Friday, October 9, 2009

Suntrek Training

Lafayette, CO - Sorry guys it's been a while. I had all these great intentions of blogging on the road this summer but alas... it didn't work out. Turns out the Suntrek job took up a hell of a lot more time than I expected. I did, however, take a good deal of photos while farting around the country. Hopefully a few of them will be worth showing. I'm just starting to mull through them now.

Anyway, I'm now back in Colorado, back with Suwei, and ready for winter to swoop in and cover the hills with lovely white stuff (It's due to snow again tomorrow). For this post we have to back up all the way to June. Suwei and I wrapped up the annual canoe trip, hung out in the bay area for about a week, then on the 15th, Suwei flew home and I headed to Santa Rosa for my first day at Suntrek.

For those of fully out of the loop, I took a job this summer with Suntrek Tours as a trek leader doing adventure camping tours around the USA. My first 3 weeks there actually involved an unpaid sort of trek leader boot camp where we learned to clean vans, fix stoves, wash tents and yes... be a better trek leader. To be fair part of that time was spent obtaining a California commercial driver's license, learning to maneuver a 13ft van pulling an 8ft trailer, and enduring 11 days as a passenger on a training trek. That trek is where we start with this post.

Stretching our legs somewhere along the California Coast on Day 2 of our training trek.
To get a sense about what it is like on a trek, Suntrek requires that all (well most) trainees go on a training trek. So, I and the 10 other Suntrekers in training piled into an unmarked van for 11 days on a simulated tour of the Southwest. We each took turns driving, being a tour guide, and loading and unloading the trailer. The rest of the time was spent experiencing what life is like for a passenger (hint don't sit in the far back, left seat unless you particularly like being trapped in small confined spaces.) The tour took us from San Francisco down through Los Angeles, San Diego, over to Joshua Tree, Lake Havasu, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite and back to Santa Rosa. It definitely wasn't all work, but it wasn't all that much fun either. There was a lot of van time, but to be honest... it was probably the most useful portion of the training. Here are some of the photos.

Our training group from bottom right: Kate, Diane, John, Evan, Mike, Mike, Andrew, Julien (our trainer), Greg, Jeff, and Brian.

A few of our destinations: Mission Beach San Diego, Venice Beach, The Grand Canyon, Lake Havasu, Yosemite, Lake Powell and Zion National Park.

Fellow future Suntrekkers: Mike at Horseshoe Bend AZ, Brian at Lake Powell UT, Diane at Easton's Ranch UT, Jeff in Death Valley CA, Greg in Zion National Park UT, John at the Grand Canyon AZ, and finally Julien, our trek leader working hard at the SnowCap in Seligman, AZ.

Click on the link below and check out the slideshow for more pics and info.

Suntrek Training Trek

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