Colorado: full-day road trip

When I was growing up, my parents took Kevin and I on a real vacation pretty much every year. A week away in some place new, seeing National Parks or historical buildings or something. At the time it was kind of annoying (I had to give up doing a play every summer for this week away with my – ugh – FAMILY)…. But now I realize I was super lucky to be able to travel every year.

Andrew and I haven’t been on a trip *every* year, but we are on our way to hitting that mark.

This year, we visited my brother in Colorado. We haven’t visited him since 2006 when he lived in Monterey, CA and that was only for a couple days.

Now he’s going to school in Boulder, Colorado, but will only be there a little bit longer so we knew we had to go soon.

The original plan was to do a 2 week trip and include a road trip to visit all the fantastic National Parks in Utah on the way to Colorado, but we had to adjust our plans because Andrew’s time off is had to change.

But we still got a full week, including a drive from L.A. to Boulder, Colorado.

Andrew got home REALLY late the night before, but we still got up at 3:30am to pack the car and left a little after 5am. To drive ALL THE WAY to Colorado.

Just over 1000 miles, hopefully around 16 hours.

From our house through Las Vegas, through a tiny corner of Arizona, then turning north into Utah and East again to Colorado….

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I went back to sleep a little bit after we left so I could have the energy to take over the wheel when Andrew was ready to rest.

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We packed a TON of snacks and water bottles for the trip, I started reading Game of Thrones and slept on and off throughout the morning.

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Big thick books are the perfect thing for a road trip through the desert. The stretch of drive up until Colorado was kinda boring and VERY hot.

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Andrew took his shirt off to avoid getting a (worse) farmer’s tan.

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We got to Las Vegas right around rush hour (~9a) which was unfortunate timing.

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Over the whole day, we hit a high of 108 degrees! Bleck.

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I ended up taking Andrew’s shirt and hanging it in the window to protect myself from the sun. It was HOT and sunny and I could feel my shoulders getting burnt.

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We stopped not long after this for food in Mesquite, NV. And it was SO HOT. Oh my word so hot.

After lunch, after getting gas, after leaving Nevada, the scenery finally started to get interesting.

We hit the Virgin River and drove through this canyon …. Andrew was just BLOWN away! :)

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After this bit, we drove through the northwest corner of Arizona (where all the mountains reminded us of the Grand Canyon) and north into Utah.

There were some mountains and some desert, but after an hour or so we got here ….  mountains and rain and lovely green:

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We drove through quite a bit of rain. Which was SO nice after hitting 108 degrees. I think we got down to 70 degrees or so in this part of Utah.

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stopped again for gas around Salina, UT.

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Next big turn was to get onto the 15 East to start heading toward Colorado. We drove over some mountains, hit more intense rain (and actually hydro-planed a little) and were definitely slowed down a bit on our trip.

It was still gorgeous ….

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Once we got into Colorado, we stopped at Grand Junction for dinner …. and then from there it was just a few more hours until Boulder.

Only an hour or so of daylight for me to read still….

And this whole time Andrew is declining my offer to drive. Right about this 5/6ths point I think he decided he needed to do the whole drive himself. Because he’s crazy, obviously.

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Entering the bit of the southern Rockies we drove through to get to Boulder ….

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I wish we had gotten to this part of the trip earlier in the day so the photos were lighter.

The stretch of drive along the White River National Forest was just THE MOST gorgeous.

Andrew wants to go back just to do the drive. The freeway takes you along the river, but the east-bound and the west-bound parts of the freeway are built on different planes. We were driving all the way down in the canyon, RIGHT along the river, but the west-bound lane was on a platform high above us. Kind of amazing. I couldn’t get a good photo because it was dark so you should just go yourself.

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We drove through Vail (dark dark dark) and other mountain towns, through several tunnels, and up quite a bit of elevation over the full day.

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At a temperature low, I think we got as low as 50 degrees or so – almost a 60 degree range in a single day! Road trips are crazy :)

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Andrew started to get a little loopy near the end. He was SO TIRED, but insisted on driving the whole way himself.

We FINALLY got to Kevin’s house after midnight.

It took us around 18 hours, I think….. Partly because of the rain delay, we lost an hour in the time zones, and we ended up stopping quite a bit so Andrew could stretch his legs, wake up a little and take a break.

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(our first time seeing Kevin’s apartment)

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We went to bed basically immediately after getting there. Poor Andrew. He had maybe 3 hours of sleep the night before and then insisted on driving the WHOLE way. But now he can say that he drove 1030 miles in one day. His next attempt is a straight-through drive to Austin, TX (21 hours). Because he’s crazy.

