Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend from Heaven!

So, Telisha is the nicest wife in the world! Why? Knowing that we would only be in Ohio for 7 days before I flew out to Seattle, she bought me a plane ticket so that I could go out and visit HER family and have a weekend of offroading adventures. Her dad and brother, now 15, have 3 dirtbikes and recently acquired and ENHANCED a Jeep Wrangler. We have all been dying to get together, and Telisha was incredibly generous to let me go out for a week as a graduation present. So...Owen and I (he was free to fly) left Thursday early from Columbus, arrived in Seattle around 10:30 am, and showed up at the house at about noon. Landon, the brother, did not actually know we were coming and was incredibly excited that we showed up. We did not get up to the mountains until after Dad got off of work, but arrived at about 8:30 pm. We quickly set up camp and got to sleep.

Here is our camp the next morning before heading out. You can see the red Jeep in the background.

Here we are at the summit, where there is a sign saying that the pioneers passed through there on wagon in the late 1800's. CRAZY!!
This is just a large rock near a fish ladder.

Here I am driving up was is affectionately known as "Titanic". It is that steep for about 100 yards, plus roots and rocks all over. If you think the camera is tilted, think again. That is the trail we are driving up. CRAZY!! If you dont beleive me, look at the trees, particularly the one above the hood.

This is my favorite picture from the weekend. The wheels look like we are floating. That is me up top.
Here is one video of some of the stuff we went over. This is on a part known as "Devil's Snare". It is not that bad at the start of the trail, but the farther and farther into it you get the steeper and more it gets. You are sucked in and cannot turn around and go back. You must finish the trail. It is only about 10 miles but took us 2 hours. It may not look that impressive from the camera, but look at how the axels are moving around. Plus it is still really steep. Landon is 5 ft 10 inches tall. He is standing on the trail just 5-10 feet downhill of the Jeep and his head is below the bumper. Really crazy stuff. Dont try this at home.

This was the craziest section we went down. Depending on where you place the measurement device it is over 45 degrees steep. That is insane.
We asked Dad if he wanted to get out and look at it, but he said "Hmm, lets do it." So we did. Here is the video.

So it you are wondering why he took that thing so fast, we were wondering the same thing. He was riding his brakes really hard at the start, as you can see why. As we got close to the drop he was thinking, "What did I do? Why didn't I look at that first?" But it was too late. Then because he was riding the brakes so hard he was sliding, but did not want to do that. So he let off for just a second and when going back to the brakes ally hit the gas with his extra wide boots. Hence, the loud revving noises and the accelerating through the turn. Dont get me wrong, the man knows what he is doing. He has even built his own off-road vehicle from scratch (The Berry Bug). He has been off-roading his whole life. I could not believe what happened. Hence I am busting a gut at the end, and Landon looks back scared for his life. If you did not get any of that watching the first time, turn the volume way up and watch it again.

This is our one and only dirtbike picture, just at camp. All I will say is that we went down the same stuff on the bikes as we did the Jeep. CRAZY. Its a long story, but somehow I landed on a felled tree about 3 1/2 feet off the ground. CRAZY.

Overall the trip was AMAZING. I may never get to do something like that again, at least not for two whole days without any kids or obligations, just ride ride ride, laugh laugh laugh, ride ride ride. Thanks Dad and Landon for showing me a good time. Thanks Mom and Tiff for watching Owen while we were gone. THANK YOU TELISHA, for letting me go and treating me so well. I love you tons and cant wait to figure out a way to pay you back for this incredible gift.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our House and Parties

Nathan's 26th birthday was squeezed into all of the mayhem and chaos - we did all the partying at Red Robin (gotta love the free burger & sundae this time) Thanks mom/dad for the gifts!
Sidney helped me make a cake with what little baking items we had. We ate the cake at Red Robins first because we were all so hungry we couldn't wait until after the food - the kids liked it.

