A Few Days of Christmas in Seattle

So I’m running a wee bit behind on getting posts up, as I’m currently underwater with Consumer Electronics Show (CES) related prep posts for next week.  But I figured I’d fill in some of the non-tech things that we’ve been up to as we plod around North America for the holidays.

Last week we were in Seattle, staying with my family for Christmas.  Most of it was pretty relaxed and just enjoying time at home.  But here’s a few things that stuck out.

The Chocolate Factory


By pure happenstance we ended up in a chocolate factory surrounded by flowing chocolate. No golden ticket required!

We were down having breakfast with friends in the Freemont neighborhood, and they mentioned that just a block or two away was Theo Chocolate, a local chocolatier.  They said we should check out their little shop and entertain some of the (free) chocolate samples.  Just as we entered though they announced there was a chocolate tour beginning in 1 minute…sounds like a deal to us!

The tour would take about an hour, and cover all aspects of chocolate production from the plants to the beans to making the bars.  It also included a LOT of chocolate eating.  Here’s a few pictures from it.

Ultimately, I think I actually ate more chocolate than I should have.  It’s hard to eat significant quantities of dark chocolate, especially the really dark chocolate.  But it was just soooooo good!  They also have a chocolate bar that specifically supports World Bicycle Relief – so we bought a bunch of those.


Can’t complain about combining a good cause: WBR and chocolate in my belly!

Running Around the Woods

The Girl and I went on two different runs together, one just a wander around the neighborhood for about 10K.  And the second, down to the water via a forested trail that when I was a kid my family would often use to get to the beach.

The trail (Meadowdale Park/Beach) is about a mile or so long but descends quite a bit in elevation.  We ran about 2 miles to get there before starting down the trail.  It zig-zags following a bit of a ravine/valley, down to the water.


Of course, it was a bit wet.  Because…Seattle.  I don’t think we saw more than a few seconds of blue sky during the entire period we were there.  On the flip side, there was plenty of water and mud.


Unfortunately, with the higher water, we weren’t able to get to the beach.  The little stream was bursting with water, blocking the pedestrian tunnel that goes under the railroad tracks.  Just a few feet through that tunnel is the beach (of Puget Sound).  Sad Panda.


Once we were down at (or not at) the beach, we thought we’d take a different road back up – rather than the muddy trail.  Suffice to say, that route ended up being rather non-optimal, adding a wee bit of extra (hilly) distance to our jaunt.  Oh well, I can’t complain about getting in a run with The Girl!

Let there be food and family!


The majority of our time though, we just enjoyed hanging around the house and eating.  My parents cooked up all sorts of goodness.  From oysters that were BBQ’d up…


…to prime rib:


…to home brewed beer:


Of course, with Seattle (well, Kirkland) being the home of Costco, we did take one detour there.  That’s where I saw Santa:


Everyone spent time giving Lucy a workout.


Speaking of Lucy.  I think she was the biggest winner when it came to Christmas.  She somehow ended up with two stockings!


And a wide assortment of treats within those stockings:


Finally, for Christmas day dinner we had a whole bunch of friends over.  Which obviously requires a whole bunch of food.


I don’t have a ton of other great photos unfortunately, but I figure the above should suffice as a general token-photo of what the dinner was like.

Finally, each year my mom sets up a large number of these miniature Christmas houses.  When I was younger, I often helped with the setup and design.


And…apparently, also helped writing poems for it.  Thus, some of my first ‘published’ work:


Perhaps I should have stopped back at the food section.

For those that celebrated Christmas – hope you had an enjoyable Christmas! To everyone reading, the Girl and I would like to wish you only the best for the new year, and thanks again for another incredible year of blog support!


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  1. Harvey

    Nice family time!

  2. Greg

    Hoping to see the post soon about you staying in a run down RV ala Vegas vacation for Ces 2016!

    Fingers crossed

  3. Scott E

    As another recent returnee back to the state of Washington, welcome home to the land of rain and large slugs. And though the cobble stones of France are challenging, there is nothing like the slipperiness of mossy inclined Seattle streets. Stay safe if you decide to take Dad’s Roubaix out for a spin, and hope you get a chance to enjoy seeing the foggy New Year’s fireworks off the Space Needle!

