Beer Drinking Around the World: The Who’s Who of Beer Lovers

Wherever we travel we make it a habit to try the local microbrews. Whether in a mix pack of bottles from the store or at the local pubs, we’ve tried an impressive number of beers – though never really bothered to document our interest in beer drinking.
No matter where we go the beer is pretty good, depending on what you’re into. We both like a good stout (especially a chocolate one) but Ross is more prone to drink a summer ale or amber ale, where as Kat usually sticks to darker beers, IPAs and anything with chili pepper in it (when available).
As far as outside the US, I (Kat) have been pretty disappointed with Spain (Barcelona), Uruguay and Argentina, where you can only get some average quality lagers made locally and maybe a Guinness (has fish in it) or Stella Artois. The UK has a pretty good variety though, and I’d like to check out more beers in the South, Scotland and Ireland next time we visit – I want to see that mythical beer “so thick you can stand a spoon up in it” (I mostly hope it doesn’t exist but I want to try it if it does).

It’s pretty crazy what the difference in price and quality can be from one country to the next and I look forward to one day paying .59 cents for a beer in the Ukraine!

Price of Beer Around the World

Infographic by: financesonline.com

New Nerds on the Road Banner!

When we first started out on the road in our 1973 Class C Van one of our goals was to find a street/graffiti artist who would tag up the van for us with the Nerds on the Road website and logo. Unfortunately we upgraded to our trailer after 6 months, a while before we really reached any big cities where some talent might be found and ultimately decided against altering the trailer so we could easily resell it (of course that didn’t happen). After 4 years we haven’t even managed a custom licence plate cover.

So I’m happy to say that has changed, and we not only have a work of art with our name on it, we have an official NOTR banner (or as Ross calls it, “Blanket of Arms”)!

Created with the talented gifts of Isabel Anderson, Ross’s mom, this awesome and so perfectly thought out quilt represents us perfectly! It’s full of tons of camping, animals and nature, and a big sky full of stars to represent our love of all things nerdy! The logo itself was executed in a most perfect font and the top left corner on the back is signed by Isabel herself (in embroidery).

We had initially planned to hang it on the wall in our office so we can stare at it all day while we work, but we were told it’s meant to be used and so we shall! (with care).  It’s the perfect size and thickness for a picnic blanket and summer camping blanket, and in the winter, a lap blanket. For now it makes it will make its home on the back of our couch where the pets enjoy sitting and looking out the window looking at nature (or spying on neighbours, depending on where we are).

I can’t imagine a better banner for our little gaggle of geeks. Thanks so much Isabel!

10469708_10152500531374929_2262144696736334610_n 10336669_10152500531634929_132903606119774237_n

Cat vs Cottonmouth – Susa Has a Rotten Day in Louisiana

Monday afternoon I’m outside with Susa and Sherlock, walking around the trailer and along the treeline behind us. Susa is being great, just following along with me and Sherlock as she likes to do –  when she suddenly decides to lag behind and ignore me when I call her.  I called her a few times, as she stepped closer and closer to the forest and jumped on a log.   The cats are not allowed in the forest for many reasons and usually we can call them out pretty quickly if they decide to ignore the rules (as cats do). All last month in San Antonio both cats had to be on leash and harness every time they went outside and hated it, it was nice to have a place where we didn’t have to worry about traffic or holes in fences for a bit. We’ve been taking them out on supervised play time in the grassy area behind us to sit on the tables out front. They usually behave.. but they are cats.

As soon as she was on the log we started waking towards her quickly to get her turned around before she went any further up the log and into the forest. When we got there she was nearly to the end of the 6 foot log and already turning around – whether because I had arrived to scold her or something else, she jumped over a branch and ran back towards us, then past us to the porch of the trailer.

I thought “Yay! She wants to go back inside by herself!” at the same time as “That was oddly easy” because sometimes you have to toss a pinecone in her direction to get her out. Me and Sherlock walked to the front door to let her in, as Sherlock approached her at the bottom stair, Susa meowed as if she was annoyed at Sherlock and I knew something was off. She’s never been annoyed by her before. I go to hold her collar while I open the door, because that’s usually when she changes her mind and decides she wants to stay outside, and she kind of howled  in pain and was in a rush to get inside.

Once inside she really started to howl. Me and Ross were both chasing her around the trailer trying to find out what was wrong. She had started to limp on her back left foot and wouldn’t let us anywhere near her. I thought that maybe she’d been stung by a wasp since there were always several in the leaves where we were. She might have a sticker or stinger in her leg? Whatever it was I wanted to try and help. When we finally got her held down in the shower, only the start of her day long torture, we noticed a little spot of blood on the side of her foot. We still didn’t know what it was but we knew she was in A LOT of pain, and if it was a snake bite we couldn’t take a chance. We immediately called the nearest vet, put her in a kennel and rushed there.  If we were taking our cat to the vet for a bee sting, so be it.

