Tag Archives: trips

Incline Village

We just got back from six days in Incline Village, NV, and it was GORGEOUS.  We spent time at the beach during the day, and then BBQ’d and drank beer at night.  It was just what I needed to relax and unwind.  I can’t wait to go back.

Braden and Troy playing at Burnt Cedar

Braden and Troy playing at Burnt Cedar



Last Saturday I kidnapped my family and whisked them away to Truckee and Tahoe City for the day.  It was windy and chilly… and dead.  It’s kind of weird up there this time of year because it’s in between the busy skiing and summer vacation seasons.  No one was up there. 

And it was nice.

Feeding the boy


I don't know why, but I just had to post this.  This was definitely not on my list of Things To Do Before I Die, but I'm glad I got to do it.  It's not every day that you get to feed your son in an old prison recreation yard.

The Rock


When we found out that I'd have a free week of vacation, Kelly and I decided very quickly that we should take advantage of it as best we could, so we booked a room near Fisherman's Wharf.  She'd never been to Alcatraz, so we made visiting The Rock our main purpose.  It is a trip.  They have a guided audio tour, and they did such a good job with the tracks that, at times, it really sounds like you're standing in the middle of an operational prison.  It's kind of neat to let your imagination run wild, picturing what it must have been like to arrive at Alcatraz, knowing that you'd be spending an interminable amount of time in the depths of hell.  I have to tell you, I would NOT want to spend one second there as a prisoner.  The hopelessness, the despair, the desolation… and I was just a tourist!

Perhaps one of the cruelest things about Alcatraz was the view on a day like this past Sunday: clear, blue skies, and one of the greatest cities in the world just over a mile away… and yet, totally inaccessible to those incarcerated on Alcatraz Island:


I bet many a prisoner sat on the recreation yard steps, peering at the Golden Gate Bridge, absolutely kicking himself for getting stuck in such a horrible predicament.  Then again, probably not, because those guys were all major league assholes.

We took a bunch of pictures, so if you have a spare moment, please go check them out on Flickr.



Continuing with our beach-themed vacation, yesterday we visited Avila Beach.

If you step back for a second and look at some recent history, the Avila Beach of now is a far cry from the Avila Beach of when I was in college.  Back in 1999, Unocal cleaned up some 400,000 gallons of oil by-products from underneath Avila, meaning that they dug up the entire beach and tore down pretty much all of the buildings along the beach front.  It was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a beach resort vacation destination.

Now look at it.

We didn't spend much time there, but the weather was perfect, and the T-man got to stick his toes into the chilly Pacific once again.


For lunch, we met up with some of my former VERITAS coworkers at the Cool Cat Cafe.  Cool Cat is a burger joint straight out of the 50s, complete with greasy fries and real milkshakes.  And let me tell you, if you're not used to eating that kind of food, you're not going to be feeling right for a couple of hours afterward.  I believe the medical term for it is Food Coma.

Dinner was magnificent.  Kelly brought home some takeout from our favoritist Italian joint in the whole wide world, Buona Tavola.  I had the Tagliolini, and she had the Tortellini di zucca alla salvia e mascarpone (pumpkin tortellini).  Both.  To.  Die.  For.  If you're ever in SLO (or Paso Robles), PLEASE eat at this restaurant.  You will not be disappointed.

Not much happened, otherwise.  It was a pretty low key and kick-back day. 

Cugini's is still good the second time around


Yeah.  We're pathetic.  We had lunch from Cugini's for the second day in a row.  The pizza is sooooo gooooood!  We just couldn't help ourselves.

Anyway, we didn't do a whole lot yesterday.  We went for a walk in the morning, and, after lunch, we headed up to Morro Bay to walk around on Embarcadero St.  We had a nice relaxing afternoon up there.  The weather was perfect, and, by chance, the local merchants were having a street fair, so we got to check out an eclectic mix of wares being hawked.  One guy was even selling backyard drilling contracts with his plates of BBQ Tri-Tip.  That confused the hell out of me until I took my finger out of my eye socket and realized that his business was in fact backyard grilling.  I are smart, Cletus.

