End of Summer 2014

Posted: December 9, 2014 in Blogging, Family and Friends, Full Life, Living It, Travel
Tags: , , , , , ,

This year, 2014 was a long hot summer in Southern California. It is always hard to tell exactly when a summer ends in San Diego. I usually call a summer over when we have several cool/cold nights in a row and the rainy season starts. This year San Diego’s summer was longer than usual and ended, by my definition, between mid November and the beginning of December. So 2014 was a long and very busy summer for us!

We started out the summer by finishing up our training hikes for our Grand Canyon rim to rim hike. We did at least 9 “Afoot and Afield in San Diego” hikes in April and May of 2014, including a really good training hike up El Cajon Mountain in temperatures near 90.

Jenny taking a break on the peak of El Cajon Mountain May 2014

The Grand Canyon hike was just one of the highlights of this summer for me. It was my second rim to rim hike at the Grand Canyon and I applied all my lessons learned from the previous hike to make this one even better. What really made it special for me was that I did it with my wife. She had led me up Half Dome in 2011, having done it several times herself before, so this was my chance to share a special and challenging hike with her. My cousin and youngest son also came along. The hike definitely lived up to the “challenging” label, but it was also a special experience in one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever visited.

Curved trail cut out of red rocks North Kaibab Trail

This was our 4th summer with season passes to the Green Flash Concert Series at Birch Aquarium above the Pacific in La Jolla. We have never been disappointed by the music at any of these concerts, they have a very laid back crowd, good food and adult refreshments, but in the end it’s really all about the location, the view, and usually a spectacular sunset!

Sunset at the September 2014 Green Flash Concert at the Birch Aquarium

We were so busy with other things, that we decided to get tickets to a few less concerts than usual this summer, but we still made time for some of our favorites like Jack Johnson, Dave Matthew, Steve Miller, and Journey. We also saw James Taylor at the Hollywood Bowl. Seeing him has been on my bucket list for years. One of my all time favorite singers! Although we had decided to slow down a bit when it came to concerts, we didn’t feel like we could afford to miss seeing Paul McCartney at Petco Park in San Diego either. He had not had a concert in San Diego since 1976, and we both loved the Beatles, so… we made the time and spent the money for this one!

Paul McCartney singing Let Me Roll It - Petco Park September 28 2014

The staycation we planned for Oceanside went even better than planned. Although we love to travel, we wanted to get our family together for some fun this year, and this seemed the best way to make that happen. We rented a 3 bedroom condo in Oceanside with my wife’s brother Randy and all but one of our combined 9 children came for at least one day during the week we stayed there. We also had other friends and family join in the fun. We had plenty of beach time, BBQ’d some Juicy Lucy’s, enjoyed some terrific homemade fish tacos thanks to our nephew Brian, sailed in Oceanside harbor, kayaked at La Jolla shores, played a few drinking games, roasted some marshmallows at a campfire on the beach, and enjoyed a terrific ocean view all week! This turned out even better than we had hoped and we will be doing this again in the future.

Early evening view from the Oceanside Pier - July 9 2014

We were so busy this year that I’m still catching up on posts for some of our activities. One post I still haven’t gotten done is for our trip to San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, also in July of 2014. We had a great time with our great friends Dave and Wendy on this trip, seeing some new sites, and having some new experiences in two of our favorite places. Of course there are still lots of things we still want to do so we’ll just have to go again sometime soon! I’ll put a link to the post here when I finish it… until then, here is a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge I took from the Marin Headlands.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands - 27 July 2014

We also had a great time visiting Iowa and Nebraska again this year. This has been a regular summer trip for us. Most of my family lives in Iowa, and even though my wife’s family is from the Los Angeles area, her sister Wendy lives in Nebraska. So luckily we both have reasons to make this trip as often as we can. This year we attended a nephew’s wedding (always great to have an event that brings a lot of family together in one place) in Iowa, went to Nebraska to visit in the middle of the week, and returned to Iowa to celebrate my Mom’s 75th birthday! Although there was a lot more running around we had a great time. Family is very important to both of us!

Iowa - Nebraska 2014

I was also able to spend a day in Copenhagen this summer at the end of a work trip to Denmark. It was well worth the cost in money and time to add this to the end of my trip. I’m not sure if I’ll get back to Copenhagen again, but hope to travel with my wife to Norway at some time in the future, and it would be a nice side trip to visit both Denmark and Sweden while we are there. Nyhavn was one of my favorite parts of Copenhagen and I found myself drawn back there several times during my short visit.

Nice sailboat docked in Nyhavn

Although those were the major highlights of the summer, we found ourselves having to squeeze in some other things where we could. We had annual passes to Disneyland that we thought would fill in some open weekends. Instead we found ourselves struggling to find a free Sunday to get up there. We also happily “squeezed in” a couple days a week to spend with our new Grandson Cash! He has been in fact the major highlight of 2014! It’s amazing how much a baby changes in 9+ months. We have loved being part of his life and can’t wait to see all the changes 2015 bring.

We actually have very little planned for 2015 so far. This is intentional. We found that we were so busy this summer that we ended up being pretty inflexible when opportunities came up. We hope to return to Yosemite this year, but won’t formalize that plan until we can schedule campsites. My daughter is getting married in July – really big plans there! Beyond that we hope to be available to spend as much time as we can with our family and friends next summer. I can’t imagine a better plan than that!

(Final Note: This will be my 200th post once I push the publish button. Although it seems I have less and less time to maintain this blog, I still enjoy writing here as much as I ever did. So maybe I’ll use some of that “flexible unplanned time” to spend a little more time here…)

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