Posts Tagged ‘road trip’

Where did the month go?

October 26th, 2010 No comments

…I guess the real question should be "Where have I been?"

The month of October has been a blur for the Kickerts. 

At the beginning of the month we took a quick trip to Colorado and Utah as a family.  It was the first real vacation Beth and I have taken since we went to DC back in 2005.  It was also Mikayla’s first flight (we used it as a bit of a test run for the 22 hour plane ride coming up for us in July).

We flew into Denver and spent the day at the Children’s Museum.  Later that day we walked around downtown and tracked down some ice cream.  The next day we visited a cool place called the Butterfly Pavilion and headed up to Fort Collins.  Once our "city trips" were done we headed to Rocky Mountain National Park and then the next day traveled to Moab Utah and hiked around Arches National Park.

Right after returning to Kentucky I got back in the car and took a "quick" trip up to Northern Wisconsin / Upper Peninsula of Michigan to visit with my parents who just moved there.  While we didn’t have much planned, we did visit the "mysterious" Paulding Lights and did quite a bit of paddling on the small lakes up there.

On top of all the travelling, we have been making some big personnel adjustments at work and I have been prepping for our annual charge conference at church.

It seems the month just started, but it is already over.  On Friday we will have our annual Halloween Bash and then we will moving into November.

It is crazy to think how quick months go by, especially since we only have 9 more until we leave the states for a decade or so.  C’est la vie.

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Mikayla at the Children’s Museum

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Beth and Mikayla at the Butterfly Pavilion

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Foggy day at Dream lake in ROMO

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Along the Trail Ridge Road in ROMO

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At Delicate Arch in Arches NP

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Paddling in the Sylvania Wilderness Area


Of Authenticity and Friendship

March 16th, 2010 2 comments

no plans, left-overs for dinner, pajamas until noon, marathon board game sessions, 6 hours of Lonsome Dove, dirty diapers, cooking and washing dishes, minor plumbing work, disc golf…

This is how Beth and I spent last weekend.  Pretty mundane and typical.  At first glance seems no different than most free weekends we have.  But, last weekend was incredible as we spent it in Tallahassee with two of our closest and oldest friends Catherine and Dave* and our daughters.

Catherine, Beth, Molly and Mikayla


What was so incredible about the weekend is just how ordinary it was.  There was no evidence of the 5 months that had elapsed since we were last together.  There were no expectations and there was not a need “to be doing something.”  Instead, we just hung out… exactly like we did in high school, and in college, and in our early married lives.

Everytime we get together, it always strikes me how natural things are.  In fact both this weekend and the last time we were together in the Smokies, I had a hard time finding pictures.  I think that’s because there has never been the feeling that what we were doing was “special” as much as it was just a regular weekend together.

Beth and I have many close friends, some of whom we have known for decades, but there is something special about our relationship with the Altmaiers as it epitomizes authenticity and friendship.

*Dave has “retired” his blog, but we are trying to encourage him to start it back.

10 Activities

July 23rd, 2009 No comments

So far Beth and I have discussed what we like, what we want to accomplish, and a bit about who we are.  Today our list of 10 will look at what we like to do.  Here are my top 10 favorite activities:

  1. Disc Golfing – I was introduced to disc golfing while I was in college.  I love it because it offers an easy escape outdoors, even if only for an hour or two.  You can play by yourself or in groups.  Best yet… is relatively cheap.  You could play ’til your heart was content for $2 if you buy a used disc.  For $20-30 you would be well on your way.  Compared to my other outdoor activities, this one is by far the cheapest.

    Discgolfing with some of Beth's students.

    Discgolfing with some of Beth's students.

  2. Gardening – Beth and I are on our third year of gardening, and the first in our own backyard.  I just got in from harvesting okra, tomatoes, corn and peppers.  Here is link to post I wrote earlier, and some pictures of the garden from today.
    2009-07-22 Pouty Face 039

    Asparagus, corn, zucchini, okra, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, onions.

