Sunday, August 14, 2016

Caddy Ridge & Dishpan Gap

This weekend Emily and I grabbed Eric early on Saturday morning and drove 5 full hours north to the mountains just above Lake Wenatchee in Washington for one of the best overnight hikes I've done in the Northwest.  We had amazing views of Glacier Peak, Rainier and the Washington high peaks, walked through amazing wild flowers and even saw some marmots while camping at a beautiful alpine lake.  Read on to see the pics.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway

This weekend Emily and I went on our first bike camping adventure.  We both own what the biking industry calls "cross-bikes", road bikes without shocks but built for wider tires and long touring on gravel roads.  I bike every day to work and Emily doesn't get on hers that often so instead of putting on our fat tires and going off-road I decided our first overnight should be on paved roads to test out how we do carrying our camping gear and food in our panniers.  Read on.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Weezer Concert with Jen, Jason, Danielle and Scott

This weekend Emily and I stuck around Portland as I was expecting to go shooting for my first time with Eric, Conrad, Tom and Ira but at the last moment plans got cancelled and I have yet to fire my first real gun.  Thankfully, we did have a backup plan and that was to join Scott, Danielle, Mischa, Pete and Fausti for a Weezer concert at Edgefield with tickets that BD couldn't use and sold to us.  Danielle, Scott and Mischa showed up to our place around 6:30pm and Emily had gone to pick up the Thai food we all ordered while they were on their way.  The poor place got Danielle's order wrong which got uncomfortable for a bit but I enjoyed mine as I love Thai food now.  

This was our first concert at Edgefield and it was a lot of fun.  We found Pete and Fausti on the lawn on our way down towards the stage and they joined us.  Thankfully we missed the opening band which everyone around us was saying was pretty terrible and religious-based.  Weezer came on around 8:45 and performed for a little over an hour, having to stop at 10pm after one encore because of the noise laws of the Columbia Gorge and nearby hotel.  I thought they were fantastic and although I haven't listened to their newer tracks I certainly will as I liked them too.  This show brought me straight back to my high school years and was definitely worth the cash we paid BD for the tickets.  After the show the traffic was terrible leaving the lot so we just tailgated behind Scotts car with everyone, disregarding the officials who told us to stop.  After nearly an hour of waiting for traffic we found ourselves some of the last people there so we said our goodbyes and headed home, listening to Weezer the whole way!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Ellie's 1st Oregon Trip with Dad

The long sought after and thoroughly planned Oregon Adventure for Ellie finally happened this year.  This trip was costly and logistically tough to pull off requiring my 70 year old mother to travel from Albany, through Fort Wayne in a way that allowed for Ellie to attend her final Sunday reading class, pick Ellie up and escort her on two flights through Chicago's nightmare airport out to Portland, arriving at nearly 11pm or 2am their time.  It was extremely tough on my mother who was only able to get a few hours of sleep on her layover in Fort Wayne at Nicolette's mothers house before continuing on with Ellie to Portland.  Thankfully, the effort was well worth it as I think they both had an amazing visit with Emily and I.  Read on to hear of our adventures!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lost Coast Trail - California

This trip had been on my Bucket List for a very long time and I was super happy that Josh, Alina and their dog Baya were able to go on it with us.  At the last minute, after reading that it was extremely hard for dogs, we had left Leo with Tom and not taken him along.  We quickly found out when we started hiking that it was the right choice.  This trip was 3 days of bliss along the remote King Wilderness Northern California Coastline that was well worth the 8-9 hour drive to do.  Read on to see the pics and read of our journey.  Video at the end as well.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

North Santiam Rafting with Alder

It had been forever since we had seen our Corvallis friends so this weekend we drove down to Corvallis to hang out.  Scott and Colin were in Florida for Riegl training and visiting Kevin and Alexa but Danielle invited the whole gang over to her place on Friday night were Emily and I crashed in the spare bedroom off the garage.  Fausti, Pete, Tim, Mischa, Cathy, Carrie, BD, Jason and Jen all came over to say hi and catch up.  It was the first time I'd seen Fausti since we left QSI a year ago.  No hard feelings at all between us.  

It wasn't a late night and Danielle had to travel on Saturday so Jen, Jason, Emily and I headed out rafting with their new adorable puppy Alder along with Leo on the North Santiam.  Jason had borrowed a life preserver for Alder and he looked adorable in it.  Leo of course was now well used to rafting with us.  I guided the raft down the very easy section of the river from Mill City to Mahema.  It was a super easy float and we stopped at a gravel bar for lunch and snacks with the dogs.  That night we grilled up some food at their place and hung out before heading back to Danielle's for the night.  On Sunday we headed back to Portland.  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Hamilton Mountain

This weekend Chris and Paris swung through our neck of the woods Friday night and we went for a hike up Hamilton Mountain with Leo on Saturday.  This was our 3rd trip up the mountain but it is always enjoyable for the great views of the Gorge and the cool geology of the mountain itself on the Washington side of the river.  Leo is getting older and took some encouragement to get all the way to the top but he made it just fine.  

It was great to connect with Chris and Paris and things seem to be going well for them in Moscow, ID where they now live, although it does seem like they are interested in getting back to Oregon and familiar friends at some point once Paris is done with her program there.  

Monday, June 13, 2016

IRWA Conference in Nashville

I was home for literally 12 hours before I was on another flight for work, this time headed to Nashville, TN for the International Right of Way conference with fellow co-workers Corinna, and Gary from Texas, Tennessee Tommy, and Matt from Michigan.  It was my first time meeting everyone and they all turned out to be amazing people.    Read on...

