The Best Gas/Petrol Station. Kum & Go.

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Kum & Go.  You just can’t beat it.

Taylor and I saw it when we drove from Detroit to Vail this past November when I was moving.  As soon as we saw our first Kum & Go station, that was the only gas that we stopped for the rest of the trip, it was just that good.

The beautiful Kum & Go with an equally nice backdrop

The beautiful Kum & Go with an equally nice backdrop

A brief Kum & Go history courtesy of kumandgo.com:

The year was 1959. The country was in the midst of a massive transformation. Middle-class families were becoming suburban families. And with suburbs came an increase demand for cars. The Federal Highway Act of 1956 created the Interstate Highway System. People were on the move, and the entrepreneurial spirit was in the air, especially related to travel, transportation and fuel.

Two such visionaries – W.A. Krause and T.S. Gentle – set out to create a refueling destination with a sense of “convenience.”

In an age where catchy company names and unique marketing phrases were a representation of the times – and also the difference between success and failure – the two gentlemen used the first letters of their last names to create a unique moniker to showcase the ease and convenience they instilled in a shopping experience. Thus Kum & Go was born.

Kum & Go stop on the way out west

Taylor loved the Kum & Go.

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The Best Way to Eat food. On a stick.

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We went to Moab Valley, Utah after the season ended in Vail.  The first thing we did when we got there (after setting our tent up) was start a fire and mmm put some cheddar brats on sticks to eat some snacks.  Yummy.  Not everyone has as good of taste as me though, some of the girls had plain old hotdogs or beer brats, but everyone knows if you have the option to have cheese, you better take it.  Because cheese makes the world go round.

Eating meat on a stick over a campfire

Eating meat on a stick over a campfire

I also like eating pickles on a stick.

A pickle on a stick

pickle on a stick

And of course chocolate covered bananas on sticks.  They are the best to eat on Balboa Island or Monterey, CA while walking outside in the sun and looking at the water.

Chocolate covered frozen banana!

Chocolate covered frozen banana!

Malcolm really loved eating meat on a stick whenever he had a chance to when we were backpacking through southeast asia.  Those Thai’s really knew how to cook their meat on a stick to perfection.

Thai Meat on a Stick

Thai Meat on a Stick

Mmm… I love food on a stick.. roasting marshmallows on a stick, brats on a stick, chocolate fondue, meat fondue, appetizers that you have to use toothpicks to eat them, popsicles..

I think the whole world got the memo that eating food on a stick is one of the best ways to go.  Everywhere I’ve been in the world they give you food on a stick, in Uganda they tried shoving it in our faces when we stopped on the bus.

Meat on a stick in Uganda!

Meat on a stick!

And in Cambodia they even have deep fried snakes on a stick for you to eat! But  I think I’ll leave those to the Vietnamese and Cambodians.

Deep fried snakes in Cambodia.

Deep Fried Snakes!

Toga Parties are the best.

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Everyone likes dressing up for parties, and toga parties are a staple.  In any country, around the world.  Everyone loves wrapping themselves in sheets and putting plants in their hair.  It’s a long time popular college theme party, and world famous.  Maybe it was Animal House that popularized the party, or maybe it was just the Greeks knew how to throw down back in the days when Caesar ruled.  Who knows, but thank you Animal House and the Greeks and Romans for Toga Parties.

Team Bucket Ladies in Laos

Toga party in Laos

In New Zealand we had a party in a random town that we stopped at, and of course it was a fancy dress party and we had a private bar.  So of course, we wore togas.  And naturally everyone knew what the dress up was, because duh, togas are worldwide.  We were still a hit.

dress up party in New Zealand

Dressing up in New Zealand for our private stray party

Then… In Laos, we had a group of ten of us staying at a hotel and decided it was a fabulous idea to dress ourselves in the sheets at the hotel and go out on the town in our togas.  Needless to say the hotel owners we less than impressed since we were wearing their sheets as clothing and were probably going to get them completely ruined.  But the whole evening leading up to it, the arguments that we go in with the owners in broken english, all of us with different accents and them with their entirely broken English, made for a priceless evening, in a random countries capital and kept us entertained for at least a few hours….

Toga Party in Laos

Team Bucket Toga Party in Laos

The Best Mojito- Alejandro’s in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

The BEST mojito and strawberry daiquiri Ever

The best mojito and daiquiri I ever had was at a little tiny restaurant on the side of the road in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.  It was happy hour, two for one drinks, so naturally we sat down and had a few.  We were on the beach, there was a sloth in the palm tree above us, reggae music pumping, and all the bartenders were smoking joints behind the bar.  When in Costa Rica, sit back, relax and have a mojito or two (since it’s two for one anyways..).   Fresh, tasty and that atmosphere was perfect.  The best.

The Most EPIC dive- The Blue Hole, Belize

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If you like to dive,  go to Belize, the Blue Hole is something that you have to do in your life.  It was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had.

