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Africa

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Apparently most people don’t randomly go on trips to Africa from Oregon. Something about the 23 hours of travel (each way), money, danger, etc etc. But fuck it, I do what I want and when my Internet friend (now real friend!) invited me to visit him in South Africa, I said, see ya Thursday. Now you may have caught some photos on Yobeat, but that was only one day of my trip! For the rest of my adventures, read on.

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We took one of those obnoxious red tourist busses around Johannessburg, and wouldn’t ya know? I actually learned a bunch of stuff. It also probably prevented us from being robbed, as we stuck out just a little and poverty is rampant in the city. Those pink drips are part of an Urban Art project to beautify some of the bricked-up buldings that are all over downtown Joburg.

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Every time I saw a “To Let” sign, I thought it said Toilet. But in reality, public bathrooms are not plentiful, or really something you probably wanna use.

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There were a bunch of nice buildings in the middle of the comdemned ones.

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I’ve never felt so white in my life. And I am pretty fucking white.

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Laundry day.

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African kids are the cutest.

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Why yes, I did feel like an overprivledged asshole taking this photo.

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The Carlton Hotel (now closed) and the tallest building in Johannesburg, which we didn’t go in.

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The locals were hyped on getting their pictures taken.

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Urban decay.

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Well, this building had all its windows, so that was something.

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More friendly locals.

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This is like the South African version of the Corn Palace, I think.

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My hosts, John and Shaun who kept me entertained and from getting car jacked/raped/murdered while I was there.

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Inspirational graffti.

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I assume this used to have a roof.

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Day two we went to check out the cradle of humankind, where they believe all human life on earth originatied. So yes, we are all African, technically.  We were pretty stoked to get these stylish helmets for our journey into the Sterkfontein caves. As it turns out, they would actually come in handy.

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Taking photos in a cave is pretty much impossible, so you’ll have to take my word that it was cool.

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Art.

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Obvious next mission in Africa: a safari. While our guide told us his name (twice) I imediately forgot it and referred to him as Ndugu for the rest of the day. Close enough. Anyway, he has pretty much the coolest job in the world.

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Shaun was oppoosed to selfies, but really I just wanted to take a nochalant photo of our tour compatriots. They were awesome and would randomly break into song whenever we went for awhile without seeing animals.

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I basically missed my calling and was pointing out animals all day. Here we see two Kudu, an african Antelope.

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This is a bird.

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Impala. These things are like the razor scooters of Kruger National park. They are everywhere.

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Wet back antelope.

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There are only 200 cheetahs in all of Kruger, and we saw two of them!

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You guys get that?

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Monkeys are awesome.

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Despite my best efforts to catch one and bring it home, I failed.

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Baboons may look like monkeys, but there were signifcantly less appealing to try and catch.

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This dude is starting a fight.

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More monkeys!

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Of all the enourmous creatures, the rhino was by far the least photogenic. Pretty much just looks like a rock.

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This bird is apparently really ugly up close, but it looked cool from the road.

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Speaking of ugly, even being a baby didn’t make warthogs cute.

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You are not allowed to get out of your car within the park, cause you know, man-eating animals, but we did get to walk around on a giant rock at this overlook.

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Though we stayed at a hotel called hippo hollow, we saw none of the fabled hippos there. Luckily, Kruger came through.

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An elephant was actually the first animal we saw, and holy shit, it didn’t even seem real.

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But then by like elephant number 5 it was just kinda like, meh, another elephant.

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These two giraffes were pretty tight.

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They are tall.

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Very tall.

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Bufallo, animal number 3 of the big five (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino). Though we missed out on Lions and Leopards, I’d say we did alright.

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And another monkey for good measure.

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Some Lion King shit right here.

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Despite cries from the plebeians that my “whole life is a vacation,” sometimes I feel the need to actually get away from the Internet. But since the ‘net is global, this can be a challenge. This year, I figured out the perfect destination. Newfoundland. It’s closer than Europe, but they still have funny accents, and most importantly, international data ain’t cheap, so my phone was more like a wifi-enabled camera. But when anyone found out we’d come all the way from Portland, they asked the same question – why here? And I guess it was a bit of an odd choice, seeing as we didn’t know anyone, or really anything about the place. But after six days I came up with a few reasons.