But, honestly, Andrew says the drive to and from Colorado was his favorite part of the whole trip. He definitely wants to do it again, and he already told his parents they should do the drive too :)

Next: Our first day in Boulder.

What is the farthest you’ve ever driven in 1 day?

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Our favorite moments from Colorado

Andrew and I spent a week in Colorado with my brother last month ….

Here are just some quick notes before I forget them – some highlights of our week in Colorado:

  • The 16+ hour drive to and from – Andrew’s absolute favorite
  • touring the Stanley Hotel
  • touring the brewery – I just love guided tours
  • seeing elk so so close to the road
  • getting out and hiking in gorgeous weather
  • meeting Kevin’s girlfriend, roommates, and seeing where he’s been living for the last couple years
  • Kevin’s throne-like toilet
  • taking Andrew on his (first) trip to Rocky Mountain National Park!
  • driving in the rain and stopping for coffee

Check out our favorite moments from past vacations too – Scotland and Alaska.

More photos and stories of Colorado to come.

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Wisconsin: Sunday brunch

Sunday morning in Wisconsin …. We had the whole morning before we had to head to the airport to go home.

Liz’s maid-of-honor had gotten to the house around 2am and was so surprised to see how clean the kitchen was. Not done, of course, but so much cleaner than when she and Liz left it Saturday morning.

Liz and Dave were expected back home around 10a or so, so we started some of the food for all of the family and friends coming over for brunch.

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Carrying over the threshold :)

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Dave made a bunch of bloody Marys. So many that one of Liz’s brothers actually had to make another grocery store run for more supplies!

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gorgeous gorgeous day

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Andrew took one last walk out to the corn field.

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And we said good-bye to Liz. Love her.

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(she makes a fantastic Muppet face)

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We didn’t go STRAIGHT to the airport.

We actually drove to the other side of town to meet one of the vendors that Andrew uses for Ghostbot Records. This guy masters vinyl records out of his basement. And does a TON of them. No pictures there, but it was so interesting to hear Andrew and him talking “shop” :)

Off to the Madison airport around 3p.

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Returned the rental car, printed out our tickets, got lunch.

Quiznos. For reals.

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And then sat around for a REALLY long time because United Airlines is ridiculous. This poor airline attendant was literally the only United employee handling 3 different gates, MULTIPLE delayed flights and all the angry customers that goes along with it. I watched him run from one gate to another while STILL trying to answer passengers’ questions and get them sorted out.

Poor guy.

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Luckily our flight wasn’t delayed so much that we missed our connecting flight in Chicago, but that one was late too so we didn’t end up getting home until midnight or so. WI3  014

QUICK weekend trip to Wisconsin – but TOTALLY worth it.

What should I plan for the next time we go to Wisconsin?

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I normally don’t like weddings that have a bunch of extra time between the ceremony and reception – it just seems like a big waste to me. But in this case, because we didn’t really have any other opportunity to really SEE Wisconsin, I loved it.

The wedding itself ended at maybe 2:45p or 3, and the reception didn’t officially start until 6p.

Andrew had been to Madison once before, so he thought I would like to see the lakes in/around the city.

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First stop. Coffee….

We found this cute little drive through coffee place called Java Cat, got a few directions from the barrista and were on our way.

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Which, basically means we just drove around Lake Monona or Mendota (we never figured out which it was) until we found a nice place to park.

It was just this little residential area, with plenty of street parking and a tiny tiny little “park” where we could sit by the water.

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gorgeous, right?

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Can you imagine living there?

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But, you know…. EVENTUALLY we had our fill and made it over to the reception. It was in the basement of a restaurant… WI2  025

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Liz is an art teacher and she had all her students draw pictures of her and Dave as a bride and groom and used them as table centerpieces. ADORABLE.

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(the much-anticipated pint glasses)

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We got to the reception apparently after most other people so we ended up sitting way way way in the back. This wasn’t even our view of the grand entrance. This is me getting up and walking out of the back room where we were hidden away just so we could kind of see what was happening…

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YUM. Wedding cake and coffee.

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I love Liz

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We ended up leaving the reception around 9p or so – but since it was summer and so far north, we got back to Liz and Dave’s with still a little bit of sunlight.

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A little snack, a little game of fooseball in the basement …

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And then Andrew went to work doing dishes.

