This Blog is the journal/scrapbook/photo album etc. that is all about my family and our lives together. Here is where family and friends (and anyone else too, I suppose) can keep up on what's happening with us Mannimals! COMMENTS ARE APPRECIATED!! ;) Check back often as we'll respond to comments and make new posts as often as possible!

Friday, February 02, 2007

The TREK post is finally done.

This trip to Utah the drive turned into the longest so far. We took the Susanville route in order to avoid Donner Pass, and the drive was okay until the far side of Reno. That's where we hit the bulk of the storm. 21 hours of non-stop driving 15 of those through the snow at 40 mph on I-80. Every hotel in Nevada was booked full with the weather and the Holiday travelers, so we took turns getting what little sleep we could and just kept powering through. Also, Eric wouldn't let us stop so we could get there in time for my birthday party. We ended up leaving Arcata at 5PM and getting into Ogden at 3pm, just in time to get cleaned up and get partying.

My Birthday party turned out great, unfortunately in our sleep-deprived state, neither of us remembered to bust out the camera, so we missed out on a ton of good party pics. We were really excited that just about everyone we invited made it. We all had a fun time getting caught up and partying it up (maybe a little too much cuz Eric says he got drunker than he's ever been before, and I passed out on the living room floor at my own party). Thanks to everyone that came and had a good time with us.

Over the weekend, we spent most of our time with family. We went on a hayride to see a Christmas light show, and on Sunday the family even went to church (for a Christmas present for Eric's mom) and miraculously, nothing catastrophic occurred when we entered the building. :)

And finally we got our wits back about us from the driving, not sleeping, and partying and we remembered to get the camera out and get shooting in time for 1 Christmas morning picture at Eric's Mom's.

Mat sporting his new jacket with Grandma Maggie and Uncle Nick.

Okay, here come the Christmas Day pictures... Here's one of Mat, Uncle Luke, and one of Luke's dogs at Grampa D's house.

Nick, Me, and Avi opening a gift from Grampa D.

Matrim is checking out his letter-writer toy from Grampa D, which he totally digs, and plays with quite a bit. He is doing awesome with his numbers, letters, reading, writing, and math.

Avi and her Leap Frog Alphabet Pal.

Mat asked Santa Claus for new tools this year, and Santa must have thought he was a pretty big boy cuz he got him a REAL set for older kids!

On to Grampa Craig and Gramma Debbie's house for the Christmas evening. Here's one of Mat and Grandpa before present time.

Mat loves his Batman Computer that Santa brought him. It's another toy that's helping him learn and he's doing great!

The dogs are trying to figure out what Matrim is doing.

Avi figured out as the day went on how fun opening presents is :) Here's a present from Santa...

A good pic of Gramma Debbie with Avi and Grampa Craig with Mat

It took Avi a long time to warm up to people, but here's one where she let Gramma hold her

Hershey and Harlee had a ball playing together, and everyone was impressed with what a great dog Harlee is...

...He looks pretty vicious in this picture, but they were really just playing.

Mat and Avi are great buddies

Cold or not, we're folfing! Avi's rocking the crappy stroller that had been in my parent's basement for years, since we didn't have room for ours, with all the Christmas stuff.

Nick driving.. not as good as my throw though ;)

Mat is getting really good. This was his first full game rockin his new folf bag from Dad for X-mas.

Whoa, too high!

Eric driving on hole 5.

Here's Mat going for a tomahawk roller.

Avi is folfed out...

...but we still have several holes to go

We actually played several folf games with other friends, and Eric played in a tournament, but we forgot the camera all except this game.

A mighty drive!

Eric just missed the disc on this pic.

and this one...

got this one though...

Mat loves the folf (he's played several games since we got home and is getting really good)

Looks like its goin' in!

