- - - 11/11/2016 - - -

Chiba Castles

Filed under: — Andy @ 4:42 am

The family and I took a last minute trip out to Chiba. We didnt really have any plans, so we just decided to drive around and see what we could find. We took the tunnel that goes under the Tokyo Bay on the way there and just keep going across the prefecture. We made it to Otaki where there was a very nice herb garden and shop for the wife to look at. We also made it to Otaki Castle before they closed. We then drove down the east coast looking for dinner before we stopped and had some nice seafood. By the time we ate and made it down to Kamogawa we were pretty tired but didnt have any place to stay, so we ended up putting the seats down in the car to make a bed and camped out in the car for the night. We had our sleeping bags with up so it wasnt cold, and Melina really enjoyed the experience. The next morning, we made our way to Tateyama, but before we got there we found a small but very nice festival/flea market type event. We spent the morning there eating lots of good foods and looking around. Afterwards we made it to Tateyama and climbed up to Tateyama Castle. The view from the castle was very impressive. Near the castle was Akayama Underground Tunnels that were built around WWII and are among the largest surviving air-raid shelters in Japan. Lastly we drove up the west coast, stopped at a temple in a mountainside, and took the ferry across the bay back home.

- - - 10/31/2016 - - -

Halloween Party 2016

Filed under: — Andy @ 4:19 am

This years Halloween party was another success.
Everyone made an array of different Halloween themed foods. This year I made some ribs and sausage and arranged them to look like a person. It didn’t turn out as nicely as I would have liked it but they were very delicious.

- - - 10/17/2016 - - -

Melina 20 Months

Filed under: — Andy @ 4:22 am

- - - 9/24/2016 - - -

Play time in Yokohama

Filed under: — Andy @ 4:14 am

Here comes the train.

- - - 9/18/2016 - - -


Filed under: — Andy @ 5:32 pm

Mongolia, with Josh and group.
A ten day trip with Josh, Crystal, Susana, Ward(for a day), Ochiro our awesome guide, and Ganba our comedic driver.
Mongolia Photos

Ulaanbataar(The capital):
The first thing we learned in the city is that more than a third of the countries entire population lives here. The next thing I noticed was large scale construction of apartment buildings everywhere, as I learned that the country is trying to get everyone away from living in Gers and burning coal as it is a big pollution problem for the city. Still, the city has some very nice areas and things to see. The central square was quite large and had a nice statue of Genghis Khan [actually pronounced Chinghis Khan]. We saw some monasteries, enjoyed the National Museum of Mongolian History, and enjoyed a great view of the city from the Zaisan Hill War Memorial. The last thing before we left the city was go to the amusement park, and for only $7got to go on 5 rides. Being a weekday evening the park was almost deserted, but everything was still running and we had a great time.

Eagle Valley:
The next day we took a small airplane down south to the Gobi desert. After a quick stop at the Gobi museum, we started hiking down the valley as it started to rain. Yet even with the rain, the cliffs were beautiful and the rodents were running about. I got ahead of the group and went a bit further than the usual turn around spot and the guide had to come chase me down. That night we spent our first night in a Ger camp.

Khongor Sand Dunes:
Maybe one of my favorite parts of the trip was the camel ride to the sand dunes and the hike up the near vertical face of them. By the time everyone else made it to the top we had a great view of the sunset.

Bayanzag (Flaming Cliffs):
Made famous in the 1920s when American paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews found a lot of dinosaur fossils and made the first discovery of fossilized dinosaur eggs. It was a very interesting place to hike around, take pictures, and pretend to look for fossils. In the evening when the sun goes down the cliffs do glow red and look like they are on fire.

Ongi Temple:
Actually temple ruins. Once a large Buddhist temple complex straddling the river, it was destroyed in 1939 when the communists took control of Mongolia. After we walked through and toured the area I took off on my own to go on a little hike to the top of the nearest peak. That evening at the Ger camp there was a very nice traditional costume show where even our guide got all dressed up.

Erdene-Zuu Monastery:
Driving on mostly unpaved roads to our next location I realized how large the Gobi desert was. Along with the surrounding steppe there was a lot of driving and downtime in the car, which we did fill a lot with car games and music. The city of Karakorum where the monastery is located was the old capital of the Mongolian empire, but again not much is left. The current monastery and accompanying museum was still an interesting cultural visit.

Ugii Lake:
A large freshwater lake with some nice lake activities. There was an archery area. We all took a boat ride and did some fishing. A Northern Pike followed my lure to the boat but decided not to bite. We went on a fun banana boat ride and did some swimming in the lake. We had fish for dinner while watching the sunset over the lake.

Hustai National Park:
We took a short horse ride when we arrived at the park, but the main attraction here was going to see the Takhi, the wild horses native to the area.

Terelj National Park:
Maybe my second favorite place on the trip because.. trees, in fall colors, and mountains. The beauty of the area was such a very different view than what we had been seeing in the Gobi desert. We visited a monastery in the mountains and a rock formation that looks like a turtle. I also took an early morning hike to not quite the top of the mountain behind our camp.

Back to Ulaanbataar:
We had one last day in the capital for some shopping, to visit the dinosaur museum, play some games at an arcade, eat Mongolian BBQ, and watch a concert complete with throat singing, dancing, and contortionists. An amazing end to an amazing trip.

See all the pictures here:
Mongolia Photos

- - - 8/21/2016 - - -

Kannonzaki Lighthouse

Filed under: — Andy @ 1:34 am

If we were to walk around a museum, I mentioned that we would also take a small hike around the area to Kannonzaki Lighthouse. My daughter is really my daughter and seems to love heights.

Yokosuka museum of art

Filed under: — Andy @ 1:25 am

The Yokosuka museum of art had a special nature+art exhibition that the wife wanted to go see. There were giant pictures of bugs, and real bugs, that Melina really enjoyed, and an interesting section of fake species that I found interesting as well. I think Melina liked running around the vast halls of the museum the most though.

- - - 8/17/2016 - - -

Melina 18 Months

Filed under: — Andy @ 1:01 am