Tag Archives: Texas weather

Feliz Navidad. Jackson Hole. Movember. Huh?


Saturday, Movember 12th at approximately 7:06am I was rudely awakened by the somewhat annoying yet joyful sound of my 4yr old singing “Feliz Navidad”. My first thought was… “WOW! my 4yr old not only speaks Spanish… he sings it too! bien hecho a mi hijo!”. My 2nd and less impressive thought… “It’s Movember 12th! Can we PLEASE get through Thanksgiving first?”. My 3rd and utterly random mind-boggling contemplation… “Who invented liquid soap and why?”.

Entrance to Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming USA

In case you’re curious… William Shepphard first patented liquid soap on August 22, 1865. In 1980, the Minnetonka Corporation introduced the first modern liquid soap called SOFT SOAP brand liquid soap. Minnetonka cornered the liquid soap market by buying up the entire supply of the plastic pumps needed for the liquid soap dispensers. In 1987, the Colgate Company acquired the liquid soap business from Minnetonka. Good God! That’s some Alex Tribec share on a first date only if you don’t want a 2nd date type Jeopardy knowledge right there folks! All nice and free from our friends at About.com.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming USA

Watching my 4yr old’s excitement as he recited Jose Feliciano in Spanglish (that’s part Spanish… part English – he’s FOUR), I came to the inevitable conclusion that like it or not… Christmas is only 6 weeks away, and will be here before we know it. Thanksgiving; however, is only 2 weeks away from us stuffing our faces with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and pie pie pie and more pie. Celebrated on the fourth Thursday in Movember, it’s been an annual tradition since 1863. Unless you live in Malawi, Czech Republic, Bhutan, or England. Then, it’s just Thursday, Movember 24th.

I look forward to Thanksgiving every year, because it truly is an opportunity to reflect on everything I am thankful for in my life. My wife, kids, family, friends, health (well… sorta), roof over my head, and a nice job. No, this blog is not my job. Just an opportunity to bore the 7 of you who actually read my blog to death with my MUREMindless Useless Random Entertainment.

Elk Ranch Flats - Wyoming, USA

My friends… What would an Austin GlobeTrekker blog be without me complaining about my favorite subject… the WEATHER? I know we survived an insufferable 80+ days over 100F in 2011 for one of the hottest summers EVER here in Texas; BUT… it was 82F in Austin, Texas today. I think that’s my #1 problem with preparing my mind for The Holidays. It’s hard to think of Thanksgiving, turkey, Christmas trees, mistletoe, hot chocolate by the fireplace, and Frosty the Snowman when it’s 82F outside in Movember.

cross country skiing anyone? Mount Moran - Teton Range

Where are the seasons? Northeast USA. Iceland. Switzerland. Bavarian Alps. That’s where. Not here in Texas! I think that’s why we try to take vacations to cooler locations. Because we know for a fact that we will get plenty of heat in Texas to last us for the majority of the calendar year. Plus, it’s nice to go somewhere that has seasons.

The JACKSON HOLE Project - view from Cunningham's Cabin - May 2008
Oxbow Bend - Grand Teton National Park, WY USA
Willow Flats - May 2011 - Wyoming, USA

Which leads me to today. I was listening to someone discuss the three main subatomic particles of an atom and the positions of these particles within the atom and what electric charge they carry, when I found myself drifting out of the conversation to May 2008. In reality, it was just the girl at the Starbucks asking me “whip… or no whip?”; but, she might as well have been talking Physics, because in my mind… I was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

South Jenny Lake - Grand Teton National Park, WY USA
Jenny Lake - Grand Teton National Park, WY USA

It was already heating up in Austin, Texas. Surprise surprise, so May 11-17, 2008 my wife Anna and I decided to take a much needed vacation to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, U.S.A. We utilized the trip to celebrate our 2nd year anniversary (May 15th). Granted, we wholeheartedly thrive on visiting foreign lands, learning about the history of various places, and enjoy engulfing ourselves within different cultures; but, since we’ve traveled all over the world, we thought… Why not stay on U.S. soil and travel within our own country for once?

