Wash / Van Trip [part 7]

We tried to pack a lot in for the only full day we were in Vancouver. Our first stop was at Lynn Canyon Park where the main attraction was the suspension bridge, however, there were many other great things about this park as well.

The exterior of our Airbnb was absolutely gorgeous. I need a bigger version of this 'lil house immediately.

In the afternoon we stopped by The Whip for some salmon fritters and then walked around the corner to Brassneck to try some beer. On the same block was Cartems Donuterie where we stopped to pick up a couple doughnuts for the following day. If I suggest any block in Vancouver to you, it might be this one. It has it all.

After picking up the doughnuts we drove straight to Kitsilano Beach Park. It took a little while to find parking, but once we did we made our way quickly to the beach as the sun was setting. It was a great night with beautiful colors and a bright moon. 

Wash / Van Trip [part 6]

On the sixth day of our trip we made our way off Vancouver Island. We left our cute little cabin and stopped at Coastal Kitchen Cafe for a delicious breakfast before heading to the ferry. 

The ferry ride was beautiful. Again, most people sat inside reading or talking while we walked around the whole ferry taking in all the sights. 

Once we arrived in the city, we stopped at Lucky's Doughnuts for a treat and coffee. Their salted caramel old fashion may be my favorite doughnut ever [that is some high praise!]. 

The Airbnb we stayed at wasn't too far from Lucky's. It was a cute little place which worked perfect for us.

It was the middle of the afternoon and we didn't feel like driving after we had spent most of our day already in the car and on the ferry. We ended up walking to Queen Elizabeth Park which was about a mile and a half away. The gardens were beautiful and the views of the city weren't too bad either. On our walk back home we were treated to an amazing sunset which was quite nice too.

We ended the night by eating at Tacofino, a restaurant which originated as a food truck in Tofino [on Vancouver Island]. 

Wash / Van Trip [part 5]

On our last full day on Vancouver Island we began by going to Avatar Grove after breakfast. Before arriving at Avatar Grove, the road turned into mainly big gravel, with lots of potholes. At one point we almost turned around since it didn't seem we were headed the right direction. We eventually found it, which was quite worth it because we got to see Canada's Gnarliest Tree. 

We ate our packed lunch at Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. There were a bunch of Steller's jay birds hanging out by us. They were really excited when a couple got done eating so they could go scrounge for crumbs. I think they were waiting for us to leave as well. 

We walked the trail which took us to Botany Bay and Botanical Beach. We saw some tide pools and unfortunately a deceased octopus. 

After a few hours we took a break and headed to the Renfrew Pub for a beer. It was a little soon for supper, so we went and walked a shorter trail to the water for some more spectacular views. 

For supper it was back to Renfrew Pub. Before leaving we walked the docks a bit trying to get a closer view of an otter out in the water. 

On the way home we made a few stops to get a better view of the sunset. Even our little cabin welcomed us home with a beautiful view.

Wash / Van Trip [part 2]

Normally we spend a few days on Orcas Island, but for this trip there was so much else we wanted to see that we decided to keep our time here short. This means we had only one full day to do everything we had planned. 

For breakfast we ate at Cafe Olga. Finally. We had tried to go the last time we were on Orcas, but they had just had a fire a few months prior. 

After breakfast we headed to Moran State Park. We made the drive to Mount Constitution, the highest point in the San Juan Islands. The view on the top is fantastic and a must visit for us. 

We didn't have much time before whale watching, so we kept our trip short so we could drive to Deer Harbor in time. Of course we made a quick stop at Brown Bear Baking to pick up an orange morning bun for later. 

We arrived 30 minutes before our whale watching tour with Deer Harbor Charters and unfortunately found out we had accidentally scheduled it for the wrong day. Luckily two others didn't show, so we were able to go! 

This was our third time whale watching and the most successful. Our first time we saw a few orcas and even had one swim under the boat we were in. Our last time, we saw many marine animals, including minke whales, but no orcas. 

I took plenty of pictures of all the whales we saw, but also did put my camera down to enjoy the moments we had with the beautiful creatures. 

[I'm still trying to identify who we all saw from the J, K AND L pods, so I'm limiting my pictures for now and will do another post just about whales later.]

After our time with the orcas, we stopped at Island Hoppin' Brewery. It was a nice way to relax, as well as try some new beer. 

As dusk began to creep up on us, we made our way to Rosario Resort. We stayed at this resort a couple times in the past and it's my favorite place to be before sunset because of all the deer that make their way out around the grounds. 

My deer friends did not disappoint and I got to hang out with a few of them before heading back to our favorite spot to watch the sun set. 

Eric especially wanted to visit this particular spot since the last time we were on the island we got to watch a couple of silly otters sitting on boats. I honestly didn't think we get the same show as last time, but one was waiting on the pier for us...until I scared him off [by accident of course!]. 

