If you're wondering why I always put my name in the topics of these things, it's not because I have a huge ego. I do have a huge ego, but I do it so that my name gets better search rankings in google. My goal is for people to be able to search for "Tynan" and for my site to be number one. Soon. If you want to help, like the almighty Magnus, you can link to my blog and put my name in the link.
Today Doug, Steve, Steve's (ex?) girlfriend, Todd and I headed down to Canyon Lake, TX to do some tubing. You see, I bought the sweetest tube ever to bring to the lake. The thing actually flies 15 feet in the air behind the boat. I think I wrote about it before, but I'm not sure. Anyway, the first time we tried I skipped along the water, but didn't really take flight because my weak human lungs couldn't inflate the tube enough.
Today before going to the lake I bought two different pumps to ensure that the thing would actually inflate. As it turned out, the boat rental place had a sweet air compressor, negating the need for our own pumps. Oh well... you owe me one (two?), Wal Mart. Our rental boat was a shoddy looking boat most certainly manufactured before 1990 which was apparently very fast. The interior was a coccoon of brightly colored vinyl couches covered by a weathered bimini top. I climbed aboard and with the help of Todd, tied the monsterous tube to the boat.
Then it rained. Soon it was pouring out.
On the way over we spotted a school bus for sale by the side of the road. Since we weren't going anywhere in the rain, we headed back to check it out. I walked aboard and felt a warmth in my heart that I hadn't known since converting our first school bus. The ceiling was high - over six feet. This is a rarity in used school buses. The interior was in great shape, and it even had the same controls that our old one had. It was nostalia inducing. The price? $650. I'm sold. I was ready to pay cash but the owner wasn't there. Oh well - if it drives as "good" as it claims on the windshield, I'll have a new vehicle in the stable. BTYB tour, anyone? I'm coming to a highway near you.
The rain continued on, and the rental place told us we were probably out of luck. After putting the tube through an elaborate deflation process involving all five of us we began to discuss what to do next. Of course just minutes later the sun came up as if it had never been raining. Oh well.
Steve had an idea. Why don't we buy a lake house? We quickly agreed that we should buy a lake house. For $500k-$1mil you can get an incredible lake house in canyone lake. It's a lot of money, but if it were split eight to ten ways, it would be managable. After all, lake houses are more fun with lots of people anyway. We went to a gas station to get real estate advertisement magazines and then found a restaurant where we could eat while studying them.
We were immediately excited. There were incredible lake houses in our price range. Some were up to 5 acres, some had hot tubs, others had "media rooms". I called up a real estate agent to see if we could be shown some properties that day. I always laugh when I give people my e-mail address "Tynan at better than your boyfriend.... ". After that she took us slightly less seriously. She was at home, but could e-mail me listings tomorrow.
Undaunted, we set off on our own to find some of these properties. The more exciting ones were in a division called "Mystic River". We were met with one of those false-security gates. Usually 911 will let you in (ever think about how ambulances get in?) 2142 is another common bypass code for pizza delivery boys. It didn't work either. We started serially calling every person in the directory. Only one answered and wouldn't let us in.
Slightly disappointed, but still excited by the inevitable outcome of buying a sweet lake house, we headed home.
At the last minute Todd pulled into a brand new development. He drives an Audi All Road, which is one of the sweetest vehicles I've ever seen. I'm a huge fan of Mercedes, as you probably remember, but this thing is incredible. I would buy one. It's a luxury station wagon (perfect for road trips) that has a built in adjustable suspension. One button click and we had a higher ground clearance than a suburban.
We blazed over the dirt road until we reached a little temporary building. There were actually people there. It's not often that I get taken particularly seriously by vendors of luxury goods. How likely is it that a 25 year old (who looks 20) wearing a shiny sequin hat is seriously going to buy a million dollar house? However, the gentleman there didn't even blink an eye.
We looked at the map, pointed to the most expensive lot, and he showed it to us.
The lot was gorgeous. It was a long strip of land that totalled about four acres. It started on a tall hill, where the house would be built, and extended way down to the water. The development even had a private airstrip for flying in. Whoa! I took a few flying lessons a while back but got preoccupied and stopped taking them. We need to get back on that gravy train, Elisia! Ultimately that particular place probably isn't nearly as good of a value as we can find, but it was still fun to see.
I have another exciting project coming up soon that I want to write about, but I've already gone on for so long here. Tomorrow maybe ...
I found a video of the flying tube thing Tynan was talking about. It really does fly. http://www.nothingtoxic.com/media/1134630000/Tubing_Liftoff
Sweet idea on the lake house and bus. Party Bus Part Deux. I've thought about the lake house ownership going multiple ways before too. Besides what good is it to have a lake house with no one to enjoy it with? I'm not familiar with Texas Real Estate Laws and such, but check on how the ownership rights would work. I'm taking Real Estate Classes to get my realtors license and there are different ways that ownership can be held and each with their Pros and Cons. I'm sure you know some of this since you have your own house, but I thought I would throw that in there for consideration. My hometown in Tennessee has a great lake beside it and this would be a great project to under take, but right now the prices of the lake Real Estate have shot up a bit and are inflated some. Get some friends in place and line up financing and maybe I could move on a good value when it shows up.
