Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Astoria, Oregon

Astoria, Oregon is home to the movies The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop.  Mikey's house from The Goonies is still a private residence, but they allow people to come by on foot and take pictures.  Two houses down, Data's house is for sale (we haven't checked the price yet, but two years ago, Mikey's house went for $225,000).

Just up the road, within walking distance from the Goondocks, was John Jacob Astor Elementary School, where Arnold molded a group of youngsters.  It is still a working elementary school.  We could buy Data's house and I could walk to the school to teach!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our hotel room in KC

When we pulled into the Chase Inn and Suites in Kansas City, MO, the lady at the front desk asked if we would be ok with an upgrade to the penthouse?  Why yes, I think we would!

The Chase Inn and Suites are actually 10 separate buildings with 8 rooms.  The 4 on top were actually the 2-story loft penthouse suites. 

Here is the first floor of the penthouse from the front door:

Murphy bed in the dining room

To the master suite
 The upstairs

So, if you are ever in Kansas City for a night, or a multitude of nights, book the Chase Inn and Suites!  We used hotwire.com and got this room for $57.57. 


After Denver, we headed east on I-70 toward Kansas City.  To get to KC though, you have to go through the rest of Kansas.  I was expecting Kansas to be really boring and flat, with amber waves of grain as far as the eye could see.  It wasn't as flat as I expected, there were lots of rolling hills and cattle farms.  The landscape wasn't varied like Montana or Oregon, which made driving hard. 

Along the way, we kept passing signs for the "Oz Museum" in Wamengo, and what better place to see the Oz Museum than Kansas?  Not only did Wamengo boast the Oz Museum, but it also had the Oz Winery, Toto's Tacos, a Yellow Brick Road, and a hair salon called "The Scissors of Ahhhhhz".  Unfortunately, being a Sunday evening, all of these places were closed, so we stopped and took pictures.
Toto's Tacos

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Don't mess with Texas?  Heck, don't mess with Kansas!

Riding the Retro in Denver

We had a couple people ask us what a "retro" flowrider was.  There are several different kinds of flowriders:  the beach break (like Massanutten or the majority of the waves on the flowtour, it just goes up and over), the curl (like B-Max at Wavehouse in San Diego), and the retro (which is not "up and over" like a beach break, but does curl like a curl, just not as hard.  For anyone who regularly rides a beach break, it feels like a constant state of flow decay right behind you). 

I didn't take pictures or videos of us riding.  I wasn't sure about seating, and I didn't want to just leave my camera sitting around, which is unfortunate because I would LOVE proof that I rode it!  I really liked riding the retro, Aaron enjoyed it as well, but it was harder for him as he had to relearn all his positioning and tricks.  I would definitely like to go back to Denver to ride this again.

Here is a video from youtube featuring the riders from Waterworld Denver (*please note that the song in the background has questionable language, if you are concerned, watch on mute*):

Thanks to all the riders at Waterworld, you really helped us have a great day in Denver!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Santa Fe

You guys remember how much I loved Astoria, Oregon and the surrounding area?  I'm pretty sure Santa Fe has it beat.  340 days of sunshine.  Average August highs of 85 degrees.  Snow in the winter.  Mountains.  Distinct seasons.  My sinuses haven't been this clear in years.  Great food.  Nice people.  Its perfect! 

But I digress.  After we hit up a Borders going out of business sale, we headed to downtown Santa Fe, or the Plaza area.  We took the Loretto Line tour around the district and would highly recommend anyone coming to Santa Fe to take a tour from these guys.  It was only $15 for adults ($12 for kids), and our guide was full of information about New Mexico history, the city, and even fun tidbits about residents.  He showed us his favorite spots along the way, which gave the tour a more personal feel.  It lasted about an hour and a half, but it let us see where everything was and we still had plenty of daylight left to go back and see what interested us along the way.

After the tour ended, we went to the Loretto Chapel, which is famous for its "Miraculous Staircase".  From the website:  "When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.
Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers.
The stairway's carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.
The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction.
Over the years many have flocked to the Loretto Chapel to see the Miraculous Staircase. The staircase has been the subject of many articles, TV specials, and movies including "Unsolved Mysteries" and the television movie titled "The Staircase." "

(I wanted to go up it, but we weren't allowed.)  

St. Francis of Assisi Basilica

1st and only Native American Saint

Palace of the Governors

Done by a blind sculptor

The arch is books with a child reading on top

Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Loretto Chapel

The Miraculous Staircase

we ate lunch there...good pizza, bad service

For Allison---its entirely beaded!

As for now, off to get buffalo burgers.  Tomorrow, Denver!