Travel

#16 – Done

Posted by Katie on June 18, 2010
101 in 1001, Travel / No Comments

#16 – Leave the country.

Canada totally counts, eh.

Keeping with the tradition of getting the heck out of town to celebrate Dave’s birthday and our anniversary each year, we decided to go north…and east.  Neither of us had visited Niagara Falls before (Mom, when I was 4 months old does not count).   We discovered a little town north of the Falls in Ontario called Niagara-on-the-Lake.  It sits on Lake Ontario, right at the point which the Niagara River joins the lake.   It was an easy 25 minute drive to the Falls, and it provided the opportunity for us to discover the local area, including wineries, hiking, biking and lots of other fun things.  We stayed at a lovely bed-and-breakfast, and fully enjoyed a little time away to relax.

Rainy day at Niagara Falls.  

Vacation was good. 

More pictures to follow.

Wind farm

Posted by Katie on June 11, 2010
Travel / 1 Comment

This is the scenic view of Indiana farmland from our trip to last weekend, with a serious spring storm rolling in.

I’ve driven by this wind farm a countless number of times, and while I’ve always intended to stop to take pictures, I never have.

Guess the 70 mph view will have to do for now.

#15 – Done

Posted by Katie on June 08, 2010
101 in 1001, Travel / 4 Comments

#15 – Get a passport.

I almost wrote this blog post a month ago when Dave and I first applied for and paid lots of money for expedited passports.  You know, because the hard work was done and all we had to do was wait for the passports to come in the mail.  Although, in retrospect, declaring it “done” might have only further jinxed a process that is clearly already cursed.

I’m pretty sure that a portal to some sort of administrative netherworld is positioned exactly between the City Clerk’s Office and the Federal Passport Office in downtown Chicago.

Short story.  We applied for passports.  They put all of the expedited passports and original documents from the day in a box.  They lost the box.

I won’t go into all the gory details, but I will thank God that we were able to produce new originals of birth certificates (thank you parents!) and whatnot and get passports in time for a little vacation.  Others were not so lucky.  Just from chatting with folks in line, I know of two canceled trips (one being a honeymoon!!!) and of people who lost all of their original naturalization papers.   Those puppies aren’t so easy to reproduce.

And all of this nonsense is so that we can cross the border on our upcoming trip to Niagara Falls.

Here’s hoping the view from Canada is significantly more amazing than the view from the US!

Little guy

Posted by Katie on September 07, 2009
Family & Friends, Travel / 1 Comment

damien

Meet baby Damien!

You know, Aunt Katie, you’re not supposed to drop me, right??  Right?  RIGHT??????

From the look on his face, he clearly senses my lack of baby experience.  Kids pick up on these things, you know.

Dave’s brother, Joe, and his wife, Anne Marie, recently welcomed their first child into the family.  We traveled out to hot and smokey California last week for a family visit and for Damien’s Baptism.  It was an honor for Dave to be asked to be Damien’s Godfather.

baptism

We both took Thursday and Friday off of work, and spent the extra time with Dave’s parents in Los Angeles.  The last several times we have visited with them have revolved around whirlwind family events.  While this visit included the Baptism, of course, it was nice to have a couple extra days to visit without too much chaos.

And now we are back in cool and lovely Chicago, with a whole extra vacation day!

Canoe trip

Posted by Katie on August 13, 2009
Family & Friends, Travel / 4 Comments

Dave and I had been planning for a while to take a canoe trip on Sugar Creek in Indiana.  As a kid I took this trip many many times, although always one of the shorter versions.  And we always ended the shorter trips by saying, “That was really great, but not long enough!”  So, this time we planned on the long version…15 miles!

But last week was a mess.  As usual.  Work was crazy.  Life was crazy.  I spent a couple of days traveling for work.  And at 5 PM on Friday I was still at an airport not located in Chicago.   By the time I actually got back to Chicago, changed clothes quickly, made a couple turkey sandwiches to eat in the car for dinner, threw a bunch of stuff into the car and left the city with Dave, it was well after 9 PM.

You can picture my state of grumpy mixed with work frustration mixed with tired mixed with “Dave, what the heck! I can’t believe you didn’t pack my hair dryer.  Of course I need my hair dryer on a canoe trip!”  Dave deserves a gold medal in husbandry or something.