Buffalo Crossing! Gross Ventre Road - Jackson Hole, WY
Eagle at Oxbow Bend - Grand Teton National Park, WY
What you lookin' at Willis?
Moose on Moose Wilson Road - Grand Teton National Park
SLOW DOWN! Wildlife on Road

We honestly did not know what to expect from our trip to Wyoming; however, we read in “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” that Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park are a MUST SEE in the United States. I am happy to report that we were definitely not disappointed. Seasons my friends! SEASONS! Winter Spring Summer Fall!

Old Faithful Geyser - Yellowstone National Park, WY USA
Cascade Canyon - Grand Tetons - May 2008
Grand Teton - May 2008 - Wyoming, USA

If the great outdoors, nature, wild life, pristine clean fresh air, mountains and beautiful rivers aren’t your kinda thing… then this is NOT the place for you. Even though in mid-May, I’m not sure it was supposed to be snowing 6-12 inches of fresh snow, Wyoming was an absolute delight for us. A spectacular experience we like to call… the JACKSON HOLE project.

 

Since it’s now Movember, it’s not too difficult to think back to our time in Jackson Hole and find yourself in the Christmas spirit. What’s wrong with my spell check? Why do I keep typing Movember instead of November? Who invented liquid soap and why? What IS Movember? Allow me to jump on my soapbox. See… it all comes back to William Shepphard again!

Movember 2011 - JCooke (aka Austin GlobeTrekker) http://mobro.co/heycameron

Movember (the month formerly known as November) is a moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for men’s health in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. We are proud to join the battle against cancer by growing Mo’s in support of “changing the face of men’s health”. Right now, I’m rockin’ a killa MO, so… PLEASE support my crazy ass MO growin’ efforts by making a DONATION at http://mobro.co/heycameron. You can also check my progress throughout the month of Movember on the Team Hey Cameron! Mo’ Page.

Austin GlobeTrekker - Wyoming USA - May 2008

Still not convinced? Here’s some MO info. Get it? MO info. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ok, that’s enough. But seriously…

The Movember Effect: Awareness & Education, Survivorship, Research
The funds raised in the US support prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. The funds raised are directed to programs run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Together, the three channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programs in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

For more information on the programs we are funding please visit the following:
Prostate Cancer Foundation
LIVESTRONG, The Lance Armstrong Foundation
Awareness & Education
Global Action Plan

Feliz Navidad and Happy Thanksgiving my friends! CHEERS!

Sunset @ Antelope Flats - Jackson Hole, WY USA

 TRAVEL | EXPLORE | DREAM | DISCOVER

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SPAIN – Not with you 2 idiots!


I think Texas went to hell… and somebody forgot to tell us; because, there’s no way it’s supposed to be this bloody hot! The only people excited about the weather in Texas right now are Scott Fisher  – Austin’s Fox 7 Weather and air conditioning repair man-woman-persons. Just trying to be politically correct. Scott do something! Anyway, I was thinking about taking a vacation to Arizona, just so that when somebody says “Man! It’s hot!” I can reply… “It’s not as hot as Texas!”. OK, I’ll step down from the weather soap box now.

Plaza de Toros - Seville, Spain

As I jumped in my black SUV (Super Urban Van). Just kidding. And that’s actually quite creepy. As I jumped in my SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) this evening at 6:37pm, I couldn’t believe that the temperature gauge showed 111F (43C). WHAT? 10 hours of sitting on black asphalt at my company parking lot will do that to a vehicle. Before I could project any profanities from my mouth, the black leather seats burned my black backside as I was grabbing the black steering wheel.  It was at this moment that 2 thoughts came to mind.

A) OUCH! Why did I buy a black SUV with black leather? Because it was October when you bought it. That was my sub-conscious answering the question. I quickly told it to shut up!

B) There must be a patio in Spain somewhere that I could be sitting with a sangria (or cerveza) right now listening to flamenco music.

Las Ramblas - Barcelona, Spain - Nov 2003

November 2003. I had been dating a girl in Texas for about 6 months. I really liked her. A LOT. So, what do you do when you REALLY like somebody? You go to Spain with your friends Mario and Chad. Huh? Mario had been to the United States. Chad had been there too. Unfortunately for the 3 of us… I had the most travel experience, and I only spoke 1 language – English. 2 if you count Jamaican as a language. So there we were, The Three Amigos on our way from London, England to Spain. Our destination… the capital of Catalonia – BARCELONA!

