Weekend at Joshua Tree National Park

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Joshua Tree at Sunset

Back in April, I had a work trip planned to San Diego. As a bonus, I was able to plan a weekend in Joshua Tree NP, a little ways from Palm Springs. This worked out very well as I ended up planning some work stuff the week before my original trip as well so would have had to fill up a weekend. I picked up a rental car Friday morning in Thousand Oaks (a little north of LA), spent Friday and Saturday night near JT (in a very so-so Super 8, there wasn’t much to select from), and then drove back to San Diego Sunday for my meeting that started Monday. I ended up not getting into the park until fairly late due to the drive, waiting for my room, and then some car issues. (My rental ended up needing 4 quarts of oil over two days!) I ended up doing the following:

  • Fri – Got into the park around 3:45, made some stops for photos along the road, drove down to Cholla Cactus Garden, did hike to Arch Rock and Heart Rock, back to hotel (some photos of sunset on way out), stop at Wal-Mart for Sat lunch, dinner at Las Palmas (decent)
  • Sat – Up early, sunrise at Quail Springs, hike to Barker Dam (which had water), hike to Wall Street Mill (kind of reminded me of Big Thunder Mountain in Disney World), drive up to Keys View, lunch at parking for Lost Horse Mine Trail, hike to Lost Horse Mine, continue to do all of Lost Horse Loop Trail, quick stop at Cap Rock, left park around 3 (glad I got there early as the line to get in now was massive), relax/photos at hotel, dinner at 2 Guys Pies pizza (good pizza and local beer)
  • Sun – Up early, pack up and check out, hike to Fortynine Palms, leave park around 9am and drive to San Diego (with a stop at In-and-Out burger on the way), at my hotel in SD around 2.
Sunrise at Quail Springs

Our Adventure to Alaska

Near Denali

Back in July, we had the fortune to spend a great two and a half weeks visit Alaska. We flew to Anchorage, met up with Suzanne’s parents, Jack and Mary Lou, spent a week driving around and then spent a week on a cruise down the inside passage. We ended with a few days in Vancouver, BC, Canada. It was an amazing trip of scenery and wildlife with some great experiences and cool towns/cities. Combining the time on land with the cruise along the southeast coast worked out perfectly. We had decent weather overall, though a day of rain kind of put a damper on our time in Talkeetna. I cannot recommend enough jumping at the chance to visit “The Last Frontier” should you ever get the chance. Of course, I put together a Trip Report (probably too long) and posted a ton of photos. (I took around 6000 but won’t subject everyone to all of them.)

Hubbard Glacier

Trip to Portland, OR

A much belated post, but back in April, we had an in person team summit in Portland, OR. I headed out a bit early to see some of the area. I had been in March 2019 but focused on the Columbia River Gorge that trip. For this one, I wanted to head out to the coast. I flew in late Friday night, spent Saturday and Sunday night in Cannon Beach, and then flew back home from Portland on the Friday night redeye. I was a great trip, both professionally and as a tourist on the coast.

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, OR at Sunrise

Trip to Seattle

Recently, my boss asked myself and the other team lead for our group about having a leadership summit, where we could spend a few days seriously focused on team improvements. As she works from home in Seattle and it’s tricky for her to travel more than she already does, she also asked if we would be willing to come out to Washington state. As I had never been to Seattle, and barely to Washington, I immediately said yes. I decided to spend a few extra days to see the city and surroundings. It was a great visit, both as a tourist and for work.

Seattle and Mt. Rainier from Kerry Park

Our Baltic Sea Cruise

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

A few weeks back, we finally managed to go on what was supposed to be our first cruise after several cancellations and rebookings after our original booking in Feb 2020. This was on the Baltic Sea out of Copenhagen, Denmark onboard Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas. We had a great time visiting Copenhagen before embarkation and visiting eight other ports, none of which we had ever been to before, over 11 days. We got to see a lot of new places, meet some nice people, and even had a couple of day to relax.

Of course, there’s a (too long) trip report and lots of photos.

Voyager of the Seas (blue) in Tallinn, Estonia

A Christmas Cruise

Anthem of the Seas

We had a great cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas over Christmas. We sailed from Bayonne, NJ (“Cape Liberty”, about 35 minutes from our house), down to Nassau, Bahamas and then Coco Cay, Bahamas (Royal Caribbean’s private island). We had a great time. It was wonderful to get away for a bit, especially into the warmth, visit a new country, and experience a cruise for the first time.

Of course, there’s a trip report and some photos.

Coca Cay, Bahamas