Travels
Queen of Trades; Travel and Photography- Category [Travel/Stories/Tips]

In July of 2022, I had planned a trip to the Narrows with a friend of mine that lived in Vegas. He was supposed to come out and we were supposed to do this amazing adventure together. unfortunatley the day before we were supposed to meet he got a concussion and had to go into the ER. They told him to get bed rest and that he couldn't do anything strenuous for 48 hours. So that plan blew up in my face and after that I did the Very, very long journey home. 

With all that being said J and I had planned to visit Zion while he visited and before he landed in vegas I got things set up for our stay. First, let me point out that Zion is THE national park of Utah. It's wildly visited and if you plan to go there try to go in the wintertime. Yes, its cold but NOBODY is there. We were able to make reservations at the campground a week and a half before our allotted time. That is practically unheard of. With those reservations set we then planned to do Angels Landing since I tried to do this hike back in 2019 and failed due to covid putting up a barrier to prevent people from going up to the landing. Why? Because of the chains. They were afraid that if people were sick and touched the chains that it would spread the virus so they put up a barricade and cameras and anybody who did the landing could get 6 months in jail and a $5000 fine..

Needless to say, I didn't finish the hike. 

So this time we planned to go just so I can finally say I did it and finally check it off my list. 

One small problem. 

They now require you to have a permit to go up to angels Landing. Apparently, the decision to adopt this new system and just started in the last 6 months of 2022. Honestly, I was furious but looked into it. They had a daily lottery during January and you sign up for it the day before they announce the winners at 4 p.m pst time and if you get in then you go do the hike. Long story short, we did the lottery and we did not get the chance to do it. So we decided to do the next best thing. The Narrows. 

The Narrows is an 18-mile hike (if you want to go that far) but in honesty, it doesn't have an end destination. It's one of those hikes where you can go as far as you want and then turn around. They also provide a bib that you can rent along with water shoes and a hiking stick for balance while in the Narrows. We got the Bibs and we set out on this adventure. Now a few things if you do this in the wintertime. 

1) check the weather. This place is literally a river that your walking through and can be subject to rock slides and flooding so always check the weather beforehand. 

2)get the Bibs. They are $50 + Tax but they keep you warm and dry while you're out there the water was around 30 degrees when we did it and it can get up to your waist if not higher. 

3) If you are clumsy or have balance trouble I would recommend a walking stick. The current is strong in some places and I was able to get through without issue but I can see how people can fall and hurt themselves on this hike. It also is hard to see the bottom in some places so its good to have the stick to feel around so your not tripping 24/7 

4) Bring water and snacks. The water in the Narrows is Toxic so you CANNOT drink it or you could die. They have had an issue with algae clumps and unfortunately, they found out the hard way how toxic it was by someone's dog getting sick and dying from drinking the water. So this is one of those hikes where you also leave your dog at home. 

5) Bring your camera in a waterproof sack. Trust me, you will want it.

 

With that all being said it is quite the experience and I loved it. It was tough because you are walking through the water the whole time and I would highly recommend it in the wintertime because there was No one on the hike. Normally it's very crowded and apparently that cause some traffic jams with crossings and I just think dealing with a load of people that are struggling to cross and you wait your turn on an already tough hike would ruin the experience. We also realized that we were lucky the water was low. I'm 5'4 and the water came up to about my waist in some spots but not that much higher. There have been people who go on the hike that where they have to lift their bags over their heads to cross over and with a strong current that would be a no go situation. 

And yes the water was cold but it was worth the adventure and experience. 

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side note: This hike is NOT for little kids. I would say Teenagers or babies you can carry on your back would be fine but I do not recommend small children as they could get swept away or the water could be to high for them to cross. 

 

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While Lylah and I were in Vegas we got to visit this place called Omega Mart. It's an interactive art installation and it is absolutely wild. When you first enter it literally looks like a supermarket and everything in the store is for sale. They even have real drinks that you can get and their products are all joke based (of course). For Example, a bottle of bleach will say "this bleach is for Karrrlllllll" on the bottle. Or you'll see some candy that has a reference to a banana or some fruit making fun of the fact that it is fruit. 

