Trip to Paris and Germany

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

While much belated, I’ve finally posted some photos and a trip report from our family trip to Paris and Germany back in August. We had a great time and it was wonderful to be back in Germany after almost nine years away. We were in Europe for two full weeks, starting in Paris, doing a day trip to Normandy (Kyle and me), then onto Trier, Germany. From Trier, we did a bit of the Mosel, the Rhine, Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Bavaria), Erfurt (Thurungia, former East Germany) and ended up in Berlin. We also did a day trip from Berlin to Pozna?, Poland. Kyle was thrilled to get to visit Normandy and we got to spend a wonderful few hours with some old friends in Würzburg.

Of course there’s some photos and a trip report:


Trip to Croatia

Zagreb, Croatia

For our 20th wedding anniversary, Suzanne and I decided to spent a week and half or so in Croatia. Suzanne suggested it while we were considering where to go. Neither of us had been before and it looked wonderful. We flew out Friday, 17-May, evening and came back Tues 28-May. We had a great time, seeing quite a lot including Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes National Park, and several spots on the Adriatic coast (Split, Korčula, Dubrovnik). We also took day trips to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kotor in Montenegro. As an added bonus, we spent a few hours in Frankfurt during our long layover on the way back. If you’re wondering, Jack and Mary Lou we very kind to come up for a couple of weeks to watch Kyle.

Of course, there’s a (lengthy) Trip Report and several pages of photos:

The Old Port in Dubrovnik, Croatia

WWII Weekend in PA

Sherman (?) Tank

Last Saturday, Kyle and I headed out to Reading, PA for WWII Weekend at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum. This was a great way to spend the day. In addition to a large air show, with trainers, transports, fighters, and bombers (several B-25s, a B-17, and a B-29), there were tons of vehicles and reenactors. Both of us really enjoyed it.

There’s more photos, including some taken by Kyle.

Several Advanced Trainer Aircraft

Mustangs and More Mustangs

Modern Mustangs

Saturday before last, I headed out to the Ford Nationals car show in Carlisle, PA, about a three hour drive. I didn’t know anything about this until a colleague of Suzanne’s, who has a 1965 1/2 Mustang (though heavily modified) mentioned it to her to mention to me after me buying mine a month or so ago. I met him at the house of a friend of his who has a 1969 (might be wrong on the year) and we “convoyed” out. It was cool to drive out there with them. I had a great time, though the ’69 had to be towed back as it quit just as we got to the show. (Turns out it was a minor issue but wasn’t easy to diagnose.) While the show was Fords of all kinds, it was probably 80%+ (of probably a couple thousand cars) Mustangs.

Of course, I took lots of photos

On the drive to PA

Trip to Portland, Oregon with a weekend in the Columbia River Gorge

More photos here.

Along the Willamette River in Portland

As part of starting a new project, I had to head for most of a week at my company’s Portland office (the official headquarters though we have far more people in NYC). This was great as I had never been to the area before, though Suzanne and I spent some time in Vancouver, BC way back in 1999. I flew out Monday, arriving around lunchtime Portland time. After spending some time working, I walked along the Willamette River, across and up to a couple of breweries I wanted to check out (where I ran into a former colleague out of the blue). Portland is known for being quirky and good beer, so I wanted to check out some of the latter. Tuesday through Thursday was all work, though I ended up at the wonderful Tasty and Alder with my colleague on Tuesday night.

Pittock Mansion

I took Friday off, spending the morning wandering the Pearl District, visiting Pittock Mansion, and hiking some of the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park. It was raining as I was finishing my hike so I ended up spending most of the afternoon visiting a few more breweries. Saturday morning, I picked up a rental car and headed out of town to visit the Columbia River Gorge. I drove out the Washington side, stopping to do some hiking at Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Fort Cascades Historic Site before having lunch across the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks, OR. Back to the Washington side, I drove further out, stopping at Everybody’s Brewing in White Salmon, WA, before crossing back into Oregon for my night in Hood River (at the fairly nice Best Western Hood River Inn).

Lower Latourell Falls in the Columbia River Gorge

I spent the evening visiting town, including having some good (though not as good as in Vancouver back in 1999) Salmon fish and chips at Full Sail Brewery. On Sunday, I drove back to Portland for my late evening, red eye flight back to NJ. On the way, I stopped for hikes at Horsetail and Ponytail Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Upper and Lower Latourell Falls. I did not get to visit the famous Multnomah Falls as it was so busy they weren’t allowing anyone to even pull into the parking lot (despite driving by three times). Also in there was a stop at the Bonneville Dam visitors’ center which was kind of interesting. I hit one more brewery (Level Beer) on the way to the airport. It was a really good trip, both in terms of work and seeing some new places.