We eventually headed back into Eastsound to have dinner at Mijitas, however, not before I took a picture of the yellow building I take every time we visit our favorite island. 

san francisco [day 3]

We started our third, last full day in San Francisco by going to Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. I hate to admit it, but it was the second time on this trip we were standing in a line that we didn't know what it was for. So, here we stood, outside in a line as it started to rain. 

Thanks to some girls next to us who also wondered after about 5 minutes what they were in line for, they investigated. Turns out everyone was a line to get a cruffin [a croissant / muffin hybrid], which wouldn't be available for another 20 minutes. Sure a cruffin sounded delicious, but it wasn't worth waiting for in a long line, in the rain. 

We decided to bypass the long line and get a boring 'ol donut and bread pudding.

The show we had planned to see this particular afternoon was Superego. We had first seen them the last time we were in town for Sketchfest

Not only did we see the Superego regulars, but some amazing guests where there as well including John Hodgman, Amanda Lund and Janet Varney.

The show we saw has not been released, however, you can check out TONS of Superego on Howl.fm. I highly recommend this.

After the show, we found out there were still some tickets left for the Workjuice Players [basically, The Thrilling Adventure Hour]. However, it was for the late show. Meaning 10:30 pm. MEANING 12:30 am our normal, back home time. You know, two hours past our normal bedtime. 

But, we decided to live it up and got tickets. Knowing we had a late night ahead of us, we decided to not do too much and just walk around / explore. Maybe grab a beer and a snack. 

The beer and snack idea did not go as planned. We found a cute coffee shop, but they had JUST stopped serving food. 

Then we found a brewery Eric wanted to check out. Both their bar areas were full, but since we would be sharing an appetizer they would not let us sit in the dining area [even though it was before the dinner-time rush and only 2 tables were currently occupied].

[Thanks for nothing 21st Amendment Brewery.]

We were about to give up and head back to the hotel when we came across a little sports bar on the water. At this point we were exhausted from walking and just needed to sit for a bit.

For dinner that night we stopped at Gott's at the Ferry Building before heading over to the Brava Theater

It's probably worth mentioning that we spent most of our time in SF at Brava. All three shows we saw took place there. Needless to say we knew our way around that area pretty well by the end of the trip. 

The Workjuice Players started out with a solo by Rhett Miller, singing Life on Mars. [Unfortunately it was the next day that David Bowie passed away.] You can hear Rhett's great performance here. You can also hear Sparks Nevada, the story it proceeded, here

I'm glad we stayed up way past our bedtime for this show. There was so much talent on the stage and it was such a fun way to end our trip. 

san francisco [day 1]

This past January Eric and I traveled back to San Francisco. In most cases I like to travel to new places [Seattle / San Juan Islands excluded from that statement], but Sketchfest was calling our names again.

We went for the first time in 2013 and had so much fun, we had to return. Our plane left on a Thursday morning and once we had arrived and checked into our room, we went for a walk. It was too early for supper and we had just been sitting most of the day. 

Eventually we ended up at Mikkeller and sat down for a beer. A very good beer I might add.

By now we were started to get hungry so we made our way over to Uno Dos for some delicious tacos.

We hadn't planned to see any shows at Sketchfest this first night, but instead wanted to check out the Exploratorium. Since it was Thursday, it was open from 6-10 pm for their adults only After Dark event and we had read there would be exploding ping pong balls. 

The Exploratorium was huge! I'm sure we could have spent a whole day there if we really wanted to look at everything. It was a bit overwhelming that there was so much to see and do. 

Before 9:00 we made our way over to where the ping pong balls would be exploding. I didn't get a picture since we were told to cover our ears, but you can see a video of it here. There were over 3000 ping pong balls in a garbage can which exploded when liquid nitrogen, which had been in a sealed bottle, exploded. Now that's how you end your first night in San Fran. 

polish + blue moon

This past July was the second annual Polish Moon Bike Ride in Milwaukee. There was also a blue moon! [Maybe they should have had some blue moon ice cream at the event...or we should have gone to Denny's afterwards for some Moons of My Hammy.]

Got sidetracked by moons there for a second. Back to the bike ride. 

Last year was the first event and since it was so great, I had to go back again. Unfortunately my friend Amber and I must have gotten there a bit later than last year and we missed the band. We still got there in plenty of time to grab a bite to eat though. I had amazing tacos from Wayward Kitchen Co. and a Weekend @ Louie's beer, while Amber had a Klement's sausage. Yum. 

Soon after we ate, everyone started to line up. It was such a difference from last year since last year it was SO. FOGGY. It was humid, gross and you could barely see anything. 

