The sun sets over a city park in La Jolla, California.
The past two months have been nothing short of a blur.
News has rolled in at a frenetic pace, and gobs of snow have covered the mountains. Both have kept me busy.
The highlight of the last two months, though, was a six-day trip to San Diego, where my family gathered for Christmas. We ambled the beaches, spent a day at the zoo and indulged in a succession of fine meals. It was the first time my brothers, parents and I had been together since the previous Christmas, and it was terrific to have the whole crew together again.
Read more in the captions below.
Fedor and I kicked off December with a (jacket-less!) hike along Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge.
Dillon and I packed up for a trip to Bend, Oregon, the next day. We took the scenic route, avoiding potentially snowy roads, and stumbled upon a waterfall and abandoned electrical plant. I took this photo on my first powder day of the season, Dec. 5 at Mt. Bachelor.
December snowfall on Mount Hood was insane. It seemed like every turn I took was in knee-high powder, in the trees at least. I swear there’s a snowboard in there somewhere. Photo courtesy of Frank Mueller.
I traded powder for sand on Christmas, catching a morning flight to San Diego for a six-day rendezvous with my family. We stayed in Imperial Beach, which is between downtown San Diego and the U.S.-Mexico border.
San Diego fit our criteria for a getaway Christmas: None of us had previously been there, the city has average December highs in the 60s and it boasts more than enough activities to keep a family of five busy for a week.
We went to the famed San Diego Zoo on our first full day in town. I was skeptical the zoo would be an all-day destination, but we were there past sundown and saw pretty much everything the park had to offer.
We strolled through La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya) during our second day in the city. The main strip of trendy tourist shops reminded me of a few cities near my northern Michigan hometown.
The sunsets were gorgeous five of the six nights. But watching the the orange orb bob below the horizon in La Jolla was a highlight of our trip.
We hiked in the Torrey Pines State Nature Preserve the next day, soaking up the salty breeze and Pacific views at almost every turn. The only drawback: $20 parking.
Balboa Park in downtown San Diego features a few dozen museums and other attractions. Its open-air architectural concepts have an authentic Southern California look.
We capped our final day in the city with an amble along the aptly-named Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach. This was the one day where our sunset wasn’t as pronounced; the skies were slightly overcast — obviously the sign of a major winter storm.
Speaking of winter storms… Portland has been inundated by severe weather for most of 2017. A storm dropped more than a foot of snow in some parts of the city, and it took well more than a week for the accumulation to melt. I got in a nice ride to Pittock Mansion before work one day.
I found this winterscape within the Portland city limits, only a few strides from a popular municipal park.
Not pictured: Snowboard commuting.
For your consideration…
Every skier in a 50-mile radius is waiting for the white dragon. Nothing else matters. I have chased storms my entire life. I don’t have to chase this one. It’s coming right at us and I am going to drink $2 Bud Lights until it gets here.
— Powder Magazine, on snowstorms
At any normal bike race they’d have finished before crowds of diehard fans, dressed in team regalia or national colors, pounding excitedly on the fences along the course. This time, they were met by jeering protesters holding signs that said “Die Yuppie $cum,” “Hungry? Eat the Rich” and “Trump = Anti-Christ.” The demonstrators weren’t there for the cyclists. They were there to harry the sponsor of the race, a symbol of wealth and greed and 1980s excess: Donald Trump.
— Politico Magazine, on Donald Trump’s short-lived, namesake bike race
On the 41st day of his journey to the United States, Dumano Aristide woke up in a dust-caked tent along the Pan-American Highway, with 4,000 miles down, 3,000 miles to go. There were three others in his tiny tent and 2,000 migrants camped out in this border town and tens of thousands more making this same trek through the Western Hemisphere, a trip that Aristide had not yet begun to regret.
— The Washington Post, on a Haitian’s attempt to relocate to the U.S.
KOMs are like glittering prizes in a massive multiplayer online game.
— Outside Magazine, on how Strava is changing cycling
I read Carl Hiaasen’s “Basket Case” while on vacation. It’s a hilarious, slightly far-fetched murder-mystery starring a newspaper reporter. I’d bet anyone who works in the news biz would get a kick out of it. Thanks to Dillon for letting me borrow his copy.
You should listen to this episode of the Strangers Podcast. I won’t spoil the episode, but it’s a wonderfully sad story that left me a little misty-eyed.
I recently wrote a profile of Oregon’s 2016 Person of the Year: slain Seaside police Sgt. Jason Goodding. Having covered his February death, I was tapped to get back in touch with his loved ones when he was voted person of the year. I also reported about heavy snowfall causing more avalanches in the Northwest this season.
As always, thanks for reading.