Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Friends




Monday, December 19, 2011

Where Are We?

Someone should remember where this was taken...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winter Festivals

My pelican prefers grass to snow for the winter. However, Smarter Travel has recently shared some zany winter festivals. This is one of them...

Fire and Ice Winter Fest (Lava Hot Springs, Idaho)

February 3 to 5, 2012
It takes locals extra doses of both fire and ice to shake the winter blues in Lava Hot Springs, where average February temps typically hover in the 20s. And this festival, no doubt, is one shocking remedy. On Saturday tubers brave the cold and race down the Portneuf River in the Polar Bear Float, hoping for the fastest time or most-original-costume prize. Sunday morning brings the Running of the Bulls event. Even in blizzards, contestants strip down to bikinis and furry boots or Speedos and flip-flops for the annual Main Street run. They're rewarded with a soak in the town's mineral hot springs at a steamy 112 degrees. The fire comes in with the mountainside torch parade and chili cook-off.
By car, Lava Hot Springs is two-and-a-half hours from Twin Falls, Idaho, and Salt Lake City, Utah. SkyWest Airlines has connecting service to nearby Pocatello. You'll find lodging deals at the Lava Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce.
I will pass...and stay with my pelican.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

After You Arrive...

Your trip is in full swing. You’ve landed. Maybe you are waiting for your bags or catching the bus to the rental car place. Maybe you are already on your way to your hotel. Now what? 

After you pick up your rental car and head to your hotel, think about leaving. Sounds depressing, right? Not really. Actually, the best time to figure out the fastest and easiest way out of town is on your way in. You can avoid some of the stress or lost time by scoping out the airport as you wait for your bags. How far is it from the car rental counter or return area to the terminal? Does the bus come every 10 minutes or every 30 minutes? Check to see where the nearest gas station is located. Ask for a map at the car rental place that shows how to get back to it.

Maybe you are not renting a car and are taking a bus to the hotel. Check with the front desk at the hotel for the bus schedule so you know how much time it will take to get back to the airport. 

Also, when you check in at your hotel be sure to ask about check-out times and see if you can leave without stopping at the front desk. Ask for a map of restaurants in the area. Then check that against sites like TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon, Yelp, and others.

I always set my clock to the new time zone. That helps me adjust. It also helps to get outside to check where your hotel is in relation to the Metro, the parking garage, etc. 

A friend of mine tells me he takes photos of everything when he first arrives in a new place. Things are new to him and fresh in his mind and he has photos of street signs, buildings, architecture, etc. that he might not think to shoot later on in his visit.

Don’t forget to charge up any electronics when you get to your room. Also, check for the best and safest place to store any valuables. Hopefully you did not bring valuable jewelry, but you still may have something that needs to be stored away. Ask the front desk about room safes or if they have a safe for individual guest access.

I let friends and family know where I will be before I leave home. It’s also a good idea to let them know you have arrived.

Happy Traveling…

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Florence, Italy

While wrapping Christmas reminded me of Florence this past summer.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thanksgiving Visitors

Mika, a husky puppy who needed a cat nap.

And she kept looking for those cats...they just did not want to play with her.

Miso, the Queen...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Snow in the Rockies

Coming in to Denver over the Rockies last Saturday.

Ski season is coming to the Rockies.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The USS Iowa

The USS Iowa, a World War II-era battleship, whose speed, armor and 16-inch guns made its name as "The Big Stick" of the U.S. Navy, began the first leg of its final mission Thursday, departing a mothball mooring in Suisun Bay, California.

Representing the peak of naval military power in an era from Franklin Roosevelt to George H.W. Bush, the Iowa was nudged by tugs from its decade-long spot amid the Navy's fleet of retired ships.
The Iowa, the lead ship of its class of the biggest, fastest and most powerful battleships ever to sail, is also the last battleship to find a permanent spot for retirement. Its sister ships are museums: the Missouri, at Pearl Harbor; the Wisconsin, in Norfolk, Va., and the New Jersey, in Camden, N.J. The Navy no longer has battleships in its fleet. This is the world's last battleship's final voyage.  

·         Nine 16-inch, 50-caliber guns, capable of firing shells weighing a ton or more for 20 miles
·         Three, three-gun turrets
·         Its speed, firepower and special angled armor were achievements at the time unmatched by other nations
·         The Iowa was commissioned in February 1943 and deployed to the Atlantic and then the Pacific 
·         President Franklin Roosevelt traveled on it en route to a conference with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin.
·         The Navy installed an elevator and bathtub for Roosevelt, who used a wheelchair. The tub and captain's wardroom where he stayed were the main attractions for the few workers and visitors allowed on board Thursday. This is the only battleship ever equipped with a bathtub.
·         The ship weighs 45,000 tons, is 887 feet long and 108 feet wide. It could travel at up to 38 mph and displaces 38 feet of water, leaving only inches to spare in parts of Thursday's journey.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Travel Gadgets

We all travel with gadgets...some we use, others we don't. Recently I read a post on Budget Travel about some gadgets to take next time you travel.

A mini power strip helps you plug in your phone, laptop, iPod, etc. all in the same place. You will only take up one plug in spot in airports and everything will be plugged in in one spot in your hotel room.

How many travel mugs do you have? Think about packing one of them to keep your sunglasses from getting squashed, holding delicate souvenirs or a place to store extra cash if your hotel room does not have a room safe.

Safety pins double as a multi-functional travel tool. They can be used to clasp zippers of your day pack together to deter thieves, replace a button or zipper pull, hold torn clothing together or hem your skirt. And they take up so little room.

Light weight tote bags work for shopping, picnics, the beach or dirty laundry. Check out greenbaglady.blogspot to get ideas for other uses and perhaps qualify for one.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sleepy Night

This post has nothing to do with travel...unless Myron took a trip and now has to catch up on his sleep.

