Chile: Part 1

Last November I took a two-week vacation to Chile to visit my good friend Katie and explore a new place. I had never been to South America (or even the Southern Hemisphere) before, so it was a totally new experience and I got to see another part of the world. It was quite an adventure and we packed a lot of different sights and experiences into the two weeks.

La Serena

Chile is a big place, and I saw lots of it. I flew into Santiago from Atlanta (an 11 hour flight) and then flew to La Serena, a small beach town about an hour’s flight north of Santiago, where Katie lives. Katie picked me up at the airport. The airport in La Serena reminded me of an old movie because there was no gate, the plane just arrived and everyone walked over to the building. A lot of the passengers were taking pictures in front of the plane after they got off.
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Muir Woods

In August, Katie and JM came to visit from Chile and I took them around San Francisco. One of the places we went to was the Muir Woods National Monument. It is probably one of the most beautiful places in the world. Here are some of my pictures from the trip:

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Road Trip!

In 2012 I moved from Wisconsin to California for my new job. I decided it would be fun to do another road trip and see some more of this wonderful country. My dad and my trusty dog Laika accompanied me on the journey, just like the last long road trip when I moved from Arizona to Wisconsin. This time, we decided to take a more northernly route on our way west and headed through Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and then finally California.

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[We missed the Utah sign.]
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fire hydrants

I really like fire hydrants. I think they’re really interesting. If you pay attention to fire hydrants you can learn a lot about a town’s character (or lack of it). And once I started paying attention to fire hydrants I noticed just how different they were. There is a lot of variation in design, including structure and color.

A pretty standard fire hydrant (from Puerto Rico):
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If you Google fire hydrants, you get a whole bunch of your standard red (and sometimes yellow) fire hydrants. According to Wikipedia, the coloring of the caps are supposed to tell firefighters how much water pressure is available. The non-standard ones are the ones that I mostly notice now, but sometimes standard ones in unusual locations stand out also. Here are some of my favorite fire hydrants I’ve found and photographed.
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Camping in Henry Coe State Park

Henry Coe State Park is the largest state park in California, clocking in around 87,000 acres. It’s also relatively close to where I live (in that big open space east of the 101 and north of the 152). We didn’t see any mountain lions, but did encounter some inquisitive gophers, beautiful wildflowers, and had a great time camping.

I went camping with the Hatfields and the Bagleys and my trusty dog sidekick Laika. Here are a few selected photos from the trip. The rest of the set is on Flickr.

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Here are we at the campsite with our tents up.
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My Year in Review: 2013

This post is meant to serve as my non-existent holiday card for interested friends and relatives, as well as a completely biased recounting of my year.

Travel

Airplane sunset
Well, I traveled a lot this year. More than usual. I flew 46,601 miles, going to about 22 different cities. I went to North Carolina twice, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Madison, Chicago, Chile, and a bunch of places in Southern California. Most of those trips were either work-related or family-related (my brother got married this summer!). But I did finally take an actual vacation – two weeks in Chile (I promise a post about this is going to happen).
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Whale Watching in SF

This past weekend my dad and I went whale watching off of San Francisco. We went with San Francisco Whale Tours on a six hour long boat ride that went all the way to the Farallon Islands and beyond.

Saturday morning was extremely foggy. And when I say extremely foggy, I mean it. When we were directly beneath the Golden Gate Bridge we could barely see it:

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We saw a harbor porpoise and lots of birds and some sea lions on our way out of the Bay. It was still very foggy by the time we got to the Farallon Islands.

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