7/18/2004

Pacific Northwest Trip

Well, Aliciana and I are finally starting to feel recovered from our recent trip up the west side of our beautiful country. Our trip ended up taking 6 days in all. We learned several valuable lessons on this trip, the most important one being to never drive more than 4 hours a day on vacation if you expect to enjoy yourself.

The first day of our travels we drove 9 hours from Bakersfield to Medford, Oregon. This was a major mistake. We finished up the rest of the drive to Seattle the next day, only a 5 hour drive. By the time we got to my friend Ryan’s apartment, we were completely exhausted! We ended up spending the whole trip in a state of exhaustion, which kinda ruined the trip, but we still managed to have some fun.

Our original plan was to spend 3 nights at Ryan’s apartment, but after 2 long days of driving we were already itching to call off the vacation and go home. Then we saw Ryan’s apartment in person and I decided there was no way I was going to be able to spend more than one night there. I am very grateful to Ryan for offering us his floor, but his apartment is the smallest apartment I have ever seen. There are a couple of pictures of how Aliciana, Ryan, Ryan’s friend Dave, and I all managed to squeeze into it.

The next night I decided to try to salvage what we could of this trip and booked a room at the Hampton Inn which is just one block away from the Space Needle. We spent the rest of the day walking around the University of Washington, Downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square, and the Seattle Underground. The Seattle Underground Tour was amazing and I recommend it to anyone who is ever visiting Seattle! I will blog about the tour more tomorrow.

For our trip home we changed our plans and took 3 days to make the drive. It was easier with the mileage spread out but still very exhausting. We spent the night in Eugene, Oregon and Redding, California. Along the trip home we stopped at the State Capitol of Washington in Olympia. We also saw the State Capitol of Oregon on the way to Seattle.

Overall, we had a good time. We got to see a lot of the country we hadn’t seen on our first trip up there. But I highly doubt we will ever do that drive again. Next time we go to Seattle we will fly.

5/29/2006

Cabo San Lucas Vacation

Aliciana and I just got back from a relaxing trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We stayed at the Sol Mar Resort where my Grandma Hauslein has a time share. Accompanying us on our trip were my Mom and Dad, my Grandma Hauslein, and my parent’s foster child, AJ. We spent a good portion of the trip reading by the pool and eating lots of good food. My favorite food of the trip was definitely the guacamole… it was fresh and served with almost every meal. I can’t wait to get an avocado tree so I can enjoy as much of the wonderful stuff as I want without going broke back here in the States.

Saturday, May 20th

We left bright and early on a 6:30am flight from Bakersfield to Phoenix. After changing planes in Phoenix we flew on to the San Jose del Cabo Airport. My Mom and Grandma picked us up in a tiny rental car and we drove the 40 minutes to the tip of Baja California, Cabo San Lucas. After resting for a bit we started our Mexico experience off with a bang with a “Fiesta” buffet and live entertainment. There was tons of great food, mariachis, singers, and ballet de folklorico dancers.

Sunday, May 21st

My Mom wanted to go to church in an old mission so we headed to the nearest one, in San Jose del Cabo. Aliciana and I explored the shops around the mission plaza at the center of the town while my Dad and AJ relaxed in the shade. It wasn’t too hot during our trip in Mexico, but the humidity felt pretty high.

The amount of construction going on in the Cabo area was pretty impressive. The only place I have seen a similar level of building going on is in Las Vegas. My Mom tells me that there are plans for resorts to be built pretty much all the way up both sides of Baja California. Some of the resorts are built right on top of the surrounding hills… which is pretty scary when you think about the lack of building codes in Mexico.

Monday, May 22nd

Aliciana and I took a walk along the beach to see how far along the tip of Baja Californian we could get. The resort is along the Pacific Ocean, not the Sea of Cortez, which meant the water wasn’t safe for swimming. This was obvious when we saw how hard the waves were crashing against the shore. The consistency of the beach was closer to rocks than sand, so it wasn’t the greatest thing to walk on. Still, it was pretty much deserted, so it was nice to escape from all the other tourists.