    Tomatoes, basil, okra, corn.

    Tomatoes, basil, okra, corn.

  3. Rock Climbing – My first experience climbing was in high school at an indoor gym.  I ended up buying my own equipment and then getting involved in an outdoors group my Freshman year in college where I got into real rock climbing.  In the four years fighting fire in Idaho I expanded my experience.  Now I only climb a couple times a year, but I treasure each one.  It is not just the activity, but the comradery found sitting around at the bottom of the rocks too.

    Climbing in the Bitterroots, circa 2001

    Climbing in the Bitterroots, circa 2001

  4. Backpacking – I was backpacking before I even knew what it was.  I was lucky enough to have parents that valued the outdoors and introduced them to me early.  In fact, my first camping trip was before I was a month old (at least that is what Dad says… but his memory is not what it used to be.)  I try to have one big trip every couple years, but is has been a few years since I have been out.  Just this week I went back through my pictures from a trip to Colorado.  Backpacking is one of those things that is fun to prepare for, to do, and to talk about later.

    Purifying water while backpacking in Colorado.  (The day before we found an outfitter's stash of beer).

    Purifying water while backpacking in Colorado. (The day before we found an outfitter's stash of beer).

  5. Traveling – I have been very fortunate to be able to travel quite a bit in my life.  I visited over 30 states in 18 months when I was in college and currently have visited all of the lower 48.  I have been to Mexico (kinda), Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Austria and Italy.  I enjoy traveling not only for the experiance, but also because it often forces me to reassess my own understandings of the world.
  6. Conversing with friends over beverages – I enjoy good conversations in relaxed settings.  Like the activity above, this includes lots of things.  I enjoy talking theology, philosophy, politics, and anything in between.  I enjoy good drinks and people who enjoy good drinks.
  7. Being with my family – One of my favorite activities is simply being with my family.  Not doing anything in particular… just being.  I love a lazy Sunday in a cozy bed, or a evening of talking with my extended family.  I feel very natural with my family and am comfortable just hanging out.


    Family picture at Kentucky Lake.

  8. Working with my hands – Most of my work is cerebral, whether it is grant writing, or studying, or planning.  After 20 years of schooling, and 5 years of jobs mostly made up of life behind a computer, I find great relief in working with my hands.  If I get stressed out, I will work in the garage; if I have spent too much time writing grants, I get respite from mowing the lawn.  I love my current job at Corsair Artisan Distillery because it includes science, craft, mundane tasks and grunt labor.  My time fighting fire was probably my most fulfilling job at the end of the day (but not in terms of long range impact).

    Practice Rappells at Moyer in Idaho, circa 2003.

    Practice Rappells at Moyer in Idaho, circa 2003.

  9. Driving long distances in the car alone – Everyone needs a way to relax and collect their thoughts.  Some people golf, some people go for walks, some people journal.  For me, the most calming time is driving alone in the car.  Often I do this with the windows down and the radio off.  When I was in Seminary, I would often leave at 4:30 in the morning and drive 2.5 hours.  I would have loved my sleep, but seeing the sun come up while I processed my thoughts was the most therapeutic thing I could do.
  10. Researching – In all honesty, this is probably my favorite activity because it includes so much.  I enjoy spending time in the Library combing through old journals and abstracts to find a hidden gem of information for a paper.  I love pouring over a map trying to find the best route.  I love browsing wikipedia to learn about random things like historic natural disasters, or the standard model of particle physics.  I often get into a topic and try to read everything I can about it.  I spend hours trying to understand things like PHP so I can edit a blog.  And, if I am honest, much of the time I waste tinkering around on the internet is linked to this activity.

10 Places

July 18th, 2009 1 comment

With the publishing of this post, Beth and I are half way through our 10 lists of 10.  Today we are listing our 10 favorite places.  I intended this to be more specific, but I realized there were specific types of places where I felt most comfortable at and ease and I have mostly listed those.

