Anniversary Trip — Iceland

Posted May 14th, 2017 in Events, Family, Janelle, Josh, Trips by Janelle

The last leg of our trip was to Iceland. This wasn’t originally part of our travel plan, but when I booked award travel on Icelandair, I decided to extend our trip just a bit to do a stopover.

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This was the VRBO that we rented for the 4 nights we stayed in Iceland. If I could do it all over I would have not had Reykjavik as our home base, but rather traveled to other places to stay. Going back to the city made for a lot of driving which prevented us from getting to a couple places I wanted to.

The first evening we found some dinner, found our VRBO, and found a grocery store. Right away we had complete sticker shock of the cost of food in Iceland. We paid $10 for a dozen eggs, a small box of Cheerios was over $10, just 1 orange was $5, and a $5 footlong at Subway was $13. All food was at least twice if not 3X more expensive than here.

Our first full day we toured the Golden Circle. First stop was Þingvellir National Park.

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The park sits in a rift valley caused by the separation of 2 tectonic plates, and the oldest existing parliament in the world first assembled there in 930 AD. Þingvellir has for this reason been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Next stop was Efstidalur. It’s a farm with a hotel and restaurant. We stopped for ice cream and it was literally the best thing I ate on that island.

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It was pretty fun to sit and eat your homemade ice cream and look out the window right at the cow that produced the milk.

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On to our Brúarfoss adventure. This waterfall is not very public and you kind of have to hike a little ways to find it. We found it and the blue water was so amazing.

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Strokkur Geysir is the geysir for which all other geysirs are named after. It’s the original.

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The sheer size of Gullfoss is what is most impressive.

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Last stop of the day was at Secret Lagoon/Gamla Laugin.

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The next day was more driving to Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Some highlights included:

Gerðuberg Cliffs — The cliff is made of basalt columns that form geometric patterns.
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Gatklettur, Arnarstapi
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Hellnar
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Hvalfjarðargöng — A road tunnel under the Hvalfjörður fjord in Iceland and a part of Route 1. It is 6 kilometers long and reaches a depth of 541 feet below sea level
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On our last full day, instead of driving out to South Iceland, we stayed in Reykjavik. First we walked past the sculpture Sólfarið – Sun Voyager.

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Then to Harpa, concert hall, which was a beautiful modern and geometric building.

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And we wandered up to Hallgrimskirkja, a church, and one of the city’s best-known landmarks.

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It was Good Friday, so we weren’t allowed inside, but we came back Saturday morning before leaving town to head inside for a peek.

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On Saturday, our last day, we headed out of town. We took the long way to the airport and stopped at Krýsuvík Geothermal Area.

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After 10 days of celebrating 10 years, we were totally ready to get back to the boys (and girls) at home. We had a great time in Europe but really missed the family we created over the last 10+. Looking forward to the next 10!

Anniversary Trip – Amsterdam

Posted May 7th, 2017 in Trips by Janelle

After visiting Rotterdam, we headed back north to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is like the Venice of the North and a UNESCO world heritage site. The historic canal district of Amsterdam was a project for a new ‘port city’ built at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries. It comprises a network of canals to the west and south of the historic old town and the medieval port that encircled the old town and was accompanied by the repositioning inland of the city’s fortified boundaries, the Singelgracht.

Our Airbnb here was on the Amstel River, Waterlooplein.

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The first afternoon, we grabbed some dinner, and headed down to the museum district to see the I amsterdam sign. Loads of people climbing all over the letters (I don’t know why everyone does that), so you can barely see the sign, but the architecture of the Rijksmuseum in the background was stunning.

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Day 2 is really the entire reason for the timing of the trip…TULIPS. Gobs and gobs of glorious tulips. It was Sunday, and the nicest, most sunny 70° day, so you know what that means? Flower traffic. We took the train to the airport and caught a bus from there, but the 30 minute bus ride to Keukenhof Gardens ended up taking 90 minutes.

Keukenhof Garden is one of the world’s largest flower gardens. The 80 acre park is open for 2 months and approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted annually.

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Any bit of poor attitude I may or may not have had from the extremely long, hot bus ride, and the sheer amount of people at this place was completely zapped by all the bright and happy flowers.

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After our time in the park, we rented bicycles again and took a 6 mile ride out through the fields. Riding bike in the Dutch countryside is literally the best time I think I have ever had on vacation.

