Category Archives: Friends

Be Jealous of My Post Cards

Post Cards from Matt

Post Cards from Matt

I am a lucky Geographer to have a good friend like Matt. Last month he was on an epic journey to places that I only dream about and being the good friend he is, he sent me some post cards that I can now brag to all of you about.

The three post cards are from Vigur, Iceland (A small spear shaped island in the North West part of the country in the Ísafjarðardjúp. I’m sure that roughly translates to Iceland Fjord), Svalbard Global Seed Vault (located on Spitspergen in the far northern section of Norway – practically the North Pole!), and finally Jan Mayen (actually part of the same province as Svalbard, but farther away and between Iceland and Norway – Matt actually visited there first, but since they are a remote military post, the mail took over a month to get to the mainland and then posted to the US).

Super neat to get notes from these remote reaches, and I only hope that when he visits the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands he remembers me as well!!

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…)

Late Movie Night

Tonight we ventured over to our friends Eric and Arthur’s place to watch one of Daniel’s all-time favorite movies: 1976’s Logan’s Run. Overall it’s a fun movie but I always struggle with the fact that it takes place around the same time as the original Star Trek series and movies. I guess I’ve always liked Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future better than William Nolan’s, but even then it’s amusing that in the 60s and 70s people had the idea that tights combined with free flowing tops was the best choice for casual wear.

Next up with our friends will be some disaster movies among them one of my all time favs – Earthquake! I’ve already subjected them to The Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno so looking forward to Earthquake and/or Airport ’77..

The Year That Was 2013

Looking back at 2013, it was a fun filled year that was full of new adventures, a major personal accomplishment, and the re-launch of this web site you are reading!

January and February started off with the loss of my step-grandmother and one of my heros, Huell Howser. I am not one who ever thought I would be going to a public memorial for someone that I did not know personally, but I felt the need to mourn Huell’s death with the people who loved him the most, the subjects of his shows, his friends, and his fans. In keeping with Huell’s spirit it was a bit quirky with a sing-a-long of California Here We Come, but it was nice as we all stared off at one last California’s Gold sunset. My step-grandmother finally passed away after years of suffering and though a loss is never easy, it was good to know that she no longer had to endure the pain.

After another Doctor Who convention, travel season kicked into high gear. I finally was able to attend Spring Training in Arizona for the first time since my Mom moved to Arizona many, many years ago. We saw the Angels play the Giants which was fun despite the lack of stars so early in the schedule. Several months later I made the trek to San Francisco to see the Giants at AT&T Park for the first time. It was a great experience despite the Giants losing the game.

In addition to some side trips around Southern California, Daniel and I adventured out to a bunch of National Parks: Death Valley, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Pinnacles. In addition we made stops at Monument Valley, Cabrillo NM, and Grand Staircase-Escalante NM. I love road trips and being out in a part of the world where the only way to navigate is with a paper map and not a cell phone. I hope to visit Arches when I have more time, as I really fell in love with that park and would love to explore the area around Moab some more and make the hike to Delicate Arch and not just the viewpoint.

There was a side trip to Georgia for Gary’s birthday which was a lot of fun as not only did we celebrate, but I got to visit another NPS unit – Kennesaw Mountain, but also the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. I finally saw the Pet Shop Boys in concert which was amazing and long overdue! In the middle of all the traveling, my good friends Eric and Arthur got married and it was great to be a part of something so meaningful for such good people. My Niece also got hitched at a baseball stadium which was wonderful as well.

By far my biggest accomplishment was running in a 10k race at Disneyland with my friends. I wrote earlier this year on it, so I won’t repeat it other than that I am still proud of this accomplishment.

So 2013 was a great year personally, and I can only hope that whatever lies ahead in 2014 will be as good. I’m sure change is coming (it stalks us throughout time and is good as long as we remember who we were before – I think that is from Doctor Who!) and I will be ready!

I can’t believe I ran a 10k race!

In 2010, our friends Eric and Arthur ran the Disneyland Half Marathon and it really inspired Daniel and I to do something like that some day. We started out with a walk in the park with the 2010 CHOC Walk and then after that the idea sort of fizzled and we never really did anything until the beginning of this year when Daniel suggested that we finally do a race. I suggested the 5K fun run but he did not like the finishers medal so he decided we should do a 10K.

So in January of this year, we registered for the Inaugural Disneyland 10K. At first I thought that we were crazy, but then I found out that our friends who inspired us in the first place were actually going to do the 10K on Saturday and then the 1/2 Marathon on Sunday. Now that was crazy! I was determined that if they could do that, I could at least putter around on just the 10K.

