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Gimmewald, Switzerland

The most beautiful and majestic place we've ever been.

Paris, France

By far Adri's most favorite city and monument.

Istanbul, Turkey

The most culture shock worthy and wonderfully diverse city we know.

Cairo, Egypt

Our craziest, most intense story to date.

19 November 2012

Our Final Californian Adventure

So, Adrienne and I decided that we really wanted to do something random, something you may not expect someone to do before they move away from the state.  We thought for a long time about it, and what did we decide.  Well...

We went to Disneyland!!!!! (and the beach)

I know, I know, not original at all.  Who wouldn't expect someone to go do that right before they leave, right?  Well, we didn't just go to Disneyland... we added a twist to it.



No we didn't, yes we did.  We dressed up as Waldo and Wenda and ran around Disneyland for a couple hours.  In fact, we left early because Adri was getting sick of people yelling "I found them!" or something similar to that every 10 seconds.  I actually rather enjoyed it, and played as though I didn't know what was going on.  We had people ask to take pictures with us to send back to their kids and other family to say they "finally found us," and even some people were sneaking them.  I wanted to look at one kid and just say, "You might as well take it with me staring at you.  I mean, it isn't like I don't realize what I look like right now."  We had a ton of fun!

So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some of the places that we took pictures of us playing "Where's Waldo?"  Now that I have uploaded them to my computer, they really aren't all that hard to spot us, but it was really fun anyway.

We look a bit like creepers in some of them, but who cares? We had a blast!  Enjoy!  P.S. You can click on them to make them bigger if you really need to.















23 October 2012

St. George and Vancouver

Well, as you probably know, or maybe don't, Adri and I are moving to the east coast.  And, well, we are starting that journey next week actually.  Monday the 29th is our last day in California.  

With the move coming upon us so quickly, we figured we needed to get in as much as we could.  Funny thing is that none of the things we are posting today have anything to do with California.  Oh well, the next one will, I promise.  Check back this weekend (hopefully we have time with all the packing) for that one.

Anyway, Adri hasn't run a marathon in a while and she decided that she needed to again.  So, we signed her up for the St. George Marathon and headed up there.  Her sister Taneea and niece Alyssa came to support her as well.  She did a wonderful job!  This is the start of her getting back into it.  We don't know what marathons are in the east, but we'll find some.


After she ran we headed down to Boulder City, NV to see Adri's parents at the art show they were at.  Sadly we didn't get any pictures with them, sorry.  After we spent some time with them we headed over to the Hoover Dam because it was only like 10 minutes away.  We drove over it, walked over it and took pictures of it.  I like this picture best because it gives you an idea of what it is like.  I couldn't get one of the dam itself because then it just looked like a big wall... not as impressive as this in my opinion.


The very next weekend we headed out to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to see my brother Danny, his wife Denise and their son Liam.  My brother Jeff joined us there as well.  We loved it up there.  Granted, it rained basically the entire time we were there, but it was a lot of fun.  And, Liam is hilarious and cute.  I'm amazed at how smart and curious he is about everything at age 2.  Here he is saying his alphabet until he gets distracted by Jeff playing with the TV.

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Then wherever we went he had to be running around and playing.  Props to Danny and Denise for keeping an eye on him and keeping him safe.  He is one active little boy... I love it!


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And just because I love Liam's face when he was running around in my shoes I have to post it.  He wanted to get into everything, and know what everything did.  I will never look at my watch again without saying "BING!" every time I unclick it to take it off.


We took what pictures we could while we were there.  But, because it rained the whole time we didn't get a bunch.  We got some, and this doesn't really even begin to describe the beauty of the area.  Plus, we hear that it is even better in the summer time.  Regardless, it was a great time and too short of a weekend for us.  We'll figure out how to make it back there one of these days.








10 September 2012

Standup Paddle Boarding

Adri and I went standup paddle boarding for the second time in our lives.  We've seen it before, including a group of people that went white water rafting on them.  We said we had to try it, but in a more calm environment.

