Tuesday, July 12, 2016

2016 2.3 Adventure to San Francisco

Our summers adventure is winding down. Our base "camp" was metro San Francisco, with our last location having a beautiful view of the skyline of San Francisco.

Riding the Zoo train.
Scout & Gamma on a lion.
Our last full day with Scout was a trip to the San Francisco Zoo! We have always enjoyed Zoo's, when raising our own children and now with our grand children. This Zoo was really a nice one. Located in western San Francisco, near the ocean, we enjoyed a beautiful day, which at times a jacket was needed to stay warm. Train rides, a carousel, good fast food, and lots of exhibits, we enjoyed all! We ended our day at the Zoo with a carousel ride for Scout. She named her horse "Lucky Luke"! Scout and Gump enjoyed the ride very much!
Scout riding "Lucky Luke"
From the Zoo we made our way back over the Golden Gate Bridge, traffic was terrible, but we were heading to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, a kids museum. If you're ever out this way with young kids, this is a fun place to take them. Scout enjoyed a dish of ice cream(so did Gump & Gamma), with the Golden Gate in the back ground.
Having ice cream in the shadow of
the Golden Gate.

We'll be heading home this Friday, via Las Vegas. Jesper and Scout headed back to Sweden yesterday, while Becca had to stay to attend workshop's. So during the day we are taking care of Bunny. Yesterday we took the ferry over to San Francisco in the afternoon and met Becca for supper on the famed Fisherman's Wharf. Today takes the three of us for a day trip to Sausalito. Strolling and light shopping is the plan, along with a lunch on the water front. Wednesday we'll meet Becca up in Napa. We'll start the packing on Thursday, with maybe one more trip to the wharf. Friday we  drop Becca and Bunny at the Oakland Airport before heading South. A good time was had by all.
Scout & Gamma kissing in the back
Scout being a butterfly.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

2016 2.2 Adventure to San Francisco

Day trip to Muir Woods
Time flies when you're having fun, it's Thursday July 7th, 2016! Today we're kind of "taking the day off", as no travel or touring events are on our schedule. We move to Mill Valley in two days, to another Air BnB rental. Not really looking forward to the move, but am looking forward to the new adventure!

Abby and Scout in a big Redwood
Last week we ventured out for a day trip to Muir Woods National Monument. We've been there before but wanted to go back to see the Redwoods. Abby, Scout, Bunny, and I were on our own! Becca & Jesper went into the city so we dropped them off early at the ferry. We had looked up on the net regarding Muir Woods and they advised early arrival as parking was limited. So an early start it was for us, but it didn't matter, as we drove South on the 101, signs flashed that Muir Woods parking was full! We arrive and I drop the girls off at the front gate and I find a spot to park off of the road about a mile away. Oh well, I need the exercise! We walked to the end of the path, all the girls handed it well, stop back at the park store to have hotdogs for lunch. Nothing is cheap in California!
Abby & tour guide, taste testing the White

Last Sunday, Abby and I took some time for ourselves, driving up to Wine country. We found a tour online for the Benziger Family Winery. A tour on a tram, wine tasting, and about 3 hours later we're hitting the road heading North through Sonoma County. The number of vineyards are amazing! We conclude the day by driving over to California Hwy 1. Wish I had my motorcycle out here for that road! Lots of twists and turns!

Abby viewing from the left field
foul pole.
The fourth of July is next and more time for Abby & John. Off we go to a Giants game at A,T, &T park. Our day begins by catching the ferry in Larkspur, which in turn takes us right to McCovey Bay at the stadium! What a beautiful field to watch a game at! I've been to about a 1/2 dozen stadiums, and by far this park is placed in the most beautiful setting as you'll see! Oh, for the views of the bay, ships, yachts, sailboats, and kayaks, all out enjoying the water! The park itself is a beautiful place to watch baseball!

Swimming with Scout

A day trip to the pool with Scout is enjoyable. Water temp is 81, air temp around 77, a sunny day just North of the Bay. We talk with a lady from San Francisco and she tells us she and her family came North for the day just to get some Sun! There seems to always be an overcast near the ocean.

Yesterday Abby, Scout, and me head North on CA 1, we spotted some seafood restaurants that we wanted to check out. We end up going to Nick's Cove. The setting was beautiful! The food was good, but not as good as anticipated.
Abby & Scout in Bodega, CA

We end our day trip in Bodega, CA, filming location of Alfred Hitchcocks movie, "The Birds"!

more to follow....
Bunny's selfie.

