Monday, September 28, 2009

Engaged in the San Juans!!

Well this past weekend was one I will remember forever.

All the pictures here (click me)

After a crazy week of work, going to see Pearl Jam (awesome show!!), having dinner with friends down at the lake, working more, cooking out with Laura and Dan at their house, and then working more, being crazy busy with life in general..... whew.... well I surprised Natalie with an overnight trip to the San Juan Islands.

Natalie knew we were going somewhere but I did not tell her where. To be honest, until Thursday I was not even sure where we were going. I had quite a few plans up in the air but it all came together perfectly in the end and I managed to grab a reservation for Saturday night.

After a nice night out downtown with just the two of us Natalie and I woke up to the alarm clock beeping away at 6:30am Saturday morning. We managed to roll out of bed, grab our stuff and be driving away from the house by 7. We headed an hour and a half up I5 to anacortes and caught the ferry over to Orcas Island.

This was our first time into the San Juans and I have to say I was blown away. If you took western north carolina and flooded it with an ocean it might look similar. The ferry ride was a little over an hour and when we pulled off of the ferry we were in paradise. We stopped at a little b&b/restaurant for lunch. After enjoying a great lunch and a tasty beer while looking over the harbor we hopped back in the car and headed off down the island.

We took a little detour up to the top of mt constitution (highest point on the island at 2000ish feet). From the top you could see the san juans stretching out to the ocean, mt baker peeking up above the clouds, and Victoria BC just to the west of us.

After oooing and ahhhing for a while we hopped back into the car and headed down the road to Doe Bay Resort which I have no other way to describe except that it is a hippie resort. Many of you may be thinking at this point of dirty smelly people driving a VW bus that was hand painted but this is not what I mean. Everyone was super friendly, showered, but the place had a cool community feel to it. There were a mix of camping sites, cabins, and my personal favorites the domes and yurts. We had a dome reserved which is essentially just that, a canvas dome up on a wooden platform with a bed over by a window. We were overlooking a bay that looked out into the north sound of Orcas Island.

So we got all of our stuff moved into our dome and walked over to our picnic table which looked back into the bay. We saw a little seal swimming around down there and watched him for a while. Well while Natalie was checking out the seal I snuck the ring out of my pocket. She turned around and started crying instantly. After quite a bit of crying and smiling she said, "I did say yes right because the answer is yes!!".

We spent the rest of the afternoon taking it easy sitting in chairs overlooking the bay and saying wow a whole lot. Natalie checked out the ring in every type of light we found. I loved looking away from the bay and catching her just staring at the ring. We are both so excited but vowed not to talk about how, when or where we were going to get married that weekend so we could just enjoy the moment.

After a while we headed to the hot tub. Everything in the resort faced the water and we soaked away any stress we might have had left from the week while we watched the sun sink into the water. Ahhhhh....

After dark we changed and headed over to dinner which was made from all local organic produce (most grown on site) and it was amazing. Natalie had a salmon dish that was fantastic and I had some artichoke ravioli (the chef would probably hate me calling it ravioli but I forgot the real name). We agreed it was easily one of the top 5 meals we have ever had.

We were pretty wiped out after dinned but managed to walk down to the water and stare are the moonlight on the bay for a few minutes before the cold got to us. We headed back to the dome and loaded on the covers before passing out.

In the morning it was hard to get up. The air was so nice and cool and clean and the bed was toasty warm. Eventually we pried ourselves from the bed and headed over for breakfast. Breakfast was just as good as dinner the night before and I found myself eating even though I was full just because I did not want to leave anything that good behind. We took our coffee down to the bay and hung out for a bit not wanting the weekend to end.

Eventually we had to head back to reality and it settled on quickly when we barely made the ferry. I had to work that night so I had to be back if it meant I had to swim. We had a backup plan in place where if we did not make it onto the ferry I was going to jump out of the car, run onto the ferry (leaving poor Natalie to wait 2.5 hours for the next one) and then I was going to catch a ride with some complete strangers that I met and had agreed to give me a lift. Luckily it all worked out and we were one of the last cars they could fit on for that run. We went up on deck and had a beer and a pretzel to celebrate our good fortune and to watch the islands roll by.

What a weekend!! So sad that it is over but it is just the beginning of a new chapter in an amazing adventure.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rachel Lake Rain Storm

The weather this summer has been amazing. Up until this weekend you could make plans and just count on it being sunny. This past weekend I thought this would continue even though as the week went on the forcast kept getting worse.

