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Thread: Ferret's annual road trip, a.k.a. #ravehajj2018 HIGHLY PHOTO INTENSIVE

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    Varsity Member armedferret's Avatar
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    Ferret's annual road trip, a.k.a. #ravehajj2018 HIGHLY PHOTO INTENSIVE

    Thank the missus for the hashtag. For those not in the know, "Hajji" is an honorific in the Islamic faith (and among those so inclined) as it is used to describe someone who has completed their Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, which is one of the five pillars of Islam--and one is not supposed to perform that pilgrimage until they have achieved other pillars, such as paying off all debts. It's essentially the most revered pillar to achieve, so the title comes with much respect and reverence (which is why I always chuckled when some of my lesser-knowledgeable colleagues would utilize it in a less than honorary way overseas, but that's another debate for another time). As I alluded to in the "Five Favorites" write-up I did, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC from here) is something we first experienced last year, and have committed to attending annually. It's our Mecca, if you will, and the journey there is our Hajj. Our Rave Hajj.

    Anywho.

    We enjoy driving when we can, because we get to see parts of the country we normally don't visit or travel through, find new little holes in the wall to stop and eat, etc. This year was a full 2-week Griswold-style vacation, complete with the Family Truckster for the modern man with no kids--a diesel Golf. Bonus points: not having to deal with the overwhelmingly ridiculous inconsistencies with "regulations" (i.e. "we made this crap up yesterday as a way to break the boredom and we think we have any actual authority") devised by TSA. And that's.....YUGE.

    Day 1 was a wonderful ~18-hour drive from Baltimore to Ames, Iowa to visit dad. Dad's still pluggin along, feeding his squirrels and enjoying life on the prairie. He grew up a farm boy, so it's just what he knows and loves. He's getting sick of Iowa winters though.

    Day 2 was easy, just a quick jaunt to Omaha to see the in-laws, have a BBQ, and relax. Sasha was ready to chase her ball, per usual.


    20180513_175013 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr
    Last edited by armedferret; May 29th, 2018 at 02:30 PM.

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    Varsity Member armedferret's Avatar
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    Day 3 involved a bit more of a hike from Omaha to Casper, WY. TONS to see and do along the way, highlighted with a stop at Chimney Rock (in my military-updated Oregon Trail shirt) and a glimpse of a storm rolling across the prairie to our southwest.


    ChimneyRock by Armed Ferret, on Flickr


    PrairieStorm by Armed Ferret, on Flickr
    (DEFINITELY not taken from the driver's seat. It just really looks that way cause I'm good. Totally.)


    20180514_153305 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr

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    Varsity Member armedferret's Avatar
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    Day 4 was a shade more involved than we thought; I knew we were booked at Madison Campground in Yellowstone but didn't realize that driving THROUGH the park would take as long as it ended up (when you start stopping for photos at all the INCREDIBLY amazing sights, it adds up!). Even with a stop in Thermopolis TO SEE DINOSAURS!!! (and have lunch) AND getting highly distracted by Ferret Park in Meeteetse, we still arrived and got camp set up relatively quickly (we'd practiced with the spankin new tent a few times before leaving just in case light was waning when we arrived) and with some light remaining, figured we'd go for a short hike. Well, we got about 300 yards or so and came across a clearing.....full of grazing bison. Some even had calves with them. We stayed to watch for a while, and as they grazed closer and closer to us, decided it was ultimately time to head back, get the fire lit, and have dinner (because if you go camping and DON'T have hot dogs and s'mores, what the hell is wrong with you anyway?).


    20180515_133759 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr
    FRICKIN DINOSAURS DUDE!!


    FerretPark by Armed Ferret, on Flickr


    TastyForkers by Armed Ferret, on Flickr

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    Varsity Member armedferret's Avatar
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    (more photos from day 4)


    Mountain by Armed Ferret, on Flickr


    BacterialFalls by Armed Ferret, on Flickr

    This image is not a crop. I took this with the same 50mm prime lens on my DSLR as all my other photos with that camera. It's the ONLY lens I brought for that camera on this trip due to its low-light capabilities. This guy was *VERY* close. Probably closer than he should have been if I'm honest....


    BigBison3 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr

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    Varsity Member armedferret's Avatar
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    Day 5 saw us up early due to the stupid sun coming over the stupid horizon, so we got camp broken down and everything back in the car, ensured no embers were still lit in the fire ring (seriously folks, there was a TON of evidence of burning throughout the park, so please if you do go visit, make sure your fire is COMPLETELY out!!), and headed south the 15 miles to see Old Faithful. It was spectacular as always, and the folks inside the gift shop were incredibly friendly and generous, helpful folks. Then, after stopping for a picture holding snow (because that's what you do when you go to Yellowstone and it's 33* overnight and you're in a goddamned tent), we drove *ALLLLL* the way to Vegas. Oy what a day. S'okay, In-n-Out is 24/7.


