Nov 032020
 

This was also sitting my drafts folder since 2007. I intended to document the entire trip only ever made it this far. I’m publishing it as is.

We just got back from a ten day road trip to Montana and back. My second cousin’s wedding in Big Sky, Montana was the excuse for the trip. It was by far our longest road trip as a family and it actually went pretty well. Until this trip, I was the only one of the four of us who had slept in a tent. We opted to stay at KOAs for several of the nights to save money. We bought a tent and some sleeping bags for a total of roughly $50.

Our first night was spent at a KOA in Salina, KS. We drove straight through from Austin to Salina, leaving at 7am on Wednesday and arriving at Salina in the evening. I got stopped in Fort Worth by a cop I passed. The Wife pointed him out, but I wasn’t paying enough attention. I had to play the repentant dad to the meathead cop to avoid a ticket. That was the only cop encounter of the trip, thankfully. We pretty much blew through Oklahoma with a rest stop for a picnic lunch. Dinner was in Newton, KS at the Dairy Queen. We couldn’t find much else by the time we got there.

I’d stayed at one KOA in high school, so I don’t have much experience with them. I’ve now learned that they vary wildly from location to location. Their own sites are somewhat informative, but I’m wondering if there’s a good site with ratings by travelers. Salina has tent sites right by the entrance to the camp, so we had cars passing us on and off through the night. I had no problems, but it kept The Wife up. Most KOAs are pretty close to the highway, so you’re not really out in the boonies camping. It’s just a cheap way to stay. They average $23 per night for a tent site, though some are more expensive. I’ll get to that later.

We left Salina, KS at 8am on Thursday, headed for the KOA at Douglas, Wy. We’d gotten reservations at Salina and Douglas beforehand. We barreled through KS and eastern CO without much more than rest stops. Our first spontaneous stop was in Fort Collins for a beer tasting at Fort Collins Brewery and Odell Brewing. We got the kids a growler of root beer at Fort Collins Brewery and brought back some samples. Odell Brewing was a little fancier, but I think I liked the beer at Fort Collins better. We skipped New Belgium Brewing. I hate Fat Tire.

We hit Douglas just as a storm was gathering in the mountains. It meant a windy night and a lot of lightning, but thankfully we escaped the rain.

 Posted by on November 3, 2020 at 4:46 pm
Nov 032020
 

Side note: this has been sitting in my Drafts folder since 2007 so I’m just posting it as is.

I just read this post over on The Disney Blog. Like many things over the past 10 months, it’s reminded me of my family’s trip to Disneyland in March. We only spent a couple of hours in the Grand Californian, but it was one of the most relaxing times of the trip. Whit captures the feeling of being there as an adult. It’s time to finally post a recap of our trip before I forget it all.

Before last March, I’d visited Disneyland once with my family in the summer of 1987. I’d also visited Disneyworld in March of 1982 with my mother, sister, and another family from school. My dad sat that one out.

We stayed at the Disneyland hotel or “on property” to use the proper lingo in the Bonita tower. Staying at the Disneyland Hotel means that you have to walk through Downtown Disney to get to the park entrance. We had breakfast with the characters in Goofy’s Kitchen. We ate dinner at Hooke’s Point. Also ate at House of Blues the first day. Ate at Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and Catal as well. In addition to having lunch at the Blue Bayou, Golden Horseshoe and Bengal Barbecue. We had brunch at Granville’s (which I think has since changed names to Steakhouse 55) on the last day with an excruciating van ride to the airport.

I was underwhelmed by Fantasmic and think we were just too wiped the night that we stayed for the parade and fireworks. The three-year-old balked at the Matterhorn and Snow White’s ride was too scary for her as well, but we got through it. I’m still partial to Space Mountain and Peter Pan, myself.

I think California Adventure gets a bad wrap. The food over there is certainly nothing of note. We ate lunch at the wharf / pier area one day and the only thing I remember was the microbrew stand where I was able to grab a welcome beer during all of the saccharin-y goodness. We did the princess dinner one night at Ariel’s Grotto, purely for my 3-year-old daughter. She loved it. The rest of us endured it. The two biggest thrill rides, in my opinion, are at California Adventure: Tower of Terror and California Screaming. I found the Redwood Creek challenge trail oddly relaxing. I was able to sit while my 7-year-old did the zip lines and treehouse. I was amazed that we got him on both Tower of Terror and California Screaming. He made repeat trips to the roller coaster, but once was enough for the Tower of Terror. The more recent movie tie-ins tend to fall short of the traditional rides. Monsters Inc. was impressive only for its set design and the Indiana Jones ride was also underwhelming. Unfortunately, the Haunted Mansion was closed while we were there, but at least we got to do Pirates of the Carribean before its revamp to coincide with the release of the movie. The Tiki Room was another pleasant respite from the heat and the crazy crowds. I agree wholeheartedly with Wil’s assessment during a visit the month before we went.

