Best Spots for Urban Kayaking in Tacoma

When you picture the ideal spot for kayaking, what comes to mind? An isolated river or lake in the woods? Or on an urban waterway surrounded by bridges and skyscrapers? When we got our kayaks last winter, I couldn’t wait to try them out somewhere totally new — my own backyard. Tacoma is a peninsula,Continue reading “Best Spots for Urban Kayaking in Tacoma”

King of the Open Road

Last week, I handed over the keys to my 2005 Honda Pilot to my younger sister. It was an emotional moment, because my baby sister is now old enough to drive. It was also emotional for me because I was saying farewell to an old friend. Call me sentimental, but I have a tendency toContinue reading “King of the Open Road”

Hell on Earth: Dachau

When I was in high school, we read Night by Elie Wiesel, a semi-autobiographical account of the Wiesel’s experience in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. In one scene, a child is hanged and someone asks where God is amid the horror. Someone else responds, “Where He is? This is where–hanging here fromContinue reading “Hell on Earth: Dachau”

The Old/New City: Munich

There’s nothing like summer in Munich — somewhat due to the heat and partly to humidity, but mostly to the Bavarian charm of one of Europe’s great cities and the rest to the laid back, almost Mediterranean atmosphere that has led some to jokingly dub it Italy’s northernmost city. Personally, I think it’s the iceContinue reading “The Old/New City: Munich”

In the Footsteps of St. Columba: The Isle of Iona

You have to really want to get to the Isle of Iona. A speck of land 3 miles long by 1.5 miles wide off the western coast of Scotland, Iona is remote. To get there from Glasgow requires traveling three-hours by train, one hour by ferry, one hour by bus, and fifteen minutes by ferryContinue reading “In the Footsteps of St. Columba: The Isle of Iona”

The Writer Goes to NYC

“Prometheus, teacher in every art, brought the fire that hath proved for mortals a means to mighty ends.” – Aeschylus It’s a famous cliché — a writer goes to New York City and find inspiration. But it’s a cliche for a reason. Back at the end of June, I went to the Big Apple forContinue reading “The Writer Goes to NYC”

24 Hours in Astoria

The Astoria-Megler Bridge spends most of its 4-mile span connecting Oregon and Washington close to the water before rising 196 feet into the sky like a roller coaster from hell. Heading up the slope, we were either going to die or end up in Astoria, Oregon. Over Memorial Day weekend, my wife, sister-in-law, and aContinue reading “24 Hours in Astoria”

Beyond the Edge of the World

Al-Idrisi’s Tabula Rogeriana (1154) was the most accurate map of the world until the 15th century. In the summer of 1502, the Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci was sailing down the coast of Brazil in the service of the King of Portugal. He was amazed by this new continent, which had never been seen by EuropeansContinue reading “Beyond the Edge of the World”

The Allure of Abandoned Places

What is it about forgotten places that is so fascinating? For as long as I can remember, I have been intrigued by alleyways, empty houses, and dirt roads that lead nowhere. Wherever I go, I notice the broken glass and rust of wear, tear, and memory. Maybe that explains my unending study of history andContinue reading “The Allure of Abandoned Places”

A Bookish Getaway

If you didn’t know me, you’d be inclined to think that the trip Stephanie and I took to the Oregon Coast last week was a disaster. I was sick the entire time. Our phones had limited reception. It was cold and windy. Fog obscured our view of the ocean. Rain poured. The road leading toContinue reading “A Bookish Getaway”