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Thanks for visiting.  I started this site to keep a running blog during a 30 day road trip I took in late August and early September 2009.  The picture above was taken in Bryce Canyon while trekking through Utah visiting National Parks.  Now that the road trip is over I'll continue my blog adding updates as life continues to throw curve balls my way.  Enjoy!


Drive from Portland, OR to Heyburn State Park, ID 

I would have to say that so far the two most scenic parts of the road trip have been from Crater Lake to Salem, OR last Saturday, Aug 22 and Portland, OR to Heyburn State Park, ID today.  Driving along the Columbia River Gorge which slices through the Cascade mountain range was pretty spectacular.  The cliffs on either side of the river were quite dramatic.  It was almost as if someone took an axe and chopped shelves into the side of the mountains on either side.  Although it was overcast and drizzly for the first part, the sun did come out and I was able to pull over into a state park and grab some photos from the bank of the river.  The wind through here is no joke which is why it's one of the hottest windsurfing spots in the U.S.  Once I crossed the river and entered Washington - I hit probably the least scenic part of the trip - mucho farmland.


Golfing with Charrish and Chase

I always have a lot of fun when I visit my good friend Charrish and his family.  His wife Kelly and all his kids are great.  This past Sunday Charrish had a big party to celebrate his daughter Carlee turning 7 years old.  Barbecue, beverages,  a pinata, pin the tail on the donkey, presents and cake were all in full force for the party. 

The following day Charrish, his son Chase and I went to Prineville, OR to play some golf.  The course was Meadow Lakes and I was actually very impressed with the quality and condition of the course and how inexpensive it was to golf - $12 greens fees.  Since we got a late start and I needed to hop in the car for my next leg to visit with friends in Portland, we had to cut our 9 hole game down to 6.

Shout out to Chase for improving his game while we were there.....I look forward to playing golf with Charrish and Chase again - and next time for more than 6 holes!  Thanks again guys.


Oregon State Capitol All to Ourselves

One of the reasons that Oregon was on my itinerary (other than the fact that it was conveniently located north of my starting point) was the State Capitol building in Salem, Oregon. My Great Uncle Francis Keally was the architect of the Capitol and neither my father nor I had ever seen it in person.

Within the Keally family there was a debate of sorts on whether or not there was a plaque located within the Capitol that gave honorable mention to Francis Keally. Our mission was to see for ourselves if in fact this plaque existed.

When we arrived at the Capitol this past Sunday, August 23rd we were a bit dissapointed to discover that Sunday tours had been cancelled. Luckily a number was posted on the door which my dad called to try and get more info. The best part comes next...My dad spoke to an operator who connected him with an Oregon State Trooper that was responsible for handling any issues at the Capitol that day. After my father told the trooper the story about us traveling all the way from San Francisco to tour the Capitol only to find it closed...and what relation my father had to the architect of the building, the trooper agreed to come to the Capitol to open the doors and let us in!

Sure enough, the trooper greeted us at the back entrance, unlocking the doors to the Capitol to let us in. With the lights completely turned off and a flashlight, We started our search in the basement since a relative had mentioned the plaque was locted there. No luck. We searched everywhere. At first we couldn't even find mention of Francis Keally anywhere.

As we were about to head out, we noticed some older photos posted in the lobby and we did start to see articles and mention of Francis Keally. There was also a photograph of the plaque with Francis Keally's name engraved onto it - so at least we knew it existed. The trooper advised us to exit the building and search the perimeter to see if we could find the plaque on the exterior of the building.

Just as we were about to start our search the Trooper came around the corner and said that he had found it! He took us back in and sure enough to the left of the information desk on the main level - there it was in all it's splendor - alone on a marble wall. I took a bunch of photos and look forward to sharing with the Keally family. Hats off to my dad who was able to get an Oregon State Trooper to open the Capitol building for us. And another hats off to the State Trooper who was incredibly accommodating.


