My Week in LA, Without Getting Shot At

LA Night View from the Perch

With Disneyland so nearby, you can imagine my initial excitement at being told I was to travel to Los Angeles for a week of work.  I had a healthy respect for (ok, hesitancy towards) the fact that my time would be spent almost exclusively by myself, in downtown LA.  But I can do this. So the week prior to departure I tackled all the usual things: Copied all the needed files to my laptop. Dug out my summer wardrobe - Hey, I’m going to Cali in March! (Post-trip note to self:  Working downtown LA does not require the same outfit selections as visiting a Southern California coastal resort.  More on this below.) Scoped out directions to my destinations. Read my online LA friend’s Facebook update, that week's highlight being her experiencing both an earthquake and gunshots to her car in one day.   Wait... what? Well, I’m pleased to report I survived my week in LA, and am now back home in Western Colorado safe and sound.  It was a fairly eventful trip.  Here are some of the … [Read more...]

Day Trip to Arches National Park

Arches National Park North Window size perspective 2

Just outside of the charming town of Radiator Springs... er... I mean Moab, Utah... sits the majestic Arches National Park.   Being an easy drive away from our home, my family likes to day trip here.  Especially during the Spring months, before that desert climate starts to really heat up those lovely red rocks, and the temperatures effortlessly soar above 100 degrees. Wait...Is This The Real Radiator Springs? I can't help but think of Disney's Cars every time we are in this area.   Here you'll find the Southwest's grand open vistas decorated with red rock formations, which were clearly the inspiration for the movie's setting. This is the REAL Radiator Springs, people!  As proof of my theory, we spotted this on our way there - at the Crescent Junction, turnoff. After posting this to instagram, my Utah outdoor blogger friend Melissa (Adventure Tykes) let me know that Mater is often nearby, too!  Shoot, we missed him.  He musta been out tractor tippin'. Our Day Trip to Arches … [Read more...]

Be a Pampered Castaway on Cocoa Cay

Cocoa Cay Caribbean water

Ever dreamt of being a castaway? How about being a pampered castaway for a day... on a small Caribbean island with a plethora of white sandy beaches, a sea of lounging chairs and hammocks to relax in, scenic nature trails, several water activities and sports to participate in, and a BBQ lunch served at noon? Sound too good to be true...? Well, welcome to Royal Caribbean's Cocoa Cay! Royal Caribbean's Private Island ~ Cocoa Cay Many cruise lines own their own small, private island in the Bahamas, for use as a day stop during their Caribbean cruise itineraries.  Royal Caribbean's is called Cocoa Cay, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who's been there, who did not absolutely love it. Although I posted a less than glowing review of our Royal Caribbean cruise experience overall, our day spent at Cocoa Cay was by far the best part of our trip.  It was absolutely fantastic.  We were there from 9AM - 5PM.  Take a look at some highlights and what to expect. Royal … [Read more...]

Last Minute Holiday Options for the New Year

Bali Coastline

The following is a guest post, in collaboration with one of this blog's partners. Even though a new year is upon us, a large portion of the population will be wishing the festive season lasted just a little bit longer. Sometimes it is nice to have a structured routine again, but being able to rest and relax is almost always the preferred option. Therefore, before you get too down about the prospect of getting back to work, how about booking a last minute holiday to look forward to? Cheaper flights 2014 can be found by leaving it late and you’d be amazed at some of the discount-price travel options available. Here are just a few destination ideas for bargain trips this year. Sun off the coast of Africa Thanks to its geographical location, situated just off the coast of northwest Africa, the Canary Islands provide holidaymakers with yearlong sunshine. An average of high of around 21°C in January and February that rises to nearly 30°C at the peak of summer means this Spanish … [Read more...]

Relax in Colorado’s Hot Spring Pools Year Round

Colorado Hot Springs Pool Glenwood Springs

Not just for après- ski, soaking in one of Colorado's naturally heated, outdoor hot springs pools  can be a relaxing delight.  This is a fun way to spend the day for entire families, young and old alike, even in the wintertime.  Heck, especially in the winter! Pools here are fed by natural hot spring waters, and contain numerous therapeutic minerals.  This is a great place to swim, soak, and relax. Colorado's Hot Spring Pools ~ Types & Locations You'll find a wide range of locations offering "hot spring pools" in Colorado, which can vary in size and available amenities.  Many campgrounds and lodges have their own small hillside soaking tubs. But for a family with kids, we typically head to the full blown, larger pool establishments... complete with lockers, showers, changing rooms, and pool sections of varying temperatures for easily controlling our kids body temperatures during the experiences. The largest pool section is of a moderate temperature, typically 90 … [Read more...]

