Monthly Archives: September 2011

Bear Spray. Never leave home without it. Ever.

So, as it turns out, this safety from bears things is serious business up here in Montana. We woke up on our first morning and headed down to Zone 2 to pick up some trail maps and bear spray. We found the spray prominently displayed at the checkout, price tag $60. WHAT?? Maybe we should reconsider. The guy next to us said, “Don’t even think about it. You have to have this.” This was echoed by nearly ever single person in the store, whether they worked there or not. We dutifully purchased the bear spray (and some new, adorable, on-sale North Face hiking shoes for me), and were on our way.

Yep... bear spray comes with a chest harness

Dan decided he would wear the bear spray. Reading the directions and accompanying pamphlet had us all…

Some of the wildest and most concerning  bear stats / facts / use directives from the instructions:

  1. The spray has 5.4 seconds worth of bear spray.
  2. Bears can instantly reach speeds of 30 to 35 miles per hour in the matter of a split second, and can cover 50 yards in less than three seconds.
  3. Don’t spray the bear until it is 30 yards away. (Ummm… what!!! Especially when considering #1 and #2.)
  4. Practice, at least seven times going for your spray, or until you can reach it in a split second.

Seriously, this list could go on and on. Check out the UDAP website for more crazy facts and incredible bear survival story.

Beehive Basin Hike

We had originally planned to do a quick and easy .8 mile hike to a waterfall. Plans changed when our new friends at Gallatin Alpine Sports told us it was closed. They suggested Beehive Basin. The hike was incredible, but four times longer than expected. Hence the reason Meg and I were wearing jeans and casual (but cute) tops. Dan + Jonathan were naturally prepared as they couldn’t wait to wear their new gear… and they are guys. 

At the top of the basin

Day 1 – success…

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Up In The Air.. Literally

Yep… right now I’m posting from 30,000 feet on our way to Bozeman via Minneapolis. (Thank you, GoGo wireless.) This just adds to the list of things that make me obsessed with air travel. Collecting miles being my most UNHEALTHY obsession with air travel. George Clooney’s movie was at times a painful look in the mirror. The panic that ensues if I might not make Gold Medallion status is embarrassing. (And yes, I realize this is NOT an actual problem.)

Posting in the Clouds

For example, last week on Sports Center they were talking about how the Oakland Raiders were going to log the most miles this NFL season… 29,000. My first thought… “That is barely Silver Medallion. The LOWEST level of status you can have on Delta.” See… I told you this is a problem.

This also becomes an issue when one person in your relationship has a higher level status. This  year  it’s Dan… he is upgraded on our next flight, but I’m not. Most couples would say, well I’m sure he’ll give that upgrade to you. Not this couple… if you earned the perk, you get to keep the perk. And, let’s be real, Dan puts up with enough of my crazy as is. I think I he should be able to enjoy first class in peace. (Full disclosure: I did request that Dan ask if I could be upgraded… He complied, Delta denied.)

Well, it looks like we are about to make our initial descent which means GoGo will disappear and the Robs will be picking us up shortly. They have already had their first wildlife encounter.

JRob's New Bestie

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When Danimals Attack

Seven days from now Danimal and I will be on a plane headed to Montana + Wyoming for a week’s worth of epic adventuring with Meg + Jonathan (aka The Robs)! I knew the trip was going to be awesome when this was the meal at our trip planning brunch.  JRob is quite the chef.

We had thirds...

Even before the brunch, Meg + I had begun fantasizing about all of the outfit possibilities. I mean this trip just screams riding boots, puffy vests, and plaid shirts. It was time to start shopping.

Me: I need to buy some plaid shirts.

Dan: No you don’t. Plaid is out of style.

Me: Plaid is timeless. Just ask Ralph Lauren.

Dan: Whatever.

Fresh Clover Vest... Check!

I would also like to take this opportunity to give a serious shout out to Land’s End. If it wasn’t for them (and their fab sale), Meg and I would have had nothing to wear buy for this trip. That ‘Fresh Clover Vest’ is a Land’s End staple. They also have customer service reps that answer after one ring. I was so unprepared for this quality of service, that I had taken a bite of food expecting it to be at least 10 minutes before I spoke to an  actual human. Bravo… Land’s End. Bravo.

What shade of beige pant were you looking for? We have 47.

Given that we will be fly-fishing and hiking for several days, we all came to the same conclusion. Zip-off pants. REI here we come. REI is another outdoor clothing and gear wonderland. If any pair of zip-off pants (anywhere) were actually flattering, that is the only way the shopping excursion could have improved. Again… A+ customer service. Maybe I have just been shopping at the wrong stores.

