Vacation

So my vacation wasn’t as wonderful as Phil’s trip to the Camino de Santiago, but when you have a 4 year old and a 2 year old, you have to settle for the next best thing.  Which of course, is Vancouver, Washington!!  Okay so maybe it’s not the NEXT best thing.  But, my good buddy Patrick lives there, and he had never met my daughters so it was a perfect time to go up and see him.  I’ve known him since we were 15 or so.  But other than his wedding 3 years ago, I hadn’t seen him in 10 years.  I tried to find the oldest picture of us I could, but this is the best I could do.  This is from our senior year in HS choir trip.  Yup!  I wrote that.

Eric and Patrick

Eric and Patrick

It is a 10 hour drive and we started with the family leaving at 4am!!  We thought that if we left that early that the girls would go back to sleep.  No dice.  So that was fun.  On the way, we stopped in Sutherlin, Oregon.  My friend Heather is from there and I had to check out this hillbilly backwoods town.  It did not disappoint:

Sutherlin, Or

Sutherlin, Or

 

Okay so a tangent about that stupid f**ked up state known as Oregon.  First of all, why the hell can’t I pump my own gas in your state?  I do like that it’s another job that is available for someone.  That’s awesome.  But it was really awkward.  I had to get out to stretch my back while someone else was standing basically right next to me pumping my gas.  Really wierd.  And hey, can we please drive faster than 50 miles per hour?  This isn’t the 1940’s.  It’s safe to drive faster.  The stupid ass speed limit was seriously 50 miles per hour ON THE FREEWAY through many parts of the state!!  And I get that there are a lot of trucks that drive on I5, but all you drivers who want to pass 10 of them at a time… get the hell out of the way!!  Some of us have places to be!!  We can’t all sit around on the freeway waiting for you to move over!  What a bunch of dicks in Oregon.

Electrcution

Electrcution

Double brat

Double brat

Back off my tangent.  First day we went to OMSI.  This place was really cool.  You can do all kinds of cool stuff.  They had a dinosaur exhibit that my daughter didn’t love.  I thought she would as her favorite show is Dinosaur Train.  They were a little scarier.  But there was this ball room where Patrick found a way to constantly hit me in the face though the tubes running through the room.  The little kids all found it hilarious.  Later, in the physics room I got electrocuted!  Whatever, not the first, or fifth time I’ve been electrocuted.  Afterwards we went to this city block of food trucks  After taking the long walk around to find out what I wanted, I settled on the double brat!  It was delicious!!

Tangent #2.  Here is the shirt I wore that day.  I’m super cool.  Whatever, I like T-Shirts!!  Leave me alone about it.

For dinner we went to this place called Brickhouse  Pros: They have this stage for live music at night.  We weren’t there for that, as we had the girls.  Before the live music they allow kids to run around on the stage and play.  Super cool.  The burger I ate had mozzarella sticks on it.  Oh my god, I don’t really want to ever eat a burger again without mozzarella sticks on it.  Totally the way to go.  Cons: the stage was totally a necessity as it took over an hour to get our food.  We usually order our daughters dinner with our appetizers to get her going. Well, her dinner, our apps and our main course all came together.  After an hour of waiting.  No discount, no free beers, nothing.  I had their pilsner, and it was pretty good, but after all the waiting, we just rushed through everything to get the hell out of there.  So if you’re ever in Vancouver, go for the food, stay because you have no choice.

Burger

Burger

IMG_1830[1] IMG_1831[1]The next day we went to a couple of different falls.  The first was Latourell Falls.  It was raining, and there wasn’t much to see.  But it was really nice and the girls loved it.  It was a super short walk and had it not been super cold, I may have walked out to get under the waterfall.  People were doing that and it looked really fun.  I would have liked to take that picture but I didn’t have a change of clothes and I didn’t want to be wet the rest of the day.  Although I ended up a little wet from the rain, so I should have just done it.  Where was this logic while I was standing there?

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Eric and Patrick

Eric and Patrick

The second set of falls was at Multnomah Falls.  Way way cool.  Here was the problem though.  There was only one way in and one way out.  And apparently it’s a very popular tourist spot and there are like 20 parking spots.  So Patrick tells me to just stop in the middle of the road and wait for someone to come out and leave.  Well after about 2 minutes of that, a park ranger comes walking up and tells me to move!  So I didn’t really want to move because I wanted to stay!  So I turned into the parking lot off the main road and just stopped there!  Luckily we only waited there like 10 min before someone left.  It was totally worth it.  Even if pushing the stroller up the hill almost gave me a hernia.

FOTM

FOTM

Lefty Lager

Lefty Lager

Final day, we played a little golf at Rose City Golf Course.  Patrick made me walk.  I hadn’t walked a golf course in 5-6 years.  I’m incredibly out of shape.  I blame that on my score.  The score that is none of your business.  After golf, we went to Fire on the Mountain for wings and beer with Pat and his brother Sean.  Really cool place.  I love places like this.  Our waitress was on her last shift before she moved to California to start a new life for herself.  So good luck to her!  I had the Lefty Lager.  As a lefty myself, it was only fitting.  Pretty good brew!  The Bourbon Chipotle sauce that they have is amazing.  By far the best that we had.  Cannot recommend it enough.

Shasta

Shasta

Downtown Sacramento

Downtown Sacramento

After having dinner with some family of mine that I hadn’t seen in 20 years, we drove home the next day.  Another 10 hour drive.  We left after breakfast though.  We did not make the same mistake we did a few days earlier.  On the way, we got to see Mount Shasta which is always a nice picture.  Then finally FINALLY back into Sacramento!!  It was a great trip.  Final thoughts, if you ever drive I5 through Oregon, do it at a time when there are no cars.  Screw those people.  And enjoy all the craft beer you can.  There is a ton of it in the Portland area, and it’s all really REALLY good.

