From Oyster bars in Portland to fossil digging in Kemmerer.

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After meeting up with our friend David in Portland, the real road trip could begin. 2015-07-07 19.48.52

We spent two nights in Portland to get a feel of the city. The Powell house of books is worth a visit. Never seen so many books in one place before. Lucas had a hard time deciding witch books to buy. There is also a great old Oyster bar in town that we had dinner in.

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From Portland we headed east to Boise, Idaho where we slept one night on our way to the main destination Kemmerer, Wyoming.

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Joe´s Crab Shack in Boise, Idaho.

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Along the way there was some nice surprises like this old diner in Snowville where we stopped for lunch. Great food and nice waitresses.

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The scenery along the way is beautiful, the road is interesting despite it being an interstate road.

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The barking lot outside Wholefoods in Salt Lake City

Next stop from Boise, was Salt Lake City. One night in the Peery hotel was interesting. We got to see the city and even go to a organ concert in the Tabernacle in Temple square. From Salt Lake City it is only a couple of hours to Kemmerer Wyoming where we met our friend Adam, his wife Katie, their two friendly dogs and four cats. No need to say Lucas were thrilled.

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Lucas and Affie, BFFs!

DCIM100GOPRO Water Word.

Sunday was an eventful day. First out was a float down the Hams Fork River in tubes. Slowly floating down stream with the tubes tied together around a floating cooling bag in the sun was a great way of spending a couple of hours.

DCIM100GOPRO Ready, set go!
DCIM100GOPRO Just floating around.

In the afternoon me and Lucas went to the cute old movie theater in Kemmerer to see the Minions. The theater in it self was a treat. Looked like an old saloon from the outside.

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The movie theater.

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While the we were at the movies, the guys were out shooting clay pigeons.

All these activities made us hungry, and Katie prepared a lovely meal in their home for us, before we headed for some fossil digging in Adams quarry. Ancient Lake Fossil Company. Another experience we will remember forever.

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Is that a fossil rabbit?

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Lucas´s first fossil, a piece of fish.

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We found several nice fish. Very exiting! One of the fossils you can see in the feature image.

Big thanks to Adam and Katie for giving us a awesome day in Kemmerer!  We are happy we are going to stay for a couple of days more.

Unable to sleep in Seattle..

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Met the mother of all jet lags in Seattle. Sleepless in Seattle; what a cliché! Coming to the US from Japan and crossing the date line is never fun, jet lag vise, but we have done it three times before, and never had this trouble sleeping afterwards. Three nights the whole family was up and about until 3 or 4 am, and feeling tired  the rest of the day.  On our way to Seattle we flew from Osaka to Tokyo with Jetstar, just to put our “flying with carry on luggage only project” to a test. Jetstar has a 7 kg carry on allowance only. We made it to Tokyo and further with Singapore airline to LA. (We checked in two of our carry on so we did not have to carry them around at the airport. Is that cheating?).

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This is our entire luggage.

The plan was to fly directly from LA to Seattle on July 3. But we were late with the airline ticket booking so the price skyrocketed and we decided to stay one night in Los Angeles. Traveling to Seattle one July 4. via Phoenix. The of July we were invited to join Bjørn´s american relatives in Camano Island for independence day celebration. Since we were already one day late and got further delayed when we arrived Seattle and all the rental cars were gone, we were not sure we were able to go up north to Camano Island. But it all works out in the end, we finally got our pre booked rental car and joined the family up in Camano. We got there before sunset and had a lovely evening with the relatives.

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Sunset at Camano Island

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On Sunday Bjørn 2. cousin and his wife took us for a sightseeing in Seattle. The line outside the Space Needle was to long so we enjoyed the view from the ground.

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We visited the famous Pike Place Market fish market, where they are throwing the fish around. And had a lovely lunch at The Pike Brewing Company.

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Pike Brewing Company with Bjørn´s 2. cousin Terry and his wife Julia.

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Lucas outside the first Starbuck café in the world.

We were staying north of Seattle in a wonderful AirBnb house. The house was close to a Premium outlet, so I think the plan of traveling with only carry on got crushed in Seattle.

It’s time to contact Norwegian airline and buy some checked in luggage.

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The first rule of shopping: Do not buy more than you can carry.. All and all we loved Seattle and hope to come back one day!

Fushiokaku our stay at a Japanese ryokan.

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June we left Kyoto and traveled to the Osaka region. North of Osaka, close to a town called Ikeda, we checked in to a Japanese traditional spa hotel. Fusiokaku has several indoor and outdoor hot springs, divided in a men and women section. A lot of rules apply to use the hot tubs. No clothes what so ever is one of the rules. (No cameras of obvious reasons, so the picture is borrowed from trip advisor). No tattoos is allowed either. You have to cover them up with tape. The hotel was rather old and in desperate need of a renovation, but the food was delicious and after overcoming the first moments outside our comfort zone, we rather enjoyed the wandering around in morning robe and the hotel slippers. The spa was so nice and Lucas loved all the spa products provided for you. We stumbled upon a beautiful Japanese garden a few blocks from our hotel, were we spent our day hiking. Turtles, butterflies, koi fish and toads made the children’s day.

