Down the west coast – part 2

Okay. It’s time to continue from where I left off in part 1 post Damascus, OR.

Cannon Beach to North Bend

I drove up from Damascus to Cannon beach to get some lunch and wander further down the coastal highway.


I ended up stopping and camping near the Oregon dunes. It was a bit rainy so I opted for sleeping inside by Jeep via my hammock.

North Bend to San Francisco

I got up pretty early the next day to hang out near the water and then continued my journey south. I ran through all kinds of bizarre weather on the coast all the way to SF. It was amazing.

San Francisco, CA

I stayed with a my good friend Hugo for a week or so in SF and he showed me around. I also got a chance to actually work at Automattic’s office. So much fun!

Yosemite National Park

After wandering around SF and Oakland for a few weeks, I headed to Yosemite. I had been wanting to check this park out for some time. It is a surreal place. I ended up staying at Camp 5 overnight and then hiking the Vernal and Nevada Falls trail the next day.

San Francisco to Big Sur to Ventura

I drove from Yosemite back to SF and continued down the coast through some of the most amazing scenery of my trip so far. I highly recommend this drive.

Ventura

Unfortunately, I took no photos here! It was amazing weather and so nice I just plain forgot! I spent a few days with my friends and coworkers, Erick, Chris, and Konstantin. Tacos. Great warm summer weather. Beer. I was so dang close to just staying there. <3

San Diego

I met up with some coworkers in San Diego. They are on another team and happened to be there at the perfect time. They had an extra room so I joined them for some fun weekend projects and the usual Automattic shenanigans.

Down the west coast – part one

Earlier this year I drove from Tofino on Vancouver Island all the way down the coast to San Diego. I took the coastal highways most of the way going back and forth between the 101 and the 1. I tried to stay as close to the coast as possible from Canon Beach all the way down. I only just now realized that I hadn’t posted a single thing about it. So here we go!

Vancouver and Squamish, BC

After my company meetup in Whistler, Stephane, Dean, and I made a quick stop near Squamish for a few photos of the crazy people who took the hard way to the meetup.
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Then, Stephane and I headed to Lighthouse Park in Vancouver to do a bit of wandering, climbing, and swimming.


 
After, we wandered back up north of Squamish where we found a great camp site for the night. We also ended up making damper (mostly) successfully for the first time!

Then it was time for Stephane to go our separate ways. He headed back all the way across Canada to Montreal to see his family and his pups.
After some hugs and tears, I went on to meet my friends and coworkers Sheri and Chris in Squamish. Sheri, Chris, Kelly (not there this time), and I tend to randomly hike or bike with each other all over the world. No planning involved. We ended up doing a short hike on the Chief. We hit a pretty good brewery after. Such a cool place!

Tofino, BC

After Squamish, I had a few days to kill so I headed up to Tofino. Check out my post on surfing in Tofino.

Bowen Island, BC

Post Tofino, I stayed with a good friend and coworker, Enej and his family on Bowen Island. Getting there from Tofino wasn’t the easiest and required two ferries. Both were filled with stunning scenery. When I got there, I was met with one heck of a surreal sunset.


I coworked with Enej the few days I was there out of his house, on a beach, and in some coffee shops. We even did some work with a few deer right next to us. We took time to hike around the island fairly often since there was such good weather.

Bowen Island is an inspiring place. I got a ton of work done along with a nifty side project Enej and I built out in a couple evenings.

Vancouver, BC

I didn’t spend too much time in Vancouver, but I did get to see two of my favorite people, Kirk and Joey. We worked out of a space called Hive (I think). After a couple days there, I head back to the US after about a month of wandering some amazing parts of Canada. ❤️
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Seattle, WA

I ended up staying with my family while I was there initially. We ended up going on a few hikes and visiting some of my favorite spots. We took the monorail to the EMP (rock and roll, scifi, and horror museum), Pike’s, and Fry’s (there’s no Fry’s in Denver, so it’s awesome to check out).




I also took the opportunity to work out of our Automattic Seattle office a couple of the days with Brooke and Beau. Both are awesome to work with.
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View from the Automattic Seattle office

Portland, OR

I headed down to Portland for a few days to wander around the city a bit with Meg and Carlos. I was too distracted by all the food and drink to take any photos. Shame on me. I did stop in at Powell’s book store and holy heck is that place massive. It could also use some serious wayfinding design improvements. It was extremely difficult to navigate.

Damascus, OR

I met a coworker of mine in Damascus. Derek and Heather graciously let me stay with them on their farm and meet the goats, the dog pack, and the flock of chickens. They even have a greenhouse filled with unbelievable carnivorous plants! It’s a fantastic place.

Whew!

Okay. Breaking this up into two parts. Here’s part 2!!!

blog. to .blog

I’m super excited to finally ditch my old blog.michaelarestad.com blog address for something a bit nicer. Thanks to my generous employer, I now am the super proud owner of michael.blog. I went through the process of setting up the domain on get.blog and I have to say, it was pretty dang slick. I moved all my content over via the importer (a little rough) and it’s now ready to go.

But what about old links?

