Why Go West?

I was talking to my wife the other day about our trip out west. We went, we came back and returned to our normal lives. Was the trip any more than just 3 weeks of driving in the car and seeing the sights along the way?

What was our purpose to begin with? Why even bother making such a trip?

Our family hasn’t really been big on vacations. Our time away from our normal lives is usually short and fairly modest. We have never really taken extravagant vacations.  They have been more of the budget affairs: A week at the beach or camping in the mountains.  We haven’t put much value in them.

But for years we’ve talked about taking a trip out west–going to see the Grand Canyon and other sights out there. It was a mythical thing that was fleeting and always far in the future.  Until we realized that we only had a few short years before ~D~ and ~K~ would go off to college and family vacations wouldn’t include the entire family anymore.

So we started to put some money away, and started talking about “this year” being the year to go.  Planning was always the problem. Neither I nor Christine are great planners, and we couldn’t seem to get over the hurdle.  But we finally bit the bullet and took the steps to make the trip happen.

That still doesn’t answer the question: Why?

For a long time, the answer was: Because it’s there.  There is just a big country out there and we need to see it. We need to go on an adventure and expand our horizons.

But I think really for me it was because I took similar trip with my family as a kid. A memorable trip when I was 14, where we drove and camped out west for an entire month. I still look back to that time and remember it fondly. I wanted to share that same experience with my family.

Our own family’s experience would different, to be sure. But I wanted us to build memories and make our own family story. It wasn’t just Dad remembering a time from his childhood, but something that we could share together: “Remember when we took that trip out west…”

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Go West, Young(ish) Man

We set of on a trip out west, yesterday, the beginning of a three week long adventure.

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There were a lot of firsts in the day: the first rest stop.

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The first welcome center.

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The first meltdown. (No pictures, it wasn’t pretty.)

~A~ did OK, but not great on the 10 hour trip, the first of many long days in the car. Hopefully all of our long distance driving chops will get better over the next few days, cuz we’re going to need them.

After traveling through the four states of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana, we settled down for the night at the house of Christine’s brother. He shared his homemade arcade and theater with us with a showing of “Pacific Rim”, 2 hours of testosterone-filled mayhem.

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Our push west continues with St. Louis.

Seven Cold Miles in April

After running  in some pretty balmy temperatures earlier in the week, we got sucker punched with another blast of winter. (Short lived, I hope.)

I proceeded with my mid-week run, breaking out the winter gear once more. Sigh.

Luckily it is starting to get lighter and I can enjoy glimpses of the sun rise, where a month before, I was finishing in the dark (due to DST).

Here’s a glimpse of the sunrise early in the run:

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Another glimpse of the sun towards the end of the run:

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I also got a nice view of a fairly full moon, setting in the west:

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I had planned for 6, but decided to stir-in an extra mile at the end.

7 miles and I was glad to be done.

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Scenes from a Remodel

Did a bathroom remodel for the boys bathroom.  ~D~, K~, and I  gutted it to the studs and replaced the tub and vanity. The boys were invaluable in getting all the work done.

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It took longer than expected (don’t they always), but I was really pleased with the results:

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Golden Gate Bridge

In late July, I had the opportunity to go on a business trip to the San Francisco Bay area. After my training class was over, I had a few hours to kill before my red-eye flight back east.

I took the opportunity to go to the Golden Gate Bridge park:

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And discovered the Pacific Ocean. First time there.

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Ironically, the rest of the family was at the beach in SC and had had their hands in the Atlantic Ocean the same day.

A Hiking Story

Once upon a time, a family went on a hike. Big people up front, little people behind. They hiked…

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…and hiked…

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…and hiked.

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They discovered that hiking up hill is hard work.  So they took a break.

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Although everyone was smiling, they were very tired.

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As with all hikes, they were looking for a destination…a waterfall!

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They could see it in the distance, but couldn’t figure out how to get there.

The big people consulted a map…

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They tried to find the way to the waterfall, but couldn’t find it.

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Meanwhile, the little person thought that he could find the waterfall.

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He looked one way…

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…and another…

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…and he found it!!!

Everyone was so happy they called him a hero and decided that the little person could hike up in front of the big people to show them which way to go.

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The End.