Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hiking Big Basin

I woke up at 5:30am (“Pacific People” Time) Monday morning… After the week I had, which consisted of a flight to Greensboro, a dinner in Greensboro, a drive to Raleigh, a flight to Baltimore, a conference in Baltimore, a flight to Raleigh, a meeting in Raleigh, a drive to Greensboro, a meeting in Greensboro, a drive to Charleston, a conference in Charleston, a drive to Wilmington, a wedding in Wilmington, a drive to Greensboro and finally a flight back to San Fran, one would think hibernation would have been in order. However, as the sun started to rise on the west coast, I woke bright eyed and ready to play.

Mike and I spent the afternoon in Big Basin State Park (originally known at the California Redwood Forest). We hiked just over 10 miles through groves of giant redwoods, through an odd rock-desert that reminded me of a scene in Lord of the Rings (a reference Mike loved to hear me make) and down 3 beautiful waterfalls. It was a serene and picturesque ending to an exhausting week.

P.S. The picture of our feet is meant to show off the new hiking boots we bought with the REI Gift Cards so many of you gave us for our wedding. The random picture of the bottom of the tree was taken because I thought the hole looked like an "M" - which of course is for Mike.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pics from Napa and San Fran

My family came to visit us in Cali last week (quick turn around, I know, but they will be in Peru for most of the summer and dates options were limited). Despite being a newby to the area, we did a fantastic job of showing them around.

We spent 3 days in Napa and Sonoma, all of which were spectacular! The social aspect, the business aspect, and the learning aspect made it fall right up my alley! Let's just say Mike is officially worried!

After our umpteenth bottle of wine we headed south to San Fran. From great meals to bike rides over the Golden Gate, reflexology treatments to late night trolley car rides, our two days in the city added to the memories of an amazing family vacation.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Day 6

Route: Scottsdale, AZ – Palo Alto, CA (Via the Pacific Coast Highway)
Drive Time: Apx. 14 hours
Highlights: Sunday afternoon was when we finally saw the pacific ocean!!! I felt like I had just finished a marathon – like Rocky when he charged up those famous steps! We watched the Pepperdine Waves defeat Stanford in the second round of the NCAA Tennis Championships, stumbled upon the cutest town I have ever seen called Los Olivos (just south of Santa Barbara), and had dinner in San Luis Obispo.
Things I Learned: I love California weather!

Day 5

Route: Deming, NM – Scottsdale, AZ
Drive Time: Apx. 5 hours
Highlights: Saturday might rival Day-1 as the toughest part of our trip. The highlight, for me, would have to be making it to Will and Adrienne’s house in Scottsdale – especially after I almost killed Addie with a cactus in Tucson.
Things I Learned: There is a (freaking) ton of Indian land out west. Dust storms move and look like mini-tornados. The Shakespeare Ghost Town is not a must-see. There are African Killer Bees and lions in the Saguaro National Park. If you come across a bee hive, you can expect to be chased by them for at least ½ a mile but after that they should leave you alone. If you are attacked by a lion, try to remain standing so they can’t bite your neck. (Sure, no problem!) Oh, and make sure to speak to the lion in a stern voice… I think they are encouraging something demonstrative - like how I speak to Addie. “Sit big, scary, mean lion! Sit right now!”

Day 4

Route: Houston, TX – Deming, NM
Drive Time: Apx. 12 ½ hours
Highlights: Despite having a monstrous drive ahead of us, we took our time getting out of Houston on Friday morning. Duke and Courtney let Lexie (our niece) skip school so Addie and I took her to the park, played in her pink tent, read just about every book she owns (or at least portions of) and danced with her to Hula and “happy” videos. I tried red meat for the first time in over ten years at a famous BBQ place in Austin called Rudy’s. We came across an adorable town near Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson’s former ranch in Fredericksburg, TX. Mike tried to jump a ditch at the Texas/Mexico border with hopes of seeing the Rio Grande… He quickly retreated to our car when he saw flashing blue lights coming toward us from both directions. (I should also mention that our “across the border” adventures took place at 2:30am.) We finally pulled over and got a hotel room a little after 5:00am, which they gave us for half price since we were checking in so late!
Things I Learned: Houston will make you drip-sweat even at 8:15 in the morning. Addie has a tougher time peeing on the ground in Texas than she did on the pavement in NYC. I-10 is an experience in itself!!! Our tax dollars are indeed supporting border control.

Day 3

Route: Flora, MS – Houston, TX
Drive Time: Apx. 7 hours, 15 minutes
Highlights: Thursday was our day of non-stop eating. We woke-up to an amazing breakfast with the Ueltschey’s and Mrs. Gough, munched on an assortment of goodies Rebecca prepared for our car ride, ate beignets and po-boys in New Orleans and then (yes, gross I know) had a Texas-style Mexican dinner with Bill and Courtney upon arriving in Houston. (P.S. Rebecca, Mike is still talking about your monkey bread.) I had never been to New Orleans, so just seeing the city was a treat for me. It was hot as sin, but I’d love to go back with a group of friends one day!
Things I Learned: There are places in the United States that would make you think you are in a third world country (like the small grocery store at the Mississippi/Louisiana border. If you buy eight batteries for $1.99 (at the “Guatemalan” grocery store) they probably are not going to work. You can always find at least one Conservative Talk Radio Station in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. It’s been almost three years since Katrina but the 9th Ward still looks like a war zone.