As you walk around the Omega Mart you start to realize that there are passageways. There is a secret door in one of the "freezers" and when you walk through it leads you to another room that is 100% made for people on shrooms. When I walked through I was completely entranced. The colors are vivid and the walls are all different textures. J and I (J is my friend that came to visit) walked through this exhibit and I went crazy, toughing everything and anything I could. I even found a few secret passageways and doors that were hidden in plain sight. For an hour we walked around touching everything and just enjoying our time. 

 

But then we realized that were missing something. There were people with little cards walking around going up to these red modules and doing some sort of game. In moments we were back up in the front getting this little card. Now the card is $3 and you only need one for your whole party. So we got the card, went to the first module, and started out with "employee training". It has you do a scavenger hunt of sorts and you had to complete the first task to then move on to the next. As you progress you start to learn that there is a secret in this game. The first thing it tells you is that you are working for an organization called Dramcorp. It's based on the idea that we can "level up" so to speak and take our entire beings and enter into a new self-awareness where we no longer need bodies to survive. We can come and go as we please and we will live forever. Imagine a hologram that doesn't need to have any power to work. That is the next "level up" of humankind. As you go through the game you get access to the "employee's computers" and you start to read up on what they were doing. You also get to watch video conferences and go over diagrams and learn that the head of the company has disappeared. While you are completing tasks you get a message to see if you want to join to resistance and of course, we did. So then you're set forth on a new set of tasks to "expose" Dramcorp. 

It's quite fun but the hunt to finish the tasks was too short in my opinion. We did this in probably 20 minutes total and after that, you can do whatever you want and just kind of enjoy the exhibit. After some time of running around, reading more info, and trying to learn more we eventually got tired. The exhibit is just so full of information that my brain got fried by the time we were three hours in on running around. 

Once we were done we got souvenirs and then went to the bar that they have in Omega Mart and had one drink. Honestly, it was amazing. I had never been to an interactive art installation before but being a part of that was worth it. If you are ever in Vegas check it out. 

 

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Las Vegas has been one of those places where I could see myself living. It has a lot of amazing climbing spots, the mountains are only twenty minutes from the city, even when it snows it only snows in the mountains and not in the town, and it's just really fun. There are a lot of things to do in this city and it was a real treat to get to experience so many wonderful opportunities and places. 

While I was in Vegas I got to experience Freemont Street on New Year's Eve. Now for those that don't know Freemont street is normally Free but on New Year's eve they have Bands that come in and play from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. The total for this experience was around $60 which in honesty I was fine with paying. Mostly because I wanted to see Freemont street and of course why not do this experience. Get drunk, have good food, and listen to live music? Why yes I want to do that. So we go ahead and get our tickets, get inside and go to this whisky bar-like a joint that has the only rotating bar in the area. Of course, everything they served (drink-wise) had whisky in it and if you ordered alcohol it was a 2-drink minimum. Bring it on. 

 

So we sit down, order some burgers and drinks, and were listening to this amazing DJ who is remixing music from my childhood. If you know anything about 90's/ early 2000 music you can imagine. We watched the crowd as some people danced away and I even made eye contact with a lovely lady who was also dancing at the bar and we made shoutouts to one another. Let me just say that the burgers were top-notch. I ordered this jalapeno burger and it had to be, hands down, the best jalapeno burger I've had so far that says a lot because I love spicey food and over the years some of those burgers have been poorly made. This one was amazing and perfectly messy. 

Once our stomachs were primed and food in our bellies we set off down to the party. Keeping in mind that Bob Marley's band was going to be playing soon we grabbed some alcohol and a cigar. Once we had our items we set ourselves in the crowd and go to drinking and smoking. Now you guys I love live music and when I listened to The Wailers I got a special experience. I say that because I was imagining what it felt like when my dad went to a concert in his youth and this seemed pretty close to that feeling. People were singing, dancing, smoking weed, cigars were being passed and alcohol was consumed. We made some friends immediately and sang our hearts out. I even managed to get a blunt from someone after a five-minute conversation and that set the mood just right. 

 

Once the Wailers were done (around 11) we decided it was time to walk back to our Airbnb so we could see the fireworks which launch from the Strat. Our Air Bnb was in the perfect location. Once we got back we sat and watched and concluded the night. 

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Welcome to 2023! We're ten days in and so far it has been a wild ride for me. I've done many experiences in Vegas and have made so many memories.

