seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy


Thoughts and reflections on trips I have taken, from across the planet to across the state.

Canal Park - Duluth

Michelle and I are spending the weekend up in Duluth - staying in a hotel in Canal Park looking over a mostly frozen Lake Superior. This is a nice weekend vacation after some stressful weeks for both of us (even though mine really didn't hold a candle to hers).

The Comfort Suites is nice enough I guess but the walls are super thin. At home, our bedroom is right next to our own bathroom. Here, the noise made by other guests in rooms near us actually makes more noise than we do when we are in the same unit at home! The walls are thin enough to hear multiple normal conversations murmuring all around.

So despite the excellent free breakfast options, I don't think this will be high on our list to return to. That said, at least the Internet connection has mostly worked. We went for walk this morning along the beach and will probably head to Gooseberry Falls after lunch. Other than that, we'll mostly sit in our room and read (I may do some writing) while looking out over the overcast frozen lake.

It really is beautiful. I hope we get some blue skies tomorrow though and a really nice dawn. Because we will probably be awake for it when the first guest in the entire hotel takes a shower and wakes everyone else up.

Camping Photos Online

I have a new gallery of photos from a camping trip over the summer. John Garbe (pictured below), Autumn, James and I hiked in to a site at Crosby-Manitou State Park.

John Garbe

Up North

After the extreme cold on Thursday, Michelle's car would not start on Friday. So I worked from home and occasionally ventured outside to prod it and see if it would start. It didn't sound happy.

When Michelle got home on Friday afternoon, she used a little battery dealio she kept in the trunk in case the battery ever died (it gives enough juice to start it up) to start it right up. It was nice watching her from inside as she got the car running. We quickly packed and headed up North to spend the weekend with her parents.

Which is where I am - just upgraded their old computer to the latest XP patches (on my LAN, not via their dialup) - and put a virus checker on it and dropped enough RAM in to triple the amount they had. It works better now. I did most of that work last week while watching the Eagles rip apart the Giants.

Now I am looking forward to seeing the Eagles talon-ize the Cardinals. I'll be doing it from up here - away from my parents and Kimmi - but I'll be watching that Eagles-Steelers Superbowl with them, so all is well.

Michelle and I just took a 1.5 mile walk in about 80 minutes - through snow about 2 feet deep on average with drifts around 3 feet and some areas of the frozen lake only have about 4 inches. Lots of fun though - windy and cold, but very enjoyable and even pretty picturesque considering the overcast skies.

Post PA

I had a great time in Pennsylvania - back in Allentown and Bethlehem - plus ample time at the Fairview bar in Catasaqua. The trip was a blur, but a tremendously fun blur.

Got up at 3:30 am on Jan 1 to catch a flight to Detroit to catch a flight to Allentown (after playing correct-gate scavenger hunt). Terrific flight attendant on the flight from Detroit to the Lehigh Valley - the plane was built to carry 50 passengers or so and I think we piled 10 or 12 in. Chatted with the flight attendant who kept asking if I was annoying the women - Kimmi and Michelle. I tried to convince her it was the opposite but no luck there.

Flew in, Kimmi rented a car and we headed to Mom Mom's place (ignoring the directions spit out by my new Garmin GPS device - which is sweet). After some chit chat and planning, we headed over to Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Jabbour's for an early dinner and some football - watched Penn State put another nail in the coffin of the Big Ten Conference as a powerhouse. Kim surprised Mom, Aunt Cheryl, and Jabbour when she walked in - they had no idea she came with us (despite us slipping up many times and saying something about Kim being in PA).

On Friday, we had a fun breakfast, though in my case, the company was the highlight as my French Toast and sausages were sub-par. Headed over to Mom mom's for some poker and pizza. I started hot, cooled off, and finished with two large pots to save the day. From there, Klink, Klinkette, James, and Autumn joined most of us at the Fairview for Cheesesteaks - Fairview style. Less greasy than the pure Philly style, but my favorite - and the pierogies. Love the pierogies.

Stopped at Friendly's on the way back to Cheryl and Jabbour's for a Jim Dandy - and to see how much food I can stuff down my throat. Always a little more. Spent the rest of the night laughing, telling college stories, and generally being abused by friends and family. I only wish Russelly and Rebecca could have been there.

