Micronaxx The adventures of Finn & Henry

13Jul/200

Road Trip Day 5: Arch Amigos

After wrapping up at Mesa Verde on Monday afternoon, we made our way to the funky hideaway Kelly Place. It's an incredibly archaeologically rich B&B/campsite tucked away in the red rock canyons near Cortez, CO, and the boys shared our fascination as we hiked around the dry arroyo & restored kivas (underground storage/community structures created by the native inhabitants).

You can check out a few images plus this 360º panorama I captured via early-morning drone flight (drag down to spot the tiny red Westy 😌):

After a nice hot breakfast, we headed north towards the spectacular Arches National Park, home to soaring spires & seemingly impossibly balanced rocks and flying arches. Much like clouds, the miles of rock formations offer a million interpretive possibilities, and we had a ball calling out the things we saw—from "Seamus Rock" to Santa's "Chimnaysium" where we think he practices column-descending in the off season.

Sadly Hen's legs were pretty thrashed from run-ins with stinging plants earlier in the day, so his explorations with Mom-O were cut somewhat short. They did make it out towards Delicate Arch, and meanwhile Finn & I got to scramble all around the Window Arches.

Check out some rather amazing (if I may say so!) photos we captured, as well as this crazy little video:

 
 
 
 
 
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Chillin’ like an arch villain

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After taking in our fill of the sights, we set out to find medicine, cold compresses, and ice cream (hey, why not?) to mend Hen's throbbing legs, after which we headed to our campsite for the evening. Fortunately he mended quickly enough that we were able to explore the unattended freight train he was delighted to see sitting just across the way.

Here's a small set of images from our sunset sojourn.

12Jul/200

Road Trip Day 4: Cliffside Metropolis

One of my favorite childhood memories is that of taking the Amtrak out to Santa Fe, NM, with my parents & cousin Andy Stegman, and a particular highlight was visiting the cliffside dwellings of the indigenous people who'd dwelled in the area. Heading through the Southwest this year, we knew we'd like to introduce the boys to this culture if we could. Happily, Margot knew about Mesa Verde in Colorado.

In this year of Covid & quarantine, it's not possible to enter the buildings, but we still loved taking in the park's beauty as we drove among various overlooks from which we could view cliffside dwellings & poke into various excavated pits.

Check out a gallery from our visit.

And, because I can't resist such things, here's a crazy little fly-around I did showing Hen & me overlooking the dwellings:

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A quick spin around Mesa Verde

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11Jul/200

Road Trip Day 3: Neon Morning, Beach Sunset

After awaking amongst the Vegas tree chickens & introducing Seamus to our host's turkey and peacock, we headed over—at Henry's suggestion—to the Museum of Neon. It's the resting (rusting?) place of all manner of ephemera from the city's glittering history, and we were delighted to get a private tour from the extremely knowledgeable (and admirably bearded!) docent Bob. Check out some photos from our exploration.

After wrapping up at the museum, we drove (and drove!) until we finally arrived upon the shores of Lake Powell, where we alighted at the Wahweap campground and set up shop for the night. The sunset was spectacular, as you can see in our photos.

The next morning I used my drone to capture an interactive 360º panorama on which you can tap/click and drag to see more. (Hello down there, Westy!)

9Jul/200

Henry goes to 11!

How can it be a decade plus one since our crazy young amigo charged into the world (photos), trailing clouds of silliness & strong opinions? 😛 What a ride it's been.

At the moment he's off on a surprise mission with Auntie Laura, Finn, and Charlie to ride the glass gondola in Vail, and soon he'll be back in Leadville to enjoy some cake & presents with the rest of us. Yesterday he & I spent hours exploring some abandoned railroad tracks just outside of town, picking up treasures (? 🙃) much as I did as a kid. Here are a few photos showing that outing, plus some late-night stargazing with our friends the Wiggii.

[Update: Check out some pics of Hen unwrapping gifts (including the super cool vintage train photo Mom-O found in nearby Buena Vista, showing a 19th-century train traversing tunnels there) & enjoying cake.]

8Jul/200

Road Trip Day 2: From Warbirds to Tree Chickens

[Note: I think it's the sign of a great, action-packed vacation that a week and a half into it, I'm only now getting around to sharing a second post! Stay tuned for many more.]

After making our way from the field of light to a neat campground full of teepees & Airstream trailers, we had a good night's sleep & woke up next to some friendly Sikh Harley guys & their redheaded buddy.

From there Hen & I hit the Estrella Warbirds Museum, packed with vintage aircraft, vehicles and ephemera. Highlights included touring a "Gooney Bird" transport that had flown over Normandy; seeing a real battle-damaged German pickelhaube helmet; and meeting an old fighter pilot who'd shared beers with a young John McCain. Here's our gallery from the visit.

