Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta. developer.okta.com

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10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Raible Road Trip #70: To Jekyll Island and Back

My Dad's 70th birthday was January 16, 2015. Years ago, we started talking about celebrating this event and suggested we go somewhere warm. Trish and I proposed Hawaii, Mexico, or even Cuba. My Dad had his own idea: he wanted to go to Jekyll Island, Georgia. He spent a few high school years in Brunswick, GA and had fond memories of the place and weather. He also wanted to drive there, because road trips are awesome. At least they are in my family. We've done many family road trips over the years; the last one was in July.

One of the great joys in owning a VW Vanagon Westfalia is having the ability to sleep anywhere. Home is where your van is. We did a bunch of van repairs and upgrades last fall: rebuilt the transmission, added modern headlights, installed a Truck Fridge and a Propex heater. It was finally in tip-top shape for winter camping (or a road trip), so I suggested to my parents that we drive it to Georgia, via New Orleans. They agreed and we all smiled with thoughts of visiting the Big Easy. We'd never been.

Sunrise on the first day of Raible Road Trip #70 My parents flew to Denver a few days before we started. Our journey began early Sunday morning, January 10th. We left Denver around 6am and I spent the first couple hours driving in the dark, eastbound on I-70. Within the first hundred miles, the van's odometer quit working, so we had to rely on the gas gauge to know when to fill up. For anyone that's owned a vanagon, you'll know their gas gauges are fairly unreliable. Tom Hanks even talked about this on the David Letterman show.

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Posted in General at Feb 04 2016, 10:43:09 AM MST Add a Comment

Life Update: The Bus Project, New Gigs, New House and More

I've written a few Life Update blog posts in the past and it seems appropriate to write another one today. A lot has happened since I wrote about our trip to Syncro Solstice 2015 in Moab. First of all, let's talk about the most exciting one: The Bus Project.

The Bus Project
The last time I wrote about The Bus, it'd just arrived at Sewfine to have the interior installed. From the get-go, I knew this was going to be a good experience. I've been talking with the owners (Carol and Mike) for years about the project. Seeing the knowledge they had about VWs and knowing it was in good hands brought a sense of calmness over me. They estimated it'd take 4-8 weeks to finish and it ended up taking 12. I'm proud to say it left Sewfine yesterday with a completed interior.

Love the color scheme with chrome accents The cockpit

In mid-May, we took The Bus to its first show: VWs on the Green in Littleton. Sewfine had completed the driver's seat and ragtop. I got license plates and insurance and was planning on driving it to the show. However, Mike pointed out that the engine compartment wasn't sealed and the engine might get really hot on the 10-mile drive (because it's an air-cooled engine). I agreed to trailer it instead and rented a car hauler from U-Haul.

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Posted in The Bus at Jul 08 2015, 10:14:56 PM MDT 1 Comment

The Scenic Way to Santa Fe

After having a successful run at ski season with our VW Syncro, Trish and I figured we'd see how it performed in the summer. We took it 4x4ing in Moab, rafting in Dinosaur National Monument and camping for Father's Day Weekend. It was a trusty steed for our kids, dogs, skis and raft. Earlier this month, we planned a week-long road trip to Santa Fe to see one of my old college roommates. Because of the holiday weekend, it turned into a 10-day road trip. We left Denver in style on the morning of the 4th.

Happy 4th from our Red, White and Blues!

The motorcycle on the back didn't seem to slow us down much. We drove from Denver to Winter Park, taking the long way over Squaw Pass to avoid traffic.

The Scenic Route over Squaw Pass Colorado High Country

When we arrived at our Ski Shack, the engine was making a loud knocking sound. We dismissed it as a random occurrence. When I drove to the gas station 45 minutes later, the knocking was loud enough that heads turned when I drove past. After fueling up, I started the van and began driving back to our condo. The engine sputtered, the tires screeched and then the engine died. I pulled to the side, conveniently still in the gas station's parking lot. The engine would no longer turn over.

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Posted in General at Jul 27 2014, 11:56:52 AM MDT 2 Comments

The Syncro Rescue Road Trip

Last Thursday, Trish and I met in Boise, Idaho to begin our Syncro Rescue Road Trip. You might remember we bought a ski bus a couple months ago. After Devoxx and Thanksgiving, we finally had time to pick up our new rig. We rented a car from Boise and drove to Bruce's (the owner) house near Sun Valley. We arrived at Bruce's house, met his family and were introduced to our new Volkswagen. We spent the next hour learning about its engine, suspension, beds, captains (swivel) seats, propane system, RV hookups, fridge, stove and roof tent. It was impressive and I couldn't wait to drive it!

