Mt. Rainier National Park – August 2016

With the wedding approaching fast, we realized we could only squeeze in one more camping trip before the big day. We wanted to continue our impromptu 2016 National Park tour, so we headed to Mt. Rainier. It was too late find reservations for a camping spot in the park, but we found a nice place about an hour south of the mountain next to Riffe Lake in Taidnapam Park. Saturday morning, we drove up to Sunrise Visitor Center and did the Burroughs Mountain Hike, visiting the highest point in the park that you can reach on a maintained trail. The views of the mountain’s glaciers and the White River Valley were unbelievable. (The pictures don’t do justice to just how huge the mountain is. We hiked to around 7460 feet and the summit was still about 7000 feet over our heads.)
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San Juan Island – July 2016

We took RC for her first trip on a ferry this past weekend, when we went to the San Juan Islands to visit Tracey’s brother and his family while they were on the West Coast. Along the way, we camped at Alder Lake near Mt. Rainer, and we were able to stop by Snoqualmie Falls, one of the prettiest waterfalls in the country (and the one featured in the credits to Twin Peaks). San Juan Island was really nice, a great place to relax and take it easy. We did a little exploring and even got to see one orca on our last day before heading home.
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Olympic National Park – July 2016

Continuing our (unplanned) centennial tour of the national parks, we visited Olympic National Park over the holiday weekend. We didn’t have time to do a lot of long hikes, but we got to see several of the highlights. I think our favorite drive was to Hurricane Ridge, and hiking to the top of Hurricane Hill was even better, with an awesome 360 degree view of the park and surroundings. We even got to get pretty close to a couple of mountain goats and their kids. We also spent some time around Lake Crescent, the Hoh Rain Forest and the beaches on the Pacific coast. All in all, a great way to spend the weekend and another trouble-free trip in RC!
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Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons – June 2016

For our summer trip (and our first big trip in RC), we went to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. We planned the trip last year, when we decided to challenge ourselves with running the Caldera Triple Challenge, which involved running the Grand Teton Half Marathon, the Yellowstone 5K and the Yellowstone Half Marathon, all in just 8 days. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but as it got closer we realized it really was going to be a pretty big challenge. Luckily, we survived all of that running and had a great time exploring the parks in-between races.
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Mexico – May 2016

Thanks to a buy one get one free voucher we got at a Blazers game (see, it really pays to be a Blazers fan), we were able to squeeze in a long weekend to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was a super relaxing trip where we did nothing but stroll around the Old Town area, eat food and hang out on the beach. Beautiful weather and a neat little hotel room right on the beach made it even better!
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Our first trip in RC the Westy – Silver Falls and Detroit Lake

After a couple of weekends of hard work on our new Westy, it was ready for us to take it out for a weekend of fun and adventure. Since this was kind of a practice trip, we stayed fairly close to home and spent the first night in Silver Falls State Park. Along the way, we went to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival for a nice dose of spring color. We also stopped by the Mt. Angel Abbey and had lunch at the Glockenspiel Restaurant before heading on to the campground.
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On the Great Wall of China

China – November & December 2015

Our big adventure for 2015 was a 15-day tour of China. We started in the smog of Beijing before heading to Wuhan, and then Jingzhou City to catch a cruise ship down the Yangtze River. We cruised through the Three Gorges, ending in Chongqing and then flew to Shanghai for our final few days. We saw a lot of memorable sights and met a lot of great folks in our tour group. It was another very memorable journey!
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Chicago Marathon – October 2015

After returning from two weeks in Guatemala on Oct. 7th, we had one night at home before heading to Chicago so Tracey could run the Chicago Marathon. We were exhausted, but it was exciting to visit Chicago together for the first time. We explored the city a little every day, walking the Magnificent Mile and taking a train out to Wrigley Field, but the main event was the marathon. Tracey was amazing, finishing the race in just over four and a half hours! I was extremely proud (and a little in awe) of her.
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Guatemala – September & October 2015

After a summer of traveling in the US (and once to Canada), Tracey had a work trip to Guatemala and Michael was able to come along. After flying to Guatemala City, we headed immediately to Antigua, a small town full of historic Spanish colonial architecture. After a relaxing weekend in an amazing boutique hotel, we headed back to Guatemala City for a week of work. The next weekend, we traveled down to Monterrico on the Pacific coast, where we stayed in a (very) rustic hut right on the beach. After soaking up the warm weather and watching newly hatched turtles make their way to the sea, we went back to Guatemala City for another week of work before heading home.
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Vancouver, B.C. – May 2015

For Memorial Day, we decided to take our first trip to our neighbors to the North, Canada. It’s a relatively easy trip up I-5 to Vancouver, where we spent a few days exploring the city. Vancouver is beautiful, surrounded by water and mountains on every side. Just outside the city, there are amazing parks like the Capilano Suspension Bridge park, where you can cross a slightly scary suspension bridge over a deep canyon and walk on catwalks built high in the treetops. We worked in a few runs, too, crossing over the Lions Gate Bridge on our first run and then going around Stanley Park the next day. Good thing we got in some exercise, since we also developed a taste for maple candy while we there.
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