 

Camino de Santiago: The Slideshow

I’m sure our audience (all two of them) has been clamoring for me to post some photos from my recent trip to Spain. Last month my wife and I completed a 500 mile pilgrimage from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compestella. We walked the whole way; lancing blisters, seeing amazing things, eating tasty food, and making wonderful new friends from all over this big planet. Hopefully this slideshow captures some of the spirit from our experience. Enjoy!

An American at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

My wife and I were recently in Spain and had the opportunity to attend a Real Madrid match at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. For the uninitiated, Real Madrid is one of the premier soccer clubs in Spain, Europe, and pretty much the world. Their stadium, the Bernabeu, which holds 85,000 spectators, is one of the shrines of soccer stadiums. So obviously this was a once in a lifetime opportunity we couldn’t pass up.

Real Madrid was playing Getafe, a club from a suburb of Madrid, so the crowd was large and engaged with the game. The Real Madrid supporters led the crowd in one chant after another, the beat of their drums giving the stadium a pulse. Getafe struck first, scoring while Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid’s best player, was complaining to the ref about a missed call. This set back hushed the crowd for a few minutes, but as Real Madrid began to regain control of the match, the crowd grew feverish, willing their team forward, and it wasn’t long before Real Madrid drew the match level. After that, it was all Real Madrid. Their fans cheered and chanted and sang and whistled, and Madrid netted one goal after another. When the final whistle blew, Real Madrid had firmly asserted themselves, winning the match 4-1.

The match was an amazing spectacle of sport. A cultural experience. And a hell of a way to wrap up our trip to Spain. Here’s a few photos from the game, enjoy:

Phil at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

Phil at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo...adjusting himself.

Cristiano Ronaldo…adjusting himself.

Early action between Getafe and Real Madrid.

Early action between Getafe and Real Madrid.

Real Madrid pressing the attack.

Real Madrid pressing the attack.

Saying goodbye to the Bernabeu.

Saying goodbye to the Bernabeu.

Here We Go

Yes, a pathetic Bud Light marketing slogan was the best thing I could come up with for a post title. I apologize. But ever since Eric wrote his moving piece about my upcoming trek across Spain, I’ve been in a tizzy–frantically trying to tie up all the loose ends in my work and personal life before I leave–and I’m afraid the experience has left my brain in a gelatinous state. I am indeed departing ‘Murica for the European continent, and will be hoofing it over 480 miles across Spain with my wife. The experience is sure to test our feet, our patience, and our perseverance, but that’s kind of the point. As Tom Hanks once said through a mouth full of chew, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”

I know not how this journey will go, but I’m looking forward to where it will take us.

I’ll make an effort to post a blog or two while I’m away, and if I’m lucky, I may even be able to provide some special correspondence from a La Liga soccer match later next month (fingers crossed). Until then, Eric will continue entertaining you all with great posts.

Hasta luego!

Phil and the Camino De Santiago

For those who haven’t read Phil’s couple of posts on this site, I highly recommend them.  He is a much smarter person than I am.  He is all about quality, rather than the quantity that I write about.  He started blogging a couple years ago, and invited me to write with him.  Eventually, we both ran out of time for that blog.  When I started this one up, there was only one person I wanted to invite to help me on this one.  At some point, I may include some of our other friends if they are so inclined, but this has always been our thing.

He hasn’t created a page about himself yet, even though I have encouraged him to do so.  So I’m going to help out a bit.  Phil is a world traveler.  He has been everywhere.  Well not everywhere.  I don’t think he’s been to Australia.  But all over Europe, Asia, yeah Phil’s been there.  Well, in about two weeks, Phil and his wife are going to take on El Camino de Santiago, or The Way of St. James.

I had never heard of this, but apparently last year, almost 200,00o people had done this pilgrimage.  So Phil will be one of many.  I don’t remember exactly where he is starting.  According to the map, you can start almost anywhere in Europe.  I do know he is starting in France.

There is a movie based on this trip called The Way starring Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen.  I am going to watch it before he goes, but part of it concerns me.  Apparently there are numerous people who don’t make the whole trip.  And I don’t mean they give up and fly home.  Part of me is very concerned for my friend.  I’m sure part of that is weather related, and summer is a great time to go.  But Phil will be staying in hostels, and I saw that damn movie too!!!

On the lighter side, but a side that still pisses me off, Phil is skipping our fantasy football draft for this trip.  I am the commissioner of our league, and picked the date for the draft in February.  Everyone in the league makes fun of me for picking the date six months early.  THIS IS WHY I PICK THE DATE SIX MONTHS EARLY.  What a bunch of dicks.  Phil is the only person in the league to make the playoffs the past two seasons, which goes to show that fantasy football is a total crapshoot.  I have to pick his team for him this year so hopefully he’s not too upset with the 16 men who make up his roster.  If he’s worried about it, he can always Skype in from wherever he is!

To be honest, I think it’s awesome that Phil and his wife get to travel the world as much as they do.  I am insanely jealous that I have never seen the places they have seen.  Although, he did tell me a story about waking up to a spider the size of a dinner plate.  That country I can skip.  We don’t get to see each other as much as we would like.  He lives downtown.  I live in the suburbs.  I have two kids, he’s living the no kid life.  But I’m still going to miss my friend.  It’s an arduous journey and I will be worried for his (and obviously his wife’s) safety until they return.  Godspeed, Phil.  And get home soon.