 Posted by on November 3, 2020 at 4:42 pm
Dec 202014
 

I’m riding in the MS 150  in 2015. It’ll be my third year participating in the event. I blogged about it last year and you can view a set of photos from 2013  and 2014.

MS 150 2014

MS 150 2014

If you’re unfamiliar with the event, it’s a 150 mile bike ride from Houston to Austin over two days to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. My company has sponsored this event for the past five years. It took me two years to work up the nerve to ride a bike from Houston to Austin after not touching a bike for more than 15 years and not doing much exercising for several years. I needed something to kick me in the butt. This certainly did it and it has really paid off. Since starting to train for last year’s ride in January of 2013, I’ve ridden 2938 miles (1,681 this year so far). I use Strava to keep track of rides. The first day is roughly 86 miles and the second day is 67. In 2014, I managed to take a video through one of the small towns, Fayetteville, where everyone comes out to celebrate and encourage the riders (here’s a shot of me taking the video). Hopefully this year, I’ll remember to shoot in landscape and not portrait. I also took the challenge ride on the second day which brings you through Bastrop State Park. My goal this year is to do all of that again and ride 100 miles the first day.

You can donate via my participant page. Any little bit helps and is much appreciated. Each rider has to reach a minimum fundraising goal of $400 prior to the event. This year, the ride is on April 18th and 19th and they’ve moved up the deadline for fundraising.

Since getting a bike for our oldest this past January, he’s been riding with me when he can. My hope is to get the entire family involved in one way or another so we can bike around Austin. The city has really added a lot of bike lanes in the past year.

We typically do at least one supported training ride in the lead up to the MS 150. I haven’t yet chosen which rides I will do this year, but it’ll likely be the LBJ 100. I also send e-mail updates to donors as the ride gets closer and during the ride itself.

Thanks for supporting an event that makes a difference in the lives of those with multiple sclerosis and for encouraging something that has given back so much to me.

 Posted by on December 20, 2014 at 1:23 pm
Dec 312012
 

We sent out our holiday cards a bit late this year. Most people should’ve received them by now. I had to resend one already. It was a pretty good year all things considered. Looking to do a better job exercising in the new year (there’s an original resolution).

This is also a test post to see how things flow from the blog to FB and elsewhere as I reevaluate how much content I want to send out onto social networks never to be seen again.

20121231-123241.jpg

 Posted by on December 31, 2012 at 12:14 pm  Tagged with:
Jul 072010
 

07.07.2009

07.06.2010

I’ve really been trying to pay more attention and not miss moments with this last kid, but it seems to have gone by even faster than I thought it would. It’s inevitable that your perception of time changes as you grow older. I just didn’t think I’d experience it so soon.

Mar 252010
 

Decided I’d title this whatever song was playing on the iPhone when I started writing. Seems appropriate, I guess.

The last post was a little less than a month before M. was born. He’s nearly nine months old now. Needless to say, I think my blogging urge is being fulfilled by Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Delicious, YouTube and whatever little posting I still do over at Metroblogging Austin.

Is a new baby a good enough excuse? Do I need an excuse? Should I keep updating WordPress versions to keep ahead of the script kiddies (probably)? Should I change the theme (probably)?

It’s also been nine months since I quit the main band. I’ve had a couple gigs with Victims of Leisure since then, but we haven’t played or practiced since before Thanksgiving. We’ve got one coming up this Saturday for the gig at the Parlor next week (April 3). I’m not sure I even know how to hold the drumsticks still (or remember the songs). It could be ugly. Better be sure I have plenty of beer so I’ll play better.

We finally tried out a Skype video call with my parents using the webcam that I got for Xmas this week. Ours has been working since the beginning of the year, but it took this long to get my parents going. Now my mother-in-law is running out to get a webcam as well. Yes, we’re just now joining 2004 and doing video calls with far flung relatives. If you’ve got a webcam and are on Skype, come find us. It’s the same damn username that I use for everything.