View of Barcelona from Montjuic Castle

Like good little tourists, we took the city bus from Barcelona Airport (El Prat de Llobregat Aeropuerto) and wheeled our luggage about a mile after getting off at the wrong stop in the city. Nice. Real nice. We were off to a great start. In case you want some solid transportation advice -There are a couple of different buses.  Aerobus Express Bus Service and then the other one. We took… the other one. Don’t make that same mistake. Aerobus is an express service to the city center. More specifically, to Placa Espanya or Placa de Catalunya. Makes life MUCH easier for navigation. These are the troubles I go through so that I can hopefully one day turnaround (albeit 8yrs later) and help others avoid failure… or looking like 3 idiots from Texas. Nevertheless, it wasn’t long before we found our destination and settled into our hotel. I’m quickly realizing that I’m going into waaaaay too much detail about this trip, so let’s zoom out a bit for a more bird’s eye view of the adventure.

Madrid, Spain - Nov 2003
Madrid, Spain
Madrid, Spain - Nov 2003

If you’re slightly familiar with who I am, you will know that I LOVE to people watch. If you have no idea who I am… I LOVE to people watch. Now that this has been established, I can tell you that one of the greatest places on the entire Planet Earth to people watch – Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain. We “rambled” if you will from one end to the other and everything in between. I’m not sure if it was Anthony Bourdain (one of my Travel Channel favorites) or Samantha Brown (another Travel Channel favorite) who said that if you want to learn about a city, go to the marketplace and see where the locals buy (and even eat) their food. In Barcelona, the epicenter of market life is Mercat de La Boqueria. Probably one too many beers inside us, we played “Where’s Waldo?” amongst the various fruit and vegetable stands. In addition to Dublin, Ireland, The Rialto in Venice, Italy, and Saturday morning in Ljubljana, Slovenia city center, Mercat de La Boqueria is definitely one of the most impressive marketplaces I’ve ever seen.

"Where's Waldo?" - Mercat de la Boqueria - Barcelona, Spain

Which reminds me. The FOOD! I think paella is to Spain as BBQ is to Texas. It’s everywhere! And… it’s good! I think I ate paella at least once per day. Chad stuck to anything with the word pollo (aka chicken). Mario was addicted to the cured meats and breads. Food in Spain is fantastic. Funny story. On our last night, we went to a Chinese restaurant by the hotel. Mario is Mexican. Do NOT confuse this with being Spanish. A Mexican from San Antonio, Texas speaks a completely different Spanish than a Chinese lady who speaks Catalonian Spanish in Barcelona. Meanwhile, Tweedle Dum (that’s me) and Tweedle Dee (that’s Chad) just stood there smiling. I ordered carne de res y brócoli. I’d eaten enough paella to last a lifetime, so could make out BEEF and BROCCOLI from my pathetic Spanish skills. Can’t remember what Mario ordered; but, he tried to order chicken fried rice for Chad. The lady was arguing with him in Spanish and there were a lot of arm movements. To make a long story short… poor Chad got a piece of FRIED CHICKEN and a bowl of white RICE. This is what makes travel FUN!

The Alcazar – Seville, Spain
Before leaving Barcelona, I recommend doing the cheesy double decker Barcelona Hop-on Hop Off  bus tour around the city. You truly get a taste of Barcelona and Antoni Gaudi’s architectural influence – Sagrada Familia – Park Guell – Casa Batllo.  And if you’ve got some time to spare, visit Montjuïc Castle – Castell de Montjuïc, where you get a fantastic panoramic view of the city. We actually walked up to the castle, so there’s probably an easier way to see the city; but, recommended. My favorite place in Barcelona… Barri Gotic – The Gothic Quarter in the old town. Plaça del Pi, located just off the Ramblas, and the church of Santa María del Pi are definite highlights; but, the entire area is filled with incredible history, architecture, culture, arts & crafts, cafes, restaurants, shops, and of course… people watching!

La Sagrada Familia (under construction) - Barcelona, Spain - Nov 2003
Statue of Christopher Columbus - Las Ramblas, Barcelona
shopping in Barri Gotic - Barcelona, Spain - Nov 2003

Continue reading SPAIN – Not with you 2 idiots!