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pulse Vapor Training

This week I headed to Golden, CO with Josh and Rob for our Pulse Vapor 55 flight training with Juniper Unmanned.  Cardno finally came through with the purchase order as we were flying out of Portland.  The Vapor is one of the top commercial drone platforms in the US and is capable of carrying a large sensor payload such as the Riegl VUX-1UAS that we also purchased with it.  I tried to connect with Roger, Catherine, and Cherie but they were all busy with other plans and we couldn't find time to get together.

The training for Rob was pretty easy as he is a pilot already and knew most of the aeronautical information that was being taught to us but it was all new to Josh and I.  Our Juniper Unmanned trainers were Steve and Miguel whom we had met in Arizona previously with Tim.  Both were new to Juniper but one of the founders of the company, Tyler popped his head in now and again to check on things and was the lead instructor for when we conducted actual flights and proficiency testing.  

It was a great trip and I look forward to learning more about being a pilot as I was recently told I will be the 2nd pilot on our team.  I've been told that I will actually be put through real pilot training but I'm not getting my hopes up about that.  The three of us ate very well and got to spend some quality time with our Juniper friends and even got to visit with Jon from Pulse who lives nearby.  The Vapor 55 and 35 that we flew for testing was a training unit.  I enjoyed flying but I think I'll be a bit more nervous when it is our actual $300k bird with a LiDAR sensor attached to it!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Thorns Game!

Doug and Tully had split Thorns Season Tickets this year and he couldn’t make the game on Saturday so he gave the tickets to Emily and I to enjoy.  It was yet another spring rainy weekend so it became the highlight of our weekend.  As usual we grabbed some of our favorite pizza before the game.  The seats Doug had were pretty close to the field and just under the awning above us but we were lucky to have the rain hold off for the length of the winning game!  Thanks Doug! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

My first Spring Chinook Salmon!

This weekend was a rainy one so Emily and I decided to stay close to home.  Instead of heading off for an adventure we decided to do some charter Salmon fishing on the Columbia with a an outfit called “Always Catching”.  It was $125 for each of us and the owner, Jess, was super knowledgeable and happy to share tips with us.  Although it rained the entire morning the boat landed two fish.  The first one was caught by a local who had two visiting relatives with him but the 2nd and much bigger one was landed by me!  Jess guessed it to be about 18-20lbs.

We fished from 6am to 10am and when we got back to the dock Jess cut up the fillets for us and was about to throw the head and bones out when I asked to keep them to make salmon stew.  Em and I grabbed breakfast at a place down the road and then I spent the rest of the afternoon boiling the salmon flesh from the bone and making a terrific salmon stew that we enjoyed for several more days.  

There was about 3lbs of meat that would have gone straight to the Columbia if I hadn’t asked to keep it.  Makes me want to hang out at the docs and ask for everyone else’s scraps as well!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Post Canyon Mountain Biking with Paris and the Holm Brothers

Today I had a great afternoon riding Post Canyon in Hood River with Paris and Eric & Chris Holm.  Chris had surprised me with an email on Friday afternoon about being in town and I had to bribe a local bike shop with beer to get my bike repair done early in the morning to join them.  Emily hadn’t been feeling too good so she wasn’t able to make the ride.  I had forgotten how much fun Post Canyon was to ride as the last time I had been there was 2007-8.  

Showers moved in as we were wrapping up our ride which made the final slide down the hillside amusing.  We grabbed pizza and beer at Solstice along the Columbia and caught up on lives before I headed home.  Can’t wait to go back to those trails with Emily!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Christom and St. Innocent Wineries Bike Ride & Sandra’s 40th

The original plan this weekend was to go for a road ride on Saturday and then climb Mt. St. Helens for Mothers Day on Sunday.  Unfortunately, the weather had other plans for us.  Instead, we were fortunate to get a call from our friend Nicole from Shedd, OR who was interested in coming up for a visit Friday night.  That led to us connecting with Chris, Marissa and Colleen who we rarely get to see.  Read on..

Thursday, May 5, 2016

10 Years Together

It’s hard to believe that it has been a full 10 years since the first night I met my wife at the City Tavern in Saratoga Springs, NY.  We were introduced to each other by Mike Lamanto who I had met through John Hughes, whom I had become good friends with through the Jones family.  Ahhh connections.  7 years and a wonderful dog later, on the other side of the continent we married each other and a year later we have a house together.  It’s been quite the ride.  We celebrated with a wonderful dinner window-side at the Portland City Grill but I thought I’d take the time here to list off some of the highlights of our past 10 years together.

Convincing Emily to move out west and a great Cross Country Trip together doing so
Emily’s support while I got my Masters Degree, tore my ACL and lost my father
Our engagement trip to Hawaii where we got engaged on top the largest volcano in the world and sailed off the Napali coast of Kauai and swam chest-to-chest with 2,000 lb manta rays.

Our amazing vineyard wedding with family and friends and Mt. Hood in the distance.
Our many backpacking, rafting, biking, and ski mountaineering adventures throughout the Cascade Volcanoes and peaks of the Pacific Northwest and countless nights under the stars.

Trekking, kayaking, and visiting penguins in the Patagonia region of Argentina and Chile on our honeymoon.
Rafting, Zip-lining and exploring the forests, rivers, and wildlife of Costa Rica on our honeymoon.

Giving our beloved Leo a home whom has become the centerpiece of our lives together and the love of all our family and friends.
Purchasing our first home and redesigning it as a social location for our friends, and even a convenient office as I switched jobs.

And most recently, our amazing trip to Tanzania where we summited Kilimanjaro, our first “7 summit” and had numerous close encounters with wildlife as well as cultural experiences we will never forget.