Hakone

Hakone

Saturday we took a Shinkansen to Odawara. I can’t stress enough how wonderful the Shinkansen experience is. It’s insane that we do not have this option for travel in America. I travel to Oakland for work often and I’d much prefer to take a high-speed train than take a southwest flight.  Remove the time of checking in at the airport, boarding, deplaning, etc. and the train would actually be faster (if we can make them as fast as Japan does). After…

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Osaka Aquabus

Osaka Aquabus

Yes, I did see the actual aquabus. It is a real thing. 16-year-old me would be so proud. Now the lyrics make a little more sense. Before I could see the bus, we had to get to Japan. Our flight on JAL was nice. (international flights always tend to be “easier” than long-haul domestic) the large seats with ten-inch screens and new movies made the nearly twelve hours on board somewhat comfortable. The food was decent for an airline and stewardesses…

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Jasper/Banff 2018

Jasper/Banff 2018

Friday night we flew into Calgary around 9. We made it to our hotel around 10pm as the sun was setting.  The next morning we went back to the airport to pick up our rental car. The thrifty agent let us know they had a “special” on 4x4s and he recommended it if we were driving in the mountains. It would only be twice the price of the compact we’d requested. We declined. Suddenly our original compact car disappeared from their system…

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Loreto Snorkeling Trip 2018

Loreto Snorkeling Trip 2018

Last year Sam and I stayed in Loreto on our way to and from the San Ignacio Lagoon. We snorkeled on Coronado island and at Playa Santispac and enjoyed such a diversity of underwater life that I vowed to come back. As luck would have it, six of my snorkeling friends (though, sadly, sans Sam) agreed to try it out when the water warmed up in May. We unspooled from our flight and waited in that long customs line around…

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Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

On Thursday morning I drove east on the 10 past the stretch of Los Angeles suburban sprawl until the malls faded into gas stations and the houses thinned to shacks and sheds. Once in the open desert on the other side of Riverside county I realized I forgot the annual national parks pass we’d purchased in sequoia last spring. A warning, perhaps? When civilization whittled to nothing and the last turbine faded from view, an oasis appeared on the horizon. At…

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La Jolla Weekend 2017

La Jolla Weekend 2017

This year we thought we’d be clever and use the long labor day weekend for our annual trip to La Jolla. Our cleverness rewarded us with a drive of over four hours to get down there and a less than favorable parking situation, not hitting the water till after 2pm. Our friends that followed us arrived even later, as the sun was starting to dip back past the cliffs and the water of the cove became murky. However, no matter…

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Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

On Saturday, August 26th we flew to Kalispell Montana. Because we didn’t attempt to book lodging until four or five months before the trip our reservations were scattered around the park. Our first night we stayed in one of the tiny cabins in rising sun motor inn. We killed two black spiders before turning off the lights. Bites on my back the next day suggested we didn’t catch them all. The next morning we hiked to Saint Mary Falls and…

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PCH

PCH

On Friday we made our way northwest to San Francisco for a late lunch on the Wharf. Because we drove up in Sam’s Miata we couldn’t leave San Francisco without a trip down Lombard Street. From there we drove over the Golden Gate and continued to the Muir Overlook before doing a U-turn to begin our journey south along the Pacific Coast Highway. We stopped at the Marin Headlands vistas before plowing on down to Santa Cruz to visit Natural Bridge…

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Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

On Memorial day we drove up to Yosemite, arriving in the valley in the early afternoon. Other than tunnel view (a requirement), our first stop was Brideveil Falls. Just like Grizzly Falls, Brideveil overflowed with melt from the storms earlier this year. So much so that walking to the viewpoint to take pictures was no different than walking into a rainstorm. We’d later read that water hadn’t flowed like that in the park since the 1960s. After walking a bit…

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Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

On the Saturday before Memorial Day, Sam and I drove through central California on our way to Fresno to start our national parks California road trip. We went straight to Clovis to check in but the room wasn’t ready so we backtracked to Sequoia. I didn’t know what I was doing when I booked this trip. When I first searched the lodging inside the parks they were all sold out on our dates. Only later, after we’d booked other stuff…

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