The first time Eric has been able to bird hole 18 at Riverdale! The coolest part was that right before the shot he said to us all, "This fucker is going IN! It's going to be an Invisible Bird" (invisible since he couldn't see the basket behind a tree when he shot). He was even distracted right before releasing and had to regain his focus on the shot. None the less it left his hand smoothly and he was starting to cheer by the time it was 2/3 of the way to the basket since it was right on target. And sure enough it banged the chains for a beautiful, called birdie shot! ;)
(Hee hee, if he keeps growing that beard he'll have to join Jory in all the Beard groups he's in on MySpace).

I caught a shot of Eric's approach shot on hole 1 when we decided to play part of another round.

Avi's still sleepin' in there

Harlee had a great time running around and didn't mind the cold

Mat and Uncle Nick putting hole 1.

A high five after the putts.

Shane joined us for a couple holes during our second game.

A cool tree at sunset

Eric putting hole 5.

Nick's turn.

We went to El Matadors after the game with Maggie and Robert.

Mat making a wish at the fountain there.

A "moonbow" that night

A closer shot a few minutes later

Sara and Wade brought over Cadence, we hadn't seen him (besides in pics) since he was born.

Avi started to relax a little and enjoy hanging out with my mom towards the end of the trip. We couldn't believe how shy she was this trip.

The grandparents soakin' it in.

Cadence weighs more than Avi and he's solid like a brick. A typical Wade expression. :)

Harlee didn't quite know what to think of Sara's Pomeranian since it wouldn't play with him.

Sara is great with Aviendha

Avi is a lot taller, but Cadence weighs more. A little linebacker. (for the Broncos!! Hee Hee)

They had a good time playing together

Pose for the picture...

"I'm outta here"

All tuckered out

Craig, Mat, and Hershey share a recliner (Craig has a bad back, but is still lovin' every minute of it)

And Mat's out for the count...

Not Avi. "You talking to me?" she looks up as we mention her name.

Okay, this next run of pictures is from a session of pics Athena took of the kids for my Mom. Many of them are similar but I've included several so you can see how difficult it is to get kids (even good ones) to pose and so my mom can choose from them if she likes one in particular.

Mat doing his "hard-core" pose

Aviendha is clapping and saying "Yay!" :)

Several cute ones in the bunch and there were many others that didn't make the cut.

Matrim and Grandma Maggie making a little snowman in the storm that hit as we packed up the car to get out of town before it got too heavy.

The last picture we took before driving out in the blizzard.

Here's a sunset down around St. George a few hours after we got out of the storm and stopped for gas. We decided to leave a few days early to use the time we were going to spend with Jory and Joey (not quite ready for company yet) and to get out before the weather got too bad and take an adventurous route home. First we headed south to hit Vegas on the way home and hopefully play a couple of their folf courses.

A closer shot of the sunset a few minutes later.

The hills out back of the gas station.

One last shot of the sunset before we make the last leg of the drive into Las Vegas.

Ok, this picture (and many others after we leave Vegas) is an attempt from the moving car at the skyline getting close to Vegas.

We stayed at the Westin because they allowed pets... Not the best choice since we just kenneled Harlee in the car for the night since it was plenty warm. We would rather have stayed somewhere a little less classy and more our style... maybe the Hard Rock (for the atmosphere) or Excaliber (for the kids and to be close to everything). But it wasn't a bad place to stay. We were right in between the areas of MGM/Excaliber/New York, New York and Treasure Island/Caesars/Venetian.

We decided to leave the car and take the hike around to several casinos (and find some dinner along the way). Here are Avi, Mat, and Athena near the beginning of our adventure (and Ballys and Paris in the view with the light from the Luxor in the distance).

I believe this fountain is outside Paris. Mat loved throwing a penny in every fountain we saw on the trip and making wishes. ;)

Out front of Paris.

Mat, Avi, and Athena across the street from The New York, New York.

The fam outside of Excaliber. We were only in town for 1 night or we might have taken Mat to see the dinner show there (we've never got to see it yet ourselves).

Mat taking a rest on the moving walkways. He got a kick out of them.

Another shot as they get closer.