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Our last full day in Amsterdam we visited the Van Gogh museum, which was really lovely and interesting. For dinner we slpurged on the Rijsttafel. It was so delicious. It’s kind of like a little Indonesian buffet. There are small portions of many different dishes that you eat in a particular order from mild to spicy. The sixth and final dish was so spicy, we just tasted it and that left our mouths pretty hot for quite awhile! Then, after dark we strolled through the famous Red Light District (which was nothing to write home about), and took some night pictures along the Amstel River.

Rembrandtplein from Walter Süskindbrug:
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Waterlooplein from the west side of the Amstel:
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Anniversary Trip – Rotterdam

Posted May 5th, 2017 in Trips by Janelle

We made it to 10! Well almost. We are a couple months shy but I really wanted to see the tulips in spring. So April it was!

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Our accommodations in Rotterdam were actually a tourist attraction in themselves. The Cube Houses. From this plaza area, it was exactly 70 steps up to the main level of our cube. In the column that supports the Cube were 2 sets of tight spiral stairs. The first level had a kitchen, living room, and water closet. The second level was a bedroom and a bathroom. The top was a small room at the point of the cube with lots of windows and a sitting area.

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Across the plaza from the Cube Houses was the Markthal. A large indoor market with food stands and full restaurants. The item above is a stroopwafel. They are very thin fresh waffles, cut in half, and spread with a caramel-y syrup-y goo. SO delicious.

Some other delicious Dutch delights we devoured included:

Croquettes (from a hot vending machine)- Savory sausage-looking snacks are filled with a mixture of mashed potato, chopped beef, beef broth, flour, butter, herbs and spices and then battered in a crunchy breadcrumb coating.

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Oliebollen – A Dutch donut, deep fried balls of dough usually with raisins or currents, served hot with icing sugar.

Poffertjes – Small, light, fluffy pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour, served with powdered sugar and butter.

Hagelslag (Chocolate Sprinkles) – We actually brought these home with us. Dutch equivalent of Nutella. These are typically eaten on bread with butter.

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Indonesian Rijstaffel (Rice Table) – A medley of small dishes from all over the Spice Islands, developed in the times of Dutch colonization in order to allow colonials to sample dishes from around Indonesia.

On our first full day, we took the water bus out to Kinderdijk. Can we just talk about the water bus for a second? Rotterdam used to be the largest port city in the world before they were overtaken by the port in China. There are literally canals ALL OVER the Netherlands, and in Rotterdam, they have waterbusses and water taxis that utilize all the water.

Ok Kinderdijk. This place has a system of 19 windmills, all built around 1740. This group of mills is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.

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Another couple clearly on their anniversary trip too.

We only spend 2 nights in Rotterdam. We also visited the Euromast, an observation tower.

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Hotel New York. We just walked through the restaurant to check out the architecture. The building was the original headquaters for the Holland Amerika Lijn, a Dutch shipping, passenger, and cargo line.

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Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Huis Sonneveld

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SoCal Golf

Posted March 16th, 2015 in Golf, Josh, Trips by Josh

No trip to a warm climate would be complete without a few rounds of golf. Our trip to Palm Springs was no different.

With 124 courses the Palm Springs area I had no shortage of options. I chose to play PGA West, home of the PGA Tour’s Humana Challenge. I played the Stadium course, ranked in the top 100 courses in the world and the 4th hardest in the United States.

There was a college tournament going on at the same time on another course on the property. I rubbed elbows with the college guys as I warmed up on the driving range between the Oklahoma State and Stanford teams.

The course was a lot of fun, with water, mounds and views of the nearby mountain range.

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My second round of the trip required a two hour drive to San Diego where I played the Torrey Pines South Course. The South Course hosts the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open annually and hosted the US Open in 2008. The Farmer’s had just ended 12 days prior to my visit, and they were still working to break down the tents and grandstands from the tournament. It was fun to play a tournament course complete with grandstands.

The course is perched on the bluffs along the Pacific. If I wasn’t hitting a golf shot I was usually turned looking at the ocean and the paragliders that frequent the bluffs.

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On the 18th hole, home of Tiger’s epic playoff forcing putt in 2008, I almost recreated history. I set myself up 12 feet under the hole, (not like Tiger who left himself a slippery downhiller) but just lipped out for birdie. I had my Tiger like celebration all planned out, instead I was left with a tap in par that capped off a great day.

