Micronaxx The adventures of Finn & Henry

13Jan/190

Bunking aboard the Hornet

The guys and I are just back from an overnight visit to the USS Hornet, a highly decorated World War II-era carrier we last visited some 7 years ago (photos). This time around we spent the night with our Cub Scout pack & several hundred other scouts & parents from around the area. On the whole we had a ball touring the ship, grabbing chow on board (“The cookie was exceptional!” reports Hen), and bunking among pals. Check out our gallery.

NewImage

I also had a little fun flying my drone over the Hornet & her adjacent Navy ships:

And here’s an interactive 360º panorama from overhead:

5Jan/190

Who’s down for ghost town?

New year, old school: we kicked off 2019 by dropping by the Calico Ghost Town just outside Barstow, CA, during our long journey home. Hen was naturally drawn to the narrow-gauge railroad, while Margot & Finn checked out old shops (sorry, “shoppes”) and sundries. Here’s a gallery and a quick tour of our visit:

NewImage


NewImage

12Dec/180

A Willow Glen Caboose (!)

Who knew that for the last 10+ years, we’ve been living just walking distance from a 100-year-old caboose? Henry & I dropped in on last Sunday’s potluck meal for the Silicon Valley Lines & were treated to a tour of our neighbors’ restored machine-turned-office. Here’s a quick peek:

9Dec/180

Backyard Beatdown

When life gives you lemons in the form of a back yard that resembles an urban war zone—well, make it a Nerf war zone! Our trusty neighborhood horse-headed gunslinger "Horz" is back in action against neighborhood menaces "Doggo" and his sister. Enjoy!

3Dec/180

The G-Man Mission Plan

It seems that every kid who grew up in California remembers (often fondly) creating a fourth-grade project that explores the complicated history of the state’s Spanish-built missions. With the help of Legos & some oversight from foreman Mom, Henry produced a pretty great one to turn in today. Check it out:

2Dec/180

SLO Beach Bros

Cabin fever, at least in the days post-Thanksgiving, has proven no match for us the past couple of years, seeing the fam head out to Yosemite, Hearst Castle, and Point Reyes. This year we fired up the Westy and headed down to San Luis Obispo & stayed right by the water & the famous dune of Oceano Beach (see 360º panorama from my drone, at bottom). During the days we checked out SLO’s mission, butterfly grove, and antique shops (you’re welcome, Hen 😉), and at night Finn & I enjoyed some epic long walk-and-chat sessions to the beach and back.

The highlight, though, had to be renting a squad of 4-wheel ATVs:

We tore around the beach amidst thousands of other folks riding dune buggies, motorcycles, trucks, and RVs. Although we experienced a few close calls, Henry does not remain at the bottom of the Return of the Jedi-style Sarlacc pit into which he & his machine plunged, and remained un-crushed by Finn’s stranded vehicle. At the end everyone emerged happy if sandy. (“My legs feel like jelly!” reported Hen.)

Check out this album showing the whole weekend’s worth of adventures, plus our videos from the beach & from the air:

31Oct/180

Horzing Around

Lately we’ve been trying to get our screen-obsessed lads out from behind their devices & out of the house. If we can’t quite pry them off the screens, we can at least get them outside & onto the other side of the device.

Behold the weird tales of “Horz” and his associates “Gophie” and “Doggo” (“a couple of nose-picking morons he found online,” Finn informs me) featuring the acting & filmmaking talents of our dudes plus neighbors Henry D & Sadie. Behold the magic below—and soon you’ll have as little idea what’s going on as we do. 🤷🏻 ♂️😌

27Oct/180

Best night ever? 🚂

Lately Hen has quite reasonably bemoaned the fact that few kids share his passion for old cars, coins, and trains. Well, I told him, in a city of nearly a million souls, we must be able to find your people somewhere, right? And so we have!

Last night we dropped in on Silicon Valley Lines, the local model railroad club that turns out to be located just a mile or so from our house. All the guys we met (including a German Googler named Bernard, who spent ages letting Hen drive a train) couldn’t have been nicer, and of course I needed a crowbar to pry our man out of there—even after two hours. And today he’s raring to go back, hoping to meet another kid who might be dropping by.

“On a scale of 1 to 10,” says Henry, “I’d rate it a billion.” ☺️ Check out a little gallery plus this vid of our budding engineer in action:

NewImage

23Oct/180

Niles Canyon 2018

On Sunday we took our budding engineer & his long-suffering (but not excessively suffering :-)) big brother up to the Niles Canyon Railway for an afternoon of riding the rails and—in Dad-O’s case—flying over them. In addition to the gallery of photos we snapped (featuring Hen mugging with innumerable old cars), you can check out this little installment of Henry Nack Model Train Central…

…as well as some Johnny Cash-flavored touring from the air…

…and a 360º panorama from above.

All in all, a solid outing!

NewImage

NewImage

16Oct/181

Postin’ from the Pool

Not content (finally!) just to sit & watch YouTube, both of the dudes are becoming rather avid creators. The last few nights have seen the lads filming up a storm with Henry D. & his sister Sadie (stay tuned for that horse-mask-clad craziness 😌), and meanwhile Hen has turned from posting about trains & currency (see previous) to posting from the pool in Cabo. (His mortification at the sound of his own voice reminds me of when I got a tape recorder at age 5 or so from my Aunt Dolores. I told him that we all hate our voices. 🤷‍♂️)

10Oct/180

Farm boys, now & then

Our flight from Cabo gave me a chance at last to edit some photos & vids from our August trip to Galena. The dudes loved visiting our friend Tom’s farm—driving tractors and scaling silos (file that one under “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again”!). Tom’s brother Jerry was a great host, while Maria & Bert (the Buffalo) were good-natured passengers.