We hit the arcade after dinner (not like the old days prices but a fine meal) for some gaming for Mat.

The gang on the snow mobile as Mat drives.

A friendly fellow noticed me about to take a picture and offered to take one of us all. (lol, I figured I could run him down if he tried to bolt with our digital camera.) We were all having an AWESOME time. Athena and I were having a great time grabbing drinks from one casino then moving on to the next one and getting a refill. We got the BEST gin (tanqueray 10) and tonic we've ever had from one of the bartenders (can't remember which casino it was for sure) early in the night. The gin and tonic we have here (Bombay Sapphire) was like drinking gasoline compared to our earlier one.

Athena takes the camera for some evidence I was there. We are across the street from the MGM Grand and on our way back to our hotel room for some more partying.

Avi is done for but Matrim still has a little energy left for some cartoons (I had to carry him part of the way back when he finally started to wear down).

After some cards and fun (Athena found great ways to distract me enough to beat me at Rummy) everyone is ready to crash (me last as usual).

A picture out the walkway between 2 casinos (don't remember which ones.) This is the next morning and we were trying to capture the wind in the pic cuz it was blowing really hard. This unfortunately canceled our folf plans.

We took the tram from Treasure Island to Caesars and back trying to decide where we wanted to eat some brunch before hitting the road.

We decided on a fun place called KahunaVille. We were kind of irritated to note that so many of the themed casinos are abandoning their themes and bringing in all sorts of off themed restaurants and entertainment, but this place had good food and drinks.

Here's Athena's drink with brunch.

Athena enjoying her Rum Runner. ;) After this we decided we had better hit the road to make it over to the coast in time to start up the 1 and get to our hotel at a decent hour so we would be able to get up and play the Santa Maria folf course the next day. Unfortunately with all the fun we packed in (and the crazy wind) we didn't have any spare time to play either of the folf courses we were hoping to get to check out.

We ended up getting into Santa Maria not too late and it was a weird place. It had an odd feel to it and there was not nearly the amount of people out or businesses open for the hour and the day as there should have been. We found a hotel with vacancy and checked in only to find that it had been freshly painted on the outside but the inside was a DUMP! Unfortunately since it was getting late and we hadn't seen other vacancies near, we decided to stay instead of demanding a refund and finding another place. We brought in our own blankets to use and tried to touch as little as possible until we could get out of there.

Here's a squirrel the next day on the Santa Maria folf course at the practice basket.

One of Athena's shots. It was a moderately open course but the pins were ALL at their longest positions so it was a challenging game. Also it was hard at several points to locate the next pad quickly with no map, but it did have several fun holes even if they were challenging.

Athena caught a good one from behind of my drive mid flight.

Here's a good side shot of Mat throwing a Tomahawk. It was nice to be playing some folf without worry for a jacket even.

Here I am, lining up a drive.

Drink and score keeping break for me while Mat takes a shot.

Watching my disc until it disappeared behind a hill.

Mat gets ready to fire a roller.

In for a birdie!

Mat gets our discs after I make my shot.

Avi had had enough and is ready to go. :)

Just up the road from the course a bit we drive past Pismo Beach...

And make a stop to spend some more of our precious daylight (kind of a bummer having to race to beat the sun from going down on such a pretty drive with so much to do outdoors). Here's a shot from the road above the beach where we parked our car.

A shot before going down the stairs to the sand. LOL, it was a drug free zone.

Found us a good spot in some dry/soft sand with a good view.

A shot out to sea as the sun falls toward the horizon.

My Hottie!!! (Athena writes) I took this one of myself real quick to prove I was there. :)

Since dogs had to be leashed at this beach and Harlee needed some exercise (he traveled great) I ran around with him and let him chase birds.

Okay, I've had enough (and he was just getting started). :) He looks back at me like "Come on man, you can't be tired yet)!

Mat playing some catch with my putter.

A beer down by the water before it's time to head down the road.

I left a 420 in the sand...

