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Summer 2008 Vacation Plans

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Rock Hill Estate - Lavender, Olive Oil, Wine

"" | We're planning to attend the Rock Hill Estate All Things Lavender event up on their farms in Sonoma. Sounds like it will be a wonderful learning experience, infused with the fragrance of lavender.

Rock Hill Estate, Lavender - Olive Oil - Wine - Distilling Services

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Trekking / Hiking Poles - Pros and Cons

Pros - Advantages of Trekking Poles

  • Reduce impact on knee joints and leg muscles - Arm and shoulder muscles take some of the load off the leg muscles and joints. 1
  • Increase hill climbing power - Legs and arms can contribute to the climb.
  • Reduced swelling in hands - Hands-above-heart position and arm motion used with poles prevents blood from pooling in the hands.
  • Aid balance - When balance is thrown off due to terrain or middle ear problems.
  • Regular breathing and increased stamina - Because using poles creates a consistent, steady walking rhythm.
  • Useful for testing areas for snakes, stability, etc.

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Ultralight Backpacking Shelter - Research

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Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve

Park profile

Acres: 2,143

Miles of trail: 10.9

Hours: Dawn to half hour after sunset

Limitations: No dogs

Driving directions: Take I-280 to Page Mill Road exit. Go west on Page Mill for 8.6 miles to Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35). Go south one mile; park entrance is on the west side of Skyline.

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Bay Area Hikes

Mission Peak Regional Preserve - East Bay Regional Park
Nice area with lots of steep, foothill trails. Very popular, but if you avoid the main trail, you can find some peace, even on weekends.

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Mission Peak Regional Preserve - East Bay Regional Park

Peak Trail - Ohlone College trailhead to the peak is gentler, less steep hike (save the first and last hundred yards) than the Stanford Road trailhead. However, the Stanford Road route offers great views of the bay throughout the climb, so even if you don't reach the peak, you'll still get some great views. The Ohlone College route goes east of the peak, which hides the views of the bay until near the end.

Peak Meadow Trial - Nice way to make a loop with the Peak Trail. Less crowded but a little longer than the Peak Trail route.

Mission Peak Trail Map (PDF)

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Shadows of Angmar - Hints, Cheats, Advice, Guides - LOTRO

Shadows of Angmar - LOTRO - Here's a funny story. I was invited by some old high school buddies to play LOTRO. I'd never played before, but they said just bring my computer, and they'll set me up.

So I show up, and as I step into the house, I notice a bunch of big computer monitors (21 inchers, I find out later), ethernet cables running everywhere, and huge computer desktop PC boxes. Plus, these guys had headsets, special keyboard/joystick devices, and enough snackfood to satisfy a class of 12-year-olds.

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Wii Tennis - Cheats, Tips, Hints

Nintento Wii Tennis Cheats, Tips, Hints from various sources...

Power serve - Some serves will have a trailing streak behind them and are difficult to return. These are power serves. To do one, time a quick swing to coincide with the top of the ball's arc. Controller angle is important. If your serving motion mimics an overhead tennis serve, then the controller needs to be angled forward and down, like in a true tennis serve or overhead smash. BTW, there's no way to aim the serve.

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Disneyland - Bringing in Food and Drinks - The TRUTH!

Disneyland Bringing Food and Drinks - Before a recent visit to Disneyland I read the rules on the Disneyland website about food and drinks. Officially, the Disneyland rules state:

With the exception of food items for Guests with specific dietary restrictions, food or beverage items are not permitted into either of the Disneyland Resort theme parks.

REALITY - This rule is not carefully enforced. Here are some clues in case you're skeptical...

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Disneyland Trip Research

FASTPASS Rides - Disneyland

  • Autopia, presented by Chevron
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain

FASTPASS Rides - Disney California Adventure Park

  • California Screamin'
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Mulholland Madness, presented by Alamo
  • Soarin' Over California
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

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10 Water Park Survival Tips - Raging Waters

Water Park Survival Tips - Raging Waters - We spent our second Father's Day in a row at Raging Waters water park in San Jose, CA. A wonderful visit made even better because of these survival tips I learned during my first visit:

  1. Wear flip flops or water shoes - Don't let the rough walking surface turn the soles of your feet into hamburger. NOTE: Some rides/slides don't allow footwear. I either leave them at the foot of the ride, or stuff them in the back waistband of my swim shorts ;)
  2. Wear polarized sunglasses - Glare from the sun can be overwhelming at water parks. Polarized lenses reduce the glare much better than non-polarized sunglass lenses.

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Pinnacles National Monument

This place is GORGEOUS. And only a few hours away. Been itching to visit the place for years, but the recent Bay Area Backroads program gave me the itch I had to scratch. Parking gets crowed in the summer (which sucks!), but it's worth a little extra hike to see and explore the park. But it is popular, so best to explore on a weekday or off season.

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Recreational Goals

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Backpack Research

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Paramount's Great America - Ain't So Great

  • Poorly managed in general (food concessions and parking especially)
  • Disinterested employees
  • No magic, bland spirit or feel about the park
  • Criminally negligent parking lot pedestrian management
  • Theme Park without a "Theme"*

* Great America has changed hands many times. Current Parmount owner sprinkles a very few movie artifacts and posters around the park, but little else.

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Camping Necessities

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