If 2013 was all about skipping across continents and oceans to explore languages and cultures, then it’s safe to say that 2014 was all about family and friends. While I didn’t leave North America at all during 2014, I made the most of my time on my home continent. From Cali to Hawaii up to Canada and down to Mexico, 2014 was surely a year to remember. And along the way, I got to say “I do!” and “Viva Mexico!”
January/February 2014: Northern and Central California
Given all the travels in 2013, it was time for a bit of break as I started 2014. It would be a prelude to much of the year, which focused on spending quality time with family and friends. In January, we were able to enjoy a Santa Mountain Winery Passport day with our family dog, Nismo, visit friends in Petaluma, and take a quick trip down to the San Luis Obispo wine country. Though I couldn’t travel to Spain for authentic tapas and paella, Bravas in Healdsburg, CA definitely made up for it. Highly recommended!
March 2014: San Francisco Bay Area
Ten months earlier, I proposed on the Spanish Steps in Rome and now it was time to really get the wedding plans into high gear. There were no better places for our engagement shoot than Palo Alto Airport and Stanford University – the place where my California dreams began 10 years earlier.
April 2014: Northern California
Back in December 2013, we traveled to Panama and enjoyed a few evenings out with new friends, Loraine and Efrain. At the time, I promised Efrain that if he ever visited Northern California that I’d fly him on a SF Bay Tour. Little did I know that he’d take me up on that offer just 4 months later. Also, on a trip up to Sacramento later in the month, my fianceé and I stopped off at Bogle Vineyards – her favorite. Nearly four years earlier, I took her on a surprise private flight and weekend to up this winery just three months after we first met. So, it always holds a special place in our hearts.
May 2014: Maui, Hawaii and Central California
This month things really started to kick into high gear. Over the next 10 weeks, I’d be in a new destination (and sometimes country) every two weeks. It all started with a birthday trip for my fianceé and her friends to Maui, which included seeing the sunrise at 5 AM atop a 10,000 ft volcano and exploring the famous “Road to Hana.” Later in the month, I checked another dream off my bucket list by flying my friends down to San Luis Obispo Airport on Memorial Day for a little sunshine and wine – plus a beautiful Bay Area sunset landing.
Video of Approach into Palo Alto (PAO) at Sunset (3 min)
June 2014: Victoria, BC, Mexico City, and Cuernavaca, MX
Next up was a quick weekend trip up to Victoria, BC. We’d always wanted to visit Victoria but with friends in Seattle and our love of Vancouver – Victoria always seemed hard to make happen. Luckily, our friends in Seattle wanted a getaway weekend and decided to meet us to explore the beautiful capital. Two weeks after that, I spent a week in Mexico to watch the 2014 World Cup matches in Mexico City and relax and study Spanish in the eternal springs city of Cuernavaca. Yet, in between my border hops to Canada and Mexico I was able to take my friend Mohamed up on his first general aviation flight. What better way to introduce him than a sunset flight around the bay.
Video: Watching a World Cup Match in the Zócalo in Mexico City (22 secs)
July 2014: Portland, Oregon
One of the big agenda items on my list for 2014 was to attend the World Domination Summit (or WDS) – a major annual event for digital nomads. It was also a perfect reason to visit my college friend, Glenn, and spend a day exploring another fantastic aviation museum – Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum just south of Portland. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit quite a few aviation museums around the US and this one definitely ranks in my Top 5. Seriously, how many aviation museums have a 747 sitting on the roof that doubles as a water slide?!
August/September 2014: San Francisco Bay Area
On August 20th, I said “I do” below the beautiful rotunda of San Francisco City Hall – a prelude to our slightly more public ceremony exactly a month later. On Labor Day, we had the pleasure of taking two dear friends (Carol and James) on their engagement flight down to Monterey, California. And then later in the month, I had the pleasure of spending more quality time in the skies with my dad during his visit out for our September wedding ceremony.
Video: Approach into Monterey (MRY) Airport (1 min)
September 20, 2014: The Wedding
Well, a picture like a thousand words…so I’ll let these pictures speak for themselves. I’ll just simply say it was such a beautiful day.
October 2014: Chicago, IL
Two weeks after our wedding, we traveled to Chicago for a mini-celebration with my friends and family. Luckily, my dad and I were able to also brave the clear air turbulence of the fall Midwestern skies to take a brief flight to Dupage Airport for breakfast. Ironically, it would be our last flight together in N8885M (20 years after our aviation adventures began). He sold the plane in late 2015.
November 2014: San Francisco Bay Area
After setting two dates to complete a surprise birthday trip for a friend, we waited out the fog for 3 hours on our third attempt and made the trip. Strangely, it worked out perfectly, as we arrived at the California Air Museum just north of Sacramento for a picnic lunch, a tour of yet another awesome aviation museum, and a beautiful sunset return back to the Bay. I love being a pilot!
December 2014: Central California
While I usually try to do an international trip around my birthday, we would be heading to Asia in January 2015 for our honeymoon. So, instead, we kept it sweet and simple – a few days with the dog enjoying wine in the California sunshine. It was also a celebration of me completing my complex aircraft rating and learning to fly a Mooney aircraft. That was a great way to end another eventful year.