Well… where to begin. This is the first weekend I’ve had at home in a month. Things have been super busy, but some of that business was related to vacation so it’s not all bad. On January 26th Mari and I left Houghton for the west coast. We met up with my friends Dave Tripp, Justin Wold, my brothers, Eric’s girlfriend Colleen, and one of John and Eric’s friends. As soon as we touched down we grabbed our rental car, picked people up and headed north to Whistler. For the next few days all we did was eat sleep and ski. The weather was pretty good with clear skies on the first day and new snow but sketchy visibility on the next couple of days. I have to say… it’s quite a change skiing 5000ft+ vertical when you come from a place that doesn’t quite have 500ft. It was super fun and I’m sure it made me a better skier.
Here’s Justin taking a break one afternoon.. all of that skiing really make a guy hungry. I would say that it was the hunger making Justin be weird… but we all know better.
After skiing for a few days we headed back south to Seattle. Here we were supposed to only have a couple of days before our return flight, but weather in Chicago kept us grounded for 3 additional days giving us an entire week in Seattle. Unfortunately, Justin, Pat and Zack’s flights were not affected and they had to go home. In the meantime Tripp, Mari and I explored the city a little bit doing visiting the Gum Wall, the Aquarium, eating a lot of good food and just enjoying some downtime.
Here’s Mari at the Seattle Aquarium. This place is cool enough, but Mari just can’t get enough. I think that if we didn’t drag her out of there she would have spent the rest of the week watching the otters.
On one of the days we met one of Tripp’s friends for lunch and visited some places we hadn’t been before like Gas Works Park and the Troll under the bridge. It just so happened that we were all Tech grads and that evening there was an alumni event taking place at the Pike Brewery. So, once we had seen all we could see we headed back downtown to socialize with some of the MTU community. It ended up being a pretty cool event. Adam Johnson and Glen Mroz were there. We also got to see Melissa Marzalak and Andrew Merges. Nice and unexpected.
Checking out Gas Works Park. This place is pretty cool. It’s on the opposite side of the city from the sound and offers some beautiful views of the city. The old machinery is kind of weird, but at the same time super cool. Definitely a place to go if you’re a tourist in the Seattle area.
The Thursday before our rescheduled Friday flight out was the only day that we knew we were going to have full day off. So, we decided that we should head down to Crystal Mountain to do some skiing and see if we might hook up with another friend Jake Hase. Jake lives right off the road there so we touched base with him and then headed to the hill. When we got there it was drizzling a little and we weren’t sure we wanted to ski. We debated for a bit, grabbed something to drink, and right after we decided that we might as well ski since we’re here… Dave realized that he forgot his boots back in Seattle. With that decision made we called Jake and made plans to do a short hike near his place. Funny thing… by the time we picked up Jake and drove to the trailhead it was down right pouring out… good thing we didn’t ski. The hike was pretty sweet. I’m always amazed by the size of the trees in the PNW. It’s a very cool landscape and it’s a blast to explore.
After our hike we parted ways and grabbed some lunch/dinner in a small town. The restaurant we stopped in had the best pulled pork sandwiches and Dave, Mari and I all ordered one. All in all not a bad day.
Friday was our flight. When we repacked our ski bag we stuffed a couple more things in it since we were under weight on the way out. There’s a limit of 50lbs and I have to say… we got it pretty damn close. Travel back to Houghton was pretty uneventful. We arrived late, shoveled out the driveway and I think we were in bed by about 1am. The next morning Dave and I were up around 5-5:30am so we could be on the road by 6am to drive back down to Marquette to pick up a few things before continuing on to Munising. Dave was meeting up with some of our friends and I was supposed to be working the event. I will post more details in “Part 2” which will be more work related.
I got home from IceFest late on Sunday only to get up and go back to work on Monday. I worked through Thursday and then Thursday after work Mari and I got in our car and started the long drive to Ottawa for our yearly trip to Winterlude and some family fun. This year was pretty much the same as most years… We arrive on Friday afternoon in time for a nap and then dinner. Saturday we’re up early to have breakfast with the family, skating on the canals in the afternoon, some exploring of the city, then Greek for dinner. Sunday we get up hang out for a bit, then hit the road again for the 15-16 hour drive home. It’s super fun, but it is a lot of time in a car for a very short amount of time with family. Maybe one of these days we’ll move some place closer.
Well, I should point out the one thing that has changed. Aili and Jason had Liivo along for the first time and he was quite the trooper. He got Jason out on the ice and both of them made it all the way down to 5th Ave for a Beaver Tail and hot chocolate before turning around and heading for the warmth of the hotel.
Here’s most of the group that we hang with. You wouldn’t guess it from the photo but there are some very important people in this photos… at least they think so 🙂
Aili and Mari strolling through the city on the way to the canals to do some skating
Liivo and Mari having a good time…
Liivo running around in the halls at the hotel… it’s only a matter of time before he’s doing this on his own.
Look at Mari… I think she’s getting high off all of her exposure to Liivo.