Archive for the 'Vacation' Category
Back in March I was looking for a fun place to go for spring break. While most people think Florida and Mexico, I found a cheap flight from Dulles to Albuquerque (direct) for just $178 a head.
We spent a week in and around Albuquerque visiting the White Sands Missle Range, White Sands National Monument, Roswell’s Alien Museums, Carlsbad Cavers and even made it up to Santa Fe to visit my Aunt Terri and see the very nice little town. We had some nice food at the Artichoke CafÃ© in Albuquerque as well as several Mexican joints along the way. And if the kids had been into it, we even could have skied in Santa Fe or even up in Taos….it was cold enough and even snowed on us a little.
We camped a couple of nights along the way in a KOA campground in Alamagorda and another in Santa Fe. Other than that, we stayed in inexpensive hotels….inexpensive for NM is fairly good actually. The cost of living out there is dirt cheap.
Highlights? Well maybe sledding on sand at White Sands. Or seeing my cousin Terry and her place which I had never been to. But we also had fun in the Albuquerque kids musueum. Absolutely the best science museum I have ever been to. The displays were very unique and the staff was excellent. We really enjoyed that place a lot.
Roswell was fun too. A lot of UFO (scary!!) stuff going on. We went to the “International” Museum of UFO stuff and it was just as cheesy as I had hoped. Very fun. Roswell even has street lights with Alien heads on them.
Maybe next year we will head out for a week or skiing and see Taos.
We got a new heat pump in November and it was one of these ultra efficient new systems (R-410 type). I was surprised this month to see a bill seemingly exceed any bill I had ever paid for electricity before (we have an all electric house). So I went back 9 years and plotted out our usage as well as the per kWh costs. I found that we were using about as much as we had over the last 3 years or so…and given that this winter has certainly been cold or maybe colder than recent winters, I guess things are looking good. And we certainly have a lot more always on electronic stuff in the house these days than in the old days. Maybe we should unplug some stuff and be a little greener? We do have CFL bulbs in 90% of the house, new windows in most of the house, and I did the weather stripping this year. But jeez, that is a lot of kWh.
The below graph is a plot of usage (kWh) by month in blue with a 2 month moving average trend line (scale in kWh on left axis) compared to the cost per kWh in red with a linear trend line (scale on righ axis in $). Wow has the cost of a kWh gone up a lot! 250% in 8 years which is like 15% a year. How about that for deregulation inflation. (click image for larger)2 comments
OK, most everyone loves Disney. But I am not a big fan. I just don’t like rides that much nor crowds nor all the pretend stuff. I mean, if you want to experience white water rafting, they have the technology and it is a lot more fun when you are on an actual river! And if you want to experience driving a formula I car at 100 miles an hour, well they have a lot of places where you can do just that (including Disney World!). Along with sky diving, balloon riding and more, why not just do it instead of a 50 minute wait in a line and a 38 second ride. And if you need to feel zero g’s or 2 g’s, well they got better roller coasters in Kings Dominion which is an hour from most everyone’s house and a heck of a lot cheaper.No comments
Rylan made arrangements for a trip to Longwood Gardens last weekend. They are having their annual Christmas Lights Festival which was quite impressive. We took in the ice skating show which was well done if not a little “eery” on our somewhat foggy evening. And then we ate at the Yuletide Buffet before touring the grounds and returning to Wilmington and our hotel. All in all, I would recommend the visit to anyone in the local area….Longwood is just 30 minutes west of Wilmington, DE.
Jake started viola lessons last week. He continues to enjoy playing and started making up his own songs tonight…and the melody of the one he invented just now was pretty cool. You can listen to it below.
Last week I was very fortunate to join my hiking buddies (David, Dave and Brad) for another amazing trip out west. This year we would do the Three Sisters Wilderness near Bend, Oregon. For those who do not know Oregon, the Sisters are three volcanos, each over 10,000 feet. In addition to the Sisters, there are numerous other peaks in the wilderness area named similarly…the Husband, Wife, Mt Bachelor (also a ski resort) and so forth. The Sisters are part of the long chain of volcanos stretching from CA to WA and beyond including Mt Hood, Rainier, St. Helens, Adams, and more.
As an added bonus, Rich Ayers, an old friend from High School first grade! contacted me just before the hike and let me know he lived in Portland (I went to a twelve year all boy private school…that likely explains a lot). So I made arrangements to fly into Portland (instead of SLC as I normally would) and hang out before the hike with Rich and his wife Gina.
The kids were out of school for fall break so the whole family went off to Seattle to visit my brother, Paul.
We got in around noon and rented our car which took a while as I was cheap and went with an off-site rental location which I always swear I won’t do again but do anyway :-) Once we got into town, we decided to grab some lunch in Ballard which is a neighborhood just north of downtown. We ate a a great mexican place. Then we went over to Archie McPhee’s and scouted the random stuff they have which is always fun to look through – odds and ends of toys and motors and magic 8 balls, and nun chuckers with real flying nuns. You get the idea.
While we were looking around, my brother emailed my mom back in Baltimore telling her he had no phone as he had just moved to a new place. So I would have no way to call him. But he did say he was a coffee house in Ballard (great, that narrows it down). My mom called me and gave me the address. I told her to look up the directions on the web and she did and provided some reasonable instructions. She emailed Paul back and conveyed that we would be there in 15 minutes. I think there is a need for an Email to Phone to Web to Phone to Email gateway. Someone should create something :-)
Anyway, we drove over to “Q Cafe” on 15th Street and after missing the exit and driving backwards up the on-ramp, we arrived. Paul was inside finishing up a cafÃƒÂ© olÃƒÂ©. We talked for a while and caught up. He had not seen the kids in a year or so.
First Sighting: Paul drives a Bio Diesel VW GTI.No comments
The family went back to the beach for a few days this past weekend. We go the weekend after Labor Day every year because its still warm, its a lot less crowded, and Funland is still open :-)
Anyway, we had a great time surfing the waves, eating chocolate covered pretzels, riding the rides and horse racing at Funland, and eating out at some very nice restaurants. Everything was just great except for my Scrabble game and the fact that my father won Settlers of Catan twice! Ughhh. Enjoy the pix.