The ride started out a bit slow since there were so many people. But once everyone spread out, everything went smoothly. Our only goal this year was to actually hear the accordions. Oh, did I forget to tell you? There were a few guys playing accordions on the route! 

We caught up with two of them and it was everything we expected it to be. Traditional polka songs. TV theme songs. Songs we could all sing along with. 

Since it was a clear evening, we could actually see the Polish Moon [aka Rockwell Clock Tower or Allen-Bradley Clock Tower]! 

Another highlight of the event was riding by people walking down the street, sitting on their steps or looking out their windows. Most had no clue what was going on, but seeing a big group of cyclists put a smile on their face and they would wave. All of us riding would either wave back or ring our bells. 

Oh, I just realized Beth is in the picture above. Hi Beth! [She likes bikes + beer, so you should check out her blog.]

And below, there's Dave. Hi Dave! [He's one of the great people at the WI Bike Fed and takes great pictures.]

Not only because of the great weather did we see the Polish Moon, but also the blue moon. Bonus! 

After the ride we walked down to Purple Door Ice Cream and got some ice cream to bring back and eat while listening to some more polka music at Anodyne. A bunch of people stayed after the ride and most were up front polkaing along with the music. [Fun fact, polkaing is actually a word, even though it sounds made up.] 

It was another successful event. Thanks Bike Fed and all other sponsors! And thanks MKE police for helping keep us safe on the streets! 

santa cruz, part 1

Last December Eric and I took a short trip to Santa Cruz. We decided on this specific location for a couple reasons. The main reason was because Aimee Mann was bringing back her Christmas show and it's something I have wanted to see for a long time. Also, California is warmer than Wisconsin in December. 

We got into San Francisco in the afternoon and our plan was to stop at Tacolicious for supper before we headed to Santa Cruz. We had found Tacolicious on our trip to San Fran a couple years ago and haven't been able to find any tacos that compare since. So, we were quite excited to be back in the area to have some delicious tacos again.

We stopped at the Palo Alto location and noticed it was quite empty. I figured it was a little early for people to eat supper, so that was the reason. Nope. It was empty was because it was closed for a private party later that evening. Ugh. 

Not a great start to our trip! 

Instead of finding an alternate place to eat, we continued our road trip to Santa Cruz. We checked into the hotel we'd be staying at for one night, the Dream Inn. There was a beautiful view of the ocean and sounds of crashing waves and sea lions talking. 

After checking in, we walked to Surfrider Cafe for supper. It wasn't Tacolicious, but it was still a great meal! 

The next morning we woke early and were actually able to get a nice view of the ocean since it was dark when we had arrived the night before. 

We then left to drive to Davenport to eat breakfast at the Whale City Bakery and take a walk along the seaside cliffs. 

I'm sure we could have walked around this area a lot longer, but it was starting to rain and we needed to check out of the hotel. 

After we left the hotel, we stayed in Santa Cruz and drove to another trail along the ocean. This led us to the Natural Bridges State Beach. There weren't many people there, but there were lots of pelicans and birds. I had fun taking pictures of the birds and at one point almost got hit by the tide coming in since I wasn't paying attention to the waves. Completely worth it though. 

Surprisingly this was only the first half of our day! Stay tuned for the second half...

a short minnesota trip

I completely forgot to share some pictures from our MN trip last fall. I can't believe I forgot - especially thinking back about the beer. We arrived to Minneapolis in the afternoon and my brother Ben was working on some projects so before we met up with him we decided to go to Bauhaus Brew Labs

This place had just about everything I like - great colors, great design and great beer. 

After sampling four of the beers they offer, we walked around the premise and I took some pictures [obviously].

At this point it was time for supper, so we met up with my brother and Christine at a farm-to-table restaurant named Wise Acre Eatery. We had a delicious meal and maybe loitered a bit too long in order to catch up with one another .

The next day we met Ben at the Minnehaha Park where we saw the falls and walked on the trail a bit before it got too muddy. 

After our mini walk, we ate lunch before walking some more around Minneapolis. 

We stopped at Forage where I wanted to buy everything. Since Forage is connected to Dogwood Coffee, we sat and had coffee. I'm sure we talked but I was probably drooling over the stools I wanted for my house. Even though my house doesn't have a spot for stools. But I could make a spot, right? 

After coffee we went downtown and took quite a long walk around. I think we passed three wedding parties getting their pictures taken. We also ran into a group of people ready to start their segway tour. One lady had her helmet on backwards and after none of her tour-mates nor the instructor told her, Eric was kind enough to tell the lady. She was both embarrassed and mad no one else told her. 

It was a short trip, but still fun. I guess we'll see you again next fall Minnesota since that seams to be the tradition. 

[2013 fall MN pics here]