For dinner, I had a Red Dragon Roll from Yanagi Sushi.  That's absolutely one of my favorite rolls of all time, though I wouldn't go so far as to call it #1.  In fact, I don't know if I could designate any roll as the top dog.  There are just too many good ones out there to choose from.

Like I said, it was a pretty mellow day.  You tend not to do too many Wild-N-Crazy Things when you have an infant in tow.

Not that I'm complaining.  This downtime is just what the doctor ordered.  It's nice to get away from it all.

KSLY's Gone Country!

Jeez, you leave for 2 years, and everything goes to hell.  Not that there's anything wrong with country music, but when you're bombing down the Cuesta Grade at 11:30pm, and there's nothing on the XM radio, and you've listened to the CD in the deck about 47 times since you started driving, the next natural step is to turn on the good ol' terrestrial FM radio and tune into the stations that you know will play some good Top 40 tunes.  Instead, I got an earful of manure.

Othere notable changes since the last time I was in SLO:

  • There is a COSTCO
  • Tortilla Flats has closed down, and a Karaoke bar took its place
  • Lots of previously open spaces have been developed
  • Cal Poly has been seriously developed – new dorms/apartments, and mondo additions for the College of Engineering
  • There is a HUGE Apple store downtown
  • Sakura is no more – it's now called "Sushiya"


One thing that is still the same is the presence of elephant seals up north of San Simeon.  As you can see from the picture above, they are quite fat and lazy.  Get a job, ya bums!

Also, the weather is just about perfect compared to the cesspool that is the Sacramento Valley.  Glad to see that hasn't changed.

We're having fun driving around, reminiscing about all the good times down here.  It's hard to believe it has been over 10 years since I first came down here to go to school.  This city is just so awesome.

We're also trying to hit all of our favorite restaurants while we're here.  Yesterday, we hit up Cugini's (for me), Nucci's (for Kelly), and Mandarin Gourmet for dinner.  That's always the dangerous part of coming back to SLO.  There's just too much good food here.

As for Troy, how's he handling all of this, with the moderate climate and the fresh air and the beautiful sights?  Let's just say that he "exploded" with enthusiasm, "unloading" his glee at being in new surroundings.  He is "relieved" at the prospect of finally seeing where Mommy and Daddy went to college. 

(I'll just come out and say it: he's no longer constipated.  Yesterday was a BIG day for TroyTroy's colon.)

Fort Bragg / Mendocino: 7/8/2007

Warning: inane content ahead.  It is a journal of what we did while on vacation.  It is not particularly well-written, and should you decide to read it, you will likely experience an overwhelming sense of boredom similar to watching someone else’s home videos.  Proceed with caution.

Time to go home.  After packing up, we headed off to breakfast at the Home Style Café.  Man, are those good eats.  I had Linguica, eggs, potatoes, and biscuits.  Oh man, it’s good stuff.  For you Woodlanders out there, I’d say it’s as good as, if not better than, breakfast at the Ranch Kitchen.


After breakfast and a quick Starbucks break, we headed north out of Fort Bragg to see the redwoods.  There is some beautiful coast line up there, and the redwoods are spectacular.


We paid the $5 to drive through the “Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree,” one of the most underwhelming experiences of my life.  We drove out the other side, looked at each other and said, “yay.”  Yes.  A lowercase yay.


We made it all the way up to Garberville before turning around and heading for home.  Benbow looks like a nice area, but it’s a bit remote.  Hopefully someday we’ll get back up there again.  It’s pretty nice country.

T-man was great throughout the whole trip.  He spent a lot of time in his car seat, but he didn’t complain a bit.  He was a little fussy at night, but we think that it was because he was out of his element.  Hopefully things will return to normal this week.