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We went to Palm Springs!

Posted February 28th, 2015 in Trips by Janelle

Why Palm Springs? Well I actually really wanted to visit there when we lived in California and we never got the chance. When Josh and I were thinking of where we could jet off to, to get away from the cold for a bit, we didn’t want it to be expensive and we wanted it to be warm. Palm Springs fit the bill perfectly. I found a good deal online and we booked it.

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On our flight out, we flew over part of the Grand Canyon. We didn’t see the large canyon, just these small tributaries. Then after we landed, we went straight to the nearest In-N-Out Burger for dinner. It was awesome.

Our accommodations at the Riviera Palm Springs were very nice. This is one of the pool areas that had gas fire pits going at night. At night the temperature would dip significantly, so I’m sure these get a lot of use.

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The Resort has a lot of cool history. Irwin Schuman fashioned the resort after major Vegas hotels like The Sands, The Flamingo, and The Stardust. It opened in 1959, and became the go-to hot spot for celebrities and sophisticates like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, who would lounge by the pool and in the Presidential Suite. Elvis Presley was a frequent visitor at The Riviera and sought both refuge and rehearsal space in the Mediterranean Room for his band before leaving for tours and shows in Las Vegas.

On Tuesday, Josh golfed at PGA West’s Stadium course. I’ll let him do his own post about that.

Wednesday, we hopped into the car and headed for Joshua Tree National Park. Yes, Josh has his own tree! and park!

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This is near the north gate in Joshua Tree. We got there around 10am. and it was still cool, but the sun heats up pretty quickly!

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This is Skull Rock. We hiked a 1.5 mile trail to get here only to find out that the rock is right next to the main road and you can just park quick and get out and see it. Thanks National Park Service guide.

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Arch Rock. This park was pretty fun because unlike other national parks, there are no roped-off areas or official trails, so you can just climb right on the main attractions.

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Cholla Cactus Garden.

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After a long day in the car on Wednesday, we stayed in Palm Springs Thursday and bought tickets for the Aerial Tramway. To ride the tram you first have to drive up to Valley Station (elevation 2,643 feet). There you park and take 1 of the 2, 80 passenger rotating trams on a 10-minute, 2.5-mile ride, to the Mountain Station (elevation 8,516 feet). The 2 trams always take turns, so when one is going up, another is coming down.

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At the top you can see the entire Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area).

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It’s also cool. While temperatures in the valley were 85˚ most of the week, it was 55˚ at the peak. We were just wearing long sleeves, but we saw many people wearing winter jackets!

Friday, we hit the road again. This time to San Diego! It’s about a 2 hour drive and Josh really wanted to golf at Torre Pines in La Jolla. I’ll let Josh include that in his golf post, but what I will include is this.

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A classic roadside attraction, the Cabazon Dinosaurs. Just 2 random dinosaurs out in the desert that you can pay money to go into.

We spent our last day on Saturday doing a self-guided tour of mid-century modern architecture in the city. These are a couple favorites:

The Edris House

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A designated Class 1 Historic Site by the city of Palm Springs. Everything in the home remains original except the carpeting and furniture. It embraces the hillside epitomizing architect E. Stewart Williams’ guiding principle that architecture should come from the earth rather than being placed on it.

Kaufmann Desert House (my favorite)

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Another designated Class 1 Historic Site by the city of Palm Springs, and the crown jewel of their mid-centruy collection of homes. The Kaufmann Desert House was commissioned by Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., a Pittsburgh department store tycoon as a desert retreat from harsh winters and built in 1946. It was made famous by the 1947 photos by Julius Shulman. A decade earlier, Kaufmann commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build Fallingwater in Pennsylvania (wow!). It is one of modernism’s most celebrated sites and arguably the most well known work of legendary Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra.

The site, nearly 2 acres in size, contains many original specimens of cactus from the original 1949 landscape design by Patricia and “Cactus Slim” Moorten and is one of the last larger estates in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood. After Kaufmann died in 1955 and the home went through several owners including singer Barry Manilow and San Diego Chargers owner Eugene V. Klein, and had several renovations. The home was impeccably restored over 4 years and completed in 1997. The restoration project’s attention to detail is exemplified by the reopening of the exact 1945 vein of a Utah quarry to source identical sandstone that had supplied the dwellings’ original construction.