We’ve found that dishes are an easy chore that it is hard to do wrong, but helps out someone a lot :)

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We thought we would be alone in the house, but I was woken up at 1 or 2am by tipsy laughing and tumbling up the stairs. Turns out some of Liz’s friends were staying there as well.

We saw them the next morning – post on that tomorrow

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Wisconsin: Madison, rain and a wedding

Saturday – our only FULL day in Wisconsin.

I was woken up at 8a or so by a banging on the backdoor. I mean, I realized afterward that this is what it is, but essentially Liz and Dave had ordered personalized pint glasses for their wedding favors but they had not arrived on time. Dave spoke to the company Friday morning and more or less said if he doesn’t get them by Saturday morning he doesn’t want them and won’t accept the delivery.

So, lucky us, the UPS man showed up early Saturday morning with boxes and boxes of pint glasses.

Liz had spent the night at her maid-of-honor’s house Friday night, and Dave took the glasses (and other things) to their reception location Saturday morning, so Andrew and I woke up to an empty house Saturday morning. Kinda strange, but Liz and Dave are so easy it wasn’t too weird.

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Liz MUST have come by earlier in the morning, because their coffee and supplies were all set out nicely for us. And Dave doesn’t drink coffee so he told us he wouldn’t have thought of it at all.

Sophie and Daniel came in – coffee and bathroom and food.

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After having so many people over the night before, the kitchen looked like this:

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So Andrew and I did a little bit of cleaning before we had to get ready to go.

Saturday was lovely and overcast… high 60s/low 70s. Not rainy (yet).

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The ceremony was at 2p, so we got all fancied up and left to go visit Madison-proper and left around 12:30p to find lunch …

(sidenote: Photo below – not pregnant, just arching my back)

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We drove to Madison, where Dave told us there were a bunch of restaurants around the capitol building. Easy. We found cheap-ish parking (cheap for our Los Angeles standards) and walked a couple blocks to the capitol square in our wedding attire.

Dave had recommended The Great Dane, but of course that was a sit-down restaurant and we didn’t even have enough time to account for the wait it would take before we got a table, so we kept going.

And what did we end up getting for lunch? Quizno’s. Just like the day before. Like I mentioned, it’s nice to have a ‘fast food’ option that at least gets us real vegetables.

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We took our sandwich/wrap across the street to sit on a bench right near the capitol building to eat.

We didn’t have a ton of time to walk around, take pictures, or really experience the area, but it was a nice place for lunch.

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Until it started pouring and neither of us had jackets, let alone umbrellas.

This now makes the 3rd city we’ve gotten caught in the rain while traveling (previously Rome and Edinburgh).

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Luckily the rain lightened just a tiny bit to allow us to power-walk back the the car. But Andrew’s (wedding) shirt was soaked all the way through, so he just took it off and hung it (wet) on the back of his seat. Hoping it would dry by the time we got to the wedding.

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Almost.

Andrew put his (now damp) shirt back on in the church parking lot…

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(church bathroom selfie)

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And then our awesome friend Liz got married!!!!

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She’s the best!

And we really like Dave :)

And we’re so so grateful we were able to come out for her big day!

But, then we had a couple hours before the reception to kill some time … that post tomorrow.

Have you ever gotten caught in the rain while traveling?

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So now you know we went to Wisconsin for the weekend. For this L.A. girl, it was an awful lot of farmland. Everywhere.

And by everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE.

Dave and Liz’s house was the next-to-last one at the end of a street. At the very end of the street was this … fence? Guard rail? Slight obstacle? And then just fields. A field of wildflowers first ….

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Andrew, Daniel, Sophi and I took a little suburban hike through this neighboring field. It was a gorgeous gorgeous day. I was wearing the absolute WRONG shoes for walking around in dirt and rocks, but I lived through it.

Looking back toward the houses – we stayed in that yellow one. You can just see the garage behind the red house.

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Daniel and Sophie had explored a little bit already, and were taking us to the corn field just past the edge of the wildflower field.

Andrew waited for me – since I was having trouble finding the non-existent path in my not-for-walking shoes.

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And then we got to the corn field and Daniel and Sophie were nowhere to be found? Daniel’s beer was on the side of the field, but they were missing?

I don’t remember how long they let us wonder, but suddenly D&S just popped up out of the middle of the field!

There’s a saying – knee-high by the Fourth of July? This corn was almost waist high the week before the 4th.

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It was just lovely….

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By the time we got back to the house, it was full of people. Family and friends and wedding party and nieces and nephews and all.

Liz is from a big Catholic family – I could barely keep half of her siblings straight let alone everyone else.

