Monday, June 30, 2014

6-29-2014 Mini Golf Fun

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon we went with Cara's sister, Kathleen, and the rest of her family (Ross, Alexandra and Gabriella) to play some miniature golf at a place called Tualatin Island Greens (in nearby Tualatin, Oregon).  There is also an actual golf course there, as well as a kind of clubhouse, where you can buy beer and wine to take with you.  The putt putt course, though, was definitely the coolest we've ever experienced.  And what a blast!

No goofy windmills here!  Each of the 18 holes is a recreation of an actual hole on various
famous golf courses (i.e. Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Edgewood Lake Tahoe, etc.).
You really have to walk each one first to see all the subtle nuances of the terrain.
You are surrounded by real grass and big trees, not concrete.
Go Gabby!  The shot's looking good.

Friday, June 20, 2014

6-19-2014 Monterey Bay and Friends in Santa Cruz

A few winters ago, when we were staying in New Orleans, we met a wonderful couple (Josh and Laura Pinney) who had just started full-timing in an RV.  They stayed next to us at the French Quarter RV Park, and they also had an old bus conversion, two cute children, a cat, and a dog, and we hit it off.  Cara kept in touch with Laura and realized it actually would work for us to meet them on our way north from L.A. to Portland.  Hooray!  We got to the area early, so we were able to walk around briefly in Monterey, CA before a nice visit with them in Santa Cruz.

Although Monterey Bay is pretty, we weren't too impressed with the Old Fisherman's Wharf.

Old Fisherman's Wharf seems like just another tourist trap, although we did find it funny that outside every restaurant
was somebody giving out free samples of their clam chowder.  You could have a whole meal just walking up one side
and down the other, sampling all the chowders.

We liked this old sailboat, the Irving Johnson.

What a lovely place to take a break!

Walking around further in Monterey, we found the "First Brick House".

Lovely gardens by the First Brick House

A cute little shopping area just up the riverwalk from Old Fisherman's Wharf

In Santa Cruz we had a quick happy hour drink at Cafe El Palomar before meeting our friends.  We had a nice view of a
very busy beach scene.  Inside the fenced off area to the right is the outdoor music area of the Crow's Nest Restaurant.
That's where we met Josh and Laura, and their kids Aiden and Satya, while we listened to their friend's band. The kids
were just as cute as when we last saw them, and we're kicking ourselves for not having taken any pictures.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

6-4 to 6-18-2014 L.A. Baby!!!

We were fortunate enough to spend two full weeks in L.A. with Eric's brother, Dan, and his wife Stephanie.  Of course, everybody worked during the day, but we went out and did something almost every night.  Highlights included: weekend bar-hopping "walkabouts" Dan & Steph in Brentwood and Santa Monica, the O.C. Beer Festival in Anaheim (with Dan & Steph, Steve Lamm & girlfriend Kerby), weekend brunches, a Roast Battle at The Comedy Store in Hollywood, hanging out with our comedian friend Mike Faverman, and lots of biking to and along the beach (Malibu to Hermosa Beach).

The beautiful view Cara enjoyed each morning she did yoga on the guest room balcony.
For our 15th wedding anniversary we biked to Venice Beach and had a delicious dinner at Figtree's Cafe & Grill.
This was the lovely view we enjoyed.
Time lapse video of a sunset over Santa Monica
Mimosas and Sunday Brunch at Bruhaus
The drum circle on Venice Beach starts to form
The drum circle grows
Biking back from Malibu

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

6-1 to 6-4-2014 Westward Bound

We left Indiana Saturday night, drove all night, took turns sleeping on our camping mats stretched out in the back of the car, and arrived in Denver, Colorado in time to meet Cara's cousin Lindsey and her boyfriend, Damon.  We got a quick tour of Lindsey's house, then headed to brunch at Lucile's Creole Cafe on the river in Littleton.

Cara and Lindsey at Lucile's Creole Cafe

After a delicious and filling meal (which started with beignets),
we decided to walk it off a little on the riverwalk that runs right behind the restaurant.

Lindsey and Damon on the riverwalk

Eric and Cara on the riverwalk

Cara, Lindsey and Eric on the riverwalk

The river was almost as popular as the riverwalk.  We saw these rafters, as well as kayakers on the river that day.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be out - it was hard to decide what to do next.

We considered staying the night in Denver, but we opted instead to drive on and get through the mountains in daylight.

We decided to stop in Vail and walk around since it was right off the highway and we'd never been there before.

This is the main courtyard of Vail.  It's where you first come out when you exit the parking garage.
We paid $18 just for the privilege of walking around Vail for 2 hours!

Vail really is a beautiful little town.  Expensive, and exclusive, but beautiful.
I can only imagine how busy this place is in the winter!

This is just one of several nice water features throughout the town.

Lots of streets are for pedestrians only.

Who would have figured Einstein for a Vail ski bum?

We did stop in Grand Junction, Colorado for a little bit after we got through the mountains.  It's where Cara's Uncle Rick used to live.  We walked around the cute little downtown area to see what was going on.  It seemed like they roll up the sidewalks early there, but I guess it was a Sunday night.  In any case, we enjoyed a drink at Rockslide Brewery, and a nice dinner (sitting outside) at Naggy McGee's.

Amazingly, it worked out that Eric's brother Greg was going to be in Las Vegas for a poker tournament during the time we would be passing through, so we were able to stay with him at the Rio Hotel for two nights.  We walked all over, saw lots of stuff, and left with more money in our pockets than we arrived with, so it was definitely a good visit.

We caught the amazing water show of the Fountains at Bellagio.

We walked The Strip with Eric's brother Greg. 

We saw the big ferris wheel and new promenade.

We loved the atrium at the Wynn!

Continuing our drive west to L.A., Eric did spy this heliostat system, which focuses solar energy to heat water.