Archive | May, 2009
May 29, 2009

The family that shoots skeet together, stays together

I flew back to Southern Illinois over Memorial Day to visit my relatives and celebrate my cousin Katie’s graduation from high school. On Saturday morning some of us went skeet shooting at the World Shooting & Recreational Complex in Sparta.

The complex is so big that my uncle has a “gun cart” to get around it. As you can see, it holds shotguns instead of golf bags.

Katie and I

And with my brother, uncle, and dad.

That was the first time I’ve been skeet shooting and it was really fun, despite the fact that I only managed to hit one clay pigeon. I’ve found a place out here in Northern Virginia that has shotgun sports, so I think I’ll take a lesson there in June. Maybe then I can hit two clay pigeons.

May 19, 2009

2009 Joint Service Open House @ Andrews Air Force Base

I still have a ton of Costa Rica photos to upload, but here are a few photos from this past weekend when Liz, Nick, and I went to the Joint Service Open House at Andrews Air Force Base. You basically spend the day checking out all the cool military equipment that your tax money buys and eating junk food like hamburgers and funnel cake. Mmm tanks and funnel cake. What could be more American?



Bunker buster


Cockpit of a DC Air National Guard F-16

The Golden Knights (U.S. Army parachute team)

Liz and I in the Huey


Crazy Red Bull helicopter that did a bunch of tricks



Manning the Mk 19 grenade launcher atop the Stryker. Liz and I had to wait in a line full of seven year-olds for our turn to climb up there. No, seriously, everyone playing in the Stryker was at least 20 years younger than us.

Patriot missile battery


I’m on a boat, I’m on a boat, everybody look at me

USAF Thunderbirds. These guys put on an amazing show.

May 11, 2009

Costa Rica: Exploring the Tamarindo River

One morning, rather than sitting around drinking cheap beer and waiting for the surf to roll in, we hired this dude to take six of us on a real life jungle cruise of the Tamarindo River (Disneyland is for amateurs).

Where the river meets the ocean

He took us through some very narrow and shallow areas of the river to get a closer look at the wildlife living on the riverbank. The humidity became incredibly oppressive, much like what I imagine the swamps of Florida feel like.

Crazy trees

Announcing that he knew where some monkeys were located, he moored the boat and we scrambled up the muddy riverbank and began walking through the forest.

We also kinda scrambled over this barbed wire fence. We were like “Ehhhh…” but our guide didn’t seem too concerned. (“Venga, venga!”)

After walking on a “trail” for a few minutes we came across this group of sleeping monkeys.

Our guide, of course, would have none of this sleeping business and decided to wake them up by making various monkey noises. Some woke up, and some didn’t. And while I can’t say I am an expert in deciphering monkey howls, the ones who woke up were definitely not happy. So we decided to leave the area before we were attacked by the monkeys or shot by an angry property owner. On the trip back, we also saw a crocodile but I wasn’t fast enough with the camera.

Back to camp

May 8, 2009

Costa Rica: Pura Vida

A few shots of surfers enjoying an afternoon/evening session at Playa Tamarindo.

Carlos, a WRSC instructor

I love this dog. He belonged to one of the WRSC instructors and whenever his owner went out to surf he would sit on the beach and wait for him to come in.

May 4, 2009

Costa Rica: The food. Oh, the food.

As a warning, you probably shouldn’t view this post if you are extremely hungry due to all the gratuitous food photos.

I can’t recall having a single bad meal in Costa Rica. We ate a lot of meat, seafood, plantains, guacamole, rice and beans (I never thought of rice and beans as a breakfast dish, but it was surprisingly good), and grilled veggies. And, of course, drank a lot of beer. Luckily, we met some fellow WRSC guests who had been to WRSC the previous year and took us to some great (and cheap) restaurants in Tamarindo.

Pick your steak from the counter display and these guys grill it for you. Biggest filet mignon I’ve ever had.

Stuffed. We also had the entire restaurant to ourselves.

The next place we went to was Pedro’s, a small shack located on the beach (my previous post had a photo of it during the daytime). I opted for the jumbo shrimp, caught that day, and then breaded.

Rian’s seafood platter

Another meal at El Sabor de la Vida, across the street from WRSC:

I had the shrimp plate (by now you have already figured out that I love shrimp) and it was probably around $5.

The next day, Andrew bought some fish and shrimp from fishermen while he was out on a surf trip. He dropped them off at El Sabor de la Vida and the woman there grilled them, made ceviche, and put on an amazing spread with sides of guacamole, chips, plantains, and rice. For all of this, she charged us about $4 per person. Needless to say, we gave her a very nice tip.

May 3, 2009

Costa Rica: Playa Tamarindo

I arrived back in DC last night. I’m covered in various scrapes and bruises, one of my toes is probably sprained, and my neck is killing me. But man, was that a fun trip. Costa Rica is amazing. Met a lot of great people, ate a ton of excellent food, surfed a lot, and am already planning a trip back there next year. I’m currently in the process of sorting through all my photos and acquiring others from my friends. Here are a few of Playa Tamarindo that I took while on an early morning walk.

The area directly in front of our hotel. Not a bad location, eh?

Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, our hotel and playground for the week (more on WRSC later).

My favorite trees 🙂

Tamarindo rivermouth


Pedro’s…serves amazing seafood caught that day!