Tuesday, May 23rd

We spent much of this day exploring the marina area of Cabo and the beaches along the Sea of Cortez. There wasn’t much wildlife to see in Cabo… it is very much a desert, where the undeveloped land was nothing but dirt, shrubs, and cacti. We did see some pelicans which cooperated with me long enough to get their pictures taken.

Wednesday, May 24th

This was our tourist day, we took a guided tour of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. The tour started off with a glass bottom boat tour to see the famous Cabo Arch and where the tip of Baja California ends and the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific ocean meet. Then we went to a glass factory to see how they take recycled glass and melt it into various cups, bowls, and even figurines. The workers showed off their skills by making a dolphin right in front of us. We finished off the tour with some lunch and shopping in San Jose del Cabo.

Thurday, May 25th – Saturday, May 27th

We spent the remainder of the trip reading, relaxing, and just enjoying the slow pace of life. We caught a plane back to Phoenix and then to Bakersfield on Saturday without too much trouble. The line to get our tickets at the Mexico airport was unbelievably long, because they hand searched all checked luggage right there on the spot. Because of the delay we ended up missing our flight, but we got on one that left an hour later, so we still made our connecting flight. So, lession learned… if you are going to fly out of Mexico make sure to get to the airport 3 hours early!

4/28/2007

Heading North Day 1: Bellingham

Linuxfest Northwest is like a giant LUG (Linux users group) meeting. We decided to check it out since we were planning on going up to Vancouver anyways. I figured it was a good excuse for our first trip into Canada.

Besides checking out some exhibitions and attending a talk on OpenID, we didn’t do a whole lot at the festival. It seemed like a lot of the geeks were having a good time but because we had just moved to the pacific northwest we didn’t know a single soul.

It was worth checking out the festival since we were in the area but I don’t think it would have been personally worth attending otherwise. I greatly enjoyed LinuxWorld last year in San Fransisco but this festival was nothing like it. But, the LinuxFest Northwest group was trying for more of an intimate get together of local Linux lovers, and it seemed like they accomplished that. I think Aliciana was expecting something a little more impressive… I definitely need to drag her to LinuxWorld in the future.

4/29/2007

Heading North Day 2: Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is a very beautiful city. We did some shopping in the “Robson Street” area of the city. Then we headed to Stanley Park just west of downtown. It is quite amazing to have such a large park bordering a major city. We took a small hike though part of the park and enjoyed the many gardens. It was a very good first impression of Canada; I really wish we had more than just an afternoon to spend there.

On the trip home we spent 30 minutes trying to get back into the US. While sitting in line we took in the sites of the waterfront and the Peace Arch. After convincing the border patrol we weren’t terrorists, we were finally allowed on our way. It struck me as funny, and kinda sad, that it took 20 seconds to get into Canada, but a 10 minute interrogation, and 20 minute wait, to get back into the USA. I guess that is just the world we live in these days.

5/5/2007

Tillamook Cheese Factory Tour

5/6/2007

Portland’s Washington Park

7/15/2007

Exploring the Kitsap Peninsula

Aliciana and I took the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. Next we drove up the 305 to Poulsbo and then down the 3 to the 16 and into Tacoma. Click here for a pretty map.

We ate dinner at the Spaghetti Factory in Tacoma, but I wouldn’t recommend it because the service sucked. Go to the Spaghetti Factory in Seattle instead.

7/21/2007

Visiting the Family in Vegas: Part 1

Three friends from Bakersfield, Jialan, Connie, and Rosalva, happened to be in Las Vegas for the weekend so we met up with them for lunch. Later that evening, at dinner, AJ decided to pose for some pictures.

7/22/2007

Visiting the Family in Vegas: Part 2

Some pictures of my new brother and sister. AJ and Michaela, the dogs, and grandma. It is hard to believe that I have a 1 year old brother and a 4 month old sister.

7/24/2007

Visiting the Family in Vegas: Part 3

More Ladd Family 2.0 pictures. The cute 6 year old wearing pink in the photos is Juanita, a foster child staying with my parents for a while. Along with Aliciana and me, my parents house contained Juanita, AJ, Michaela, Grandma, my mom, my dad, my sister Courtney, the 2 dogs, and Molly the cat. It was quite a zoo.