From the Mountains – Wandering Whistler

A good night’s sleep after a full day of travel was just what we needed! We woke up energized and ready to explore Whistler Village and our resort, as well as get settled a bit.

First on our list was to head to the grocery store. We have a full kitchen in our suite (an awesome feature!) so we visited a local market and picked up enough food for a few breakfasts, dinners, and what I hope will be some outstanding picnics! The Village is just a short walk from the resort, so we actually went back and forth a few times during the day to people watch and grab some lunch.

We have been pleasantly surprised to find the weather is FANTASTIC! We started off in jeans, but after our first walk to the village changed into our shorts and flip flops. Hmmm…probably shouldn’t have packed so many long sleeve shirts. Anyhow, it is just gorgeous up here. Not too hot and not too cold, and everywhere you look a postcard waiting to happen. The snow-capped mountains are spectacular; I found myself humming “Climb Every Mountain” from the Sound of Music a few times today. I’ve also been won over by the brilliant-colored daffodils and tulips and the shimmery leaves of the birch trees all around us. Maybe it’s because I am from a desert, but WOW.

After a visit to the information center we were disappointed to find out that there is still over a meter of snow covering the hiking trails on the peak of Whistler Mountain. Turns out we are a bit early for that-typically the trails don’t open until the end of the month. Sure enough, we looked online at the trail maps and they listed June 25th as the date the trails open. Darn the luck. While I probably won’t get the chance to spend much time hiking the peak, there are plenty of bike trails and hikes in the valley, so I’m not worried at all about keeping busy.

We unashamedly drifted off for a nap mid-afternoon, and then spent the rest of the day poking around the resort and found a basement game room with some classic arcade games. The best part? No quarters required. Yes! Husband will definitely be spending a few hours down there. Then we scoped out the pools, and spent some time going down the water slide! We, of course, let the little ones have priority, but definitely didn’t hesitate to take a turn when no one was using it. Whoo hoo!

Finally, we settled down for a home-cooked meal (gnocchi with vodka sauce) and watched a movie before drifting off to sleep.

Day two-check.

From the Mountains – The Way to Whistler

We slept in because our flight was not scheduled to leave until 12:30 pm which gave Wife and I the morning to finish cleaning, packing, and take the dog for a walk. My mother picked us up at 9:45 am and dropped us off at the airport to begin our Amazing Race (Wife’s favorite reality show).

A few weeks ago, unbeknownst to us, Alaska Airlines changed our flight from 12:30 pm to 10:30 am because they canceled our first connecting flight from Seattle to Vancouver (they said they sent an e-mail and called but we never heard from them). The agent changed our first flight back to the original with our Vancouver arrival time moving from 5:05 pm to 7:15 pm meaning we would miss our Greyhound bus to Whistler.

Wife was understandably frustrated but I focused our Amazing Race energy into alternatives. I reserved a one-way car rental from Avis (no credit card required) and made sure we knew the other bus schedules which were scheduled to leave at 7:30 pm. Remember we arrive at 7:15 pm.

After arriving in Seattle we settled down for some lunch and chatted with a former Cal Poly SLO professor (not one of mine but a nice lady). Wife then beat me (it hurt) in War twice. A few hours later we walked out onto the tarmac and boarded our puddle jumper.

Luckily the flight only took 30 minutes and we arrived at 7:00 pm. In Amazing Race style we ran off the plane towards customs. Once through customs we found an information desk and book two tickets that would take us directly to our hotel (a much better drop off spot than the Greyhound station). So we hopped on the bus and headed for Whistler.

During the drive up and after the beat boxing passenger left we chatted with another passenger and the bus driver hearing them say “eh” a lot. After 2 hours we arrived at our hotel ready to lie down.

We checked in and after a lengthy description of the places around the resort (free arcade games!) Wife and I went to our room and what a room it is. You can see it in the pictures below and the video above. We relaxed and Wife enjoyed some television while I wrote this. So here is to much less traveling tomorrow.

Mario’s Wedding

In November of 2008, my cousin Mario, and his fiance Pam, had their wedding. So my parents, sister Trista, wife, and I all headed out the the beautiful Phoenix, Arizona for some fun in the sun we never get here in San Diego.

Early Friday morning, 4 of us (parents, Wife, and me) hopped into the PT Cruiser and began the long six hour journey to Phoenix. The night before, Wife and I stayed up late to do laundry and pack which meant that for the first three hours we slept in the back of the car while my father drove. Of course at the 3 hour mark we had arrived in Yuma, AZ. Just in time for some breakfast. We stopped at the Cracker Barrel, as is now customary when driving to Phoenix with my mother, for a hearty breakfast meal. After the heart clogging meal, we crammed ourselves back into the car as I drove the remaining three hours to my Uncle’s house.

Now the plan for the day was to arrive at my Uncle’s place, drop our stuff off at my cousin Mini’s brand new palace, and then head to the Arizona Science center for some free fun (I had someone who worked there leave me some tickets). Of course what happened was only the first two items on the list. We arrived at my Uncle’s house only to leave soon after to help load tables and chairs from the Guadalupe church into a truck to be transported to Mini’s palace. After loading everything, we headed over to Mini’s palace. Mini and her family had just moved in to their brand new 200 bedroom and 205 bath house which was actually affordable in Arizona dollars. This place was huge and we found out it would also be the place for Mario and Pam’s rehearsal dinner. So soon after we arrived and had received our tour, we helped unload the tables and chairs and began the preparations for the dinner.