At one point it was above water, millions of years ago, and during an ice age sunk.  When looking down on the blue hole, it’s a perfect circle.  And its the deepest spot off the Belize Barrier Reef.  It’s where all the sharks love to hang out, in the deep, cool water, and it’s a deep dive, so prepare to get narced (aka- Nitrogen Narcosis).

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We stayed on Caye Caulker and went with the dive shop Frenchies, they were great (about $190 USD for the Blue Hole, +two other awesome dives, The Aquarium and Half Moon Caye, breakfast and lunch).  We left at 530 am and took a two-hour boat

The Blue Hole

ride out to the Blue Hole, as the first dive always has to be your deepest dive, and this dive is 40 meters.  We jumped in the water and immediately went down, it took us less than a minute to get to the 40 meter mark, it was crazy, I couldn’t believe I was able to get down that fast, but since it’s only an 8 minute dive, you had to go fast so you could stay in the caves as long as possible.  As you’re sinking, you  look out into the deep, where the sharks are.  And it was nuts, there they were, just lurking in the deep, and swimming incredibly close to us. Once you get to the 40 meter mark, I was narced, it’s funny, because I had just done my advanced open water course in Utila, Honduras and we went to 37 meters and I didn’t feel a thing, but at 40 meters I was drunk and stoned under water.  So it was an intense feeling, seeing sharks everywhere, swimming in a cave 40 m under water between all of the Stalactites and Stalagmites.  Hands down, the best, coolest dive I’ve ever done.

After diving the Blue Hole we went to another dive site about 45 minutes away, called Half Moon Caye reef.  There we saw heaps of beautiful fish, eagle rays, moray eels, Lionfish (we didn’t get to hunt them there), barracuda, and heaps of other cool stuff.  Then we got to explore Half Moon Caye while waiting to be able to go on our next dive, that was amazing again, and fit its name perfectly, called the Aquarium, there were fish everywhere, just surrounding us as we swam.

I would dive the Blue Hole again, in a heartbeat.

Best Place to be for a Full Moon- Koh Pangnan Thailand

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full moon party! September 2009

Best Place to be for a Full Moon- Haadrin, Koh Pangnan, Thailand

I don’t think anything could beat the energy or atmosphere of being in Koh Pangnan for a full moon party.  The energy of the place was amazing, and everyone was there for the same reason, to celebrate the full moon, and the coming of the new moon. Okay, but really,  to let loose, party, soak up the experience, indulge in the space around them, to feel the history of the full moon and the significance of Haadrin Beach.

Loving every second of Life

Best Party Partners for a Full Moon Party

Okay so it’s not a spiritual experience at all, but it is awesome.  Backpackers from all over the world and locals alike flock to Haadrin Beach, 13 times a year for the full moon.  (Koh Pangnan also has a notorious half-moon party that is rumored to be epic, in the jungle).  The three days leading up to the full moon party are equally exciting and memorable.  You can feel the excitement building each day as the streets become more crowded, the guest houses start filling up and the music plays later and later, and louder… or earlier and earlier.  The beach is lined with stands to buy your buckets, and backpackers go from stand to stand bartering for the best deal, and most booze (little plastic sand buckets with different bottles and sizes of alcohol, and mixers, predominately red bull and sprite).

jesus liked them, they must be the best

Best Buckets at a full moon party.

Then, pause, and take a look at the beach, there are djs set up everywhere, each bumping their own beat and surrounded by heaps of party-goers.  There are climbing walls with massive slides, nets to jump in, and even when looking at the water to the very far left of the beach, mushroom mountain.  The full moon party has it all.  Even a safety tent, for those foreigners that made their buckets a little too strong, to go pass out in.  The music is pumping until the sun comes up, which is amazing over the beautiful clear blue water, food stands are open day and night, my personal favorite, the crepe stand for the best banana and nutella crepes you can dream of, and tuk tuk drivers are waiting to take you back to where ever it is you wish to lay your head after four straight days of partying with fellow backpackers.

Everyone needs to feel the beat of this party once in their life.  And the best part, you wake up in paradise the next day to cure those nasty hangovers.

Best Scuba Diving Trip, Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Australia

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scuba diving the great barrier reef, I found the Vagabond when planning Steph and my trip.  It was cheaper than most and the best out there.  Only 11 of us on the boat, we went out to quiet reefs, had great food, and the part of the great barrier reef we saw was incredible!  Much better than other boats I went on in the reef that were over run and over populated with tourists.  Great food, great crew and amazing scenery.  http://www.vagabond-dive.com/

I went on a scuba trip another time in the Great Barrier Reef, for only a day trip and the reef was overrun by tourists that didn’t know how to swim, the tour guides had to actually link arms with the tourists and guide them around the water, they looked like little airplanes trying to make it around.  But the danger in doing that is when people dont know how to swim they their legs down, thus kicking the coral and killing it.  So the reef that most boats go to is dead, void of the beautiful colors and fish that we were able to see taking a small group to the outer reef.

best scuba experience on the Great Barrier Reef- Aboard the Vagabond