Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day Four: Snowmobiling Alpine, WY

Ready for day four! Its snowing!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 2: Snowmobiling Alpine, WY

Ready for day 2!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

View from our Rental House Alpine, WY

View from the deck looking towards idaho.

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Unloading Snowmobiles: Alpine, WY

unloading

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Sun is coming up

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snake River Overlook, WY on our way to Alpine, WY

The famous snake river overlook

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Still Driving! On our way to Alpine, WY

Still driving! Almost to jackson

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Going over togowotee pass. Clear day. we can see the tetons!

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

This might be why roads r closed

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Just crossed the missouri river on hwy 44 little icy here

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Travel is a little slow n windy today. On hwy 44 in s dakota. Interstate still closed

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snowmobiling Alpine, Wyoming

We're back now! Here's the story of our trip.

Here's my original post:
We’re planning to leave for our snowmobiling trip tomorrow on Christmas Day! Hopefully our travel doesn’t get delayed from this snow storm that's coming through. We usually go south through Minnesota on Hwy 23 and then take I-90 across South Dakota but it appears right now I-90 is closed through Chamberlain. So we'll have to see what the weather brings tomorrow and if they open that road! Or we might have to try the North Dakota route or something?? We’ll wait and see what it looks like! I’ll update my Twitter whenever I have phone service (you can find these updates on the right side of our blog). If we have internet at the house we're renting I’ll update the blog but I’m not sure if we do. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Here are some links to sites with road conditions:
Minnesota Road Conditions Map
South Dakota Road Conditions Map
North Dakota Road Conditions Map
Wyoming Road Conditions Map


Here are some more handy links:
Alpine, Wyoming webcam
Southwest Trails/Grey's River Avalanche Report
Snotel site for Blind Bull Summit
Wyoming Range Snowmobile Trail Map

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!



Everest:


Junebug (Santa's Little Helper):



Love,
The Schnells :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Building our Pine Log Bookshelf!

We finished building our pine log bookshelf! Here it is!!! Read below for the story ...



Our bookshelf project started about a month ago when I first posted about it. Prior to that post we had made a trip to Home Depot to get our supplies. There was some other random dude in the wood aisle also loading up many pieces of wood. We had the Vibe with since it has a roof rack and more space than our other car. After we checked out we started loading the smaller pieces into the back. The random dude from the wood aisle then came over and blurted out '24 boards.' We were like 'huh?' He replied 'You can fit 24 boards in there.' Turns out he also has a Vibe and buys a lot of wood and knows how many will fit. Good to know. Thanks, random guy! We proceeded to load the wood and strap the big piece of plywood that would be the back of the book shelf to the roof rack on top. I'm sure this looked pretty humorous - I should have taken a pic :)

The next day Grant took all the wood to work and cut it to the size we wanted. That night we measured out and marked where all the shelves would go so we'd be ready to start nailing. Then we fired up our 'milkhouse heater' in the garage and set out to put the thing together. Grant had borrowed a nail gun from a guy at work which was an excellent idea because it would have taken us FOREVER otherwise! So, he proceeded to attempt to put the first nail in the bookshelf after we had wood glued it ... and it went sideways. Of course this resulted in a lot of swearing and I was like, Grant, really, I think it's going to be fine. He said no, he wanted it to be perfect! Oh boy, we had a lot of work to do :) Well, the rest of the nails actually went in straight and we had most of it together in no time! Pretty slick except I forgot to take pics before this point!



The next task was to fill the nail holes with putty. This also didn't go so well at first. The directions say to apply the varnish or clear coat first and then put the putty in the nail holes. Well, we decided to go against the rules and do the putty first. It ended up making discolored marks around the nail holes that showed up more when we put the clear coat over the top. Hmm ... note to self ... follow the directions next time. Grant fixed it up by sanding it off and re-doing the clear coat so I think it looks just fine. Now we know for the next time!


Then we ordered the pine logs to put on the edges (they came de-barked, sanded and routered to a 90 degree angle). Once we had those we put clear coat on them, screwed them on the front corners and put the top on to finish it!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas with the Schnells!

Grant and I spent the weekend in Clotho to celebrate Christmas with Mom and Dad Schnell and Molly and Clark!

