Travel Bucket List

As I wrote about in this Good Things list I have done a lot of traveling. Being in the military can do that for you. But I still have a few places to go and things I want to do:

  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Visit those last two states on my list: North Dakota and Mississippi
  • Explore the Florida Keys
  • Vacation on Mackinac Island, Michigan
  • Take a ship across the Atlantic and explore the Lake District in England. I want to visit the places of Beatrix Potter, Agatha Christie and Jane Austen. (Susan Branch’s book “A Fine Romance”, that is what I want!)

I am pretty hopeful about the first four. (I was planning to go to Mackinac Island fall of 2001 but 9/11 changed my plans.) Not as confident about the last one. I have a hard time picturing myself driving on the wrong side of the road and navigating all around England on tiny cart tracks. Maybe I could do a tour of some sort?

It feels good to still have dreams of adventure and to know that my traveling days aren’t behind me, yet. When they are I will have some glorious memories to keep me company.

The less traveled road.

Good Things Thursday: Travel Edition (And an early Photo Friday post!)

Our spring break trip to Santa fe was pretty low key. In truth we slept a lot. My son was in a growth spurt, spouse had a cold and I was my normal hormonally unstable self. We went to bed early and got up late most days. Halfway through the trip I realized I was okay with a trip that involved a lot of resting, especially since I had been to Santa Fe before. I thought about all the traveling and wonderful adventures I have had in the past and how it would make a great “Good Things” travel edition list. And then I decided it really need a few photos and it was so hard to narrow down so it is also like a Photo Friday post. So here we go:

  • I have been to 48 of our 50 states. Only North Dakota and Mississippi left.
  • Countries: Canada, South Korea, Oman, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, England, Egypt and of course the United States. ( I decided not to count airports in Ireland, Spain and Japan.)
Saudia Arabia, 2002

  • I have eaten lobster and blueberry pie in Maine, she-crab soup in Baltimore, deep dish pizza in Chicago and steaks cooked over an open wood fire in the south of France.
  • I have been white water rafting, sky diving and zip lining.
Hard to believe I am free-falling in this shot!

From my first trip to Santa Fe, 1997.
  • I drove the entire Going-to-the-Sun Road through Glacier National Park one fourth of July weekend. In a convertible with the top down and the heat on no less.
  • I have seen Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Yosemite National Park and “Old Faithful” erupt at Yellowstone.
Mt. Rushmore, 1995
  • Let’s not forget the sequoias and giant redwood trees in California
  • I’ve dipped a toe in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Lake Ontario.
This would be the Pacific Ocean
  • I have been to professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey games and a few Nascar races.
  • I have been to a Broadway show in NYC (Rent).
  • I have ridden the Polar Express to the “North Pole”.
  • I have strolled through the Tate Modern in London, the Georgia O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe, the recreated home of Zane Grey and the CM Russell museum in Great Falls.
  • I have ridden the rides at Disney Land, Disney World, Worlds of Fun (Kansas City) and Hershey Park.
Disney Land for my birthday, 2015
  • I spent Christmas in England one year.
  • I’ve ridden Amtrak from Chicago to Tucson.
  • I have been to the DMZ (de-militarized zone) between North and South Korea (Panmunjom) and even into some of the tunnels dug during the war. (Those guys were short!)
  • I have seen the pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt.
The Sphinx seems kind of tiny next to the Pyramids.
  • I have been to the site of the western most battle of the Civil War, Picacho Peak, AZ.
I had no idea the Civil War was fought this far west!

This list is not all inclusive, more of a highlights reel. I still have a few places I want to visit and things I want to do. But I will save that for another post.

Keep your focus!

Santa Fe (Photo Friday)

For Spring Break most people go looking for warmth after a long, cold winter. Not me of course. I go looking for one last blast of cool before settling into a desert summer. This year we went to Santa Fe and it was chilly and sometimes sunny and sometimes spritzy with rain. I loved it.

I don’t think a giant metal dog needs any words!

Veteran’s cemetery.
if you looked in the other direction there was blue sky
During our hike slightly up in the mountains we had thunder, sunshine and light snow, at one point all at the same time! Crazy wonderful.

It was a very laid back vacation with not much planned but we did go see Meow-Wolf. I have to say it was quite the unique experience and despite the crowds I am glad we went.

From the much hyped Meow-Wolf
Meow – Wolf
Meow -Wolf

Keep your focus!

Flash Fiction (Fire)

This week’s prompt from Carrot Ranch immediately made me think of a campfire. My favorite time of year to go camping is in the fall. I suppose this is rather a riff on a “Good Things” post. I closed my eyes and imagined my family sitting around a campfire up at Aspen Campground on the Mogollon Rim. (Alas, the photo is actually from a spring trip to the Grand Canyon, the best I could do.)

Autumn Camping Joys

Crisp air

Achingly blue skies

Trees full of red and yellow leaves

Crunching leaves underfoot

Legs pleasantly aching after a long hike

Sizzling hot dogs over the fire

Laughter as yet another marshmallow bursts into flame

Smoke scented air drifting up

Hands stretched toward the warmth

Darkness falling

Stars emerging

Ghosts stories making you glance over your shoulder

Crackling logs

Steaming mugs of tea and cocoa

Sparks snapping

That drying leaves smell

Bursts of flames from pinecones

Snuggles under a fleece throw 

The hooting of an owl

 Moonlight shadows

Feeling the joy of togetherness under a vast sky

Contentment

Photo Friday

I am very thankful we went to Yosemite last year.  Who knows what the future holds for such a beautiful park in such a fire endangered area.  Here are some photos from last year. I tried to include snow and water to help cool things off.  Seems it is overly hot in many places.  We are running a good 5 to 10 degrees above average these days which is keeping me rather grumpy.  I try and swim most evenings after the shade has creeped over the pool and the air temperature is around 104° and the water temperature 92°.  I feel like I should just take a bar of soap with me and have a bath after my swim 🙂 . At least the water feels good on my “frozen shoulder”.