Looking back, after reading all the receipts, it's obvious that Bruce did great things for this vehicle. When he bought it in 2004, he worked with Small Car to convert the engine to a 3.3L Subaru SVX. He also installed a 2" lift kit, disc brakes, and better gearing. It was a cool car before Bruce bought it; he turned it into a mean machine. I thought it'd be small like my '66, but it's more like a tank, that you have to crawl into. We like it more every time we drive it.

After spending the night in their cozy guest bed, we enjoyed some good coffee and got on the road.

Let the VW adventures begin!

I was immediately impressed with the Syncro's acceleration. [Read More]

Posted in The Bus at Dec 10 2013, 11:47:46 PM MST Add a Comment

Summer Vacation 2012 in Montana and Maui

I started writing about my summer vacations in Montana as soon as this blog gave me an opportunity: July 2003. In July 2004, I didn't travel to the cabin for the 4th, but I did in 2005. Then, 5 years ago, I started writing longer blog posts about our trips. 2008 was Raible Road Trip #12. In 2009, I spent a whole month in Montana. In 2010, I visited after my parents moved there full-time. Last year, I took Trish for the first time.

I don't know what Raible Road Trip number this year's trip was, but I'm going to go ahead and assume #17. This year wasn't exactly a vacation for me. It was what I like to call a workation. I tried to take the whole month off, but my current client needed my services. As a compromise, they agreed to let me work 20 hours per week during July. While I didn't get a chance to fully unplug, I did enjoy the reduced workload and time to spend with friends and family. And the views from The Cabin and Sugar Beach weren't bad either. ;)

Below is our trip itinerary in condensed form, complete with photos from my incredibly talented fiancé.

We embarked on our drive to Montana on June 30th, stopped for fireworks in Wyoming and spent the night in Yellowstone park. Arrived at the cabin, got to sleep in the new house for the first time, built a cabin float, drove it in the parade, went boating at Holland Lake, played golf. Journeyed to West Glacier to celebrate Dr. Barton's PhD at his sister's house. Rafted the Middlefork of the Flathead all weekend. Played some more golf and went waterskiing.

Abbie at The Cabin My Dad Happy 4th! Raible Homestead in the Swan Valley Parade
Holland Lake Patio The Girls at Double Arrow Hard to believe I caused this guy to move to Montana in 1997 Holland Lake Sunset Soy Fields in Montana
→ Trish's Montana Summer 2012 Album

On July 14th, we flew to Maui and continued to explore. Our good friend's parents have a timeshare on Sugar Beach and got us a screaming deal on lodging. We had beachfront accommodations with a pool, hot tub and sauna. We played golf on my birthday (July 16th). Visited the Old Lahaina Luau, Maui Aquarium and Coconut Festival at Grand Wailea. Drove to the summit of Haleakala. Sipped cold handcrafted ales while watched the kids boogie board. Embarked on a sunset cruise, hiked in Iao Valley, did some horseback riding along the beach, sea kayaked and snorkeled with sea turtles. Savored Shawn's excellent cooking. Flew back to Missoula (Montana), slept for 6 hours and drove 12.5 hours back to Denver on July 27th.

Api, Makao and Keaka. My Hawaiin name is Pualani I'm going to call him Honu! Abbie with the Stingray Wahoo! We did it!
Sunset sail from a catamaran in Maui. Epic! Where we stayed for 2 weeks! Epic Maui Ride Kayaking with Turtles
→ Trish's Maui Summer 2012 Album

Mahalo Montana and Maui. Thank you to our awesome friends: Mom, Dad, Owen, Jason, Ryan and Shawn. It was an incredible adventure.

Posted in General at Aug 01 2012, 09:30:27 AM MDT Add a Comment

My Summer Vacation in Montana

As an adult, I've often reflected upon my childhood and one of my favorite times of the year: Summer Vacation. The feeling that fills your mind and body on that last hour of school before summer break is simply awesome. I don't know when I began longing for that feeling again, but I'm pleased to say I enjoyed it again this year. I took an entire month off from "working" and enjoyed a proper summer vacation at my family's cabin in Montana.

