Tuesday, April 25, 2023

FIRST Robotics Championship in Houston, TX

We arrived in Houston on Monday of the week of the robotics championship in order 
to get Carson there early so the VC Silver Circuits could get started on preparations. 

This is the apartment we stayed in for the week. It was very nice and we had a nice view. 

It was near the medical centers in Houston. 

This is the convention center where the competition was - this area was turned into an 'Innovation Fair', where a handful of tech companies had booths. 

Disney Imagineers

(It looks so much like the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC)

While Carson was busy with the team in the early part of the week, we went off on our
own to explore. One place we wanted to visit was Buc-ee's. 

Buc-ee's is a super cool gas station/convenient store that has grown 
in the last 10 years or so and spread all over from Texas into the south. 
They have a bunch of their own branded unique snacks.

They have t-shirts and keychains and oodles of merchandise, plus endless options
for snacks and meals. Their bathrooms are spacious and clean, and they have lots of varieties of drinks.

We got a bumper sticker so we could cut a smaller sticker to put on our Sequoia window.

The outside grassy area where most people went to hang out during 
the lunch break. 

There were food trucks outside and food booths inside the convention center. 

They had cornhole and jenga games set up. 

One of the cool pins on Carson's cape. 

We went downstairs to check out the FIRST competition, not to be confused with
the FIRST Tech Challenge. This one is the college level. 

The robots are HUGE

I thought it was interesting how a team there had similar capes as the VC Silver Circuits

Monday, April 3, 2023

Ridgeline trip to Phoenix

The front of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, built in 1928.

It looks the same as it did in the 20s

a cool stained-glass window in the lobby

the first night there was a outdoor dinner party at the hotel

there were a lot of pools - here are the waterslides

We went on a short hike in the hills near the hotel

all the flowers were in bloom

our hotel room - it was more like an apartment. 

The cactus spines were super firm and sharp

the Saguaro cactus

we went on an ATV excursion in the Sonoran desert

our guide showing us the cholla cactus - he lit it on fire and the spines disintegrated
 and then he cut it open to show how it is edible. 

the trail was pretty dusty - it was nice that they gave us masks

on the last night, there was a farewell dinner

with a band and a cool dance floor

this was a really cool outdoor restaurant bar area at the hotel

we went there for dinner a couple of times

the fire pits were really nice and the food was good. It was a very
relaxing trip.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Trip to Phoenix, part 2


they had these comfy chairs outside, about 5 or 6 of them, and the grass is astroturf

these statues were all over the property

there was a 'beer burro' at the party on the first night

lots of little desserts

nice big balcony

i can't believe we have a kitchen!

this is what breakfast looked like every morning, it was continental, with tables 
all on the sides of the room with coffee, teas, juices, and other food tables in the middle 
with cereals, danishes, fresh fruit and sometimes breakfast sandwiches

walking through a garden area

they had beehives

there were these circular chairs and you could roll around in them

once i got the hang of it, it was fun!

this was a 'Biltmore Breeze' - lemonade with berry tea on top. It was $14. 
I did not know it was $14 until we got the check....

on the Quartz trail

one night the company provided shuttles to Oldtown Scottsdale

so we walked around - they have lots of nice restaurants and shops

and a carriage, but we didn't take a ride

me sitting at the outdoor Spire Bar where we ate dinner

getting masked up for the ATV ride

they had lots of safety talks before the ride

read the sign

the room

super yummy 'lager cheese' loaded fries

spring roll

really yummy beef a la parilla tacos