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Balabanova All Over

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[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

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[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

[Los Angeles, CA / Boynton Beach, FL, Dec 22-24, 2017] Last year’s holiday trip to Florida did not start as planned. We were supposed to take a red-eye on Dec 21 and make a beeline for Key West and Dry Tortugas National Park before returning to the Palm Beach area on Dec 23, in time to spend the Christmas holidays with family. Unfortunately, our flight was one of over 200 canceled (many… Read More

[Grand Canyon National Park, Sun, Nov 26, 2017] I think I speak for all three of us when I say that we did not want to leave Phantom Ranch. I could have easily spent a week here hiking around and relaxing. Alas, we had an 11 mile trek back up to the top, so we had an early breakfast (5:30 am!!!), then packed our bags and headed out at dawn. We took… Read More

[Grand Canyon National Park, Nov 23, 2017] Laura and I arrived at Olivia’s house bright and early today, Thanksgiving day. We briefly compared pack sizes. Olivia is using the smallest pack  (18-liter) and Laura and I are both wondering how she managed to get everything she needs in there. Laura is bringing her 28-liter Gregory pack weighing about 13 lbs before water, and I’m bringing my 34-liter Osprey pack weighing in at… Read More

[Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI, Oct 17, 2016] This was our last day on the Big Island – well, for the majority of us! Most of us were leaving with a red-eye in the evening, while a few lucky ones were staying one more night here before continuing on to the island of Kauai. We got an early start to the day so that we can drive a couple of hours to… Read More

[Kona, HI, Oct 16, 2016] Sunday was our day to celebrate! Our organizer extraordinaire Arev had arranged for a lunch for all 36 of us at the Kona Brewery – same one we visited on our first day here. It was great to see everyone and hear the other teams’ stories! Everyone had some good ones to share! We took lots of photos, of course! One set of photos was the corresponding… 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

[Kona, HI, Oct 12, 2016] Our Ragnar relay race was to take place on Friday, October 14th and Saturday, October 15th. We wanted to have extra time to get ready for the race and to explore a bit, so most of us decided to travel to Hawaii on Wednesday, October 12th. A lot of us were on a United flight directly to Kona, so the excitement grew as more and more people… Read More

[Flagstaff, AZ] Mother Nature gave us a rainbow and took away a sunrise. We woke up today to rain in Monument Valley, which meant we were going to do our sunrise tour with little chance of catching the morning light.

[Page, AZ] The post-half-marathon itinerary was a leisurely 74-mile drive to Page, AZ. We left Kanab to continue East on Hwy 89, and now we were skirting the southern edge of the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. The giant “steps” that make up this area were now much easier to see.

[Lake Havasu City, AZ] Boris and I had been wanting to do a trip together for a while, and packed schedules left us with Thanksgiving weekend as one of the few options. Flying over this holiday is notoriously expensive, and Boris had been wanting to take his new car on a longer drive, so we decided to head to Sedona, AZ by car. We had Thanksgiving lunch plans with friends of his,… Read More