Molly made her famous pies


The Ingmans came over to visit


We took a family pic


And we opened presents and had a great time!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ice Fest 2009

Grant and I joined the Johnsons and many other crazy folks who like to brave the cold MN winter at Ice Fest in Sandstone, MN this weekend. We had a great time as usual even though there were times when we were FREEZING!

We helped Ed Bouffard, the ski pulk guy, set up his tent and put together his sleds for people to try out.
video
We were entertained by the Outdoor Endeavors crew that was camped next to us. We watched Grover, Josh and EB try out some ice climbing. We ventured out for a walk along the river to warm up. We chatted with the skijoring guys that were there and chuckled as a pet goat trampled through camp!
video
Later on we checked out the gear swap in town and listened to Dawn Glanc, the speaker for the evening. That was followed by some fireworks that were being lit off so close to us we thought we might start on fire! Then, of course, we ended the evening with a beer at the Gas Light bar and some words of wisdom from Ryan Woodward:

“Your only job is life, so let’er buck.”

It was inspiring. :) That night it was slightly chilly sleeping in a tent but we survived. The next morning Ed made us some tasty fried bagels and then we packed up and made our way back home. It was a fun time!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kitten Dinner

Apparently Everest thought I was setting the table for him ...



And he didn't appreciate Junebug trying to get in on the action ...


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mom's Birthday Party!

We had a little birthday gathering for Mom's birthday at our place today. We had some ham and cheesy potatoes for lunch.

We snapped a few family pictures after Ella woke up from her nap:














and took some pics of the Christmas kitties












Mom opened her present and we had some angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream for dessert!

Christmas Tree Hunt

Grant and I decided to cut our own Christmas tree again this year! Last year we went to a nice place but it was a little spendy and pretty commercialized. This year we decided to try a little more rustic, off-the-beaten path place and dude did we find a deal! Ok the place was a little shady but we got our cute little tree for the bargain price of $20! That's like half the price of last year's tree. When we got there an old guy with overalls came out of the old house on the property. He told us if we want the $20 trees we should go back around the shed and have our pick of any of the ones planted back there. So we ventured back there and could tell why it was cheaper here. It definitely wasn't as well-kept as the place we went last year. There were bottom parts of trees all over where people had just taken the tops. Oh and there were nice old snowmobiles and tractors all over :) hehe .. but we were fine with it. We kept walking and eventually found one that had a nice top. We chopped it off half way and had our tree! Here it is:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Holi-Dazzle P-rade

The Hinnenkamps (Darrell, Suzette, Jake, Cody and Olivia) and the Schnells (Grant and Me) attended the annual Melrose Holi-Dazzle parade today! Grant and I went over to Darrell and Suzette's for a little John Dough's Pizza after work (best taco pizza eveeer)! Then we all piled into the Impala, (can't help but sing this song - wanna be a baller shot caller 20 inch blades on the impala heh heh) picked up Olivia on the way (she was pumped we were all squashed in the car together) and headed for town. We jammed out to a bluegrass song called Downhome Girl on the way in. Gotta love the Old Crow Medicine Show! Cody said we all needed to do the 'gecko lean' pretty sure he meant ghetto lean but close enough ;) We watched the parade and the fireworks and then piled back in the car for some more bluegrass and a ride back to the Hinnenkamps. It was a fun outing!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving with the Schnells and Kalinas!

Grant and I went to Clotho for Thanksgiving day to hang out with Mom and Dad Schnell and Dave, Peg, Lucas and Brittney Kalina! There was a little excitement when a bird flew into the window and Marla showed us how she revives the little guys that smack into the sliding glass door. Poor bird sat there for quite awhile in shock but then flew off with Marla's help! We had a great meal (with Peg's specialty rutabaga that the rest of the Kalinas despise but it really wasn't bad heh heh) and then lounged around until Grant couldn't take it anymore and rounded us up for some ping-pong action ;)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What are you eating???

Ever think about where your food comes from or what is done to it before you get it? I never really thought about it. Until we watched the movie Food, Inc. Now I wonder about every single thing I eat. You should really watch the movie. Maybe it's not all true but it'll make you wonder.

Ammonia on your beef? Corn in everything? Weird. I need to find the local farmer's markets. Check this page out - it lets you type in your zip code and find Minnesota farmer's markets in your area. Grant and I are definitely going to attempt to plant some of our own veggies this spring. Yeah we live in a townhome so it might be a little tough. But I'll keep you posted on how it goes. I think we can at least manage some tomatoes. What else can we plant in some pots outside? Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers apparently work well according to this page. We're going to have to try that.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Building our Bookshelf!

