Posts tagged: travel

Split Rock Lighthouse, Minneosta Winter Panorama

By , January 1, 2013 at 10:13 am

With winter upon us proper for the first time in two years, a frigid -22° F is what we awake to to start the new year.  Appropriately I needed a winter panorama to round out the fall colors and tropical vistas lately.  This one’s actually from four years back on a trip up to the Lake Superior North Shore in winter to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.  You can see the lighthouse towards the far left watching over the menacing Lake Superior in winter.  Click here for a larger version of the panorama.

Split Rock Lighthouse Panorama

Split Rock Lighthouse, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Minnesota Panorama

Grand Palladium Riviera Maya Resort Salt Water Pool Panorama, Akumal, Mexico

By , December 3, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Another shot from a morning sunrise at Grand Palladium Resort at the Salt Water pool.  Click here for a larger version of the panorama.

Grand Palladium Resort Salt Water Pool, Akumal, Mexico Panorama

Pinnacles Overlook, Badlands, South Dakota Panorama

By , August 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm

First turn off past the Pinnacles entrance to Badlands, National Park, see the family in the far left admiring the view.

Pinnacles Overlook, Badlands, South Dakota Panorama

RoadTrip: 19 Days, 2 Countries, 13 States, 3714 Miles, 1 Happy Family!

By , June 15, 2011 at 12:20 am

Celebrating the last unofficial vacation time of Dan’s life, we embarked immediately after graduation on a whirlwind road trip of 2 Countries (1. United States, 2. Canada), 13 States & Provinces (1. Minnesota, 2. Wisconsin, 3. Illinois, 4. Indiana, 5. Michigan, 6. Ontario, 7. Quebec, 8. Vermont, 9. New Hampshire, 10. Massachusetts, 11. New York, 12. Pennsylvania, 13. Ohio), 3714 miles per the trip odometer, and one happy vacation!  Here is a fun interactive map of our activities in a quick summary, and below are our daily adventures with full photo galleries (dare we say 3,676?) to compliment.  Click on any collage or daily title to be linked to the full day’s gallery or see the index at the very bottom of the post.  Enjoy our travels!

View Roadtrip 2011 in a larger map

Day 01 – Rochester to Ann Arbor
Day 1 consisted of a total 13 hour drive from Rochester through Chicago (pit stop in Chinatown for lunch), then onward through Ann Arbor for the night’s rest in Canton, Michigan.  A pretty unremarkable day other than some serious driving.  We put the longest day directly up front though and the boys survived with a little Wendy’s night cap.