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The outfit we wondered around the hotel in. Notice the slippers..

2015-06-30 19.10.52We manage to convince the waiters in the restaurant that foreigners was able to sit on the floor to eat, and got our own Japanese style dining room.

2015-06-29 17.42.01We even slept on the floor.

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Kyuanji Temple is a Buddhist temple that was first established by Gyoki priests who came from Nara in 725.

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Beautiful park by the temple.

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Turtles and toads in the ponds kept the kids busy.

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We also went hiking in the forrest nearby the temple.

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Outside the hotel.

2015-07-01 10.09.08When we left the hotel staff bid us farewell with a banner. Have no idea what it said. English was not a language widely spoken in the hotel. They did however have the words “no can do” nailed down to perfection. A great experience to have been there.

Next stop Kobe! Stay tuned.


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We had not done much research on Kyoto before we came. We knew there were a lot of nice shrines and temples, but not where they were located and we chose the lodging after what was available on AirBnb. Again our luck was on our side and our gorgeous AirBnb house was almost next to a shrine and in walking distance to one of the more popular temples. The AirBnb host met us at the house and took us on a guides tour in the neighborhood on our arrival day. 2015-06-25 16.13.47
Our huge Japanese house, had room enough for our two families and room to spare. Four bedrooms is luxury for people that are used to cramp together in a small hotel room.

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The Kitano Tenman-gu shrine. Our host Kazunori took us on a guided tour to the shrine and the walking street near our house.
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This shrine enshrines Michizane Sugawara, is famous for his great learning during his lifetime is worshipped as the patron of learning. Not the wrong place to bring the kiddos.

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Bos in front of the shrine gate.

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Prayers hang up wood prays go get more intelligent.

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Sunday we went to the Toei Kyoto Movie Park. Toei Kyoto Studio Park is the only theme park in Japan where you can observe the filming of period dramas (jidaigeki films). The place is packed with samurais, ninjas and geishas. This set depicts a street from the Edo period, and is used to shoot more than 200 films per year. Enjoy the atmosphere of ancient Japan by taking in a ninja show maybe even dressing up as a geisha or samurai.
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In the evening our host took us out for dinner in a local “hole in the wall” restaurant where they served squid balls and other local delicacies. A great night out.

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Kinkaku-ji temple were also on our list. The kids trying to trow money into a bowl. Temple of the Golden Pavilion (see head photo).
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On our last night we ran into these lovely maikos and a geiko on our dinner at the local restaurant. Their training facilities were in our neighborhood. They were such nice people. Not many geishas left in Kyoto. What a great finale to our Kyoto stay.

Next blog post from our stay at a Ryokan in Ikeda.


   On the road again. First stop Tokyo, where we checked in to a nice AirBnb house with our friends from NoMadfamily. So nice to meet them again. We are staying in Tokyo for 3 nights before we move on to Kyoto.  

  Getting around in Tokyo is quite easy with the metro. 

  First day we spent in Akihabara the “Geek city” lots of anime and manga.  

  Sushi for lunsch and dinner, no problem! 

  Lucas, Jack and Leon checking out all the different vending machines. 

 We even went to one of the many Maid Cafés.  In these cafés, waitresses dressed in maid costumes act as servants, and treat customers as masters in a private home, rather than as café patrons. (Wikipedia) Really gets you out of your comfort zone. 

 You can dress up and pay to take a picture with the maids. Dressed up our own rugrats instead. Great spot for people watching. Watching grown ups dress up as kittins and taking pictures with the waitresses is just something else.  

  Wednesday we spent the day in another cool part of Tokyo, Harajuku. Also known as the center of Japanese youth culture and fashion. Lucas’s favorite part of town. 

  We had lunch at a small motor cycle cafè. 

  Ralph Lauren store. My impression is that a lot of the chic second hand stores in Harajuku are being replaced by chain stores. The area seem more mainstreem than last time we were here. 

  When in Tokyo!  

 Food again. Snack time in this little Airstream cafè. 

 In the afternoon we met up with the NoMadFamily again in Shibuya. Shibuya is another one of Tokyo’s many shopping areas. Dinner at a Japaneese barbeque restaurant. Lucas took over as the barbeque chef. We have had so many lovely meals in Japan. This was one of them. The meat on the grill in this picture is tuna fish.  


Thursday we changed city again. From Tokyo to Kyoto by Shinkansen the bullet train. 540 km in two hours. More on Kyoto in the next boring blog post! Stay tuned!