It turned out to be a long haul from Dublin, through Chicago and up to Menominee. But it was worth a couple weeks with the family. I spent the first bit with Dad and Nancy and got a bunch of golf in. It wasn't pretty, but not too bad for the three years I'd been away from the greens. Dad and I spent a dad at the Oshkosh EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Fly In and took a ride in a 1929 Ford Tri Motor. Then it was off to my sister Donna's new house in Sturgeon Bay and a little trip up to the tip of Door County.
Next stop was to Portland, Oregon for a roadtrip with Godwin. We headed up the Oregon coast, and through Washington. We found great chili dogs and a rare pinball arcade in Long Beach, Wa and then spent a night camping outside of Olympic National Park before hiking along the Hoh River trail and then heading further up to Port Angeles and exploring Dungeness Point and Hurricane Ridge. After taking in the color of a local bar and a movie, we caught a ferry up to Victoria Island, British Columbia. From Victoria, we did a boat trip to San Juan Island to spend an afternoon with a pod of Orca. If you ever make it to Victoria, Floyd's diner is a must stop for breakfast or lunch. On the way back to Portland, we stopped off at the Boeing factory, saw a 747 front end fly through the world's largest building and the new composite unibody Dreamliners being assembled. Coincidentally enough, I had just seen the massive Dreamlifter at the Oshkosh Fly-in. It's used to carry massive one piece Dreamliner fuselage and wing components here from overseas factories.
Dave, Chad and Kevin took time out of their JOBS and we did a 40 mile hike around the Rae Lakes loop deep in King's Canyon NP. On the first day, we encountered a few bears. The second day moving across Glenn Pass brought us snow flurries. And then our campsite on the third day was encroached on by a family of dear that had no fear or care of our presence.
One two days notice, Marcel let me know he'd be coming to visit from Holland. In just 5 days, we packed in Vegas and 5 big parks. After our first night in Vegas, we zoomed through Hoover Dam, out to the Grand Canyon South Rim and then up north towards Bryce Canyon. We hiked the usual Navajo/Queen's Loop trail and ventured out to Yovimpa Point for a view towards New Mexico and Arizona. We camped that night just outside Zion. In the cool morning air, we hiked up to Angel's Landing for great views around the valley before heading all the way into the valley and wading barefoot through freezing river waters to head deep into the Narrows. We spent our final night back in Vegas and then got a 6am Starbucks-fueled start to head back home through Death Valley and over Tioga Pass into Yosemite. 15 hours including a detour to the Yosemite valley floor.