Day 2 marked arrival in Toronto, Canada through Michigan.  We stopped by Fairview Mall and sampled some Fries Supreme from Taco Bell, then met up with mom who was with friends.  We Met up additionally with some old friends from decades ago over dinner at Dragon Pearl and turned in for the night in Pickering, Ontario.
Day 3 started out with a brief visit of Dan’s childhood home and elementary school, then the rest of the day was spent at two iconic tourist traps, the CN Tower which used to be the tallest free-standing structure in the world (now dwarfed by the Burg Kalifa) and Casa Loma which Dan had never visited in all his time spent in Toronto.  The kids enjoyed the ride on the Toronto subway trains which we took all around town.
Day 4 was a day at the Ontario Science Center spending it playing with exhibits, toys, and demonstrations that Dan grew up with.  Quite a lot has changed, but the place never ceases to impress.  A bite of Canada’s Harvey’s hamburgers finished off the day.
Day 5 was a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum, another old haunt of Dan’s childhood summer vacations as it was just a few blocks away from mom’s work downtown.  The boys like Daddy loved the Bat Cave.
Day 6 with the weather finally clear again was a day outdoors at the Toronto Zoo.  So large that we spent the whole day there and still only was able to walk through only 3/5th’s of the entire park.  A camel ride for the boys, and some ethnic Korean food for the adults topped off a busy day.
Day 7 heading out of Toronto to Ottawa we stopped by Bluffer’s Park, or “Scarborough Bluff’s” right on the shores of Lake Ontario.  The boys enjoyed the water while we struggled to capture some family shots that didn’t really work out.  The rest of the day was spent getting to the nation’s capitol and mix n’ matching between sushi, Pizza Pizza, and McDonald’s for dinner.
Day 8 Ottawa the nation’s capitol and home to Canada’s Parliament Buildings which we walked around and went up the tall clock tower.  We only a short drive to our next destination, Montreal, we decided to go across to Quebec’s Gatineu Park to check out the “beaches” on the lakes.  The woods and beach was sure beautiful, but what the pictures don’t show are the 1,000 flies that seemed to be hatching (and biting) everyone the moment we opened the doors and stepped out.  Needless to say we stayed very briefly and high tailed it out towards Montreal from the Davey-dubbed “Stinky Fly Beach,” which was  the subject of his nightmares in days to come.
Day 9 Arriving in Montreal last night in time to catch a brief sunset, and a late dinner at the overpriced St Hubert’s chicken, we decided to view the more scenic parts of Montreal today as we drove to Mont Royal Park and Cemetery and stumbled right into a raccoon that seemed to be rather acclimated to humans.  He came right on over asking for food and we obliged, but not before snapping some incredible shots of said creature asking for more granola bars.  Turkish food rounded off the night as we sampled a brief glimpse of Montreal’s culinary scene.
Day 10 we left Canada and drove through beautiful Vermont and New Hampshire.  Sometime during the drive we were passing through Franconia Notch State Park on I-93 when we decided to pit-stop and catch a cable car up Cannon Mountain for a scenic view all around.  It was a refreshing detour compared to the Massachusetts tornado storm system we would later go through before we finally arrived in Gloucester to meet up with the Tappen Family (Dan’s sister) and spent the next three nights with the cousins.
Day 11 A fun day in the fun on Gloucester’s beaches.  Uncle Dan being the awesome uncle that he was salvaged the day by digging for 5 hours with the boys and nephews a giant hole in the beach to shelter everyone from the wind swept sand or “sandstorms” as the kiddos would call it.  It made this windy day tolerable as the sandstorms otherwise would cut sand into your legs and make the little ones cry.  Enjoyed $6.99 / lb steamed lobster and fresh sushi for dinner.
Day 12 was a spur of the moment evening decision the night prior to sight see Gloucester and a quick Tripadvisor query turned up the main event for Gloucester: Whale Watching.  Having never been, we took the whole crew for a 4 hour tour with Cape Ann Whale Watching and sure enough within the hour we had spotted a fin whale and then followed a humpback whale around for a while (even got some video of that available soon in our video galleries).  Lunch was at the famous Woodman’s seafood restaurant, and then evening was a beautiful low-tide sunset at which time the ever cool Uncle Dan created a giant sand maze to the amazement of the kids (and a run through video of that available soon), but ultimately the day was topped off with gorgeous conditions for a unattended beach chair Chan Family portrait that has been rare to come by and as seen at the top of this post.  Perfect picture to capture one of the most perfect days.
Day 13 We left in the early afternoon for a day of driving back towards Niagara Falls with a night pitstop in the other Rochester (NY).  Not without our last goodbyes to the beach tough.  We found some washed up horseshoe crab shells (one of which impaled me later in the car), and said our goodbyes to the Tappens and also Nai Nai / Po Po (Grandma Chan) who had accompanied us since Toronto but would fly back later through Boston.
Day 14 Splurging for some nice digs, we stopped for two nights in the Fallsview Hilton on the Canada side of Niagara Falls but not until we first made our way through the Niagara Aquarium, the Discovery Center, the Maid of the Mist and Observation Tower and saw most of the American side of things.
Day 15 Moved up 3 times higher to the 46th floor for the night and had an even better view of the falls.  Enjoyed the day relaxing without travels and toured around the Canadian Horseshoe falls during the evening.
Day 16 Swung back to Cave of the Winds to stand right under American Falls on our morning exit from Niagara Falls towards great-grandparents Stevens house.  The rest of the day was a long commute to Dayton, Ohio.
Day 17 A day with the great grandparents and the Stevens side of the family and also a visit to the National Museum of the United States Air Force to see some impressive aircraft and also grandpa’s F-4 Phantom jet that he flew throughout Vietnam in 120 missions (pictured below).  We were surprised also to see the B-29 Bockscar bomber that dropped Fat Man on Nagasaki on display there.  Certainly a lot of history within the museum.
Day 18 Said our goodbyes to the great grandparents and drove from Dayton, Ohio to Chicago, Illinois early enough to catch the night showing of Medieval Times.  The boys loved it and got spoiled with wooden swords.  Our yellow knight was the one who won the tournament and defeated the mean knight so the boys were double thrilled.
Day 19 Finally the road home.  We were going to stop by Wisconsin Dells again for a night, but with school out for the summer they were booked pretty full and in full summer price gouging so we skipped through there and arrived a day earlier than previously anticipated (but don’t tell the boys that).  After 3,714 miles on this trip we were excited for Minnesota to welcome us back home and we are glad to be back after one long, fun, and memorable vacation!

Photo Galleries for Full Itinerary

Videos Coming Soon!

Greetings from San Diego!

By , April 16, 2011 at 10:15 pm
We took advantage of my opportunity to present a poster at the American College of Physicians national meeting in San Diego this month and enjoyed the balmy California weather.  We made a whirlwind tour of Sea World, Legoland, the U.S.S Midway Museum, the San Diego Zoo, and even saw Hop (terrible) and Rango in a drive-in movie theater while there.   Ultimately we probably could have saved the time and money as the kids were more preoccupied with digging holes on the beach and running away from waves than most of the sights and attractions we visited.  Davey wanted to be buried in one of these holes and realized when neck-deep, it wasn’t as fun as he thought it would be.  We had an enjoyable few days there and I enjoyed taking some fun pictures.  The Caribbean San Diego is not, and I can only imagine if ever its muddled waters were ever so azure blue as I’ve colored them to be below.  Nevertheless it’s a city that is close to our hearts, our honeymoon destination, and a place that we’ve frequented since.  We’ll get some pictures of the boys on their vacation up in our galleries soon for you to peruse.
Sunset on the Beach, Mission Beach, San Diego, California
Children’s Pool, San Diego, California – Color accurate of the drab grey day we visited
Children’s Pool, San Diego, California – Corrected to what I wish it looked like

