Category Archives: Travel

Skiing and cycling

I booked our accommodation for skiing next year!  We are going to Park City.  In the end, I decided the ease of travel made Park City a win over other potential destinations.  We seriously considered Steamboat, as it would have saved us some money on passes due to sharing agreement with our local mountain, but everything I read talked about Steamboat being great for tree skiing, and I am just not excited about this.  Also, there is only one direct flight from Seattle to Steamboat a day (and vice versa) to transportation there isn’t ideal.  I was seriously tempted by Beaver Creek, but accommodation prices meant we would have been able to stay *in* Beaver Creek but would have had to stay in the nearby town of Avon.  That’s a short manageable drive away, but with a three-year-old, I thought this was a good year to put a priority on convenience.  We also looked at Big Sky Montana but nixed that due to accommodation prices.

Most ski resorts were non-starters due to lack of options for three-year-olds.  Really only the very large resorts and lessons for younger kids and childcare.  If we continue to enjoy skiing, we’ll have many more options the following year.

The one outlier in terms of cost in Park City is rental cars.  A standard SUV will run us $1400 for seven days, much higher than at other locations (like Steamboat or Beaver Creek).  So I’m hoping they’ll run a sale or something, or maybe we can just forego a rental car completely.

The VRBO I booked in Park City is very close to Park City Mountain ski lifts.  It’s a short drive from Park City Canyons, which one can ski on the same lift ticket.  It’s also a short drive from Deer Valley.  Deer Valley lift tickets are completely exorbitant, but perhaps we could spend one day there.  Or Jonathan and I could put the kids in lessons at Park City and ski there on our own, ha ha.  We’ll see.

Meanwhile, my interest is shifting from skiing to cycling.  I have my last goal race of the “season” this weekend – a 10K.  The following weekend, L and B are getting their First Communion, and an old friend who is L’s godmother is coming in for the weekend.  I won’t be cycling this weekend, and may or may not be able to squeeze in a short cycle the First Communion weekend.  But I’m hoping that the following weekend I’ll be able to start cycling regularly.

I took the girls for a flat 10 mile cycle on a local paved trail.  It was the first cycle I’d taken them on in ages, and L has spent so little time cycling, she was a little uncomfortable on her bike at first.  However, once we got going, a good time was had by all.  The girls went about 7 mph, which is pretty slow, but they didn’t seem tired afterwards.  I think we could all go farther together.

I feel like I’ve never been able to make any real progress in cycling due to not doing enough of it.  I just don’t feel all that comfortable cycling on the roads during the week due to traffic.  Since I’m going back to work, if I wanted to cycle on a weekday morning, I’d be out during rush hour.  I think you’re asking for an accident if you do that too frequently, and I don’t really enjoy it anyway.  But only cycling one day of the weekend means I never get that much cycling fitness.  (Cycling both weekend days is obviously not practical due to family obligations.)  Therefore, I’m thinking about getting a trainer.  Decent bike trainers are expensive, so it would be an investment.  But I’ve been looking for a way to exercise at home, either running or biking, for a while.  I think maybe it’s an investment worth making.  Or maybe I should just join a gym!  But then I have to drive to said gym, and until recently, WA required masks even when working out, which is a nonstarter for cardio for me.  And it just feels like such a waste if / when I don’t use it.  Like most people, I never seem to get my money’s worth from gym memberships.

vacation dreams and reality

We are heading to the Oregon coast next week.  This is noteworthy because one of the many impacts of the draconian Covid reign of terror imposed by WA state, the CDC and our local school was that we couldn’t leave the state during the school year without quarantining afterwards.  We don’t usually go to Oregon during the summer because a nice house on the coast will easily run you $1000+, though we made an exception during my pregnancy with S.  So, we haven’t been down to OR since summer 2019, and while that was a wonderful trip, it’s just not the same when I’m not feeling 100% due to pregnancy.  I’m really excited to go back again finally and feeling great.

Now that S is 2, we’re planning to be a bit more adventurous and drive a bit further, so we’re heading all the way down to Waldport.  It’s a 5.5 hour drive, and I’m cautiously optimistic that S will handle it well.  I guess we’ll see!

In other news, I’m kind of going vacation crazy, at least in my head.  Part of this is due to the lifting of Covid restrictions, and part is due to the fact that I’m going back to work, so we have more money to travel with.  After the spring break trip, our next excursion will be spending August on Smith Mountain Lake.  It’s possible that it will be very, very hot, but for now, I’m pretty excited about that.

H and I are talking about a ski vacation next February.  We’ve been on one ski vacation, to Whistler before the kids were born.  This time, our requirements are as follows:

  • All-day ski lessons or childcare available for 3 year olds
  • Lots of green runs available on the mountain
  • Direct flight from SEA + < 2 hours of driving, or 1 stop with <1 hour of driving
  • Base altitude no higher than ~8000 ft so we don’t get altitude sickness

So far, this seems to leave Northstar (Tahoe), Aspen Snowmass / Buttermilk, Park City (daycare only, no ski lessons for 3 year olds), Steamboat, Beaver Creek, and Whistler.  We’re not that excited about Tahoe, and we don’t really want to go back to Whistler.  Any recommendations?