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A little water.

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A little snow.

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A little snow and water.

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Do you see those crazy people, I mean climbers clinging to Half Dome?

Keep Your Focus!

Photo Friday: July

I took a bit of a sabbatical from the blog in July but that doesn’t mean I didn’t take any photos.  So without further ado…

 

4th of July, fireworks on base and red, white and blue glow sticks a big hit.

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Camping in the White Mountains, wonderfully cool among the aspens.

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This is pretty much what the sky looked like the whole week we were there: patches of blue surrounded by white clouds, dark clouds and rain falling somewhere.  The rain wasn’t continuous but it was fairly plentiful.  Sadly campfires weren’t allowed which seemed rather silly with all the rain.

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An easy summer fun project:  graham cracker houses with waffle cone trees. The key is to make the powdered sugar icing (ie glue) super thick.

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We finished the month apple and peach picking in Willcox at Apple Annie’s. It was meltingly hot and we were happy to come home and jump in the pool.

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How cute is “Sweet Bippy” ?

 

 

Keep your focus!

Photo Friday

This week the photos are from Center Islands, Toronto Canada.

We start with boats… because islands need boats.

I was worried we were going to be attacked by pirates 🙂

Where there are boats there must be a lighthouse.

Switching gears, I learned something new:

Babe Ruth his his first professional home run here (albeit in the minor leagues).

I thought this looked rather like a jigsaw puzzle picture.

 

Keep Your Focus!

 

Photo Friday

How about some flower pictures taken in Toronto?  Why not, they make me happy and I hope they make you happy too.

A field of yellow flowers and my current desktop photo. (Center Islands)

 

“I am ready for my closeup…”

 

Me too! From the garden at Casa Loma.

 

Irises from Casa Loma.

 

Keep Your Focus!

Photo Friday

Since I took over 300 photos in Toronto I figure I am set for the summer photo posts. I took only my little Olympus Stylus SH-50 Camera, I knew I wasn’t going to feel like lugging around my DSLR everywhere. I missed having my “real camera” a few times but for the most part my Olympus takes pretty good pictures.  I mostly use the auto setting or some of the scene settings.  Super macro is good for flowers.  I did have some issues with the auto focus but shutting the camera off and back on fixed the problem.

Since Ripley’s Aquarium was my my favorite and where I took the most cool photos I have decided to start there.

Fishes at an aquarium!

Any guesses?  Jellyfish lit with a special light.

Yikes!

A frog fish. Ripley did not make this up. 

So many sharks they were coming out of the ground 🙂

 

Keep Your Focus!

The Week in Review 6/13/18

I am back from our vacation in Toronto, Canada and I am exhausted. Now I am surrounded by stacks of laundry and keeping an eye on Hurricane Bud.  How exactly does one prepare for a hurricane in the desert?  Anyway here are some of the highlights of the trip.

Favorite Food: Tim Horton’s maple glazed donut. I always thought people were crazy being all excited about how we have In-n-Out Burgers but now I get it.  That is how I feel about Tim Horton’s!

Favorite Place:  Ripley’s Aquarium.  We did a lot in Toronto (CN Tower, Bluejays game, Casa Loma (the castle), Center Islands, Hockey Hall of Fame, St. Lawrence Market as well as a trip to Niagara Falls) and the aquarium was the most impressive.  When I saw the name “Ripley’s”  I was afraid it was going to be full of three headed fish but even though it was “that Ripley” it was a normal aquarium.  A really cool, large, fantastic aquarium.

Yup, sharks swim right by your head!

The stereotype is true:  Everyone in Canada was very friendly, crazy polite and super helpful.  Not one surly waitress or impatient cashier. People held doors, cars waited to make right hand turns while we were in the crosswalk and every time my husband screwed up the credit card reader (which was every time he used it) they just laughed and reset it and helped him out. Our condo had this weird (to us) key fob thing that you used to get in the outer lobby door and to use the elevator.  We had an access code to get us in the first time (the key was in the unlocked condo) and that was supposed to magically work the elevator to our floor.  Only a bunch of people were going in and they held the door for us so when we got in the elevator we could not get to our floor.  But a guy in the elevator was going to the floor beneath ours and took us up the one flight of stairs and unlocked the fire door for us.  How nice was that?

The Journey To and From:  Surprisingly smooth.  No delays, no turbulence, no lost luggage.  The only issues we had were with technology.  Passport readers never worked easily for us and when we checked in for our return trip our luggage tags printed but not our boarding passes.  But in typical Canadian style an agent was right there and whisked us over to a computer terminal and got us all set.  I was surprised at how computerized the Customs and Immigration process was and breathed a sigh of relief when we passed through after all the problems we had with the machine reading our passport barcodes (coming and going, sheesh).

The Kindness of Neighbors:  As bad luck will happen our hot water heater had a valve fail from corrosion (we have very hard water here) and spewed three inches of water into the garage.  Our neighbor leaving for work at 6:15a.m. noticed the water coming out under the garage door and shut the water off at the main valve.  He then called his friend who he knew worked with my husband.  From there three of my husband’s co-workers/friends (including the guy who was checking on the pool for us while we were gone) came over and cleared out the garage, set up some floor driers, contacted the hot water heater guy and sent him a picture of the corroded valve so he could order a new one.  We still don’t have hot water but the garage dried out nicely (it helped that is has been 105° everyday) and there is no sign of mildew or even a smell.  Whew!

I miss you my friend.

 

And how is your summer going?