 Perhaps he is exhausted from writing his latest book. Watch for it soon...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

San Francisco

Last Sunday in San Francisco was the perfect day to ride the cable cars.

Also a great day to shop for flowers at the farmer's market by City Hall.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Traveling With a Smart Phone

A recent Rick Steves travel post indicated that by the end of 2011 half of all American mobile phone users will have a smartphone. Why? They are becoming essential tools for traveling.

Do you use one when you travel? Why or why not?

After all, you could record a video and post it to your Facebook page. You could check in online for your next flight, talk to someone half way around the world connected to Wi-Fi via Skype, or find out how traffic is in San Francisco. Maybe you have the travel ap for the city or country you will be visiting. Guide books are great resources, but your phone is easier to carry.

Need a hotel reservation on short notice? Want to figure out train schedules? Perhaps you want to ask a question in a language you normally do not speak. Need a subway map? Use your smartphone.

Likewise, when in Europe your smartphone is great as a travel tool. It's probably not something you want to use as a phone, however. Calls can be expensive. Talk to your carrier about international plans before you go. That way you will know what your charges will add up to while you are gone.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Airport SecurityTip

Here's a simple tip to make it through the airport security line a little easier. Place everything except your boarding pass and ID in one place in your carry on bag. This means your cell phone, wallet, belt, silver bracelet, keys, etc. You could even place it in a small bag of its own. Then you can grab it and place it in the bin to go through the screening machine.

You will have your act together for security. Others behind you will appreciate it!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Elephant Seals

Along California Highway 1 you find some amazingly huge critters. The Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Colony hangs out along the beaches here. Actually it is called a Rookery and there are as many as 15,000 seals here. From what we could tell, activity is limited to fighting, play fighting, and resting...lots of resting.

Apparently they spend eight to ten months in the ocean diving 1000 to 5000 feet for food. They can stay under for as long as two hours or as short as 15 minutes! They also migrate twice a give birth, breed, molt and rest. Seemed like a lot of resting when we were there.

They are huge, even from a distance. And they do have quite the odor, even from a distance.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Redeeming Your Air Miles

Every now and then people tell me they have problems redeeming their air miles. Since I normally fly Southwest...I do not seem to have that problem. 

This week, I read a post by IdeaWorks. Based on 6,720 booking queries made by IdeaWorks at the websites of 24 frequent flier programs during March and early April 2011, these are their results. They checked on travel dates which spanned June through October 2011; with 20 top routes checked to assess reward seat availability.

The results, showing the percentage of successful award bookings for U.S./Canadian programs and the change from last year's results:
<!--[if !supportLists]-->1.    <!--[endif]-->Southwest - 99.3 percent (No change)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->2.    <!--[endif]-->Air Canada - 82.1 percent (-11.5 points)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->3.    <!--[endif]-->JetBlue - 79.3 percent (New for 2011)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->4.    <!--[endif]-->United - 71.4 percent (+2.8 points)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->5.    <!--[endif]-->Continental - 71.4 percent (No change)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->6.    <!--[endif]-->Alaska - 64.3 percent (-10.7 points)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->7.    <!--[endif]-->American - 62.9 percent (+5 points)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->8.    <!--[endif]-->AirTran - 47.1 percent (-20.8 points)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->9.    <!--[endif]-->Delta - 27.1 percent (+14.2 points)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->10.  <!--[endif]-->US Airways - 25.7 percent (+15 points)

Maybe this will help you when you are redeeming your miles.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hearst Castle

As the Hearst Castle overlooks the Pacific Ocean, guests could swim year round. This indoor pool provided many levels of splendor. Quite an awesome pool...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Best Holiday Days to Travel

Fall is upon us and the holiday season won't be far behind. If you are planning a trip over the Christmas or New Year's holidays, publishes their annual chart of variations in the cost of holiday travel. This year both Christmas and New Year's fall on Sundays.

According to Priceline:
Best travel dates are: Dec. 12, 13, 14, 17, 20, 24, 27, 28, 31
Fair travel dates are: Dec. 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 25, 30, and Jan. 1, 2
Worst travel dates are: Dec. 22, 23, 26, 29

If you are traveling over Thanksgiving, take a look at these dates.
Best travel dates: Nov. 19, 24, 29, 30, Dec. 1, 3
Fair travel dates: Nov. 24
Worst travel dates: Nov. 18, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28

You can get more info at

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Del Mar

Del Mar and horse racing...what's not to love?

This one did win for me...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Miso and Mika

Mika couldn't decide whether to chew on the box or take a nap in it.

Resting after lots of chasing and playing...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hotel Rooms

Frequent travelers know how and what to ask when booking their hotel rooms. Upper floor rooms and away from the elevators are first things to request...if you want a quieter hotel room.

Did you know the quietest part of the floor is midway along a hallway. It's away from the ice and vending machines and laundry facilities. And if you do not want outside noise...stay away from rooms with a view of the pool.

You can always ask for a room on the concierge level. If the hotel is not full, chances are you will get a room there.

Happy Traveling...and sleeping...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Treasure Island buildings

Does this building look familiar to Indiana Jones film fans?

The Treasure Island Administrative building was the Berlin Airport in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Other buildings on the island have appeared in countless movies and television shows.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Treasure Island, San Francisco

Treasure Island's Flea Market is not your average flea market. Held on Treasure Island, connected by a small isthmus to Yerba Buena Island. Constructed in 1936 and 1937 from fill dredged from the bay for the Golden Gate International Exposition, the island is named after the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. He lived in San Francisco for a couple of years.

Color everywhere...

I was a little concerned for the poor I bought some stuff.

More history later...think flying, movies, and the Navy.