Grant and I have lots of books that are still packed in boxes from when we moved to our townhome almost a year and a half ago. We only have one small bookshelf so decided we need a bigger one to fit Grant's books and my scrapbooks and picture books! I've always wanted to have some log pine furniture for our living room and we found some cool shelves online but they were really expensive. So we decided to attempt to build our own! Here is our progress so far:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Jingle Bells Jingle Bells

Grant, Heather and I ran the Jingle Bell 5k today! Chris and Ella brought us to the race bright and early Saturday morning (well, actually only 9:15 but that's pretty early for Saturday)! We got checked in, got our jingle bells tied onto our shoes and lined up for the race. It was a nice route starting from the Whitney Center near the YMCA in St. Cloud. Chris and Ella got their workouts in for the day too as they ran from spot to spot to snap some pictures :) Mom and Dad showed up towards the end of the race to watch and cheer too! During the race it's always hard to remember why exactly we sign up and PAY MONEY to torture ourselves. But it always ends up being a fun time even though it's slightly painful!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Alaska to South America - on a Bike?!

The Banff Mountain Film Festival never disappoints! We watched the free showing at St. John's University tonight. The feature film called Take a Seat was my favorite :) Gotta love the story of a random guy who takes a two seat bike all the way from Alaska to the southern most tip of South America finding people to ride with him for most of the journey. So fun! I want to do that!

We all also had a good laugh at Project Megawoosh but were disappointed to find out it was digitally edited so the German dude didn't really fly off a huge slide and land far away in a tiny pool. Darn. It was still good though. Can't wait for next year!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Craziness

Ashley and I got together with Brody, Angie, Scotty, and a few others for some fun. The Halloween party started the night before Halloween when Brody, Angie, Ashley and myself went to a haunted house in Cold Spring. Terror on 23! We decided that night that we should make a trip down the river for a Halloween extravaganza. It was cold the next morning so we suited up and hit the the Sauk River.

A little chilly that morning!


But a great fall day for a paddle :)


Ang, Grant, Brody (Scotty's with too just not in camera range).


And Ash


It was a blast. We even flew some kites afterwards. These aren't your average kites, they are kites used mainly for snow travel across lakes and fields. I guess you have to entertain yourself somehow when you live in wind blown, flatland state with lots of lakes and fields. Rock and Roll. A good day.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ben and Jessie's Wedding

Grant's cousin Jessie got married this weekend! Grant was an usher in the wedding and we had a fun time at all the wedding festivities. Rehearsal was on Friday followed by the groom's dinner at a delicious Italian restaurant. The wedding was Saturday and the weather turned out to be great for it. They had a fun taco bar for supper at the reception and we got to hang out with all the Ohio and New York relatives and dance the night away ;) Here are some pics:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Philly Pics!

Here are some pics from our trip!! We had a great time! Enjoy :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Let me tell you a story…

… about our last day in Philly and our trip back to MN. It was quite an adventure. It started out pretty normal. We rounded everything up from Dad’s apartment and had some yummy bagels for breakfast. We left the apartment and checked out the Russian supermarket and also a mansion not far from there. Then we made our way to Philadelphia Park since Mom hooked Grant and I up with free $25 each for signing up for something at the casino there. We gambled that and then watched a horse race and headed for the airport so we’d arrive around 2:30pm. We said goodbye to Dad and that’s when the craziness began.