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1. Pot holes.

Since we had plenty of time to kill, we opted to drive the entire Irish Loop. In a mere six hours, you get to see a good chunk of Newfoundland and more coves than I could count. The real highlight of the loop though, were the enormous and unavoidable potholes on the Northern part that jarred our lime green Chevy Spark and had me legitimately scared that we were going to blow a tire and be stuck in Trepassy forever. Now I understand why they were so emphatic we get the tire insurance.

2. Screech.

When you go to the island, it’s essential that you get “screeched in.” As a “come from away”  everyone tells you this so emphatically that you wouldn’t dare argue. However, after paying $20 for a chunk of spam, a kiss on the lips from a cod and a shot of screech, I’m pretty sure this is the best scam anyone’s ever come up with. Bravo Newfies, bravo.

3. Jiggs Dinner.

A few locals told me I had to try Jiggs Dinner, a traditional Newfie Sunday meal. It’s basically a bunch of Newfie delicacies, such as turnips and salt meat, boiled for awhile and then served with a side of gravy. We were lucky to meet Sherrie (yes, on Tinder), who not only guided us to the goods of the island, but whipped up an authentic Jiggs dinner for us on the final night of our trip. Salt meat is actually pretty gross, which was not a huge surprise considering most of the other food there was too. But still, culture, man.

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4. Skeets.

Skeets are Newfoundland’s version of townies and they are a rare breed. While my main encounters with them were via Tinder, they boast epic accents, ridiculous piercings, oddly colored hair and a very narrow world view. The girls are named Brenda and Trina and the dudes all wear Fox jackets, have bad facial hair, and apparently make large amounts of money working as engineers.

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Photo: Jared Souney

5. Skateboarding.

Actually, Newfoundland is a terrible place to go skateboarding. It rains all the time and the two parks I visited were nothing special. The first in Mt Pearl, a St John’s suburb, was built by Newline (one of my favorite park builders) but unfortunately was covered in pebbles and overrun with razor scooters. Mundy Pond was bigger, and arguably better, but mostly made me wish I knew how to ollie. Instead I slashed a corner and Jared made it look sort of cool.

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6. Icebergs.

Actually, we had no idea that if we had arrived a few weeks earlier, there would have been Icebergs everywhere! It’s even where the above photo of my boy Parks Bonifay was taken. But alas, we saw no icebergs, only heard the legend, as we were told repeatedly – should have been here in July.

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7. Lighthouses.

There are lots of them and they’re scenic as fuck.

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8. Sugar.

Like sweet things? Go to Newfoundland! Everything from the burgers to the pizza to the salsa were insanely sugary, which is apparently how they like it. Also, if you like seafood, they have lots of of that too, but I’m mostly just mentioning to have a reason to post this photo of crab. That shit was good.

9. Newfie Music.

Live music is not high on my list of vacation priorities, but we did jam out to some Newfie music on the radio and at bars. It’s sort of an Irish bluegrass, and the locals are really proud of it. Maybe next time we’ll go to one of the shows that are basically happening all day, every day on George St.

10. Pirate day!

Pirate day is when pirates come ashore, steal booty, take photos with children and then sail away in a boat that definitely did not look seaworthy. As you can imagine, it was AWESOME.

Now enjoy the art a created with my camera.

 

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Last weekend I took an impromptu trip North to catch the pre-opening day at Stevens Pass, which perhaps even more exciting meant going to Stevens Pass for the first time. Though I’ve driven past the sign for route 2 at least 100 times, I never made it east on that particular highway. We arrived in Skykomish well after dark, but it was pretty clear this town was awesome, in that, never wanna live here in a million years kinda way.

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Haunted brothel? Ok!

We stayed at the only hotel in town, a classic joint with shared bathrooms and a cafe smelling of deep fryer attached. However, we were told the “best fried chicken in Washington” was actually available down the street at the OTHER restaurant in town. There we did find some delicious chicken, as well as most of the townspeople, a combination of snowboard-looking types and old people. Really old people. Needless to say, it was a wild night in Skykomish!

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Derrek Lever is good at presses.