We had made plans with our neighbors and Dan and Laura that we were going to head up to Rachael lake, fish, maybe hike to the top of Alta peak, camp out and have a relaxing weekend. Well the origional plan was to go in friday after everyone got off of work. About mid week I got a call that my friday appointment was having quite a bit of trouble and it was probably going to take a while to get them sorted out. So the plan was revised to Ross and Stephanie going in Friday and we would meet them in Saturday.

I am glad that the Friday plan was changed because I did not end up getting home until 7:30pm so there was no way we would have made it in.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. Natalie and I woke up to rain lashing against the windows. Hmmm, that does not look good. Ah, I am sure it will clear up.

Dan and Laura met us at our house and after a quick coffee stop we headed out to the mountains. We had the windshield wipers going the whole way out to the trailhead. Why are we doing this again? Oh yea, it is going to clear up. The weather forcast said rain until about 11am and then clearing. There was a 30% chance of rain at night but that would just pass over I was sure.

Well we made it out to the trailhead and the sun did start to poke out. Hmm, guess the forcast was right. I sure was glad we did not bail on the trip only to see the sun come out.

About 3/4 of the way in we ran into our neighbors Ross and Stephanie. They had a great time camping but at the last minute their dog sitter had cancelled and they had to bring the dog along. Sadie was soaked and just to pumped up to be stuck in a tent another night so they were headed back. Well looks like we are down to 4 tonight.

The trail is a pretty flat 3 miles followed by the last mile up to the lake being straight up. We made the push and arrived at the lake. The visability was very good considering it had been raining all night. The wind was whipping and we quicklly changed into warm clothes and set out to find a spot to camp.

After quite a bit of searching (people in Seattle seem to go camping no matter what) we found a great site right on the lake. We were tucked into a great pocket where the wind went right over the top of us. We were in such a beautiful spot, we had warm clothing, and the weather was starting to clear. Just does not get any better.

We got camp setup and I even got a few minutes of fishing in before the rain rolled back in. That 30% chance of rain stayed with us for the rest of the afternoon and night. Boooo.... Luckily we were all able to get setup in a dry tent and after hiding out for a while we decided "to hell with it, lets get some dinner going". All that wine and food we had carried up the mountain was not going to eat and drink itself.

I have to say I love camping with Dan, Laura, and Natalie because everyone just rolls with whatever happens. We could have been all bumed that the weather did not work out but instead we all threw on gortex jackets and headed out into the weather to make dinner and drink our faces off. We had a great time catching up and enjoying the weather for what it was. Thanks guys, it was a great time!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

What a great weekend last weekend!

Well last weekend was a great one. I took Friday and Monday off to head out to Monica and Dave's wedding. I caught a red eye out of town at 10pm thursday and landed at JFK at 6:00am where I met Katy, Mike, and Mary Beth. We all carpooled it an hour or so to Stamford CT where we caught a few hours of sleep and then kept pushing on to Lakeville CT.

After getting in around 3ish we settled in and visited with everyone until the rehearsal dinner. It was great getting to see so many people and meet some many family members that I have not had a chance to meet yet. Everyone was in great spirits and ready for the weekend.

The weather was not really cooperating but none of us really cared, there was a great group of people around and we were going to have fun with or without the sun.

The ceremony Saturday was great. A buddy of Dave's married them with style. He was a funny guy and kept things going along great, although not so much in order. My favorite line of the weekend was when, about halfway through the ceremony, he said "for all of you following along on the program...well...don't. I have accidentally made up my own order and that is what you get when you ask a disorganized hippie to administer your wedding."

Saturday night the reception was a great time. The party moved to the bar after the dance floor closed and around 2:30am a swim in the lake seemed like a great idea and a large group of us headed out. There was a perfectly good heated pool out back but the lake was calling.

The morning rolled around way too fast and it was time to pack up and leave. We headed back to Stamford CT where we stayed with a friend of Katy's. We recovered from our hangovers over some great pizza.

The weekend went by way to fast. There were so many people I would have liked to visit with more. I was only hit with one "so will there be a wedding next year" the whole weekend and it was thrown in so sneaky that I really was not prepared and had no answer. I think my response was "asdf;klhrjgfiuha". So good to see everyone and can't wait to do it again.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Moving to a new web address

In the spirit of change this blog is packing up its bags and moving to a real domain name. You will be redirected automatically for a while but the new address is

So at this point I guess a little explanation is in order.

Sun guilt is a term that I came up with for an affliction I have. When the sun is out (and if you read this blog then you realize that sometimes it does not even have to be out) I feel that I have to be outside playing. I can be laying around in the sun down at the lake, hiking, it really does not matter but I cannot allow myself to sit inside under any circumstances.

The theme of the blog will stay the same. I am still posting about trips, people, places, etc.

In the next few days there will probably be a few issues as the new domain is registered and things are redirected but everything should migrate over shortly.