Saturday we headed out to Macungie to visit and old neighbor from where I grew up before moving to Macungie (because apparently Macungie draws lots of folks from South Hall Street. Things have changed out there. But there are still some fields, so I guess that is something. Amazing to see the new 222 bypass and other major roads that have been moved.

Watched some football and had a great time playing white-board pictionary with family friends but it was really disappointing that Michelle developed a migraine and had to bow out for the evening (she still had it this morning but it seems to be gone now). The game was lots of fun - especially as I weaseled my way onto the "Winners" team (other choice was "Losers") which turned out to be prophetic. I got lots of fun photos but none are ready for posting just now.

Flew home on Sunday - Michelle was still ill but some motion-sickness pills helped and knocked her out during the flight, so that helped. Our plane arrived late in Minneapolis, but we got home in time to catch up on the TiVo'd Eagles - Vikes game. The game was far closer than I thought it would be but "dem Birds" put it away (despite a total inability to put up a 6 when taking snaps in the redzone).

Good food, good times, and good family/friends. Thanks to all in PA - it was great seeing you, I'm just sorry we couldn't spend more time.


Flew into Atlanta today. Took the train downtown and found my hotel. I present in a conference tomorrow morning. I'll stick around at the conference Fri and Sat and fly home Sat afternoon.

My shark fin-less ankles are still a bit sore. The left has been especially tender. Nonetheless, I got up early to swim this morning - first time in a long time. I want to get in the habit now that Mac's pool is open. After 200 yards, my goggles broke! Doh. Swam a couple more, then paddled around with a kick board and quit early. It started off well - I'll get more goggles and dive back in.

While in Atlanta, I hope to get some reading done and get ahead on some work ... but first I have to present tomorrow morning. Woohoo.

Good Climbing Photos - Leavenworth

Last photos from our vacation to Portland and Seattle this summer - the good climbing photos.




French's Dome Photos

I have posted the first (and worst) rock climbing photos from our pacific northwest vacation. The photos from Leavenworth (which I'm working on) are better. I blogged about the trip here.

The photo of Michelle was taken by Ildiko, I think - I was belaying at the time.



Crosby Manitou

Spent the weekend camping at Crosby Manitou State Park up on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Sometimes, you don't know how badly you need to escape until you get back.

On Friday, Garbe, James, Autumn, and I drove up to the North Shore and hiked for 2 miles in darkness to our campsite. Autumn and James set up the tent while I watched Garbe build an insane fire in a few short minutes.

Just as stopped sweating from the humid trek in, we realized we might see a great meteor shower as Perseid's shower starts soon. Another 30 minutes or so, and it suddenly started to rain. After off and on showers for a bit, we retired to the circus tent James and Autumn brought.

It rained off an on all night, but the morning was bright and excellent. Garbe cooked a great breakfast on the fire and we lazed around for a bit before hiking to the nearby lake. After an afternoon there, James and Autumn had to leave and John and I hiked back on a different route - the Humpback trail. This was my favorite trail thus far, it had some good vistas as we moved along the top of a couple of ridges. It also had some cool rock along it.

We went back to camp, built a huge fire, and chilled. That night, the temps dropped a bit more and the tent was positively chilly. Perfect for my bag. Another morning, another great breakfast from Garbe and we pulled out; lunch at Betty's Pies and back home in the evening.

I needed a break. I got a break. Liked the park a lot. Gonna have to go back and snag campsite #4 or 13. 4 looked good and James and Autumn were raving about 13 from last weekend when they checked it out.

Mt. St. Helens Photos Up

Another photo gallery from the July 2008 vacation that Michelle and I took to the Pacific Northwest.

Sadly, our photos from Mt. St. Helens mostly do not have Mt. St. Helens in it, because it was hiding. So if you really want to see it, I recommend going back to my gallery from 2 years ago.

Some details about our hike are available here.


Tiger Mountain and Portland Photos

I've been racing through the photos from last months' vacation and I have posted two galleries - photos from Tiger Mountain hike with Orf and some shots from grilling in Portland with Adam, Ildiko, Russ and Lisa.


Below, Omar and Jackson play with their tug of war rings.


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