fire.
        I left an hour early for work, a great plan to stop at Target real quick before my night shift. I was cruising down the highway listening to music loud a Subaru ahead of me on the mountain highway and another Subau behind me. All of us mountain residents drive the same type of vehicle. Suddenly the traffic came to a dead, dead stop.
        After slamming on my brakes and quickly hitting the hazards to warn the Subi behind me I sat there motionless. Loud, twangy country music filling my ears, steel guitar blaring as I wondered what was the hold up. Was it another accident? Was it a stalled car or had some one hit a large animal?
         I was stuck on a blind corner and I realized what ever was going on up around the bend it must be bad; all the cars in front of me were turning around and heading back up the highway ( this was seven miles down the highway from my front door, half of my commute. It must be a bad situation if people were turning around already) 
         As I sat in my Subaru listening to Tim McGraw serenade me suddenly in just moments thick black some was filing the sky above the pine trees.
       "Oh fuck" 
       I couldn't have stopped the words from escaping my mouth even if my eighty four year old grandma was with me. There are a few things that terrify us here in our little mountain home town.
       Forest wildfires are at the top of that list.
      I didn't  even turn off my car. My thoughts were in a jumble as I grabbed my iPhone, texting friends the terrible words

      Fire on the highway

     My feet hit the concrete and I rounded the corner to see a vehicle fully engulfed in flames just down the road way. I talked to the other drivers around me, also exiting their vehicles, no one had a fire extinguisher and there was no help in sight yet. We pondered, shouldn't we be hearing sirens by now?
      Where the car fire started was a dead zone for cell phones, miles from the nearest cell tower and as we talked and got a few pictures we knew we would have to drive back up the highway a mile to get a signal. As we had this conversation a chp came down the wrong side of the highway, finally ( it had felt like forever since the smoke appeared when actually it was probably just a few minutes.)
      As I stood there with neighbors from my small town, we all had the horrible thought in our heads, that car is fully engulfed, will this fire spread? It was a hopeless feeling. Before the chip showed up none of us had shovels or fire extinguishers or anything to help at all! 
      With the arrival of the authorities I decided to drive the seven miles back to the top of the highway and take the long way down the mountain to the valley; it seemed like a good chance that the highway could be closed for hours.
       Tim Mcgraw was still singing about diamond rings and old bar stools as I turned my car around on the narrow mountain highway and made my way back towards home, fire trucks screaming by outside my cars windows now as a hot wind wiped my face. I drove up towards the other highway out of " town" and eventually the city down below.
     The fire trucks were showing up fast, thank god, as I made miles between me and the fiery vehicle and I just prayed that the fire fighters would work fast and stay safe as in a matter of  three minutes the black smoke filled the bright blue skies.
  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I Survived the 80s; Riding in the Beds of Pickup Trucks, Gluten and Processed Foods


    I live in the mountains and that means driving zig zagging winding mountain roads. I'm used to this commute and I do not get car sick.
    I have so many friends who do however get car sick, and I feel bad for them when they come up to visit.
   I try to drive slow, no one wants a puker in their car, but it's hard for me to commiserate with them after what I lived through growing up.
   When I was a kid growing up in the eighties we had a lot of worn out cars.
   My Dad had this old pick up truck and three kids plus my Mom riding shot gun. He also had a lot of crap.
   There were jumper cables in the tiny back seat, at least two giant two liter trucker mugs and many bottles of Arizona iced tea, oh god I hoped they were not iced tea and not pee. (Dad did not believe in stopping for bathroom breaks)
    Because of all the crap in the little bucket seats in the tiny truck, my brothers and I would have to ride in the bed of the truck. The truck did have a shell on the bed. It did not however have air conditioning or seat belts.
   Welcome to the eighties. It is hard to believe now, but this was once legal. (Hell, I remember when they legalized motorcycle helmets in California. I can't believe some of the things that were legal when I was a kid)
    Did I ever get car sick in the back of that old pick up truck?
    No.
    If Dad was not going to stop driving to pee, he would not be stopping if some one puked.
    It's amazing to think this was normal activity in the eighties.
    I think of these stories now and it seems unbelievable.
   When I was a kid I drank out of the hose.
   I ate raw cookie dough.
   My Dad smoked til I was ten (Yea for Asthma today!)
   But there were good things in the eighties too.
   Remember Pong? That was an awesome video game (And violence free!)
   Us kids played pogs and monopoly. We spent summers building snow caves during winters snow storms.
   Yes, that's right; we played outside!
   We survived riding in the backs of pick up trucks, eating gluten and processed foods and lived to tell about it!

 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sierras Prep

      It's hard to believe two months ago I climbed most of Mt Whitney.
      Today on this sweltering hot fall morning I fought my way a mile up trail before I had to turn around to go to work and believe me it was rough.
       The last two months have been nothing but one bodily problem after another and I feel like shit as an athlete today.
       I have dreams in my head of running a marathon in Febuary and at this point it's looking impossible.
       The close goal though is the Sierras in eight days with my boyfriend and that will mean hiking ten miles a day.
      Runs like this are just training for the Sierras so I don't look like a wuss.
      And it will begin to get easier, this marathon training in a few weeks when the weather cools down a few degrees.
      Today is rough though and it makes me feel terrible as an athlete when I remember the kind of shape I was in six months ago.
      My new workout regin involves doing the workout videos Insanity and I absolutly love it and its giving me new fitness goals to focus on and a little break from trail running every single morning.
      And its nice to have some core workouts and use some muscles other than just my legs, calves and hamstring.
      I saw a cartoon once comparing women runners bodies to tyrannosaurs Rex and believe me, for most women runners I think that is a likely comparison with our buffed out thighs, hamstrings and calves off set by our skinny arms and upper bodies.
      Now who wants to look like a T Rex?
      That right there is motivation for training hard core this week.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Romney Hates Fido!