The other guys picked us up after a quality romp in the local dog park, and we headed east towards Las Vegas. In the midst of all the desert driving, we came across Tehachapi, an old railroad town where we'd stayed en route to Death Valley a few years back. I made a split-second decision to head up into the hills to see the famous Tehachapi Loop ("One of the seven wonders of the railroading world," Hen interjects 😌)—and boy did it pay off: We found ourselves overtaking a mile-long freight train as it ascended & crossed the famous spiral. The beaming G-Man was johnny-on-the-spot capturing video, so stay tuned for what we hope is some epic video. Meanwhile here are a few photos.

Having fueled up on some burgers & milkshakes afterwards, we struck out across the scorching desert—113º in the shade!—and finally made it to Las Vegas. The boys were suitably horrified/fascinated by the, um, risqué signage, and highly disrespectful to Trump Tower.

At last we made our way to our lodgings, a funky urban farm/dog rescue full of dogs, goats, peacocks, turkeys, human children, and chickens in the trees! ("You might want to move your car," our friendly hostess advised.) Here are a few photos showing Seamus making friends, as he always does.

3Jul/200

Road Trip Day 1: A Field of Light

Wow—it's a little hard to believe (and yet, given all the adventure we've packed in so far, entirely plausible) that we've already been on the road for a solid week.

We kicked things off by heading down to Paso Robles (about two hours from San Jose) to see artist Bruce Munro's light installation, Sensorio. Having enjoyed his Narnia-themed earlier work in Saratoga, we'd been looking forward to seeing the latest, but quarantine had shut down our plans from March. With the show now up & running again, we braved metal detectors, thermometers, masks, and last-minute ticket-buying for Dad-O to take in the sprawling show. Here's a gallery from the event.

13Jun/200

Art Henstory

During quarantine, bored & creative folks from around the world got busy one-upping each other in efforts to re-create famous works of art using just household supplies at hand. For a year-end art project at school, Hen & Mom-O got busy making this "portrait of the flautist as a young man." 🎼😌

9Jun/200

Like Doggo, Like Son

Just as his beloved Mr. Seamus had done before him, Finn grew a loooooong & shaggy coat during quarantine—and just like Seamy before him, he's finally been subjected to a chop—albeit a far less brutal one! Check out our newly aerodynamic lad (higher-res version here):

1Jun/200

Beehive Bilingue

One of Henry's final assignments for the year was his 5th Grade State Report - which included research, a written report, and a very small "parade float" showcasing the information he learned about the state. Of course, our man chose his favorite state, Utah, meeting point of the Transcontinental Railroad. And, because he is in the bilingual program, all of his material was written and delivered in Spanish.

You'll see that he included a railroad car and tracks on top of his float, commemorating the link up of the Transcontinental Railroad, as well things like the state flag, seal, and information about wildlife and interesting Utah natives (including Butch Cassidy!).

Here's the video we recorded and turned in along with the written report.

24May/200

The Goooooooolden Gate Bridge

As we crossed the Golden Gate en route to Petaluma last weekend, my copilot Finn was game to stick my 360º camera out the window of the Westy. I inadvertently set the cam to time-lapse mode, but as luck would have it the results loop perfectly. Check it out!

18May/200

Hobbit Cobin!

Having gone 💯 stir-crazy during quarantine, we decided last week to take advantage of Margot's day off on Friday by loading up the Westy and getting the heck out of Dodge. Happily I was able to find a really neat-sounding listing for something called the "Hobbit Cobin"—a hand-built adobe structure up in Petaluma.

After making our way up through SF & over the Golden Gate Bridge on Friday, we arrived and set about chilling extra hard with Seamus and a good helping of wine, cheese, and books. Finn & I took the first night in the van with Seamy while Margot & Hen enjoyed the cozy one-bed cabin (er, cobin), and the next night we swapped. Saturday saw us exploring cute (if unnaturally quiet) downtown Petaluma, checking out giant Burning Man artwork, and trying our hands at ping pong and ladderball.

Here's a little gallery from our much-needed time away!

10May/200

Lego Lebowski 🎳

Instead of breakfast in bed for Mother's Day this year, Henry served up something much more unique: a custom-made Lego bowling alley featuring beloved & bizarre characters from the cult favorite The Big Lebowski!

I was able to buy the figures online, but the bowling alley was entirely Hen's creation. He watched scenes from the film in order to really nail the tacky orange-and-white decor & everything. Margot was entirely charmed, just as we'd hoped. ☺️

Check out the gallery!

9May/200

¡Mijo Bilingue!

Much like his big bro did a year earlier, Henry has been dutifully chugging along towards getting his 5th Grade Seal Of Biliteracy. Sadly, with all the quarantine-induced chaos this year, it seemed that that the program would be cancelled. Not to worry, though: Mom-O stepped right up and made Hen a great certificate to enjoy—and later the school reversed itself & said that the'd be giving out the awards after all!

Check out our hijo bilingue showing off his skills!

24Apr/200

Fur sale: Goldendoodle coats now half off!