Disney Magic Mediterranean Cruise – Highlights & Tips

Disney Cruise Line in Mediterranean

Avast, Ahoy, Ay-yi!   Disney Cruise Line sailed back to Europe in 2013 (also 2014)!   To celebrate their wedding anniversary in grand style, my friend author Robert Medina and his wife recently set sail on the Disney Magic to soak in the Mediterranean.   He has now generously put together this overview in breathtaking photos and witty commentary, for me to share with my readers some highlights and tips from a Disney Magic Mediterranean Cruise! Departing from the port in Barcelona, Spain - the Disney Magic was their floating home for the week.  They took in the fantastic sites, sounds, and foods of these European ports of call:  Nice, France; then on to Italy for Naples, Florence, and a grand finale of Rome. I'll let Robert tell you the story from here.  It's a good one...  *o*  (And don't miss the great tips at the end!) Disney Magic Mediterranean Cruise ~ Highlights Greetings. It was an interesting trip to say the least. We began by spending  5 days at Disneyworld before we … [Read more...]

Lost in the Forest: My Journey to the Eastern US

Pittsburg, PA city scape

Last week, I had a work trip that brought me to the forested landscape of the Eastern US.   The lush greenness alone of this region stands in stark contrast to the dry, high mountain desert terrain that I’m used to out West. It’s always so pleasant to see rolling hills covered thickly with trees.  Pretty!   Well, at least that’s the upside.   But there's also a slight downside, for a stranger like me. Pittsburg International Airport Travel I flew in and out of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, with a final destination of Morgantown, West Virginia.   My visit dovetailed with “back to school week” for WVU, I might add, voted biggest party school of the nation.  But that’s a different story. I wasn’t super excited about having a 1 ½ hour road trip added to my travel time, but I will say I was impressed by the Pittsburg International Airport. Huge, wide walkways with clean carpets offer plenty of space to mosey (or rush frantically) to your gate, with no immediate threats of being run … [Read more...]

Road Trip to South Dakota (…Ode to Wyoming)

SD Road Trip Wyoming Mountain

As an adult, I chose to move to a state which housed the majestic Rocky Mountains.  But I still miss my true Midwestern roots in South Dakota from time to time.  So when my now retired South Dakotan parents recently sold their house, in order to move closer to us here in Western Colorado... I knew it was last call for a nostalgic trip to my home state. At its best, this is a grueling journey through "Does this state EVER end?" Wyoming.  With greatly varying degrees of length, depending on things like: The dog's whining, growing to an intolerable level Dad the Driver's caffeinization-to-rest-stop ratio, and Antsy kids restrained in car seats, with escalating senses of frustration and stir craziness ... we could be looking at anywhere from a 9 hour (all time best) to 13 hour journey.  Ugg. I recently wrote about my trepidation to take on this trip alone with my 2 kids (in When Did I Become Such a Road Trip Wuss?).   But thanks in no small part to the encouragement … [Read more...]

What I Would Do in 5 Days in Queensland

Photo courtesy of Australia.com

When was the last time you daydreamed about taking a trip to Australia?  I've got a US passport and I'd be ready at the drop of an Outback hat for a visit to the land Down Under. To enter this exciting #5DaysInQueensland contest, I did a little research. What I Would Do in Five Days in Queensland Would you like to come along on a trip like this? Day 1:  Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef Legendary.  Breathtaking.  And a once in a lifetime experience.  Queensland is home to the Great Barrier Reef.   A water lover and [mid-level] outdoor adventurer... I believe I'd chose snorkeling, over diving. Oh, to swim with a sea turtle!  That's something a mountain girl like me would LOVE to do. Day 2:  4WD Safari through Daintree Rainforest Numerous companies offer guided tours exploring the Daintree Tropical Rainforest area in 4WD vehicles. Needed to cross numerous streams.  Oh, heck ya! Learning a bit of the 'Bama Way (rich Aboriginal culture) and taking in the Wujal Wujal … [Read more...]

When Did I Become Such a Road Trip Wuss?

Road Trip Highway

When you are raised in a rural state, driving long distances doesn't faze you.  It's a given.  And once you reach the age where you are trusted to leave home for the weekend, then the road trip adventures really begin. For a good portion of my life, I was a road trip warrior.  I lived smack dab in the middle of South Dakota.  We were perfectly willing to drive 3 hours one way to go to a Fair, to go snow or water skiing, or just to visit someone.  And then back again, on the same day.  No problem. The possibilities of where we could drive in one day's time were exciting.  (Well, maybe "exciting" is a strong word.  It was the Midwest, after all.)   I felt no reservations whatsoever when making road trip plans.  Hey, let's go wherever we want!  We can drive there! Granted, this was a time back when gas prices were a non-issue.  And before a thrown-from-a-horse injury left me with permanent hip pain.  But let's face it.  At my age, horse injury or no... my body would very likely … [Read more...]