Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Camping/Disc-golf '09: Lake Casitas

Last weekend, we made our annual camping trip with some of my friends from work. We usually base these camping trips off of disc-golf courses that are nearby the camp grounds. This year, we chose Lake Casitas, near Ojai, in the mountains above Ventura. We left on Friday, around 5pm and arrived at the camp site a little after 7. Just enough time to unpack, set up our tent, and cook some dinner (veggie-brats). Ryan is excited we made it!:
Our tent is the one w/ the maroon top. We can easily fit our queen sized air matress w/ plenty of room to spare. Good to know, in case we can't make the mortage payments:
Nothing like cooking faux-hotdogs over a camp fire. The weather was beautiful. Not too hot and not too cold. No one is even wearing a sweatshirt here:
The real reason we go camping: for the disc-golf! The DGer's: Megan, Greg, Ryan, Aaron, and myself:
Greg's assortment of discs. I use about a quarter of this number of discs. Basically, discs are a lot like regular golf clubs, you have your drivers, midranges, putt and approach discs. And all those discs have different weights and properties: some fly really straight, some hook, and some slice, but in disc-golf, we call it heiser and anheiser. I tend to use overstable discs, because I throw my drivers with a forehand style, like a third baseman throwing to a baseball to first base. The rest of the group mostly just throw backhand, like throwing a frisbee on the beach. Greg does a little bit of both, depending on the shot. Forehand tends to start left and float to the right, backhand is the opposite, right to left. More info:
The course was a bit overgrown, but that makes it fun. During the springtime, there would be water under this bridge. Thankfully, we had no water hazards to deal with this time:
Action shot of Greg:
The goal is to get your disc in the metal basket w/ the flag on it. It has chains to help knock down the disc. This was an all par-3 course (they mostly all are):
Hole 3 had a neat little obstacle. The tee starts you out under and a little behind this tree, so you have to throw your disc out from under a branch and over a hill, blind to the basket:
Plotting out the best route to the basket... how do you avoid those two trees?:
Throwing my disc across a gultch. The basket was on the hill on the opposite side, about 350 ft. away:Throw it real far! I was having a pretty good day w/ my new Champion Wraith:
Adding up the scores after 18 holes. I believe Greg had a 61, Ryan and I tied with a 63, and Aaron had a 67. A very close game:
We had so much fun in the morning, that after a break and visit to the water-park, we did another 9 holes that afternoon!:
Just put it in the basket. Sounds easy enough...:
I improved my score on the front 9 by 2 shots. Woot! Here I am wearing that Portland shirt again, when I am clearly not in Portland, nor anywhere near it...:
Surprise attack or shoulder-massage:
We played 'Pass the Pigs' and 'Mexican Train':
Saturday night we had veggie cabobs and s'mores. Mmmmm......:
The next morning we packed up and headed out. What a fun and successful camping trip. I think I brought back about half a pound of dust and ash in my sinuses. Time to hit the Neti pot. Can't wait for our next camping/disc-golf adventure! Thanks for organizing it all, Greg!

Monday, August 24, 2009

North Carolina: Part 2

Friday morning (6:50am, 8/7/09), John dropped Mandy and I off at the Amtrak station in Raliegh. We caught a train down to Charlotte. This is not the train we rode:
In Charlotte, we got to spend most of the day hanging out w/ Chandon before Chandon's grandparent (my folks), Kim and John, his Uncle and Aunt, Dan and Melody, and Great-Grandma, Pat, arrived. We then drove up to Black Mountain, near Asheville. It's a small town in the Appalachian mountains, near the North Carolina and Tennessee border. Chandon showing off his card tricks:
Chandon and I hanging out on the front porch, killing some time:On Saturday, we visited the local nature center and zoo. There were some grey wolves, bobcats, foxes, and birds. There was also a small petting zoo. Chandon still doesn't like petting the goats, but they were friendly:
Before the birthday party on Sunday, Aunt Melody gave Chandon, my dad, and I haircuts. He was very patient, I believe:
John and I got him playing some baseball. Here he is switch-hitting. Looks like he just hit a little ground-ball... either that or I just underhand pitched a ball into the dirt a foot infront of the plate and behind him. Let's just go w/ the theory that he got a bloop single batting lefty...:
Holden (Chadon's little brother), Chandon, Jessica (Chandon's mom), and a mountain of presents. They were for the two boys to split:
A kid after his father's heart. Gotta keep practicing those art skills, fill that sketchbook:
Grandma Kim reading to Chandon. I think the book was about a little boy who finds a dinosaur:
Monday, we did some driving. First we looked at Mt.Mitchell. Chandon's Great-Grandma Pat and Mandy:
Stopped at one of the scenic overlooks. Mandy and Chandon are searching for 'detective Donald' in a book that is a blatant search-and-find 'Where's Waldo' rip-off. For shame, detective Donald, for shame:
After looking at Mount Mitchell, we decided to go to the top of it. Luckily you can drive the whole way except for the last 150 yards, where they force you to walk... Fun fact: Mt. Mitchell is the tallest Mountain east fo the Mississippi River. Topping out at 6,684 ft., it's pretty measily compared to our westcoast mountains. Interestingly, because of the 'extreme' elevation, the tops of the mountians in North Carolina have an ecosystem and vegetation that is much more like Eastern Canada than North Carolina. I look lost as I sport my 'Portland' t-shirt:
Chandon: the tallest person east of the Mississippi:
I think Chandon's highlight of the weekend was the chocolate ice-cream bar:
Relaxing at the Bed-and-Breakfast in Black Mountain. Humid, but not nearly as humid as Raleigh. We even saw lightning bugs!:
Tuesday, it was time to drop Chandon back off w/ his NC family. Here he is playing one of his new LeapFrog 'educational' video games while Holden watches:
Trying out BOTH capes that Mandy made for he and Holden to share. Up, up, and away!
I guess that wraps up our North Carolina '09 adventures. It sure went by fast! For more photos, go see Mandy's complete collection:
Ch.1: Kaylee
Ch.2: Chandon

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

North Carolina - pt 1 Kaylee, Kate, and John

We were lucky to get to go on our annual trip to North Carolina (thanks to the Haaks) again this summer and even luckier to extend our trip to see Kate and John and our new neice Kaylee. We had such a great time relaxing and watching Kaylee's every move. Here she is sleeping. This is mostly what she does.
And an awake shot in the car seat.
Getting a bath and a shampoo.
She really WAS enjoying this, even though she looks skeptical in this picture.
Seth looks so gigantic next to her! They had fun together.
Sleeping again, looking adorable.
Seth drew a mural for Kaylee's nursery room and we spent a few days painting it.


On our last day with them, we went to the North Carolina Museum of Natural History (I think that's what it was called!). This was the first day kate used her new baby sling and Kaylee seemed to enjoy it the whole day. John got yelled at for pushing an empty stroller up the escalator, we saw some dino skeletons, missed the butterfly exhibit by 10 minutes, and learned that North Carolina has the most naturally grown carniverous plants in North America! An eventful day and we learned a lot about North Carolina's flora and fauna.
Of course, we took a picture with the bats.

And it wouldn't be a trip to NC without a crazy rainstorm in the middle of summer. Here's the view from their deck on a hot rainy day.
We had a fantastic time visiting them. I can't wait to see them again! It was good for my soul. I miss them.