My plan to take a month off began formulating years ago when we'd drive to the cabin for the 4th and only spend a few days before driving back. The trip was never long enough.

I started talking about spending all of July at The Cabin a couple years ago, but never committed to it. My opportunity finally came last December when Julie asked me if she could take the kids to Florida for 3 weeks for Christmas. I quickly realized that, as a kid, 3 weeks in Florida was an awesome opportunity and agreed to give up my time with them. However, I also realized I could get some negotiating power from the agreement and said "only if I can take them to the cabin for 3 weeks next summer".

For regular readers, you know the rest of the story. My Dad flew to Denver for Father's Day Weekend, stayed the following week and then we embarked on our journey to Montana on Monday, June 29th. The first week was great and we had tons of fun during the rest of July. Here's a list of some highlights:

  • Running a 5K while Abbie and Jack ran the 1 mile "fun run" with my Mom. It was Abbie's first race and she got 1st place with a time of 11:05.
    Ready for the Celebrate the Swan Race Abbie wins! 1 Mile in 11:05.
  • Hiking to Holland Falls.
    Hike to Holland Falls Holland Falls Mom at Holland Falls
    Feeding the Chipmunk Holland Falls View of the Missions from Holland Falls
  • Picking Huckleberries.
  • Greeting my sister after she rode her motorcycle for 13 hours in the rain.
  • Spending my birthday at Big Sky Waterslides, something I used to do every year for my birthday.
  • Golfing with my family in Columbia Falls.
    Golfing at Meadow Lake Golf Course Meadow Lake Golf Course
  • Building a set of bunkbeds for the kids.
    Helping with Bunkbeds Making Bunkbeds
  • Rides on "Rocket" (4 wheeler) with the kids, especially when Jack would say "go as fast as Rocket can go".
  • Golfing with my good friend Owen in Seeley Lake.
    Owen has mad golfing skillz
  • Prepping and pouring the floor on the New Cabin.
    Tamping the Floor Floor ready for Cement Time to Pour the Floor
    Floor Pouring Crew Floor Pouring Crew Floor Finished!
  • Fishing with my Dad in "Joe's Jungle" and installing a new window in the cabin afterward.
    New Window Best. Fit. Yet.
  • Teaching Abbie and Jack how to shoot a gun (a .22 pistol) for the first time.
  • Getting my next gig.
  • Traveling to Idaho for Clint and Autumn's Wedding Reception (they got married last December in Costa Rica).
    Happy Couple and Family Howdy Horseshoes Beautiful
  • Seeing Abbie get all googly-eyed over an older boy in Idaho.
    Water Fight! Abbie, Devon and Jared
  • Staying up to watch the sunrise in Idaho.
  • Milling D Logs for the kids' Treehouse.
    D Log Maker D Logs for the Treehouse D Logs on Treehouse
  • Making it from The Cabin to Denver in 13 hours with only one speeding ticket.

More than anything, it was great to spend so much time with my parents and children. The Cabin is a very special place to me and I'm proud I can take my city-slicker kids to let them experience the outdoors and live like I did growing up. In the city, they always have an adult nearby and are never left on their own for long. They wear helmets when they ride their bikes in the alley, even though they have training wheels on and couldn't fall over if they tried.

In Montana, the rules all change.

In Montana, the adults worked on the New Cabin and the kids were left to occupy themselves. Their imaginations ran wild and they played with each other for hours every day. They made me see and remember one of my favorite things about childhood - infinite possibilities. As I kid, I was a dreamer and used to think that anything was possible in the world (flying, teleporting, you name it). I'm happy to see that Abbie and Jack believe that anything is possible too.

A week ago, I returned to Denver after driving almost 4000 miles in 30 days. I feel refreshed after so much time off. I've got my goals and ambitions in line for the rest of the year and I'm looking forward to writing more, smiling more and doing great things for my new client. Over the next several months, I'll continue to work with GWT and even have plans to talk at The Rich Web Experience in December. When I travel for work, I'll be in Boston and Cupertino. Hopefully I'll see some of you along the way.

As usual, you can see all my pictures from the past few weeks in my Montana 2009: Weeks 2-4 set on Flickr.

