A Nice Chill Summer

A pretty trail. Made me stop and appreciate it’s beauty.

So my summer of ’17 plans are all officially over.  No joke, Boo.  It’s only mid-end July and I am just done.  The boys and myself went to Denver Comic Con ’17 in early July and I had a really fun solo camp out at Curt Gowdy in early June.  I’m kind of sad about this, I’m not gonna lie.
I set a goal to save money this summer so I could get an RV by Oct.  and because I have absolutely no will power I have save $0.  I also have not managed to make a dent in my credit card bill.

Had a great Con ’17 with these two!!

What I have done is work a bunch, hike a bunch, ate at a bunch of new restaurants (gained 10 lbs), drank a bunch of beers, and hang out with a bunch of pretty cool people.  So I mean, I’m living and generally have a pretty good time, but I want some “elsewhere” activities.

Went paddle boating with my main squeeze the other day. So yeah that’s something!

I just need to buckle down and seriously toss both cards and pay them off.  I can’t believe I got myself $11,000 in debt AND gained 10 lbs!!! I’m just so mad at myself.  I feel like I’m losing control, but I’m at my happiest that I can remember being in a long time….So what the problem is??

I guess I’ll spend the rest of my summer pondering this.

I sincerely hope everyone ellse is having a great summer 2017!

The trees in the theater district we’re blue. It was very cool and very unexpected.

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Camp Out!!!!

This weekend I am doing my first ever solo camp out.  I’m at Curt Gowdy State Park.  It is close to home and usually full of camping families so there is a definite element of safety.

I made reservation for a fairly decent spot, SC-95.  It has a direct view of the lake with other camp sites fairly close, but hidden from view by bushy hills.  The only drawback to this spot is that is directly off the road, so all of the F-150’s hauling their water and land toys over the gravel make for a less than serene experience.  As it is my only Con, I’m letting it slide.

My campout will be for 3 nights and the final night I will be jumping over to the Hynd’s Lodge to see my friend get married.

Storms behind me as I head outta dodge!

So I drove up yesterday at 3 pm.  I had packed up my car and just as I was pulling away from my house, the sky opened up and the waters all came down and brought the effing wind and just a touch of hail to keep it interesting…but nevertheless I persisted.

Curt Gowdy is about a 25 minute drive from Cheyenne.  I could tell as soon as I got out of town (the land is almost perfectly flat for miles around outside of Cheyenne so you can easily see up to 50 miles in the distance) that the rain had not yet hit the camp grounds.  I hauled balls over there and made it to my destination full of excitement, adventure, and mostly, CAMP readiness.

Ok, firstly.  The lake was unexpectedly empty.  It was almost late fall empty.  The sky was incredibly overcast, but no rain was here yet so I was pumped to get started setting up Base Camp One.  Tent duty is numero  uno priority.  I had previously been assured by my oldest son, Chase, and my husband, Clay, that I would be perfectly capable of putting this tent up alone.  I would be just fine.  It’s the easiest tent ever. YeahYeahYeah…if there is a way to complicate things, I WILL FIND IT.   s

So I jumped out of my car and tossed the tent bag to the ground and rifled through its contents.  I read the step 1 and step 2’s and I verified the parts and I put the long bendy sticks in the loop holes of the canvas and then I got to step 3 and its like, “You and a friend/lover/distant relative/whomever, stand at diagonal ends from each other and lift the tent and its limp poles up into an arch and then secure a tight tent with stakes.”  Okay so I am 4′ 11.  No matter how I tried to Jerry rig it, no matter how much I pleaded to God to help me get the fucking tent up, I could not do it.  It was a two man tent.  I did the only reasonable and helpful thing to do in moments of crisis: I cried. I stamped my foot, I whoa is me’d, and I had a right good tantrum for about 4 minutes.  Then…and only then, will a good idea come to me.  This is my process.

I realized I needed help so I waited for the first unsuspecting person to drive or bike or hike past.  Strangely it took a few minutes before another soul passed me by, which again is so odd because as I am writing this, every 20 seconds a human is passing me either on foot or boat or bike or whatever.  So yeah finally a woman with her window down was driving slowly passed and made the mistake of smiling at me.  I seized my moment.  I called out “Excuse me could you help me!” and you could literally see the change in her face as I started calling out and wailing towards her vehicle.  You could see the “oh fuck I should have just stared straight ahead!  Why did I smile at this woman?!” cross her face, but I explained I needed assistance to just get my tent arches standing up and in the stupid silver rings.  Thank god her husband was there because I don’t think she was going to help me lol.

