Road Trip

Springfield, IL

After moving out, we started our drive in my 1999 Subaru outback, which some doubted could make the journey. First stop was Springfield, IL to drop off Spot with my Mom. We had a day or two to relax and spend time with family before beginning to drive again. I decided with the good weather and some time to burn it was a good idea to introduce Erin to the IL State Fair. It is kind of a big deal around Springfield. Erin was excited to eat some fair food, and short of an amusement park ride didn’t seem to impressed, but it did help us get 20,000 steps in after not moving much from a day in the car.

I think we covered fair food pretty well, obviously there was far to much to eat in a couple hour visit.

State Fair Food and Drinks:

Brazilian street nachos
Cajun Shrimp on a stick
Lemon Shake ups
Chocolate covered bacon on a stick
Red Velvet Funnel Cake
Home made Root Beer
Hand made Ice Cream
(Erin combined the hand made ice cream into a cup of the home made root beer for a delicious Root beer float)
Chocolate Milk Shake
Salt water taffy
Various Beers

Erin saw the butter cow, which I think she enjoyed mostly because she liked the movie butter which is on Netflix.

The famous butter cow
The famous butter cow

We topped off the food with a trip to Magic Kitchen, which is the best Thai food I’ve had. We even got in a short hike with Spot.



Then it was time to get back in the car and drive to Oklahoma City. We wanted to see Erin’s family that is in OK, before making our way to Denver. It was nice to have a bit more down time between the driving and get in some swimming with the hot weather. We also had some nice home cooked meals which we both are pretty sure we will start to miss once we get traveling, making a dinner with family a special treat. We skipped riding horses in OK as the temperature was reaching 100 degrees, but we still got to spend some time with the chickens. Including the farm famous hunger game chicken which was the sole survivor of last year’s coyote chicken raid.


Then we back on the road for the final leg of our road trip. A long and boring drive to Denver goes off without a hitch. Some people questioned if the Subarua would make it, but the proof is in the arrival. We also just fell short of having the car reach 80K miles, which is pretty funny for a car from 1999. Sadly after arriving in Denver it had some minor issues, so I can’t brag about the car too much.

We spent time in Denver visiting with Erin’s family and seeing my Brother. We also ran a bunch of final errands and checked of remaining to-do items before leaving the country. After visiting 3 DMVs we managed to get CO licenses and change our residency. Lots of time was spent on the phone with banks, insurance, and others to get various accounts in line. Each night in CO, we were treated to home cooked meals by our family which was wonderful.

We did manage to melt some records I was trying to bring to Shawn for his birthday. I guess a true moment of it is the thought that counts as we put on each record to quickly see it was unplayable as it had warped in the car, life lessons.


Thanks goes out to everyone who put us up or met up with us along the way. The road trip while a bit stressful as we tried to finish preparing for our trip, but it went very well and it was wonderful to get to see so many friends and family along the way.

Farewell DC

As our trip begins it is time to say goodbye to DC. My loving wife Erin bought tickets for a visit to the top of the Washington monument the day before we left. We had always wanted to see that view and after the earthquake, we were worried it wouldn’t re-open before we left, so it seemed to be a very appropriate way to say goodbye to the city.

The last few days of packing put us in a pretty good place in terms of our travel bags and being packed up to move to CO. We said  our goodbyes to many friends and stacked our boxes high.

We put up our no parking signs for our moving Pod to arrive. We have placed no parking signs to move in DC three times. All three times they were ignored by locals who really just want to park. This has required us to hunt out neighbors and strangers on the street to please move the cars and to fill all the spots with trash bins and people, and to manually monitor the curb so the Pod can be placed. We had two no parking signs ripped down,  and we caught one neighbor in the act. Why does DC hate people who attempt to move in and out so much? I may never know.

So with the Pod safely at the curb, and boxes ready to go we had one last little problem, rain!

DC was set for a storm that would cause record flooding the day we were scheduled to have movers help us load our pod. Luckily, there were some nice breaks in the weather that allowed us to load without all our stuff getting soaked. Also, Bookstore movers did an awesome job helping us load things and keep them as dry as possible. They brought extra people and would stack boxes and things by the door when it was raining hard and run everything out when we had gaps in the weather. I really appreciated their work and give them the highest recommendation.

Bookstore movers, rocking it!
Bookstore movers, rocking it!

With the goodbyes said, our stuff loaded up, the car packed full. We took a moment to celebrate with a last pot pie dinner accompanied by the last of our garden tomatoes. Then we hopped in the car with a very confused dog to start our journey.

Thanks, DC, you have been good to us. We will miss so many people who were a part of our lives in the city and will always recall our time here with fond memories.

To ease the sadness, I took Erin to the IL state fair in Springfield, but that story will have to be saved for another post.

Books, Pie Pans, Don’t Ask Why

Books, Pie Pans, Don't Ask Why
Books, Pie Pans, Don’t Ask Why

Moving completely overwhelms me. I look around the house and cannot even begin to think about where to start.