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We went out to eat on the lawn – SO gorgeous out there!

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Andrew discovered this family recipe of Liz’s – fruit dip (cream cheese, marshmallow creme and vanilla) …. but he used it for cookies. And had about a million.

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Later in the evening, once most of the guests had left, Sophie taught us how to play Yahtzee!

It’s such an iconic American family game, isn’t it? I can’t believe we hadn’t played it before.

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Kind of a LONG day, but so nice to see both Liz and Daniel!

Next: WEDDING! and getting caught in the rain

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Wisconsin: A morning of travel

Since I’ve been blogging here so irregularly, I forget what I have told you and what I have not.

So let’s start WAY at the beginning.

Our friend Liz got engaged late last year, and Andrew was so excited to go to the wedding! He and Liz worked together in Phoenix and she has since moved (back) to Wisconsin. She came out to visit us last summer, but other than that we never get to see her. So we made plans to travel to Wisconsin the last weekend in June….

…. and then we decided that I would quit my job, so I deliberately did NOT request that Friday off work so I would be sure to have quit by then (!!). So my last day at the day job was June 21, and the following Friday we were up at 3am to leave the house at 4am to get to LAX in time for our 6am flight.

I was easing into my new schedule, but it wasn’t terrible to get up that early. I probably fell asleep at 9p the night before. Andrew, on the other hand…. He apparently doesn’t need sleep. Or doesn’t do time well. He got home just a couple hours before he had to get up. Maniac.

We don’t fly out of LAX all that often, so we’ll call it an adventure. We parked at The Spot and took a shuttle and that was far more manageable than having to worry about someone picking up/dropping us off. LAX is kind of the worst.

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We had a few hours to Denver airport, and then another hour or so to Madison.

I started this book … which led me to start making crazy notes for this site that was just an idea then. (Now it’s barely more than an idea, but at least it exists).

Great book. Highly recommended.

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Andrew slept. The whole way.

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We got to Denver …. 10a or so? Hard to say with the time changes, but definitely in time for lunch for us. Since we had been up since 3a.

Here’s the problem with lunch: I like real food. And it’s hard to find real food, fast, at an airport. Especially since I’m trying to eat gluten-free-ish.

BUT! Miracle of miracles! Quizno’s has wraps. Basically salad in a tortilla. And they’re not half bad. I was so pleasantly surprised (and Andrew got to try some fancy hot sandwich. Seriously so pleased to have found something that genuinely resembled food I would make for myself at home.

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We arrived in Madison, Wisconsin at about 1p or so. Wisconsin time. Picked up our rental car ….

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…. and it was raining.

Not exactly the way you want to start a wedding weekend, but the weather was certainly gorgeous. Only partially cloudy sky with a bit of sprinkles? LOVE.

And the scenery? Even barely leaving the airport was gorgeous and green all around (compare that to leaving LAX? Yea.).

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Our friend Liz offered us the guest room in her fiancee’s house (her new home)…. SO generous. Especially since we hadn’t yet met Dave.

His house is in a suburb of Madison, in a neighborhood 10-years-old or so. With a lovely big field at the end of his street (which I assume will one day be more houses).

The view from our room …

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And then we went to work.

Liz and Dave were hosting their rehearsal dinner at their house that night and still had a long long list of things to do.

So we dug in. You know, to pay for our room and board for the weekend.

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Andrew’s brother Daniel and his girlfriend Sophie live in Chicago, only about 3 hours away, so they came up for a part of the weekend to see us.

They slept in Daniel’s truck parked outside Liz and Dave’s house.

So fun to see them and at least know *someone* that weekend since we literally knew no one but Liz.

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Liz left about 4p to go to the rehearsal, and we stayed at the house to finish prepping some food ….

… and checking out the rest of the house.

The living room was full of wedding stuff – centerpieces and favors and all.

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Dave and Liz’s house is the one on the left. The front faces this community front yard, the back/garage face a small road.

It’s a NICE neighborhood :)

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We had time for a little more exploring before everyone came for dinner.

That post is tomorrow.

Have you ever been to Wisconsin?

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Alaska: on film

So I finally (finally) got all my rolls of film developed – including several from our trip to Alaska more than a year ago!

This first chunk is from my Holga – a medium format ‘toy camera’. I’m still learning how to use it well, but I love the rich colors that showed up in these images….

This second part is from my Diana Mini – another ‘toy camera’ but one that takes 35 mm film. This camera has 2 settings – and the whole time I used the split (2 images per frame). Again, I am just learning how to use this camera, but so fun!

