Our Adventures in Sri Lanka

Safaris to spot leopards and elephants, swimming in the Indian Ocean, sipping tea in the mountains, and several more!

Our Nile Cruise

Starting in Cairo, we sailed to Luxor, Edfu, Kom Ombo, and Aswan.

Trouble at Sea: Our Red Sea Dive Trip in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia

The Red Sea is one of the top diving destinations in the world, but Saudi Arabia is a very restrictive country to get into. That alone would have made the trip memorable...but then things went south and the Saudi Coast Guard and a hospital got involved.

Our Expedition to Jordan

Highlights included tracing the steps of Indiana Jones into Petra, following Lawrence of Arabia into Wadi Rum, and floating in the Dead Sea.

Discovering Turkey

We emersed ourselves in Istanbul, explored the white travertines of Pamukkale, and traced history through Laodikeia, Hierolopolis, and Cleopatra's Baths.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Traveling with Kids: Child Carriers

We travel with our kids almost everywhere we go, but there are times that child carriers are better suited to the activity than strollers. It seems like there are so many kinds of carriers out there, which one do you choose? Well, here are the ones we've been pleased with the "field test results" over the last 5 years on our international travels and family vacations.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Salmon Fishing on Lake Huron

Did you know that you can catch Chinook Salmon on Lake Huron? Moe at Screamin' Reels was referred to us as being a guy who could find fish, and that's just the kind of guy we were looking for. He did such a great job that we'll probably look him up again the next time we go to the Manitoulin Island.


You need a license to fish in Ontario, but we acquired our one-day fishing licenses the day before our fishing trip without incident. Well, that's not entirely true. The cashier at the outdoor store was having serious issues with her computer trying to reissue an Outdoor Card to a guy who had lost his. I'm not a fisherman, but there are all sorts of limits and restrictions out there to be aware of. Fortunately, we had Moe with us when we departed the docks around 4pm.
Headed out!
The boat was pretty decked out with an array that included 4 boards to take the lines wide and three or four down-riggers...but today we only caught the big fish below 200'.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bridal Veil Falls and the Cup and Saucer Trail

Bridal Veil Falls
The Manitoulin Island has many natural playgrounds, but everytime we come up here we visit Bridal Veil Falls. Apparently, Atlantic salmon spawn in the pools below the falls. At least they avoid the poison ivy hiding on the trail. The falls are accessible by trail as well as from above. We almost always start at the falls and hike into town, as it's easier that way.


Cup and Saucer Trail
Several of us drove further out to the Cup and Saucer trail. Somewhere along the way, we took a wrong trail. Looking at the map below, I'm not sure we were ever actually on a trail until after we found ourselves looking up at the face of escarpment. If you didn't know, you're supposed to be looking out over it, like these photos show:
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Meldrum Bay and Little Current

Meldrum Bay can be found on the Western end of the Manitoulin Island, and feels like standing at the end of the earth.

Our older daughter's favorite word at Meldrum Bay was "erosion".






We followed up our trip to the shoreline in Little Current doing a little rainy day shopping. Little Current is the first town you'll enter on the Manitoulin if you don't take the Chi-Chi-maun (Big Canoe) ferry. I wonder what they sell at these two places:


I picked up a loon at Turner's (the gift shop of choice on the island) to add to my trinket collection.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cottaging on Manitoulin Island

Our extended family spent a week cottaging on the Manitoulin Island. We've stayed at various places around the island over the years, but this one was pretty good for location, quality, and price. I'm hesitant to publicly disclose which one we stayed at (because I don't want it to be booked up when we want to go back), but rest assured that there are lots of places on the island to find a cottage.
This scene seems like it belongs in a Wes Anderson Film...
The first night we got in, the clouds were kind of gloomy and the boathouse was on a long spit of land that reminded me of something out of a Wes Anderson film. I have a weirdly accurate visual memory sometimes. Seriously, here's the exact scene that I was thinking of:
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Friday, July 04, 2014

4th of July on the National Mall

For this year's Fourth of July, we decided to go into Washington, D.C. to watch the parade and then stay for the fireworks. How we filled up all the time in between those two events was what really made the difference.
View of the fireworks from the National Mall
What made it so successful is that we had a plan and executed it. Knowing that the parade started at 11:45 and ran from 7th to 14th, we decided that I'd take the kids to the Archives metro stop around 11 am, then we'd walk a couple of blocks to the parade route. It was there that I spent 45 minutes watching the police officers trying in vain to keep the unceasing waves of new spectators from pouring out into the street. The rule of thumb is that if you're on the curb, you're good to go. Since the parade starts at 7th, we thought it best to stay on the north side of the street for an easy escape & rendezvous, as another part of our plan involved Kacey and her dad staying on the metro for a few more stops so that they could stop by a friend's house to drop off our cooler and keep our picnic dinner refrigerated, after which they'd join up with us before the parade ended.
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End Of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

We spent two and a half years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on our second tour in the Foreign Service with the US Department of State. As you migh...

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