Posted in General at Aug 01 2009, 11:38:40 AM MDT 1 Comment

Raible Road Trip #13 Trip Report

Mount Rushmore Last Monday morning, my Dad, Abbie, Jack and I loaded up our rig and embarked upon Raible Road Trip #13. We rolled through Custer, South Dakota around 4:30 in the afternoon and arrived at Mount Rushmore just after 5. After gawking at Rushmore, we took a meandering route through 1-car tunnels and Custer State Park. We saw a plethora of bison, some antelope and lots of nice campsites.

Buffalo in Custer State Park Antelope in Custer State Park Campsite near Custer

On Tuesday, we woke up early and began the 9-hour drive to Fairmont Hot Springs. We pulled in right around 5 and had a blast in the pool and on the water slide. When we got there, we discovered that the pools were open 24 hours. Abbie and I were still up when my Dad and Jack fell asleep, so we snuck out and played in the pool by the fading light of the 10:00 sunset.

Fairmont Playground Kids loved the slide

On Wednesday, we arrived at The Cabin around 5 after a brief stop in Missoula to get some clown costumes (for the parade) and have some of the best ice cream in the world (according to Jack). Abbie learned how to chop wood and Jack got to ride on all the tractors. My Mom arrived from Oregon later that night.

Ha yah! Learned how to chop wood for the first time Driving the Ford

Thursday and Friday, we worked on The New Cabin and got ready for the Swan Valley 4th of July Parade. While camping in Custer, Abbie and I decided to be clowns for the parade and we were fortunate enough to find costumes in Missoula. My Mom had to drastically shrink Abbie's to fit, but her hard work paid off when Abbie won 1st Place among all the walkers. She was sooo cute as a little clown and I was a proud Dad for pulling off another fun parade.

Abbie the Clown Clown Family

After the parade, we ate some huckleberry ice cream and watched the O-Mok-See for a couple hours. Then we joined up with my friend Owen and his family and enjoyed an afternoon boating on Holland Lake. We closed the night watching fireworks and got to bed really late.

Since we've been here, we've seen a couple bears (while riding the 4-wheeler with each kid) and my Mom saw a mountain lion walk in front of the cabin this morning. The mosquitos are vicious, but the weather is beautiful. For more pictures from the last week, see my Montana 2009 - Week 1 set on Flickr.

Posted in General at Jul 05 2009, 01:30:17 PM MDT 2 Comments

Raible Road Trip #13

Another year has passed and it's time for the annual trek to The Cabin for the 4th of July. Last year, we took the route through Yellowstone. This year, we're going to shake things up a bit and head through Mount Rushmore.

One of the highlights of this trip is sure to be Fairmont Hot Springs. We're staying their tomorrow night and I'm sure Abbie and Jack will love it.

After 3 weeks at The Cabin, we'll be heading to Clint and Autumn's wedding reception in Idaho. Having so much time off from work is sure to be strange, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.

Happy 4th everyone!

Posted in General at Jun 29 2009, 06:46:04 AM MDT 1 Comment

Raible Road Trip #12 Vacation Report

Grand Tetons I'm happy to report that the kids and I made it home safely last night after a heckuva Road Trip. We were gone for a total of 8 days and we drove for 4 of those. Here's some stats from Snow White:

  • 43 Hours
  • 2248.3 Miles
  • 150.9 Gallons of Gas
  • 14.9 AVG MPG
  • 52 AVG MPH

Of course, these stats include day-to-day driving while in Montana.

Driving to Montana
We left early on Saturday morning, waking up at 4:30 and were on the road around 5. This was brutal considering I went to bed 4 hours earlier the night before. My Dad and I took turns driving and tried to listen to an audiobook (Spook Country) along the way. However, whenever one person wasn't driving, they fell asleep so the whole idea somewhat failed.

We arrived in Yellowstone around 5PM and checked into our campground. The ranger told me there were 5 grizzlies in the campsite and that we should pack up our food and put small pets in cars for the night. Of course, I couldn't wait to tell this to Abbie, who is always scared that bears will attack us when camping. I finally calmed her fears by telling her I wrestled a bear once when I was a kid and won pretty easily. After setting up camp, Abbie took a swim in the "freezing cold" Yellowstone Lake and we ate dinner and climbed into our tent shortly after.

