Mark Fischer

3 minute read

The girls had a week off of school this October for fall break. This is the first year they’ve had a whole week off of school in the fall. So we put together a last minute camping trip!

Oak Creek Canyon

We first drove up to Sedona, and camped at the north end of Oak Creek Canyon at Pine Flat Campground. All the campgrounds in Oak Creek Canyon are a little close to the road for my tastes, but it sure is beautiful. The girls immediately ran off to the creek to hike and play. They even managed to not get wet!

Angela planned all the meals, and split cooking with me. We cooked some on our camp stove, and some over the fire. Cuddling up near the fire at night was fun!

While chopping wood for the fire, I somehow managed to fling a wood chip up and hit the back window of the van, which shattered the whole thing. It was quite loud, and made a terrible mess…

The next day we set off to find some hiking, which was not hard and very beautiful! We also stopped in Sedona to browse through the shops. We came across this fantastic little candle making shop which just enthralled the kids for over an hour. They’re this neat layered construction which glows when you light them.


Next we packed up camp and drove north to Flagstaff to get the van window fixed. Taking a break in the middle and spending one night in a hotel was nice too!

Grand Canyon

After a quick overnight in Flagstaff it was off to the Grand Canyon! We set up camp at Mather Campground. The girls were a great help at clearing out the campsite. Carrying rocks around quickly led to them setting up an Adélie Penguin rock art trading colony.

After camp was set up we drove off to Yaki point to look around. There was a group of researchers there counting different birds the flew overhead trying to track migration patterns. We just saw crows.

The next day we all headed over to Bright Angel lodge to do some hiking down the trail. Angela and Darla came down Bright Angel Trail about half a mile before turning back. Kirin and I made it down a bit farther. We didn’t quite get to the 2 mile house, but I think we got pretty close.

After hiking we came back up and met up with everyone at El Tovar Hotel to collapse for a while. We also wandered through the Hopi House and vowed to come back some day with about $10,000 to spend there.


On our way back from the Canyon, we stopped by Arcosanti to visit Jeff. Pretty interesting place they’ve got out there!


Mark Fischer

4 minute read

We had a grand adventure to see the great Total Solar Eclipse™ of 2017!

We found out about the eclipse about six months ago. Looking at the path of totality, we realized that my uncle Noel and aunt Linda happened to live right on the Oregon coast, only a couple of miles outside the path! They were gracious enough to host us for the event!

We flew in to Portland on Saturday and drove out to the coast. We got there pretty late, but Linda still had a midnight snack for us waiting before we collapsed to sleep.

Sunday we woke up early, and Linda took the girls down to the beach. The live in a gorgeous spot in Yachats, only a short walk to the beach. We got up early enough to see low tide, and catch a few tide pools. The girls found a really spectacular purple starfish tucked up under some rocks.

After the beach we drove into downtown Yachats, (all two blocks of it) and went to the Sunday farmer’s market. Got some t-shirts, food, and new earrings for Angela. They have an awesome play park for the kids with a terrific treehouse!

That afternoon we drove up the coast to scout out possible eclipse watching places. We found a really great place by the beach in the “Lost Creek” state park. We kept driving in to Newport and went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Its a really nice place. Otters, seals, sea lions, fish, fish, fish, birds, sharks, woo!

That night Noel and Linda took us out to their favorite seafood place, the Luna Sea Fish House. Darla had nearly the whole bowl of clams herelf!

Monday morning was finally eclipse day! We got up early, said goodby to Noel and Linda, and started driving back up the coast. Unfortunately, the whole coast was heavy fog that morning. We got to the Lost Creek park again to see if the fog would lift. By 8:30am however it didn’t look any better, and with the eclipse starting a little after 9am, we decided to pack up and drive inland.

After winding up and over and around the beautiful green hills of the Oregon coast, we eventually found a little spot by the side of the road. The sky was clear and blue, and the eclipse had begun! Kirin and Darla were fascinated by the whole thing. It really was spectacular.

About 15-30 minutes before totality, we could really feel it getting cooler. The light was just… weird! It was getting darker, but with the sun still high in the sky, there were no long shadows that normally accompany dusk. The bugs start making noise, the birds start making noise, and then very suddenly… it was dark. Really dark. And then you could look at the sun. A black disk where the moon fully obscures the sun and you can see the glowing corona around it.

And then a mere minute and forty seconds later it was over. A piercing ray of sunlight peeked around the other side of the moon, and the eclipse starte to wain.

We didn’t take the following photos, they’re from Nasa’s Eclipse event website, but they’re exactly what we saw and experienced.

And then… it was time to … drive back to Portland.

This, was not much fun. What is normally a two or three hour drive turned into a seven hour ordeal. The girls were great thought this fortunately. We made it to the airport barely an hour befor our flight left. I dropped off Angela and the kids at the airport so they would make the flight at least. Then I drove the rental car back to drop it off. Somehow I managed to get on a shuttle back to the airport really quickly, and made it to the gate about fifteen minutes before boarding. Whew!

We only wish we had spent a few more days there. It was pretty rushed, but really worth it. If you haven’t experienced a total eclipse, you really should make an effort. The next one is in 2024!

Mark Fischer

1 minute read

The kids were sick today.

Darla was sluggish and didn’t want to go to school today. She said her tummy hurts. Both girls are usually pretty honet and accurate about their stomachs, and if they say it hurts, there’s a good chance they’re actually going to puke sometime soon.

Unfortunately, I still had to get Kirin to school, and you’re never really sure if they’re not just faking… so we took a chance and packed them off to school.

We didn’t make it.

Darla got sick about 34 of the way to school. Fortunately I’m not completely dumb, and we brought a bucket and Darla managed to not make a huge mess everywhere.

We eventually made it to school, dropped off Kirin, and made it home (after a few more stops).

Then around Noon the school calls.

Kirin is sick.

Back to school to pick her up (once Angela got home from work to watch Darla).

Both kids lounged around the house all afternoon, making a remarkable recovery.

Later in the day they both felt well enough to come with me to the hardware store.

Yeah, they look sick. 😕

They both better go to school tomorrow. 😄

Mark Fischer

1 minute read

Collecting gift ideas for people here.



  • Anything from Barnes & Nobel’s Harry Potter Display! She really likes the scarves and bags.