29 May, 2007

Memorial Weekend Campout - Part I

Three days after we returned from Salt Lake and the family visit, we headed out on the first campout of the summer. Wahoo!! I have so many cool pictures that it's hard to decide which ones to post. So that I can get more in (without being too boring) I've broken up the post into parts.

Campout 2007 #1: Part 1 - From Byers Lake to Chatanika

After work on Wednesday (the 22nd), I headed home to pack some clothes and help finish packing what was left. We ended up hitting the road a few hours later than anticipated, but made it to the first stop (Byers Lake) before midnight. Set up only necessities, & started a fire. It had been raining so things were a bit damp, but it was still an enjoyable evening.

Mossy Tree at Byers Lake

Mossy Tree up Close

The next morning, we headed North. Destination: Chatanika - which is about 40 miles outside Fairbanks (which is about 350 miles north of Anchorage). Before getting there, we stopped at a Memorial Site - fitting, since this is the weekend before Memorial Day. Very awe-inspiring and humbling. We never would have known the place was there, except that Greg & Brian were reading the Milepost and watching for caches. (A great benefit to GeoCaching is that you end up places you've never been before...) I'll have to look up the name of the place and add it as a note to Part II.


View from Memorial

Interesting Flora at Memorial

From there, we drove to Cantwell and had lunch... we were *starving* and the food really hit the spot! When we left home, it was cloudy and threatening rain. The farther North we drove, the clearer the skies were and we had much warmer temps! By the time we hit Fairbanks, temps were close to 80 (leaving home, they were around 50) and there was blue sky everywhere... a good omen for our trip!

View just outside Fairbanks

Eek! A Bee!!

Greg & Brian stopped at Freddie's in Fbx to get some missing supplies, and the rest of us headed off to our new site: Upper Chatanika. Once we were unpacked, it was fire time! And time to think of dinner - Hobo Dinner, to be exact. Ya know: hamburger, potato, carrots, & onions wrapped together in tinfoil and set in the coals. Mmmmm.

Enough for now - I'll post Part II tomorrow, since it's almost 11pm and I'm still catching up on sleep... =)

21 May, 2007

Vacation - Goodbyes & Hellos

We spent most of the day traveling - now we're home and it's time to start a new week in just a few short hours. I wanted to add this last day of memories before it's over. We got up early so we could see Anna before she headed to the airport, and have breakfast with Grandma & Dad before lil bro shuffled them off too. Back to mom's to pack, then out to see M before we hit the road - it was nice to visit with mom for a bit on the way in...

Bye Mom!

Bye Sheri!

Bye Aaron, Mari, Sheri, Grandma & Dad!

Bye M!

We had a 6 hour layover in Seattle - but since our plane was delayed because of a problem with the numbers on one of the radios in the cockpit, we were in a bit late. Bags were checked all the way through, so we just met Holly & Corey (they were waiting patiently at baggage claim for us) and decided on a place for dinner. Claim Jumper. The last time we were there was when we were in Seattle for Holly & Corey's wedding - 6&1/2 years ago. It was good food, & *great* company - as usual!! We chatted so long that waiting for a taxi might've made us late, so we crammed ourselves into the way-back of Corey's blazer - and got a view of everywhere we'd been as we cruised back to the airport. =)

Hello Gorski Clan!

Bye Holly (and Corey and Zane and Thor)!

Taxi Service to the Airport

After a lousy 3&1/2 hour nap, we deplaned - Brian picked us up, and now we're home. It's been a *fantastic* trip! On tap for tomorrow: back to work.

Hello Brian - Hello Home!!

19 May, 2007

Vacation - The Last Day

Another busy day has come & gone. It was a good one! We got up early - we were the designated seat-savers, so had to leave early for the graduation ceremony. As it was, we still had to sit in the balcony nose-bleed section. Guess we should have gone even earlier - who knew?!? The ceremony itself was moving - most likely because I knew someone down there. (It was *way* down there...) I'm so proud of M - all that effort and determination has come to fruition. Good Job M!!!

Dr. M is in the House!!!

After the ceremony, Greg & I went caching again - found another one. One of these days I'll have to log my finds - I think I have a whole six now!! We wrapped M's graduation present in a parking lot, then headed to the picnic. Good food, and good visiting - seems like an ongoing theme for this trip! Greg took some of the picnic crew caching and they found another one - and a potential new caching convert (go Tyler!). M *really* likes her new camera - wahoo!! Now she's got to learn how to use it... too complicated for me. I like the point & shoot kind, but Greg is very fond of his camera and we got M the same kind.

Picnic Party-ers

Some of the Girls

M's New Camera

And then we headed back to Orem. Greg & I went for one more cache - and found it. This one was large enough that he could put his travelers in it. We even met the hider while we were there. We may go again tomorrow, cuz he found a couple more in his bag. We'll see what kind of time we have...