Day 2

Route: Nashville, TN – Flora, MS
Drive Time: 6 ½ hours
Highlights: Wednesday started and ended with perfection. We took the liberty of sleeping in, ate a big Country Inn breakfast, and spent the morning walking through the Gaylord Opryland compound and the Grand ole Opry House. The weather was beautiful (daylight made driving so much easier) and we enjoyed all kinds of fact-finding and fun stops along the way. We stopped through Memphis (briefly) and luckily arrived at the Peabody Hotel just in time to see the famous duck march. Thanks to a recommendation from Lucy Harris, good friend from UVA who was born in Memphis, Mike found his way to Gus’s friend chicken… He must have said “this is really good chicken” at least 7 times (and that was over the course of eating only two pieces). By 8:30 that night we were pulling into Flora, MS to see some friends from college (Michael and Rebecca Ueltschey and their daughter Anderson). Our wedding (in February of ’07) was the last time we had seen each other, so it was such a gift to have time to spend together.
Things I Learned: Vicksburg is not named after (football star and dog-killer) Michael Vick. You can’t buy wine in Mississippi grocery stores. Southern twang can be very difficult to understand – even for a girl born and raised in Jamestown, NC. Ducks can be trained to walk the red carpet. Justin Timberlake has a gold-note on Beale Street. Ramsey the Great is (for some odd reason) an icon in Memphis, Tennessee. Anderson Ueltschey is one of the strongest (almost) one-year-olds I have ever met.

Due West: Day-1

On Tuesday of last week Mike, Addie and I said goodbye to The Box and headed west (by car) to Palo Alto, California where we will be living for the summer. (In response to some of your confused texts and voicemails, yes I did mean the state of California, and no I was not kidding when I said we drove all the way there.)
Our westwardly adventures started Tuesday afternoon… In true Bucy fashion we were running a bit late (about 58 hours late to be exact) but who in the world is counting, right??? The original plan was to drive through Tennessee and Alabama, across the northern part of Texas, through Albuquerque, NM and then up to Palo Alto via Phoenix, Arizona. The nice thing about road trips, however, is that they can change at the drop of a hat. A couple hours into our trip – I think it was somewhere around the Tennessee state line – we decided to re-route and head south to Mississippi… After a stop in Jackson, it was on to Louisiana, across the southern part of Texas, into New Mexico, Arizona, and finally up the coast of California.
There were points in the trip when I thought we would never make it. There were many more times when I didn’t want our journey to ever end. Here are some pictures and memories to help tell the story of our adventure.

Route: Charlottesville, VA – Nashville, TN
Drive Time: 9 hours
Highlights: Ironically, Tuesday was the toughest of our entire trip… I think the fact that both Mike and I had seen a lot of Virginia and eastern-Tennessee beforehand had a lot to do with it, but added to the “typical” were Mike’s stresses over how he did on his last exam, and the fact that most of our drive was in complete darkness. I tried to keep my thoughts to myself, but I was definitely a little worried about how I would ever survive until Sunday!
Things I Learned: Mike would be a terrible criminal. He was so paranoid about lying to the receptionist at our hotel about not having a pet that he hardly slept a wink – prepared to leap out of bed and silence Addie at even the slightest hint of a bark. He made me put her in a suitcase anytime we went in our out of the hotel. He even went back into our room (after check-out) to take the garbage bag from our room trashcan because he thought housekeeping might untie a grocery bag that had some of Addie’s un-eaten, dry dog food inside and reveal our secret.

Friday, May 2, 2008

"You're gonna miss this"

It's sad to think that Mike's second year at UVA is coming to an end. Summer plans are about to unfold, which means we are all off to different places in the world, and some (those who are graduating) will not be back in August. I will confess to my fair-share of little complaints since moving to C-ville (i.e. living in the box, becoming a road-warrior, being the working-girl in a group of students) but the new Trace Atkins song is certainly starting to hit home...

You're going to miss this, you're going to want this back.
You're going to wish these days hadn't gone by so fast.
These are some good times, so take a good look around.
You may not know it now, but you're going to miss this.

The pics below are from the Foxfield Races last weekend... There were a couple people missing from our group, but it was a great way to celebrate the end of the semester and our wonderful Charlottesville friendships!

Mike (pretty in pink) and me (but without my derby hat).

Tailgating with Carli Reis.

Mike and I with (NYC-bound) Lucy Harris.

The McKinsey boys - Steve Reis, Mike and JJ Kasper.