Last but not least, we’ve always planned to take a trip to France in the spring of Isla’s 5th grade year.  Normally, the school takes a field trip with the 5th graders to Normandy and Paris, but they have already indicated this will be canceled for the fourth year in a row next year.  I see no reason to let that stop us.  Furthermore, Isla’s best friend and her wonderful family are moving back to Paris.  Therefore, we’re talking about a 2 week vacation in late June to Paris and the French Alps.  This is a very long way from reality, but thinking about it brings me great joy.  For now, though, we’ll just try to survive our 5.5 hour drive to Waldport.

beach fun

A week and a half ago, we headed to Cannon Beach.  It was the first vacation we’ve been on that I haven’t been sick or pregnant for (and these are basically synonyms for me) in a long time – actually since the end of 2012, if you can believe that.  How sad!  It made this trip all the more enjoyable, though.

After weeks of broiling hot weather here in Seattle, it cooled down for our trip.  That was good because no hotels in this area have a/c, but it was bad because it tends to be very cool on the coast.  We actually ended up all wearing the warmest clothes we’d brought more or less the entire time.

For H, that meant a T-shirt and shorts.  He was cold, but he survived.

I love the Oregon coast.  For a variety of reasons, it’s nicer than the Washington coast, at least for a vacation.  Washington has some beautiful coastline, but it’s National Park and therefore there is nowhere to stay.  Other parts are on reservations, meaning again there is nowhere to stay and limited development.  And still other parts are just not well taken care of – overdeveloped, cars and trucks allowed on the beach, and leash laws that make taking Mr. P no fun.

B and L both loved playing in the sand.  Farther back from the water there was less wind, so we actually didn’t get our feet wet all that often.  That made me a little sad, but oh well.  Next time.

L is really into sand toys these days.

So is H.

The haystack is as beautiful as ever.  Is is always mobbed with people, while the rest of the beach is not crowded at all.  In general, one of the nice things about Oregon beaches is that they are huge, one of the few truly lovely places on our overcrowded planet you can enjoy in solitude without having to hike miles and miles.

L, blown to bits.

Buying and flying a kite was a definite highlight.  Winds were gusting up to 30 mph on the beach, so we actually had to seek a less windy, more sheltered place to fly it.  L was even able to handle it herself a bit.

Unfortunately, after we got back, I ended up having a random canker sore breakout.  I have gotten canker sores my entire life, or as long as I can remember.  Since B’s birth, they’ve gotten worse – they just don’t really seem to heal.  The fact that I am a mouth breather I think definitely makes things worse, as does general dehydration due to breastfeeding.  Anyway, I got nine canker sores more or less at once, and it was unbelievably painful and pretty much made last week miserable.  I was maxing out on OTC pain relievers.  I just wish I knew the cause.  The cause of these sores is basically unknown (canker sores ~= cold sores).  Hopefully one of these days, they’ll figure it out.  Apparently some people don’t get them at all, which blows my mind and makes me very jealous, but I guess we all have our problems.  I’m thinking about getting my deviated septum fixed, and I think this is one of many things that would be helped.

We did make it out boating for the first time since B was born.  We rented a speed boat for about $350 – very pricey, but I remind myself it’s much cheaper than owning a boat, and we obviously don’t do this often.  We’re hoping to get involved in a local sailing club, which is cheaper, but it’s tough to find time.

A good time was had by all, but at the same time, going out boating, even on a motor boat for a couple of hours, is not easy with two small children.  I have to admit it made me miss being young and childless.


In less than 12 hours, we’ll be taking our first plane journey as a family of four.  Given all that’s been going on, I’m glad I don’t have to fly solo with the two kids, but I’m still a bit nervous.  I think L is going to be a great traveler, but B will be more challenging and of course my damn ears always stress me out.  Still, one direct flight – it should be smooth sailing, I think.

backpacking memories

Late night Gilmore Girls has made me reminisce about my Europe trip.  11 weeks.  $1200 or thereabouts.  22 years old.  A 30 pound pack with the bare essentials.  I was in such amazing shape by the end of the summer after hauling that thing around!  Limerick, the Aran Islands, Dingle, Dunquin, Castlegregory, other points in Kerry , Dublin, Castledermot, Dinan, Cap Frehel, Rennes, Bourdeaux, Nimes, Arles, Avignon, Girona, Cuenca, Morella, Caceres, Trujillo, Arcos de la Ventura, Sevilla, Granada and Malaga.  Will I ever do anything like that again?  I hope so.  But when?

Day 1 & Day 2

I’ve created an Album for Day 1 of our Japan trip. My ambitious goal is to create an album for every day. This is mostly for B and I’s benefit, but if you’d like to look, here’s a link to the first.

Japan – Day 1

Day 2:

Day 2 – Nikko and Shinjuku

I have A LOT to learn as a videographer. Nevertheless, here’s a (blurry) video I took in Shinjuku the second night.