Monday, June 27, 2016

2016 2.1 Adventure to San Francisco

Our adventure continues on the West coast. Last Wednesday as we were going into the airport to pick up the kids, we noticed the change in the temp, when we left the valley it was 75*F, and once into San Francisco it had dropped to 60*F, we have to remember to pack a hoodie in the vehicle!

Saturday at the Pacific
Jet lagged basically over, sleep schedules close to being back to normal, allows a trip to the beach. Jesper having grown up near the sea, seeks the sea for relaxation.

It's chilly when we first get there, but warms up quickly. It's low tide so some exploration takes place by all. Crabs are seen, and beach discovery is taken in. A pleasant experience and relaxation unfolds.
Exploring by Abby and Jesper

Finding things to do out here are not hard. Taking the girls to the play grounds, walks through the forest are close by and often enjoyed!

Scout has acquired a passion for horse, so Gamma and Gump take her to a ranch for a pony ride. We are lacking nothing to keep us entertained. Coming up, 2.2......
Scout on Danny

Friday, June 24, 2016

2016 Adventure to San Francisco

Recovery for John
Our adventure is off to San Francisco this summer to meet up with Becca, Jesper, Scout, & Bunny! However, a lot has happen to us prior to our trip. January 18th, 2016 was my last day at work and on January 19th, 2016 I went through hip replacement. All is well with me now, after a short time of disability, then vacation run off, my official company event date for retirement was May 17th, 2016! Hooray for retirement!

Recovery for Abby
Three months after my surgery, to the date, Abby went in for a total knee replacement. I have to say the knee recovery seemed a little more involved than the hip replacement. She went through PT and is now moving very well!

All patched up, and ready to roll, we head west on June 18th, 2016. A three day road trip of about 600 miles per day we arrive at our destination in San Geronimo, CA at our Air BnB rental. This is a nice country side home, three bedroom, two & a half bath home. We have seen deer in the back yard, wild turkey's in the fields to this home, surrounded by lovely pine trees.

We arrived two days prior to Becca's family getting here. On Wednesday, the 22nd of June we drive to San Francisco International to pick up our family. We parked in the short term parking, walk into the terminal, check the board, and we find no flight coming into San Fran this day. Abby rechecks the itinerary sent from Becca, and low and behold, they're flying into Oakland-San Francisco International, so a 40 mile more drive, through terrible rush hour traffic, we arrive in Oakland to pick up our family.

Flight on time, our family arrives, we load up their luggage and head to our home... more to follow..
Scout and Bunny with Gamma

Monday, August 3, 2015

#5 Sweden Goodbyes, to pickles, to Sturgis

Abby, Becca, & Bunny in a selfie.
Our goodbyes are never easy! Us living in the USA, Becca, Jesper, Scout, & Bunny living in Europe! Having to get up early to leave on the morning flight is real hard! Becca and Bunny are up but not Scout. Becca tells us later when she wakes, she's puzzled as to wear Gump and Grabby are. This will never get easier, but we cherish the time we do get.
Scout and Bunny in the morning!

We fly home on a Friday to Minneapolis, drive home, getting in Watertown around 9PM.

2015 Pickles
Saturday brings unpacking and hopefully a chance at a little rest. Matthew from Mayfield Colony calls and tells Abby he has some pickles available. Well, you have to make hay when the sun shines, the same goes for pickles. So off to the colony for some pickles and dill. Back home get the jars and canning supplies out and here we go. Now just to set the record straight, Abby did probably 95% of the work, but I did pitch in to help. 55 quarts later and the job is done. Looks like a great batch!

My bike loaded, waiting for Donny
and Kevin to show up.
Donny and Kevin in Sturgis!
Marlene & Ken French meet up with
me in the Black Hills.
No rest for John, four work days, then taking off on Friday to the 75th Sturgis Bike Rally. Riding out this year is Donny Meyer, Kevin Dunn and myself. Destination is Hot Springs, SD to our friend Joe Cronen's lake Cabin. Our route is Watertown to Highmore, South to Winner, SD, West to Hot Springs. This takes us over roads never seen by our bikes. It also takes us through the heart of one of the largest Indian Reservations in South Dakota, Rose Bud! 458 miles later we arrive in Hot Springs. The roads were great! The traffic was light! The weather was hot and dry! Just a perfect day for riding.

