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Balabanova All Over

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[Mount St Helens National Monument, July 20, 2018] On the agenda for that day was a long drive (3+ hours) from Lake Quinault to Mt. Rainier National Park. We enjoyed our breakfast in the Lake Quinault lodge restaurant as much as last night’s dinner. I had the sweet potato pancakes, which were amazing. We realized that we would be passing by Mount St Helens and we couldn’t resist the detour, even though… Read More

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[Olympic National Park, July 17, 2018] The Olympic peninsula is on the Western edge of Washington state, across Puget sound from Seattle. Its home to the northwestern most point in the United States, Cape Flattery. At about 3600 square miles, the peninsula remained largely unmapped until the late 19th century. The Olympic mountain range sits in the center. It blocks the passage of rain-producing systems and casts a dry “shadow” in the… Read More

[Whidbey Island, July 16, 2018] After a long day exploring the North Cascades, we were happy to have a very fluid itinerary. Our only imperative was to get to Port Angeles, WA, on the Olympic Peninsula. We had a ferry reservation for 4:15 pm but other than that, the day was wide open. Since we had plenty of time, we decided to try to find another Washington location for the 2002 movie The… Read More

[Colorado Springs, CO, July 6, 2018] Colorado Springs is one of several mountain towns in what is known as the Pike’s Peak region. This region is at 6,000 ft (1828 m) above sea level and includes other towns such as Manitou Springs and Canon City. Rising another 8,000 ft above these towns is Pike’s Peak, one of Colorado’s 53 fourteeners (peaks over 14,000 ft/4200m above sea level).  Pike’s Peak is higher than… Read More

[May 25, 2018] The Kilauea eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii is in its third week. The majority of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is closed, and many people are worried about safety if they go. In this blog post, I will share why I think it’s still safe to go, provide resources for those who need to research on their own, and share my favorite activities on the island. Should You… Read More

[Key West, FL, Dec 26, 2017] If you read the previous blog post, you already know that this was our second attempt at getting to Dry Tortugas National Park, one of the most remote ones in the US. Unlike last year though, we headed straight for the keys. Without a detour to Miami and the lack traffic this early in the morning (we left Boynton at 5:30 am), we hit the upper keys… Read More

[Key West, FL, Dec 27, 2016] Even though our trip to the Dry Tortugas in 2016 got cancelled, we still did a day trip to Key West. B knew how much I’d looked forward to the trip and he felt bad that it fell apart. He suggested that we get up early one day, explore Miami and its environs and, if we still felt like it, head to Key West and come back… Read More

[Lake Worth, FL / Boca Raton, FL, Dec 25, 2017] Christmas Day! What to do, what to do? If you are in the United States, it is highly likely that you will find yourself at the movies. It’s as American as apple pie! If you know B, you also know that he’ll take any excuse to go to the movies. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that we were meeting friends… Read More

[Hilo, HI, Oct 14, 2016] Yep, that 3:30 wake up call was not fun. Our van was loaded from the night before, so we just had to add the coolers with the perishables. Mike, Laura, May, Camilla, myself and Lena jumped in, all of us jealous that the six peeps in van #2 got to sleep in. The two-hour drive to Hilo was uneventful. We crossed the Big Island in the middle,… Read More

[Grand Teton National Park, WY] One thing I cannot get used to here is the view of the Teton range from the lobby of our lodge. Every time we got up to second floor to get to the lobby, the picture window always takes my breadth away. We started off today with a drive along Teton Park Road, the most scenic road in the park. There were several turn-offs along the road…. Read More