Category Archives: Travel

Props to Olympus

So our Olympus waterproof camera got flooded when we were in Hawaii this summer.  Well, I sent the camera in for them to check out as soon as we got home.  Shortly thereafter, I received back a brand-new camera!  I was worried that the leak might have been my fault (oops), but they didn’t ask any questions or anything, just sent me a replacement at no cost.  It might have helped my case that I just had the camera serviced and the seals replaced by Olympus a few months prior (they recommend doing that annually).   So anyway, Olympus makes me happy!


White Christmas, Maybe?

Hello Pennsylvanians! Amanda and I finally have our Christmas flights booked! We will be arriving at PIT on Christmas Day at 4pm, and enjoying freezing temperatures and warm fires until we fly out on January 3rd at 7 in the morning. Zack’s coming to visit us in early December, so we’ll be delivery him safely back to his family when we arrive on Christmas Day. See you all then!

Vacation in Mexico

This past weekend, I had off Monday for Martin Luther King Day. So, on our long weekend off work, we took a vacation to Baja Mexico. We packed up our new car with tons of stuff, our dog in the backseat and our surfboard on the roof, and drove the 2+ hours to a place in between Rosarito and Ensenada on the Pacific coast of Baja Mexico.
Jason unpacking carTeddie comes with us!
The hotel was called La Fonda. Our room was beautiful- with an ocean view, and Teddie loved to sleep out on the porch since it was so warm at night.
Hotelhotel office and restauranthotel lobby areaview from deck
We also had an awesome fireplace in the room- Jason went out and cut down wood with his machete (or so I thought- but really he just got free wood off a woodpile outside)
Jason cutting woodJason makes fireFIRE
It was so fun to bring our dog with us- He LOVED the beach, but not-so-much the water. He sniffed the whole beach but was scared of the ocean waves. He did try to come in the water once or twice but soon found out he couldn’t swim and ran back to shore. There was almost no one on the whole beach except for us.
Teddie in hotel roomTeddie sniffing alwaysTeddie asleep on bed20090119_141209.JPG
We also got to watch two gorgeous sunsets over the ocean on both nights we were there, enjoying it from our hotel veranda.
Sunset Saturday20090117_170532.JPGSunset Sunday
Every day we were there, Jason went surfing. The water was FREEZING! Jason wore a full wetsuit, and I ended up wearing his short wetsuit to go in the water and body-board.
Amanda in wetsuit
Everything was so much fun, except for the fact that my credit card info got stolen and someone used my card to buy $114 worth of shoes at a department store (Note to self- never use a credit card in Mexico!). And also except for the 2 1/2 hour wait in line at the border to re-enter the USA and all the peddlers knocking on our windows trying to sell things like Steelers blankets (since they had just won the big game!) Here’s a picture of the border:
Mexico border
But overall, it was a wonderful vacation. We ate authentic Mexican food overlooking the ocean, ran on the beach with Teddie, and just enjoyed our time together.

Catalina Island

So, this year for our kind-of anniversary trip (4 years already), we went to Catalina Island for Easter weekend.
It was crazy… There was almost no one else there.
First we took a ferry-boat over (Jason got seasick)
Jason and Ferry Boat
When we got to Avalon, which is the the main city in Catalina Island, it was virtually deserted. All the buildings are little, and there are only compact cars and golf carts. I felt like we were in Oz or Munchkinland.
Little Avalon img_6206.JPG
We walked around there all morning, ate lunch on the pier. It was a gorgeous day. There were even trees floating in the sky:
Trees in the Clouds
Then we took a bus ride to the other, even more deserted part of the island. The “Safari Bus” was a bumpy, crazy drive with gorgeous views of the inland parts of the island. We first stopped at Airport-in-the-Sky and watched some planes take off. Then we read about the Preservation of the Island’s plants and native animals, like the Santa Catalina Red Fox, Catalina Red Squirrel, deer, and buffalo. Oh, yeah, wait- native buffalo? Not really…. A few wild bison were brought to the island for a filming of a 1925 movie, “Zane Grey’s The Vanishing American”. They adapted well to the island’s climate, flourished, and multiplied. Now wild bison roam the island in herds- and when we left the Airport en route to Two Harbors, we got to see a herd along the road.
Safari Busimg_6259.JPGWindy Road
img_6285.JPG Airport-in-the-Sky Airport
Buffalo Wild Bison Jason kissing buffalo
On the bus ride over, we were the only two people on this huge school bus- it was really creepy! Check out this video:
Jason alone on bus
Then, we arrived in Two Harbors, a very tiny town on the West end of the island. The town has a population of 100 people. You cannot own private property there. You must work for the Catalina Island Conservancy (who owns the town) to live there. Our Bed and Breakfast was called “Banning House Lodge” The Banning brothers originally owned the island until they sold it to Wrigley- the chewing gum tycoon, who then put 88% of the island into a nature conservancy (to avoid property taxes). Below are pictures of the view from our hotel (we even saw a solitary buffalo roaming from our window!):
Jas and hotel Cat Harbor View Banning House Crazy Jason BUFFALO OUTSIDE HOTEL WINDOW Room #5 for us Me at hotel

Then Friday evening, we went on a Hummer “High Adventure” tour of the coast of the island. Our driver was the same guy that drove us across the island (in the empty huge bus)
Both of us by Hummer Jason on Hummer Me- hummer ride View from Hummer
That night, we went to dinner at the only restaurant on the side of the island (so, yeah, the prices were very high- I guess you can charge anything if there is no other place to eat!) The next morning, we got up bright and early to do a “Super Tour” which was Kayaking down the coast to Blue Caverns and back, with a stop in the middle to snorkel in a kelp forest. We got to see many fish, well only one type of fish actually- the bright orange Girabaldi- the official state fish of California. The water was freezing (58 degrees) and even my 7mm-thick wetsuit didn’t keep me warm enough.
Amanda snorkeling Pulling out kayak Me in Wetsuit
Then, we rested all day. It was beautiful and sunny outside. We went for a little hike:
Hiking Jason hiking

On the next day, Easter Sunday, we couldn’t go to church because there was no church in the small town of Two Harbors. We took the same rickety, scary bus back to the populated side of the island- Avalon. We had lunch there at Catalina Cantina and Jason ate a BUFFALO burger (made out of real buffalo meat). It tasted almost the same as a real burger. And I ate a fish:
Me eating a fish Jason at Cantina

We had a wonderful time- celebrating our 4th Anniversary together out in a secluded island. Although it was only 3 days, it felt like a lot longer.