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Category: Travel (page 1 of 2)

Birthdays, Ziplining and NoVa Wineries

Alright. Let’s get back to writing. The past few weeks of my sparse posts don’t matter. Let’s just see if I can write today and go from there, okay?

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday. Us and two of our friends took off work and had some fun.

We started out in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. It’s been a really long time since I’ve been there. I was probably 8(?) last time I went so my memory of it is very vague. Our journey began at River Riders. River Riders is an outdoor adventure park. They have a rope course, a zipline course, river adventures, and other miscellaneous outdoor fun events.

I choose for us to do the Megazip and Quick Jump which ran about $25 a person. We started with the Quick Jump which is about a 40-50 foot fall. All you do is walk off this wooden ledge, free fall for a second or two then the line catches you and lowers you to the ground. It maybe takes 4-5 seconds total max. When you’re standing there on the ledge it’s pretty darn scary. It goes against millions of years of evolution to convince yourself it’s okay to walk off this ledge.

I decided to go first in order to “get it over with.” As someone who gets motion sickness very easily I was just as afraid I’d get sick as I was about making the actual jump. I was out of my miracle prescription patches so it was Seabands and some organic anti-motion sickness tablets from Whole Foods. They did the trick though and I felt as close to fine I think one could.

After we all jumped and survived we changed harnesses and walked back up to the top of the tower. It’s now time for ziplining.

I’ve only ziplined one other time. That was in Korea onto Nami Island. That zipline was at least 3x as long, faster, over water and in a foreign country. So this one should be a piece of cake, right?

Hypothetically yes. However there was one notable difference. Instead of sitting up in a seat and ziplining, at River Riders there’s an option to rider it “Superman style.” TBH I had no idea I actually had a choice between seated and Superman style. If they would have told me I would 100% have done the seated option. But once I found out I was already dangling waiting from them to push me and my wife off the ledge and down the wire.

The main noticeable difference between Korea and River Riders was the initial first 1-3 seconds. In Korea it felt like you dropped 10-15 feet before the zipline really took hold and gradually declined. With River Riders there was next to no drop (which I’m thankful for) and it was a fairly steady decline the entire way. About halfway in my stomach did drop a little but I held it together and was fine. At the very end of the zipline the braking system was a bit rough as you come in “real hot” to the platform. All in all, it was a huge adrenaline rush and well worth the $25.

After River Riders we headed to downtown Harpers Ferry (if you can even call it a downtown). The parking situation was confusing, confirming everything I read online. There’s a small out near downtown with an on your honor $10 parking fee but it’s about a 3/4 mile walk back into the edge of town. After pulling the old man on the hill card, I drove us to the “real” parking lot which is a few miles away. That also was $10 but there’s a shuttle.

The shuttle has one stop then takes you into town. It maybe takes 15 minutes? The stop is pretty pointless as going into town should take less than 5 minutes but hey, I’m not going to sweat it (even though the bus driver was rude).

We grabbed lunch at Bistro 1840. The food was excellent. From my online research it looked like the best place to eat downtown and it didn’t disappoint. The table ordered deviled eggs and calamari and I had a steak and bleu cheese salad.

While we were at the restaurant it began to rain. And not just any rain. It was a straight up downpour. It looked like it was going to rain for the next several hours so instead of exploring downtown a bit we decided a winery was a much better option for us. During a break in the rain we made out escape back to the shuttle pickup. We were almost there when the sky opened up and began monsooning again. Soaking wet we made it back to our cars and started the trek to nearby Breaux Vineyards.

We fought through the rain down Route 671 and arrived at Breaux. After dropping the group as close to the tasting room as I could I made my mad dash through the parking lot. By the time I reached the door my right shoe was untied, both shoes and socked soaked through as well as my shirt and shorts. Wet from head to toe we had a wine tasting of 6 wines and got a bottle of red for the table.

The rain stopped. Our clothes somewhat dried. A few miles down the road is Hillsborough Vineyards. No tasting this time — we went straight for a bottle of red. With my friends feeling good and me, the DD, exhausted I drove us back home.

Ziplining. Good food. Wine. Friends. All on a Monday. I don’t mind that at all.

I’m Back!

Alright, let’s get this writing habit back in gear. I broke the consecutive day writing streak and took off the past 2-3 weeks. The streak was somewhere close to 500 days. But hey, who’s counting besides me? It’s time to get going again. Maybe create another streak or maybe just enjoy the heck out of writing again.

