Bentonville 2020

Posted: November 21, 2020 in 2020, Travel
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In the Fall of 2020, Princeton, Zhenya, and I headed out on a Roadtrip from California to Bentonville, Arkansas.

Along the almost 2000 miles of travel, we visited the Carlsbad Caverns, the Museum of the Great Plains, and the world’s largest praying hands!

We also stopped at The Blue Whale of Catoosa in Oklahoma on Route 66!

Enjoying some tasty camp meal at the Museum of the Great Plains.

Carlsbad Caverns were awesome!

Once in Bentonville, we toured the Walmart Museum.

In case you haven’t heard of Bentonville, it is the world headquarters of Walmart, our planet’s largest retailer. Since Bentonville only has about 50,0000 residents, much of the money coming in from Walmart helps bring some of the country’s best schools, infrastructure, parks, and museums. The Greatschools ratings of the Bentonville schools exceed or matches those the kids had in San Diego!

Bentonville is also the “mountain biking capital of the world”, and another reason we chose the area. Since arriving, we have spent many days on the trails.

Zhenya isn’t as interested in the off-road travels like her brother, but we found her a nice bike that does just fine on the many miles of paved paths as well.

We haven’t been here that long, but we’re really liking what we’ve seen so far! The pandemic has put a damper on international travel for 2020, but we are definitely trying to make the best of the current situation.

Bringing the drone proved a good idea, and is a hit with Princeton’s neighborhood friends!

Until next time,

Daddy / Daughter trip Spring 2020

Posted: June 24, 2020 in 2020, Travel

With Covid in full swing, we took a socially distanced adventure for Zhenya’s June birthday!

She had always wanted to visit New York, so we made that the pinnacle of our adventure.

We also managed to see the boardwalk in Atlantic City and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

I had to have a little talk with this guy before heading back to Cali…

Seattle 2020

Posted: March 6, 2020 in 2020, Travel
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The January holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. provided Zhenya and I the opportunity to take a long weekend trip to Seattle, Washington.

Neither of us had visited before so we based ourselves in the downtown area and set about exploring the city on foot.

Zhenya chose Seattle because she really likes places that are a bit more rainy or cloudy than San Diego.

We figured no trip to Seattle would be complete without visiting the famous Starbucks Reserve.

From there, we made our way down to the famous Pike Place Market.

We took a harbor cruise to experience the city from a different angle.

Our tired legs brought us all the way to the Fremont Troll, holding a real VW bug in his hand.

We experienced a great historical walking tour that helped explain why the current street level is actually the second story of yesteryear.

The Olympic Sculpture Garden had some cool pieces of art.

The streets and alleys proved Instagram-worthy for Zhenya.

We admired that some residents live right on the water.

Gasworks Park provided an industrial view of the city.

On Sunday, we attended a unique church service at City Church, Seattle.

Kauai 2020

Posted: February 21, 2020 in 2020, Travel
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2020 kicked off with a trip to Kauai with Daddy, Zhenya, Princeton, Grandma, and Grandpa. It was a little windier and rainy than usual, but we made the best of it.

We started off near Kapaa, where I was able to get the drone up in the air from our hotel.

Grandma was up for a long muddy hike into the hills overlooking the east coast.

Princeton really enjoyed getting to stomp around in the thick mud.

The views from the top were breathtaking.

Daddy and Grandpa managed a bike ride along the coast on beach cruisers.

It was hard to miss the ubiquitous waterfalls.

A highlight of the trip was viewing the overlook to the Kalalau Valley.

We had some local guests in our hotel.

We were able to swim in the calm waters of this children’s beach created by surround this ocean pool with boulders.

Princeton had fun on the beach playing in the driftwood forts.

Another highlight was exploring the land where the last queen of Kauai held court before this hotel was built and later abandoned in 1992 after Hurricane Iniki.

Exploring the abandoned Coco Palms hotel, where Elvis filmed Blue Hawaii, was spooky and beautiful. This fan hangs with a lazy droop in the wedding chapel.

Moonlit nights were complimented with sea breezes…

Zhenya got her own glamor shot from the top of the stunning Nepali Coast.

I must admit it was difficult to leave this beautiful island where we could enjoy pool time in the midst of winter!

Panama 2019

Posted: December 27, 2019 in 2019, Travel
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This was the FIRST adventure outside of the USA with just Daddy and Princeton.