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Clearly I need to work on holding my hands steady. So many of these are blurry!

Also, I’m so used to shooting in ‘manual’ mode on my digital and controlling every aspect of the camera settings. With both of these I just have ‘sunny’ or ‘cloudy’ and a couple other settings. So I guess it’s just through trial and error that I can figure out what kind of lighting needs which setting.

We’ll see.

Both cameras are already loaded with another roll of film for more practicing!

Be sure to click through to the Alaska 2011 travel archive to see the digital photos and read the stories from our trip

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Andrew and Liz’s Malibu hike

The week that Liz was in town, Andrew actually had several days off!

That Monday the 2 of them decided to go hiking – they went to Malibu so Liz could visit the beach as well.

And Andrew, bless his heart, thought to bring me back the trail map so I could include it in my Project Life spread for that week. That guy must love me.

They hiked part of the Ocean View Trail (near the bottom of this image below)…. and at one point ran down a hill.

Then for the rest of the week, both Liz and Andrew ACHED! Especially their shins, I think, from running full speed down a hill!

Andrew loves hiking (and I do not), so I think it was nice for him to have a new hiking partner for a day!

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Seeing our favorite people in San Francisco

Andrew made plans to see some of his friends play a concert the first weekend of December.

Of course, this concert was in San Francisco.

Only Andrew would look at the calendar, see he has about 48 hours off of work and turn that into a quick trip to visit friends!

We left L.A. early early Saturday morning for the drive up the middle of California … We listened to the second half of Tina Fey’s Bossypants audio book, some podcasts and a couple CDs… and reached C&A’s apartment in Oakland just about lunch time!

Which, really, is just a perfect excuse for Andrew to get to try yet another Mexican restaurant.

He’s pretty easy to please :)

With a free Saturday afternoon, we actually went into San Francisco-proper to visit the Bazaar Bizarre - a holiday craft fair with booths full of handmade jewelry, homegoods and more.

Andrew and I had already finished the bulk of our Christmas shopping so we didn’t end up picking anything up, but Avalon found earrings for herself :)

After the Bazaar, it was off to Trader Joe’s to pick up dinner ….

I love visiting Christian and Avalon because they are just so easy. They cook for us in their home (yum!) and we play video games or cards and just talk.

So easy and relaxing and just like being at home ….

except someone else is cooking and cleaning…

After dinner (and Shang-hai), Andrew left to go to the concert …. I stayed home w/ C&A and got badly beaten at Tetris ….

Also, realized my eyes are getting BAD and I need glasses, but I can only *partly* blame my poor playing on my eyesight …

Sunday morning and it was time to go home!

Christian was finishing up his semester and had a group-project-meeting around noon, so we had time to go out to breakfast early before we headed out of town ….

I love the way C&A decorate…. I need to find big mirrors like this for our home….

Another long drive home filled with podcasts and music ….. But we got home early enough to have dinner together at home and just relax the rest of the night….

Traveling with Andrew is one of my favorite things ever – no matter where we’re going ….

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Andrew in NYC

{the following photos and journaling are all by Andrew}

This was my first trip to New York.

Every year Chris pays for the Mix LA staff to fly to the Audio Engineering Society Convention. The convention alternates cities – every other year it’s SF and NYC.

CLA took a separate flight from his staff, so Brad, Keith, Nik and myself all car-pooled to Burbank Airport at 5a on Thursday morning, October 20. Flight scheduled for 7a.

We got to the airport with no traffic and breezed through security … We boarded the plane at around 6:45a ….. And sat. …. And waited …. And sat and watched other flights take off …. and waited.

Turns out our Jet Blue flight is an AirBus and with the improper wind we couldn’t take off yet… .

For 2.5 hours. Everyone was a little tired and mad – Brad even left!

The pilot took the plane back to the gate and everyone deplaned to get a bite to eat and pee and stretch. We got back on the plane around 10a and took off (3.5 hours late) at 10:30a

Not a great start for a trip.

We landed at JFK around 6:30p (local time), took a cab to Times Square Mariott Marquis Hotel and checked in.

45th floor (the very top) with a Times Square view…. Incredible!!

Nik and I shared a room and Keith got his own. We were all pretty pumped for a good time. So we hit the town, soaked up the lights and crowd of Times Square and then got on the subway at 42nd street and made our way toward Prince street to find some pizza on Bleeker street and then see a concert at the Mercury Lounge.