When we arrived, they took her from us and into a back room where we could hear poor Susa screaming as she was held down and her leg was shaved. They brought her back in to show us two puncture marks on one side of her leg. Definitely fangs (and not of the mammal variety) – and when considering snakes, only venomous snakes have fangs.  :(

10349201_10152146564068597_7318121623893796736_n

 

The vet told us what our options were, basically, that they would give her a huge dose of steroids, antibiotics and pain killers, put her on fluids and wait it out. We asked about anti-venom but they and most vets don’t carry it due to its cost and the “old school” method being pretty effective with Cottonmouth bites (the most likely culprit).  She mentioned that we could transfer her to the 24 hour emergency vet in Lafayette if we wanted her to be supervised through the night, which of course we did. We would have to wait til after 5pm when they opened, so we went home for a very stressful couple of hours til we could pick her up and make the transfer.

When we picked her up she had already had about the worst 3 hours of her entire life. She’d been bitten by a painful snake, held down twice by a group of strangers to be shaved and stuck with needles and had to ride in the car twice, on what is possibly the worst roads in the country.

14319132266_236a219b52_b

 

We rushed her over to the ER and spent a little time talking to the vet. We left feeling like she would get good treatment and headed home for a long night. At least by then she seemed to be past the worst of it and wasn’t getting any worse except her back leg was now about double the normal size. Hopefully acting fast played a part in all that.

Now she’s home and drugged up pretty much all the time. As soon as we got in the door and let her out of the kennel she started purring and hasn’t stopped much in the last day and half since she’s been home.  She doesn’t seem to be in any pain anymore, unless you try and touch her back foot, and her front leg, where they put her IV, now looks like a zombie leg.

Overall she’s going to be ok and that’s what matters – even after all that trauma, she’s still the same cat.. and already asking to go outside :-/

10419487_10152147341633597_6612512991542617902_n 10433940_10152542282849374_4532467433669375310_n

 

 

 

 

Tent Camping in Hill County Natural Area, Texas

We woke up late this Saturday with zero plans, regretting not making any but also happy for a morning off. After lazing about for a while we decided that it was the perfect weekend to go tent camping for the first time this year. There aren’t many options in the San Antonio area for camping, and of the two that seemed most appealing, Hill County Natural Area seemed like it might be less busy on a warm spring weekend.

We finally got on the road around 1pm, and still needed to stop and buy some decent sleeping mats and a cooler at REI. REI was impressively busy and between shopping and the long drive to the park, we ended up at our campsite around 4:30pm - not too bad really when it gets dark at 8. It gave us plenty of time to go on a nice long hike up into the hills of the park. The trail that started almost from our campsite allowed us the option of connecting to just about any other trail in the park.



Rusty Barbed Wire Fence Hill County Air Plants

 

holly-berries

Most of the park seemed to be designed for, and used by, horse campers. Several of the campsites were horse camping sites and the trails all had hoof prints. Luckily we never ran into any riders on our section of trail and we were free to poke at cactus, do insect photoshoots and let Sherlock get ticks (she somehow got only one).

The campsite was amazingly generous with a fire pit, hanging pole (for garbage) and picnic table directly in the middle of a huge round space hidden away in the forest, and a short walk from the next empty campsite. The site was surrounded with huge trees covered in air plants, probably my favorite southern plant.  The area for the tent was completely flat and padded by a thick layer of yellow leaves, which Sherlock loved to run and spin through.

Hill County Natural Area Campsite
Hill County Natural Area Campsite

It was Sherlock’s first camping trip and she was getting along pretty well, lying on her blanket on the ground most of the time - until it started to get dark. We let her off leash for a bit, just to see how she’d do around camp; She started to play in the leaves, getting herself super excited, then running as fast as she could towards the truck 100 yards away.  She did that twice before we realized she was trying to get us to follow her to the truck so we could leave. After being confused for a while, as it got darker and strange sounds filled the air, and still we didn’t leave. She eventually just resigned to the idea and laid down on her blanket to sleep. When the bugs showed up we put her in the tent and made dinner, after that the tent became her new favorite safe place and she was excited when it was time to go to bed.

All night long we listened to a deafening array of frog sounds from all sides, and the occasional rustling in the leaves or bushes nearby. Our tent is mostly mesh without the rain-fly so we watched the stars for a while before falling asleep. The temperature got no lower than 65 degrees all night and we all rotated between being too hot and too cold for much of it. However the new mats we bought turned out pretty great . We had previously been sharing a twin Ikea pad as a camping mat, which was much too heavy and large, even rolled up, for any future back-country hiking.

The mats are REI brand, Trekker 1.75, a unisex and a women’s size. The women’s mat turned out a little short for me but with my knees bent it’s about right. Each mat weight less than 2lbs and rolls up fairly small to be easily attached to the bottom of a backpack. We both get sore sides from laying on the ground typically, but although only 1.75 inches the Trekker mats did an awesome job of staying firm and not letting our bodies touch the ground, even when I let additional air out for comfort. They’re semi self inflating so they have a foam interior that sucks in air as it unrolls when the nozzle is opened, then you finish it off with a few blows if needed. Getting the air out is another thing, we’re still perfecting getting them as small as they were when we bought them but otherwise we love them!

Some Long-Horned Friends:

On the way out of the park on Sunday we passed by a bed and breakfast with their own small heard of longhorn cattle. My favorite was the calico looking one but they were all gorgeous!

Calico Longhorn Calico Longhorn Black Longhorn and Baby

Page 1 of 39