We attempted to check in for our flight at the self check-in kiosks but it said our itinerary required help from the service people. So, we stood in the loooong line for about 45 minutes. There were one or two service people helping the first class people and one person helping the people who just needed to check their bags after they checked in at the self-service kiosks. And then there was one person helping the people in our long line. It took forever. While we were waiting a lady informed us that our flight was delayed an hour so we were probably going to miss our connecting flight in Atlanta. Other people in the line were in the same situation so I assumed they had everything under control and some sort of plan to get us to MSP on an alternate route. So, all we’d have to do is wait the extra hour and maybe get in to MSP a little later than planned. That made the long wait in that line more tolerable since we had an hour to kill anyways. When we finally got to the front of the line around 3:30pm, the three of us went up to the desk together to a lady that was available. We explained that we couldn’t check in on the kiosk and needed to figure out how to get ourselves to MSP. She informed us that it was not likely we’d make our connecting flight in Atlanta since our flight from Philly was delayed an hour and they wouldn’t wait for us. She said there was no way to let anyone in Atlanta know that the whole flight was going to be late. She then went on to tell us that all the other flights from Atlanta to MSP for tonight were full. She said she could put us on our normal delayed flight and we could hope they’d wait for us or hope to be on standby for a later flight from Atlanta but she didn’t think it was very promising and we’d probably be stuck in Atlanta for the night. To make things even worse she said all flights from Atlanta to MSP on Monday were also full so we’d probably be stuck there until Tuesday. Oh but they would pay for our hotel room. How nice. I asked if they’d also pay for our days at work we’d miss ;) heh heh So we asked if there were any other flights either direct from Philly to MSP or through Detroit or Chicago or anywhere else. Nope – everything was full. Great. So, I said ‘what you’re saying is we’re screwed.’ She didn’t comment. She was definitely not helpful and never even apologized for any inconvenience. What a jerk. We all looked at each other puzzled trying to figure out what the heck we could do. We asked for her advice of what she thought was most promising and she said just getting on a flight at 6am Monday that would arrive around 8:20am in MSP would be the best idea. So even though we were all supposed to be to work on Monday at 8am and it would take a couple hours from the time we landed to get to where we work, we decided we better take it. She gave us a voucher for a hotel room but was not even going to credit us any money for the flight for the inconvenience until Mom asked. Then she gave us some vouchers for breakfast and lunch on Monday and each $100 vouchers to use on our next flight with Delta. Great – like I really want to fly with them again. She told us there was a shuttle we could take to the hotel so we navigated out of the airport to the shuttle. We got on the shuttle and then Heather texted me asking if we could get on a flight from New Jersey or New York since they were only a couple hours away. Brilliant! We hadn’t thought of that. We had the lady stop the hotel shuttle and we hopped off and found our way back to the Delta ticketing counter. Mom budged her way back up to the same jerk lady and asked if there were any flights from those cities. Crap - the latest flights out of those airports were at 6:15pm and it was already 4:30pm and it takes a couple hours to drive there. We wouldn’t make those. Heather had also asked if we were on standby for a direct flight Chris saw on the internet from Philly to MSP that was supposed to leave at 5:20pm. The dumb lady hadn’t put us on standby for that so Mom asked and the lady said it was a Northwest flight so we’d have to go to their ticketing counter and ask. Aren’t they the same company?? Why couldn’t she just sign us up??? She refused to even call someone at that counter to ask them. So we were at terminal A and had to haul our butts all the way to terminal E. We were thrilled. Uhhh. We finally got to terminal E and luckily got a really friendly guy that seemed determined to help us. He checked US Airways for any available flights and checked Delta and Northwest again. Apparently since our delay was caused by mechanical failure they could have put us on a different airline. The dumb first lady never told us that. The friendly dude said he’d put us on standby for the direct flight at 5:20pm but didn’t know how likely it was that we’d get on it since it was already overbooked with three others waiting in standby. But we trekked up to security and waited in that long line and made our way to the correct gate just before it started boarding. When we got there the same friendly dude was now up there checking boarding passes! He started calling people to board and then said ‘Ashley Schnell please come to the service desk.’ OMG are we going to get on??? No way. Sure enough he got us three seats on that flight!!! Ahhh we were ecstatic! That guy rules. Grant even shook his hand. Mom wanted to kiss someone. We were happy to not have to run around the airport anymore! We even made it back to MSP over an hour earlier than we would have on our original flight.

We all had a fun time in Philly even with the airport mishap at the end ;) I’ll post pics tomorrow after work!