Nik Yelp’d a tiny 20 table restaurant called Bianca, served authentic Italian food. The customers looked to be our age New Yorkers. Perfect. I got sausage and beans Italian style, Nik got a seafood pasta and Keith got lasagna. It was soooo dark and cozy in the restaurant.

After dinner we walked towards The Mercury Lounge area where the CMJ festival was going on. I wanted to hook up with The Audacity who ere in town from CA. We met up with a friend of Keith’s, Kaitlin, at The Cake Shop and headed to a dive bar called Meet the Johnsons. It was all decked out for Halloween.

Around 12:45a we headed to The Mercury Lounge to catch the 1a set by the Dum Dum Girls. They were pretty good – not a lot of stage presence but it was their 3rd show of the day.

After the Dum Dum Girls we all walked around, hit Katz’s Deli around 2:30a or 3a when they closed for the night and the 4 of us shared a pastrami sandwich.

Walked around the city in the cold, laughing and having fun.

Keith looked up “late night billiards” on Yelp and we took a cab to Fat Cat Pool hall. They served beer until4a and had a great jazz combo playing. NY Jazz!!

The bar was in the basement filled with pool tables and ping pong! We grabbed some beers and pool cues and played a few games until around 5a.

In bed by 5:30a …. Great intro to NYC!

DAY 2 – October 21

We had planned to go to Central Park on this day. We did not plan on staying up until almost 6a however.

We woke up around 2:30p, showered and then headed to the Convention Center to see the AES show. Got our passes and began the show. As at past conventions, I always end up following Keith and Nik around since they’re the audio guys.

We met up with CLA for the first time and he drove us to Kellari for the 4th annual Mix LA/Vintage King AES dinner.

Great Greek food and people.

After dinner, CLA and the VK guys went home while Keith, Nik, the Sterling Sound crew and I went to the View Bar at the top of our hotel. The View is a rotating bar showing you a good glimpse of the city. We got a table and each got a drink…

After the View closed, one of the Sterling Sound guys headed home and the other 5 of us walked around town to find a place to hang. We found some bar I don’t know the name of and when they closed, one of the other Sterling Sound kids left while the other 4 of us bought cigars and beers from a convenience store and drank from paper sacks and smoked on the stoops…

… and around 4a maybe, decided to walk around and find Occupy Wall Street.

Well, we got a little lost, ended up walking past Ground Zero around 5a and finally found Occupy Wall Street at 5:30a. Some young Canadian had climbed atop a sculpture at the site and was making demands before he would come down. So the cops and fire department and Hostage Rescue all showed up … It was quite a scene.

We hung around until about 8a – it was light out but the kid was still up there and we were tired.

I got breakfast and finally passed out around 9:30a

Day 3 – October 22

I woke up only about 3.5 hours later… to catch CLA mediating a Grammy Sound Table at AES – “Songs that Changed My Life” – Ken ‘Duro’ Ifill, Steve Lillywhite, Ann Mincieli, Phil Ramone, Al Schmitt. It was about what I expected – Al and Phil, however, have great stories since they’ve been in the business so long. About Harry Nilsson and Billy Joel and everyone really.

Around 430 Nik, Keith and I headed to famous Carnegies Deli to get huge pastrami sandwiches!

Carnegie Deli is crowded and narrow and cramped. The walls are covered in autographed 8×10 headshots of famous people. The trademark sandwich is The Woody Allen – $17 worth of pastrami and about 10x the size of a normal sandwich. Their signature drink is the New York Style Egg Cream. A fizzy type of soda with whipped egg whites, I think. It sounds weird, but it tastes like cream soda. I got a pastrami sandwich which was huge and of course I only ate 1/3 of it.

After Carnegie we walked across the street to a gift shop so Nik could get his wife a souvenir. Then on to Central Park…

We spent about 15 minutes there, but had to rush away to go to the Afterglow Party held at Electric Lady Studios in the Village. We walked back to the hotel, got ready for the party and took a cab down there. There was a decent-size line outside the studio, so we waited and got in after about 15 minutes.

Electric Lady Studios was built by Jimi Hendrix. I couldn’t snap any pictures because there was security everywhere. It consists of 3 rooms so far as I can tell. 2 below street level and one at or above. We were able to view/ visit the 2 below. We ran into CLA and a few other people we knew and quietly left to meet up with Nik’s cousin, Roxie.

We found a bar that had SST/SubPop bands blasting out of the jukebox and decided to wait for Roxie there. I checked out a record store, Bleecker Bob’s, but it was so overpriced with no real treasures that I quickly let. It was a college town, I guess.

