Category Archives: Family

Back from Arizona

Had a great week in Arizona! The drive back was pretty chill with no major issues until I reached Riverside, CA. While I was gone, Southern California actually received its first major rain storm in Lord knows how many months and I timed it so that I missed the bulk of it on my road trip. Thankfully just the last hour of my trip was in driving rain and by the time I reached my house it was just drizzling.

No rest for the weary though! Back to work tomorrow and then in just about 3 weeks, it will be Christmas and then off to Europe! I guess I better get on those hotel reservations as well as getting Christmas gifts for the family. Also time to start shooting the Holiday card!

Off to Arizona

Risking it all and traveling to Arizona on the busiest travel day of the year. Going to try and leave early to avoid rush hour departures to the Inland Empire and the potential worst traffic in the nation.

Update: Despite some laziness and last minute packing, managed to make it to AZ in about 7 hours. No records for me as I like to chill in Indio for a bit before making the trek across the desert. Since I’ve been taking a break in Indio, the trips to Arizona seem way more manageable than when I used to just have 1 stop in Blythe. Traffic moved, but the volume of cars made passing slow vehicles more of a chore than normal. Still, it beats having to deal with airports.

Dome to Dome Twice 20th Anniversary

20 years ago, I was in the middle of Day 4 of Dome to Dome Twice, the epic 3900 mile road trip I took after graduating college and before starting Grad School. My friends Wendy, Joe, and Death set off from Chico, CA on a round trip that would take us through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah.

The previous year, I had gone to the upper Midwest to look at Grad schools with my then step-father and we visited Minneapolis, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, and Wisconsin. I took my family’s VHS camcorder and documented the trip and affectionately referred to the trip as “Dome to Dome” – a tribute to Michael Palin’s recently released “Pole to Pole”. The dome in question was the Minneapolis Metrodome, even though we never drove by it.

When my friends wanted to go to the Twin Peaks festival in Washington in 1994 and visit my friend Susie in Colorado, we decided to do both in 10 days. Overly ambitious to start, it turned out to be a fun time despite not talking to Death at the end of the trip and a little blow up in Washington where someone wanted to walk to Seattle. At any rate, I look upon this trip with some fond memories.

In 2004, I finally digitized the trip and created a special 10th anniversary edition DVD for my friends of the trip. It featured a few deleted scenes (although Susie was disappointed that the endless hours of lightning in Colorado didn’t make it).

Our itinerary:
Day 1: Chico to Snoqualmie, WA via Crater Lake and Mount St Helens
Day 2: Touring Twin Peaks sights
Day 3: Seattle
Day 4: Snoqualmie to Butte, MT via Cataldo, ID
Day 5: Butte to Yellowstone – camping in Yellowstone
Day 6: Yellowstone Touring
Day 7: Yellowstone to Colorado National Monument
Day 8: Visiting with Susie
Day 9: Grand Junction, CO to Chico via Salt Lake City and Reno

If I get some more free time this weekend I’ll try and post a photo gallery from the trip and maybe some video clips! (or maybe by the 25th anniversary…)

Laguna Beach Adventure

Today, Granny, My Aunt, and I took another weekend day trip – this time to Laguna Beach with special guest My other Aunt. Inspired by our recent Palm Springs outing, this time we decided to head to the beach.

I’ve always loved Laguna Beach since we used to stay there in a timeshare when I was a kid. I’d love to live there sometime, (Crazies and Homeless and all) but I know unless I make a career move or hit the lottery, it will remain out of my price range.

We spent some time shopping and I got to witness my Aunts awesome shopping abilities. I am not sure of the exact conversation or how much they saved, but it was fun to watch from the chair while they were in Chico’s. I wish we had some more time so I could see some more shops, but these days we are limited to when Granny gets tired, but that’s OK because I treasure the time we spend.

Lunch was at the Vegetarian Zinc Cafe, which for most of the healthy living residents of Laguna is very popular and tasty, but personally, I could use a bit less fou-fou and maybe a burger. Everyone liked their food and my Grilled Cheese was fine, but just not my type of establishment.

After “lunch” I stopped at Casey’s Cupcakes to pick up a few for me and Daniel to enjoy later in the day. When I finally got to try them, I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting a dry cupcake like Sprinkles, but they actually were very good and moist. I had the Decadent Dark Chocolate and Daniel enjoyed the Casey Confetti Cupcake and the Beach Boy. Daniel liked both of them and said they reminded him of Pillsbury cake mix (which I think is a compliment). They opened a Casey’s in Huntington Beach so we will definitely give it another try!

After a quick stop for my Aunt in Whole Foods, we were done for the day and it was time to head back home. I think our next adventure will be to Santa Barbara or to Olivera Street and I can’t wait.

Palm Springs Musings

This past weekend I took my Grandma, Aunt, Cousin, and Daniel out to Palm Springs for the day on Saturday. It’s been awhile since the gang went out there and it was nice to get away. At just over an hour away from their house, it really is an easy day trip.

We hit some shops on the main drag and as indicated by the photo posted on Saturday, we came across the star dedication of Gavin MacLeod aka Captain Stubing from the Love Boat! It really was a highlight of the day week not only Gavin, but Peter Marshall, Jack Jones (singer of the Love Boat theme song) and Carol Channing were all there among others in attendance.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Palm Springs – I love the tram ride, our favorite Mexican restaurant, and some of the high end consignment stores, but overall there didn’t seem to be much to do. This time, we visited some of the cool shops, but after awhile all the mid century themed stores start looking the same. I know Palm Desert has all the uber-swanky places to shop at, but I think Palm Springs is getting better – especially if you want furniture.