Crater Lake National Park, OR

Today we hiked into a volcano! We woke up at the crack of dawn and drove to Crater Lake National Park where the weather was perfect (no fog) as was our timing -allowing us to secure boat tickets for the 11AM cruise. My Dad was a little concerned about the "strenuous hiking trail" being advertised on the web site and at the ticket booth. The hike down to the boat is the equivalent of descending/ascending a 75 story building - roughly 2 miles roundtrip. The hike down was a breeze and the 2 hour boat tour around the perimeter of Crater Lake was well worth the drive and hike. The hike out of the crater was definitely tough but we eventually made it back to the car.

Crater Lake was formed when Mount Mazama erupted/collapsed 7,700 years ago (I believe it was the largest volcanic eruption ever recorded around the world) and formed a caldera . Some time ago scientist were able to measure the clarity of Crater Lake by dropping a white plate attached to a rope down 144 feet - currently the record.

Will post a ton of great pics tomorrow morning - pretty exhausted after a four hour drive from Crater Lake to Salem, OR - although the drive was very, very scenic through thick forest and by huge rock formations and along a few lakes and rivers (Willamette River being one of them).


Medford, OR

First stop of the road trip was Medford, OR to visit with my Aunt Lucille.  My Dad and I made great time driving up Highway 5 and were greeted by a snow capped Mt. Shasta which is always an impressive sight when driving up to the north end of California.  We stopped in the quiet town of Yreka, grabbed lunch at Lalo's Mexican restaurant and after a quick stop in Ashland to check out the downtown area and The Shakespeare festival set-up, we continued on to Medford.  Heading over to my Aunt Lucille's house,  nothing seemed familiar to me after my last visit in the Summer of 1985.  My Dad and I had a great visit with my Aunt and I was fortunate to hear some great Keally family stories for about four hours or so.  My Aunt Lucille is an incredible lady in her early 80s who is now helping to open a second antique shop here in Medford.  I came so close to shooting some video but thought that it would have been awkward - I probably should have.  

After a great dinner, we said our goodbyes to Aunt Lucille and headed back to our hotel to rest up for tomorrow - which includes Crater Lake National Park and Salem, OR - where my Great Uncle Francis Keally was the architect of the Oregon State Capitol.  Gearing up for a much closer look at Crater Lake than I had 24 years ago when I last visited.  Shorts and T-shirts from here on out - so hot!  More pics of today are posted to Flickr.


My chariot for the next 31 days..

Avis didn't have a Chevy Aveo so instead I received a semi-upgrade from sub-compact to compact and will now be cruising the open road in a Ford Focus SE.  It has 26K miles on it and I'll probably need to get an oil change along the way.  The hardest thing to squeeze into this car was my mountain bike.  I had to remove the front tire, bar ends and had to flatten the rear tire to get it to fit.  At one point I thought one of the rear windows was going to shatter from using so much force to get the doors to close.  For all the stuff I had I was actually surprised that it all fit - thanks to the large trunk space.  I placed the first (San Francisco) of what will be many bumper stickers in the window and will snap a pic in the morning.  Early day tomorrow, picking up my Dad and the first stop is Ashland, OR.


Great Western U.S. Road Trip

 Starting this Friday, August 21st I will be venturing out on a 31 day road trip across the Western United States.  The trip will include 10 states in all (CA, OR, WA, ID, MT, WY, CO, UT, AZ, NV) and will really focus on National Parks.  I've never been to Montana, Idaho or Wyoming, so I'm looking forward to that part of the trip.  I'm able to take this time off because I was recently laid off from CBS Interactive.  I've always enjoyed exploring and this is the perfect time and opportunity to do just that.

I'm looking forward to meeting with long lost friends along the way and seeing my wife mid-way through in Denver.  I know I'm going to miss my wife, dog and family the most during such a long trip but I truly enjoy traveling the open road and discovering new places.

I'll have a pretty comprehensive collection of gadgets and photo equipment to document the journey along the way and will blog to this site throughout the trip.

Should there be any tips or recommendations along my route - please feel free to add a comment to one of my blog postings.

That's it for now - look forward to adding more by the end of this week.

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