Ride the iron horse?

As you may or may not be aware, Jess has been thinking/planning/wondering if it is possible to pack up the girls and make a trek to Pittsburgh this summer to show off the girls to family and use the U2 concert tickets she bought on a whim last year. I’m of the mind that this would be a huge undertaking and I’m not sure if I’m up for it… and that’s putting it mildly. Despite the fact that I love Pittsburgh and would truly enjoy another trip out there, my fear is the travel itself. The amount of crap we’d have to lug around with us would be immense. I fear the girls, cramped in a metal tube at 36,000 feet with no escape for 6 hours. I don’t want to be “that parent” that everyone else on the plane secretly loathes.

Anyway, just for shits and giggles, I decided to look into taking a train. I’ve never traveled on a train. I know nothing about where they run, or how much they cost. But, perhaps it could work. At least you can move around on a train. You could get a private room. The girls could get out of their seats and we could stretch our legs as we leisurely traveled cross country. Images of the golden era of train travel danced in my head. This could be fun, I thought.

So, I jumped onto amtrak.com and started poking around. This is what I found…

First off, despite the fact that we have a train station in Boise, Amtrak does not stop here anymore. The nearest stations to actually get on a train are in Spokane, Washington and Salt Lake City, Utah. Obviously picking SLC, I just went with everything Amtrak gave me (ie. I know we could drive ourselves to SLC, but that’s not the point of this exercise).

  1. Get on a bus and travel 7 hours 25 minutes to Salt Lake City
  2. Have a layover in SLC from 5:50pm to 3:30am (10 hours)
  3. Board train for Chicago, total duration to get there: 34 hr 20 min. Yes. 34 hours.
  4. Luckily the layover in Chicago is only 3 hours
  5. Take train to Pittsburgh, 9 hr 25 min.

We would leave Boise at 10:25am on Sunday and arrive in Pittsburgh at 4:35am on Wednesday. Total travel time: 64 hours. Oh wait, round trip… The schedule says only 57 total hours to make the return trip… Let me get out my calculator… Just a short 121 hours total for the round trip. Just travel time. For comparison, we could fly round trip, from Boise to Sydney, Australia THREE times in that amount of time.


Now, the price. The cost for the privilege to give up more than 5 whole days of our lives? Over 1,300 bucks. Yes, you read that right. And that is just for 2 seats and the girls riding on our laps, apparently. If we were interested in a private room, say for one of those 34 hour legs, the cheapest/smallest one they have (still just 2 seats) would add $600 to the total. If we wanted a private room for both of those 34 hour stretches, that bangs the total price up to just north of $2,500. Not to mention the 15 meals we’d need to buy ourselves along the journey. I’m going to go ahead and assume that food prices on a train are probably a lot like those in a movie theater or sports stadium… you know, super reasonably priced. On the plus side, some trains now have WiFi!… however, not any of the ones we’d be on.

Or, we could fly. Direct from Boise, 1 stop, 7 hours each way, round trip of 14 hours and a total cost of $825.

Needless to say, the train is much less attractive an option than I was prepared for. Maybe to those of you more familiar with train travel this isn’t as shocking to you as it was to me. But I was kinda blown away. So, you’re telling me it takes 8.5 times longer and is more expensive to boot? Gee, where do I sign up?

Anyway, back to square 1. We will continue to weigh the pro’s and con’s and see where we end up.

Pittsburgh family, maybe we’ll see ya in July… or maybe we won’t.

Rachel & Gabe’s Wedding

A few weeks ago the whole Winkle clan, myself included, treked back to Pittsburgh for a big family wedding. Jess’s cousin Rachel was getting married. Of course, we had a blast.

I took a few pictures during the wedding itself, a couple more of the reception and a bunch when the wedding party all hit the Hofbrauhaus for the after-party. These are a few of my favorite pictures. You can view the entire set here as well. There are a bunch more photos there that I haven’t posted here. Go view them. They’re good.

A note about these photos. I didn’t take my big SLR camera since I didn’t want to have to lug it around (and be responsible for it while drinking), so these were all shot on my little Canon point and shoot. During the actual ceremony, we were too far away from the aisle for my flash to work and the church was pretty dim. So, I chose to switch to ‘sepia’ mode for the evening. I liked the way it looked, so I just kept it there. Some of these photos are ‘happy accidents’ where because of the dimness, lack of flash, and longer shutter times, they got blurry but I like to think that was my desire all along.

Plus, there were plenty of other people there taking regular old snapshots… I wanted mine to stand out a bit. As always, click on each image to go to Flickr to view the image larger if you so desire.

