#84: Stay at a “weird” Airbnb

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

While on our 2015 random road trip (post forthcoming) and passing through Eugene, we couldn’t help but book this charming Airbnb! Don built this thing in his backyard, and he’s gone all out to make it cozy comfortable. He even made the floor out of pennies!

It’s pretty rustic — the bathroom is in the main house, and the kitchen is all on the back patio — but what is there is very livable.

This item might have to become a permanent fixture in future lists. We’ve always sought out lodging that wasn’t so run-of-the-mill, but going out of our way to find something unique can truly be delightful.

#36: Buy a Car

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

We’ve had this Subaru since just before Lucy was born, a little over seven years. It’s been good to us, and we like it.


But we were starting to run up against its limitations. For one, it’s an AWD car, and we were only getting about 17 miles per gallon, which made us sad when we were waiting at the pump every week or two. Also, Becky’s parents have a camper trailer that we’d love to borrow for our State Park challenge, but the Subaru can’t tow it. Also, it was hurting Becky’s back.

So it was we found ourselves at a car dealership yesterday, and so it was that we drove home in this:



It’s a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a diesel engine. It can tow 7,200 pounds, gets 30 MPG on the highway, and the seats adjust in something like 30 ways. Problems solved.

So I’m making it sound like it was a surprise, but this was a process that started six months ago. I’ve done a ton of research on cars since then, and there was never any other car that even came close to the Jeep for what we wanted. We didn’t expect to be signing papers yesterday, but we instantly fell in love when we took it out for an hour-long test drive. We’re expecting to get at least ten years out of this one.


#45: Visit a Cidery for a Cider Tasting

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

We’ve been meaning to do some kind of beverage tasting for a while, and it turns out there’s a cidery within easy biking distance from our house!

The end result? We weren’t that into it. There’s a rather wide variety of flavors and experiences here, just as there is with wine and beer, but none of them left us wanting more. I guess we’re not cider people.

#96: Becky – Jenson Family Photo Re-Creations

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

In the spirit of Recreating the Awkwardness, Becky helped her family stage some recreations of childhood photos at the 2013 Jenson reunion, with the goal of showing them off at this year’s reunion. It was a wild success; even the youngest generation had fun identifying which of the kids in the old photos was their mom or dad.

Perhaps there’ll be more? Time will tell.

#85: Attend an event at the Woodburn Dragstrip

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

For Will’s 12th day of Christmas, he got a day at the races! Technically it was supposed to be a vintage car show, but this was much more exciting and he decided it would be a better thing to do.


The day was very hot, so we made sure to bring some shade with us. Will picked up a toy dragster with his allowance money!


We even managed to see Becky’s uncle Don racing his champion motorcycle, and Don’s son Casey in a giant dragster!



Afterward, just to round out the day (and cool off), we went to a movie. Merry Christmas, Will!

Treehouse Visit

Becky’s sister Sarah was in town from Wisconsin for a couple of weeks, and we had a last-minute cancellation at our beach house, so those two decided to have a sister-and-older-cousin trip to Neskowin! They played in the water and at a giant playground, made fascinators and origami projects, and everyone got sunburns. There was even a (failed) attempt to circumnavigate Proposal Rock, and the six of them almost got swept out to sea.

There was lots of cousin bonding, and the two sisters got some quality time, too!

#91: Ben – Drive a Lamborghini

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

For my birthday this year, my lovely wife got me a Lamborghini Gallardo. Well, technically it was just driving three laps around a track in one, but for those three laps, it was mine. We also surprised Will with a slightly belated birthday present of his own: a lap around the track with an expert driver!


How was it? Easy. Seriously, the car is designed to behave like a videogame car; it just does what you tell it, and it doesn’t even feel like it was hard to take that corner at 80.

Will and I both emerged from this experience with big grins on our faces, and it’s an experience that will never be forgotten.

#90: Ben – Book a Speaking Gig (Cascadiafest)

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Earlier this year, I wrote a talk about chat software, distributed teams, chat robots, and company culture. I sent it out to a few conferences, and was accepted at two of them: Joy of Coding in Rotterdam, and CascadiaFest in northwest Washington.

CascadiaFest is kind of a big deal. Several luminaries of the Javascript and web-development community were in attendance, and the speakers were all really top-notch. The setting helped; this year they held it at the gorgeous Semiahmoo Lodge in Blaine, which is nearly a stone’s throw from Canada.

Unique in our experience, this conference really took care of the attendees’ families. There was on-site child care for the little ones (though ours were with the Swanks), and a full SO track for adult co-travelers. Becky took full advantage, and made some new friends while walking around Bellingham and tasting wine.

Not only did people laugh at my jokes while I was on stage, they found me afterwards and told me how much they liked it. I had some really great conversations about culture, and it was clear people were really thinking about it. I even heard from several people afterwards (including people at HBO, Walmart Labs, and NBC News) who actually went and did something because of what I said. That’s a really great feeling.

This conference was really great. Everybody involved, from the organizers to the attendees, were fun to talk to and a blast to hang out with. I’ll be keeping an eye on this conference next year.

Washougal 4th of July

This year, Ken and Dorothy moved into the house in Washougal, and since they now have about 10 acres to play with, they offered to host a 4th-of-July gathering. The local Jensons all showed up, along with some DePeels and Swensons and Straubs.

Kevin and Erika also constructed a 50-foot-long slip-and-slide on the hillside, but 50 feet wasn’t always long enough.

The kids all had a blast running around together, and the grownups all had a good time too.