Royal Tyrrell Museum

While in Drumheller, we had to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Actually, it was the main reason we came to Drumheller, even though the day before we had a good time farting around the Hoodoos.

The Museum is educational, well laid out and overwhelming! There is so much to see and learn. Even out around the museum is more of the Badlands. We took a “Dino Site Tour” early in the morning and hiked out to learn about the processes involved in searching for clues to the past.

Once the tour was over, we went into the museum again and enjoyed the interactive exhibits. Lots of information and cool sights. So many exhibits and information overload.

Seeing the dinosaurs and all those fossils in one place is so worth the visit to the museum. I was like a kid again, goofing around taking selfies. Trying my best to share my version of the dinosaur’s expressions and emotions. Not too bad.

We broke up our visit to the Museum with a departure up the road to check out the Small Church and Horse Thief Canyon. It was so hot outside that we needed to cut those visits short in order to enjoy the AC in the car.

Our last activity at the museum was for the two youngest to assemble a Velociraptor. Once that was completed, we were off to the hotel to rehydrate. We ended the day with a fried chicken picnic and a cool down at the water park. A great adventure full of education and fun.

AND DINOSAURS!

Royal Tyrrell Museum

While in Drumheller, we had to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Actually, it was the main reason we came to Drumheller, even though the day before we had a good time farting around the Hoodoos.

The Museum is educational, well laid out and overwhelming! There is so much to see and learn. Even out around the museum is more of the Badlands. We took a “Dino Site Tour” early in the morning and hiked out to learn about the processes involved in searching for clues to the past.

Once the tour was over, we went into the museum again and enjoyed the interactive exhibits. Lots of information and cool sights. So many exhibits and information overload.

Seeing the dinosaurs and all those fossils in one place is so worth the visit to the museum. I was like a kid again, goofing around taking selfies. Trying my best to share my version of the dinosaur’s expressions and emotions. Not too bad.

We broke up our visit to the Museum with a departure up the road to check out the Small Church and Horse Thief Canyon. It was so hot outside that we needed to cut those visits short in order to enjoy the AC in the car.

Our last activity at the museum was for the two youngest to assemble a Velociraptor. Once that was completed, we were off to the hotel to rehydrate. We ended the day with a fried chicken picnic and a cool down at the water park. A great adventure full of education and fun.

AND DINOSAURS!

Leavenworth Day 2.

Wednesday was our full day of exploring Leavenworth. Maybe not all of Leavenworth, but at least some. Here is our little adventure:

We started with a lovely breakfast delivered right to our suite. Fresh fruit, sausages and waffles gave us full bellies because we needed to be ready for our first adventure of the day. We didn’t know that it was going to be almost dinner by the time we ate again. So we headed out bright and early (10:00am) to enjoy some…. tubing!

We went tubing along Icicle River. (It lives up to its name.) As exciting as it may sound, it was just a casual float down the river. The mountains and scenery were beautiful and calming. Some geese and ducks swam up to us along the way. We also saw a deer and her fawn hopping through the river towards the end. It took us 3 hours to float 4 miles. The hardest part was the arm strength needed to paddle from time to time. But the cold water balanced out the hot sun as we enjoyed the scenery. By the end, I was glad it was over- the sun was directly overhead at that point.

When we returned to land- we grabbed a couple of cold beers. Tubing made us feel youthful, so we decided to have a bit of silly fun. It was late afternoon by this point. Many shops would close by 6pm. We had at least two more places we wanted to see. What better way to have fun than….

Visiting a Nutcracker Museum!..??? 😦

Ya. Very not my thing. But with over 6000 nutcrackers inside- I learned a lot about the manufacturing and discovered that this is a huge collectible hobby. It made me realize that I don’t have an obsession with any one thing and need to fill my life with it.

After the Museum, we went for a quick wine tasting at Eagle Creek Winery. This is where we ended up buying a bottle to bring home. There are so many wine tasting locations in Leavenworth that it was difficult to decide which ones to hit.

After the winery we went for dinner at Gustav’s. A lovely pub located at the start of the Leavenworth shopping district with a patio balcony on the second floor. They boast having 30 beers on tap! During dinner we chatted with another couple who we had met while tubing.

Our last stop for the day was at Bushel And Bee Taproom. My wife taught me how to play Cribbage over a couple of drinks. I won two of the three games. My wife says “beginner’s luck”. I say “natural skill”.

All-in-all Leavenworth is a cute little town with lots of places to drink. I enjoyed our visit but I don’t think it’s the kind of place we need to return to.

Where Do We Go From Here?

I’ve been searching for something the past few days. Actually, it feels as though I’ve been searching for something for ages now. I’m not sure what it is I need. I keep looking towards travel as the answer.