My husband handles things much better. He is an engineer and he packs like an engineer.  He picks up the things and puts them into the boxes and then picks up more things, and puts them into the boxes, in an effort to perfectly fill every available space in a box, like tetris. And so our boxes are not categorized by type of item or room in the house, but by items that fit, perfectly, together. The rocks from our outdoor heater are not packed with the gardening supplies, but with picture frames. Thankfully, he also uses very specific labeling, so that we will know to look for the vacuum bags in the box with the winter clothes.

Books and coffee mugs
Books and coffee mugs

Dan also had a couple of extra days to pack, while I was still finishing up the week at work, and so, consequently, he has done more than his fair share, and our conversations go like this:

“Where is the spatula?”

“Oh, you mean the long-skinny? It’s packed.”

This is what our house looks like now.


Shots Shots Shots Shots Shots

Getting a bunch of shots does make your arms sore. But that is WAY better than getting polio.

Erins ShotsErins Shots 2

Erin got:

  • Meningococcal
  • Polio
  • Typhoid… One less way we can die after we ford the river in Oregon trail.
  • Rabies

Kaiser Permanent Copay = $20 (high-five for having Kaiser)


Dan's Shots


Dan Got:

  • Meningococcal
  • Polio
  • Hep-A (Erin had already gotten that vaccine)
  • Typhoid (oral — he’s a wimp)

Washington Travel Clinic (among the best self-pay prices in the region — most US health insurance does not cover travel vaccinations) = $430

Oh the places you’ll go…

Friends, family, and random internet strangers:
We are going to travel around around the world for awhile. (142 days, or four months and 20 days…but whose counting?) We will travel primarily through Asia and Africa because adding continents gets expensive and there is plenty to see in those places to keep us busy.  We are pretty excited about the whole thing.
We’ve got our bags and some gear (quick dry underwear, bug proof sweatshirts, and the like). We are working on collecting the necessary visas and establishing sufficient immunity. This blog is where you can follow some of our adventures.  Expect lots of photos, and possibly some tips for future travelers, as we learned a lot reading the blogs of those who have traveled before us. (See side bar for links.)
Dan Demonstrating the hopefully never needed double pack feature


Where in the world will we go?
One of the most surprising things about planning this trip so far is that nearly five months is not enough time to see the whole world, or even all of the places you really want to see. We tried to be selective and give ourselves some time to wonder in at least a few places. We’ve also hit up good friends in locations throughout our journey whose willingness to put us up and show us around has done a lot to encourage our trip and remind us just how awesome people are.  The current draft of our itinerary is below.
Dates Location
Mid-August Leave DC travel to Springfield, OKC, Denver
8/21/2014 Flight to Tokyo
Late August Flight to Seoul
Early September Flight to Beijing
A Few Days Later Flight to Hong Kong
Mid September Flight to Vietnam, travel Vietnam and Cambodia
Mid October Flight to Kuala Lumpur
Late October Flight to Bangkok
Early November Flight to Nairobi
November Travel Overland through Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania
Early December Flight to Accra from Dar es Salaam
Just before the Holidays Flight to Jo-burg, travel to Capetown
Early January 2015 Flight from Jo-burg to Denver
I also want to visit country X, can we meet up?
Yes, that would be awesome! If you are planning to visit anywhere or want to visit anywhere and can make times overlap we would love to meet up and travel a bit together. Get in touch.
What about work?
After our journey ends we will be returning to Colorado after over 5 years in DC. Dan will be returning to LivingSocial, out of the Colorado office, when we get back. Erin will be looking for some awesome health policy, budget analysis,  program management or implementation work to do in Colorado when we get back, so if you are looking for a dedicated health analyst, get in touch.
But I live in X, and you didn’t reach out to me, and I’d love to host you!
Absolute apologies, we cannot believe we didn’t reach out. We’d love to see you and have you show us around X. Please shoot us an email regarding our oversight.
Will you send me a post card?
Yes! If you want a post card just shoot us an email with your address and we can mail one. If you want it from a specific country, or something, let us know.


Our Favorite 412 Wedding Pictures and a Video!

In celebration of our first anniversary, we sat down and attempted to select our favorite wedding pictures. We ended up with a collection of 412 pictures from our wedding weekend, including a few from the slideshow we were showing at the wedding and a few from our honeymoon for good measure. Thanks to everyone who shared their pictures with us.

Reflecting on our wedding one year later, we recognize it as the best day of our lives (cliche, we know) and we cannot thank all of you enough for being a part of it. Looking through the pictures, we remembered all of the amazing things that everyone did to ensure that the day went off without a hitch, from flying across the country, slicing fruit for sangria, making and hanging signs, welcoming guests, performing the ceremony, and corralling people for pictures, to taste-testing the margaritas, bringing the glow sticks down for the party, grabbing an air mic and your man bits to ensure that the dancing didn’t slow when the music took an unexpected turn, and arranging our get-away transportation. We are very grateful that we were able to share the day with all of you.

And now for the pictures, drumroll please….