The home was sold on May 13, 2008, for $15 million at auction by Christie’s as a part of a high-profile sale of contemporary art, however the sale later fell through, as the bidder breached terms of the purchase agreement.

Josh and I had a great time in the California desert, but after being away for a few days in the sun, we were ready to get home to see Warner and the girls!

Canada Hunting 2014

Posted October 28th, 2014 in Josh, Traditions, Trips by Josh

This post is long overdue! October 3rd I got back from a week of hunting in Canada with my Dad, Grandpa, uncle Mike and Mike’s friend from high school, Rick. This was our forth year staying with Sally and Norbert, but this year was a bit different. They recently sold their house in the country and moved into Humboldt. Their new house was very nice and their cooking was as good as ever!

We had six good hunts during the week that yielded 198 birds, three field hunts and three duck hunts.

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Our field hunts were productive with help from some new equipment. We invested in a new electronic call and two spinning flyer devices. Both added to the realism of our decoy spread. One of our hunts we took advantage of rows of pea swathing by hiding our blinds in the rows. Another hunt we used an old rail line surrounded by brush to hide our blinds.

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One of the three duck hunts was planned, the other two were due to morning rain that kept us out of the field. Norbert tipped us off to a great slew that was a mile south of Lake Lenore and seven miles to the east. We had two good hunts in that location including an evening hunt where we had bunches of mallards come into our decoys at sundown.

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Spending as much time out in the field as we do during the week allows us to see not only ducks and geese but other wide life as well. This trip we saw two moose come out of the woods a few hundred yards away and three mule deer walk by not far in front of us.

The trip was a lot of fun. It was great to spend a week with family, make a new hunting friend and catch up with Sally and Norbert. Looking forward to getting back up their next year!

Happy Birthday to Me…

Posted October 15th, 2014 in Events, Trips by Janelle

Went to Chicago kid free!

Since we went to California for Josh’s birthday, I thought, “Hey, I want to go somewhere for my 30th!” So last weekend we headed down to Chicagoland for the long weekend.

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We stayed at our neighbors’ condo that they still own in the Lakeview East neighborhood. This was the view of Lincoln Park, Near North and The Loop from the rooftop deck.

We arrived into Midway on Thursday. While the flight was a short hour, it took about the same amount of time to take the train across town to the condo. We spent the afternoon in the neighborhood and at Lincoln Park relaxing and enjoying the view.

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We had dinner at a Diners Drive-ins and Dives restaurant just a couple blocks away at Chilam Balam. They served Mexican Tapas small plates and it was fantastic.

Friday was a full day. First, we took a deep-dish pizza making class at Pizzeria Uno. They were the original creators of the deep dish pizza. They teach the class before the shop opens, so nothing like pizza and beer at 10am!

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Since neither of us have spent any time in Chicago, stopping at Navy Pier was a must. Our general rule is to only hit up tourist locations the first time we visit a place. Plus, it was the perfect place to find a magnet for our collection.

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We didn’t stay long. I bought tickets to David Bowie Is, an exhibit produced by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, with items from David Bowie’s personal collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Then, with a tip from the class teacher at UNO (to not pay $36 to visit the observation deck level only 1 floor higher), we headed up to the Signature Lounge in the John Hancock building. Unfortunately it was happy hour and it was super busy. There was no way we were going to get a table at the window, so we took the elevator back down.

On Saturday, we slept in a bit. Now that’s a luxury with a 15 month old! Our first stop of the day was The Field Museum. The highlight was Sue, the largest, most complete, well-preserved, t.Rex skeleton ever found. She was on display right in the main concourse.

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Then we made our way to Millennium Park to see the Cloud Gate. Probably better know as the The Bean, it’s a large bean shaped sculpture with a mirror finish. At this point on Saturday, the rest of Grant Park was closed due to the Chicago Marathon the next day. That also meant that all the tourist locations were crazy busy.

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Then, we got out of that area. Too many people.

Saturday night we tried another deep-dish pizza at Bacino’s in Lincoln Park. We went there with my friend Keri, who now lives in Chicagoland. Then we went to a comedy show at The Second City. The Second City is famous club with alumni including Joan Rivers, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Andy Dick, Jane Lynch, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Tim Meadows, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Adam McKay, Tina Fey and Horatio Sanz. Whoa.

It was a late night. Then an early morning, Sunday, when we were woken up by people cheering for the marathoners. The route went right pass us on Sheridan.