Without further ado…

I like this one a lot… wish the faces were a bit more in focus, but still, it’s very impressionist.  Their first walk as husband and wife.
Down the Aisle


Bride and Groom

This is another one where the ‘blur’ really worked out in my favor. Their first dance. Love this shot.

The Hofbrauhaus photos really turned out good with the flash and the sepia. Definitely give an ‘old school’ feel. I love catching candids at parties. Try to capture how the night really went down. I think I did that in these.
Party at Hofbrauhaus

Party at Hofbrauhaus

Party at Hofbrauhaus

Party at Hofbrauhaus

Party at Hofbrauhaus

Party at Hofbrauhaus

Party at Hofbrauhaus

Party at Hofbrauhaus

Really dig this one too. Gabe in rare form… Liter of beer, cigar, and his new bride all tearing up the dance floor!
Party at Hofbrauhaus

Pittsburgh Panoramas

We made it home from our week long adventure back east, visiting family in Pittsburgh. I haven’t processed all 495 pictures I took, but I thought I would post a couple images to give you a taste of what we saw.

Heinz Field Panorama – Taken from our seats in the absolute last row of the top deck in Heinz Field for the Steelers vs Browns game on Sunday, October 18th. We had a blast at that game. Plus, it was the first time we had seen the sun since we got there, so that was a welcome sight. Note: you HAVE to click on the image to go to the biggest version for the full effect. Seriously, just do it.

Heinz Field Panorama

The other panorama I took was the result of a wrong turn. See, we went up to Mt. Washington the day we got there, but it was cloudy and rainy. On Monday, Jess and I were out and about using Rachel’s car (which she graciously allowed us to drive) and we explored some. Anyway, we were heading back to their house, but I was in the wrong lane. I had to turn off instead of going through the tunnel and there was no place to turn around. Well, the GPS told us to keep going, so we did. We ended back up on Mt. Washington, only this time it was absolutely gorgeous! We parked the car to take a few more photos and came up with this one. I’m SO glad I wasn’t in the right lane! Again, click on the pic to go to Flickr to view it bigger.

“Dawn-Tawn” Pittsburgh, PA.

Pittsburgh Panorama

If anyone is interested (especially you family back there) I have MUCH larger versions of these, if you would like.

There will be more to come.

Oregon Coast Pictures

Blogging has been sparse lately. I’m through apologizing for it. Instead, you should just subscribe to the RSS feed so you can be updated when I finally do post something new. Like this!

Behold… my favorite images from our trip to Oregon last weekend.

Please go to Flickr to enjoy the whole set, or you can click on any of these images below to view it bigger. Most of them look MUCH better when viewed larger, so I highly recommend doing that.

Without further ado…


Sunset Reflection


Yachats River Delta

Jess and the Ocean

Yachats, OR

Marcus on the Sand

Marcus on the Sand

Evening Ocean

Some background info… for spring break, Jess and I joined my sisters and their families in a house on the coast for 3 days. We found a great place in Yachats (30 min south of Newport) with a good view, beach access and a hot tub. It was fun.

We explored the area, ate sea food, enjoyed the rain, and relaxed in the hot tub.  And, I got some good photographs out of it.

We have another big week this week… mainly tomorrow, Wednesday the 1st. But that is another post!

Snowshoeing In McCall

This previous weekend, Jess and I got out of town for a couple days in our annual “post holiday decompress” trip. We usually try to get away for a weekend sometime after the first of the year just to come down a bit and recharge. This year was a little later than normal, but we still made it.

We stayed at the ‘everything old is new again’ Shore Lodge. Fresh off their failed “Whitetail” experiment, they are back to their roots. I’d never set foot in the building, but I gotta say that place is really nice. We had the authentic “McCall experience” in that we stayed at Shore Lodge, ate at Lardo’s, The Pancake House and The Mill. We also bought a 6-pack of beer at Paul’s.

Probably the most fun thing we did the whole weekend was snowshoeing. We borrowed some friend’s gear and tooled around the shore of Little Payette Lake. I’d never been snowshoeing before. Many years ago I did a little cross country skiing and snowshoeing is kinda like that. We had so much fun, we may be in the market for our own snowshoes.

We also had perfect weather. The sun was shining and the temps were in the upper 30’s. It was so nice we were able to shed our coats and de-layer a bit. Absolutely gorgeous.

Of course, I loved being out there with the new camera and playing around taking pics. Here are my favorites. Click on them to go to Flickr. Or you can view the slideshow.