Anyway it was also kind of embarrassing because as he was helping me, he saw that I had been using a can of Bush’s baked beans to hammer my stakes into the ground.  He seemed sort of friendly/annoyed when he asked me if I needed to use his hammer too. The wife meanwhile had driven off, I don’t know why she didn’t just wait the 3 minutes it took, but like I said she was seriously annoyed about me needing help, but in all honesty, I could give a shit.  It was about to rain and I had gotten assistance.

So not wanting to keep this reluctantly friendly dude any longer than necessary, I only ask him to help me do the arch thing. I decided I could handle the stakes and the rain cover on my own and off he walked into the sunset, presumably to find his wife.

Base Camp One

Ok so now I’m on my own again and I have the main body formed, now I need to secure it to the ground.  So sans hammer or mallet I tried the can of beans, rocks, logs, and shoes.  Nothing could pound those crappy stakes into the ground.  The suckers just kept bending.  So just then the rain is here. I unload every item from my car into the tent, just to weigh it down.  Originally I had no intentions of taking EVERYTHING out to save on the repacking, but no I needed to hold the tent down because Wyoming Weather. I have 2 coolers, 2 sleeping bags, a gym bag full of clothes, a bag of tech toys, and other essentials, holding down my tent.  The storm comes, myself and my husky wait it out in the tent pretty comfortably, all things considered.

After the storm passes, maybe 30 minutes later, I take stock of the tent.  My rain cover is hanging limply and I have an extra bendy pole that I don’t know what is for and it just looks…off, like limp and sloppy, but useable.  I tried the stakes again but I couldn’t get them in so I started to use my heavy stuff and tie the tent to it…like I used my log pile as a weight for one stake tie and my 20 gallon water jug as another.  One stake was tied around a heavy rock.  So yeah, it was a mess, but I moved on to drinking beers anyway.

Throughout all of this my husband had been texting me to see how everything was going.  He wasn’t able to join me because of work.  I’m not gonna lie I was bummed, but I also thought the idea of camping alone was sort of cool.

So as my evening progresses, I go on a hike, I eat lunch, I read some, I start a fire. It’s starting to be about 7:30 and I decided I would try to get a buzz before bed because I’m worried that sleeping in the tent alone will be scary and I’ll freak out, so I proceed to down five 20 oz Budlight Clamatos.  I have a nice fire going and I have decided I’m going to let it die down so that way once it is truly starting to get dark, around 9, I can head into the tent and maybe watch a movie until I fall asleep.

Reading by a fire with a body of water in the background is my idea of a good time!

Trucks and cars have been intermittently driving past on the dirt road so I have sort of blocked out the noise at this point.  I am seated with my back to oncoming traffic and facing my fire. All of a sudden I hear “Hey lady!” I turn around and its my husband!  I didn’t realize I was sort of lonely until he showed up. That right there is the beauty of my husband.  I don’t give him enough credit for being there.  He made a deal with his boss so he could come camp with his wife for one night.  He right away sets to fixing my tent.  Turns out he just drives around with the necessary tent fixing equipment just all the time.  He brought me Wendy’s and a fifth of Absolut…I asked why Absolut and he said, because they didn’t have Titos.  Love him.  (Titos is my JAM).

We proceeded to get nice and drunk.  We hung out by the fire and kissed a lot.  It was a perfect night.  We woke up and we had coffee together and he half -assed a fishing line.  We took Juno for a small morning hike and then he had to go.

I woke up with such joy in my heart for that moment.  For that man.  He went out of his way to drive 25 minutes out of town after a 14 hour work day, just to make sure I was set up right and spend some alone time with me.  Also noteworthy.  This is our first ever child free camp out.  I didn’t even realize until Clay pointed it out.

It made me realize how much I love this man.  I always hesitate to believe that he loves me, it’s literally the hardest thing to imagine and a total product of my childhood.  I try to keep him, and most others, at arm’s length and I feel like I am always waiting for him to realize what a total jerk he has married and get the hell out of there.  But , no he never does. He is always there.  He’s always my rock and my champion and I don’t know why I don’t recognize this on the day-to-day.

So now it is night 2 and it has been just Juno and myself all day.  We have gone on 4 small walks and had a nap.  I was reading book one of The Outlander series, but it just wasn’t holding my attention (no fault of the book, I just am not in a medevial frame of mind), so I switched to Lagoon.

Today the park is beautiful and sunny and just as packed as it should be.  There is a kayak rental and a wake boarding rental set up.  I had a lot of fun watching the families enjoy the park.  I didn’t stand there like a weirdo or anything and watch them…I was walking my dog and stealthy like a weirdo watching them.

Camp out breakfast!

Camp out Dinner!

I have taken great pains as to not appear alone.  I have changed my hair, my seating and my clothes three times today.  I can’t change who I am.