 

The downside is that I Have been sick since the start of the New Year. It started with sneezing constantly to the point of not being able to breathe and then it slowly evolved to coughing. From there it developed into a constant cough that I couldn't shake no matter what I did and it impeded my sleep for a while. I was tired but the constant coughing prevented me from getting any rest at all. From there I finally was able to go into town to get Nyquil to start to help me sleep through the night. Since I started taking that it's been getting better. It's slow but I'm glad that I'm able to finally get some real sleep at night and not have to worry about coughing up a lung in the middle of the night.

 

With that being said I'm not letting it get me down. I'm working again and I'm making some goals for 2023. I'm hoping to get to achieve every since one and I'm hoping to finally get my hands on some spray paint so I can go back to my original art form. I feel like the time is right and once I get back up I am going to go to the supply store and restock all my supplies. IM ready. I'm finally ready to pick it back up. I also am looking at my route for next fall. Dad and I are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon to do some hiking that we have been talking about for years. It's been a dream of ours and I finally said **** it and will be making those plans to head in that direction and do that dream.

 

On top of that, I have been looking at the Smokey Mountain Half marathon. I know, I know, ANOTHER half marathon. What am I thinking? Maybe I just really enjoy putting myself through the pain and have the satisfaction of knowing I can run 13 miles. Whatever my reason is, I am definitely sizing it up and thinking about it hard. I have a few months before I need to commit to the training. Who knows maybe my crazy self will just go for it. I'm also looking to potentially find a better job that fits this lifestyle. I haven't found anything that fits the bill but I am keeping an eye out and applying when I can. It would be nice to make real money and not be tedious 24/7 on what I spend. Keep an eye out because a new vlog video is finally gonna drop updating you guys on what's been going on and maybe my goals for this year.

 

Love you all and let's smash 2023!

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Over this past week I have been Vegas staying a friends place. Its been nice to have a place to get things done on the van and to recoup as well as visit an old friend. Of course before I got to Vegas Gimli (my van) was having some problems that were very difficult to figure out and I had to place many SOS calls to my father over several days trying to figure out what was going on. Personally it was stressful and not fun in the slightest. Before I left for this trip the idle control was having some issues and my father thought he had fixed the issue at hand before I left. 

Turns out it wasnt fixed. So I then had to call him and see what was going on with it and try to diagnose it using Torque and pictures while talking over the phone. At first it seems easy to fix by wiggling the wiring around near the maf sensor and after doing that the idle would calm down and go back ot normal. Seems simple enough until one day I woke up, started the van and Gimli stared revving super hard and no matter how much I wiggled the wiring he was determined to go to space. 

After several days of trying to get the van to clam down and not succeeding it was determined I had to take it into a shop to get it diagnosed and see what coudl be done. Narrowing down what could be the case Dad and I thought it may be an air flow leak, the MAF sensor or a wiring issue. 

So after some chat and hard decisions I took it in the shop and the next day I get a call. He thinks its the air control valve and that it has a habit of sticking and that it needs to be replaced. Let me just say, he was a nice mechanic but, I was not happy when he told me it would take 800 to fix it since he HAS to but the throttle body with the control valave to then put it in the van. Right then I get a message saying there is someone in vegas that May be able to take a look at Gmili and help me out instead of the mechanic. Taking a day to think about my decision I tell the mechanic to not worry about it and that I would be picking it up shortly. 

After picking up my van I take Gimli over ot this guys house and immediatly after I get the van and drive it down the road it started revving super hard. Of course the mechanic said he couldnt get the van to do any hard revving while it was in the shop but the second I take it back it looses its mind. Once at this friends place I park the van and immediatly he revs. I turn it off nad we begin the process of elimination. Over the course of two days we discovered there was a problem with the MAF sensor (which dad and I had already guessed), the wiring was messed up and had a bad connection ( that was something we already knew as well ) and it HAD one leak which we were able to fix with some tape. Once everything was in place we started him up and he purred like a kitten. No longer was gimli trying to go to Mars. 

Over the course of almost two weeks I had such a wild experience with my stress. Im just glad someone was able to help me out and that I didnt have to pay for something that wouldnt fix the problem. Thank goodness for making friends. 

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