2014 Review.

January last year started a lot like this year. Cold and clear. We had moved to the Maple Leaf neighborhood.Maple Leaf Park.In February, we had some cool adventures (puns are ridiculous) including a trip to the Big Four Ice Caves. we weren’t sure if we really believed the signs, but it turns out that we were lucky to witness only a small avalanche.

Big Four Ice CavesThe shoulder seasons seem to be the best for travel, so in March we headed to Ireland.Cliffs of Moher.

When we returned, it didn’t take long for the first minor disaster to occur. I was lucky and I am thankful everyday that I am still loving life. It was one hell of an April.Broken neck.May was full of recovery and photoshoots.SCC nursing program.In June, the weather got better and we were able to spend some time outside with good friends. SUP Rainier.Girls.July was full of surprises, things like Amanda’s appendicitis threw us for a loop, but we pulled through.Amanda flowers.Luckily, I have friends willing to go fishing with me while Amanda recovered.Guys fishing.I explored more places in Washington that I thought were hidden gems.Waterfalls.There was more fishing with friends. There is never enough fishing or friends.Yakima.As my beard got more and more awesome, I also got a chance to check out the Olympic Peninsula. Luckily, I was with one of my most loveable friends.Lando and Rory.

He brought good luck and good fish.

Troot.Amanda and I did crazy things like hike to Lake Serene and drink wine at the zoo.Lake Serene hiking. Woodland Park Zoo wine night.August is the best time to be in the Pacific Northwest. We even went to a Mariners game.

Mariners Game.September is the hidden secret up here. You can read about our amazing vacation, here.

Canada.For Amanda’s birthday in October, we went skydiving, but she was happier buying pumpkins and gourds.Pumpkin girl.November is the time for Chum Salmon and pretty pictures.Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.29.56 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.30.15 PMadventureDecember brought the cold and the holiday season. I am glad that is over. Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.36.47 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.36.57 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.37.36 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.37.04 PMHere is to an even better 2015!

Ireland Day 8.

I want to start by thanking everyone that has followed this blog, this trip, and my life that I have chronicled so far. I am always amazed when I get a notification that more people want to receive updates when I publish a post. Please leave a comment with your website so I can check them all out.

Day 8 took us to a place where I could live. Oughterard. The Owenriff River flows through the village. Oughterard is close enough to a big city, Galway, but far away enough to still feel small.

We loved driving around Ireland because we could quickly pull over if we saw something cool. Here, we saw a farmer’s market with live music. We picked up quite a few goodies and continued on our way.

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 9.27.47 AMThe amount of driving did not feel very long. The scenery is beautiful and there is always somewhere fun to stop. Day 8 travel.When we made it back to Dublin, we had one more nice dinner with my grandmother before packing for our flight the next day.Dinner in Howth

Ireland Day 7.

This day took us up the west coast. We finished the Ring of Kerry, went through the Lakes of Killarney, saw the gardens at Muckross House, marveled at the Cliffs of Moher at dusk, and found one of our new favorite pubs, McGann’s.Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 12.03.28 PM

We woke up to another amazing irish breakfast. Complete with black and white pudding for the vegetarian. The breakfasts at the bed and breakfasts are absolutely amazing. They kept us full until well past lunchtime.Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 11.56.10 AMThere were many castles along the way. Some close to the road, some far off in the distance, some on the beach.
Ms. Vanna WhiteThe lakes of Killarney were beautiful and I had to stop at the ones that had signs about fishing. You know, just to remind myself that this was not a fishing trip.Barfinnihy LakeWe stopped at the Muckross House and gardens. This place was given to the Irish government by an American who gave it to his daughter as a wedding gift.Muckross House

This is the Tarbert to Kilrush ferry. Very popular among tourists. Here we can see the Spanish owned electricity plant and lighthouse.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 11.57.57 AMThe next popular stop after getting off the ferry is the Cliffs of Moher. This is one of my favorite places in Ireland. Here Amanda is looking for birds. As she usually does no matter where we are.
Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 10.14.36 AMIt was amazing to see the area as the sun was going down.Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 10.14.49 AMOur night ended at McGann’s pub. The music was great, the food was fantastic, and even though it was mostly tourists, there were still a couple of locals around.McGann's

Ireland Day 6.

We couldn’t tear ourselves away from Dingle’s First Cottage. The conversation was as amazing as the breakfast. When we finally stopped drinking tea to depart, we decided to drive around the Ring of Dingle before the famous Ring of Kerry. If I had one thing to tell future tourists, it would be to spend more time in Dingle and skip the Ring of Kerry.

This is Brandon Beach.

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I don’t think that there are any fish there.

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.17.55 PMNot that I was looking for fish or thinking about fly fishing.
Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.17.48 PMBut the views were incredible all around the Dingle area.
Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.17.24 PMThe wildlife was ferocious.
Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.17.36 PMWe continued on to this enormous and empty beach which I can only imagine is packed in the summer.

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.32.09 PMJust more beautiful views. We didn’t expect blue skies and big empty beaches on this trip.Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.31.54 PMOver a few semi-sketchy mountain passes. The two lane roads are what we would call bike paths.Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.31.22 PMThis was definitely not a fishing trip.Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.31.47 PMWhich is a good thing because I don’t know if I could find a place to give it a go.Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.31.40 PMThere may have been one or two spots we could have fished. We stopped and looked at this place for probably a bit too long.

The upper Caragh River is famous for it’s salmon/trout fishing and is one of Europe’s cleanest rivers. It is nestled at the foot of the McGillicuddy Reeks. It flows through Ireland’s most beautiful nature reserves in the heart of County Kerry. Permits can be arranged. Boat hire is available for free fishing on Caragh Lake. Michael O’Shea, fishery manager (+353 87 2213835) or visit www.safiex.com” Unfortunately, we did not stay here. We stopped, watched people fish, and drove away with small tears in my eyes.
Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.37.41 PMThen we ended our day (like most days) with an amazing pub dinner. This one courtesy of the Ring of Kerry Hotel.Dinner

Ireland Day 5.

Today, we began our road trip. We left from Dublin and headed to Dingle.

We stopped along the way in Adare because Uncle Leo told us to. It had a beautiful river and castle right in the middle of the village. I couldn’t help but to look in the water and see if I could find some trout swimming along. I couldn’t.Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 9.12.07 PMAt least the weather was great!Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 9.10.56 PM

Driving to the left, we avoided collisions and arrived at Dingle’s First Cottage. We stumbled into this amazing B&B and it couldn’t have been better.

This was our view.  Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 9.11.07 PM

Along the way, Amanda picked up a book about Irish wildlife.

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Ireland Day 4.

We were still feeling the effects of jet lag and it was tough to get up from the breakfast table. With all of those excuses, it was impressive that we made it into town at all.

That being said, we made our way to a few tasting spots. Maybe you have heard of Guinness and Jameson?

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Inside, during the tour.Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 1.50.21 PMJust another pint. This one at the top of Guinness’ Gravity Bar.
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Jameson shows how much whiskey disappears year after year of being in their barrels.Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 1.50.43 PM

We ran around Dublin, quickly passing through Temple Bar, and getting out of Penneys before the sun went down. We made it back to the south side of the Liffey and headed for home on the DART.