Trips and Training

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.”

I saw this quote by Lin Yutang somewhere not long ago during a particularly melancholy state of longing for our Berlin life and got to thinking about where we were last year at this time and where we are now. One year ago we were working and living in Berlin- planning our Spring trips to Paris and Greece and eagerly awaiting the open airs and biergartens that were just around the corner. This year life is a little different, but the urge and desire to continue our exploration of this big, beautiful world is not. We may not be traversing the sophisticated capitals of Europe, but we love the opportunities we’ve had to explore the west and the ridiculously vast city of Los Angeles. It’s been an especially exciting couple of weeks for this travel loving pair.

The last week of February I left for a Mexican girl-getaway with my lovely friend Emily and three of her Denver buds and my new friends, Sarah, Katrina and Meredith. Emily’s grandma generously offered up her timeshare in Cabo and we had a wonderful week lounging by the pool and the ocean, dining on Mexican food and enjoying lots and lots of girl talk. We traversed into town to dine at some of Emily’s favorite restaurants, Mamas and Ponchos and we also indulged in a sunset boat cruise through the Sea of Cortez and out to the Pacific side of the peninsula.  It was relaxing and refreshing and so good to catch up with one of my favorite friends!

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While I was sunning on a Mexican beach Dave was heading north to Tahoe for a weekend of skiing with his parents and Jack. They weren’t blessed with the best weather, but were still able to get some good runs in. I know Dave misses being able to ski as often as he used to so I’m always happy when he gets the chance to make it out to the mountains. They had three nights in Tahoe before heading back to Southern California. Unfortunately there were some issues with their plane and they ended up having to rent a car and drive down, but they made it one piece and just in time for Dave’s 29th birthday on March 5.

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It was a low-key birthday compared to what we’ve done in years past and we spent most of the day showing Al and Melissa around Huntington Gardens. The Gardens have become one of our favorite Pasadena spots and with our membership we’re often able to take advantage of the visiting hours. After a long morning/afternoon of checking out the grounds we headed back to my parent’s house for a snack and to bid Al and Melissa good bye before they hit the road and made their way to a conference in the Palm Springs area. Dave and I had a relaxing afternoon before heading into Pasadena for a birthday dinner and then a few more drinks at a local Sierra Madre bar.

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The very next day we were up early to pack and start the trek out to Arizona with my parents and Maddie. We’ve been talking about it for years and finally put our words into action when we planned a 3 night trip out to the Phoenix/Tempe area for Spring Training. The drive from LA is only between 5-6 hours and our family friend Gina generously agreed to put us all up while we were there.

Friday we caught a game at the Dodger’s Camelback Ranch. They beat the Rangers 2-1 and we were able to see Hanley Ramirez rip a homer. It is a really beautiful complex shared by the Dodgers and the White Sox with a number of practice fields, batting cages and other facilities for players and fans to take advantage of. We had great seats just 5 rows up from the field and halfway down the first base line.

Right after the game we drove over to the University of Phoenix football stadium for a guided tour. We got to see the stadium for a variety of seats including the press area and a private box. We went into the visitor’s locker room and were able to get a view of the grass that they mechanically maneuver before each game. The stadium will be host to the 2015 Super Bowl, so it was pretty cool to check it out while we were in the area.

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Saturday we took in another game at the Angels’ spring training stadium in Tempe. The Angels lost to the Diamondbacks, but we still had a great time checking out a new stadium and seeing some more great players and prospects. That night we drove up to Scottsdale to walk around the city and had dinner at a sushi restaurant off the main drag. Scottsdale was beautifully lit up with Christmas lights down every main street and there were tons of people out enjoying the evening.

Sunday brought our last day in Arizona. Dave and I decided to take advantage of our work-less states and stay a few more hours to catch one last game before driving back to LA. We thought about trying to see the Cubs play the Brewers at the Cub’s new stadium, but the game was sold out so we settled on Seattle v. Texas at the Mariner’s complex up in Peoria. We were incredibly glad we did. The lawn seats were cheap at $8 each and we had a great spot out in the right field grass. Seattle’s food and beverage options were by far the best of the three parks we visited. We were able to purchase 24oz. Red Hook beers for just $7.50 and the variety of food options available were far superior to both the Dodgers and Angels parks- they even had a “kooky coffee” stand…oh Seattle. The Mariner’s pulled off an 8th inning comeback scoring 5 runs to win 9-8. It was an exciting end to the game and the weekend.

After the game we loaded into the car and drove nonstop back to Sierra Madre, listening to a thousand Moth podcasts along the way. A good old road trip was the perfect way to wrap up a couple of fun, adventure filled weeks. In the coming months we’re looking forward to continuing our travels close to home and are hoping to include Austin, San Francisco and the Northwest in our upcoming itineraries. We’ll see what happens, but I have a feeling it won’t be long before the open road calls to us again:)

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