Remember Record Stores? We Found One in California.

Not That There Aren’t Others…

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…But this one is pretty cool. Records stores seem to be a thing of the past, but since the music scene is always changing, evolving, revolving, and so on, we found a place that’s found a way to make it work in the 21st century. We like to look out for our music peeps, so if you’re in San Mateo, CA, check out Vinyl Solution. Plenty of new and used stuff, and lots of old school mementos for all us nostalgic types out. Friendly people inside.

Dine in Style with Courtyard Seats, Only at Nini’s

Your Own Restaurant in a California Garden

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We spent a lot of time in California this summer, sometimes just taking in the surf. But as we cruised through the Bay Area, we had to stop at Nini’s Coffee Shop in San Mateo, our second time here. San Mateo has already proven to be a neat place, especially with our stop at a vintage record store.

So what makes this corner diner a real dish? It’s Nini’s!! Everyone knows that. The inside courtyard and all its out-of-place-yet-good-fit-for-this-place decorations always entertain. From street signs to statues, a fire hydrant and even a Texaco fuel pump (we’ve seen those before), you could say that Nini’s doubles as an unofficial museum. Never a dull moment.

And the food is fantastic! It’s a great place to unwind and take in the nice California breeze. Nini’s has been around forever, and judging by how busy it always is when we visit, it’s not going anywhere.

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Nini’s Official Facebook page

Wilson Arch: The One You Can Climb

And What a View!

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Wilson Arch just happens to sit on the side of the road, not far from Hole N’ The Rock. In fact, we first noticed it on our way to Hole N’ The Rock. We actually passed it before we realized what it was, so we immediately turned around. This we had to check out; it seemingly came out of nowhere.

Utah is famous for its Arches National Park, which is home to the famed Delicate Arch. But Wilson Arch gives you the chance to see one of these rare natural phenomena up close. And you can climb it!

It’s a steep trek up and a tough workout from its base, which is literally right off Route 191. But you’ll forget all that once you see the view. Would you believe people actually live on the other side? Expensive real estate to be sure (see pictures below). Please be careful though; Wilson Arch is delicate and has, unfortunately, been vandalized over the years, so please be respectful of the natural beauty of the area.

Wilson’s Arch Guide
Bureau of Land Management Moab Office

You Can See New Mexico From Here

A View from the Super Top at Sandia Peak

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Where else can you see 9% of an entire state from one spot? On a clear day, that would be New Mexico, viewed from Sandia Peak. We were lucky to visit on such a gorgeous day since we saw far beyond from all sides.

Located just east of Albuquerque, Sandia Peak provides one of the most amazing views in the United States. New Mexico is famous for its beautiful mesas and desert landscapes; here’s your chance to see them. The best way to the top is through the Sandia Peak Tramway, a nearly three-mile (roomy) cable car trip up the slope that provides magnificent views above and below along the way. The Tramway brings you to a viewing platform over 10,000 feet up. It can be a little chilly at that altitude–even on hot summer days–so bring a sweater.

Enough with words. This post is better conveyed through pictures. Notice the cool cloud formations. Enjoy!

More about Sandia Peak
Sandia Peak Tramway information

Halfway to the Moon

Learn to Take Stunning Pictures of the Moon with a Smartphone and Backyard Telescope

This is a lot of fun. Here at UW, we enjoy playing around with technology without spending a lot of money. A couple years ago we figured out a cool and cheap way to take stunning pictures of the moon. Two things are needed: a smartphone and a telescope. The caveat? Well, it takes a lot of time, patience, and tries to get that one shot that’s just right. But on a warm summer night when there’s a bright moon and nothing better to do….why not?

Here’s our proven method

  1. Get a cheap backyard telescope. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy; we picked up ours for $20 at a garage sale. It may not be able to give you the planets, but any telescope should be able to give you a clear view of the moon. NOTE: for best results, use a telescope with an upright eyepiece (that forms a right angle with the telescope). This design allows easy access between phone and lens.
  2. Wait for a night when the moon is really bright and the skies are clear, then bring it outside, put in the best eyepiece available, and place your smartphone’s camera lens right up to the eyepiece, but there should be no contact between the two. If done right, the moon should come into focus on your screen, and look something like this…

    We actually took this. No joke, we promise! We enhanced it a little bit.
  3. Stabilize the shot if the autofocus doesn’t do it for you. This is the tricky part. It’s best if your phone’s camera has an autofocus feature, but you’ll probably need to manually adjust it anyway by tapping the screen periodically. It might sound easy, but depending on the phone and the telescope, you may have to take the time to carefully adjust the distance between the camera lens and the eyepiece. Also, as you’re doing that, don’t forget that the moon is constantly moving in the night sky. You’ll have to adjust the telescope periodically as the moon will move out of view every couple of minutes.
  4. Have fun! Take as many pictures as you can; you can weed out the bad and blurry ones later. Go crazy and run your best photos through filters to make it look sharper, brighter, or change the moon’s color like we did.

Have fun and good luck. Check out our gallery below!