Our recent trip to Tokyo was amazing. The exposure to another country and culture was uplifting and pleasurable. We experienced traditional temples and cherry blossoms surrounded by a bustling city. It was awe inspiring to say the least.

As I said- I want to travel more and see other countries. I feel the need to experience cultures that are vastly different, but in some way similar to ours. I am unsure of where to start. Do we hit up another major city or see some beautiful countryside and old buildings?

I keep getting drawn to the idea of Peru or Hong Kong. I’m tempted to make a trek to Germany and Czech Republic as well. Unfortunately, all of this costs money.

Without having the ability to spend a ton of money on a whim, I have to figure out some more economical ideas. Later this week, I am taking two of our kids to go visit my sister and her kids. It’s only for an extended weekend, but the last time I was there was last summer. Next week, I am also planning a small getaway with my wife for our anniversary.

Later in the summer, I will be taking my kids to a rustic cabin followed by camping on the lake. Then in the fall is our regular trip to Disneyland to experience the new Pixar Pier.

In the end, it feels as though I have a lot of time off- because I do. I really want to see the world, so I’m trying to sprinkle some local trips in with one or two bigger journeys. I want to share the adventures with my family and am trying to include them every chance I get. The kids will grow up so fast one day, that I won’t be able to enjoy these type of moments:

The biggest question still remains- Where do we go from here?

Sunday Was Made for Walking

Today I wrote on our itinerary: “Walking Tour”. Which meant we were going to walk around and explore wherever the family wanted to go. We hit up a small grocery store nearby and grabbed some sushi and fruit for a picnic lunch.

The first place we wandered towards was back to the spot near the Tokyo Tower. I really wanted to see the Zōjō-ji Temple in the daytime. It was gorgeous. The building is fantastically preserved. We walked around before heading to the park next to it for lunch.

We found a shaded bench and enjoyed our lunch. Having a beer in public in Japan is completely acceptable. Who am I to not want to blend in? We bought cans of Asahi with lovely Cherry Blossoms on it since we are here to enjoy the Cherry Blossoms! During lunch we discussed what to do today. We had no big plans, so I suggested going to an arcade to play some video games.

We chose to walk the 5km with a plan on taking the train back. It seemed like a great idea at first. Using the pocket WiFi I had picked up- we all played Pokémon Go on our journey. Gotta catch ’em all! On our walk we also saw people on Mario Karts doing a tour.

After a long walk we made it to the High-tech Land Sega and enjoyed some games. Even though we can’t read Japanese- the kids figured out how to play by guessing and watching others. A good battle of Mario Kart ensued between them! We did terrible at the crane games, so we left and wandered over to the other arcade across the street.

You could smell the cigarette smoke before even walking in. It was an instant throwback to my youth. Hazy arcades filled with secondhand smoke. We didn’t last very long inside- not even long enough to play a game.

So we headed to the train to go back to the hotel. THE TRAIN WAS PACKED. But only for a couple of stops. Then it cleared out and we found some seats to relax in.

After we did a pit stop at our hotel, we headed out for our first Ramen of the trip. My wife has been kind enough to let me figure out everything on this trip. From the ticket machines at the train stations to ordering dinner at the Fukki Ramen- I’m guessing at what to do, and being pretty successful as it goes.

The Ramen was delicious and exactly what we needed to end our day. Full bellied and happy. We all had a good night sleep. Soon we will be off to find out next adventure!

I Excel

I’m getting tremendously prepared for our trip to Tokyo. I’ve done a ton of research of things to do and see over the past few months. I bought advanced tickets online for some attractions as well. I even waited at my computer refreshing a website to open up ticket sales in order for me to jump on and get them. (Studio Ghibli Museum better be worth the headache!!!) Needless to say, I am a planning machine.

For the past week or so I have brought some ideas from work home with me to use for our vacation. No, I’m not taking work with me- I’m using my knowledge base of Excel spreadsheets! I’m making cue cards and an itinerary using Excel. I’m such a dork. But it’s working for me. We have so many things we want to do and see, that planning it out in advance is great. I understand that there may be travel times or waits at certain places and I’ve taken that into consideration. I have been careful to make sure that our big plans are staggered out each day and that we can enjoy some wandering time as well. I don’t want to rush the experience of a foreign country.

Incorporating places and sights that interest the kids is high up on the list. As I mentioned before, even our 11 year old is helping to plan the trip. Our 13 year old daughter also has a notebook with details about which part of Tokyo has the stuff she wants to see. Putting it all into spreadsheet form makes sense to me.

All I have left to do is fill in the last three days of our trip, format the cells and font to make it pretty. I’m really going to excel at making this trip worthwhile.

Dad joke.