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We were pretty much trapped until the last people came through and roads opened back up around 11am.

Sunday afternoon we took the train out to Oak Park to the Frank Llyod Wright Home and Studio.

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The home was restored to how things would have appeared in 1906 and the details were beautiful.

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The wood-carved, parchment paper-lined dining room light fixture.

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Tulip pattern glass window.

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Children’s playroom skylight.

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Master bedroom wall painting.

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Studio cast bronze.

All in all it was a great way to celebrate my 30th birthday. Chicago was a lovely city, but we were happy to get back to our little city.

Giants Ridge—Vacation on the Iron Range

Posted August 12th, 2014 in Family, Life, Outside, Trips by Janelle

Last weekend we spent some time on the Iron Range with the Tubbs/Blake family. We rented a house on Sabin Lake in the Voyageurs Retreat neighborhood of Giants Ridge near Biwabik. On Friday, Josh, Matt, Brie, Steve and Ryan all hit up the golf course, while Debbie, Christine and I stayed home with the little ones. We spent the afternoons down at our private beach and night up around the fire making dessert pies and other pie concoctions (ahem, Ryan).

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Saturday, after a bust at the Biwabik Market, Brie, Wynn and I headed to Virginia to check out Mine View in the Sky.

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This is looking out to Virginia over the mine. They also had a large truck on display.

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I think everyone had a great time, including the kids!

California Golfing

Posted May 12th, 2014 in Golf, Trips by Josh

In an earlier post, Janelle wrote about all the awesome stuff we did while on our trip to California last month. She left me to write about the true reason we were there—to play golf! The trip was all planned in celebration of Matt and my 30th birthday. For such an important occasion, we needed to play somewhere special. What we planned was just that. We played three days in a row while we were out there at courses ranked in the top 100 public courses in America. The highlight was our last round at Pebble Beach Golf Links which is ranked #1. Spyglass Hill is #11 and Links at Spanish Bay is #60.

Our first round of the trip was at Links at Spanish Bay. Both Matt and I had played there before when he came out to visit us in 2009. It was a blast to go back and play here again. The course was familiar and just as challenging as we remembered. We both played fairly well despite a light drizzle for 13 of the 18 holes. This was a great way to warm up for the next two days.

Saturday we played Spyglass Hill which along with being #11 is also the 8th hardest course in America. It did not disappoint. I had played there in 2009 on my first trip to Monterey. I was so happy after adding up my score to see that I had improved my score by 1 from that first round in 2009! Matt started out hot with two birdies in the first three holes. The way he played was truly impressive given the narrow fairways and super-fast greens. We had a great time but our minds where still looking ahead to playing Pebble the next day. Matt and I had been counting down the days for months and we were only 1 day away.

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First shot on the par three third hole. Hit the green and 2 putted for par.

The day was finally here. Our tee time was 9:20am, and I had a hard time sleeping up to the 7am alarm. We made it out to the course an hour early to take advantage of the new practice facility on site. We hit a few balls at the driving range then went across to the practice putting green between the clubhouse and the Shops at Pebble Beach. The weather was perfect with no wind and a temperature in the low 60s.

This day was different than prior days because Matt and I weren’t playing by ourselves—we had a complete foursome. Our friends Matt and Erica Forsman planned a trip out to Monterey to meet up with us so Matt could play at Pebble with us. Brie completed our foursome. Janelle and Erica walked with us taking photos.

The first 5 holes where inland and got us ready for holes six through 10 which overhang the Pacific and are some of the most iconic holes in golf. We all used the first few holes to steady the nerves and get into the groove.

The 6th hole is a long par five that requires a you to hit a second shot to the top of a steep 50ft hill. Brie did this perfectly.

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The 7th hole is one of the shortest holes in golf. It’s only 100 yards with a severe elevation change and the ocean to the right and behind the hole. I hit a great wedge shot to 20ft, 2-putting for par. This was one of the shots I really wanted to hit well.

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The 8th hole is arguably the signature hole at Pebble Beach. A blind tee shot of 240 yards up the hill sets you up for the best second shot in golf over the cliffs to the green below. We all hit great tee shots to the edge of the cliff with Matt T., Brie and I hitting the green. These two shots woke me up at night in the months leading up to this round. I so badly wanted to hit two good shots. I could not be happier that I was able to pull it off.