I had received a message a while back that Marlene & Ken French, friends from Marlette telling me they're heading out to the Rally. So we meet up with them on Sunday, have a little breakfast, take a nice ride through the hills to Sturgis. We show them some of the sights and enjoy each others company. It's sure nice to have friends like Marlene & Ken!

Main Street in Sturgis

Joe's Cabin

and some more
Just one of the nice bikes in Sturgis!

Sights at One Eyed Jacks, my
favorite bar in Sturgis!

and more
Abby on the same Horse

John riding Beth's Horse.
Abby and I during pickling take a break to take a ride on Beth's horses. Beth is Diane Chenoweth's sister up for the summer from Virginia. We did this so Scout could see that she is not the only horse rider in the family, lol.

The busy month of July ends for us, spilling over slightly into August. Abby takes off this Sunday for LasVegas. She won a trip for two to play on the Millionaire Game show. Lucky her, cross your fingers, maybe she'll win a Million.

Until my next blog, thanks for reading...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

#4 Skansen, Mariefred, & more

Abby & Scout outside Skansen.
Since my last post it seems like we've been just on the go! We don't have a personal vehicle so we rely mostly on public transportation. Becca has been a great source of information on how to get around but we do run into some challenging moments!

Since Helsinki we've made trips to Skansen & Mariefred. We've traveled by subway, rail, ferry, steam train, & steam boat!

Swedish Meatballs w/lingonberry's
Going to Skansen has been one of our favorite activities with Scout & Becca. Becca couldn't make this time, so a return trip will be made this coming week. Skansen shows us Sweden life of yesteryear and shares the animals of Sweden. Of course there is also a cafe we like getting our favorite Swedish dish, meatballs & potatoes, with lingonberry on the side.

Speaking of food takes us to a two day event at Mariefred, the Nordic Food Truck festival was held Friday & Saturday!

Merry go round with Grabby.
Steamboat to Mariefred!
This small town is west of Stockholm, about an hour by train or car. We took a Steamboat, which took us about 3 hours. This particular boat has been steaming for over a 100 years now. Of course there is food to be bought on board and they also have a dining room that the serve noon lunch and evening dinner.

Mariefred, a small village with a population of 3750, has started the street vender festival last year. I think there was around 23 venders serving all types of food from wraps, grilled burgers, with all types of different flavors from Cuban, Jamaican, to local taste. This festival probably doubled the size of this little village to maybe triple. All was having a blast and the venders truly looked exhausted by the end of the day.

Stallgarden B&B where we stayed Friday night.
So, steam boating out to Mariefred, to Steam Training for maybe 5 km, to the over country rail that probably runs at 100-120 km/hour. All we had to do is sit back and relax...
Abby and Scout on the Steam Train.

Swedish barn, note the traditional red paint.
Gripsholm Castle.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

#3 Helsinki, in 2 nights and 6 Hours!

Ship to Helsinki.
Finland in 2 nights and 6 hours. Yes, you heard that correct. This is the ship we traveled on to Helsinki, leaving on Sunday and overnighting for a mid morning arrival, for a 6 hour stay in Helsinki, Finland. As per custom for Abby and John, we get on a Hop On-Hop off city tour bus to view this city.  Complete trip is 1 1/2 hours and we get a quick overview and insight to the highlights of Helsinki. Population of Helsinki is just over 500,000, which equal 1/10 of the countries population. The adjoining metro area makes up to 1/5 of the countries population. So we're seeing a large chunk of Finland.

Grabby & Scout gets a warm
welcome aboard!
Scout in the kids playroom on
the ferry.
One of the first things we notice, is that Helsinki is a very clean city! Which we have not always found in Europe. Another great thing about these side trips we take with Becca & Jesper are they always take us off the beaten path to find places to eat. Helsinki was no different, I can't remember the name of the place but we had Finnish meatballs and mashed potatoes. Surprisingly, they were similar to the Swedish version.

Tourism in Europe is big! Asians are a large bit of the tourist you run into. As the rest of us who are traveling, they're having a blast and are very friendly.

Open air markets are also very big in Europe. Communication in Finland was a little bit harder, but with a credit card available, instant communication takes place.
Back on dry land and waiting for
transportation to get us home.

Abby up early to enjoy coming into
the Helsinki port!
To get to the ferry we called a cab. When we got back to Stockholm we took the rail home. Transportation is very easy in Europe with lots of choices.

Open air dining.
City view of Helsinki from the ship!