Check out a gallery from the day (including vertiginous 360º shot from atop the silo!) and watch the budding “Uber drivers” in action:

I love comparing this to how the dudes looked while visiting the farm with Uncle Ted back in 2011...

…and in 2014 (when they made “corn angels” in the silo):

Lastly, here’s a 360º overhead shot of the farm that you can click & drag:

26Sep/180

Here Come The Irish! ☘️

A couple of weeks ago my teammate Buck’s wedding gave us a perfect excuse to visit South Bend with the whole fam. We got to explore campus (including my old dorm) ahead of the Vanderbilt game; grab lunch at the Morris Inn; and attend Mass on Sunday morning. The guys got some new perspective looking up from under the Golden Dome, and we enjoyed watching the marching band step off en route to the stadium. Check out the little gallery from our days on campus.

25Sep/180

¡Una Gran Tormenta!

Ay, Dios Mío—meteorologist Finn is here to warn us of a giant inbound storm, español! Aaaaah!!

6Sep/180

Riders In The Sky

On Monday evening the dudes accompanied me to my friend Luke’s ultra scenic abode, which features a mile-long mountain biking trail and a pretty nifty pool. Here’s a taste of the two-wheeled & aquatic mayhem we got into:

4Sep/180

Midnight Train to Big G

Driving back into Galena the night of my birthday, Hen was thrilled to keep the top down on the MZ—but that was nothing compared to his reaction when, from the highway, we heard the rumble of a distant freight train. I immediately turned off the road and made a beeline down the hill, whipping out my phone on the way. Check out our close encounter with the iron horse. 🚂☺️

MZ in Big G

30Jul/180

Rawhide!!

We had a ball (as usual) dropping in on our friends Matthias & Samantha at their newly expanded farm this past Saturday. Highlights included milking the new goat, meeting the bulls, riding on the four wheeler, and checking out “Henry’s” tractors (abandoned farm equipment that Hen now officially “owns" but thankfully can’t move back to our place!).

Check out this vid from the day, featuring the Rawhide performance from one of the boys' favorite movies, Blues Brothers:

NewImage

NewImage

26Jul/180

Railroad men, young & old

These days (evenings, specifically) G-Man is fond of asking that we grab our bikes, hit the streets, and head out for some quality trainspotting. His friend Damien, whose grandma's backyard abuts the tracks, has suggested that she build a rooftop deck just so that Hen can come over & watch the iron horses go by. 😌 Last night we took my drone with us & were rewarded with a great moment!

From a bit earlier, here's an unplanned abstract shot of Mini-Me & Me awaiting the train:

NewImage

And ultimately we were rewarded with a wave from the Caltrain engineer:

16Jul/180

Bricks By The Bay 2018

As we’ve done a couple of past years, on Sunday we made the pilgrimage to Bricks By The Bay, a ginormous gathering of fellow Lego nerds & their bonkers creations. The dudes were happy to score a few vintage bricks to take home—and Henry even found a set of tiny Lego currency! 🤑 Here’s a quick tour of some of what we saw.

NewImage

5Jul/180

Happy Birthday, America!

Greetings from 10,000ft.! As we’ve gotten to do in many past years, we checked in on America’s highest Fourth of July parade—this year complete with vintage fire trucks, marching lions, hailstorms of thrown candy, and more. Afterwards Henry went BERSERK over his new metal detector (more on that later!) and the whole fam journeyed to a nearby campground to picnic. Here’s a little gallery & some quick video highlights:

NewImage

4Jul/180

Riding the Rockies!

We’ve taken the boys on the Leadville & Colorado Southern scenic railroad a number of times since they were teeny. This year’s ride was more special than the rest. Grandpa Liggett treated each guy to a trip that included riding in the caboose and in the engine! Needless to say, Henry was beside himself with excitement, and Finn was pretty jazzed, too. The engine pushes the train up the mountains from behind, so the caboose is in the lead on the way up. The boys loved sitting high in the cupola and enjoyed the 360-degree scenic view from the top. The brakeman, Jason, let us ride on the outer deck of the caboose and take in the scenery from there.

NewImage

When the train made a brief stop at the top, Henry hopped off solo (against the advice of the brakeman) in hopes of finding a stray railroad spike. Just as Henry found one and put his foot back on the step of the caboose, the horn blew and the train started rolling again! On the way back down to the depot all four of us sat in the huge diesel engine and chatted extensively with the railroad owner & engineer, Derek, who’s been manning the controls since he was a teenager (supervised by his own dad back in the day). All in all the day was a blast, and one we hope will provide some happy core memories for both guys.

Here’s a gallery from the adventure, and you can watch the highlights below:

Being a nostalgic guy, I can’t resist posting a vid of the first time the lads rode the train, all the way back in 2011:

That’s the day they got to explore a whole fleet of motorcars with Patrick & Charlie; see gallery & video here: