Archive for the ‘Adventures’ Category

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

August 16, 2010

Summer is just about over.  I took 3 breaks from work this summer.  I wish we had more time for more adventures but its time to get back to work.

I started the summer with a 1-week trip to Camp Three Falls to conduct National Youth Leadership Training for the Ventura County Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  We had a staff of 15 and 28 participants.  While the week was a lot of work, I enjoyed making new friendships and renewing old ones while on the course.  The training course teaches the scouts skills that can be used throughout their lives.  Hopefully, the week at camp will help prepare the young men who attended to become the strong leaders that our nation will need in the future.

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Adventure #2 was a 10-day trip to Costa Rica.  It was our 35th anniversary this year and we wanted to do something special.  We were thinking about a trip to Hawaii, then I saw an ad for a all-inclusive “natural paradise” trip to Costa Rica.  Wendy wasn’t too sure about it at first, but once we started researching the trip, we starting thinking it was a good choice.

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We visited the Poas Volcano this first full day of the trip.  The weather is often cloudy and blocks the views, but we had a great view of the crater.

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We spent two nights in Tortuguero on the Caribbean side of the country. To get to Tortuguero, we needed to take a 90-minute boat ride to the lodge. Along the way, we saw a very large crocodile, along with lots of other tropical wildlife. This was just the beginning introduction to the area. We did two other small boat trips into the jungle and saw lots of interesting wildlife.

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Saturday night, we took a special naturalist-lead walk along the beach to watch green turtles lay their eggs. We got to see three turtles. The first couldn’t make up her mind what to do. She start making her nest, but stopped several times. We could only see her silhouette as she used her flippers to clear the area of plant material. While we are waiting for her to do something, another turtle came out of the surf. She was about 100 feet away, but we walked within 50 feet as we left to visit another turtle’s site. We were able to watch as she finished laying her eggs–between 90 and 120–and then cover them with sand. As an added bonus, we were bitten by leaf cutter ants that were in the ivy where the turtle was laying her eggs. Unfortunately, we don’t have any photos of the turtles because they don’t allow cameras or lights on the beach.

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The next two nights were spend in the Fortuna area in a lodge at the base of the Arenal Volcano.

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We also did another river trip–this one took us within a few feet of Nicaragua. I took the opportunity to walk around the fence to do a quick Nicaraguan visit.

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We also got a chance to see a little (actually a lot) of Nicaraguan rain.
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We visited the Arenal Hanging Bridges.  It was a 2-mile loop hike up and down a canyon in the rain forest.  There are 6 suspension bridges and a dozen other spans.  It was a great way to spend the morning.

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While we didn’t get a chance to see an eruption of lava on the Arenal Volcano, we did get to see the volcano venting stream and smoke.
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We finished the trip with a two-night stay at a very nice Marriott on the Pacific Coast.  It was right on the beach and had an incredible swimming pool.  It was a classy way to finish the trip.

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This sunset was in Tortuguero.  It was beautiful.  Most of the afternoons and evenings were cloudy, with rain sometimes.

We really enjoyed the Costa Rican adventure. It was one of those trip of a lifetime.

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The final adventure was a quick trip to Utah to attend a wedding and to visit Julie, Nathan, Jacob, Josh, and Ainsley.  It was fun getting a chance to be a grandpa.

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We drove up American Fork Canyon Friday and Saturday nights for a little fishing.  Jacob caught his first fish.

We also went up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Albion Basin to check out the wildflowers.

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So the summer is over and the adventures are just memories now. The change of pace was good. Seeing and experiencing new sights/sites is the way I like to spend vacation time. Finishing the summer by being a grandpa was a very good thing for me and hopefully for Jacob, Joshua and Ainsley.

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“Catch the trade winds in your sails”

January 14, 2008

Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

By necessity, we have some order in our lives. We have responsibilities at home and at work. We have predictable routines that make our lives easier.

Unless we are careful, this predictability will steal from us opportunities to experience a fuller life.

So let’s make an effort to “explore, dream, and discover” this year so when we look back, we won’t be disappointed with the “adventures” that didn’t happen.

Making Plans, then Doing Something Else

November 12, 2007

Wendy and I had plans this weekend of driving north for a quick get away. We planned on leaving town after church Sunday and returning Monday evening. When we woke up Saturday morning, the day was too nice to spend cleaning the house. So that is when things started evolving. Plan #2–drive to Santa Maria and use our free night coupon at the Radisson and then spend Sunday night in Ventura. We got a somewhat late start and were enjoying ourselves too much so we kept driving. Time for Plan #3. Spend the night in Cambria and Sunday night in Santa Maria. And that’s what we did. Because we were flexible, we had a much better trip. Here are some of the things that we saw. Click on the photo for a closer look.

 

So while I’ve a big believer in making plans, I’m also a bigger believer in Plan B (or C or D).

An Avocado-Harvest Adventure

October 6, 2007

Ever had an avocado ice cream cone?

Today, Wendy and I drove to Carpinteria to attend the Avocado Festival. We stumbled on to it several years ago and have been 3 or 4 times. It’s a big street fair, with lots of arts and crafts. We shared an avocado ice cream cone, then had a chicken/avocado quesadilla and a very nice salad, with avocado, of course. We then went to the Ventura County Fairgrounds for the Harvest Festival. If you want to buy jewelry, that was the place to go today.

Question for the Day—Do You Have a Special Place for Escape?

August 23, 2007

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Do you have a place that you can escape to in your head when you need to relax? When you are in the dentist’s chair, for example. My place in ironically named Deadman’s Canyon. It has that name because an old sheepherder is buried in the canyon. It is located in the southern central section of Kings Canyon National Park.

I first visited Deadman’s Canyon in 1992 when I was leading a 50-mile hike with our scout troop. I immediately christened it my “escape place” because it was so quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. I was able to return in August 2003. Unlike what sometimes happens, Deadman’s Canyon lived up to my memories of it. In 1992, we just had to hike straight on through. On my second visit, I was able to spend a little more time enjoying the place. There is a beautiful stream that meanders through it, full of trout. It is just a great place.

Do you have a special place in your mind that you use as an “escape place?” Is it real or imaginary? Tell me about it.

The Wasatch Mountain Adventure

July 12, 2007

Sunday morning we (Wendy and I, with Julie, Nathan, Jacob, and Josh acting as tour guides) drove from Lehi through Alpine, Highland, Draper, American Fork Canyon, Cascade Springs, Midway, and Heber and returned through Provo Canyon.

To see some of the photos from the trip, click here.

We saw some castles in Draper, the Draper Temple construction project, had a picnic in Timpanogos Cave National Monument, drove the Alpine Loop, stopped at Cascade Springs, and returned via a dirt road to Midway, a stop at Nathan’s grandma’s, and then home through Provo Canyon.

It was a great family outing.

7-7-07—My Lucky Day???

July 8, 2007

Wendy and I left home at 5:00 a.m. for the long drive to visit Julie, Nathan and family in Lehi, UT. We heard on the radio and read in the paper how many people had planned wedding and birth for 7/7/07, figuring the triple 7’s would be extra lucky.

Our first problem occurred as we we were climbing the grade leaving California. The car started jerking hard. My first thought was transmission problems. After a minute or so, it stopped. I thought that maybe things would be better on the downhill side. Nope. More jerking. And some loss of power. We were able to drive to the casino in Jean, NV and call for a tow truck.

The tow truck took us to the Ford dealership in Henderson, NV. We arranged for the repair—hopefully a transmission replacement–the warranty is up in 20,000 miles. Then off to Enterprise rental so we can continue the trip. They informed me that the deal with Ford requires them to rent me a Ford, but they didn’t have any Fords and the moment and a women in front of me had been waiting over an hour. Fortunately, an F-150 showed up before my patience ran out.

We transferred our goodies from car to truck and then we were off. After passing through Cedar City, UT, Julie called and told us to turn around and to go back. GO BACK, after all this? Well, go back just to Cedar. The I-15 was closed because of a fire. We found out that there was a detour, so we decided to keep on trucking in our F-150.

The detour was fine, but getting to the detour was a hassle. The traffic stopped on the I-15 3 and a half miles from the turn off. It took about an hour to drive the 3.5 miles. The detour was scenic, until the smoke from the fire blocked the views. Then it was too dark to see much.

We arrived at Julie’s 17 and a half hours after leaving home. Transmission troubles, rental problems, smoke and fire.

So was it a lucky day for us. I think so. Things could have been a lot worse. We could have broken down on the side of the road. In the heat. All in all, things worked out just fine.

Enjoying Farmers Markets

June 20, 2007

We really enjoy visiting farmers’ markets. On Wednesday, there is a nice one next to the Central Library in Los Angeles, only a couple blocks from my office. It’s on the sidewalk and it gets very crowded. A few photos.