    I voted for Mitt Romney a few years ago. 
    I'm not proud of that fact but in 2012 what was my other choice; vote for Obama and a life time of Obama Ccare ahead for our great nation?
    Hell no; Mitt might have not been the best choice but I went with the conservative choice in the long run.
     At least having a conservative in the white house will not erase the war on drugs, open up our borders and give us all free health care.
    And I thought that was behind me me back in 2012.
    Until today.
    As I wondered through my local Trader Joe's grocery store parking lot I spied a SUV with a Dogs Against Romney bumpersticker.
    And I was extremely confused.
    Dogs Against Romney?
    Why would dogs hate Mitt Romney?
    Thank god for Wikipedia; there it was at my finger tips.
    The infamous Mitt Romney Irish Setter Incedent of 1983.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt_Romney_dog_incident

    It seems that in 1983 good 'ol Mitt Romney ( well, he was actrually 36 at the time) decided to take a road trip with his Irish setter tied to the roof of his SUV.
     Okay well ol red was actually in a home made kennel but yes good old Mitt drove his dog to the ocean on a twelve hour road to Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada eh.
      Yes Mitt, almost the president all those years later, drove almost 650 miles with an Irish setter strapped to his roof.
      Sounds kind of wacky but cone on, it was the eighties! Laws, what laws? You could ride  motorcycles with out a helmet back in the day and there were not seatbelt laws! We ate gluten back than for God's sake!
    And this is just one more reason for liberals to hate Mitt Romney.
    This bumper sticker was on a newer looking SUV too so this individual who obviously loves dogs and hates Mitt is still upset about the great Irish Setter Incident of 1983 all these years later.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Bang and a Splash

    This year I celebrated my birthday with a bang and a splash
    It started out a normal birthday lunch.
    My boyfriend and I were trying out a new restaurant sitting outside under the pines and enjoying the gorgeous still late summer weather. There were thunderstorms building in the forest behind us but at our table in the sunshine the day was still warm and it felt like the most prefect summer day.
     Until I ordered the chili rellenos.
     We munched on some corn chips waiting for our meal, planning our upcoming Vegas vacation while waiting for our entrees.
     His whole fried tilapia fish came out first and it looked delicious, fried crispy and still staring at me with cold dead deep fried fish eyes.
      Seconds later the waitress approached our table with my chili rellenos taco combo but her shoe caught the wood of the outside deck and before you could say happy birthday my entire lunch landed in my lap, down the front of my sweater and pretty much every where.
     It was like something out of a movie!
     On my first birthday my parents got me my own miniature birthday and I destroyed it.
     There are pictures of me with cake in my hair, in my ears and it's decorated my entire party dress.
     Thirty three years later and it's pretty much the same scenario only replace birthday cake with spicy chilies and ground beef.
       I felt so bad for the poor waitress. We had already told her it was my birthday and she felt so very bad. She helped me clean up and I picked at A's fish as we waited for the kitchen to refry a new chili rellenos for me. ( His tilapia was delicious by the way; I must order this again!)
       When my chili rellenos platter did come out it was actually really good and we will eat at this restaurant again for sure!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Paris and Goats

   This blog cracked me up.

http://melssweetlife.com/2012/03/25/paris-according-to-mike/

    After I read it, I thought to myself, I NEED to go back to Paris.

   I want so bad to go to mass at Notre Dame. I'm not Catholic, but it just seems like such a cool thing to experience in Paris. I've been to Notre Dame....

and it was awesome don't get me wrong but there are so many things I feel like I still need to do in Paris.     
     Like visit every cheese shop in Paris. 
     Twice.
     This food blog always finds a way to entertain me, but today more than usual.  Like the writer and his wife, I also traveled to Paris once. Unlike them, I spoke NO FRENCH and probably butchered the French language WAY more then they did. Still, Paris was one of my all time favorite places to visit and I want to go back there so bad. I ache to go back to Paris, I can feel it in my bones (Or it could be my sprained back)
    My theory is it's the goat.
   Yes, I said goat. In Paris they are not afraid of the goat cheese. 
    Yes, they even embrace goat cheese.
   Do I love the French?
   " non"
   Yet, I do love their cheese. Even though believe it or not, on a train leaving The Palace Versailles, I ate the stinkiest, most feet tasting goat cheese ever. 
    Yeah, it was gross. 
    I'll admit, I threw goat cheese away in Paris. I'm surprised les poulets did not arrest me on the spot! In France isn't that similar to being a political activist?

    Yet if you ask my travel partners, that was not the worst thing I did in Paris. 
     Let's just say I ate A LOT of goat cheese. 
     How do you say " Do you sell Gas X?" In French?
     Here you see my best friend Mimi trying to put a cork in my butt, so we would not get kicked out of Paris.

      I love the goat cheese, why does my body hate the goat cheese?