Exploring Colorado

Kelly and I were fortunate to be able to spend a week exploring Colorado this month, mostly around Boulder, Vail, Glenwood Springs and Steamboat. It was a great chance to visit some family in the area, see some different landscapes, hike/bike/raft/etc., and just generally enjoy life at 8,000 feet above sea level. Apparently there's a lot more of the state than one can see in a few days, so I expect we'll be back again soon. Some photos and notes from our trip follow.

Chris and Kelly

Vail is like Disneyworld (but cuter) for people who want to be able to pick up an expensive handbag or some sushi right after they get off the slopes, with everything laid out just so for the optimal outdoorsy tourist experience:

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A trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

Cute pairIn May, Kelly and I took an amazing two and a half week trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands in South America.  We spent a little time in the capital city of Quito, but otherwise we were off enjoying the jungle lodge in the cloud forest of Mindo, exploring the Galapagos on a small boat that was our home for seven nights, enjoying whitewater rafting, volcano-heated hot baths and great food in the mountain town of Banos, and checking out the sprawling and lively markets of Otavalo.

The photos and videos I've posted on Flickr capture some of the experience, and while the trip held too much adventure to describe here in great detail, I'll hit some of the highlights below.  (You can also go back and read individual posts written during the trip.)

Our trip was a nice combination of planned itinerary (primarily, the week-long stay on the boat M/Y Eric to tour around the Galapagos) and "wander around once we get there" mode.  The Lonely Planet Guide to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands provide indispensable for the whole experience, from helping with food to lodging to cultural experiences and everything in between.  We were also visiting in advance of the heavier tourist season, so we were able to get into most any experience without advance reservation.

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Blog salad

P8200016Most of my blog posts are a main course dish with one primary taste.  This one is more of a salad with a bunch of different tastes thrown together.

I did eat a salad for lunch today (nice transition) - radish, green onion, and goat cheese on spring mix greens, with poppy seed dressing.  Everything but the dressing was grown/made at Abundant Acres Farm, the provider of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share that I bought this season.  Friends Kent and Dori have again done a great job making fresh, local, chemical-free food available, and I'm grateful for it.  I don't have a garden on my own land right now, but having a bag of garden-fresh stuff delivered to me every week is hard to beat.  There's still quite a gap between my ideals about where my food comes from and my actual diet.

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No End In Sight to the Assault on Reason

IMG_2518.JPGThe tail end of the trip I just returned from took place in Nashville, TN and was charged with readings and viewings about the occupation of Iraq and the current political trends in Washington: I finished reading Nashville resident Al Gore's book The Assault on Reason and then later the same day, saw the new documentary film No End In Sight. The two tie together nicely, and so I have a review of them both here.

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A Trip to Madison

Desperate for some sort of vacation and lacking anything formally planned (where has the year gone?) the stars aligned in such a way that I took a trip last week to Madison, Wisconsin. It ended up being quite a great place to visit on summer vacation - thanks to a little pre-visit Googling and my awesome tour guide, Dayna (thanks!). I experienced quite a range of destinations: ethnic food of all sorts, a vibrant and amazing farmer's market, touring the University campus and amazing capitol building, biking around downtown and along the Lakes, visiting progressive co-ops and bookstores, and visiting the pocket of friends living there who I never think to visit. And I still got a good amount of laying around done, too. It wasn't quite a beach vacation, but I do believe Madison is one of my new favorite places in the Midwest, and I'm grateful to have had such a great, restful time there.