The lovely Lake Tahoe

October 30, 2008

When we end up in a sweet little town (and we know one when we see one) Rory says, “Oh, I have to get an ice cream cone here.” And then we venture out to find him his treat to honor the charming, quaint town we find ourselves in.

It was another beautiful day. We walked the shoreline for a while and took in the fall colors.

 PA290227  PA290208

 PA290209  PA290207

         PA290215       PA290222


Troll Knoll

October 30, 2008

I think the pictures paint the best picture of this magnificent place:

PA280195  PA270131

PA270126  PA270135

PA270139   PA270140

           PA270127            PA270125

We spent the past two nights at Troll Knoll, gorgeous in every way. John and Anne Morris, parents of my sister-in-law Stephanie, graciously welcomed us on our road trip. I had heard stories of this glorious place, seen pictures before, but wow was it something to behold! There are paths that cover all 20 acres that are filled with gardens, orchards and witty humor. We lodged in Annesville, down one of the paths on their property, in this lovely home in the middle of this mining town.

 PA280161  PA280164

Annesville is located just down the path from a state of the art Squirrel Socialization Center and just before hitting Pinky’s Trailer Park. Here is the Squirrel Socialization Center and a sign to help you get around:

          PA280180        PA280179

The gardens are filled with these clever destinations that left me smiling a cheesy grin everywhere we walked. There was a beautiful article written about Troll Knoll in August and since then, John and Anne have welcomed hundreds of people to their gardens. This year they have had over 4,000 visitors! They just hired some help, but mostly this is entirely the fruits of their own labor.

Check out this news segment that aired at the beginning of October. I think it paints the best picture of the joy and whimsy found in this place. The segment will appear in a box above the ant pictures…just give it a minute to load. It is completely worth it:

And the website for more pictures is

Thanks to John and Anne for incredible conversation and delicious food in a glorious setting.

We have been living in Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Jon’s home for the week as they visited more Groves family in Southern California. We loved having a home base for the week that was actually a home. We spent much of the week working, and I got a lot of time in with Rory’s cousin Laura. We spent a day at a local farm with a beautiful Victorian home to tour. It was so great to have some girl time on this trip. As much as I love talking politics with Rory (which happens very, very frequently lately)…it was so great just to be a girl hanging out with a girlfriend. We also got lots of time in with her family and had some more birthday celebrating for their family friend Maria.

PA250116  PA250111

PA250117  PA250119

Yesterday we went to Alpha and Sunday worship with Jon and Carolyn, out for lunch with Laura and John’s family for more birthday celebrating, and back to their church for evening worship. I loved their church and it was a really powerful evening for me… a good night of song and prayer and I felt filled up when we left.

PA260122  DSCN1106

And now for: ***WISDOM FROM UNCLE JON*** Are you ready for this? Because when he told us this bit of information, I felt my life change.

Here’s what Uncle Jon taught me: When you get into a car and you can’t remember which side the gas cap is on, you just look at the drawing on your dash with the Full and Empty needle, and the side where the actual gas handle is drawn is the side where the gas cap will be. INCREDIBLE!! This will revolutionize rental car experiences, or just forgetting which of our cars I’m in and where the gas cap is. Brilliant Uncle Jon!

Friday in Santa Cruz

October 27, 2008

PA240011  PA240065

We were greeted by dolphins and a few sea lions and spent a glorious day enjoying the sun. It was 81 degrees, and actually got so hot we had to leave the beach for a while to get out of the sun. But before we left, Rory announced that the ocean was calling him.

PA240026         PA240022

The water was very, very cold, and I did not hear the ocean calling me.

PA240048   PA240041

We came back in the afternoon to watch the sunset…now that is the beauty of the west coast. The sun always sets on the water. It actually took me a while to realize that this would happen everywhere as we drove down the coast.

PA240095   PA240056

       PA240076       PA240101

Rory is 31 today and we are celebrating! Last year I asked him how he felt turning 30 and he commented, “I have been waiting to be 30 my whole life.”  So 31 is just one better than 30 in his mind.

PA200013   PA200008

And we got to celebrate with family! We are in Fremont, California for the week staying at Rory’s Aunt Carolyn and Uncle John’s. They graciously opened their home to us while they are in Southern California visiting family.

Their daughter, Laura, lives a few miles away. I first met Laura while working for Sara and Troy when we came out to California for a women’s conference. Laura and Aunt Carolyn met us at the conference and after a few conversations Laura announced at the dinner table that she thought Rory and I would be good together. (This was before I had ever met Rory!) But she was right, and I love her for seeing it before we did!

So here is Rory’s cake this year:


His new product, Weather Defender will come out in a few weeks. It is incredible … each version I get to see is astounding. This shield is his new logo- so I thought this would be a fitting cake to celebrate his 31st year. I had to go from memory, so the shield isn’t exactly the same, but it’s  close.



