Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chillin with Mabel

It might be a bit of a stretch to say that we are "chilling" when it is 100+ degrees here in Phoenix but what better way to spend the last day of vacation than with my brother, his wife and our favorite niece, Mabel.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A view from above...

While we were at the Grand Canyon we were lucky enough to go on a helicopter tour. If you are ever in these parts and are able to take this trip, it is absolutely worth it. Breathtaking to the point where it brought a tear to my eye. Not a single picture I took does it justice. From the feeling of flying in a helicopter itself, to the awe inspiring setting of one of the wonders of the natural world, the Grand Canyon defies description.

Obligatory Conquest Photo of Grand Canyon

That was as close to the edge as I was willing to go. I was windy too...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dove Mountain

Today's stopping point is the Ritz at Dove Mountain in Marana, AZ. On the way here we got to drive through our first dust storm which drove visibility down to near zero. Following the dust storm was a pretty major thunderstorm with some crazy desert lightning. All in all, the drive was worth it; this place looks pretty awesome (the photo is the view from our balcony).

Has anyone seen my....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Beaver Street Brewery Sampler

Several Gold and Silver medal winners from the World Beer Cup on this sampler. This and a good rib eye and I'll be ready for bed.


I love the landscape in the west. It is breathtaking with its grand landscapes, beautiful in its commonly seen details, and unique around every corner of a drive like we had today. The photo above is one of my favorites. You can see the Delicate Arch in the background.

Long drive yesterday from De Beque, Co all the way to Flagstaff, AZ, - about 9 hours in a car with about 2.5 hours at Arches National Park sandwiched in the middle. This was the longest day that we had planned for the week or so of our road trip, so it is nice to have it behind us. Despite the long drive though, it was still an amazing day. Today we'll be headed into the Grand Canyon. Looking forward to this one.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Milt's Stop & Eat

The oldest restaurant in Moab - serving a damn fine burger, hand cut fries and an excellent milk shake. Milt's used to be located on Main street until Main street moved. Highly recommended.


Headed to Moab

We just spent two amazing days at Kessler Canyon, with many stories about that incredible place to follow. Today we head a bit west and then south through Moab (and Arches National Park) on down to Flagstaff. This will be our longest drive yet (9 hours) but the rewards should be breathtaking. This photo is taken right outside of Grand Junction, CO and I'm sure the speeding car cell phone shot does it no justice. Every drive here is just awe inspiring.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

23,000 Acres, 2 People

Ok...well, there are actually three people here. My wife, me and the chef. We are at the Kessler Canyon resort in Colorado surrounded by 23,000 acres of land, gorgeous canyons, mountain lions, bears, wilderness everywhere. Literally, there are only 3 of us by pure luck of the draw. And the setting is absolutely amazing. Our room number: 1. Tomorrow we will evidently be joined by the head chef and some special photographers from Marriott who are apparently coming out to greet the owner on Tuesday. This place is amazing and the story of our arrival and first night is even more so. Some more pictures and details to come when I have some more time.

Calamity Jane vs Glenwood Canyon


Calamity Jane

About to go biking in Glenwood Canyon. Let's hope my wife's bike name is not predictive of the ride!

I am a horse. You are an antelope.

We spent the evening last night at the Denver Art Museum for a wedding for two of our good friends. Congrats Liv and Chris! The ceremony and reception were at the Denver Art Museum, which is a beautiful building with some amazing art. My wife and I connected with a couple of pieces in particular.

One of the best ever...

Last night I think it is safe to say that my wife and I had one of the best meals we have ever had. I've actually been to this restaurant before (Rioja in Denver), but the experience last night will be one that overshadows any previous trip here and possibly most places in the future. If you are in or around Denver, I cannot recommend this place enough, Rioja on Larimer street.