Our Wedding Anniversary Photo Collection

Erin and Dan 274

And the video! Fair warning — though Dan has acknowledged that this is the craftiest thing I have ever done, he cannot believe that I made a twenty-minute wedding video and has assured me that only our immediate family members will ever watch it. For anyone else, here is a cheat sheet so that you can fast forward to your favorite parts:

  • Slideshow (mostly old family pictures): 00:00 — 02:00
  • Pre-wedding activities, rehearsal, etc.: 02:00 — 03:00
  • Pre-ceremony, getting ready, first-look, family and party shots, arrivals: 03:00 — 07:40
  • Ceremony: 09:15 — 12:05
  • Post-ceremony, more family shots, cocktail hour, dinner, toasts: 12:05 — 14:20
  • First dances, family dances: 14:20 — 15:10
  • The real party, dancing, and photo-booth shots: 15:10 — 18:55
  • Honeymoon and footloose shots: 18:55 — 19:55

Dan and Erin Get Hitched — The Video.

Dan and Erin Get Hitched
Dan and Erin Get Hitched

If you want your very own copy of the video, you can download it by using “right click, save as,” on this link.

Erin & Dan

We are Back and We are Married!

We have the certificate and everything. We had so much fun at the wedding. We were honored to have so many of our family and friends make it out for the big day and we are particularly grateful to everyone who traveled partway across the country to be there. We cannot possibly say thank you enough.

Yes, it was amazing, and yes we had a blast, and yes, it passed in the blink of an eye. We spent days during our wonderful, relaxing honeymoon in Aruba just trying to remember all of the greatest moments, which brings us to the topic of this post — we want your pictures!!

We don’t yet have all the official wedding photos (though you can bet that we will post a link to them as soon as we have them), but we would love to get any photos from the event that you might have. If you brought a camera and got a bunch of pictures, we would love to see them. Even if you just snapped one or two on your Iphone, Android, (or even your Blackberry) during the night — we would love to see those as well.

Here is how to share your photos from the wedding with us:

  • (Preferred method, easiest and best quality images) Google’s Picasa. If you have Picasa on your computer just collect all the wedding photo’s into a album and click: Tools -> Upload -> Upload to Picasa Web Albums –OR– Sync to Web. Choose the highest quality or original picture quality if you can. Then just share the album to us or email us the URL of the album. Note: Now when you try to share images in Picasa, it now sends people the Google+ web album — this is fine. If we have the album ID on Google+ we can use the download to Picasa feature to pull your images down to our collection.
  • (Second best method, still great quality images) Flickr. Use whatever your preferred method is to upload images to flickr and pull all the wedding related photo’s in a flickr set. Send us a link to your flickr profile or the photo set URL. I can then use a tool to download all of your wedding photos to our collection.
  • Facebook. Upload all your images to a facebook album. The image quality of facebook albums is pretty poor, so if you can use another method, that would be awesome. After uploading the album to facebook, just send us a link to the album or let us know and we can use a tool to download the whole album to our collection.

Hate all of those options? The social web makes you sad? Go traditional.

  • Email the photos to Erin or Dan, all you need to do is send a email and attach the images. Note that most email systems only let you send 10MB or so per email, which is likely only 3-5 high quality photos these days. (This might be the easiest method for people who just have a few photos on their phone.)
  • Use our web uploader. Visit our uploader and send the files our way. Just select a file using ‘Choose File’ then upload it by clicking ‘Upload File’.
  • You can use it to upload single image files one at a time, or to upload a zip file. (Instructions for making a zip file in Windows are here, for a Mac, just right click on the folder containing the pictures you want to send and select “Compress to File.”)

As we receive all the awesome images from you all, we will add them to our wedding photo album, which we will be sharing online. If, for some reason, you don’t want your picture to appear on a gallery on this site, just let us know when you send us the picture and we won’t share it online.

Since we are still waiting for our wedding photos, feel free to check out some of the other galleries:

You can view the photos from the slideshow that was running in the electronic frames at our wedding by clicking on the picture below.


And our photo booth pictures are also online!

Weddings, I love weddings!

We’ve made all sorts of updates to the site recently — there is transportation information on the lodging & transportation page and we have added some details to our schedule page.

I am sure we will be making frequent updates in the coming weeks, so please check the site from time to time.

You can RSVP to all of the pre-wedding events on the RSVP page. If you RSVP’ed via snail mail, we marked you as attending the ceremony and reception and by default marked you as not attending any of our other events. If you plan to attend any pre-wedding activities, please let us know so that we can plan accordingly and supply adequate food and beverage. Please update your RSVP for all of the pre-wedding activities by the end of the week (Saturday June 30th). If you have any trouble with the website, feel free to just email me to respond.

What Erin and I have been thinking all week. As, Captain Jack Sparrow says, “A wedding, I love weddings!”

Updated Transportation Information

The site now includes transportation information!

Options for getting from Denver International Airport into downtown are now on the Lodging & Transportation page.

We don’t recommend driving to the ceremony, if it can be avoided, because there is limited parking. The Burnsley Hotel is within easy walking distance of the ceremony location and the hotel will also offer shuttle service to the ceremony.

If you are driving, you can find a map of the ceremony location and the overflow parking lot on the Ceremony & Reception page.