Funny what little changes can happen in a pandemic: In our case Mr. Seamus, without access to his normal groomer, was going full Chewbacca until we found a lady who took him into her home & applied one heck of a buzz cut.

Honestly the switch has been more than a little jarring, with Finn initially despairing that his pooch had become a "Flimsy lady-dog." 🙄 But not to worry: the new look has been growing on us just as surely as Seamus's hair has been regrowing on him, and we'll meet in the middle just fine.

Here's a little gallery showing our man before & after.

19Apr/200

Happy Easter 2020!

Hey gang! Just because we were stuck home due to quarantine didn't mean we couldn't have fun with the lads. After enjoying some delicious fudge eggs from Galena's Kandy Kitchen (thanks, Grandma & Grandpa Nack!), we conducted one of the most memorable egg hunts I've ever experienced.

Finn had the idea that instead of just packing plastic eggs with candy (as per tradition), this year the kids would each devise four eggs with custom prizes for mom & dad, and we'd return the favor with four for each of the two of them.

Here's a little gallery showing some of the eggs & their treasures, as well as a vid that captures some of the hunt:

31Mar/200

Finnster By The Dozen!

Though it technically happened just this month, Finn’s 12th birthday—about which I neglected to post amidst all this craziness—feels roughly 1,000 years ago. Be that as it may, let’s take a moment to celebrate a dozen years of enjoying our crazy-verbal, floppy-haired, bedimpled amigo!

We partied first with the gang (including Seamus!) at home, enjoying what felt like a 50-pound Meat Monster pizza and cake. The next night (Finn’s actual birthday), Mom-O was out of town, so the guys (minus Seamus!) and I headed to the mall for round 2 of pizza & cake. Check out some views of our celebrations.

Beclowned

19Mar/200

Our truly lucky engineer

Talk about being in the right places at the right times: Henry’s recently reaped a double windfall of great train gear needing a good home. First our fellow train club member Les (who’s moving to Wisconsin) provided Hen with a great set of buildings that he added to his existing layout:

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And then, when we were attending a club meeting, a gentleman named Mack called in from Gilroy saying that his family was moving & they needed to find a new home for their giant (8’ x 4’!) old train table. After Hen & I drove down to take a look, we rented a U-Haul and spent an entire evening getting it home. Mack & his family could not have been more gracious, and we’re thrilled to give the layout a place of honor in our garage. Check out our photo album plus this quick tour from Hen:

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15Mar/200

Yosemite 2020!

Feeling a bit stir crazy last weekend, we decided to get the heck out of Dodge & take the Westy off to Yosemite—and this time we didn’t even get stuck in snow! If you’re impatient, hop right to our photo gallery, or read on for an overview.

After tucking in Mr. Seamus at a friendly dog boarder, we cruised out on Friday afternoon. After arriving in the valley near sundown & pausing for some horseplay by Bridalveil Fall, we made our way to Camp Curry & cozy cabin 4A. The moon illuminated our spectacular little nighttime hikes as we watched Orion’s belt rise over the sheer mountain cliffs behind us. Even our cold & grousing tween had to acknowledge the grandeur. 😌

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Saturday proved to be somewhat overcast, chilly, and eventually rainy—but undeterred we headed out for a guided Ansel Adams photo walk led by an accomplished nature photographer. Henry enjoyed seeing Ansel’s prints juxtaposed with the real subjects behind them, noting what’s changed (trees, bridges) and the eternal mountains that haven't.

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After warming up a bit at the visitor’s center, we hiked over to what we dubbed back in 2010 “The Dad-O Falls & Goonie Falls” (i.e. one big, one little). We pit stopped for lunch, reading, and recharging, then motored up to the spectacular Tunnel View before making our way back down to the beautiful Awahnee Lodge for dinner & drinks.

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Finally, on Sunday morning (newly bright & crisp!), we headed off to a brief & easy hike to nearby Mirror Lake before packing up the Westy & heading back to civilization (and our wiggly friend!). As I say, please check out our gallery for the full picture.

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PS—Just for fun, here’s a quick vid (and pics) of our tiny troopers enjoying the waterfalls almost exactly 10 (!!) years ago:

27Feb/200

Hen’s Haul

On Saturday Hen & I checked out the Great Train Show in San Jose—something of an annual tradition for us. He’d been saving his money for months & months, and he was delighted to make some great buys of vintage cars & buildings. Here’s a taste he put together for his YouTube channel:

For a fun throwback, check out the tour Hen presented following the show three years ago:

23Feb/200

Gotcha Day!

What a difference a year makes! Friday marked exactly a year since we picked up Mr. Seamus Murdog Nack from the airport (video), and my how he’s grown (both literally and on us):

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We celebrated the occasion by getting him dolled up with a fresh haircut & his Christmas bandana, then serving up a delicious (and instantly consumed!) cookie:

We hope that this is just the first of many happy returns for Mr. S in our fam. Check out the whole Seamus category for some fun memories from our first year together.