On tap for tomorrow: Breakfast - have to leave the house before 8am so we can eat and then get some people to the airport; caching?; fly to Seattle; visit w/ Holly, Corey, Zane, & the new arrival Thor; home again, home again.

18 May, 2007

Vacation - Day Seven

Another busy day - but a good one. Those of us that couldn't attend Aaron & Mari's sealing headed to breakfast at Mimi's. Good breakfast food and great company! Did a little shopping after that, then headed to the house to visit for a bit. Greg was finally able to get his clothes shopping done, and I stuck to the house to visit with family.

The Breakfast Crew

Aaron & Mari's reception was from 6-9pm. It was *loads* of fun! Lots of family came, and plenty of their friends too. There was good food, a DJ, dancing, and a pinata! We stayed late to help clean things up. Lots of pics for this section!

Lil Bro & Me (in my 3" heels!!)

Family Shot

The Crew (isn't Greg short?!?)

Dancin' Fools

Pinata King

To finish the evening, Greg & I headed out to find another cache. The one we were originally going to is on private property, so we decided to do that in daylight (and before 11pm). We did a drive-by to locate the general area. On the way over we discovered another cache, so we found that one on the return trip. Discovered yet another cache on the return, but a drive-by shows that it's probably on private property, so we're going to do that one in daylight too. This means we've found five caches of the seven we've hunted for. (Greg found a couple more, but I don't count those...)

On tap for tomorrow: Leaving the house early so we can save seats for M's graduation ceremony; visiting, caching, and/or shopping; M's celebratory BBQ; more visiting, caching, and/or shopping. This is the last real day of vacation - Sunday means packing & traveling.

Vacation - Day Six

Looks like I'm running a day behind - it might be that way for the rest of the trip. We got home (now staying at mom's house in Orem, UT) around 11pm - then Greg hogged the computer so I didn't get a chance to update. He hogged it again this morning, so I made sure to get here first this afternoon. =) Although it's going to get busy here shortly, so I might have to save and do the posting later. We'll see how it goes.

So yesterday, we got a later start than intended. Still made it to Salt Lake in time to return the rental van without getting charged extra money. Then we went caching and shopping for the afternoon. We found four of the six caches we were looking for, spent the afternoon wandering around the International Peace Park. We were wandering around the area hunting caches and stumbled on the park - a lovely outing. And I picked my cache name: GeoGrumpy. Just have to set up the account now. I'm fairly sure no one has already picked that one... We also went to the Gateway Mall and spent *loads* of money on clothes - wahoo. Turns out there are caches there, too. They're everywhere!! We still have shopping to do for Greg, but I'm thinking we can get that done today... =)

Peace to the World!

Peace to the Trees!

Peace to Shopping!

For dinner, we went to Aristo's (a nice little Greek restaurant recommended by M). We met the new arrivals - Grandma, Dad, & big bro Dave. It was good food, and good company. Can't ask for much more than that. Greg & I stayed around the area to wait for Aunt Anna to arrive, picked her up from the airport, and headed back down to Orem.

Peace to the Fam Damily!

On tap for today: Brunch with those that aren't attending lil bro's sealing ceremony (already done - update for Day Seven's post); caching & shopping; reception; more fun.

17 May, 2007

Vacation - Day Five

It was a long day yesterday - but productive. Greg got in @ 8am. We went back to the apartment for a bit, then loaded the car for another trip to M's new place. Had breakfast, then headed back for more. We were discussing things, and determined that it'd probably be best to rent a van - that way we could get everything in one trip, then use the van to go to mom's and get the washer, dryer, & fridge for M. So that's what we did. My brother & sister-in-law showed up around 2:30pm to help out - the extra hands were *very* appreciated!!

Movin' Crew

Empty Old Pad

New Pad, Tired Boy

Everything was moved from the apt. to the new place, and pieces put back together so that we were able to go to dinner (at Olive Garden - yay!) by 7pm. After that, we headed out to Orem to pick up the appliances and take them back to Salt Lake. We were home & in bed shortly after 1am this morning. Like I said, long day - but productive.

Sunset Thru the Van Window

On tap for today: Return the rental van, cache, shop, have dinner with newly arrived family. Should be a good day for pictures!

15 May, 2007

Vacation - Day Four

It's been a busy day - but good. We were up early - M to prepare for her presentation, me to make a run to the grocery store for boxes. Success! For both of us. =) After a nap, I bustled off to see Jenny for lunch (Preston came along for company). We ate at Cancun Cafe - a nice little mexican joint. A very enjoyable time - good food, good company.

Lunch Buddies

After lunch, it was time to put those newly acquired boxes to use. So we (M & I) spent the afternoon packing boxes so we could make the first run to the condo. Recording happened this afternoon, so now it's hers "officially" - congrats!! We stopped by the store for dinner supplies - intended to eat dinner & load up for trip #2, but somehow we ran out of gas. Oh well.