    OldFaithful by Armed Ferret, on Flickr


    Professor_Snow by Armed Ferret, on Flickr


    20180516_204414 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr

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    Varsity Member armedferret's Avatar
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    Day 6 we did our best to stay up as LATE as possible (preparing for the onslaught to come) by heading first to the Shelby museum, where I might have trolled them in a very subtle fashion (see photo), and later to Gordon Ramsay Steak for a late dinner. Our server, Dennis, was by far and away enough of a reason to go back. He was fantastic...and if the Somm was unable to do the pour for our wine pairing on the tasting menu, he took care of it, but oh gosh look at that he kept forgetting to make it a smaller pour. Did I mention he was awesome? Anywho, we did a little wal--erm, staggering around after, until we'd burned through the wine pairing. This was a tremendous help, because not only did we get to gallivant all fancy-like, we got to see a lot of fun touristy stuff on the strip.


    20180517_144813 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr


    20180517_221907 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr
    (this one's actually style-related and everything, see SHOOZ in the background? )

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    Varsity Member armedferret's Avatar
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    Days 7-10 were flat raving. And yes, I'm 38 years old and proud to say it. There were people there older than us (including one couple that looked like they very well may have been at the original Woodstock), so I ain't even a little scared. We did, however, get to see some F-22's playing around cause we stayed in Nellis lodging. 2 big reasons for that: 1.) it's literally a mile and a half from the speedway, where EDC occurs, so no long drives or huge traffic jams to deal with; and 2.) It's sixty. dollars. per night. Saved us over 600 big ones by staying there instead of waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy down in Henderson where the next cheapest place was. Gotta love it. Anyway, I rode the bumper cars. It was fun.


    IMG_3625 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr


    IMG_3493 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr


    20180520_201746 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr

    (I have a LOT more photos from the event for those inclined on my flickr; I'll also be editing some more RAWs this week as I have time and getting those uploaded as well.)

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    Varsity Member armedferret's Avatar
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    Day 10 also served as a recovery day post-party; she napped and i just stayed up for the duration (I've found it easier to transition from nocturnal to day-walker easier if i just stay the course and sleep that night, which i did). We did some more gallivantin on the strip that afternoon/evening, to include watching the Bellagio fountains dance to "Hey Jude". I got a 100-ounce daiquiri in a giant leg. I think it had about 1.5 ounces of rum, but that's probably for the best.


    20180521_193353 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr


    20180521_212448 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr
    HOW CONVENIENT IS THAT?!?!?!?

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    Varsity Member armedferret's Avatar
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    Day 11 was Grand Canyon day, which along with Yellowstone had never been seen before by the missus. She thoroughly had her mind blown, and I got a plush little horse as a souvenir. She got a rattlesnake mug, which the checkout guy at the shop we bought it at wouldn't touch. He's Navajo, and I learned it's considered a bad omen to touch or handle a snake, real or likeness. I happily scanned and bagged it for him, and he seemed genuinely appreciative. Very cool guy. We continued on to Albuquerque for the overnight.


    20180522_144813 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr
    SHOUT OUT TO DANNY RIC FOR HIS REDEMPTION AT MONACO!!!


    IMG_4141 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr

    Day 12 ended in San Antonio, reaching it just before 1 AM due to a lengthy dinner stop in Abilene to see and catch up with an old EOD friend of mine I haven't seen in a while.

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    Varsity Member armedferret's Avatar
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    Day 13...........don't pretend you didn't know this was coming. Obviously a stay in Texas isn't complete without a visit to my Happy Place, Franklin BBQ. And I just HAPPENED to go there in my Happy Shoes....the burgundy shell AE Daltons. After that, we needed to kill some time before my other Happy Place opened at 3 (Family Business Brewing), so we hit up the Austin Science and Nature Museum. It's clearly geared more toward kids, but I act like a child all the time so we still went. Had a lovely time. Saw a bobcat. Didn't try to pet it. Saw a snake and a turtle too. Also didn't try to pet them. Family Business didn't include any celebrity sightings, but on the brewery tour the manager (foreground) and Nate the Brewer (with the hops vine tattooed on his arm) both remembered me. So there's that.....


    Horseshoes in Austin by Armed Ferret, on Flickr


    20180524_124512 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr


    20180524_153855 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr


    20180524_165020 by Armed Ferret, on Flickr

    Day 14....on the road home. Stopped off in Nashville, was hoping to crash with a very good friend in the Guard there, but they had some family concerns pop up unannounced so we used a free night to grab a hotel room. Popped back up to Baltimore the next day, did absolutely NOTHING on Sunday, and did a buttload of laundry yesterday.

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