Stevens Pass opening was great, but you can read all about that here, so instead I’ll skip ahead to our jaunt to Leavenworth. The idea of Octoberfest in Washington’s only Bavarian Village SOUNDED amazing. The reality was much different, and if anything, all the ugly Americans really detracted from the beauty of this quaint little town. So we drank a beer, ate some schnitzel and got back on the road to Oregon. I think I’ll go back when it’s raining.

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This place is real.

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Ye old pretzel shop.

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I had to crop out all the fat people in liederhosen.

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Nature’s majesty.

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It was my 3rd 29th birthday last week, and since it’s the one holiday a year that’s all about me, that means I get to do whatever I want! This year I wanted to drop everything and take an impromptu trip to the Olympic Peninsula. Even though I’ve almost lived in the Northwest long enough to be considered a Northwesterner, this is one corner of the country I was yet to explore.

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There was a sign that said “rustic retreat” but despite Jared’s greatest fears, the Manitou lodge had both electricity and showers.

We stayed two nights in Forks, where they filmed Twilight and had I actually seen the movie, this would probably have been pretty exciting. The townsfolk certainly seemed proud of it, as everything from the Native Art Gallery to the Burger Joints boasted all sorts of Twilight souvenirs. We stayed at a quaint B&B like real grown ups, and spent the days burning fossil fuels to check out the rainforest, beaches and various “big trees.”

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This was just one of the “big trees” we saw, each denoted with a sign so you knew it was especially big. The truth is, all the trees up there are big.

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I made Jared stand by lots of things. This rock on the Northwestern Coast was almost as far Northwest as you could get, so that’s something.

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Despite the warning signs, we saw no vicious sea loins. Kind of a disappointment really.

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In stark contrast to the Twilight theme, this boat was called Daybreak.

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We drove like an hour and ended up in Neah Bay, which is an Indian Reservation with feral dogs, a port and a boat named Zebra.

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Cemeteries fascinate me — they’re always different no matter where you go. Though since this one was technically on an Indian Reservation, I suppose it would be a “burial ground.” Or is that not PC to say?

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Elk! Lots of elk.

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Our hotel ended up being about 10 minutes from Rialto Beach, which was awesome. Apparently there’s a zone called Hole in the Wall that’s great and we set off to check it out, but after about 100 yards of picking through drift wood we decided a mile plus hike sounded hard, so we didn’t make it.

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I got all sorts of arsty, obviously.

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I’m not sure how anyone could look at this tree and not want to climb it.

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It was supposed to rain all weekend, but the sun was actually out and made the woods by the beach look extra neat.

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There were climbing trees everywhere!

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Sparkly rocks.

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Jared scouted out this snake, which I immediately attempted to catch. It didn’t work, but I did take a picture of it.

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We found a rope swing. Unfortunately it was no where near the water, and kinda of burned your hands to hang on to.

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An hour or so from Rialto beach was the Hoh Rainforest. Basically everything is covered in moss up there, the in the official National Park the moss is even mossier, if you can believe it.

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This is my kind of hike.

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Jared is the strongest man alive.

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We looked for ewoks and hobbits, but found neither.

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Instead I made Jared walk through the forest so you can see how huge these things are.

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The signs did not lie.

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And it’s official. Jared cannot see a phone booth without pretending to talk on his phone in it!


Despite having my professional-photo-taking significant other in tow, I opted to take self portraits.

My epic National Park adventure series continues with Redwoods National park. This time we were on the way to a rail jam in San Francisco and took an extra day to scope some big trees. Word to the wise: the end of October is a GREAT time to visit places that are supposed to be seen in the summer. No tourists!


It’s almost impossible to get the scale of these things without a person or something else for context. If you squint, you can see little Jared in this one.


Fisheye + redwoods = Awesome


If there was an opportunity to drive through a tree or otherwise view some tourist trap, we did!


Paul Bunyan is way bigger in person than you’d imagine.


The fallen trees are almost more impressive than the standing ones.


Forest vandalism.


Another selfie. This time accidental.


I went into a tree. Jared took a picture. I took a picture of him taking the picture. Pretty simple, really.


Nature, man.


Also on the 101, the ocean!


Look how much fun I’m having!

