Our first trip in 2007 took us to Lisbon and Madrid. This was the first time either of us had ever visited the Iberian Peninsula.
Here we are at the Castle of Saint George in Lisbon.
When we were in Madrid, we made a new friend named Tina Ius. She works for Skywest as a flight attendant. She was visiting her daughter in Madrid and we "ran into" each other at the National Palace. We had so much fun on the tour we decided to make a day of it and had lunch and visited the Bullfighting Museum together as well!
Don't look too closely, but Dan blinked. I can't believe in the age of digital photography he blinked and I didn't catch it until we returned home. D'oh!
We took a day trip from Madrid to Toledo. We spent the day exploring the old city.
We couldn't resist taking a photo of Sara with a statue of Miguel Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote. Look, there IS someone who is taller than Sara!
In April we visited Denver after Sara's returning ranger training at Mesa Verde National Park.
We went to Boulder and toured the Celestial Seasonings factory. Most memorable was the Mint Room. Talk about a place that clears your sinuses!
In April 2007 we went to O'ahu, Hawaii to visit friends who live in Kailua. While there we also saw our friend and fellow pilot Lisa B.
Dan's enjoying standing between the two amazon women!
In early May we visited Herndon, Virginia. Dan had a meeting at ALPA, International and Sara took the time to explore Great Falls Park, a unit of the George Washington Parkway.
While at Great Falls she "took a hike" and also became a Junior Ranger.
Sara returned to Mesa Verde in May for her second season.
Her parents and relatives Tom and Karen Weis (from La Crosse, WI) came to visit just after Memorial Day. She spent one of her days off showing them around the Park.
Here's Sara with her mom, Betty, at Spruce Tree House.
Spruce Tree House is the 3rd largest cliff dwelling in the park. It also has some of the most visible pictographs!
Friends Steve and Ellen Bowen came to visit in August.
Sara took them on a private tour of Mug House. Mug House is not open to the public, but can be visited by park rangers with the Chief Ranger's permission.
Sara's mom and sister Leah came to visit just before Labor Day.
Yes, she took them to Mug House as well!
Just a few days after Sara returned from Mesa Verde, Dan and Sara embarked on an ambitious trip around the world! In just four short weeks we visited six countries: Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Thailand, and Cambodia.
Here we are atop the highest hill in Vilnius, Lithuania.
We visited the Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland.
Also on the trip we met with a curator at the Museum of Cultures so Sara could connect with the Mesa Verde artifacts taken to Sweden (and later to Finland) by Gustaf Nordenskiold.
We visited friends who live in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Dubai is really an unbelievable place, kind of like Las Vegas--way over the top. Makes an environmentalist sick!
We stopped to take this photo on a bridge over the Chao Praya River in Bangkok, Thailand.
The King recently celebrated his birthday--hence the special yellow flag.
Bangkok is one of our favorite cities to visit because of the wonderful street food. No where on earth have we found you can eat such good food so cheaply.
This is one of Sara's favorite photographs from the trip.
It was taken at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Of course the reason why we visited Siem Reap was to see the famed Angkor Wat!
Sara and a local boy at one of the Angkor complex temples.
The Cambodian people are very friendly, albeit a bit shy.
Sara with a new "friend" in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
In early November we took a trip to Northern California. Our first stop was in San Francisco where we spent several days exploring the city.
We took our first-ever visit to Alcatraz Island, part of Golden Gate National Parks. It's a fascinating place to visit, offering so much more than just its former federal penitentiary fame. There is also Civil War history and many species of flora and fauna to be seen.
The audio tour included in your ticket is one of the best we've ever experienced.
Dan aboard a ubiquitous cable car (Van Ness/California Street Line).
Be sure to visit the cable car museum while you're in town as well. Excellent history!
One of the best values is the 3-day transportation pass for $18. It allows unlimited rides on cable cars, buses, and street cars. Cable car rides alone cost $5!
We visited Redwoods National and State Parks with our friends Bill and Janet Wickman, who live near Eureka, CA. It was a rainy day, but the redwood trees are awesome in any weather!
We're pictured here with the aptly named Big Tree:
22.5' in diameter
over 1,500 years old!
In the mountains west of Redding we visited Whiskeytown Lake.
Sara became not only a Junior Ranger, but also a Junior Firefighter!
At Whiskeytown we also took two hikes.
The weather was perfect for an autumn hike--crisp and sunny!
Who doesn't love jelly beans? President Ronald Reagan put them on the map and since 1981 their business has grown massively!
We toured the Jelly Belly Factory not far from Sacramento, CA. We enjoyed the tasting bar at the end of the tour.
Sara loved the pickle-
flavored Harry Potter "Every Flavor Beans," while Dan preferred the mellow creams...
No matter what you've heard about Horace Albright and Stephen Mather, had it not been for John Muir the National Parks probably would not have come about how and when they did.
We visited John Muir's home in Danville, CA. The movie shown in the visitor center is one of the best movies in the NPS!
The most moving experience of our trip was visiting the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, in Richmond, CA.
This was the site of the worst homeland disaster during World War II. One night 320 men were killed instantly when the munitions they were loading onto two ships mysteriously exploded.
The US Navy held the official commissioning ceremony for the USS Mesa Verde on December 15, 2007. The ceremony took place in Panama City, FL. As a park ranger at the ship's namesake, Sara was invited to attend.
The ship is LPD-19, a landing platform dock.
