Around the states and Canada

Here is my map of the USA and Canada.

Most recent: Washington D.C. (May 2017); Leavenworth (June 2017);  Chelan (July 2017)

Up next: Austin (August 2017); Colorado (September 2017); Dallas (October 2017); Oahu (November 2017); Austin (November 2017)

$10 tickets to D.C.

I would love to give a shout out to ALASKAN AIR for allowing Taylor and I to fly Seattle to D.C. RT for $10 each! (well… + miles). Best credit card decisions we ever made.

We both escaped work early on Friday afternoon and arrived in D.C. in the evening. I was so excited since this was my first time to our capitol! Taylor’s brother, Colin & sister-in-law, Kara, both live in Arlington – just three miles from the National Mall. They picked us up from the airport and we grabbed burgers, shakes, and made our way to their place since we knew we would have a packed weekend of sightseeing.

On Saturday we brunched at Founding Farmers and then walked all over town. Did you know that D.C. is only 68 square miles (109 sq km)? Super small. We tourist-ed around throughout the day. It was quite underwhelming when you have a president like Trump and want to cry inside due to the fact that the future of our country is currently in the hands of an ignorant millionaire TV star. Any-who, we saw the white house and really, it’s just a house. I thought the building next to it, the Eisenhower Executive Office was much prettier.

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We saw all of the memorials, went to the Library of Congress, snuck into the Capitol right before it closed, and exhausted ourselves as we were go-go-go. We had dinner at Ted’s where they serve homemade pop-tarts and fried chicken. Then we made our way to the water front for drinks and to meet up with more friends. It was a late night after a jam packed day. We ended up at Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown where JFK proposed to Jackie. 

On Sunday we woke up and Kara made us some lovely quiches for breakfast. We decided to drive down to Mt. Vernon to see George Washington’s estate. However, we had to wait for over three hours for a tour so hopped back in the car and drove a few miles to his distillery where he made his famous whiskey. He profited immensely from this and after he died no one could keep up. It was a great tour to see the ins and outs of making whiskey. Did you know that aged whiskey is dark and un-aged is clear due to the barrel it is sitting in? The longer it soaks the darker it gets because it is soaking into the wood.

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That afternoon we grabbed lunch and walked around Old Town Alexandria for a few hours. And then, my most favorite part – we feasted that night at a restaurant in D.C. called Lincoln. The food, the art, the atmosphere – it was amazing. It was nice to sit and chat for a few hours and really slow down and enjoy everything. We all had small plates that were shared and must have ordered at least 15. It was PERFECTION.

Early Monday morning, Taylor, Colin, and I woke up early to run. We ran from their house and made our way to the Washington Monument up toward the White House. It was really nice to be up before anyone and see everything before the tourists popped out. Post-run, Taylor and I walked a few miles around and he showed me where he used to live and hang out just blocks from the White House. He was an architecture resident in 2013 for eight months and worked on The Renwick Gallery. Later we met up with the crew and brunched at Busboys & Poets.

We spent a few hours in the afternoon at the Arlington Cemetery. It was a really humbling experience to see the vastness of the grave sites and memorials. My favorite part was the women’s memorial that showed the history of women in the military in the U.S. We walked around for a few hours and saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Robert E. Lee’s house, and Kennedy’s grave. Did you know there were 17,000 graves in the cemetery immediately after the Civil War? And since the 1860’s there are over 400,000 people buried in this cemetery. I am so thankful for those who fought for our freedom in this country and hope that we can continue to live freely and work to make the world a better place. 

Some family history

My most recent experience in NYC was in the summer of 2012. I was doing the “touristy” thing with my cousins, aunt & uncle. We only had a quick weekend before our trip to Europe so crammed a few things in before we went overseas.

 

 

We went to Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, and, of course, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Ellis Island is my favorite place to visit because that was where my grandparents went when they first came to America. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to meet them because my grandpa died when my dad was four and his mom died when he was twenty.

 

 

In the early 1950’s my grandparents, Igor & Nina Kubik made it to America from Europe. They were both taken from their homes in what is now Ukraine as teenagers during WWII. They had survived through the horrible famine as kids and did not have an easy life.

My uncle Victor has put together a website that has a lot of our family history.

 

 

I am so grateful to have grandparents who were so courageous and through their hardship were able to make it over to America to give their children a better life. 

Bikes & beers

Although I love to travel and get out of town as much as possible, I do with all of my heart LOVE Seattle SO MUCH. So when there is a chance to go on a Seattle adventure, I will take it. And this is what went down last Saturday:

All I wanted for my birthday this year was to go on a 50 mile bike ride. And the only way possible would be if it wasn’t POURING rain – which is very hard to predict in the middle of May when one second is pouring, the next is sunny, and then – oh, look, HAIL!

