The Year Of Spontaneous Adventures – Part I (San Diego Spring)

As many of you know, we took a lot of trips in the year 2013. While a few were much anticipated and expected (a wedding in September), most of them were unplanned and slightly spur of the moment. We ended up taking a total of SIX major trips in the year 2013! I had intended to write them all down synopsis style in Christmas-letter form. I even had the letter all organized in my head, grouping our trips by season and everything. Come the first week of December, the pressure of graduate school applications weighed heavily upon me, and the looming due dates meant that the dream of finally putting together a Christmas Newman Newsletter never materialized. Thus, I decided that chronicling our 2013 adventures would become part of my inspiration for blogging on a more regular basis in 2014.

So here I am, ready to blog. The nice thing about a blog is that I show WAY more pictures of said adventures with you than I ever could with a Christmas letter. And, to those who read my blog who may not have received a Christmas letter due to postage costs, you lucked out! So, without further ado, I bring you the first Spontaneous Adventure of the House Newman!

San Diego Spring (aka California Dreamin’)

To those of us in Minnesota who are sick of snow and ice, let me remind you that the last major blizzard of 2013 was May 2. As a girl from Africa, this was too much for me. Perusing flight deals one night, Zach chanced upon a fabulous deal on two plane tickets to San Diego. A quick phone call and a (few) hundred dollars later, we were on our way to San Diego to visit Zach’s dad, Keith, and his girlfriend Karen for Memorial Day weekend. Being spur of the moment, we unfortunately could not take a few more days, having rationed out (my) vacation for the rest of the year already at this point (more on that in posts to come…).

Despite the brevity, the sunshine and perpetual 75-degree weather was just the balm to soothe the harshness of a Minnesota winter that wouldn’t let go. Adventures included trips to several of Keith and Karen’s favourite culinary haunts, a mandatory visit to Stone Brewery World Bistro & Gardens, and a surprise adventure to the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park. Unlike the regular zoo, the Safari Park is closer to Escondido and is home to many of my familiar African friends — wildebeest, impalas, Thomson’s gazelles, elephants (African ones!), rhinos, lions and cheetahs (oh my!). It was like going home, complete with the beating sun and acacia trees. We also got to see a cheetah run full tilt (70 mph) after a stuffed bunny that was hooked up to a car winch. As something you rarely get to see in a real safari park, that was pretty exhilarating.

Unfortunately, this trip was only three days, so I can only give you the highlight pics from our safari and trip to Stone (you don’t want to see my 50 or so badly shot photos anyway). We are also horrible about taking pictures with people in them, so apologies to the parents (and in advance for all the posts to come).

A San Diego Safari In Spring

Wait, where am I?

Wait, where am I?

Asante!

Asante!

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It's siesta time at the wild game park.

It’s siesta time at the wild game park.

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Please notice the lion sleeping IN the land rover.

Please notice the lion sleeping IN the land rover.

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The cheetah, his handler, and his companion dog.

The cheetah, his handler, and his companion dog.

The hot air balloon we did not take.

The hot air balloon we did not take.

Stone Brewery Tour

Stone Brewery - hops are a plant, did you know?

Stone Brewery – hops are a plant, did you know?

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Apparently they employ penguins.

Apparently they employ penguins.

Bourbon barrels for infusing flavor.

Bourbon barrels for infusing flavor.

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