  1. Around a campfire – For most families, the TV is the thing which people gather around.  That was not the case for me — we gathered around the fire.  In fact, there was only 1 seat facing the TV at my childhood home, and 4 facing the wood stove.  There is something mesmerizing about flickering flames.  They hold the power to sustain life and the power to take it.  It doesn’t matter if it is a small warming fire on a wilderness hike, or the fire ring in our back yard where we watch movies on the side of the house, I feel at peace with the crackling wood and the dimly illuminated faces of close friends.
  2. 127 Yellowstone Ct – My current address.  I like being at home.  I like curling up on my ratty couch with my dog and surfing the internet.  I love laying in bed with my wife on a lazy morning.  I love walking into the backyard to get something out of the garden.  I love our neighbors, especially the kids who always greet us when we get home.  Our home is not elaborate or large.  We have all used furniture and the house is never all the way picked up, but that doesn’t matter.  I like being here.
  3. Coffee Shop with friends – There is something about sitting around a table with a hot cup of coffee and friends you love.  Some of my most meaningful conversations have happened in these settings.  Right now the place I frequent the most is Spencer’s (especially since it is a half block from the distillery where I work).  Great people, great coffee, and a kick-ass chicken salad sandwich.  I also enjoy Greener Grounds (formerly Bread n Bagel).
  4. University Libraries – I know people who never set foot inside the library while in college.  That was not me.  Not only did I frequent the library, but I had places I considered my own and would get pissed is someone was sitting there.  There is something about being surrounded by such a wealth of knowledge.  Books are calming to me.  When I visit another campus, I always go into the library and browse the stacks.  I find comfort in book stores for the same reason.
  5. Missoula, MT – I haven’t been there in a while, but this is my favorite city in America.  It has a great atmosphere and vibe.  It is a university town nestled in the foothills of the Bitterroot mountains.  Great micro-breweries, great gear shops and a great cultural scene.  It is also the city I most closely associate with my time fighting fire.  My first two years we had to drive an hour into Missoula to get our groceries.
  6. Mountain Lakes -This is more of a western phenomina than an eastern one.  I love sitting in a wilderness area staring off across a crystal clear lake with vast mountains around me.  I have experienced this in Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Oregon (Austria as well) and each time I find the setting to epitomize the beauty of creation.  (Give me a campfire and some coffee and things could be perfect).


    Mountain Lake in the Weminuche Wilderness Area

  7. On the road – Some people hate being in the car, but that is not me.  For 4 years I traveled out to Idaho by myself.  It was about 32 hours each way, and believe it or not I looked forward to that time.  Even when I was commuting to Asbury, I loved the time in the car (even when it meant leaving at 4:30 in the morning).  For me, it is a time to think and process ideas and let my mind wander.  I often drive in silence and enjoy taking in the passing scenery.  I also love listening to some NPR while driving.
  8. In the air – Growing up I had several opportunities to fly in single engine planes.  In college I worked on helicopters.  And while it has been a while since I have been off terra-firma, I love the experience of soaring over the world.  I think it is because of the way it alters your perception.  You see the world in a new way from hundreds of feet above it (I also love looking at satellite imagery on google earth, and Microsoft’s new “Birds Eye” view for the same reason).
  9. Gear shops – I don’t consider myself materialist, but if I am ever going to be drawn in to the “things of this world” it will be in a good gear shop.  I love the small local shops where the employees know all the best routes and trips, but at the same time I enjoy purusing all the high end gear at a place like REI.  If I have a weakness… it is gear.  I have piles of climbing gear, backpacking gear, mountain biking gear….
  10. In the garden – This is a (relatively) recent addition to my list of favorite places.  This is our third year of gardening and our first year to do it at our home (see this post about it).  I love growing our own food and being able to eat it fresh.  I love the way gardening forces you to slow down and spend time outdoors.  I love the mix of hard labor (tilling) and monotonous tasks (weeding).