  4. Paul in Kirkland

    Just out of curiosity, were you at Theo in the late afternoon of Dec 23rd? I’m asking because I was across the street at Cascade Bicycle Studio at that time, getting fitted for a bike. It would be pretty funny to find out that you were a few yards away. It’s weird enough that you were at my Costco :)

  5. Tim

    I normally agree with everything you say but ‘It is difficult to eat to eat large quantities of dark chocolate’ is just plain wrong!

  6. That town “idea” is so awesome. Thanks for sharing, and a happy New Year.

  7. Tom W

    Happy Hogmannay

  8. Long Run Nick

    I am having this sudden craving for dark chocolate and it is only 0700. Have a healthy, fit New Year!

  9. MikeyD

    Merry Christmas/Happy New Year…

  10. Darryl

    May 2016 be a good year for you, the ‘Girl’, Lucy and all of your families.

  11. Captain Chris

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

    Thanks for what you do!

  12. Mario Lira Junior

    Best wishes to you and yours next year, from Brazil.

  13. I assume Seattle’s weather has been very close to Portland’s- we had 30 or 31 days with precipitation, nearly beating the old record of 34 days. I know that when PDX had ~14 inches of rain that Seattle had ~10. So yeah, it’s been a bit wet :)

    Now we’re having 32-35deg weather and clear skies. Woo, I can hop off the KICKR and go outside!

  14. Peter Fine

    Newark Airport Layover run! Ouch. What a horrible neighborhood to run through. (Though not the most dangerous Newark has to offer.) I grew up 10 miles due West of there, in Maplewood, NJ (on the first big hill West of the airport).

    Happy New Year!

  15. hans

    as a trail runner that tunnel looks like a very decent road.
    Everything below waist deep is considered a road by some of the race track designers :)
    exemple can be found at link to picasaweb.google.com

    ps: i wish you all a nice year

  16. Jeremy Churcher

    Happy New Year

  17. Martin

    Hi Ray,

    just a quick one, and probably answered 1000 times, but I could’t find one.
    What settings do you use for taking pictures while running with your GoPro? Single or Burst mode? If Burst, how many pictures per second? ProTune on/off?
    And what software do you use to deal with all thousand of pictures from burst mode to chose the best?

    Thanks and Happy New Year,

    • I generally tend to just do single-shot, since it’s easiest. There are some cases I’ll do burst though, which is when I’m taking pictures of watch faces while running/riding. As I usually find that subtle changes in the positioning of my wrist/camera can get better pics (so one of them is usually bet). In that case, it’s often just a 3-photo burst.

      I don’t tend to use ProTune, only because most of the time my workflow with the GoPro images is simpler (Instagram/Strava/Phone/etc…).

      I use Lightroom for everything though that makes it to the blog, usually just to try and adjust colors/etc to be semi-consistent. The photos in this post from the GoPro during the runs probably came out among the worst I’ve taken lately. Just sorta a case of dimmer light in the woods, combined with motion. Should have stopped to take the pics.

    • Martin

      thanks a lot for your answer!

  18. Uwe

    A Happy New Year to all of you!

    I know that Seattle is in the area of temperate rainforest, but when I was there in Seattle and Vancouver, I had excellent weather with only very few exceptions. We were able to sit at the beach wearing only swimming trunks between two dives. This was a day of october! But in water, only a dry suit was comfortable.
    The pictures of the run in the woods remembers mee to the forrest near Skookumchuck Narrows with all that moss on the trees. During my last run in 2015 yesterday, I had rainy weather too. I hope we will get some snow this winter for cross country skiing again, but the chances are small.

    Good luck for 2016!

  19. Francesc

    My company has finally decided not to send me at our subsidiary in Seattle.
    Looking at the wet wheather there maybe I was lucky ?

  20. Jim Kucharczyk

    35 Maple Street

  21. Barb

    Home. <3 <3 <3 All the feels. Looks delightful!

  22. I just wanna say thank you for your great work you’re doing here. I don’t think that there are better reviews on the web for sport gadgets. Please never stop doing that ;)
    Keep your great work up and i hope you had a good start in the new year!

  23. Brett

    Got to run up North Meadowdale Beach Road, eh? The sidewalk on the bottom part must have been pretty slick.

    On a bike, that road is tough when it is even a little damp (the bottom part is a grade of 20%+).