We met up with Roxie and decided to search out some Vietnamese sandwiches. Walked to a place and made it just before close. Then Roxie led us to a bar with Skiball where she was going to meet her friends.

The Skiball bar was sooooo packed. We got a call from Chris Dugan (Green Day’s engineer) that he was in the area, so he met us at skiball and we left Roxie to her friends and Chris took us to an underground secret bar. We hung out for a bit and decided to cab it over to meet up with some Vintage King guys at the bar they were at.

Cabbed over to the place, made small talk and when the bar closed we walked over to Papaya King for some 4a hot dogs!

Chris Dugan got into a battlerap “Yo Mama” with a toothless homeless guy. That went on for about an hour. Just hanging out on the street, laughing, talking and eating hot dogs

We made it back to the hotel about 6a….

Day 4 – October 23

Just enough time to shower and check out before flying home at 1p …

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Autumn tradition: Corn maze

One of my favorite newer Autumn traditions has been visiting a corn maze!!

This is something neither Andrew nor I did growing up, but when we lived in Arizona, Michelle introduced us to the wonder and glory of navigating a corn maze after dark …

This year, we returned to Pierce College with Fernando and Jessica …. except this time on a Saturday night.

First to Fab Dogs for dinner, and then we ended up getting to the actual Halloween Harvest Festival a little before 9p (after stopping for cash AND having to park miles away).

Once we FINALLY got there …. this was the line..

Correction: This was TWO lines of equally ridiculous length …

So, we had to wait about … 30 minutes? 45? maybe longer, I’ve blocked it from my memory….. Just to buy tickets to get in.

Finally in … Just before 10p sometime.

In addition to the corn MAZE … there is also a haunted corn … path (we did this last year), 2 haunted-house type places, a petting zoo, crafts and (of course) a pumpkin patch.

For whatever reason, the line to do the haunted corn path was looooong. Even though it’s not so good.

Luckily for us, we seem to be the only ones who know that. There was no line whatsoever for the actual MAZE…

If you’ve never done a corn maze … I should tell you: they GIVE you a map. There maze is set up as some sort of picture/creature/etc with check points throughout. They give everyone a little map (maybe about 4×6) and the idea is to punch your map with the hole-punch provided at each check-point.

For whatever reason, when we used to go with Michelle we would always forget to bring a flashlight. …. And, yes, it’s less scary with a flashlight, but there’s no way to actually read your map w/o one.

Unless, you WANT to get lost in the dark in a corn maze…. I mean, I’ve seen Children of the Corn, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre and all those other movies that involve middle-of-nowhere fields … I’m glad Andrew remembered the flashlight this time.

Besides, having just that spot of light makes for some fun photos (without using the flash on the camera)….

Also helpful?

I am EXCELLENT at ‘Corn Maze’ … . Or, rather, I am excellent at reading a nonsensical map in the dark.

We didn’t really get lost at all…. .Ok, maybe my excellence took all the fun out of it (for Andrew at least), but I led the charge and got us to all the check points …

Do you think corn-maze-skills translate into any real-world skills?

Jessica pulled up her Pandora app on her phone and started playing some John Carpenter soundtrack while we wandered around in the dark …. It was that perfect little extra touch :)

(blurry, but still spooky…. after all, what do you expect in the dark?)

after soaring through the corn maze with flying colors (no prize for being awesome, though) … we wandered around a bit more.

Most of the ‘exhibits’ or activities, or whatever you would call them were closed since it was so late ….

…. but we still got to feed a 4-horned sheep (goat? Just realized I have no idea)…

And got the best cotton candy deal ever.

2 for $5 …. and they handed me this one and I just about laughed out loud.

$2.50 for cotton candy twice the size of my head?? Yes please!

Yep, corn maze has GOT to be an autumn tradition from now on … tooo much fun!

You can view more photos and purchase prints here: 2011 Pierce College corn maze

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Alaska souvenirs

So I know you’re sad, but …We have now reached the end of our Alaska vacation posts….

It’s OK. … You’ll be OK…. Scotland blog posts begin next week….

As a last good-bye (at least until I get my film from the trip developed) …  I wanted to show you the souvenirs Andrew and I got from our trip!

We tend to get the same souvenirs on every trip – and all are pretty much stuff my parents get on their vacations. I can’t imagine leaving a vacation without at least one of the following:

Playing cards:

I like getting souvenirs that are *technically* practical … even if we don’t play cards all that often!