I’ve taken three trips to California this year. Two of them I took a car the whole way, and the most recent involved a quick flight and a not-so-quick drive. But more important than the destination is the journey, and on each of these trips I’ve hit a notable national park for the first time. First Crater Lake last June. Then Red Woods national park a few weeks back and today, Yosemite! I’ve been meaning to post all the pictures here, so I’m gonna work backwards and make it happen.


I’m about to get all Ansel Adams on shit, but the fall colors on this one were too pretty to discard.


Not even in the park yet, pretty impressed.


Hippies.


If Jared had been with me on this one, I would know the scientific name of this peak, I’m sure.


Lots of lava.


Cloudy day in Cali.


More lava.


Justin grabbed the sun for a minute.


He also blocked it out.


But seriously. This place is cool.


Burly.


This road rules.


Moving shot.


I could probably be convinced to camp here.


This moss was only on some trees, and it sure was neat.


And then it got dark.

The rumors are true. I went to South America. I spent most of the time snowboarding, and you can read lots of words about it here and here. This post though, is just a whole lot of pictures. Some from Cerro Catedral in Bariloche, and most from Buenos Aires, most notably Recoleta Cemetery.

It’s my last night in Argentina and I am staying in a hostel in Buenos Aires. Lots of pictures and the full story coming soon, but for now, here’s the epic saga of my 18 hour bus ride to Bariloche (which ended up being over 20 hours on the way back.)

I spent Labor Day weekend in Sante Fe for the joyous union of my cousin Emily in marriage. In between the three official parties, we did the tourist thing and I took some pictures. Here are a few of my favorites.

Chimayo crosses.

We stopped to take a picture of that house you can see in the background, but I actually like this aster close up better.

If you know me, you know I am not religious, however, there was no shortage of religious paraphernalia on our stops, so get used to it.

Obligatory Southwest cactus shot

Behind this sign, there was a man selling various chili powers. He made me smell all of them, but tricked my dad into trying some. Poor John said he wanted a beer, but we were in god’s country, so there was none to be found.

Speaking of god, this is Chimayo, home of Holy Dirt (actually just dirt in a hole that is supposed to heal the sick etc.) I assume they bought it at Home Depot.

Another angle on Chimayo temple

Shade was a good find, but overall, the sunny weather was very pleasant for a few days.

We ended up at some weird outdoor gallery full of $20,000 sculptures. This giraffe was pretty cool.

On the way back to Albuquerque, we stopped at a petting zoo. The goats liked me (it may have been the $2 worth of food, though)

Jared is NOT boozing in this photo. That is soda.

Old town Sante Fe.

There was surprisingly little graffiti on all the blank taupe canvases of Sante Fe. However, these people were clearly starting a “totally rad revolution.”

Jesus is watching.

Kicking Ass Ranch

Lake Santa Cruz

This staircase at the Lorette chapel is a marvel or engineering and believed to be built by St. Joseph himself. We paid $3 each to look at it.

Cerillos, NM.

This guy came to Chimayo to get healed. Looks like it didn’t work.

Hotel roses.

Self portrait.

Steeple.

Vigil store.

Old town theater.

Bummer.

Cerillos, NM

Camping!

My most recent trip took me to the heartland of America. Well, wait, is Kansas in the heartland, or more like the pelvis? Whatever, it’s a weird-ass place, probably one the strangest I’ve ever gone to on purpose. I was there for a wakeboard event at a cable park on a dead end road. In between where we stayed and the park was miles of mid-scale chain restaurants and big box stores, so I guess it was pretty much like anywhere else in America. I like to really immerse myself in the culture of a place though, so I managed to eat at Applebees, Old Chicago, Ruby Tuesdays, Chipotle and Hooters. Well technically we didn’t eat so much at Hooters as begin what would become a hangover I won’t soon live down. But really the most notable part of my trip to Kansas was a strip club called the Double Wide. As the name implies, it was a double wide trailer, and that’s all you really need to know. Now here are a  couple random pictures from my trip Kansas so that you never have to go there yourself (although please note I spent my entire time at a wakeboard contest, so subject matter was somewhat limited.)

Kansas bugs

Kansas grass

If you wanna see more sweet wakeboard shots, check out the full gallery here.