View of Mt. Hood from the office

In case you’re curious, I did hit quite a few breweries (and owing to lots of flights, tried 96 new beers):

  1. Ex Novo
  2. Stormbreaker
  3. Ecliptic
  4. Wayfinder
  5. Deschutes
  6. Von Elbert
  7. 10 Barrel
  8. Breakside (NW Slabtown)
  9. Great Notion
  10. Culmination
  11. Migration
  12. Gigantic
  13. Baerlic
  14. Everybody’s Brewing (White Salmon, WA)
  15. Full Sail (Hood River, OR)
  16. Double Mountain (Hood River, OR)
  17. Level
  18. Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB, at the airport)
Ex Novo Brewing

Trip to California

For our main trip this year, we headed to the San Francisco Bay area, including San Francisco itself, Napa Valley, and Monterey. While I had been to SF before, I had spent only a total of two days in the city over the course of four work trip. I had been the Monterey area way back in 1997 but didn’t actually visit Monterey itself. Suzanne and Kyle had never been. It seemed a good time to revisit some things while seeing some new places.  It was an excellent trip and we had a great time.

Golden Gate Bridge from the Presidio

A second trip to Japan

In June, I had the fortune to be able to return to Japan for work. As Suzanne couldn’t take the time off, my mom joined me instead. We had a great two weeks, one of which was work for me. We visited Kyoto, Kanazawa, Tokyo, and DisneySea (one of the parks at Tokyo Disney). My mom also visited Kamakura while I was at work. I spent a night in Niigata to give a talk at the Protein Society of Japan. It was great to return and I hope to get back again at some point in the future.

In Ikebukuro, Tokyo

Trip to New Mexico

Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe

More photos.

A few weeks back, I headed out to New Mexico for the 2018 OpenEye CUP scientific meeting (which is excellent if you in the field of molecular modeling, computational drug discovery, or the like). Our good friend Paul Murphy lives in southern New Mexico so it was the perfect time to get together. A few years back, I headed down his way. This time, as he wanted to see some things around Santa Fe, he headed up North. I flew in Friday, arriving to Santa Fe around three o’clock, after an excellent taco lunch at El Paisano (a supermarket with a lunch counter). I was upgraded to a huge room with a fireplace at my hotel, the Old Santa Fe Inn. I spent the evening hitting some of the local breweries/brewpubs, including the excellent Second Street Brewery at the railyard.

Kiva at Pecos National Monument

In the morning, I wandered around town a bit, it was my third trip so I had seen most of the central historic district, before grabbing a tea and doing some reading in the plaza. It was fairly warm, just on the edge of t-shirt only weather. Paul Murphy came into town around one so we met and headed out to Pecos National Historical Park, remains of an Indian pueblo and Spanish mission church. A real highlight was being able to go down into a reconstructed kiva. For dinner we headed back to Second Street Brewery and then hung out in town for a bit before calling it an evening. (Paul was staying with his aunt about 15 minutes from the center of town.)

On Sunday, we met up early, grabbed some breakfast at Denny’s, and headed out for the some hiking at Bandelier National Monument. The drive up was quite nice. The park itself was really cool as the main trail was though the remains of a pueblo and then along the remains of cliff dwellings, mostly carved from the soft rock. A few you could even climb up into. We did a second hike out along the Falls trail to some waterfalls. Next up was the drive to Valles Caldera National Preserve, an ancient volcanic caldera and the newest National Preserve. We did the short hike around La Jara Loop Trail. We then headed down the “other side” of the mountains into Jemez Springs, include a brief stop at Soda Dam followed by lunch at Los Ojos Saloon. The latter was interesting as they had lost electricity. They could still cook but it was dark. We snagged a table next to the window so we could see and they did get power back after we had been there 30 minutes or so. We finished driving down the mountain, heading back to the highway a bit north of Albuquerque and then headed back to Santa Fe.

Paul Murphy at Tent Rocks

On Monday, it was another early morning. For breakfast, we took Paul’s aunt to The Pantry (at her suggestion) which was great (and way better than Denny’s). After, we headed out to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. This was a very cool hike through a slot canyon and then up to the top of a mesa. It was a bit tricky in spots but well worth it. We then headed back to Santa Fe as Paul had to head back home after lunch at Tortilla Flats. I checked into the conference hotel, the Inn and Spa at Loretto, before doing some work and heading out to dinner of pizza and local beer at Draft Station. My conference ran all day Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so nothing exciting to report about that time (aside from it being a really good conference).

On Friday morning, I made sure to have a phenomenal breakfast burrito at Tia Sophia’s. After another wander around town, a bit of work, and some final packing, I got back in the car and headed back to Albuquerque for my flight home. This was a great trip and I loved seeing some things outside of Santa Fe. We’re thinking of heading out to NM for our summer vacation, but there’s some other contenders.

Valles Caldera National Preserve