This is freezing! Jack at Yellowstone Lake Jack and Baba

On Sunday, we woke up and made it out of our campsite by 7:30. We drove to Old Faithful, enjoyed an eruption and proceeded to have a nice breakfast at The Old Faithful Inn. After checking out some more geysers, we made it out of the park around 11. We stopped briefly in Bozeman to see an old friend, hit Clearwater Junction and Lucky's (for huckleberry milkshakes) around 6, and made it to The Cabin just before dark.

Gooey Geyser! Sunset Lake Living on the Edge

At The Cabin
The few days we spent at The Cabin and in the Swan Valley were a lot of fun. I got to drive the family Excavator with both kids on my lap. Jack was operating the bucket while Abbie was operating the swivel of the cab. I took my mountain bike, so I got to ride some old trails I used to ride all the time as a kid. Not only were there beautiful views on the trails, but I also got to experience quite a wreck that sent me head-first into some rocks and bushes. It was the first time I've wrecked in a while where I thought to myself "that was fast and hard enough to break some bones". Luckily, all I received were a number of scratches and bruises.

Hayah! View of the Swans from Rumble Creek Road The Missions from Cooney Tower

Swan Range from Cooney Tower The Back Road Bike Wreck on The Big Hill

On Thursday, we took my sister to the train station in Whitefish. We left early enough for my dad and I to get in some golfing at Meadow Lake Golf Course and the kids to hit Big Sky Waterslides. Apparently, they didn't have a height requirement because they were able to go on all the slides.

On the 4th, we finished Abbie's Princess float in the early morning, took a quick sauna and headed down to the Swan Valley Parade. We'd been talking about the parade and Abbie's float for several weeks, so I was kinda nervous that I might mess it up. Not only did everything go great, but there were several hundred folks that clapped when we drove by and commented on what a beautiful princess Abbie was.

Final Preparations The Parade Princess Condon Parade

After the parade and drinking some good ol' Busch Light from the "Beer Garden", we headed to Holland Lake for a swim and canoeing. We drove back home in time to play a game of horseshoes and get the fireworks setup for the evening. We had a good fireworks show (with yours truly in charge) and enjoyed lots of laughs with old friends.

New Horsehoe Pit The Cabin The Cabin

Mimi and Jack The Parents Funny Faces

The Drive Home
As usual, the drive home was the longest portion of the trip. The first day, we left the cabin around 11 and pulled into Billings around 5. The kids (and dog) did pretty good as we only needed to stop once. The shorter first day turned out to be a good idea since the kids like hotels so much. Yesterday, we left Billings around 9:30 and cruised along mightily until we hit the Colorado border. There, traffic came to a standstill and we suffered through stop-and-go the rest of the way home. After 9 hours, we pulled into my driveway, exhausted.

I don't believe we'll be driving next year. The Road Trip to The Cabin is something that should only be done every couple years. Snow White continues to be an awesome car. We towed a sawmill (on a trailer) to The Cabin and didn't even feel the load. With DVD screens in the back of both front-seats, it was an excellent road-trip vehicle for the kids. Also, it's smooth suspension made for an enjoyable experience for everyone (we drove Julie's Honda Odyssey one year and Abbie kept getting sick from the DVD screen bouncing). The more I drive it (esp. skiing, camping and on road trips), the happier I am with the purchase.

For more photos from the trip, please see Raible Road Trip #12 on Flickr.

Posted in General at Jul 07 2008, 06:32:43 PM MDT 1 Comment

Raible Road Trip #12

Raible Road Trip #12 It's hard to believe it's been a little over a year and a half since Raible Road Trip #11. That's far too long ago and I'm pumped that tomorrow marks the beginning of Raible Road Trip #12.

My dad flew in last night and we've been scrambling for most of the day getting ready for our early morning departure tomorrow. I'll be waking up in about 4 hours, stuffing the (hopefully) still-sleeping kids in the car and we'll be off to Big Sky Country. We expect to be driving for 12 hours tomorrow. Our destination is Grant Village on Yellowstone Lake.

After a nice night on camping on the lake, we'll be driving through Yellowstone, checking out some gooey geysers and then driving through Montana to The Cabin. I'll be off the grid for a week and I couldn't be happier.

Happy 4th everyone!

Related: Raible Road Trip #10.

Posted in General at Jun 29 2008, 12:06:42 AM MDT 2 Comments