Bear 101... Thanks, Natalie Dee!

The one thing I didn’t get at REI that I wanted was a back pack. Dan still doesn’t think I need one… see an earlier conversation below. (Don’t worry, I WILL be bringing a back pack.)  The following conversation ensued when Dan and I were discussing what we needed to buy for the trip:

Me: I need to buy a backpack for this trip.

Dan: Why do you need a backpack?

Me: For my camera, snacks, candy, and bear spray.

Dan: Why do you need bear spray?

Me: Because I’m pretty sure I’m the slowest person in the group.

Bears have manners...

Assuming I don’t actually get eaten by a bear, I will be blogging throughout. I hope Yellowstone is ready for us.

 

Photo Credits: Land’s End and Natalie Dee.

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Ess Eee See (SEC… duh)

No, this post is not about A&M’s eminent arrival to the SEC. (Ladies, I’m talking college football…) That being said, I am beyond excited about being a member of the most competitive conference in college football. Now if Baylor could just ‘man up’ and accept it, we would be on our way. I loved Pat Forde’s article this week about the hoopla. Technically, I married into the SEC. Dan (and his family) are RABID Auburn fans. And, as luck would have it, I have been working on a project at the university for the last five years.

Jordan Hare Stadium, with the NEW National Championship banner

We are days away from completing the final phase of the Shelby Center for Engineering. I have made roughly six trips to Auburn (or as the Chandlers would say ‘God’s Country’) this year to check on progress.

Under Construction

The final phase of the new engineering complex will connect the previously completed first phase to the rest of the campus. Ain’t it purty!

Shelby Center for Engineering

Of course we also head over to Auburn for my favorite thing about fall… college football. I will be so glad when my Ags play closer to the ATL. Although, I am not confident watching A&M play Auburn at Jordan Hare stadium is going to be great for my marriage.

War Eagle!

 

Photo Credit of Phase 1: HOK

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I Hate Irene

I hate Irene… not like New England and the Outer Banks hate Irene, but I still hate her. One week ago she ruined Trip #22. Dan, myself, and his ENTIRE family had planned to meet up for the baptism of our absolutely brilliant and beautiful niece, Annabelle.

Annabelle Salaun Chandler

But, Hurricane Irene had other plans. Apparently she thought she was invited… she was NOT. We waited all last week hopeful that she would make a wide right and the weekend would be saved, but alas, no such luck. This meant it was time to sit on hold with the airlines. So, I now share with you my tips for rebooking airline tickets. If you ever find yourself in this situation, you will be very frustrated… it is best that I show you another picture of Annabelle now. (Her cuteness will help you cope.)

Annabelle + her 1/2 Birthday flowers from her daddy... yes, I support 1/2 birthdays

How to Rebook a Flight:

  1. Have all of your flight information with you… confirmation number, flight number, time, etc.
  2. Have the credit card you booked with near by. (Or, like yours truly, just have that number memorized.)
  3. Be prepared to wait on hold for up to two hours. If you are medallion status, this normally is significantly less time… 15 minutes or less.
  4. Remember the person’s name you are speaking with and use it repeatedly.
  5. Repeat back what they are saying to you. This way when they tell you something ridiculous, they can hear how ridiculous it sounds as well.
  6. Remain calm. This is nearly impossible for me to do… Dan and my co-workers can confirm this. I usually end up angry crying or hanging up. This gets you nowhere. I try to remember this.
  7. Ask about a refund. If your flight is cancelled because of a hurricane, you are entitled to a full refund. If you are flying to or from the area likely to be hit within a few days of the hurricane, you normally can get a refund as well… even if it isn’t cancelled.
  8. Take advantage of no change fees.They usually give a one time ticket change with no fee as well in this situation. And for those who have had to rebook with a fee, you know this is steep… normally $150.  But, you must rebook by a certain date to not have the fee. This time frame is normally two days after the hurricane. It is easiest to have your new travel dates and flight numbers ready to go during this call.
  9. The only thing to fight in this situation is the change fee. If they try to make you pay one, ask to speak to a supervisor. (Yes, this means more holding.) If they say they don’t have supervisor, DON’T say… “I didn’t realize you were the CEO of ‘insert airline name here'”. Trust me, this also will get you nowhere.

And because I can’t help myself… one last picture of Annabelle.

Future Swimmer

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