Gotta love those snapchat filters!

Back home now and I had a great time. Looking forward to another camp out soon!

Letting Someone Else Lead The Way

Welp…I am trying something new today.  I am going on a small somewhat spontaneous vacation to a destination not of my choosing,  for reasons not of my choosing.  I never do this. I usually have almost every aspect of my trips planned all the way down to the restaurants I want to eat at while I’m there.  I don’t know my travel companions very well either, its a couple of friends from work, one of which is my boss (ohgod).  This whole thing is taking me out of my comfort zone.

I have a friend (boss),  Sarah, who is about 8 months pregnant.  She desperately wanted to go on a beach vacation before she had her baby.  She just sort of yelled out one day at work, “Hey Tiffany do you want to go to the beach with me?”…I said sure…she said “Ok..how about Galveston Texas?” and that fast she booked a house on the beach and now here I am, about a  month later…sitting at Denver international Airport.  I’m about 3 hours early, drinking Bloody Marys’ and researching Galveston.

and of course there is snapchatting going on!

I didn’t even rent the car…I am in no way in any sort of control and it feels pretty fantastic! (scary too, but fantastic).  If your thinking to yourself, “What’s the big deal?” Maybe I’m not making myself clear: I DON’T DO STUFF LIKE THIS!  I don’t like being out of control, but this feels pretty awesome.  Hopefully it ends up being the best time!

While I am not going with any set plan in mind, I do have 2 places I would like to visit. The Galveston Pleasure Pier and Moody Gardens.  As far as I can tell these are the 2 best touristy places to check out, besides the beach, of course!  Also…IT WILL BE MY FIRST TIME IN THE GULF OF MEXICO!

Update to follow!


Universal is in the Bag!

OK as I am typing this, I am currently sitting at Gate E33 in the Dallas/Ft Worth airport. My family and I have about 2 hrs left of a 3 hr layover on our way to Denver. We have just completed our 2017 Spring Break Orlando vacation and I would most definitely categorize it a success! I loved spending the time with my boys. My husband and I both work full time and my children are pretty involved at school so we don’t get a whole lot of family time. This was nice.

I have no intention of writing this in any particular order of events.  I just really wanna get it all down while it’s fresh.

Clay won about 16,000 tickets off this claw machine until an attendant came by and said it was broken. At least they let us keep the tickets!!

I learned a few things on this trip. Firstly chemical free sunscreen is garbage. Seriously it doesn’t rub on and it smells bad. We ended up just using coconut oil and nothing. Second, I always pack a shit load of clothes, shoes, and toiletries that I have no intention of using… ever….I really just want my material possessions to see the world too. Third…I am a lot less afraid of flying when my husband is around.  Who knew?

Also, Universal was worth every penny. I probably won’t ever go again, but I’m glad we went at least once!

Just a cool installation on Marvel’s Super Hero Island

This guy is the reason I have wanted to visit Universal since I was 16!

We had early park admission as a perk for staying at a Universal resort. We made use of it all 4 days we were there. We hit Harry Potters Wizarding World first…the Dragon Challenge was the first ride we all went on.  This stupid ride had me hugging a trash can first thing!

Hogsmeade…this is the entrance to the Harry Potter Quiddich 3D ride.

One of the carts where we purchased our Butterbeer.

The first day we spent on Islands of Adventure and CityWalk. The second day we explored Diagon Alley and rode the Hogworts Express both ways. We rode all of the rides at Universal Studios. My favorite was hands down the Transformers 3D battle ride.

I think this is my favorite picture from the whole trip!

By the end of day 2 Isaac and I were getting kind of tired and cranky, but Chase and Clay were full of energy. At the end of the night those two went back to CityWalk to play some night rounds of mini golf while Isaac and I hung out back at the room.

The morning of the 3rd day was super dramatic because Clay lost his debut card, thankfully it turned out the bartender from the hotel bar, the Atomic Tonic, had kept it safe for him!

The second to last night Clay and I ditched the kids and went swimming in the lazy pool and drinking. The hotel had 3 bars, 2 were poolside so we spent the evening getting buzzed and getting acquainted with our bartenders! Al, Eric, Taylor, and David took real good care of us!

This local beer, Caribe, was EXCELLENT. The Hideaway served Pineapple and the Atomic Tonic sold Blood Orange. SO GOOD!

We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe Orlando two times while we were there. Also we stopped at Margaritaville for a few margaritas and some crab cakes sliders.

Hard Rock is always a good time. I could wander that place for hours checking out the memorabilia. It’s a zen place for me.

More wall stuff. I took so many pictures these are just some highlights.