So, now that we live in CA, we can go out on the ocean.  I know, how is that more calm?  Well, you go on the right day, get past the breaking waves and your good.  So, being our second time out, we thought would share the experience.  We have a friend with a GoPro camera that said we could borrow it, so we took it for a week.  Strapped it on, jumped on the boards and off we went.

We went out to this rock where seals lay out in the sun.  It was pretty cool.  So, the trip took about an hour (which from what we have read, is the equivalent of about 8 hours of normal surfing... yeah, great exercise).  But, so you don't have to watch an hour long video we sped it up, cut out some stuff and shortened it to about 4 minutes.

Enjoy!

08 September 2012

Trip to Big Sur and Monterey, CA

Ok, so before we get into the adventure itself, I have to confess two things.  First, these pictures are not completely in order.  They are for the most part, but I wanted to save the very best part of our trip for last.  Second, we didn't realize this until we were there, but Danny and Denise have already made a trip to Monterey and Big Sur.  So, call us copycats if you choose.  And in the spirit of letting them claim it, click here to read their post about it.  Having said that, we would recommend this trip to anyone.

Adri and I had been talking for a long time about where to go over the Labor Day weekend.  We were warned by many coworkers that trying to leave Orange County would be a nightmare with traffic.  After much deliberating, we decided to head up to the Monterey and Big Sur area.  The drive is supposed to take 6 and 1/2 hours, but because we had to fight traffic and we wanted to take the more scenic route it took us about 8 and 1/2 hours.

Of course, leave it to us to find something abandoned wherever we go.  These are some of the things I love most.  Graffiti, abandoned buildings.  I just can't get enough of them.  And, since not everyone is interested in this, I figured I would post it first.  Technically these are the first and last sites that we saw.




Along the drive we were just mesmerized by the coast line up there.  Mountains and rocks just going straight to the ocean everywhere you looked.  There is a bridge up there called Bixby Bridge that is supposed to be awesome, but by the time we got there it was pitch black outside.  And, on the way home it was so crowded with people that we couldn't stop to take a picture.  But, I think this is a better picture than we would have gotten there.


Also along the way is McWay Falls.  Unless you want to repel down you can't get to the beach, so it is just perfect and pristine.  The coolest part is there is a waterfall that lands right on the sand as the waves come into the cove.  Just gorgeous.  I do kind of wish we would have grabbed our rock climbing stuff.  It would have been fun to be the only people on that beach and to explore around.  As you can see, there is a bit of a cave down there.  I wonder if there is pirate treasure in there.



Since we got to our hotel fairly late, we went straight to bed.  The next morning we got up to a beautiful day.  Sunny sky, clear water, temperature in the mid to high 60s (we found we love this weather the most), and just great scenery to enjoy.

We walked down to the Fisherman's Wharf to explore and taste their fresh sea food and clam chowder (good thing you didn't join us dad).  There was this guy taking "donations" to allow people to hold his birds.  Adrienne really wanted to hold this Macaw.  It was funny to watch her face as it just stared her down.  Eventually it started to try to eat her shirt, so she gave it back.  Sorry, no picture of me with the bird.



It was a lot of fun to see the fishing boats in the harbor coming in and out, and it was super fun to watch all the pelicans fight over the fish the fisherman would throw out.


That evening we headed over to Point Lobos National Park to hike around in the cyprus trees.  The way those trees have adapted to the constant battering of wind and waves is pretty incredible. It creates for some interesting shapes for sure.  It was super foggy while we were out there, but just very serene and beautiful.



Notice here that the tree has orange and green on it.  Apparently there is a moss that grows only on the north side of the rocks and trees that is bright orange.  We read that it is the same stuff that is in carrots. I don't think that means it is as good for you as carrots though.


We also got to see a number of sea lions.  They were super lazy most of the time, but there were a few that played out in the ocean and swam and jumped around.