On December 17 we were lucky to be invited on the Friends and Family Cruise with the crew.
During the 4-hour cruise into the Gulf of Mexico the crew showed off their new ship and we were able to explore nearly every inch. If a door was unlocked, we opened it!
The last two weeks of January were spent in New York City for 1113c Bankruptcy Court hearings. Judge Gropper allowed the paries to continue negotiating until they reached a tentative agreement in early March.
During a break from the hearings, Dan and I stopped by the Times Square Visitor Center and took our photo with the day's New York Times, courtesy of Yahoo! The New York Times is one of our favorite newspapers, especially the Sunday Travel section!
In early February 2006 we flew to South Africa for a ZED-MIBA meeting. We flew IND-BOS-
AMS-JNB (Dan's first flight on KLM!) and spent the night in Johannesburg. The next morning we took a bus to Sun City where the meeting was held. We spent two rainy days and nights in Sun City, but did manage a game drive during our stay.
One of Dan's favorite moments was holding a young lion cub!
Our last morning we awoke early and went on a 2 1/2 hour morning game drive in Pilansburg National Park. We saw lots of animals including rhinos, wildebeests, redbucks, antelope, a baboon, a herd of zebras, lots of birds (including some Bee Eaters-don't tell my girls!), and a mother cheetah with two young cubs!
Here's the closest we came to a bedraggled looking bull wildebeest.
Our routing home was JNB-AMS-BOS-IND. Here's Dan during our AMS transit out on the Observation Deck! It was a little cold and windy, but you can see the lovely KLM 767 behind him, as well as aircraft from Turk Hava Yolari (Turkish Airlines) and Northwest.
Why can't more airports have these great observation decks?
In April Sara was fortunate to accompany Dan on a six-day trip on the DC-10!
On the first day they flew MSP-HNL. The next afternoon flew HNL-KIX (Osaka, Japan). The next evening returned to HNL, and finally the last afternoon flew HNL-MSP.
They had a great time walking around Waikiki, but wisely avoided the beach due to the recent Ala Wai Canal pollution problem. We really enjoyed eating at the many good restaurants on Kapahulu Street including Ono Hawaiian Foods. Check it out next time you're there!
Sara's favorite meal was in Osaka when they had the local specialty, okonomiyaki for lunch. This one includes soba noodles. YUM!
Here's Dan sitting the right seat of the DC-10 while parked at the gate in KIX. He was doing his cockpit pre-flight and opened the first officer's window to cool off the cockpit as it was quite warm.
Sara took this shot while enjoying an iced tea at the WorldClub lounge.
In April we gathered the entire Steig clan at Buca di Beppo in St. Paul to celebrate a number of milestone birthdays: Marc (40), Dan (40), Leah (30), Hannah (13), Melaina (10), all from February to April!
We are clockwise from left to right: Dan, Sara, Melaina, Leah, Marc, Dawn, Cory Jurowski (Dawn's son), Hannah, Betty, and David.
In May Sara met Dan in AMS (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)! Dan was on a nine day trip and came in from BOM (Mumbai, India) just minutes after Sara arrived from DTW (Detroit, MI).
We spent just over 24 hours in AMS and rode bikes all over. The morning we arrived we went for about a 40 km bike ride into the "polder" land before heading into the city center for dinner and a ride through Vondelpark. It was Remembrance Day and we saw the Queen laying a wreath at Dam Square!
Since the crew hotel in AMS in in the City Nord, a short free ferry ride is required to bike across the IJ.
Notice the sun is shining and we're in shirtsleeves...in May. I have never in all my visits to Amsterdam experienced such beautiful weather!
Sara spent the summer of 2006 as a National Park Ranger at Mesa Verde National Park. Mesa Verde is located in southwest Colorado and preserves the homes of the Ancestral Pueblo People.
Upon completing her season in September, we spent three weeks returning home. Along the way we visited many national park units including Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Fossil Butte, Dinosaur, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Devils Tower, Minute Man Missile, Badlands, and Effigy Mounds.
Here we are at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. We took a wonderful hike and saw many elk.
The Chinese visitors couldn't get enough of Sara and wanted have their picture taken with her. The ranger who was there (and who took this photo) was a little offended they didn't want a picture of her!
Devils Tower, Wyoming. Wow. Ever since the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out we've wanted to visit this sacred place.
We ended 2006 with a National Parks trip to Arizona. We visited Toozigoot, Sunset Crater, Wupatki, Walnut Canyon, Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well, all north of Phoenix.
Here we are alongside the stream near Montezuma Well. The Well is actually visible from the air!
This is a photo of the Tumacácori Mission, one of more than twenty missions established in the Pimería Alta by Father Kino, a Jesuit, and later expanded upon by Franciscan missionaries.
Tumacácori is located south of Phoenix, AZ, and is a National Historic Park. We visited this site with Mike Adkins.
Here Sara, Dan and Kevin Trinkle model chain mail and other props at Coronado National Memorial. Kevin came down from Phoenix to visit this site, where he and Sara both became Junior Rangers.
From the highest point in the park we were able to look south into Mexico.
Other sites we visited in southern Arizona include Tonto, Saguaro, and Casa Grande.
We flew on our last McDonnell-Douglas DC10 on November 6, 2007. We flew from Honolulu to Minneapolis/St. Paul.
The aircraft was retired from passenger service in January 2007.
We're going to miss that wonderful aircraft!