I Still Don’t Know Japanese

In two months time, my family and I are traveling to Japan. So far we have plane tickets and the hotel booked. We have been browsing online to figure out some ideas for the trip which is exciting- but I know zero Japanese words.

I need to change that. Immediately. So I found a video online to help me that is silly and fun. Time to teach this old dog new tricks!

Japanese English Song

Now that tune is stuck in my head again.

Earth, Water, Wind, Fire- A Week of Camping

We just finished our second family camping trip ever. We returned to 20 Mile Bay at the north end of Harrison Lake. We came up on Monday and left earlier today. It was great to say the least.


Our first day up there was mostly navigating the 33km dirt logging road for a little over an hour. Followed by setting up camp. The smoke from forest fires on the opposite side of the lake sat heavy in the air. But our camp view was breathtaking to say the least. ($15/day to enjoy it? Going to double our stay next year thank you!)


The next day my daughter and I decided to paddle in our inflated rafts to a small island in the lake. A little over an hour of rowing, complaining, floating, and more rowing got us to our goal.  We wandered the island and then we relaxed in the water before trekking back. When we returned, I needed to take a couple of Advil for the muscle pain , followed by a nap.


Later that afternoon it began to get a bit windy.  So the kids pulled out their dollarstore kites and were entertained for a couple of hours. It seems that they now want better kites for future use.


On Wednesday morning, my son wanted to go out on the inflated boats with me.  We decided to stay close to the shoreline and went around the campgrounds for a couple of hours.  I was still pretty sore from all the paddling the day prior, so this one was more leisurely.

A couple of friends were going to come up and meet us at noon.  Last year we had no cell service, so I didn’t turn on my phone this time around. By three o’clock I decided to try and turn on my cellphone. The service in our spot was spotty and intermittent.  But better than anywhere else on the campgrounds (no, I am not telling you the site number- my secret). Unfortunately the text messages that came through meant our friends were not going to make it.  So I took a nap. Naps are the best.


After my nap I decided to get “Girl Drink Drunk”  (old “Kids in the Hall” reference) on Growers cider that we were going to share with our friends. I suffered so much heartburn followed by a decent headache before bed to regret my poor choice.  I’ll stick to my casual beers from now on.


Over night was a pretty good windstorm.  The side of our tent was blowing over onto my wife.  We giggled at 2am for at least an hour while my wife cackled about “Tenty is trying to eat me!” Thursday morning the water was choppy and it was still extra windy.  My wife and I wandered around the camp on a hike and just admired the views and each other’s company. We enjoyed all of our days there.


We enjoyed the nights as well. Our evenings were spent around a propane campfire pit.  We also had music from an old iPod on shuffle playing through a Bluetooth speaker. These were the two “luxuries” that we afforded ourselves. No DVD players or internet. (Cameras and camp stoves were a necessity for reasons). The kids sang along and danced to music that they once made fun of me for enjoying.


Every free moment was spent reading.  We all brought books and just lounged lakeside and read. These five days were the best $75 I have ever spent on a vacation.

Romantically Relaxing at the Roosevelt.

We are staying in the Roosevelt in Seattle for the weekend.  It’s our third time in this hotel in the past three years.  We keep coming back because of the luxury of it.  It’s in the upper price range of most of the locations we stay in for trips and conventions.  Usually you find us residing in a Holiday Inn Express.  But the Roosevelt has much more to it, even if it doesn’t come with a free breakfast.


It’s half a block from the convention center.  It’s also centrally located near restaurants and shops.  The rooms have been updated over the past year and are the epitome of high end.  The view of the city from our room is beautiful.  They offer valet parking and the staff is really friendly.  The staff has suggested many wonderful restaurants in the area, and all have delivered exactly as promised.  Especially Kizuki ramen.  Probably the best ramen I have ever eaten.


It may sound like I’m giving a five star review on *YELP, but we have had nothing but a wonderful experience with this location.  My wife and I are extremely relaxed.  The room is tastefully decorated with only furniture.  No tacky hotel artwork on the walls.  The most artsy thing is the clock radio.  

For a weekend in Seattle, this is a great place to stay.  I’m looking forward to another couple of nights here while we attend Emerald City Comicon.

Geek or nerd.

I’m a bit of a geek & a bit of a nerd.  I’ve grown up knowing that’s who I am.  These past few weekends have been great.  Now we are hitting the road to return to our regular lives (just for a week, then more geeky times).  Here’s some quick highlights of my adventures diving deep into dorklandia:

 

Apple Infinite Loop


 

Googleplex. I found it using Google maps.


 

Silicon Valley’s first ComiCon


 

Disneyland’s Season of the Force.

 

A tall nerd hanging out at the Nerdist.

 

Best highlight of our trip- I met the king of nerds at the end of our visit.  The magic of the Internet finally had some physical locations and real people this trip.