Tag Archives: Travel

Postcards from Bishop

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This past weekend we took off to work on one of Jack’s research projects in Bishop, Calif., which is nestled in a valley between the Eastern Sierras and the White mountains. Beeeeautiful!

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En route to Bishop, on Highway 395, and seemingly in the middle of nowhere, there’s a spot along the road with all of these t-shirts hanging on a barbed wire fence. What in the world?

There was a little memorial monument with an American flag flickering next to it, so we quickly pulled over to check it out. Turns out in 2002, a C-130 crew crashed and died while fighting a fire in the tiny town of Walker. Jack says he remembers the incident because it grounded all U.S. fire fighting aircraft to retool for safety, even up in Alaska, where he was at the time, and where fighting fires is a pretty big deal.

All those t-shirts are from fire departments all over the U.S. Additionally there are patches and paraphernalia left by other fire fighters to pay their respects.

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It’s amazing what you see if you bother to stop and look.

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Iron Horse Vineyards, Sonoma

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Last year it was my goal to get us out of the house for a day of fun once a month. I don’t know about you, but our weekends are easily eaten up with a list of chores and obligations that never ends and before you know it six months have gone by full of all work and little play, making us a cranky couple of yahoos. And that’s saying something because Jack’s general disposition tends to lean a little towards cranky, so you can see where I’m going here. It is essential that we go out and have a little fun on a regular basis.

Because we live on a budget I am constantly looking for good deals for our getaways. At some point in the Summer, I saw an offer on TravelZoo that was crazy good: a tour, a tasting, a bottle of wine … all for some ridiculously low price. So, I snapped it up and tucked it away in our “getaways” file.

Months later when my birthday rolled around we grabbed that TravelZoo deal and headed off to Sonoma to visit Iron Horse Vineyards. And it was a treat!

It’s a small family-run operation that specializes in sparkling wine. The location is incomparably beautiful tucked up in the hills at the end of a long country drive. The owners still live on the property. The tasting room is tiny, outdoors and informal. The staff is knowledgeable and down to earth. Pretension has no home here. It’s a refreshing departure from the touristy operations littering Napa. If you haven’t been, I encourage you to put it on your places to visit.

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Our visit to a Buddhist monastery

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It just so happens that a friend from Arizona traveled with my family to Saigon and is staying with us for several weeks while he is in town. It also just so happens that he’s a Buddhist monk.

He was once a successful Wall Street trader. Today he is a monk.

Someday I’ll share his story, which is interesting and a little mind boggling, but not today. Today, it’s all about the monastery we went to visit the day after I arrived in Saigon.

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I’m off!

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Today, I’ll be traveling from San Francisco to Saigon.

I have been traveling intercontinental since I was very young and over the decades have become a little OCD about packing light and in a certain way. I’ve tested lots of different methods and now I have my own little system down. Because I like to bring everything with me as a carryon there is a 15-pound weight limitation per bag, which is actually not that much so I have to be strategic. Here’s what I  do:

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Postcards from Switzerland … plus travel tips

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While Switzerland isn’t my favorite stop in Europe (France and the Netherlands are) there are many things to enjoy.

One of the things we did was look for classical music concerts. Often they’re given in the historic parts of the city and the atmosphere along with the music makes for an unforgettable experience. We attended a baroque concert in a church in the old quarter and it was amazing. It was also free.

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Mic and Jack’s summer vacation reading list

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I started hiking the TMB with my trusty Kindle loaded with new books to read. By day two I realized that paperback books are better suited for backpacking; it can better withstand the hard knocks of trekking. I was terrified I would crush my Kindle, which I’ve grown to love and adore. With a tear and a pout I shipped it home from a post office in France.

Sniffle.

And then we headed to the nearest bookstore to find me a paperback book. Read the rest of this entry

Lac d’Annecy, France

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Nothing says summer like a big blue lake, particularly a fun-filled lake in the South of France.

After nine days trekking the TMB we decided to skip the last two stages of the trail and head for Annecy, a popular vacation town on the northern tip of Lac d’Annecy, about an hour by train from Chamonix, France.

It was my first time to Annecy; however, Jack had spent time on the lake some twenty years ago while living in France. He had fond memories of Annecy and was curious to see if the popular resort town lived up to his memories. I’m happy to report that it did. Read the rest of this entry