Valley Forge, Chocolate and Pretzels in Philly ;)

Yesterday was another rainy day in PA but we made the most of it! First we checked out Valley Forge National Park. It was cool to drive around and check out the replicas and some original buildings from the Revolutionary War. Our next stop was a little town called Lititz where we stopped at the first American pretzel factory and Wilbur Chocolate Factory. The pretzels and chocolate were excellent! After we had our fill of samples we continued on through the countryside past a bunch of Amish farms to another little town called Intercourse. Grant thought that was pretty hilarious so we had to stop. And Mom REALLY wanted to look through the little knick knack shops (junk shops as Grant called them). Then it was back to Dad's apartment and then over to Tatyana and Carmine's house for supper. Tatyana works with Dad and they invited us over for a Russian/Italian feast ;) Tatyana and her family immigrated from Russia. Tatyana has been here for about 8 years and her daughter and granddaughter have been here for a few years. Tatyana's boyfriend, Carmine, is from Italy so we had a ton of food that was either Russian or Italian. By the end of it we were all stuffed! Grant made friends with the little kids that were there - Tatyana's daughter asked that he stay with them to help with the kids the next day! heh heh Today we're not sure what our plan is but our flight leaves PA at 3:30pm. We have a layover in Atlanta so will get back to MSP around 8:20pm. Mom had some issues with her flight. Ever since we booked it they've been canceling stuff and rescheduling. Apparently they didn't have her transferred to the same flight as us so she was making a bunch of calls this morning and I think has it figured out now! See you back in MN! We had a good trip to PA and I'm sure we'll be back!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Center City Philadelphia

We had a fun day yesterday checking out the dairy, then Center City in Philadelphia and driving to Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Mom trying some cheese at the dairy.


When we first got to Center City we stopped at the Visitor's Center to get a ticket to go to Independence Hall. It's a free ticket but you have to get a certain time to go since you have to go with a tour. After we got our ticket we went over to check out the US Mint.


Apparently it's one of two mints in the US that produces coins. They had a little self guided tour we quickly went through. Then we headed over to Independence Hall to get on our tour.

That little building straight across is Independence Hall.






That's us with Independence Hall.


It was a quick tour and we saw the room where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence was signed. Apparently the chair in the room was the actual chair George Washington sat in when they finalized the Constitution.


And us again while walking past the hall.


After that we walked over to the building where the Liberty Bell is.




Dad, Mom and The Bell


We all had our picture taken with it and then there was a little commotion. Some dude walked up to it and leaned over while the security guard calmly said don't touch that and then the dude proceeded to touch it and the security guard said 'HEY DON'T TOUCH IT!' Whew I thought he was gonna get arrested ;) what a dumbie. We were all hungry after all our sight seeing so went to the Bourse and had a Philly cheesesteak. It was tasty!


Then we found our car ramp and paid for the parking since you have to do that before you go to your car. When we got to the car Dad couldn't find the ticket that we still needed to get out of the ramp. So we searched and searched wondering how we were going to get out of the ramp without it. Finally we found it back and got out of the ramp to tour around the city a little more. We saw Betsy Ross' house and then headed for Atlantic City. When we got there it was dark so it was cool to see all the casinos lit up!


We checked in to the Showboat where we had a free room for the night, did a little gambling, Mom did more gambling, and the rest of us went to bed!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

minor issue lost ticket 4

minor issue lost ticket 4 parkin ramp :) found it now gonna drive n c few more sights since its rainin then goin to jersey

we r in center city

we r in center city saw us mint, independence hall where constitution was signed, saw liberty bell, ate philly cheese steak

First day in Philly

It's a little rainy here today but we're going to venture out. We got up and had some bacon and eggs for breakfast. Now everyone's getting ready for the day. We're going to go check out the dairy and then Center City in Philadelphia. Once we have enough of that the plan is to make our way to the ocean to Atlantic City in New Jersey where we have a hotel room for the night!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We are at dads apartment

We are at dads apartment now just relaxing!

Made it to philly!

Made it to philly!

On the plane almost ready

On the plane almost ready to head to philly :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Star Valley Wyoming Web Cam

Here's another webcam from that area: Star Valley Wyoming Web Cam

I posted earlier with some more info about our trip here and I added some handy links over on the right!

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Alpine Wyoming Town Webcam

Looks like there is some snow in the mountains by Alpine where we'll be headed in a few months! Check out this webcam: Alpine Wyoming Town Webcam

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kitty Update

Junebug and Everest are growing up!


Junebug's a little easier to catch on camera these days - she's slowed down in her older age ;)


All grown up!


Please don't squirt us with water again


Somehow he managed to get in the cupboard without knocking anything over!


Hmm what is this thing??


Soo lazy


Here's their most recent self portrait (shortly after Everest woke up from a nap)


and here are some more recent pictures in a slideshow :)
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