This is the second post in a series recapping some of the more noteworthy and significant events of Clark family in 2010.
In March, we headed to Las Vegas. Melanie had an Arbonne conference to attend so my mom and I drove down with the boys to meet her and to spend a week seeing the sights. I had just had hernia surgery was looking forward to some downtime in the warmer weather by the pool. Nathan and Zack had a blast going up and down the strip and seeing all of the sites and people. They were amazed by the volcano at the Mirage and the Bellagio fountains. The street performers were a constant but pleasant distraction, and the pool at the condo we stayed in was a daily hit. Towards the end of the week we met up with friends to attend a wedding and after-party. We capped off the trip with tour of the Hoover dam and a journey through the Valley of Fire.
Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire Photos
In late April, I joined four close friends and embarked on a truly epic ATV “man-cation” to Moab Utah. For most of us, this was our second trip to the area. Moab boasts the most extreme and unique trails in the United States. We rented a house for a week and stocked it with a kegerator, a small bar worth of alcohol, a stock pile of habaneros, and enough meat products to sustain an Army. We rode some of the sketchiest trails in the country and deep-fried more habaneros and meats than anyone should eat in a year. It was a week of debauchery, and at the end of the trip the casualties were as follows: one compound fracture requiring surgery, triceps tendons torn off the bone requiring surgery, torn meniscus requiring surgery, three flat tires, $900 in damage to an ATV trailer, $400 in parts to rebuild an ATV rear axle, $2500 in damage to an ATV that rolled on the trail, sunburns, and numerous scrapes and bruises. It sounds bad, but we all had awesome time; It truly was an epic experience!
Undeterred by our Moab experience, we took a large group on a 2 week ATV excursion to Lake City, Colorado in June. Located in a remote southwest corner of the state, Lake City is by far our favorite spot in Colorado to ride. There were 26 people in all, and for most this was their first trip to this picturesque riding mecca. It was a pleasant and memorable experience, except for one life-threatening incident near the top of Engineer Pass. My friend’s wife had a diabetic black-out and drove her machine off the side of a 45° rocky embankment. Thankfully, a member of our group riding behind her managed to see the incident, jump off his machine and chase her down the mountain to prevent her from rolling further than she did. Search and rescue was dispatched to get her off the mountain and she was taken to the Durango Hospital for treatment and observation. In the end, she escaped with only minor injuries (due to her being unconscious when she was rolling) and we were all reminded of the ever present danger associated with our pastime.
Lake City Photos
In July, the family hopped on a plane to Fayetteville, North Carolina to visit Melanie’s sister and mom. Melanie was raised there and she and we met for the first time while I was stationed at Fort Bragg. It was fun to visit our first apartment together, and many of our old haunts. The boys enjoyed hearing the stories of how we met and seeing the places that we had lived. They loved hearing about my experiences as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. We visited the Airborne and Special Operations Museum that had opened after we moved away. Towards the end of the trip, we visited some old friends of Melanie’s family at Wrightsville Beach. The best part was having plenty of time to catch up with Melanie’s mom, her sister, and my two nieces. It was a great trip!
One of the last camping trips of the year was held in Taylor Park near Buena Vista, Colorado. In all, we had five RVs/Toyhaulers and more than 20 friends attend the outing. Over the course of the weekend we rode numerous trails, cooked community meals, and shared stories around giant bonfires (the new party-o attachment to our Toyhauler was also a huge hit.). The kids did their best to blaze new ATV trails up and down the road near our site and the dogs played themselves to exhaustion. We created our own community there in the mountains and had a blast enjoying the outdoors.
Taylor Park Photos
John Martin Reservoir and State Park was our last boating trip of the year. We brought our Toyhauler and my buddy Jay brought his boat for a long weekend of camping and water fun. As usual, we had the lake to ourselves and enjoyed glass-like water conditions. By the end of the weekend, everyone on the boat had gotten up on skis. Even the kids were riding the tube after spending the whole summer being too scared to go out. It was definitely the best boating trip of the summer!
John Martin Photos
In November, I surprised Melanie by flying her to San Francisco for the weekend while I was on a business trip. We stayed at a trendy boutique hotel in the downtown area and went on a night tour of Alcatraz Island. Our good friends Stuart and Val came down from Santa Rosa to spend a day with us along the wharf. Other highlights included a visit to Point Rey, National Seaside and lighthouse. It was great to get some alone time with Melanie and have a few quiet dinners without interruptions from the kids.
San Francisco Photos
Last but not least, I spent two weeks in Penang, Malaysia in December. The purpose of the trip was to meet two new employees that I acquired with my recent position change. Thankfully, I had a weekend and some time off to explore the surrounding area. I spent the evenings exploring hawker stands and the broad diversity of food offerings. During the weekend I moved to Georgetown to visit historic Fort Cornwallis and the many temples and sanctuaries. I thoroughly enjoyed Penang, its people, and food and I can’t wait to return!
Hope to see you in 2011!!