Here's the picture you've all been waiting for...what our house looks like! - at least one from the outside. We decided that this could have been taken 40 years ago and probably looked the same
The house is quaint and is growing on all of us. The kids love that they have their own rooms and that they can go upstairs to "hang out" by themselves. (little do they know that I love it more) We will have to post some before and after pics as we continue to work on the rooms, slowly but surely. The more we fix and decorate the house to our taste, the more I like spending time in it, I think. hehe Our hearts still love and miss Provo though, esp the people......

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Well, it has been a while, but here we are, in the grand state of O-H-I-O! Columbus, to be precise. We actually PURCHASED a home, are excited to be here. The home post will come later today. But, we packed up our stuff on Thursday the 13th, cleaned the 14th and 15th, had a relaxing Sunday with the Pickups for lunch, Emily Phil Alisha and Austin for dinner, and PJ Hailey and the Pickups again in the evening. We left first thing Monday morning and made our trek out EAST.
Sidney, Owen and Tanner packed in the van with Telisha, and I started alone in the 26 footer. (Crazy big. I was pretty good with it by the time I returned it!) Before too long Sidney wanted in with me, and we traveled together most of the rest of the way. She learned to eat sunflower seeds, and together we finished a whole bag (she really did eat almost half though). We also tickled and "told secrets" to each other, and when going down a hill of any size put our hands up in the air and screamed like on a roller coaster.
Monday night we made it just past Sidney, Nebraska (9 hours). Motel 6 left the light on for us. We were out by 9 on Tuesday, and made our way to Davenport, Iowa (7.5 hours). Wednesday we left by 8:30 for our longest day (10 hours) and finally made it to our new place at about 10:30 pm. About an hour out we hit the craziest lightning and rain storm EVER. There was a tornado warning up in Michigan, and we felt the affects. For almost 30 minutes I was afraid for my safety. Lightning was going crazy, popping down every 20 seconds at most, no joking. It was banging so close that the clap was instanteous and it was nearly blinding every time. Welcome to the Midwest!

Members of our new ward helped us move in Thursday night, and we spent all night Thursday just trying to make room so that we could lay down and sleep. Since then we have not stopped unpacking, cleaning, removing the 960 pounds of garbage they left here that I had to get out of our place and take to the dump (couches, file cabinets, drapes, junk, etc.) buying groceries to stock up again, buying more furniture to fit our place, etc. etc. etc. I am really tired. BUT, we are here!!!!!!!
Why are we here?!?!?!?

I, Nathan O. Packard, am a Master of Science! I defended my thesis on Monday the 10th, spent the next 4 days and one completely sleepless, on campus night making some additions/alterations to my paper, and BARELY turned it in on time. Thursday at 2:35 pm was the deadline (library and grad studies office closed for commencement) for having everything done so that I could officially graduate in December and NOT HAVE TO PAY FALL TUITION. So...the paper was officially edited, printed (cost me $150-3 copies of a 200 page document, high def color on 27 lb bond paper, plus binding) and then turned in at.....drum roll please...2:34:45. A whopping 15 seconds before it was due. Wow, I was sweating like crazy when that was done. I was running all over campus all morning trying to get signatures, printing, etc, and barely made it into the office in the library as the lady was about to lock the door and leave for the day. WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW. But I made it, and I am now a Master of Science.
I have a minor in Math, a BS in Applied Physics, an MS in Mechanical Engineering, and am now preparing to start a Ph.D. in Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering at THE Ohio State University!

"T" only has to add that the driving was fun for the most part, but putting 3 babies to bed in one hotel room was NOT! I did have fun with Owen and Tanner in the van - my favorite part was trying to throw food at Owen two seat aisles away while driving. My aim consistently got better, but Owen still had trouble catching....I got pretty good at chucking food behind my back if I do say so myself. The funniest part though was when I would miss, or throw something and it would hit Owen and bounce off he was not very happy about it. I'm sure he was really confused at why mom was launching things at his face and teasing him because he couldn't reach it. We miss everyone already and will post future pics of the house.

Sidney sleeping for the first night in our house on her makeshift bed....she already feels at home.