Well, after a bit of googling, I found a plugin call Redirection by Automattic‘s own John Godley (I love it when my coworkers have already made the tool I need). It took some time, but after reading his instructions, I found it to be fairly simple to set up. Now it will redirect any links to my old site right on over to my new site. Pretty spiffy! Thanks John!

.blog everything

I also picked up a few other .blog addresses here and there including one for my pup (yeah I’m that guy). There are tons of sweet .blog domains available. Go get one!

Reclaiming my hard drive

In the middle of a Zoom call a couple weeks ago, I got a system notice that I was running out of space on my startup disk. It said I had 1.6 gigabytes free and the number was dropping rapidly.

Crap.

I did some quick measures to get through the call by deleting some unused virtual machines and unsynched an entire dropbox repo. Boom. Back up to 43.2 gigs. Nice. Good enough for the call.

After the call, I knew something had to be done. It’s not easy to figure out which folders and files are taking up space on a Mac out of the box, so I nabbed a paid app from the app store called DaisyDisk. I had seen it earlier and knew it was semi popular. Might as well take it for a spin.

Immediately after installing it and scanning my hard drive, it made it really easy to dig in and see where my space was going. 67 gigs were used in a folder called MobileSync. It’s the backups folder for devices. I hopped into iTunes and removed all my old backups. 67 GB gained.

I then opened up my applications and started removing ones I hadn’t used in some time as well as ones Apple had replaced like iPhoto and iMovie 9.9.

Removing Adobe apps was a little rougher using the Creative Cloud application. An app has to be updated to uninstall it. Yes, I could have just deleted the files, but I wanted to try the interface. I removed some of my unused Adobe products giving me a bit more space.

Now I’m back up to 128 GB of space. Not bad. I’ll have to do some more digging into Photos and Movies to see if I can kill their cloud caches or something. They add up to around 27 GB of space. Yeesh. I thought the cloud was for keeping stuff off my hard drive.

My best photos from 2016

Here are my favorite photos from my travels this year. Not all are the best, but I think I caught a few gems. I recommend opening the gallery and just scrolling through. They should all have a comment and location. Let me know what you think!


 

Surfing in Tofino

A few weeks ago, I made the journey up to Vancouver Island. I had heard some great things about Tofino, a small surf town with legendary tacos.
With no prep and on a whim I departed. Google said it would take me around five hours to get from where I was staying near Squamish to get to Tofino and that supposedly included the ferry ride. Deal! What I didn’t know is that the ferry included a several hour wait.
When I arrived at the ferry, I paid for a ticket and got in line. I was about an hour and a half early for the ferry, but nonetheless, I didn’t make it on that one. There were quite a few vehicles ahead of me, apparently. It was a few hours until the next ferry. For those of you heading to or from Vancouver Island, you can actually make a reservation on the ferry to save potentially hours of waiting. The waiting wasn’t too bad since there was a bit of a town nearby with plenty of restaurants and coffee shops. I found one with wifi and wrote a blog post in the meantime.

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In line for the ferry to Vancouver Island.

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When I wandered back over to my Jeep about thirty minutes before the ferry left I started up a conversation with the folks in front of me. Apparently they make this trip regularly and they informed me about the reservation system. They also explained that the drive to Tofino might be a bit dangerous in the dark because it’s a remote highway through the mountains. I noted that and decided if it was too dark, I would just camp near one of the towns. Thankfully, I made good enough time, I didn’t have to.
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The ferry ride itself was uneventful, but filled with stunning scenery the entire time. The grey skies and constant drizzle only added to the beauty. There weren’t many people willing to brave the deck, which made it feel like I was the only one on the massive ferry. It was surreal. I took way too many photos and videos:

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To Vancouver Island

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Leaving the mainland.

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On a boat

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After the ferry, I had a pretty fun drive all the way to Tofino. I was about through the mountains when it got dark. There’s really just one road into Tofino and I saw some hitchhikers heading there. I decided “why the heck not?” and picked them up. They turned out to be super friendly skaters from Ontario. I picked up on the accent right away after hanging out with my friend Stephane for a few weeks. I brought them into town where we shared some drinks at the skate park. Then we ventured way the heck down the beach to camp for the night. In the morning I realized it was probably not the most legal thing as there was a no camping sign about 100 yards from our camp site. Whoops! 🙁 We packed up when we saw that and left no trace. Then we went our separate ways. They wanted to skate and I wanted to try surfing.
I made my way to a recommended surf shop. I ended up getting a lesson from Westside Surf School because I had never surfed before and grew up in a land-locked state. I had no prior surf knowledge at all. They hooked me up with a wetsuit (also totally new to me), which I had my doubts about considering how dang cold that water was when I waded into it that morning. They also gave me a gigantic foam board. It wasn’t nearly as cool looking as the ones we saw the pros using, but I didn’t mind. I had no preconceived notions that I was going to be looking cool by the end of the day.
Once our group gathered up at the launch time, we headed to the beach. The instructor walked us through several exercises on the beach to get us used to standing up on the board. After that, we walked into the ocean. The wetsuit went from this stiff uncomfortable thing to a super well-fitting warm beautiful thing. It was amazing! We started out paddling into and riding the tail end of the waves on our knees. The waves were between ten and fifteen feet high. There was no way we were going to catch them where the skilled surfers were. I did above average for the group and ended up standing about five times. Really only one of those times did I ride it all the way in (the last wave).
I have to say, it was absolutely a blast. Even though I spent most of the time flailing around and falling in new cool ways, the few times I stood were enough to get me hooked. I would definitely go again.
After surfing, I hit up the famous Tacofino food truck for some absolutely legendary tacos. Then, I went to one of the two or three places to drink in town, the Tofino Brewing Company. There, I met some fellow travelers. They had a kickass vanagon with a lift and all sorts of upgrades. The two were doing what I did and spending the weekend in Tofino on a whim and for some reason brought their friend’s dog.
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At Tacofino. Arguably the best tacos I have ever had.