On the way down to Panama, we stopped for the night in Mexico City, one of my favorite places on earth. There we discovered a really cool restaurant that had a leafy courtyard where Princeton could run wild.

After a layover in El Salvador, we made it (with Godzilla) to our penthouse in Panama City, Panama.

Again we scored a sweet place on Airbnb for about $85 a night. It was right in the center of town and next to a park with a playground.

A rooftop pool made the 90 degree winter more bearable.

The highlight of the trip was visiting the Panama Canal! Built by the U.S., Panama took control of the Canal in 1999 and now it accounts for about a third of Panama’s economy.

It was incredible watching the ships (and sailboats) pass through the locks.

The Panama Canal runs between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and stretches 50 miles. Over 20,000 people died during the construction, mostly due to Malaria and Yellow Fever.

Partly because of the influence of the Canal, Panama City is the financial center of Central America, and Panama City hosts abundant high-rises right on the Pacific Coast.

This building had to be one of my favorites!

But this vibrant cosmopolitan hub is also right in the middle of a tropical rainforest, so exploring it is only a ten minute Uber ride away.

Hiking in the rain forest is a hot and humid affair, but the beauty of God’s creation didn’t disappoint.

We could glimpse the city through the vegetation.

We also did a bit of exploring of colonial-era ruins.

It was great to have the opportunity to enjoy such a great adventure with my son! Traveling with a high-energy five-year-old can be challenging at times, but it was all worth it!

Puebla 2019

Posted: September 27, 2019 in 2019, Travel
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Zhenya is trying online school for a semester, allowing us to take a Daddy/Daughter trip to Puebla, Mexico!

It was our first time using the CBX, or Cross Border Xpress. It’s a bridge from the USA to Tijuana Mexico that takes you directly into the airport. It was a breeze, and we will use it in the future. Flights to other cities in Latin America are often much more affordable from Tijuana.

Puebla City, the capital and largest city of the state of Puebla, is a couple hours’ drive south of Mexico City.  After a flight, bus, and Uber, we arrived at our penthouse.

Yes, we stayed in a luxury two bedroom two bath top floor apartment with incredible views of the city. But it also cost less than $70 per night.

After establishing our base of operations, we explored the city. Puebla is the fourth largest city in Mexico, and Volkswagen is the city’s largest employer, with the world’s largest Volkswagen factory outside Germany.

We found all kinds of beautiful nooks and crannies. And the Zocalo, or main town square, was an engaging evening attraction!

The number of amazing churches in Puebla is astounding.

This particular church was built upon the top of Mexico’s largest pyramid. Daddy was able to explore the tunnels and ruins that lie underneath.

You can’t mention Puebla without mentioning some of the world’s best authentic Mexican food.

Puebla is the birthplace of the Chalupa, Mole poblano, the Cemita, Chiles En Nogada, and Tacos Arabes. Because of this, it is one of Mexico’s most popular foodie destinations.

Whether in a restaurant or on the street, the food cannot be beaten.

Puebla-16

Having a decent kitchen to prepare leftovers was a blessing.

Puebla is a beautiful city, but slightly off the tourist path, which made it extra special for us.

I was impressed with this tree that found a way to grow right through the park bench.

One iconic attraction is the Estrella de Puebla or Star of Puebla. This Ferris wheel is in the Guinness book of records as the world’s largest portable observation wheel.

We shared our carriage with a group of slightly unruly revelers, but the view from up top was still stellar.

I made Zhenya do quite a bit of walking, and this thirteen-year-old wasn’t always happy making exploration journeys on foot.

But a good meal at the end of the long walks usually perked her up.

Puebla artists are making the mundane beautiful.

Puebla has cool weather with summer rain in the afternoons, friendly people, delicious food, and is an overall very cool place to visit. A sight of a rainbow out our window marked the last days.

Until next time,

After reading this article on The Icefields Parkway, I was determined to experience one of the most beautiful road trips in North America. I planned a road trip from Montana, up through the Canadian Rockies, through some great places in Alberta, and then back down.

“One of Canada’s most treasured road journeys, the Icefields Parkway is a 144 mile stretch of highway which runs through the Canadian Rocky Mountains and takes travelers past incredible mountain views, iconic lakes, and seemingly-endless photo opportunities.”

Baby Infinity, at age one, wouldn’t have done very well with many long hours in the car, so Mommy and Infinity stayed home while Daddy, Zhenya, and Princeton set off.

