Friday, July 31, 2015

so. worth. it.

it's been almost two weeks since that crazy spartan race i did with the hub, cousin seven and mr. lilcee. it took a good 2-3 days before the pain and soreness went away, and another 2-3 after that for me to think about doing it again. heh. although really that was only after giving the old lady a detailed description of how it had gone - and her expressing interest in possibly doing it next year. i actually think she would rock it, so it's a strong maybe at this point.

one of the things i like about spartan races is that they always throw in race photo downloads as a perk of registration. it's kind of a pricey fee, but when you factor in all of the work and effort it must take to put one of those events together, it makes sense. anyway, the photos were uploaded within a week of the race, but for some reason a lot of ours were hard to find. our bib numbers were visible, but their tracking software didn't seem to kick in and we ended up having to page through hundreds of photos to locate ours. luckily, they're time-stamped, which helped a little. 

this is the pre-race shot we took at the panasonic booth:


this is my favorite shot of the hub. as mr. lilcee put it, it's his money shot. i think he looks badass here, foot midair, basically using nothing but straight upper body strength to launch himself over this wall. for a guy who did zero training for this ordeal, i just couldn't have been prouder of him. 


making my way over that cargo wall:



okay, i said they were free...i mentioned nothing about them being pretty pictures.

these lovely shots were captured as we realized that the end was near. we summoned our last bit of energy and sprinted our way towards that finish line as if our lives depended on it. 


 


remember the plethora of heavy punching bags i described before? clearly, we were super excited about pushing ourselves through it. 







and finally...our official finish line photos. 




see ya in 2016, AT&T stadium!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

more driving, more sightseeing

the next leg of our journey involved a bit more driving. it was kind of cool to see the sights along the way, like the windmills:


cool bridges:


herds of moo cows:


open roads:


even a really pretty lake that we found in the middle of nowhere. 


my new favorite city name:


i mean, come ON...say it out loud. how can you not grin at the sound of "copperopolis" coming out of your mouth?

and then, as i always do, i dozed off for a chunk of time. when i woke up, we were paying the entrance fee here:


as one would expect, it was beautiful up here. 




we'd managed to score a reservation at the only hotel located inside the park - the gorgeous, historic ahwahnee. 






this sign told us to get all of our edibles out of the car, or else. 


someone was particularly happy to get out and stretch her legs a bit after a couple of hours in the car. 


and then she was even more excited when she came across a couple of deer just kicking it in the field, grabbing some dinner and hanging out. 



okay, i thought it was pretty cool too. 


gotta love the kind of place that still hands you a real metal key for your room. 


partial family photo. 


we were excited for the change of scenery...and the lovely weather, too. 




even the elevator was pretty. 


the room was nice too.



and there was this little guy waiting for us. 


with the dining room completely booked (and we didn't have the proper attire to be seated there anyway), we settled for some room service dinner before passing out in the comfy beds. 

the adventure continues!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

who you callin' a jelly belly?

even though it took us about an hour out of the way, we headed out to fairfield so that we could share something with the bean that we'd done with her sister about ten years ago:



the very sight of the place brought back some fun memories.


the bean had fallen asleep in the car, but perked up a bit when she saw where we were taking her.




 predictably, i was pretty excited myself.



but then...wah waaaaah.


despite the modified tour, it was pretty busy in there.  we stood in line for about 20ish minutes before we finally got to head up the stairs and start the tour.



even though the factory was in the midst of their annual shutdown, we were instructed not to take photos or video inside.  my finger might have slipped a time or two and accidentally snapped a few.  they weren't any good anyway, but there you go.


probably the most interesting thing we learned during the tour was that all of the product that is dropped on the floor doesn't get swept up and thrown away.  instead, they bag 'em all up and ship them off to local farms for feeding the pigs.  sweet & sour pork, anyone?  har har har.

we were handed samples of jellybeans in various stages of production.  this is the center of the bean, where most of the flavor is concentrated:


and then it looks like this before it gets its shiny coating and polish.


at the end of the tour, we were handed little bags of samples.


downstairs, we found ourselves in the middle of jelly belly heaven.  i didn't take as many pictures as i probably should have, but you get the point.



since the old lady was at home with the dog, i wanted to make sure we brought her some presents.  and because she was going through a pancakes phase at the time, i bought her a bag of the newest jelly belly flavor:


(they're actually really tasty, in case you wondered)

several machines during production filter out imperfect jellybeans - maybe they're misshapen, aren't the right size, whatever.  and if they don't fall on the floor to be sent to hungry piggies, they're bagged up and sold as "belly flops."




we were equally grossed out and fascinated by the harry potter-inspired "bertie bott's" line of jellybeans.  these look identical to their regular flavors, but if you get (un)lucky, you'll end up with a mouthful of these disgusting flavors:








back in the clearance section, we found out where valentine's and easter candy comes to die.



there's even a whole section of belly flops here.  i'm sure they're probably there because they're not as fresh as the others, but it's kind of funny to think of how bad those belly flops had to be to land in the clearance aisle.


even hello kitty was there.


and if you were so inclined, there was a jelly belly-shaped coin bank to be had for cheap.


thanks for a fun time, jelly belly!  till next time...although i have no idea when that might be.


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