So we started looking at workout regimens and asking our friends and family about the best way to get started. We eventually ended up at Roadrunner Sports where we got custom insoles for our running shoes. If there ever was a way to make me finish something, you make me spend some good dough on it! So after finally getting a good outfit and the shoes, I was set to begin preparations.

I started out with timed runs just to get the feel for what it was like to do something I had not done since I was in High School. The first few runs were brutal and I couldn’t even make it to the end of the street without gasping and having to walk. Eventually, I was able to make our first two mile run without stopping and we pushed for longer runs. Our last couple of runs were around Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley which conveniently was a mile square so it was easy to figure out where you were in the course. I’ve found that if I know the route, it is easier for me to know how far I have to go and I could keep pushing myself. Probably the geographer in me!

The last few weeks before the actual run, we didn’t get a chance to do any good runs as our schedules and travel plans made a mess of things. All things considered, I still felt good for race day as I knew when I ran 4 miles, that another 2+ was now possible.

Race day finally arrived and I was nervous as all get out. When I filled out the emergency info on the back of my bib, I made sure to put the hospital I wanted to be sent in case anything went wrong. I was so nervous that I had to pee so bad that I didn’t think I would make it to the start without having kidney failure. But the race started and I made good time out of the chute (especially since I had to pee it was a race to the first bathrooms!!). My first two miles were my best and then after that I settled into a groove. I lost Daniel after the first few minutes, but at least he was there at the start to help.

Knowing the race was a plus and once we entered the parks it was no longer a matter of will I finish, but when. The weather, although muggy, was not terrible as a good cloud cover helped keep the direct sun off of me. Mile 5 was the hardest, not just because that was the one that went by the horse pens at Circle D, but because I knew I was in uncharted territory. Thankfully, the boosters in the park and the characters made it all worthwhile as they kept cheering. Finally, as I rounded Indiana Jones Adventure, I knew from my mental map that I was nearing the last mile. My phone had buzzed that Daniel and Eric had finished and I was determined to make it through Downtown Disney! As I raced towards the finish line, I dug deep and pushed to the end and was happy to see Daniel’s Mom there rooting for me..

Crossing the finish line I was so happy that I had done something I had never thought I could do (or was I just happy I didn’t have to run anymore ha!) and I’m sure when I see the official race photo I’ll look like a complete doofus. The best part, after getting my medal and some water? Seeing Daniel and my friends Eric and Arthur at the finish line. They were all happy for me and we took some photos. Pretty soon our other friend Ricky finished and we posed for a final photo which is the one posted in the previous entry.

Coming off the high of the run, I sure did get a headache and some other minor nagging pains, but nothing major. I was so proud of myself and for my friends for inspiring me and for Daniel pushing me and making sure I went through with it. When I added up all my training runs and my race, I figured I’ve run just under 51 miles to date!

Today, I made sure to go down to Anaheim Stadium to look for my friends to cheer them on. I knew how much the cheering helped me and since they were doing a longer race in brutal conditions, I felt I owed it to them to cheer them on. I didn’t see everyone, but glad I did get to cheer for the ones I did.

I’m pretty sure that I will do another run again, I’m thinking the Tinker Bell 10K in January would be fun and probably a lot cooler weather wise.. Will I do the Disneyland 1/2? One day for sure, and I’m sure sometime after that I might even attempt the Dumbo Double Challenge like our friends did.

For now? I’m just going to sit back and eat some ice cream..

So Cal Snow

This past week, Daniel and I ventured to the San Bernardino Mountains to visit Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead. The Family tells me that I visited them when I was a kid, but sadly I cannot remember that save for a few random snow memories. A few years back, I told Daniel and Leslie that if they wanted to visit real snow, we needed to go to Mammoth. Turns out, I was actually correct. Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead didn’t have too much snow left on the ground and to me the whole area struck me as overdeveloped. Thankfully, we had left early in the day so most people were still trying to wake up and set off back to their respective So Cal destinations. We balked at the idea of paying $25 to go tubing on some small underdeveloped courses that were next to some people’s houses.
We drove around for a bit, and then decided to head over to Mountain High in Wrightwood to see if it was any better. It too was full of day trippers and we arrived too late to actually go inner tubing. We did manage to find a nice spot on the side of a hill that still had people around, but it did have a nice patch of snow. When we were leaving, we found a nice area where the road was closed to Glendale, but there was a parking lot and lots of nice snow in which to frolic. I think if we come back to this area, we will go here instead.
It was nice to spend the day driving around, but I think the next time I want real snow and a “Away From Civilization” experience, I think I will stick to Mammoth or go back to Lake Tahoe since I haven’t been back since I lived in Davis.