Adventure Golfing Pit-Stop in Wisconsin Dells

By , October 9, 2010 at 11:40 am

The drive back from Chicago to Rochester is not very exciting.  Even worse so when you’re 2 or 4 years old and you’ve already watched all the movies on the iPad in the van at least one time through on the way to the Windy City.  While we had Stones into Schools on audiobook to listen to, the boys were stir crazy after the first few hours driving back home.  About an hour north on I-90 after exiting Illinois’s steeplechase tollways which gouge you $5-6 worth of change from Chicago to Wisconsin there’s a fun resort town of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.  We’ve been here a few times before for the water parks, but on our last visit discovered Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, apparently the longest mini-golf course in the United States so they claim.  The last time we were here (kids under 5 golf free) Mikey golfed for over 4 hours as he tackled all 90 holes.  This time we let him golf 1.5 courses before we had to get back on the road home, but in the process we snapped some nice pictures along the way.  Again you can click the collage for the mega version.

Click for a larger image

Adventures in The Windy City

By , October 7, 2010 at 9:24 pm

After our ballgame adventure, Carolyn and the boys went to Legoland Discovery Center in Shaumberg, IL not too far from where we were staying, and where I was testing for USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills for the day.  From what I’ve read and what I was told they experienced, this Legoland was a complete joke of a themepark, and more of a glorified Lego Store, that ironically is not even run by Lego themselves, but rather by the same company that runs Madame Tussaud’s wax museums.  To charge a ticketed adult admission at $19.00 for little more than chaperoning the children was highway robbery, but we managed to find a $14 coupon for both Carolyn and Mikey to get in which I guess was more reasonable than $40.  Regardless, they would not recommend this attraction.  Following my test, and still suited up, we decided to catch the evening light and roam around downtown Chicago exploring Millennium Park and meandering our way by foot to Chinatown where we enjoyed an evening dinner at Joy Yee’s Noodles which was quite impressive and a change up from limited fast food Chinese we’ve had in Rochester for the past three and a half years.  After walking 5 miles we were happy to discover that there was a subway that actually ran into Chinatown, so we hopped onto it for the ride back downtown to drive back to the west suburbs where we had established our hotel.  The boys enjoyed some swimming in the hotel pool, and we headed back home the next morning.  During our stay we also managed to try Giordano’s Famous Chicago Stuffed Pizza which I had seen on TV, read about its raves in my USMLE Step 2 CS study book, and ultimately was rather disappointed at all its hype as it turned out to be a massive, heavy, thick pizza that none of us were too fond of.  To break up the 6-hour drive back home, we took a 2-hour pit stop through Wisconsin Dells where we stopped for some surprise mini-golf, but more on that next time!  Click the collage for a giant version to see the teeny-weeny pictures.

Click for a larger image

Spring Break 2010: Our Family Adventure to Florida and The Bahamas

By , June 6, 2010 at 6:33 pm

So this year being probably our last ‘break’ for a while to come (no summer break for me this year, chalk that up to another upcoming licensing exam, followed immediately by 4th year rotations, then residency applications and another interview circuit come later this fall-winter and then intern year + only scheduled vacation time in the future), we decided to splurge a bit and had a mini family reunion with my sister’s family in Orlando, Florida.  Instead of globe-trotting without the family (Europe, China), I finally got the chance to bring the whole family in tow and boy did we make the most of it!  In the end I’d say we had an awesome adventure.  To come will be my Spring Break 2010 entries with more details by the location of our travels in Florida and the Bahamas.  In the meantime you can peruse the plethora of pictures that are already posted.  Stay tuned!

Houston Trip

By , December 5, 2009 at 7:46 am

Since I wasn’t going to see much of the family anyway, Carolyn and the boys went down to Houston for a week and a half prior to Thanksgiving this year to visit Grandma and Grandpa Newbold, as well as Great Grandma and Grandpa Stevens, as I finished my hospital service in obstetrics and gynecology. While they were there Grandma took them on a Texas ‘safari’ during which Davey found himself bait to many of the animals there. Click the picture below to see all the pictures in the gallery.


Xi’an City Wall Panorama

By , September 28, 2009 at 9:16 pm

This is a shot that I took on the southeast corner of the Xian City Wall during a trip to China in 2008. It was near dusk and we had rented some bicycles on top the wall to bike the 13.6 km around the entire city perimeter on the cobblestone top wall. Catching a short breather an eighth of the way in I snapped these series of pictures. This image captures the haze and the smog true to life of urbanized Xian but I like it because of the juxtaposition of the old and the new. You can see it larger here – click on the image below to zoom in!

Oh yeah, by the way, those pagodas that you see at the end of the wall? There’s like 3 of them on each side of the city wall, so that’s about a third of the length of the wall. Here’s some satellite imagery courtesy of Google to help orient you

Copyright 2004-2013 Dan & Carolyn Chan