Continents I've Visited (Bucket List #2)

Goal #2 on my bucket list is to visit each of the 7 continents. I'll track that goal using this map. The table below the map contains some details about my visits in reverse chronological order of first visits to a continent.

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Posted by Greg on April 22, 2008 at 8:00AM.

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States I've Visited (Bucket List #3)

Goal #3 on my bucket list is to visit every state in the U.S. I'll track that goal using this map. The table below the map contains some details about my visits in reverse chronological order of first visits to a state. The early ones are approximates as my memory from that far back is a little fuzzy.

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Posted by Greg on March 18, 2008 at 8:00AM.

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Bits and Pieces of This and That

Wow, has life ever been crazy over the last few weeks.  We've been busy, and we've been travelling.  Here are a few news bites from the little bit of our lives.

Our fun month of travel started with a photography conference in Napa, California.  On the way home we stopped at the Jelly Belly factory for a tour.  I've checked #50 off of my 101 things list.

Since our twins died, we have been looking to move from our foster agency to a Butte county program called Options for Recovery.  This program only places foster children between the ages of birth and 5 months who have experienced drug exposure.  A combination of bureaucracy, staff changes at the county licensing office, and a few other things delayed us for over a year.  I'm happy to report that we are officially Options foster parents as of the end of February.

We got to see Rachelle for the first time since we dropped her off at her residential treatment program last November.  She's doing very well, and I have written a short trip report over on the Divine Reflections Photography blog: Visiting Rachelle.  From Utah, we went to Colorado to see some old friends of ours.  That means that I can cross #56, visit a state or Canadian province I haven't yet been to, off of my 101 things list.  I posted some photos from that trip over at Divine Reflections as well: Fish Family Fun.

Our laptop died just after we got back from Napa.  Fortunately, I was able to save the data from the old hard drive.  Then the computer that Ariana uses for homework and that Crystal and I had been using for emergency photo editing decided that it would die just after we got back from our Utah and Colorado trip.  We scrambled to buy a new laptop so we could keep working.  That brought Ariana's computer back to life somehow.  I almost have the new computer set up, and now I have the formidable task of organizing all of the pictures from the last few weeks.

Posted by Greg on March 12, 2008 at 8:00AM.

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Dry Lagoon Camping

One of life's little joys is impromptu trips. Crystal and I decided that we wanted to take a camping trip with Stewart before he left for Kentucky for the new school year. I researched some campgrounds on the coast, and we decided on the Dry Lagoon Walk-In campground. Just a couple of days after conceiving the idea, we drove to the coast.

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Posted by Greg on September 23, 2004 at 8:00AM.

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Monterey Peninsula Anniversary

Wedding anniversaries are special times. Wedding anniversaries are worth celebrating. Crystal and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary in May 2004 by taking a trip to the Monterey Peninsula on the coast of California. We picked Monterey as our destination because we heard from our family members that it is one of the most beautiful places in California. We were not disappointed.

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Posted by Greg on September 23, 2004 at 8:00AM.

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Ontario Bound

I love planning trips. Something about poring over maps, checking destinations on the internet, and leafing through travel brochures excites me. I get to forget about my job, cleaning the house, and whatever else I'm doing for a little while, and I get transported to places all over the world.

In early 2002, the time to choose a summer vacation destination rolled around. Crystal and I thought about going to the Ozarks in Arkansas, the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Then we thought about Niagara Falls. We both love waterfalls. We both wanted to leave the country. I started poring over maps, travel brochures, and internet articles. We decided to make a big loop through Ontario: Niagara Falls, Toronto, and the Bruce Peninsula.

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Posted by Greg on January 24, 2004 at 8:00AM.

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Big Creek Camping

In August of 2002, we went to North Carolina for a bit of a vacation before seminary classes started for me and school started for Stewart. We had only been camping a couple of times during the summer, so we wanted to camp. I talked to my parents, and they agreed to camp with us at Big Creek, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So, we headed to North Carolina, stayed at Mom and Dad's for one night, and then headed for the campground.

We got to the campground just in time; there were only two spots left. We set up camp in a really nice spot next to the creek. We found out later that the only reason the spot was empty was that the rangers kicked a rowdy group out of it a few hours earlier. After we set up our tents, we headed up the Big Creek Trail toward Midnight Hole. Midnight Hole is a deep, crystalline pool of icy water at the base of a small waterfall. There are some huge rocks beside the waterfall that are suitable for jumping into the pool. I didn't have my swimming trunks, so I didn't swim, but the water sure did look inviting. Dad, Stewart, and I continued up the trail to Mouse Creek Falls, and Mom and Crystal went back to camp. Mouse Creek Falls was beautiful even though it was not at full flow. The water level in all the creeks was pretty low, probably because of the time of year.

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Posted by Greg on December 6, 2003 at 8:00AM.

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Jones Gap Backpacking Trip

Jeremy Dolby, Tim Hewitt, Joe Reaper, Adam Thompson, and I decided that we wanted to spend our sophomore year Spring Break on a backpacking trip. A couple of years earlier, I had taken a backpacking trip to Jones Gap State Park in South Carolina. I suggested that we go there as a group since it was close to my house. That would allow us to stay with my parents before and after the backpacking portion of our trip. They guys liked that idea, so we ordered maps and started making plans.

We decided to set up a base camp so that we could go on day hikes without carrying the full weight of our gear. We picked group site B on the Coldspring Branch Trail, just off the Jones Gap Trail, as our home base. To give ourselves maximum flexibility, we chose not to plan the day hikes in advance.

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Posted by Greg on December 3, 2003 at 8:00AM.

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California Dreamin'

Crystal, who was my girlfriend back in 1999, invited me to spend two weeks with her and the rest of her family in Chico, California, over the summer. I had never been to California before, but I had been wanting to see the state for a long time, so I was really excited.

We started out in Wilmore, Kentucky, where Crystal was staying for the summer. We flew out of Louisville on the long trip to Sacramento. Here's a tip for people flying the discounted flights with Southwest Airlines: those tickets are cheap for a reason. We stopped three times to pick up additional passengers and changed planes once before we finally got to Sacramento.

The first thing that I noticed about California was the large number of rice fields that dotted the landscape. I had no idea that the state was so agricultural, but I was soon to find out that there was stuff growing everywhere. The valley is full of orchards and fields. Everything else is dry as a bone, but the fields are lush and green. Irrigation turns the valley into an oasis.

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Posted by Greg on January 7, 2003 at 8:00AM.

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