...and an "I Love Bub!"

Athena got a great last couple of pictures here as the sun started to set.

A closer up one and then it's back up the beach to pack into the car again.

Here's a pic from the waters edge back up toward the road. It was a very pretty beach. One day we'll go back and stay at one of the hotels that lets right onto the beach!

Some more of the beach and the resorts.

What a pretty day and a pretty little girl! I sure am a lucky man!

Another shot from back up at the car.

Okay here is where the pictures become mostly what I could capture from the road while Athena drove. This is just after starting back down the road from Pismo.

Here's the last pic of the night. A sunset picture as we drive the 1 about a half hour out from Pismo. Athena drove for quite some time until she started to get tired and I took the wheel. It sucked that it was dark but it was definitely a fun road to drive on (except for the amount of time it takes to drive it). We found us a much nicer motel in Santa Cruz and crashed for the night. We didn't make it as far as we wanted to on this day but oh well, we had a great time!

The next day we got a good breakfast in us (really we ate GREAT the whole trip) then headed back North up the road toward S.F. and eventually home. We weren't as far along as we wanted to be for our plans, but this early in the afternoon we still thought we might end up with enough time. Here's a shot of the coast. I was surprised just how close to the coast we stayed really almost the entire drive.

Here's a pic I snapped of a lighthouse as we approached it.

Another shot of the coastline, this time as we neared S.F.

Here's our first look at the Golden Gate bridge (not our first look ever, but our first look this trip) as we drove through S.F.

Another shot, a little closer.



Just about to pull onto the bridge.

A shot from near the beginning of the bridge.

Here we go. :) Mat thought it was pretty cool.

I took several as we progressed along the bridge.

A shot of the bay out my side window.

Almost to the end.

The end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

A shot of the bay and Bay Bridge.

A little better shot of the bay.

Mat likes tunnels too. Here's a shot of the Rainbow Tunnel right before we went in.

One last view of the water from up in the hills above S.F., after the tunnel.

Our road was announced closed and so we were forced to take a detour that took us on a narrow, winding road all the way up above San Fran into the hills.

Finally, after a LONG detour we're back on track and back to the coast. Originally our plan was to make it to a place called Boonville and play the folf course they have on the grounds of their brewery (yep you get to drink their beer on the course!). But with our previous delays and the delay of our detour we knew we'd just have to drive on through to home instead. Luckily the brewery/course is only a few hours from us so we'll go check it out as we get closer to Spring so it will be dry.

Here's a sunset picture I snapped at the end daylight and great view! And I never knew this before or expected it, but we saw DEER on this road. I didn't ever really picture a deer at the beach before...

A shot back into the car of Avi and all our shit. Haha, and they ALL said it couldn't be done but I proved them wrong like always... I DID manage to get ALL our stuff and x-mas stuff packed into the car and home! ;)

This is the Last pic! It's of the place we stopped for dinner. It was a pretty tasty restaurant right on the coast and once again we ate well before making the last leg of the journey home. I drove most of it so Athena could get rested for work the next day.

Since getting home, we've kept up our vacation spirit and have been having a lot of fun. So much fun that it took us this long to get the post up. :)


Blogger Joey said...

Love the pics! Looks like it was a successful trip with awesome extremes in weather and locations. Sorry we couldn't have you down for a visit, definitely next time! Hopefully by then we'll have a house.

Sat Feb 03, 02:22:00 AM PST

Blogger Mr. E Mann said...

Can't wait!! :)

Tue Feb 06, 01:40:00 AM PST

Anonymous tom said...

awww, cute lil' poopers.

hey, have you guys ever seen

It's online Risk, some of April's friends turned me on to it, it's a blast.

I thought we should get Jory, Joey, Rod, Eric, Athena, and whoever else wants to play. YOu can play real time or take your time, there's a max of 24 hours to take your turn, but you can get skipped, however there's no penalty for it.

check it out

Mon Apr 09, 05:57:00 PM PDT


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