Category Archives: Travel

Nate’s Travel Blog

Our Favorite Ski Locations

Holiday Valley snow report

Ski Resorts

  • Snowmass: 3,362 acres, 4,406ft vertical.
  • Stowe: 485 acres, 2,360ft vertical.
  • Snowshoe: 244 acres, 1,500ft vertical. Very difficult drive Greg says.
  • Holiday Valley: 290 acres 750ft vertical.
  • Seven Springs: 285 acres, 750ft vertical.
  • Wisp Mountain: 132 acres, 700ft vertical. Greg and Pat have been. It is an easy drive from the interstate.
  • Peak n Peak: 130 acres, 400ft vertical. Ed, Greg, and Thad have been. Good?
  • Perfect North: 100 acres, 400ft vertical. Rachel’s suggestion. 45 minutes west of Cincinnati.

Check out OnTheSnow snow report app. Pat uses it for snow storm alerts.

Click here for skiing tips from expert.

America’s Eclipse!

Monday, 21 August 2017 at 1425 Eastern Daylight Time, Centered Near Cerulean, Kentucky

Eclipseville, Hopkinsville, KY, home of longest totality and Eclipse Con

You have to see the total eclipse! This guy says it best:

Click here for a NASA animation of the eclipse. You’ll see why it is America’s eclipse. It could not be better lined up for us.

Click here for a map with Zulu time. Subtract 4 hours for eastern daylight time. Subtract 5 hours for central daylight time.

How fast is the shadow moving? It depends. Answer

NASA Countdown


The Eclipses You (Might) Remember

10 May 1994. I was finishing 4th grade. I remember going outside with the glasses. The view was pretty good for Ohio. However, this was an annular eclipse only. NOT AS COOL.

30 May 1984: This was an annular eclipse that crossed the southeast US. Maybe some people remember? NOT AS COOL.

7 Mar 1970: This total eclipse moved up the east coast of the US. Partial may have been visible from Ohio. NOT AS COOL.

20 Jul 1963: This total eclipse crossed Canada. NOT AS COOL.

30 Jun 1954: This total eclipse started in the US, then went up over the north pole and ended in Asia. NOT AS COOL.

9 Jul 1945: This total eclipse started near Montana and ended in eastern China. Many Americans had a legitimate pass to not travel to Greenland to see this one. The world was kinda busy during July 1945.

7 Apr 1940: Annular eclipse that crossed Mexico, Texas, and Florida. The Nazis were in power, and Pearl Harbor was attacked 20 months later. Anyone drive south see this one? Comment below.

28 Apr 1930: This total eclipse crossed the US northwest less than a year into the Great Depression.

24 Jan 1925: This total eclipse started in Canada and crossed the northeast US.

8 Jun 1918: This total eclipse ended by crossing the US from Washington to Florida. World War I ended 5 months later. Hopefully you weren’t one of the 50 – 100 million people worldwide dying of the flu pandemic that was raging at the time. There are roughly 28 living Americans who were at least 11 years old that day.

22 Oct 2137 BC: 120 years more ancient to Jesus than Jesus is to us. Apparently visible in China, but an unfortunate surprise to the astronomers of the day.


It looks like we actually have some good ones coming up.

8 Apr 2024: Ohio’s eclipse.

12 Aug 2045: over 6 minutes of totality on this one.

What’s Normal, We’re Not

When I arrived in Germany in December 2008 to backpack for 2 weeks, my first time leaving the country, I was shocked at how un-shocking things were. People were people, living like people. No big deal. I arrived in Afghanistan in January 2011 for a deployment. I remember that of course, but the adjustment there mostly involved the job to do. After a half year there, the real shock was returning home. The colors! The information! Options! What to do?! That returning home shock doesn’t seem to wear off. I have left the country for 6+ months 5 separate times now, to Afghanistan, Japan, and Brazil. Each time I return, I am shocked by how shocking it is to come home.

Over the last year or so, I have spent a lot of time listening to history lectures from the Greeks through today (I recommend The Great Courses, available on Audible, they are awesome). I started with world history for a while, then recently listened to 2 sets of lectures on American history. The shock is the same. We are truly different. Our everyday lives are different. In fact, I would argue that America is more different from every other country than any other 2 countries are from each other. In order, the following are most noticeable:

1. Consumer Culture

Goods are so abundant and cheap that producers systematically create demand with advertisements. The result is bright colors everywhere representing the well-organized system professionally designed to make us want stuff. Our system of advertisement reaches around the globe now, and it stands out everywhere else it appears (McDonald’s, Coke, Viagra).

2. Cars

We each have one. We drive mostly alone. Carpooling is the exception. We park close when we can, pay when we can’t. Cars are our status symbol for which we spend 6 months to 2 years up to a lifetime of income.

3. Strong Institutions and Rule Following

We trust our institutions. From the government to our universities even to our franchises and brands like Coca Cola and McDonald’s. They consistently tax us, educate us, make our favorite treats, always convenient parking, minimum service standards, and a free bathroom when you need it.

We trust institutions over people. We will invest our life savings in a faceless stock in the stock market, but are much more hesitant to invest in a local business whose owner we actually know.

We stop for traffic lights with nobody around. We pay our taxes. Corruption surprises us. The roads are straight, fast, aligned at perfect right angles. We drink alcohol in specific regulated places at specific times. Next time you walk down the sidewalk in Las Vegas and think it’s cool that you can carry a beer with you, remember, that’s the only thing normal about Vegas!

