A Ride Around Raleigh — Literally

raleigh_greenway_loop_01It was a whim of an idea on a late Friday night after a long week—to bike around Raleigh piecing together the greenways near the beltline. Merri Beth, Coco, and I decided to give it a try on Saturday, July 12.

We started on the Walnut Creek Greenway heading east after parking at the trail head on Lake Wheeler Road near the Farmer’s Market. Once we got to Worthdale Park, we took to the streets to connect to the Crabtree Creek greenway. Continue reading

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Soaking in OpenStack and the Georgia Aquarium

OpenStack Summit Atlanta 2014

openstack_summit_2014_ATL_06The agenda was overflowing at the OpenStack Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. There were almost 5,000 people attending keynotes, sessions, networking, and a little bit of night life. I’ve had a blast, learning as much as possible from the OpenStack fire hose. Here’s what my experience looked like from the OpenStack Summit, including some amazing pictures from the Georgia Aquarium. Continue reading

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2014 Salsa Garden is Taking Root

ramsgate_garden_01The salsa garden has been planted and is ready for the 2014 growing season here in North Carolina. I planted the garden in late April. I usually do it on Good Friday, but I’d been traveling a lot and the winter was pretty hard. Luckily, I had been preparing my soil a few weeks ahead of time (tilling, fertilizing, weeding, etc.) so it was easy to get the plants in the ground.

I got my plants from Logan’s Trading Company in Downtown Raleigh. Zander went with me to help select the plants. Actually, we made a pit stop at Wise Recycling to cash in our aluminium cans and made $53.00 before going to Logan’s. The plants looked great. Zander wanted to try some pink girl tomatoes, so we’ll see what those are like this year. Unfortunately, they were out of red and orange peppers so we went with more golden peppers instead.

We had a boys-out lunch at Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar before heading back home. After we got home, I did some final garden preparations and got the plants in the ground by the end of the weekend. That was the last weekend in April, so let’s fast forward to mid-May.

Garden update May 17-18

The salsa garden was well-hydrated earlier this week. A cold front came through on Wednesday/Thursday and left us with 5 ½ inches of rain. After that, lots of sunshine and cooler temperatures. I decided that it was time to cage all of the plants and worked in the garden.

I tried a new strategy when planting the garden rows this year. Instead of organizing the plants east to west like I’ve done in years past, I decided to try north to south and group them in rows of two. You’ll see how it looks in the pictures below, but the theory is that it will provide more access to my plants.

ramsgate_garden_03I also planted less plants this year to help with spacing them out and will be experimenting with a few other things as well. Here’s what the line-up looks like:

  • Tomatoes:
    • Better Boy (3)
    • Big Boy (4)
    • Celebrity (6)
    • Early Girls (8)
    • Large Cherry (4)
    • Patio (8 in pots)
    • Pink Girls (2 in the garden / 2 in pots)
    • Roma (4 in the garden / 4 in pots)
    • Rutgers (4)
  • Peppers:
    • Big Bertha (8)
    • Camelot (8)
    • Golden Peppers (6)
    • Jalapeños (3 in pots)

One of my experiments is with the Roma’s. I’ve got half of them in pots and the other half in the garden. I also reduced the amount of cherry tomatoes this year. I had over 1,000 last season which was a lot to deal with. I reduced the amount of plants by half and moved them to the edge of the garden in case they get ginormous again.

I’ve already got a few blossoms on the plants, and most tomatoes are already knee high. Hopefully it will be another great year for the salsa garden.

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A Taste of Napa Valley

napa_valley_65After arriving in San Francisco, California, on Friday, April 11,  it was about an hour drive to American Canyon—our base camp for the weekend. Merri Beth and I were finally getting a chance to explore Napa Valley and we were super excited.

I was flying in from Denver and landed in SFO around 9:05pm. Merri Beth had a direct flight from Raleigh and landed around 9:25pm. We collected our bags and made our way to the rental car location at SFO. The line was outrageous and the wait was about an hour. We finally got our Mazda 6 with Oregon tags and were on our way to American Canyon. Continue reading

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Spring Break in the Rockies Day Three: Dog Sledding and Snowboarding

dog_sledding_34We woke up to several inches of snow on Monday, March 31. A winter storm had passed overnight and there was some fresh powder to play in today. Since we had been snowboarding all day yesterday, we wanted to change things up a bit. The family got ready for the day and headed south to Breckenridge. The roads had snow on them, so we were cautious and allowed extra travel time. Our first stop for the day was Good Times Adventures.

Zander didn’t know where we were going or what we were doing. It was a complete surprise. It was a long, winding, snow-packed road to get to our destination. As were approached Good Times, Zander saw some people dog sledding. And he was really excited. Surprise! Continue reading

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Spring Break in the Rockies Day Two: Loveland

loveland_43Another full day of snowboarding was on tap for Sunday, March 30. We had a blast at Copper Mountain yesterday. First we needed some gear, then some lift tickets. We hit up the Pioneer Sports store that was conveniently located in our hotel. Snowboard packages were $32 a day and included boots, board, and bindings. Rental gear: check. Next, we printed out lift tickets to Loveland ski area at the kiosk, also conveniently located in the hotel lobby. Discounted lift tickets were $56 for adults and $25 for children. Lift tickets: check. Continue reading

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Spring Break in the Rockies Day One: Copper Mountain

copper_mtn_28Let Spring Break begin! Merri Beth, Zander, and I were at RDU airport on Friday, March 28 heading to Denver, Colorado. We had a direct flight on Southwest Airlines that left at 5:00 pm ET and arrived by 7:00 pm MT. Our plan was to get some snowboarding in this weekend. Meanwhile, Coco and the dogs would be enjoying Spring Break at the farm with Jim and Beth.

After arriving at the Denver International Airport, we got our bags, a rental car, and headed west and made a pitstop for dinner in Golden, CO. We ate at a place called Blue Canyon Bar & Grille, watched some of the NCAA tournament and enjoyed our food. We had about an hour drive before we arrived in Silverthorne—which would be basecamp for the next few days. Continue reading

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Visting Raleigh Brewing on their 1-Year Anniversary

raleigh_brewing_01I’d been meaning to do an interview with the good folks at Raleigh Brewing Company for a while, but I haven’t had the time to check out their taproom and explore their business. So instead, my family and I stumbled upon the Raleigh Brewing one year anniversary this weekend. And it was awesome. Continue reading

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Apply Now for the TransparencyCamp Travel Scholarship

TransparencyCamp is an annual unconference by the Sunlight Foundation that brings together folks interested in government transparency. TCamp 2014 is happening on May 30-31st. To ensure that diverse voices and communities are represented, they will once again provide a travel scholarship open to participants from across the country.

APPLY NOW! Continue reading

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Winter Surf on the Outer Banks

Kill Devil Hills surf forecast via MagicSeaweed.com

Kill Devil Hills surf forecast via MagicSeaweed.com

On the evening of Friday, March 7, 2014, I started preparing for a winter surf session on the Outer Banks. I gathered my wetsuit and various wetsuit parts, including booties, gloves, hood, and other layers. I packed all my gear in my surf tote and got my surfboard ready. I’d been watching the surf forecast all week and it looked like Saturday afternoon would be firing. Continue reading

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