One of the perks of my job is that sometimes there are manufacturers that want to show off their products and manufacturing plants in person, so the local sales representatives will often invite us to join them on factory tours or trainings. I usually try and make sure that they also offer continuing education credits for my PE, but sometimes the offer is too good to turn down even without the credits.
The first trip that I took was in mid-October to Raleigh, North Carolina to visit a UPS manufacturer. On the way, we flew over one of my favorite cities (see above). Any guesses?
The next trip brought me back to the Carolinas. We stayed in Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC, while visiting a lighting manufacturer in Greenville. After the classes were over we drove up to Asheville, NC which lies in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. I had offered to drive the big 15 passenger van that we all crammed into. That night, we ate a fancy dinner at The Grove Park Inn, which was incredibly beautiful and rustic.
In Asheville we went on a zip-lining excursion up in the mountains and it was awesome. The trees were beautiful, the mountains were fog covered and it felt like we had walked out of Glory or another Civil War movie (except for the part about ziplining).
The last trip was to the Fresno area, but we stayed at the fancy Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. Once again, I spent a day at a lighting factory while we welcomed the first snow of the year to the mountains around Yosemite.
The next day was spent visiting Yosemite National Park. It was amazing, but I was sad that Alison and the girls weren't there to enjoy it with me.
I went on a hike to the base of the Upper Yosemite Falls, which was a decent hike with over 1,000 feet of elevation gain. The hike wasn't very long as it was stairs and switchbacks nearly the whole time, but the views of the valley were amazing. I'll have to make sure that there is water on the waterfall for the next time that I visit.
More recently, I took a short trip to Denver to visit a couple of lighting manufacturers. The highlight of this trip was going to a Rockies game (a 10-9 win for the Rockies). It was a great game with a lot of runs, a Grand Slam (which apparently allowed me to claim free tacos) and a number of stolen bases including home.
Sometimes it is nice to get wined and dined a bit...