Some of these things seem unrelated, but I don’t think so. We are unique in having a ubiquitous, mostly stable government that is older than the population, and we accept its authority. Most of us arrived since the constitution was adopted in 1789. Name another country in the world whose current government is older than its people. Egypt or China? Mexico? Any South American country? Some theocracy? No, not like us.

4. Sugar as a Food Group

You notice it in the people immediately upon arrival at a US airport.

5. Security

You probably won’t be robbed at a US airport, bus station, or in most public spaces. America has never been invaded. We expect security. We expect our government to counter threats, and it does.

6. Air Conditioning

7. Television


For better or worse, our lives are different. We adapt everyday. Adaptation is so ubiquitous we aren’t even aware of it. We are living an experiment from which came many of the greatest improvements in our lives, … but it is an experiment. It has not run its course. The US accounts for just 6.6% of the land area of the world. It has been less than 200 years since the industrial revolution, out of more than 1 million years of human history. As a population, as a culture, we are shocked, adjusting, and changing. We will not live to see the conclusion. The only thing known so far is that we are not normal.

I live in the US, but mostly without the things on that list. It is liberating to at least identify the ways in which we are different, the stressors on our lives. To see people shop as a hobby, drive, follow conventions, sip sugar water, follow years’ worth of TV series, and refrigerate their living space is like stepping into a hyper-modern future world. You might think I’m crazy, but I am here to tell you: we are.

Glauco Brasil

Glauco makes leather maps and designs. My mom bought a large map, so I picked it up at their house in Cabo Frio and had lunch with him and his wife. He also built his own house near the beach in Cabo Frio. You should buy a map from him just to hang out in Cabo Frio…

Where you can find him: the “Hippie Fair” every Sunday in Rio de Janeiro by the mêtro station General Osorio.


One Week of Olympics

Thursday, 4th

Walked out of a piano show in Ipanema to see the torch go by on its final day.

Friday, 5th

Watched opening ceremony at Holland Heineken House. Olympics under way in good fashion. Brazilians breathe sigh of relief.

Saturday, 6th

Men’s Field Hockey with a group of five Irish girls who just arrived from a five-month tour of South America. Field hockey can remain a women’s sport in America as far as I’m concerned.

Our field hockey crew!

Sunday, 7th

Table tennis. Watched Brazilian hopeful, Hugo Calderano, win his match. Obviously the home favorite. Had given two extra tickets Brazilian couple in line, they got to see also before attending their boxing ticket. Watched Japan player beat Segun Toriola of Nigeria. Segun was clearly having more fun in his 4-2 loss than the other players. Crowd favorite. Turns out he’s the first African to compete in seven Olympic games. He debuted in Barcelona. He has never medalled. Brazilians take selfies with him after the game.

Basketball. Watched Pau Gasol (weak) have his game-tying shot swatted at the buzzer for a Croatia upset. Priceless.

Swimming. ~3 WRs, Brit dominated breaststroke, Katie Ledecky dominated 400 free, Michael Phelps wins gold with 4×100 relay. He’s medalled before.

Monday, 8th

Skipped super-early water polo tickets.

Watched two sessions of beach volleyball in awesome venue on Copacabana beach, including a Brazil match and two of USA. Final match was USA women beat China.

Tuesday, 9th

Learned that rugby sevens is a cool sport. Man sport. For men built like running fire hydrants. Japan won it’s first rugby match ever upsetting New Zealand. USA lost a heart-breaker. Took a selfie with Nate Ebner’s (NE Patriot from Dublin, OH) mom. Unfortunately Matthew McConaughey was there, but his Brazilian wife looks OK.

Selfie with Nate Ebner’s mom.

Rugby Sevens

Like a full-field wrestling match cross fumble pileup cross last-chance kickoff laterals. Literally 20 minutes for an entire game. How can that be? Because they’re wrestling and running at the same time and they play 2 or 3 games per day in tournaments.

Injury = power play. There was a guy laying on his back holding his face and kicking the ground with his foot. Once play stopped, they brought the meds out, but his own players weren’t even paying attention. It looked like they were gonna rope off the area and play around him.

Wednesday, 10th

My friend departed for the states the night before. Took the day off.

Most we paid for tickets:

Beach volleyball $60

Swimming $40. Yes, $40

Others less, as low as $13

Ecuador, Land of Beautiful Views

As far as I can tell, everywhere in Ecuador is picturesque. If you want more without my face blocking your view, I recommend Google image “Ecuador countryside,” or “Ecuador mountains,” or something.

Along the highway while waiting for the road to open. They were cleaning up a rock slide.
The Basilica in Quito
This picture does not do justice. This statue is badass. Please Google image “simon bolivar statue quito,” for better pictures. Conquistador!
Close to Cumbre Rucu, overlooking Quito on the trail from the Teleférico. Coordinates: 0.1626300°S, 78.5636260°W
Quito in the background

Apoyo de las Victimas del Terremoto

Llegué aqui en Ecuador martes, 19 de abril, de la mañana. El miercoles de la mañana, encontré Luis y nos comenzamos a planear para apoyar las victimas del terremoto. Con Luis, su primo, Henry, esposa de Henry, y un otro amigo de Luis, nosotros cinco trajimos mucha comida, y artículos de aseo (el camión estaba lleno) a Perdenales. Luis y su familia tenían mucho voluntad a ayudar los otros Ecuatorianos. Condujimos en la madrugada desde 2AM el jueves, y llegamos en Perdenales a las 8AM. Nos entregado!

Yo, Henry, y Luis
Henry tiene el camión. Él entregó.
Trajimos las cosas en bolsas pequeñas.