So here we were, driving to my parents’ house in Indiana late at night.  And we had to be at the canoe place at 8:15 AM…Eastern time…Chicago is not on Eastern time.  It was very late and we were very grouchy.  So we pulled into a hotel between two corn fields for the night.

notbadhotel

I took a picture of the hotel sign as we left the next morning in the dawn hours, on 4 hours of sleep, mostly because it looked so shady.  To tell the truth the hotel itself was not that bad.  I have paid more money to stay at shadier…most notably in Muncie, IN.

And so on 4 hours of sleep, which did slightly combat the grouchiness, we were off to canoe 15 miles.

precanoetrip

This is the pre-canoe picture.  I have lost more than one camera on boating related activities in my life, so I did leave the camera in the car for the actual canoe trip.

Canoeing was fun, the scenery through two state parks was beautiful and the company was grand.

There was one hiccup…Maggie’s kayak had a little itsy-bitsy tiny 4 inch gash in its hull.  This little hiccup required us to pull into shore every 15 – 20 minutes.  Over the course of that much time, the kayak would take on about 100 lbs. of water, slowly sinking the boat below water level and requiring dramatically increased upper body strength to propel the craft forward.  Everyone took turns paddling the heavy leaky kayak, but the extra chore of pulling into shore so often added a lot of time to the day.  A trip that could have been completed in under 5 hours, we completed in under 9 hours.

And there was a second hiccup…and this is the part of this story which makes me cringe with embarrassment at the mention of the term “Hoosier”, because I now better understand how people who are not from Indiana use the term.

The last 3 1/2 miles of the trip allow inner tubes on the creek.  I should note that at this checkpoint we were able to trade Maggie’s kayak in for one which did not take on water.  But back to the inner tubes.

For $5 you can rent an inner tube and drift down the creek for 3 1/2 miles.  Of course you rent an extra inner tube for your cooler full of Coors Light.  Some even choose to rent an inner tube for their favorite canine.  And if you bring a bunch of string you can tie 20 or 30 of your closest inner tube loving friends, their beer and their dogs all together for one drunken party boat.  Of course you should make it difficult for canoes and kayaks to pass up your party boat and all the aluminum beer cans and empty bags of Cheetos you toss into the creek.  Oh and spray them constantly with water guns, they “love” that.

And if you’re drunk in an inner tube while in a beautiful state park, why not encourage your small children to climb up the cliffs of a canyon and jump off into 4 ft. of water?  Totally safe!  And fun for the whole crowd.

You should of course be smoking a pack of cigarettes while doing this.  And wearing a bikini top that is too small.

The whole scene was best summed up by another canoe paddler who said, “I have never seen such a collective dumb-ass.”  True that.

Grrrr….and that’s about when my grumpiness came back.

Having fun is exhausting.

June = busy

Posted by Katie on July 13, 2009
Family & Friends, Summer, Travel / 1 Comment

sprinkler

We kept ourselves out of trouble in June by working too much, traveling a lot and spending a horrible amount of money.

This picture is of our nieces Miriam and Katie playing in the sprinkler in California.  Pretty darn cute, no?

We traveled to California at the end of June for a wedding and stayed a few extra days for a mini vacation.  There was lots of visiting with family, although the whirlwind nature of the whole weekend left us feeling that we didn’t have enough of a chance to visit with anyone.  There was a baby shower.  There was a trip to the beach where I went swimming in a rip tide.  There was a really hilarious story of the hotel we stayed at also hosting a 150 member biker gang.  There was Michael Jackson music.

It was awesome.  We were exhausted.

So far July has consisted of staying at home for a major holiday and not much else.  Perfect.

The $1,200 ride to the airport

Posted by Katie on January 08, 2009
Cars, Stress, Travel / 4 Comments

Tire

I spent several days this week in Oklahoma City for work.   Dave was nice enough to wake up at 5 AM on Tuesday morning to drive me to the airport.  We hit a Chicago city pothole.

Two tires, two wheels, one police report, $1,200 and one hailed taxi on Western Avenue very early in the morning later…I made my flight.