After we finished getting the palace prepared we napped, showered, and dressed for the evening. Santino, my cousin, arrived with the food, from the Macaroni Grill, that he received at a heavy discount thanks to him being a general manager and the attendees began to eat. We all sat outside on what turned out to be a gorgeous evening (mostly because Wife and I made the outside beautiful with our string lights and candle work). Once I finished with dinner and talked to the adults, I played with my little cousins, of which there are many. They had glow sticks that are more fun than anything in the world.  Wife had so much fun with Mini’s boys and the other little cousins she changed her mind and now has her fingers crossed for a boy (hold the phone-this is NOT an announcement-this initiative planned for sometime after 2011). However, they had to go to bed, so all the young people went over to Ramon’s house to play with his Kalashnikov (unloaded of course).

The next morning, Saturday, the plan was now to go out to breakfast with Wife’s cousin, go to the AZ Science Center, and then head off to Mario’s wedding. Of course one of those plans did not happen. Wife’s cousin Grace and her husband Billy picked us up and drove us over to Denny’s for some breakfast. After the obligatory French Toast with eggs and bacon, we headed off to the AZ Mills Mall to do some of that famous mall walking. Of course that required a stop into the mall’s pet shop where you feel horrible until you see how much the dog will cost you. We left the mall after walking the huge circle (the mall is indoors and a big loop which is used in the morning by the elderly to walk around and get exercise, I know this because my Uncle used to do it) and Grace and Billy dropped us back off at the palace. Unfortunately it was too late to head over to the AZ Science Center.

So instead of having lots of fun, we napped for about 10 minutes, showered, dressed, and picked up my sister from Ramon’s place. Then we headed off to the church for some wedding fun. We laughed pretty hard because this was the first time we had seen, and I think the Guadalupe church had seen, so many white people in the church. Normally, the congregation consists of the Guadalupe Hispanic population. We sat in the corner with all of the Bernasconi’s, while Pam’s family took up most of the church. The Mariachi band attempted to sing and play music and for that I say good job. I know that the highlight of the wedding should be the actual marriage, but in all reality most of us were impressed when my uncle, a deacon, kept the wedding portion short, not his normal 45 minutes, and not too much about farm workers.  After the beautiful wedding we waited in the receiving line to congratulate the newly married couple.  Then we waited around trying to get directions from someone on how to get to the reception.

Upon arrival at the reception site my father decided it was time to hit up the bar before everyone else did. He picked up a few red and white wines along with some beer. Most of it was to share with our family friends, Sister Alyce and Debbie, whose car unfortunately broke down in El Centro where they had the honor of spending the night and ripping a phone out of the wall! People began showing up and being disturbed out by the creepy security guard who asked to see everyone’s ID. I am guessing they have had problems in the past but come on, it was a wedding reception. Sister Alyce and Debbie finally arrived in their rental car and my dad, the gentleman that he is, attempted to park their car while running over my cousin, Santino. Unfortunately, Santino quickly jumped out of the way. The bride and groom finally showed up and the festivities began. Food, drinks, laughing, and dancing. Mostly the laughing at me dancing. However, as the night wore on, people left and so did the bride and groom and all the young people once again headed to my cousin Ramon’s house for the after party.

On Sunday morning, everyone staying at Mini’s palace left without telling us, so we awoke to an empty house. Luckily my parents came to pick us up and take us to the morning after party for some menudo. Actually, we did not eat any of the menudo but my cousins certainly did. We hung out for a while and then headed back to the highway for the drive home. Halfway home we stopped in Yuma for some food at the Cracker Barrel where my mother, Sister Alyce, and Debbie spent their time shopping in the gift store and Wife got to pick out a Christmas ornament to commemorate the occasion. After the early dinner, Wife took over the drive and thank god she did and I did not have too. On the way home we encountered high winds, sand storms, and rain. I am glad I took the second part of the drive out. Once home after the drive, we thanked our house sitter for her work and headed off to bed.

It only took me 2 months to edit this video so I hope you enjoy it:

Fast Cars and Fast Women

A little while ago Wife and I headed out to Indianapolis with our friend Jon Paul to see our other friend, Meghan, get married to her now husband, Jeff. Meghan asked Wife to be a bridesmaid so that left Jon Paul and I to fend for ourselves.

Jon Paul and I overindulged in Midwest food, White Castle, and treated ourselves to the finer cultures Indianapolis has to offer. We tried to pay a visit to the Indy 500 race track but sadly it rained on us canceling the practice races. Depressed and defeated, the only thing we knew that would make us feel better was trying to understand art we knew nothing about. Indianapolis actually has a real nice fine arts museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which is completely free thanks to a huge endowment. Next to the museum rests the Lilly House, also completely free. We spent a whole day wandering their halls and gardens. Indianapolis really needs more things to do!

While Jon Paul and I enjoyed ourselves I am sure the lady folk also did some things. The wedding was nice, short and sweet. The reception turned out to be really nice. Meghan and Jeff held it in a very cool theater/dance hall space. You can see it and the rest of our travels in the video below:

Indianapolis May 2008 from Brent Bernasconi on Vimeo.

The Bernasconi’s are going to Canada!!

Everyone around seems to be going on some fun international trips either to Italy, which we hear is pretty expensive, or to the Cayman Islands, which we hear is also pretty expensive. Well we decided that in late May early June we wanted to go on our own international trip just a few thousand miles north to our great neighbor to the north, Canada! It will be like going to Europe where everyone speaks English, drives on the right side of the road, and lives within a few hundred miles of the United States. Ok, so it is not Europe, stop trying to crush our dreams!!!

The wife’s parents gave us a week in their timeshare and we plan on spending that week in Whistler, a small resort town with a population of 100 people during the summer and 17.8 million in the winter. From what we hear, Whistler has great summer activities. We are staying at a resort called Intrawest Whistler. It looks real nice. (as you can see from below)

After a week, or maybe before, we also plan on visiting the great sites of Vancouver. So if you have any great suggesions and if you know if there is a Costco in Vancouver we would love it. You can email us or just leave them in the comments section.