Kimes in the UK
It seemed like forever ago when my older sister Nicole decided that, no matter what, she was going to the United Kingdom in 2018, and if she had to go by herself then she was going too. As the responsible and fun-loving travel sister that I am, there was NO WAY that I was going to let her do that! When our second-family and joint-best-friend Randi found out, she and her oldest brother Warren Clayton, both eastern Oregon buckaroos, decided to come with, and us four Oregonians were off on the adventure of a lifetime!
Warren Clayton, at the beginning of the travel planning, had made a joke about if this trip was going to be like the show the Amazing Race. My sister took the comment to heart and subsequently the rest of us were left in the dark! All we knew was that on the last Monday of September, after a long weekend at the Northwest Professional Rodeo Association Finals, we were going to be heading from Portland, Oregon, to London-Heathrow. Ten hours of flying later we were given our first clue, a photo challenge around London.
One of my biggest concerns with traveling to the UK and being gone for two whole weeks was how was I going to get by with just a backpack to carry all my work, all my clothes, and anything else that I may be? I have thoroughly enjoyed my two pairs of Kimes jeans, finding them very versatile, so I rolled them up as tight as possible and compacted them into the bottom of my new backpacking pack. It was going to be a true test of their character to see not only how they held up in two weeks of wear, but also how they would be able to be diversified for a variety of unknown activities.
Sight-seeing through London our first two days and then, on the 3rd day, we were advised in our clue to wear heeled footwear and to “score a goal in the sport of Royalty” in order to get our next clue. At the Druids Lodge outside of Stonehenge our group of four rowdy Americans got the opportunity to learn how to play polo!
Our trusted teacher, Giles, couldn’t get enough of our UK adventure and our “cowboy” or “western” ways. He was so impressed with how quickly we picked up polo, especially Warren Clayton who was an all-state high school Lacrosse player giving, him an immediate advantage with his “feel” of the polo mallet, that he invited us not only out to the pastures to see the future stars of polo, but also to stay for more days for more polo lessons! Regretfully, we told him we had to head on to our next clue but invited him to the states, encouraging him to contact us to help orchestrate a clinic on the western side of the US during their off season.
The clues took us on more adventures which included Stonehenge itself and then Bath where we toured the Jane Austen Centre and had our first experience with pub food - it was fantastic! Heading out of Wales our clues and map led us to a falconry where we got the opportunity to fly owls with the conservatory hosts. We learned so many cool historical points about owls and eagles, including that the term “fed up” comes from falconry, referring to when the bird has received enough food that they are no longer motivated to fly.
Our trip continued as we headed to the Lake District where we were led in an adventure of a lifetime in an activity called “Ghyll Scrambling” or Gully Scrambling. Ghyll Scrambling, in essence, is baby canyoneering or kayaking down a river without a kayak. Dressed in wetsuits, life jackets and helmets, we slid, swam, and jumped our way down waterfalls, natural slides, and rapids to get from the top of the hill to the bottom. All being fairly athletic (excepting one Randi instance which you can watch here), we shot through the initial course quickly and were offered to continue through my intermediate secondary part of the creek. Created by nobles, you can’t help but laugh that what was once intended as a competition to climb UP the stream and to try and not get wet has now evolved to going down the stream intentionally getting soaked!
As we reached the Isle of Skye and Scotland, I was convinced that there was NO WAY my jeans were going to hold up. I have to say that I was completely impressed! I would not have predicted that my jeans would have held up in appearance after ALL those crazy activities that we had done such as polo, hiking, historical tours, shopping, the conservatory and hiking three miles straight uphill at Isle of Skye but they had! I was so fortunate to not have to trust the laundry service at the hostel we were staying at for the night!
We rounded out our trip with an aggressive game of underground, neon, Indiana Jones-themed mini golf in Nottingham before our clues led us to the Adrenalin Jungle. Following a bumpy and offroad like trail in to the jungle, we figured out our next clue was none other than an archery contest in Sherwood Forest, IN Robin Hood County, outside of Nottingham! The locals were both impressed and intimidated with the quick aim and good shots of the Americans, making jokes about not wanting to (laser) trap shoot against us!
A ten hour flight got us back home to Oregon and our ranches and farms, horses, dogs, and family! I am so thankful for the opportunity to get to go and am even more excited to share with all of you how your Kimes Jeans are the PERFECT packing essential when it comes to traveling as they are durable, clean cut, versatile, and stylish!
If you’re curious to find out more about our trip, see our clue cards, or watch any of our vlogs you can follow along with my adventures on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!