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After the tacos, I headed back down to the beach to just relax a bit and enjoy the “sunset” even though it was cloudy and drizzling. It was beautiful anyway.
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My night before heading to the brewery.

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I needed a shower after all that beach time, so I got a room at a decently priced motel in town that night. Worth it. the next day, I had some breakfast at a great little coffee shop. I hit the beach for a bit and then started the journey to get to Bowen Island. This turned out to be just as rough as my previous experience, but I’ll get into that when I post about Bowen Island.


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Trans-Canada adventure part two

Sorry about the delay, folks. I’ve been pretty dang busy the past several weeks and this post is long overdue. I am currently writing this at a friend’s beautiful goat farm near Portland Oregon. Time for part two of this little adventure. For those of you who missed it, here’s part one.
So there we were on Sunday the 11th. In Calgary after 13 hours on the road. At the airport picking up the Matt Mullenweg who decided to join us for the last three days of travel to Whistler. Matt is one of the founding developers on the WordPress project and the CEO of Automattic (where I work).
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We headed to a hotel near the airport for the night to rest and plan our next few days. Unfortunately, the bar didn’t stay open long enough for us to even have one drink, but we still figured out a rough plan. The hotel also had fancy glowing beds.


On Monday the 12th, we got up pretty dang early in order to make it back onto the TCAT (Trans-Canada Adventure Trail). When first got onto a dirt road, we stopped to get our Jeeps ready. We deflated our tires a bit and added a few flags to our Jeeps because it seemed appropriate at the time.

As we drove along these roads, Matt spotted both of these quirky signs:

Apparently, where we were near Calgary, a cattle guard is called a Texas gate. Both Matt and I are from Texas and had never heard of a Texas gate before.
As we headed up into the mountains, we had nothing but beautiful views. At one point, we even found winter in full force with a bit of a snow storm, some fresh snow, and an amazing mountain pond. Also, cows. Many many cows.

We did occasionally make our way through small towns to gas up and admire local cuisine.

We didn’t stop for lunch in that town. Instead, we headed back into the wilderness to find a good spot near a river for lunch. We made a small campfire to head up some sausage from Montreal for some delicious sandwiches. Also, a rock skipping contest was had between Matt and me. There was no clear victor because we’re both pretty good and it’s hard to count when the skip counts get too high.

After lunch, the trails got a bit narrower and a ton muddier. We did lots of this stuff:

And stuff like this:


Which looks like this:


And this:

And this:

Until we had a technical issue. Stephane’s Jeep refused to start in the middle of the mountains somewhere. We had been hitting puddles pretty hard se we thought it was a short. After some looking around and trying a few things, we decided we needed to get some help from our phones. Stephane (or Matt?) remembered we had reception a bit back so we decided to drive back to get reception in order to do some searching online. Matt volunteered to stay behind with the broken Jeep.

After trekking back a ways, we eventually found some potential answers. We turned around and then came to a pretty interesting realization: We left our employer in the woods with no reception and we forgot to mark on the map where we left him.
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Anyway, we found him eventually which is all that matters, right?
It turns out, the only thing wrong with Stephane’s Jeep was that the battery leads wiggled loose. After he tightened them, it started right up again.  YESSSS!!!
After finding Matt in the woods and getting Stephane’s Jeep started, we made a stop at “THE BIGGEST TRUCK IN THE WORLD!” There was also a huge rock chain saw.

Then we headed back into the wilderness.

Where we found a trailhead that we thought was a promising place to look for a camp site. It ended up not being ideal since we couldn’t find the open water we were hoping for, but we got a short fun hike in anyway.

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Next stop: camp site! We kept driving until we found a good spot to camp off a logging road next to a river and set up our shelters. When I was out gathering firewood, a moose apparently walked right through our camp. There’s a photo of Stephane below running to call me over. I just missed it. I have yet to see a single moose in Canada.

We made some dinner, told some stories, and then when it started getting just a touch too chilly, we went to bed.
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In the morning on Tuesday the 13th, there was frost everywhere, but it was a beautiful day. I headed down to the river to hang out on a rock until the others woke up. There were also huge prehistoric-looking logging trucks whizzing by.

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Then we headed back on the dirt roads. Matt did some driving today as well up by some power lines. We stayed out of trouble most of the day.