Taylor and I woke up on Saturday, stuffed our faces, and took off. We were planning on cycling the entire Lake Washington Loop which is about 50 miles depending on where you start. Yeah, I can ride a bike, I usually don’t fall or crash into cars, but it HAS happened. I wear my helmet like a good biker person.

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We headed east from Capitol Hill and about a mile in I was DYING. The hill was too much for me. “I can do this, I can do this,” I mumbled in my head. Taylor and I are pretty active; we run, we hike, we climb, we play other sports. But neither of has really ever biked more than 10-15 miles in one go.

Eventually it leveled out and we were cruising southbound toward Seward Park. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning. We looped around Renton and took a few wrong turns. We got to Bellevue which was the worst part of the ride thus far because we were on the main roads and had to use the sidewalks a bit. I get really scared of cars. Eventually we made it to the Kirkland waterfront for lunch. We had gone 30 miles and my bootie was SORE. “What are bike shorts?” I had said the day before – highly recommend those for anyone who does this.

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We had lunch at The Slip. I ate a burger in about 30 seconds. Post-burger lovin’ we were back on our way and continued toward Bothell. For about six miles there was a slight uphill grade and I was DYING. I was in the lowest gears, felt like I was peddling a million miles an hour, and panted the whole way. I would look to the side and scream at myself thinking how I could run much faster than the pace I was biking. Taylor was nice and would stop for me every now and then and let me catch up.

We stopped when the terrain leveled out and found a coffee stand in a parking lot. I chugged a cold brew while rethinking my life and how biking was a very humbling experience.

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We were back at it. And then the magic happened!!! There was a MAJOR downhill part and I was flying for about four miles. It was beauty. Tears of joy streamed down my face because I didn’t have to put in one ounce of effort. Now that is my type of exercise. Once we hit Bothell we veered left and continued on the Burke-Gilman Trail for the remainder of the ride. It was nice to be on a bike path and it was finally completely FLAT. 

That last little stretch was a treat. We were just biking at a nice leisurely pace while middle-aged men passed us by the minute. “I’m just enjoying the view – I’m in NO RUSH.” By the time we entered Seattle we were craving some IPA’s so stopped a bit north of UW and got a cold drink at a cute little cafe called Saint Helens. I could barely walk. We enjoyed our beers on the patio soaking in the last of the sunshine. About thirty minutes in it started drizzling and we were just a couple miles from the UW station where we would throw our bikes in and head back to Cap Hill. 

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The experience TRULY was humbling. I have a new respect for people who cycle often and feel that I was definitely not in biker shape. But I HIGHLY recommend this loop to anyone who needs a nice little weekend adventure. 

Why Washington state is the best place in the world

It has EVERYTHING. Ocean, lakes, mountains, trees, camping, beer, SUN. Yes, even though I love to travel, I always have to come back here where it is home. 

THE OCEAN

I grew up camping at Third Beach which is off of the Peninsula about an hour from Port Angeles. My first time I went I was two years old and my latest trip was three weekends ago. I have probably been 15+ times because it is a bit sentimental for the Palmer side of my family. You hike in just over a mile and camp on the beach. Climb out on the rocks, have a campfire, play some frisbee, and enjoy the peace that the beach brings. 

THE LAKES

Long Lake, Lake Chelan, Lake Roosevelt, Columbia River, Lake Union, Lake Washington…. ETC… A day out on my kayak on the lake after work is a great way to unwind.

 

THE MOUNTAINS

Seattle is GREAT because it is SO close to the mountains. One of my favorite memories was in July of 2016. Taylor and I woke up on a Sunday at 3am and drove a few hours to Mt. St. Helen’s and summitted it that afternoon. That mountain is amazing because once you reach the top you see the dramatic affects of the eruption from 1980

 

Some of those highlights outside of Washington state

Although the Pacific Northwest is my FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WORLD I need to see EVERYTHING!

Here are bits and pieces of the states: 

D.C. coming Memorial Day weekend 2017

Chicago – New Year’s 2017

Colorado Springs, CO – fall 2015 & early 2017

Austin, TX – Austin City Limits October 2016

Portland – September 2016 (+ a few times a year)

Hiawatha bike trail August 2016 (Idaho/Montana border)

Road trip through Death Valley December 2014

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NYC – Summer 2012

Vegas – spring break 2012

LA – spring break 2010 & 2012

Glacier National Park – summer 2005 (need to go back!)

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