I don’t even remember where I left off and there’s a half dozen written posts I haven’t published. I’ll let those die in digital purgatory never to be seen by eyes again.

Two weekends ago my buddy and I took a road trip up to Toronto. The big stops were Buffalo, Guelph (where a friend lives), Toronto and Syracuse. I outlined a really long post with all the fine details in it already including axe throwing which is a thousand times cooler than it already sounds. If I ever get around to filling in that outline and publishing it is another question.

It felt good to travel. Darn good. That travel bug still has a hold of me. I’m 5+ months removed from my last big trip (Vietnam). I’m 2ish months removed from a small-medium sized trip (Spring Training & Disney). I was getting restless before this most recent trip. Being back is worse. The travel experience is fresh which only makes the bug bite stronger. I’ve spent half the day on Orbitz and Skyscanner searching for flights in October.

Sigh. Alright. Looks like I’m back. Whining about not being able to travel somewhere in my tiny corner of the Internet. I’ll take it though. Maybe I’ll be back tomorrow?

– Josh

The Entire World

We priced out the train trip tonight. And it’s a lot. Approximately $9,000… There’s places we can obviously cut and could probably get it down to $6,000-$7,000. But this is our big trip for the year and we don’t like to have to tighten the belt a ton in order to do it.

So we got to thinking. Why not do something else? Heck, we did Vietnam for 3 weeks and for FOUR people for about $9,000. Why would we spend that much for 2 ⅓ weeks staying in the States?

Now, anything is possible. We’re aiming to keep the trip between $5,000-$7,000 without having to be budget conscious the entire time. Ph looked up some cool-looking British Isles cruises. That lead me to Wikipedia-ing Guernsey. Hmm. Had never heard of it before tonight.

The whole world just opened up to us. I’m wide open to suggestions.

My gut screams at me to go back to Japan or Vietnam. But Europe may be calling me just as strongly. Hmm. This is a very good problem to have.

– Josh

52,000 Steps

Over the past two days I’ve taken over 52,000 steps. Thank you, iPhone for tracking this for me. My feet. Are crushed. However Disney has been concurred.

Yesterday was Magic Kingdom and today was Epcot. I’m just getting back to my room. It’s 10:45 on the dot.

I cannot get over the pain in my feet. We walked 17.5 miles over the last two days. My Asics shoes ended up being too tight. They’re great running shoes so I figured they’d be great for the trip. Wrong. My feet swelled so much from all the walking that my running shoes, which are a half size too small on purpose, that the pain became unbearable by the end of last night. And 6.5 hours of sleep before starting the walking all over again did next to nothing to help me recover. I’m positive that tomorrow is going to be extra painful. Thankfully it’ll be a chill day before heading to the airport.

– Josh

Magic Kingdom Day

Okay I few a few minutes while my wife waits in line to grab a snack. I went and snagged some seats in the shade. It’s about 75 degrees here in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. It’s my first time here in probably 18 years.m; my first time here as an adult.

The park opens at 9:00 but they let people in earlier. We got here at 8:30 and breezed through security. These wristband thugs Disney has as quite efficient.

Before 10:00am we had already rode the Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. My Scopolamine patch is working wonders.

It’s almost 2:30 and I’m starting to feel some fatigue set in. I’ll power through though. We’re only here for one more day (doing Epcot) so feel extra motivated to try to get the most out of our little time here.

– Josh

Disney Bound

On the bus to Disney from MCO Airport. It’s been an adventure the past 45 minutes. Apparently there is NO gas station within 10 miles of the airport. We needed to fill up the rental car before returning it and let’s just say that we were not happy driving through nowhere Florida looking for a RaceTrac gas station. Sigh.

Spring Training was incredible. More on it when I’m back later this week. We had another spectacular day at the park. We got some autographs, most notably Gio Gonzalez and Joe Ross. We talked to a ton of different fans (something I love doing). And just overall enjoyed our time at the park.

Up next is two days of Disney. Magic Kingdom tomorrow and Epcot on Tuesday. I have no close as to what to expect. It’s been two decades since I’ve last been here. Alright. Think I might rest up for the rest of this bus ride.