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Hole No. 8, Pebble Beach, www.golf.com

Holes 9 and 10 are long par fours that sit on the cliffs above Carmel Beach.

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Holes 11 through 16 go back up the hill away from the ocean.

The 17th hole is a par three that shoots back out to the ocean. This hole has seen two of the most famous shots in golf history (Jack Nicklaus’ 1 iron shot that hit the flagstick, which lead to a win in the 1972 US Open, and Tom Watson’s chip-in from the tall rough, left of the green, in 1982 to win the US Open over Nicklaus). I hit a great 1st shot that flew just barely short, and ending in the front bunker. Then, I hit a nice bunker shot and made a 10ft putt for par.

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The 18th hole is a long par five with Still Water Cove down the entire left side of the hole. This is one of the best closing holes in golf and a great way to end an amazing day.

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Janelle, Josh, Erica, Matt, Matt, Brie on the 18th tee.

Back to California

Posted May 4th, 2014 in Trips by Janelle

It’s been four years since Josh and I moved back from California, so when Matt suggested heading out to Monterey for the boys’ 30th birthday, we were totally in.

We flew into SFO, Wednesday the 23rd, and after a crazy long wait for the rental car (the worst part of the whole trip), we made our way to the closest In-N-Out. Unfortunately, we were staving and the line was out the door so we decided on something else, but made a pact to hit it up later in the trip.

We made our way out to Half Moon Bay first. Josh and Matt had golfed there previously and didn’t pick up a souvenir bag tag at the time, so we stopped by the golf course to do so. From the Clubhouse, we made our way down to the beach.

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We took Highway 1 all the way down to Monterey. We rented a house right on the bike/walking trail. The location was amazing and the views were spectacular. This was out the living room window looking at Monterey Bay.

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Thursday, after a bicycle hiccup, we headed over to Carmel. First, we went right down to Carmel Beach.

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Then we hit up some of the shops in Carmel and the Farmer’s Market. The Farmer’s Market. Oh my gosh. Best strawberries we’ve EVER eaten. Amazing. We also picked up some veggie’s for our stay at home dinner that night.

That afternoon, after the bikes had been repaired (from the morning hiccup) we took them down to the commercial wharf to buy some fish for dinner.

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It was wholesale, so we pretty much bought the fish directly from the people who caught them. Our dinner that night was really good, really fresh and really inexpensive.

Friday morning it rained. Josh and Matt played at Spanish Bay (Josh will write a separate post about the golf). Brie and I headed to the spa for facials and a steam.

We were able to check into the Inn early, which was great since we had to check out of the Monterey rental house. We had our rooms upgraded for free and they were really nice. This picture doesn’t do it justice, because the rooms were on the top floor and the ceilings were vaulted.

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For lunch, we made the trek over to Salinas (25 miles) to get In-N-Out. Josh and I got our usual order and enjoyed every bite.

We took a ride down 17-Mile Drive to see the sights, and couldn’t miss The Lone Cypress.

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Friday night, we met up with Josh’s college buddy Matt Forsman and his wife Erica for dinner in Carmel. Then we tried to check out the sunset down at Carmel Beach and ended the night back at Spanish Bay for drinks. Matt and Erica planned to be in California at the same time so that Matt could join the boys and Brie to play at Pebble Beach.

Saturday, the boys played Spyglass Hill. Brie and I joined them for the first six holes that have ocean views. After they finished, we all had lunch at a Mexican restaurant. No California trip is complete without hitting up a Mexican restaurant.

That afternoon we participated in the Lexus Driving Experience. Basically, Spanish Bay has 4 Lexus vehicles that you can sign up to drive for 2 hours. Josh and I spent most of the time just parked at Asilomar Beach watching the waves come in and talk about how we missed Warner!

The Inn at Spanish Bay features a bagpiper every evening at 5:45-6:30. We hung out on the back patio to watch Saturday evening.

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Saturday night we did a Ghost Tour of Old Monterey. The tour featured gruesome history from the area with a few stops at historical buildings and a stop at the cemetary.

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Sunday, Josh, Matt, Matt and Brie golfed Pebble Beach while Erica and I walked along. After the round, we all went into Carmel for a late lunch, before the 4 of us headed up to the Bay Area for the night.

We made it up the Chinatown for dinner.

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Our flight home Monday morning was early, but we were happy to come home to find our baby boy and pups waiting! Big thanks to the grandparents for baby/dog-sitting!