The highlight of the trip though was a couple hours of whale watching.  We hoped on a boat one morning and headed out about a mile or two into the unknown.  On the way up we were bouncing up and over some good sized swells.  Large enough that Adri couldn't stop smiling and laughing, and at one point said to me, "This is better than a roller coaster."  It was a lot of fun, but I think has more potential to make you sick.  I'll take the roller coasters over the swells.


It was so incredible to go out and see the whales.  After a while of searching we were able to see a pod of about 7 or 8 humpback whales.  Adri actually saw one come head first out of the water, called breeching, and slam back down.  I sadly missed it because I was watching some others.  But, we got some great pictures.  This boat here, the Sea Wolf, got a really nice little surprise to have one dive this close to them.  We also got to watch one play by waving its tail in the air and the smacking it down.  Then it would do a couple rolls and brings its fins out of the water.  Back to the waving and then back to the rolling.  It truly was an incredible experience!



10 July 2012

Nations birthday in the the nation's capital... Washington, D.C.

So, a bit on a whim, Adri and I decided to spend the 4th of July in Washington, D.C.  I grew up not too far away, and she had never been.  Plus, since the 4th was on a Wednesday and we were off work anyway, why not take a couple extra days?  So, tickets booked, hotel booked, bags packed and off we went.  And oh what a trip it was, with many a story to tell.

First, apparently we (we being me because Adri doesn't book our flights) had booked our flight for a day earlier than we thought.  So when we went to check in, there was no flight for us.  I promptly called Delta, and after a few moments on hold the person came back on the line stating we would be there a little later than already planned, but at no additional charge.  I'll take it, thank you Delta.  Off we went on a 1:40 AM flight, with connections in Memphis and Atlanta, and at 2:00 PM we were finally there.

Off we raced to the Capitol Building where my brother-in-laws brother works on the police force.  We met up with him and my brother Jeff for a private tour of the Capitol Building.  We saw a place where one Senator shot another in a fight and the guy bled on the stairs.  We took stairs and an elevator reserved for either Senators or those with direct authorization.  We even learned that there are certain carpet and tile patterns that are trademarked by the Federal Government.  Apparently that means that if you are caught copying them, you could be thrown in jail.  Sounds like the early stages of piracy protection to me.  We saw where the President walks to go out onto the West Lawn when he shares a message outside the building.  We walked all over the building and even saw where they kept Abraham Lincoln's body for a period of time before burying him.  I even stood in the exact center of Washington, D.C.  It was an incredible tour, so thank you Jesse!





That night we watched a concert on Capitol Hill and fireworks near the Washington Monument.  Problem was, they didn't tell anyone how far away the fireworks would be... across the mall (huge, I mean huge, grass field).  So, as the final band played the fireworks started and suddenly everyone was bolting to a better location to see them.  We didn't get to see the entire show because we had to find a spot to watch them from, but we did see some.  And, from what we saw they were incredible... especially as we got to see them light up the monuments.



On day 2 we headed out first to the National Air and Space Museum as well as the National Gallery of Art.  I've always loved the Air and Space Museum and Adrienne loves that kind of stuff too, so this was an easy decision.  Plus, while it was 100 degrees with humidity it was a good excuse to be inside.  We saw all the plans, space ships, rockets and space stuff we wanted.  

After some time there I wanted Adrienne to see a few pieces of art at the National Museum of Art.  As we headed through the sculpture garden we stumbled upon a fountain you could put your feet in.  So we stopped for a moment and cooled off there and were joined by a visitor taking a bath.  He was quite the energetic little guy.



In the National Museum of Art we looked at Jackson Pollock's "Lavender Mist," Mark Rothko paintings, Matisse, and many others.  I unfortunately do not know many artists names, but I love looking at their work.  I got some pictures, but they just don't do the paintings justice, so I decided not to show them.  There was also an exhibit by an artist, Bruce Nauman, called "Fifteen Pairs of Hands."  It was quite cool.   We also saw the sculpture "The Thinker" and didn't realize how small it was.  I was always under the impression that it was quite large.  Maybe there is another one.



