Tag Archives: Sunset

Christmas and New Years break, 2016 into 2017: Exploring Aberdeen – Castles, grocery stores, and tea houses.

Christmas and New Years break, 2016 into 2017: Exploring Aberdeen – Castles, grocery stores, and tea houses.

Exploring Aberdeen – Castles, grocery stores, and tea houses.

Monday & Tuesday, 26-Dec & 27 Dec.

Monday, 26-Dec-2016

One of the things that I’ve picked up from Sarah, in regards to adventuring, is checking out grocery stores and gas stations.

Probably not what you expected. But it’s neat – you can see what items are important to a culture, what they have in stock, what they don’t, and what variety is available. It’s cool, and you can learn a lot about where you are. Also – get great ideas for food and snacks!

But Monday didn’t start with a grocery store. It started with a snowball fight. It was thick and fluffy snow; not particularly good for packing, but very fun to run around in. And once us kids saw how much there was (a solid 3 inches or so) we suited up and ran outside to play!

Sarah and I formed one team, of course, battling against Henry & Leah on the other team. Since Sarah and I were the first ones out, we prepared a few stockpiles around the yard, giving one of them to Leah and Henry when they came out. But it pretty quickly devolved into a “grab an armful of snow from the car and chuck it” sort of battle. None of us played baseball, so none were particularly good at throwing the few snowballs we were able to make from the fluffy stuff.

The rest of the day was spent having an excellent lunch at a cafe in the grocery store, exploring said grocery store, and also exploring a pharmacy nearby. Turns out, the UK doesn’t have nearly the selection of burn medication that the US does… or maybe Sarah and I have gotten spoiled by always having first aid gear around the house (thanks to blisters being a major part of hiking… yay!).

But it was fun! Hanging out, exploring, learning that the Scots love their Indian takeaway and their venison, and having some traditional bangers and mash at the shop. We even got to see an artificial ski hill in town!



Tuesday, 27-Dec-2016

Tuesday? Adventure day. Breakfast was quick, because we had places to be! Adventures to have! Stone circles to photograph, hill forts to hike, and old ruined castles to run around and play hide and seek in.

First stop: The Eastern Aquhorthies stone circle. A small neolithic stone circle, in a beautiful bit of the Scottish countryside. We explored and took awesome pictures – one bonus of the short days, is that the sun traverses lower than we’re used to… which leads to sunrise / sunset light all day long. Excellent for cool landscape photos!

We got back on the road after exploring a bit of the forest behind the stone circle – It was also very pretty, Super dark though; I can totally see why people feel like Scotland is enchanted.

On to Dunnideer (pronounces Dun-ee-deer) castle!

    • Our first attempt resolves with us driving up to a locked gate that involves calling a dispatch center to open – they make sure that no train is coming before we drive across. The lady that owns the land is (luckily) driving out when we arrive – she tells us that there’s actually a real place to walk up, but that we’re more than welcome to walk on her land, and just hop a barbed wire fence. So polite, it’s painful.
    • Drive to the real place… this makes a lot more sense.
    • Park, and instead of waiting for everyone, Sarah and I walk in ahead. We take the extra time to do some climbing, stealth makeouts, and enjoy ourselves before everyone arrives
    • Ruins up top… are amazing. The main ruin is, surprisingly, the whole hill – it’s an ancient pictish hill fort. The bumps and hedgerows on the way up are the remains of ancient earth works. The castle ruins up top (barely anything) are a 13th century addition.
    • Continue on, finding some really picturesque views and neat standing stones.

Lunch at a cool tea house… Fish and Chips finally!

Drive down to Cruden Bay; a place that Greta and Bill have been to once or twice before.

    • Park, and Sarah and I take a jog in – stretching our legs is pretty good.
    • The castle… this is a serious castle. Ruins, beautiful. It’s called New Slains Castle, and was built sometime in the 17th century. It was then expanded in the 19th century, and was actually where Brahm Stoker wrote Dracula.
    • We’re just around Sunset… but thanks to the elevation, Sunset lasts ~1 hour +
    • Sarah and I play hide and seek, amateur archeologist, and do some light bouldering around as well. Holy crap this place is amazing. Just… so cool!
    • Take lots of pictures, hang out with Henry and Leah, and even get to talk to an old Scotsman for a while. Fun & pleasant adventures!

Then, we’ve got to get back to the house. The next day was planned as our travel day, taking a train down to Edinburgh. But that meant returning the rental car that they’d got from the airport (Bill & Greta only have one car normally, and fitting six people in it wouldn’t have been pleasant). That return entails a bit of adventure, but it does leave us close to a Chinese market, where we stop in to get ingredients for Henry to make us Ramen! Which is like… triple awesome. So that’s nice 🙂

08-May-2016 – Hiking Munra point with Sarah!

08-May-2016 – Hiking Munra point with Sarah!

Sunday, 08-May-2016

Mothers day!


First off: Mothers day calls.


Once Sarah and I had both wished all the happy Mothers days, we packed up the house… and then relaxed and did basically nothing for the whole beginning of the day.  Or… rephrase that – I did very little.  I read, relaxed, and helped out where Sarah needed me.  But honestly, she didn’t need much – she spent most of the time working on the truck, and finalizing her packing plan for the upcoming adventure.

Once that was done though, we drove out to Hood River, dropping the puppy off at the house.  Because we were hitting up a tough trail… hiking Munra Point! It’s a super steep line up to a ridge, with some amazing views… especially at sunset, which worked for us since we did it late. But again, that just meant that we got amazing sunset views.

Then we spent a long drive debating what to have for dinner… finally leveling out on steak. Woo!

Exploring Fort Stevens and Astoria… IN OREGON YO! This is my new JAM! – Day 1

Exploring Fort Stevens and Astoria… IN OREGON YO! This is my new JAM!  – Day 1

Wednesday, 17-June-2015

Our first day at camp, and my first day (yes, my first day ever) in Oregon! I know, it’s kind of crazy… but I got hired to this new job sight unseen – I did two phone interviews, and then they offered me a job. No in-person, nothing. And I’d never felt the draw to take a trip out to Oregon – it’s beautiful, I’m sure, but there were other places that had called out to me just a little bit louder.

But now, I was in Oregon. Our tents were set up, and the cars mostly unpacked.

So we packed back into the cars, and headed into town. If you had asked me, I couldn’t have pinpointed for you exactly why I wanted to visit Astoria… but for various reasons the name stuck out in my head.

(Ed note: Dark Astoria, from the City of Heroes video game. So Long, Astoria, the album that Ben loves. The Goonies, a pretty damn good movie. The name just generally being freaking cool)

So we headed in, looking for the one thing that we did know Astoria was famous for – its breweries.

Since we had driven all day, we didn’t aim to do a full pub crawl – instead, we picked one place and hunkered down for an evening of food and tastings. Our choice was Buoy Beer… mostly because it was easy to get to, and highly rated on Yelp. Yeah yeah, make fun of us for using yelp. We were on a road trip and you weren’t, ohh fancy-pants.

Buoy Beer Brew House. Bison Burgers. Bevies of Bountiful… Boysters. And beer. We ate hamburgers and drank beer and slurped oysters. It was delicious and amazing. I’ll admit, hindsight being 20/20, that the oysters weren’t as good as New England oysters. But the Bison burgers and the beer were very much top notch.

Top notch enough that we could barely move as we wandered Astoria after we’d eaten and drank our fill. But we did – we explored a bit and walked off some of the food coma. Or at least enough of it that we could make it back to camp that night, and pass our surprisingly early.