Category Archives: Travel

There is a Cat on the Plane!


Elsa in her travel case at the airport


Going back home after our wedding really felt like going home this time because we were bringing our cat, Elsa with us.  It has been a year and a half since we last cuddled on the couch as a family.  During that time we were lucky enough to have my Aunt Janet and my parents take good care of our kitty.  Elsa has actually survived two cross country road trips already (from VA to AZ and back).  She is resilient and enjoys being in the car, but hates hotels.  This time we wanted to try something faster, hoping airline travel might be easier on all of us.  Although it was a long day and a bit traumatizing for Elsa, we made it safely to Flagstaff.  Elsa seemed very relieved to be in the house, which she quickly figured out was her new home.

A new style of beer, IPL

image On our way back from our honeymoon in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, we took a page from our old playbook and searched google maps for any new breweries. Luckily, we found Lost Rhino Brewing Company, just a few minutes off our route. After trying several tasters and chatting up the bartender, the bartender asked if we would like to meet one of the brewers. Sure! The brewer, who had been in the business for 7 years and previously worked for Old Dominion, gave us a tour. This was a hands on experience as he asked us to throw some hop pellets into the tank and then gave us samples of two new styles directly from the holding tank. We tasted and India Pale Lager and a mango flavored ale. The IPL is a new style that not many places have tried. I would describe it as a clean crisp IPA with very strong hop. The mango beer surprised me since I haven’t been able to eat mangoes ever since our food poisoning incident in Fiji. I actually liked this beer!

So Lucky – A Lovely Lunch at the Bavarian Inn


By Tuesday Super Storm Sandy had done its damage in the lower mid-Atlantic states.  In Harpers Ferry the biggest effect was a loss of business as the National Historic Park remained closed (it had closed on Monday).  With the park closed, all of the businesses in the historic district of Harpers Ferry decided to stay shuttered as well, leaving us without any restaurant options.  After an amazing breakfast of a stack of pancakes with fruit and a side of sausage, we didn’t start thinking about lunch until the afternoon.  I started calling restaurants in neighboring towns and on my fourth try I reached the Bavarian Inn in nearby Sheperdstown.  A long-standing semi-famous inn and restaurant, we felt so lucky to get to dine there.  With only three tables occupied in the entire large dining room, we sat by the window with a view of the Potomac River.  Truly a delightful meal.

Honeymoon – Stonehouse B&B

Clever coat rack at the Stonehouse B&B


Starting in the middle of October I had been tracking the weather report for our wedding day.  The weather on the days leading up to our wedding had dropped from a high of 80 degrees on Wednesday with 0% chance of precipitation, to a high of 61 degrees on Saturday with a 20% chance of precipitation.  I got the sense that the weather was changing, but I hadn’t bothered to look beyond the 27th.  Not until Friday that is.  At that point I started hearing about Hurricane Sandy and how it was headed our way.  Sunday morning after the wedding, Sandy was picking up strength and headed straight for us expected to hit on Monday.  School was canceled on Monday and Tuesday.  The metro system decided to preemptively close for the first time anyone could remember.  The storm was expected to be epic but no one knew what kind of damage we could expect.

Jay and I were wondering whether or not to call off our honeymoon in Harpers Ferry.  Harpers Ferry is 90 minutes west of northern Virginia and they were supposed to be sheltered from the brunt of the storm.  We headed out there on Sunday, driving on almost deserted roads with no rain or wind.  We arrived at a historic row house, built in 1839 with 2 foot thick stone walls.  As the owner said, “the first pig built with straw, the second used sticks, and the third pig built with brick.  The fourth pig didn’t make it into the story because he didn’t want to brag, but he built with stone”.  The Stonehouse B&B was a great place to weather the storm.

Canada Day!

Wow, I can’t believe it has been a full year since we celebrated Canada Day in Waterton Lakes National Park.  Canada Day was a special, fabulous day last year, one that makes me nostalgic for the open road.

Here are a few things to remember it by…

Ridiculous picture of me:

Our Sharing a Story post about preparing for the zombie apocalypse with our fellow campers on Canada Day.

The Photo Review post with lots of pretty pictures from Waterton Lakes National Park.  This was one of my favorite photo review posts to date.

Happy Canada Day!

Pumphouse Wash Hike with Steve and Lois

My parents recently took a Road Scholar trip from Flagstaff to Canyon de Chelly that they thoroughly enjoyed.  One of the highlights that they raved about was the chance to go on interpretive walks with Lois and Steve Hirsch.  Well, it turns out that Steve and Lois lead interpretive hikes around Flagstaff on behalf of the Forest Service.  When Jay’s parents came to town, Cindi and I had the opportunity to go on one of these hikes, along Pumphouse Wash, just south of town.


One unexpected delight was learning more about the Riordan brothers (whose home I give tours of).  It turns out that the pumphouse wash area is one of the areas that they logged and there are still signs of the logging business if you know where to look.  The tree trunk shown above offered a lot of data.  The fact that it is cut at waist height instead of close to the ground indicates that it was felled with a cross cut saw and was almost definitely cut before the mid 1920’s.


As you can tell, the hike was well attended.  Steve and Lois took turns sharing knowledge about plants, animals, local trails, history, and culture.  Everyone we spoke to in the group was local and some of them were even native Flagstaffians.  Group members added knowledge to the discussion.  At one point a group member spotted a Zone Tailed Hawk and explained that it was a unique hawk that mimics the turkey vulture to trick its prey.  I was really glad I had brought along my binoculars (thanks Mom!).


Overall it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning and I hope I have the opportunity to go again.



Photo Review: New Orleans’ French Quarter

This weekend we had the opportunity to visit New Orleans for the first time.  We were there for a wedding, but we stayed in the French Quarter and had the opportunity to do a walking tour.  Here are my favorite photos:

Photo Review: Tonto National Forest near Pine

On Sunday night we decided to go camping in the Tonto National Forest, just south of Pine, Arizona.  This gave me the opportunity to wander the forest finding great photo opportunities.  Here are some of my favorites:

Overland Expo 2012

Jay at last year’s Expo

It’s time to get excited!  All this week Jay will be out at Mormon Lake helping to set up for the Overland Expo.  If you are new to the word “overlanding” it just describes the broad field of adventure where explorers travel by land.  Most overlanders drive burly vehicles, but there are also off road motorcyclists, touring bicyclists, and folks like us who drive a small vehicle and tent camp.  The Overland Expo is the largest gathering of overlanders and it brings together a truly inspiring group of adventurers.  We look forward to reconnecting with friends we made last year and hearing their stories from the road.

A picture from last year’s Expo

Last year we attend the expo in Amado, Arizona and we are so excited to be part of the team that is bringing the expo to Flagstaff for the first time!  If you come out to the Overland Expo this weekend, be sure to stop in and see us.  We will be the campground hosts and will also be presenting as part of two speaker panels.  If you come for the day it is only $15 and kids under 16 are free.  You can purchase day passes ahead of time or at the gate.

Motorcycle at Overland Expo

A picture from last year’s Expo

Photo Review: La Posada Garden

This weekend we had the privilege of staying at the historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona with my parents.  One of the highlights of the hotel was the enclosed garden patio.  Here are several photos I took from the patio.