What made the dinner so spectacular? For one, the food. And then our seating. We were walk-ins without a reservation but were early enough in the dinner cycle to score a couple seats at the chef's table/bar. Here were were treated to some personal attention by not only our waitress, but the chef responsible for most of the appetizers, salads and deserts.

The food was simply outstanding. We found out later in the night that the head chef is a repeat winner on Iron Chef named Jennifer Jasinski who has worked with Wolfgang Puck for about 10 years. On our menu last night:
  • A blackberry whiskey sour that was a perfect way to get rid of the lingering airplane ride
  • The Rioja Picnic with cured meats and homemade cured olives and salads.
  • An amazing tuna tartare served with marinated apples on top of crisp apple chips
  • Roasted candy striped beet salad
  • Sampling of their Artichoke Tortellini
  • Lavender sourdough bread
  • Mission figs on top of a Gorgonzola mouse topped with a port wine reduction
  • Their skirt steak special served with a walnut fennel pesto, a julienne summer squash medly and a sweet corn polenta cake

I'm not quite sure how we walked out. This is not a place to miss.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Getting ready for a wedding...

My wife getting ready outside the Denver Art Museum, which is where the wedding we are headed to is being held. Pretty cool architecture.

Entrance to Mt Evans

We are headed up Mt Evans today and this is the view at the entrance to the 14 mile drive up. It just gets better from here! I'm having trouble breathing already...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gone Pecan

3 flights down (the price of wanting to conserve some points) and we are officially in the Mile High City. I wonder if my wife chose to wear this t-shirt on purpose today...

Razorback Fans

Our flight plans today include a stopover in Houston and a stopover in NW Arkansas. The flight to Fayetteville probably had a total of 15 people on it so we all had to move to the back of the bus to provide ballast.

This is Razorback country and the souvenirs in the airport reflect their obsession with how crappy their team is. Go Ragin Cajuns!

Sad Eyes

I think she is just faking and is really looking forward to her time with our house sitter. Treats for everyone!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Did I mention that Jozy was going to be spoiled when we are out on vacation? My wife's mom is going to be house and dog sitting and she is starting to stock up on the supplies.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Our summer vacation is rapidly approaching and this is what it looks like. It's a great trip through a portion of the American West, starting in Denver, taking us through western Colorado, through a sliver of Utah and then down south to the Grand Canyon followed by a visit to the Tucson and Phoenix areas of Arizona. We are looking at about 1,184 miles in a car, approximately 2,300 miles in the air, and spending as many as possible nights in Marriott and Ritz Carlton resorts along the way (gotta use those Marriott points somehow). So we are not necessarily roughing it out in a campground...but we're going to get a chance to see some pretty amazing sights and some friends and family along the way.

I think I might take the week after off of work because I have a feeling this is going to tire me out.

Monday, August 08, 2011

NewVillager - ShotBigHorixon

Something totally different that sounds like few things I have ever heard from a band called NewVillager. And I like it. A lot. I have not found out much information about this band. Looks like from the SF/NYC areas. They like odd costumes. And make really unique music.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Lying in Wait

Jozy is a very patient hunter of squirrels sometimes...especially on hot days. Here she is biding her time and hoping they'll come down from our tree and "play" with her.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Halfway Home

Halfway home. It has been a long week. Looking forward to the weekend for sure.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Conference Call

Waiting for my next meeting in the courtyard of the Ronald Reagan building in DC. Beautiful day (in the shade at least).

Monday, August 01, 2011

A Pen, a Memory and a Question

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.
Norbet Platt

Was on an airplane today and something made me think of my father. Not sure what it was. I started wondering how much of my current personality is similar to his, what sort of conversation we would have today if I was able to sit down and talk to him, and if he would be proud of what his son has done with this life thus far. I decided that he would ask me if I was happy. And that if I answered this question "yes" that he would probably be pretty damn proud.

This is his Mont Blanc pen that I found a long time ago. I use it all the time now. It's not what triggered the memory but the memory triggered this as the image that I would use to accompany my note.