Drinking glasses:

(Actually, we get coffee mugs more often)

In our last port in Alaska, we ate lunch at the Skagway Brewing Co … Andrew had really been wanting a nice sturdy beer stein he could keep in the freezer, and I love this style of drinking glass, so we each picked one out.

I liked this particular glass (above on the left) because of the color, and because of the image (that nice tree line + ship)….

….. it wasn’t until we got home that I actually read the tagline…

and now I love it even more!

I call it the ‘scurvy glass’ …

Ornament:

Christmas ornaments are a Hann-family tradition! We picked out this bald eagle ornament in Ketchikan after seeing so many of them on our wildlife tour!

But, of course, the most important souvenir from our trip is our memories that we made and the stories we can tell about the trip.

I spent a little bit of time ON the trip, and quite a bit of time AFTER the trip jotting everything down in our Alaska travel journal. We included ticket stubs, pamphlets, Instax mini photos, hand-written journaling and more! (I even got Andrew to journal a little bit).

I love that I have all of this in one little book (all the journaling from the Alaska blog posts are taken from the journal)

 

 

and just a quick example of one of the pages…

What kinds of souvenirs do you bring home from your vacations?

If you missed any of the posts, click the banner below for the full Alaska travel archive:

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Alaska: Seattle

After the aquarium …. we walked uphill (several flights of stairs) to Pike Place Market ….

(crowded. SO crowded. But it was a Sunday morning, so what do you expect…. )

 

 

 

Once we started getting a bit hungry, through the magic of technology Andrew used the Yelp app on his iPhone to look up a place for lunch with an overwhelming number of good reviews. … Obviously this was our choice – we just needed to find it!

So we walked a bit more … through Pike Place Market, visited a harbor pakr … and tried to get our bearings and figure out where to walk to find this restaurant …

 

 

It turns out Kaitlin had dropped us off EXACTLY in front of the restaurant, so we ended up walking in a big circlr.

For lunch we had Rodizo at Ipanema Brazilian Grill

 

All-you-can-eat at a Brazilian grill … . One plate of salads and sides (fruit, pasta, potatoes, etc)…. One plate for the meat samples brought to us at our table …

… On MEAT SWORDS.

True story….

We had a little green-red tag on our table :

– turned to green when we wanted them to bring us meat (pepper steak, bacon-wrapped steak, sausage, chicken sirloin, and on and on and on)

– turn to red when you have more food on your plate than you can possibly eat and need a break from the meat.

 

 

 

 

It was so so so good and we were SO full afterward that we didn’t really eat for about 24 hours!!

The rest of our Seattle story involves walking around in another big circle looking for a record store so Andrew could spend his birthday money!

 

 

 

…. and then bravely seeking out and figuring out the Seattle transit to get to the airport.

$32 cab or $2.75 each for the light rail…

We got to the airport so early that they actually changed the flight’s gate while we were there. Luckily we were paying attention ….

Landed at home at the Burbank airport at about 9p PT … then home.

THEN SLEEP!

…. and then back to our “real” life…. sad…

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Alaska: Seattle Aquarium

Sunday morning …We docked early early early in Seattle and had to be off the ship by 8a.

Due to flight options in and out of Burbank airport, Andrew and I had about 7 or so hours between when we got off the ship in Seattle and when we had to be at the Seattle-Tacoma airport.

Luckily for us, Kaitlin and Julie were driving home and offered to take the bulk of our luggage with them. We kept our laptops and cameras and books, but that was pretty much it … so we could walk around town *mostly* unencumbered.

Kaitlin dropped us off downtown early enough on a Sunday morning that there was hardly any one out and about….

We walked down to the shore …. and had time to treat ourselves to a leisurely coffee… but unfortunately where we happened to be there was only Starbucks.

Just a few days prior, Andrew and I had talked about how we hadn’t been to an aquarium in awhile. Andrew loves aquariums and we always try to go when there’s one nearby….

… Well, wouldn’t you know it? Seattle has a (small) aquarium right by where Katie dropped us off!

Fate, I tell you…

 

 

 

Aquariums are such fun places to take photos …

The Seattle aquarium has 1 building (1 and 1/2?) of tank-displays (which also includes the you-can-touch tidepools) and 1 building of outdoor exhibits (seals, otters, birds, etc)…

 

 

 

 

Disappointingly, no sharks or rays but Andrew and I got our aquarium fix for a little while…. and I decided I need a pet otter. Sea or river. I’m not picky …

 

After the aquarium, we headed up to Pike’s Market and to wander Seattle some more ….

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