LOL for the putting your name in your posts' titles. Could that really work? I'll put a link to your site on my blog with your name on it. I'm really curious if you can get this to work. Both my full name and my domain name words already come up first on google listings by default. i'e been pretty obsessed with the google thing too the past few days, trying to get good listings when they search for either my surname or Kathryn Kuhlman. No good results though.
Just use the money to buy and pimp the bus with hot tub and a media room, then visit every frigin lake in the US. You will still have money for flying lessons.
I'm not generally the easiest person to wake up in the morning, but on port days on cruises, I'm up before the old people. It helps to have free access to the best alarm clock invented-- free scheduled room service. Such was the case today, when our ship stopped in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores. I've wanted to go to the Azores for years, ever since a guy named Eric Bomblatus, whose family is from there, told us about how beautiful it was. Sometimes all it takes is planting that seed.
At eight a.m. sharp we were off the boat and walking down the cool sunny streets of the city. I remarked that I wished I had a motorcycle to explore the island with. Ten minutes later we passed a motorcycle rental place. Prices were checked, found to be reasonable, and a plan practically wrote itself.
Between the five of us (Todd, Ben, Carl, Christophe, and me) we rented every motorized vehicle they had left. We got a 650cc motorcycle, a 125cc motorcycle, two quads, and a 125cc scooter. A mother-daughter duo we had befriended on the ship stopped to say hi, and were added to our party as passengers. Driving down the street, we looked like a post-apocalyptic gang.
The itch to explore is superseded only by the itch that accompanies me on my flight back to Rio. I am wearing bug bites like war scars...having survived my sojourn into the wild Amazonas.
An early morning flight landed me in Manaus midday good Friday, and it was a boat+pickup truck+boat ride past the meeting of brown and blue river waters, and over the high(water)ways to the place where the mouths of rio Mamori and rio Juma meet and where the Lake Juma lodge resides. i'm the one-who-came-late and the tour boat swings by to pick me up before we head out for a spot of piranha fishing on the lake. No skills needed, just stick a piece of frango (chicken) on the hook, dip the wooden rod down low and wait for the nibbles. The trick is to be swift once you feel the bite. My level of patience is not quite suited to the waiting sport of fishing, so either it was luck or impatient me whipping up the line each time i felt the tug of a bite (so that I would not lose my bait too often to pirate piranha), i was rewarded with two piranha catches! These were not the most vicious breed (out of the 25 species) that would chomp one's fingers off, but hey, a piranha is still a piranha! And every living creature deserves a second chance, so back they went into lake, to bite another tourist bait another day.
After a sunset tour of the large lake, we head back out for cayman spotting after dusk. The boat skimmed the shoreline as the guides flashed their torches into the vegetation. It's always the eyes that show. (Flashback: I recall the Masaai guard swinging his torch around the bush at the serengeti camp and knowing which animals were out there just by their eyes shining in the dark). So whilst our untrained eyes looked blindly into the dark forests, the guides jumped out and waded into wet grass to catch the caymans. Just over a foot long, these reptiles have a flat lone & powerful tail, webbed hindfeet for swimming, 4-fingered forefeet for climbing and 72 sharp teeth for chomping... complete with eye lenses and ears. However, it seemed that evolution deemed a tongue as unnecessary but the cayman is certainly no dumb creature, be careful to keep its mouth shut as bites are potentially nasty bacteria-laden infections.
Since we had put the sun (pôr do sol) to sleep that first evening, we naturally had to wake up at dawn to watch it rise over the rainforest. That was the intention anyway but the cloudy sky merely made it a serene morning boatride as the dawn gave way to daylight. The mornings somehow always carries a certain magic with the freshness of a newborn day. The surface of the lake wobbles like a dark green jello as our boat floats gently by in the still cool morning air. It's a game drive on water as we cruise the shores on the lookout for forest creatures.
Day 2 is explore-the-forest day. We gear up and head out after breakfast, ready to meet & greet the residents of the rainforest. Forest survival 101: 1. Keep to the muddy trail and follow the guide's footsteps, 2. Do not touch underside of leaves (the residents there don't like to be disturbed), and 3. Beware of walking into branches and spider webs. .. i think. So the bunch of us city folks keep in step behind our guide whilst his native eyes picked out armadillo and tarantula burrows, giant ant colonies, grasshoppers and tiny tiny frogs that pack a poisonous punch. The dense forest is a treasure trove of nature's own medicine from antiseptics to mosquito repellant (involves mashed ants) and superfruit such as trendy açai. If you are into a hi-protein diet, try snacking on firefly larva. Then there were the trees the natives used for weapons or communication or shelters... and the ones that smelt of menthol vapour rub or essence of rose, not forgetting the fascinating walking tree and the 600 year old Brazil nut tree. Three hours later, seven pairs of wet muddy shoes returned to the lodge...except for our guide who was wisely and cheerfully dry in his rubber boots. By mid afternoon we were ready for our second foray into the forest...this time for a sleepover under the stars.