We flew into Missoula, Montana, rented a ‘19 Dodge Charger, and headed North. By the end of this trip, we had traveled 2000 miles and spent over 40 hours in this car!

This is the first time I brought my new drone outside of the USA. Check out this short video of some aerial footage on both sides of the border.

After heading up past the biggest lake West of the Mississippi (Flathead lake), and visiting my high school bro, Chad, in Kalispell, we made it to Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park is truly one of America’s wonders. The Going-To-The-Sun Road is a highlight!

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Zhenya took a glamour shot before leaving Glacier.

After a short and friendly interrogation at the Canadian border, we made it to Alberta! I appreciate that border security was doing their job and making sure that I had Mommy’s permission to take our children into another country.

Our first stop on the Icefields Parkway was Lake Louise. The turquoise color of the water comes from rock sediment carried into the lake by melted water from the glaciers that overlook the lake.

These Southern Californians were blessed by some spectacular wildlife encounters.

This was our first time seeing beavers and their beaver lodge in the wild.

We also saw some extraordinarily clean and beautiful cities. The first was the Northern capital of Edmonton.

It was great to see Z and PJ getting along so well!

The drive down to Calgary was filled with some amazing countryside views.

We were able to experience Canada Day for the first time!

Daddy even managed to embarrass Zhenya by taking part in the festivities!

We traveled in the summer, so even though it rained a little most days, the weather was perfect for exploring.

We spent a few days exploring the parks and streets of Calgary, making friends with some real Canadian geese!

Alberta is known for some of the greatest dinosaur fossil discoveries in the world. Princeton, deep into his dinosaur stage, was overwhelmed when we visited the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum.

We had the double pleasure of not only visiting Canada on Canada Day, but also visiting Calgary during the world class, world famous, Calgary Stampede, “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!”

On the way home, we visited the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) campus in Lakeside Montana. They just finished construction of this new meeting hall!

There has been lots of incredible changes (besides my hair style) since I attended the School of Worship here back in 1993.

Until next time,

I went to Portland to visit my good buddy Jeremy DeHavilland, and got some great footage with my new drone. The accompanying music is an original composition by Jeremy himself.

Puerto Vallarta 2019

Posted: May 24, 2019 in 2019, Travel
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We had to use some travel vouchers before they expired, so we made a quick trip down to Puerto Vallarta!

Tourists from all over Mexico and the world swarm to Puerto Vallarta so they can walk the seaside boardwalk or Malecón.

Infinity enjoyed her first Mexican vacation while Princeton and Zhenya stayed with grandma and grandpa.

Puerto Vallarta is in the tropics, so unless it is stormy, it is beach weather year-round.

There is no shortage of guacamole in Mexico. In fact, if you order some, they will make it fresh right then and there.

What could be better than having a cold treat after consuming grilled fish tacos near the beach?

Our Airbnb turned out to be in one of the largest gay resorts in Puerto Vallarta which was clean and stylish, yet surprising at times.

Our neighbors weren’t used to having breeders and children as neighbors.

Evening strolls on the boardwalk while enjoying the warm ocean breezes is a local pastime for tourists and locals alike.

The street photographer that took this picture finally made his sale with a tactic that bordered on harassment, but it was all good in the end.

Keeping cool!

We found that local maracas could sometimes help keep the baby occupied while we dined.

The parish Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is a city icon, dominates Vallarta’s downtown skyline, and is one of the favorite symbols and landmarks of the city

We had the joy of attending a beach-side jazz festival, where daddy talked shop with a local bass player and enjoyed the sweet sounds of creativity.

Birds of a feather bid us farewell from this all-too-quick getaway.

Maui 2019

Posted: May 3, 2019 in 2019, Travel
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Maui!  Our first vacation with all five of us.

I love the Hawaiian islands, and lived on the Big Island for almost 10 years. Maui has the distinction of having more beaches than any of the other islands.

This year we went during whale watching season, and we spied some great breaches!

Infinity really enjoyed her first time in the islands.

Winter in Maui is around 80 degrees…

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Although it was Princeton’s third trip, he still loved every minute.

It was great to see the kids getting along so well.

Mommy and Daddy were happy.

This vacation was all about the beach.

…and chilling.

Or maybe climbing the world’s largest Banyan tree in downtown Lahaina.

Good times in our rental car! The kids think their parents are crazy.

Aloha!