Officially the Owner
On tap for tomorrow: Greg comes in at 7:30am - no sleeping in! After that, it's nap or breakfast (or both) depending on how he feels. My brother will be up to help move the big stuff early afternoon, so we'll be doing that - hopefully get most (or all) the rest of it done. Maybe dinner with mom? We'll see. Pleasant dreams!!

14 May, 2007

Vacation - Day Three

It's been a good day today! M re-certified for her Advanced Cardiac Life Support this morning - everything went well. She's working on a presentation for tomorrow morning - which means she missed out on her celebratory dinner. We'll have to do it another time, and chalk tonight's dinner up to a good visit with family. Papers are all signed, recording happens tomorrow, then we can start moving in (provided we have boxes...). Wahoo!!
HomeOwner M
Cool Flora @ the Title Company

Dinner was nice - it's been a long time since I've had a chance to visit with Auntie Di. Added bonuses were Chad, Angie, Tasha, & baby Abby. I picked the place - since my only criteria was somewhere that's *not* in AK, that left lots of options. I picked Iggy's because the name was interesting. Turns out Iggy's is a Sports Bar/Grill with *great* fries - and the rest of the food is good too. =) It was fantastic to visit with everyone - and I'm relieved to know I'll get to see them some more before I go. It makes my heart glad - the visit, and knowing I'll get more chances to visit. I really do need to be better at keeping in touch with people - more than just the few times I get down to visit.
It's been a long time since I've been to visit. I did come down last April, but that was a quick trip and I only had time to see immediate family. I'm enjoying the chance to visit with extended family this time. There's comfort in the familiarity - things change some, but not so much. And there are exciting developments: welcome to the family Abby!! And look at Auntie Di's *hot* new (to me) car!! =)
On tap for tomorrow: run to Dan's @ 0'dark thirty (6am - I think) to get boxes, nap, shower, pack boxes, lunch with Jenny, more packing, and (after we're sure the recording is done) some actual moving. Busy, busy!!

13 May, 2007

Vacation - Day Two, Mom's Day

It's been a relaxing day today. We slept in - wahoo!! I took M to church, then went shopping for dinner supplies. We were going to head out to see the rest of the family, but it worked out better to just have dinner at the house. Taco salad, salad fixin's, & spaghetti squash - *really* good, but I ate too much!

We called mom to wish her Happy Mother's Day. We did dinner last night and we'll be getting together throughout the next week. M has some work to do for a presentation tomorrow. I'm probably going to spend the evening reading, then hit the sack. All in all, a nice, relaxing day! =)

12 May, 2007

Vacation - Day One Update

So we're just about ready to call it a night (it's after 10pm here). I figured I'd update our adventures. M's new pad is cool! It's three levels - the bottom is a garage (two car!) and laundry room; the main level has a living room, dining/kitchen area, and a 1/2 bath; the top level has three bedrooms & a full bath. She has a small backyard - with a slide, that we'll be removing (pix later?). The new location is only 10 minutes further from work and close to a *huge* park that'll be great for all kinds of fun. We're going to spend the winter designing the backyard - it's kind of small, but we're already kicking ideas around. We just have to measure things out and make some plans.

We did some shopping, went home to relax & visit for a bit, then met the Fam for dinner at Outback. We called ahead to avoid a wait, but still ended up sitting outside for almost 45 minutes. Oh well. Dinner was nice. Plans for tomorrow include packing and some shopping (of course!)...


I made my way south last night. I know that's supposed to be for winter, but I'm in sunny Salt Lake for celebrations - wahoo!! My brother is getting sealed in the Mormon temple (which I can't attend) and having a reception after (which I can attend) on Friday the 18th, and M graduates from med school on Saturday the 19th.

Between now and those two auspicious events, I'll be helping M move, shopping, eating at all the restaurants we don't have back home, visiting with family, shopping, & trying to relax. Greg comes in on Wednesday morning, so he'll get to share in all the fun too. Wahoo!!

The flight down was long - a red-eye that actually left & arrived on time. I didn't sleep very well - the flight was full and overly warm, the seats were too short so I developed a crick in my neck, and my knees kept cramping up. Oh well. M met me at the airport - we waited for my bag at the wrong carousel (it had the right flight number, but they actually sent the bags up on a different one), then made our way to her (old) pad to take a nap. We're going to do a walk-through on the new place tonight, then meet mom, Aaron & Mari, and Sheri for dinner - at Outback. I know - we have one of those in AK, but lil bro has a gift cert from Christmas (guess who gave it??) that he wants to use. =)

06 May, 2007


The grass looks a little greener, and the plants in the back bed are *definitely* bigger. (Not that I had anything to show scale, but in the pic from the previous post the greenery is no bigger than the last joint on my pinky. Definitely some growth going on here!) Pretty soon it'll be time to start shopping for flowers... Wahoo!!!