– Josh

Spring Training is Everything I Thought

Enjoying Spring Training

Spring Training is everything I thought and so much more. TBH I don’t want to spend 15 minutes rehashing every detail. Instead I’m going to provide myself a bulleted list of some of my highlights. And maybe I’ll jump into the minute details once I’m back home. Here we go:

  • Altuve lecturing a fan
  • Harper
  • the World Series ring I held
  • Angel Hernandez’s friend
  • Octavio Martinez (Nats bullpen catcher)
  • my wife and I each catching a ball
  • autographs
  • the hat rack collapse and Nats players tweeting at me

Official Spring Training Baseball

Altuve! (I actually might be taller than him…)

2005 World Series Championship Ring

Harper!

Marwin Gonzalez

Due South Category 3 IPA

The Great Hat Catastrophe

Derek Eitel giving me a dirty look

– Josh

Playball

Spring Training trip commence! I honestly thought I’d try to write this at the end of the day and recap everything buuuuut I know I’m going to be wiped out.

Last night I ended up getting about 2 hours of sleep. I was running around so crazy my mind just wouldn’t turn off. At all. We also left at 3:30am for our flight.

Our flight was out of DCA which is about an hour’s drive for us. Got there at 4:30 and caught the bus from the economy lot. It was snowing, not a lot but enough to make me drive slow in my Corolla. And cold enough that we were freezing waiting for the bus. I was in shorts and my wife without a jacket. We’re headed to Florida for crying out loud!

Our JetBlue flight into FLL has been good. We’re about five minutes from landed. The live tv was out but we were able to watch the movie channels and they opened up the wifi for free. I watched Arrival which I’ve been dying to see. I actually passed out for about 45 minutes (from exhaustion, not the movie) so I got a little lost when I woke back up. Still a solid flick though.

The plane ended up being delayed about 30 minutes because it had to be de-iced. Thanks, winter. Regardless this has been a decent flight. Lots of legroom from my 5’3″ frame.

Alright. About to touchdown! Spring Training!!!

– Josh

Travel Headaches, or Lack Thereof

It’s the mad dash before vacation. It’s only a quick vacation — six days. We’re not changing timezones. We definitely still speak the same language, unless Floridians suddenly gained an accent I’m unfamiliar with. And we’ll have our phones with our regular data plans. All in all, it feels very tame compared to our last trip (Vietnam).

I love the adventure that a trip like Vietnam brings. But there are also a ton of headache-inducing issues you have to deal with. Visas… Shots… Language barrier… Is this safe to eat?… So I’m thankful to just be able to go and chill on this vacay without those headaches.

It feels like we planned a lot up front for this trip though. We bought baseball tickets. Had to figure out the exact flight we had to take in order to make it to the ballgame on time and not have to spend an extra night in a hotel. Found the cheapest but non-sketch hotel in West Palm Beach (or at least we hope it’s not sketch). For Disney my wife hired a travel agent which will be well worth it. I’m sure I’ll do a write-up on our experience with her after our trip. But despite all this planning they aren’t really issues to get anxious about like “will I get malaria?” or “will I accidently wander into North Korea?

Okay. One last day of work (an onsite visit to a client to review footage and editing an entire video start-to-end) before packing up, dropping Peyt off at our friends’ house and doing the final prep before we go.

– Josh

Spring Training / Disney Trip Update

Our Spring Training/Disney trip is nearly 100% booked. All hotels, tickets and flights are done. The only outstanding booking is the rental car. Otherwise I’m ready to pack my bag and get down to Florida!

We used a travel agent for the first time when we booked Disney (okay, my wife used the travel agent…I didn’t do anything for planning Disney). Her experience so far has exceeded expectations. Honestly, we didn’t know what to expect. But after some emails and a phone call we feel like we got the best deal we could have gotten for Disney, even if we would have booked ourselves, and we feel a heck of a lot more knowledgeable about the parks, where to go, how to get around, what to see, what to eat, etc. We wouldn’t have this type of confidence from reading blogs or watching YouTube videos.

The cost of the trip, especially the Disney portion, is quickly adding up. We probably could have spent a week in Phu Quoc for cheaper than this trip but #yolo. And Spring Training is on my travel bucket list and Disney is on my wife’s so we get to kill two birds with our one travel stone.

Alright. Alright. Gotta walk the dog. Headed to a concert tomorrow night that’s going to completely throw my routine off. I need to prep for tomorrow.

– Josh