Aspen Shadow

Winter Forrest

Winter Aspens

Winter Aspens

Snowshoeing Past Aspens

Aspen Matrix

Photos of Lambeau

LambeauSorry for the delay folks. As many of you already know, I’ve been a bit under the weather since my return last Monday… Ok, that could be a tad understated. Actually, I’ve been sicker than hell. Sicker than I have been in a LONG time. I am 100% certain it has to do with the 5 different flights in 3 days that made me sick. Friggin airplanes… Flying Hot Zones if you ask me.

Anyway, I was totally healthy for the trip, which was the good thing. George and I had a great time. Although he was already sick, which put a slight damper on our late night carousing. The experience however was worth it. As always, click on the photos for bigger versions and you can view all my pictures here: Lambeau Pilgrimage

Saturday we flew out bright and early from Boise to Minneapolis. There, we caught the flight to Milwaukee. Picked up the rental car and were on our way.

This being my first time in Milwaukee, I was struck by one thing. Granted, I could only see what I could from the freeway, but all I saw were the following… Churches (there were spires EVERYWHERE), smokestacks, row houses and neighborhood bars. Very interesting. Especially to a guy who has spent his whole life in the west, where everything is new.

Continue reading “Photos of Lambeau”

Lambeau Pilgrimage

Yes, I know I haven’t blogged in a while.  And yes, I do realize it is Boise State v Idaho week and I have yet to say a word.  If you were in my shoes, you’d be well advised to keep it shut too.  I’ll let my team do my talking for me tomorrow.

Anyway, in bigger news, George and I are heading to legendary Lambeau field tomorrow morning.  Not only that, but we are going to see one of the tried and true NFL rivalries, Bears v Packers.  In November.  In Green Bay.  How cool is that?

George, a big GB fan, is hyped beyond belief, even going to say he’s going to have to “roofie” himself Friday night so he can fall asleep.  I am a little less excited than that, but I have never been to a “classic” stadium in any sport.   Well, I guess you could say Dodger Stadium is a classic, and I’ve been there, but since most of the bigtime stadiums are back east, and I’ve never been east of North Dakota, I’ve never seen them.

We fly out to Milwaukee early Saturday and return late Monday.  In between will be copious amounts of Shlitz, brats, and football.   I bet even some cheese might be consumed, but I can’t be sure.  We’ll both have our fancy cameras with us, so expect a lot of pictures.

At least the BSU game is on the ESPN gameplan service, meaning there is a chance that George and I can find a sports bar in GB and catch some, if not most, of the game.  Of course, I’ll be recording it for a more intensive viewing upon my return.

So, until my return, may I leave you with a hearty “Go Broncos” and “Go Pack” and we’ll catch up next week.

To Oregon – Aftermath

Wow… what a weekend. (Pictures will be coming soon.) I’m not sure it has even fully sunk in yet exactly what happened. Boy, we looked good in that game. I never expected us to play as physically or as well as we did.

The defense played really well against that run game with two very solid backs and a good offensive line. I was impressed with how well they pursued the backs and had some solid tackling. Sure, Oregon had a lot of rushing yards, but with their players that had to be expected. But, we tightened up when we had to and made stops. More of that bend-but-not-break defense. Not to mention how physical our DB’s are. Yikes. (ejection of Jaron Johnson was a bit much, it was a shoulder hit, but whatever).

Kellen Moore. Where to start. That kid is awesome. Ice water in his veins. I love that Coach Pete had the confidence in him to let him air it out against Oregon’s vaunted pass defense. Almost as impressive was the pass blocking of the offensive line. Moore had all the time he needed to find the open receivers and he always seemed to make the right call. Unbelievable.

Continue reading “To Oregon – Aftermath”

To Oregon – Holy Shit! We Won!

Wow… what a game. I can’t adequately get down my thoughts at the moment (we just now arrived back at our friend’s house in McMinnville).

It is the gods honest truth that the whole second half felt VERY MUCH like the Fiesta Bowl for me. Build up a big lead, when half way through the thrid quarter the opponet comes roaring back. Luckily this time we did not have to have such fireworks to pull it out.

But we won. I loved every second of it. I am SO glad made the trip.

More to come.

Way to go Broncos!

To Oregon – Halftime

I would have never predicted 24 to 6 at half. I fully admitted I was nervous for this game

I am seriously having an amazing time so far today.I do wish I had a few fellow brocos near by to celebrate with but I’m more content to just grin to myself. However, I do have a dozen or so friends texting and emailing me constantly. My phone is buzzing every 20 seconds.

One half to go.

I would be lying if I didn’t have the next 3 years in mind while watching Kellen Moore. That guy is un-freaking-real. Not to mention we might have something special this very year!

Keep it up Broncos!

Editors note, my phone connection was up and down during the game and I was unable to get this posted. Better late than never.