Jun 152009
 

It’s just under 3 weeks until the arrival of the newest member of the family. We still haven’t completely settled on a name yet, but there are a few candidates. I’m kind of wanting to wait and see him before we make a final determination. If I understand correctly, you have until 5 days after the birth to file a birth certificate.

We’ve shifted into high gear with the preparations. We’ve got one more birth class tomorrow night. I put the crib together last night during that horrendous NBA Finals game between the Lakers and the Magic. I dislike both teams and it was a weak end to a lame series. The impending birth is lighting a fire under us to get rid of a lot of stuff and do some much needed deep cleaning around the house. Since we’re having him at home, we have to do some work sterilizing sheets, towels and clothing. We already have the birth kit. We’re using the same midwife this time that we used for our second child.

The City of Austin is back to do tree trimming for the power lines in our neighborhood.  It’s been 7 years since their last visit when we stupidly fought them on removing several of our hackberry trees. Now, of course, we want them to take them all and they’re refusing to take one of them.

 Posted by on June 15, 2009 at 10:56 am
Jan 082009
 

I suppose I’m a bit late for the end of year/start of year post, but since I’ve neglecting blogging here so much over the past year, this doesn’t seem all that bad.

2008 was a real bitch in a lot of ways. I know I’m not the only one hoping that 2009 is better. Only 12 more days before we’re rid of G.W. Bush. Amazing. He’s been the president for nearly all of my childrens’ lives. The Boy was born under Clinton, but Bush was sworn in before his first birthday. It’s no secret that I’ll be glad to see him go. I’m clearly not alone in that sentiment.

We’ve got some new things to look forward to this year, the most monumental being the arrival of our third child in July. We’ve got six months to prepare and we’ve already got a long list of things that need to be done to the house and the crap that we’ve accumulated in 10 years here. We’re also going to get the kids to help out around the house a lot more to ease things on us once the baby arrives.

I’ve been terrible about budgets in the past, but it’s time to get serious about one this year. I’ve been checking out Mint for the past couple of weeks. It’s not perfect, but I like it better than Quicken.

I’m not sure about my drumming hobby in the context of a third kid. I’ll have to wrestle with that one over the next six months. We didn’t apply for SXSW this year. I think we’ll go for the alternate showcases this year and see how that goes.

We tried out a gym membership at Lifetime for most of last year and failed miserably. I need to come up with an achieveable workout plan. We got a Wii Fit at Christmas and I’ve been dabbling with that, but that’s only a part of the fitness picture.

Kind of a rambling post, but I wanted to get something going to get back into the groove. Let’s see if I can do at least two posts a month here and on the Austin Metblog.

Sep 132008
 

We’ve gotten into the school groove. Soccer season is back. I stole the blog post from a word used in The Boy’s Back to School/Curriculum/Open House this week. We’re once again very happy with both teachers. It’s really great to have both kids at the same school.

I took last week off for a staycation. We took the kids to Six Flags Fiesta Texas over Labor Day weekend.  You can check out photos on my Flickr page. We bought some “grown up” chairs for the dining room from the Restoration Hardware outlet in San Marcos. We nearly scored a new table as well, but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that much money on the spot and someone bought it out from under us before we could get back. We saw Tropic Thunder, which I highly recommend.

Ike completely missed Austin after everyone made a huge deal about it, closing schools early and canceling today’s soccer games. We didn’t get a single drop of rain.

Jul 252008
 

I suppose having a template that only shows recent posts on the home page is one way of making sure you blog on a semi-regular basis. I’ve found that Twitter, Flickr and Delicious are commanding more of my attention these days than the blog. Well, and work and family…

The summer rolls on. It’s been a hot one so far without much relief from 90 and 100 degree heat. The electric bill is reflecting that. We hosted a last minute July 4th party at our place. Parties are always a good way to force you to clean up the joint.

We checked out WALL-E and Iron Man in the theater so far this summer. We rented/cabled/on-demanded Batman Begins, Apocalypto, Enchanted,  Hellboy and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. We went to the IMAX theater at Bob Bullock on Saturday. Austin Books & Comics and the museum were having bat-related activites, including the “bat lady” who had several live bats to show the kids. The lines for the movie were long.

I scored an iPhone a week ago. I had to wait 3 hours in line to get it. I’m liking it so far. The Bat Lady shot that I linked is actually my first uploaded iPhone shot. I’ve made a few iPhone related tweaks to this blog including setting the default viewport and adding a home screen image based on the favicon. I downloaded and installed the WordPress app for iPhone, but haven’t tried it out yet.