If you’ve made it this far, I commend you.  Also, you are a masochist, but, hey, if it was worth it, who am I to judge?

Fort Bragg / Mendocino: 7/7/2007

Warning: inane content ahead.  It is a journal of what we did while on vacation.  It is not particularly well-written, and should you decide to read it, you will likely experience an overwhelming sense of boredom similar to watching someone else’s home videos.  Proceed with caution.

Yet another Starbucks run.  Today we didn’t have much on the agenda, so after a big breakfast, we just kind of lazed around the house all morning.

Earlier in the week, I had found out about the “World’s Largest Salmon BBQ”, to be held today at Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg.  So, we went.  And, it was awesome.


Turns out it’s a fundraiser for some salmon restoration organization.  Lots of people showed up.  There were easily a couple hundred while we were there, and I imagine several thousand make their way through over the course of the day.  They had a live band, great weather, and, of course, great food.


Each ticket bought you a plate with a huge salmon steak, an ear of corn, two thickly-coated pieces of garlic bread, and a tasty green salad.  The outdoors, community atmosphere and the great food made it an extremely enjoyable experience for our whole family – even Troy.  If you’re ever in this neck of the woods around the 4th of July, I highly recommend stopping by the annual salmon BBQ.

Next up was the wedding at the Mendocino Woodland’s camp.  Deidre’s husband-to-be was apparently a camp counselor here for 17 years, so this place had special meaning to them.  It is the most remote setting for a wedding that I have ever attended, but it was beautiful.  The only sketchy part was the ¼ mile trek from the parking lot to the ceremony site, but in the end, we all survived.


Probably the highlight of my evening was having the four cousins (me, Darci, Cinnamon, and Deidre) together again.  I have no clue the last time that happened.  It was great to catch up with the side of the family that we rarely get to see.


Also cool: my Uncle Steve received a Nikon D80 for xmas, just like me.

We had to leave the reception fairly early because they had no lights and open flames weren’t allowed, and Troy was getting fussy.  We headed into Fort Bragg to get some dessert snacks since we missed out on the wedding cake.  On the way back to the house from Safeway, we got stuck in traffic from people leaving the beach fireworks show.  Let me just tell you that the Fort Bragg Police Department is a bunch of Super Troopers.  Someone from the NYPD needs to do a work exchange program and show them how to direct traffic.  The FBPD, bless their law-enforcing hearts, are borderline retarded in this aspect of their jobs.

Anywho, we all crashed pretty much as soon as we got home.

Fort Bragg / Mendocino: 7/6/2009

Warning: inane content ahead.  It is a journal of what we did while on vacation.  It is not particularly well-written, and should you decide to read it, you will likely experience an overwhelming sense of boredom similar to watching someone else’s home videos.  Proceed with caution.

Woke up this morning to see this:


We’re both early risers now thanks to Troy: Kelly gets up early to feed him, and I get up so I can be at work by 7am, and back at home by 4pm.  This morning, after we fed T-man and made a Starbucks run, we decided to take Troy for his first-ever beach experience.


The ocean didn’t phase him at all.  We stuck his feet in the cold water, and he didn’t even flinch.  What a tough guy.  Also, notice how he is much more stylishly dressed than his father.  Show off.

Just as we started to head back to the house, Troy got a little fussy, so we decided to relax for the rest of the morning until Darci showed up.

After Darci unpacked, we all headed down to Mendocino to do a little window shopping.  It’s a definite tourist trap, full of stores that sell so much crap that you wonder how they could ever stay in business.  The only store that caught my eye was a gallery that sells art that “makes you laugh.”  Whenever I make it big, I’m going to go buy this guy out.  Some of his paintings had me cracking up.  You can see some of his work here:


After tooling around for about an hour, we headed back to the house and had a huge feast, featuring BBQ steaks.  The nice owners graciously provided a Weber charcoal grill for our use, and man, were those steaks good.