After spending some time here we headed out to Georgetown to see where my brother works and then go to dinner and see the area.  We loved the Georgetown area.  Awesome buildings, right on the Potomac River and just a really cool area.  There are some random things there too like the stairs that were used in the movie the Exorcist.  They were actually pretty creepy even not knowing that.




After seeing Georgetown Jeff needed to head home, so Adri and I decided to rent bikes to ride along the Potomac and to go see some monuments.  We grabbed some bikes from Capital Bike Share and headed out.  It was a gorgeous ride and probably the thing Adri loved the most.  We rode by the Lincoln, Washington and Jefferson Memorials.  Spent some time admiring each and just enjoying the serenity, history and sheer reverence there.  I admire these men and the other Founding Father's for what they did to set up such a wonderful nation.




We dropped off our bikes and were headed back to the Metro when I realized that my wallet was nowhere to be found.  Not in my pocket, not in my backpack and not in Adri's purse.  Frantically we started thinking about where I could have misplaced it, or if I had been pick pocketed.  All of my credit cards were there, my driver's license (wouldn't be heading home without it), and our Metro passes.  Luckily Adri had a credit card on her.  So after a quick prayer we rented bikes again and started heading out, retracing our steps in the dark down the road.  About 2 minutes in Adrienne yells to me, "What do you think about going to the Lincoln Memorial?"  I thought about it, and it felt right and made sense.  I remember distinctly putting the wallet in my backpack so it wouldn't fall out of my pocket, and that was the only place I could remember even fumbling with my backpack.  So, we sped through the mall passing the Washington Monument and the WWII Monument and headed back to Lincoln.  I went straight to where we were at to look for my wallet and Adrienne headed to the Ranger post.  I didn't find it and as I pulled up to where Adri was, the Ranger pulls out a wallet and starts checking the ID to see if it was me.  Sure enough, it was my wallet and nothing had been taken.  I guess people felt honest around the memorial to Honest Abe.  That and of course their hearts were touched by a quick little prayer.  After the wallet was recovered we headed back to the Metro to go get a good nights rest.  Getting on the Metro this night was not the best idea, but really the only option.  We hopped on and instantly started sweating.  Apparently because of the recent power outage the AC was not working, and I swear it was 120 degrees on that subway.  I don't think I have ever sweat that much while doing nothing but standing in my entire life.  Needless to say, we were exhausted and slept well that night.

Day 3 we decided to rent a car and head out to the Washington, D.C. Temple and then to my home town of Winchester, VA.  We reserved a car the night before and so I headed out to get the car while Adri finished getting ready.  After 40 minutes of waiting (while being told it would only be 20), and then being told it would be another hour, we cancelled the reservation and changed our plans.  Needless to say, I was not happy about that.  But, we went to the Museum of American History and saw an original sun stone from the Nauvoo Temple and the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the "Star-Spangled Banner."  After some time there we ran out to meet up with Jeff for dinner and a movie near Chinatown.  It is so weird to see all the places we are familiar with, all with their signs in English and Chinese.  Even weirder, I think at least, to not see anyone that even looked Asian, let alone Chinese.

On our final day, the hottest of all, we head out to lunch with Jeff and to head to the National Cathedral.  Due to some car trouble, plans changed and we headed out to Arlington National Cemetery.  This place was incredible.  The spirit present just made me so grateful for the men and women who are giving and have given their lives to defend this country.  It was the highlight of my trip for sure, and I could have spent hours there just taking in the feelings.  We saw where JFK was buried, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (including the changing of the guard) and everything in between.  Although the grass was not green (105+ degree heat tends to do that to grass), it made for some awesome pictures.
 (I blanked out the name on this one because I had no idea who the person was)




All in all, the trip was awesome!  We will for sure go out there again.  Probably not this time of year, more like spring or fall... but we do plan to do it again.  If you ever get the opportunity to be in Washington, D.C. no matter the time of year, we would highly recommend it.