It took me two tries to make the cake! I added extra pineapple to the carrot cake recipe, buttered the sides of a cookie sheet and hoped that the cake would be 1 1/2 inches high when it came out of the oven. (I envisioned a very large shield.) But between the larger pan and the buttered sides and the pineapple addition something went terribly wrong. It came out 1/4 inch thick!

The San Francisco Treat

October 20, 2008

  PA160059    PA160049  

PA160086    PA170103

Our great friends John and Shannon Kozubik told us a few months ago that they would be in San Francisco mid-October and thus, Rory and I began planning this road trip adventure to time with their trip. John and Shannon are Minneapolis friends, looking to move out to Marin County, in the San Francisco area. We had a fantastic weekend with them, driving all around and getting acquainted with the towns they would possibly live in. It was so good to be with them and it left me bummed that they are going to move.

We had dinner in China town at “Seafood and More” after we read this compelling sign. It was really good, and left Rory with a baby bump like Shannon’s. (Shannon’s is legit, Rory’s is not.)

PA170115    PA170117

These pics were taken at a little local market where Shannon will get to shop. Lovely.

PA170106   PA170107



      Lots of good memories in this rental..we just may have been the largest car on those San Francisco streets 🙂

Down Highway 101

October 20, 2008

PA140016   PA150030

We spent a few nights in Crescent City (this is their light house…beautiful) and hit the road to get a bit closer to San Francisco. We spent the night in Santa Rosa home of the E Myth Worldwide!

PA160042   PA160045

When Rory realized that Carlson Business school was geared more towards large business ladder climbing, he left the school to look for something that was aimed towards small business owners. He began a curriculum through E Myth Worldwide that largely shaped the way he set up, organized and runs his company. This is a picture of him with Bill, his main contact at E-myth.

(In a nutshell, E-myth stands for “Entrepreneurial Myth.” The teaching is based around the premise that you may love fishing and tackle with your whole heart, but that doesn’t mean you would be happy opening a fish and tackle store. You need to love business, marketing, risk, PR, and goal setting as much as you love fishing and tackle.)

We were then onto San Francisco!


October 14, 2008

PA130015  PA130053

PA130049  PA130071

I spent the entire day singing “Majesty!” or “Oh Lord, oh Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” You can ask Rory. I’ve been hum singing all day. We left Bandon this morning, drove the coast, saw cranberry bogs that are soon to be harvested and arrived at our sweet KOA in Jedidiah Redwood National Park in Northern California.  We have a cabin for the next two nights:

PA130103          PA130096

This is a great shot of Rory, working from our front porch. Strangely, we have both accomplished a lot on this trip work wise. And that feels good. The next picture is taken from our porch…it’s the root system of a fallen redwood. Incredible. We drove into the state park for a hike this afternoon and I began singing Majesty again. Check out these pictures.

PA130040    PA130048_01 

   PA130047             PA130018

That’s what our day was filled with today. The sea lions were dense on the rocks and SO LOUD. There was even an elephant seal sunning himself, a monstrous animal with his head tipped up to the sun to catch some rays.  There easily were hundreds of these flubby, hippidy creatures jumping around on the rocks below. There were two stationary telescopes on the overlook so we could watch these sweet animals point their chins to the sun and hobble over one another to get to the water. It was a riot.

PA090028  PA100036

PA100042  PA100039

These pictures give some idea, but the noise really added to the commotion we were watching. We drove to Bandon, OR for the night and spent a lot of time walking on the docks, had fish and chips for lunch and learned how to fish for crabs. Honestly, this whole side of Oregon is exactly how I imagine the East Coast…and I’m excited to go there one day too. But if you ever have the chance to travel Hwy 101 in Oregon, you really should. We have a beautiful country.

PA100084   PA100079

PA100058 PA090002

We got a YURT!!!

October 9, 2008

On Sunday my sister-in-law Stephanie told us we really should try to see if we could find a YURT to stay in while heading down the coast. So yesterday the stars aligned and we arrived at Cape Lookout State Park to land the last yurt available for the night.

Yurt stands for Year-round U-something Recreational Tent. They have electricity and heat and feel much more like a cabin with canvas walls than anything else. It reminded us a lot of the banda we stayed in on our safari in Tanzania.

PA080048 PA080050

We had a blast. We slept well, we ate well and we were right on the ocean. I’d like to thank my girl scout leaders from 2nd-8th grade, Judy Pugh and Leanne Snyder, for the delicious dessert below that I had tucked into my  memory of fantastic camping treats. I “roasted” caramel on a long stick over the fire until it was just about to fall off and sandwiched it between two saltines. It is crazy-good, similar to a salted nut roll.

PA080088 PA080051

Rory made spaghetti and suddenly we had four uninvited dinner guests.  And these raccoons were very, very tame. Any attempt we made to send them on their way had very little impact. They simply tipped their heads and looked at us as if to say, “it is very obvious you are going to have leftovers.”

PA080103 PA080100

We saw many beautiful sites today. I’ll leave you with my favorites.

PA080006  PA080014

    PA080077    PA080074          

PA080085   PA080087