I’m almost ready to commit to an overnight in the area to have a more relaxed visit and who knows, in another 10 years or so I might be a regular weekend visitor to the city. For now, I am quite happy to just day trip there every now and then.

Summer’s Over??

Wow, it’s already mid-September! What happened to Summer? It was a good summer and a tough summer in different ways. For the good part, I am having a great time at work in the new position. I think that is a big reason why this summer flew by. I actually look forward to going to work and feel like I am contributing something important to the business.
For the difficult part, my family has been getting frequent flier mileage at the local hospitals. 5 members of my family have spent significant time in the hospital or battling tough illnesses. It has been tough keeping up with everyone, but they are all fighters and are powering through. As I get older and older, it seems that more and more people are needing medical care. I thank my fortune that the most I have been worrying about is random moles and getting to the eye doctor. (I really need to get new glasses!)
Even though it is not technically Fall, the season is upon us. Kids are back in school and Jeff Probst is back on my television. I’m always excited for the new season of Survivor and Amazing Race! My other favorite, Doctor Who is winding down its current season, and it has been an amazing one. Can’t wait to see how it all wraps up in a few weeks.
Speaking of a few weeks, it’s time to visit the AZ family soon in their native habitat. Hoping the thermometer shows mercy on me since the last time it was well over 110 degrees. From there, I will be making a return trip to the Florida Project for the 40th Anniversary of the Magic Kingdom and the Walt Disney World Resort. It’s been 4(!!) years since I have been there, and it will be nice to visit. Being a nerd, I am excited to stay in two new Resort Hotels (despite being denied, yet again, to getting a night at the Contemporary Resort – one day my childhood dream will come true).
I will be taking the iPad for it’s first trip (outside of the state – it did go on the trip to Sequoia and Yosemite at the beginning of summer) so I am beginning to get some media transferred to it so I can test the battery. I don’t usually do a travel diary for WDW, but depending on what inspires me we shall see.
Now that I have broken my summer log jam, I am going to try and pick up the pace around here for the 5 people that might actually still be reading my site.
Oh – quick site news, I actually made good process on the new Trip Diaries! Just need some long nights to get through it all and then finally it will be done.

Remembering December 2010

I have been super negligent in updating this website over the past few months. OK, stop giggling, I know it has been drifting along for years now..
December is a month that is always dominated by holidays, and in case of where I work, the Holiday Season. Because of the timing of my recent promotion, I was not able to figure out a way to return to Australia to participate as a staff member at the Endovascular Summit that I participated in Argentina in 2009. Next year, the team will be in Slovenia and Puerto Rico so hopefully I will have a better shot of traveling.
I did manage to visit the relatives in Phoenix with Daniel in tow. It has been two years since I drove to Phoenix (last time was overnight with my Dad to visit my brother) and ever since the great Fireball incident in 2006, I always get a bit nervous heading up the grade to Chiriaco Summit. What struck me about the drive was how much the Phoenix Metro area has expanded to the west. It makes the drive a bit less boring since there is less desert, but I do get a bit nostalgic for the less built up days.
Another exciting thing is that I managed to see a movie! In the Theaters! I am actually 2 for 2 since I saw Tangled in November and in December I saw Tron: Legacy. Not going to lie, but I liked Tangled better between the two. However, I really enjoyed the Tron: Legacy visuals and soundtrack and I do hope they make another one. Hopefully the CGI rendering of young Jeff Bridges will be less creepy than it was in this movie. I really hope they get it worked out so they can do a proper 11 Doctors special for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.
Looking back at 2010 altogether, it has been a year full of big changes: New apartment and a new job (although same employer). I’m glad I went to visit Pennsylvania and environs and hope that 2011 will be full of more adventures and opportunities.

Holidays are here!?!

It’s almost the end of December and I am finally back on track after my whirlwind South America trip. One of the disadvantages of going on vacation in December is that when you get back, you are thrown in the chaos of the holidays with no holds barred. When I returned from Argentina on the 12th, it was raining and cold here in Southern California. Combined with my Buenos Aires allergies and I am sure the long plane flights from BsAs and Miami, I ended up with a cold. I imagine I must have slipped in my Emergen-C intake while on vacation.
At any rate, the first week back was pretty much wasted as I recovered from my head cold. It wasn’t that bad of a cold, just enough to make you not want to do anything. I did manage to do laundry, but that is about it. I also managed to make it to the Family Christmas dinner in Carlsbad. It was great to see the gang, even if only 13 out of 28 people showed up. Before too long, it was back to work, and that is always time consuming as the long shifts really make me not want to do much when I am not there. All of this combined to put me behind!
Last week, I finally got off my rear and put together some Christmas presents via iPhoto on the Mac and they came out great! Of course, just like in my UCD days, it only took me a few seconds to discover a tiny mistake, but I am sure the rest of the gift will more than make up for it. More details on the gift after Christmas when people open it.
Tonight, I finally got around to getting the Gorn photos posted from the Argentina trip, and as a result spent a few hours fixing the Gorn Page, since there was no category for South America photos. I checked the archives and its the first re-do of the home page since 2001. Nothing too major just the addition of new categories. I am actually surprised how well the design has lasted. (Of course it could just be me..)
Christmas is almost here and I am looking forward to the next few weeks and am waiting to see what 2010 has in store. I am sure many will agree 2009 was a tough year, so I join the many that hope 2010 will be better than ever!!