Another pretty cool part of the park was the Jurassic Park river adventure ride. What a wet, fun experience!

I’m sure I’ll remember more I want to include about the park experience later.

Our hotel, Cabana Bay Beach Resort was awesome. 10/10 would book again if I am ever in Orlando.

The sign looked so pretty at night!

This was close to where we caught the shuttle every morning to the park.

Despite the awesome accommodations , at the end of the 7 days we were ready to get back to our dogs! I could barely sleep I was so excited to come home.

Unfortunately we ended up leaving a BUNCH of stuff in the hotel. No room. We left 4 rain ponchos, a box of wine, a six pack of Budlight, 4 inflated pool floaties, 4 souvenir cups, and a Catan Seafarers expansion pack board game….
When we got MCO airport 4 hours early we walked into a massive 300 person line at Spirit Air.  Apparently 3 flights had been cancelled due to a fire breaking out at a local hotel so the flight crew were unable to sleep for 8 hrs. Anyway, those poor people were missing connections and standing clueless with their children all scared and upset and I was just grateful we had gotten there so early and didn’t have to panic worrying about missing our flights. I felt for those people truly, I did.

Well that’s all for now on 2017 Spring Break Adventure. Here’s a few random photos for the road:

A cool Xmas shop at the beginning of the park. I bought the obligatory 2017 ornament for my collection of travel ornaments.

This place sold chocolate that could have been art. Apparently there was a restaurant in there as well.

Some of the sweet offerings. We didn’t buy any as it was 90 degrees and I didn’t think the chocolate would last too long in that heat.

Some cool steam punk art that the chocolate factory was also selling.

All over Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade there were these awesome statues. Here are just a few.

Our first glimpse of the park!

First morning. So excited just to see CityWalk!

Taking a water taxi back to our hotel that first day!

Hot Springs of Wyoming

 

Wyoming Yellowstone Hot Springs National Park

As a 20 year Cheyenne resident, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Wyoming plays host to quite a few natural hot springs.  I was at work having a casual conversation about maybe heading up to the Chico Springs in Pray, Montana in the near future .  A co-worker overheard our conversation and asked why would I go 8 hours away when I have an amazing hot spring just 3 hours away in Saratoga, Wy.

As soon as I got off work I came home and I got my research groove on.  It turns out that yes, not only are there some incredible springs in Saratoga, but also all over the state!  Here are just a few of the ones I will most assuredly be heading to in my near future.

1. Hot Springs State Park-Thermopolis

Ok this one is great because it has free indoor and outdoor soaking pools in the Hot Springs State Bathhouse and apparently they even have a few clothing optional pools! What? Yes! I mean, I’m not saying I’m getting naked outside or anything, but I like knowing I can!

Thermopolis also has the world-famous Star Plunge. When I told my boss I was looking toimages visit some hot springs to soak my tired bones, she went nuts about how cool the Star Plunge is.  They have an indoor and an outdoor hot springs pool, a vapor cave, three water slides, a sun deck, and a fountain waterfall, among other attractions.  The city was apparently going to close it, but a state-wide petition stopped that from happening. Very cool.

The town of Thermopolis is a quaint little spot to explore for a few other things besides the springs.  There is a museum, a petroglyph site, outlaw trail rides, a dinosaur center, and some other noteworthy stops.

So, SURPRISE, I am actually going to visit Thermopolis in October of this year! I am going solo on this little adventure specifically to experience a hot spring for the first time.  My kids will be in school and my husband has to work so I figured this was the perfect time to do something by myself!  I booked my hotel atimages the Days Inn, which is only a 2 min. drive or a 13 minute walk away from the Hot Springs State Park!! Plus, I loved that if you stay here you can book a massage, which then gives you access to private use of either a private mineral bath or private jacuzzi!  I plan to check out both the National Park Springs and public bathhouse as well as Star Plunge.  I am so looking forward to checking out this little town!

2. Granite Hotsprings-South of Jackson Hole

About 30 miles SE of Jackson Hole, in the Gros Ventre Mountain Range, there is a beautifulimgres and picturesque spring called Granite Hot Springs.  In the summer there is a winding access road through the woods to the Springs. During the winter, there are snow mobile tours, which I imagine is just breath-taking!

There are plenty of adorable B & B’s, such as  the Inn on the Creek that seem like they would be such wonderful lodging options.  There is also a camping site nearer to the springs.  The area offers fishing along with plenty of hiking and other outdoors activities.

I have future plans to buy an RV, hopefully before 2017 is over, and this is one of the first trips I would really like to take.  It wouldn’t be a real outdoor adventure if I couldn’t experience it with my dog! (This is actually 95% of the motivation for getting an RV, but that’s for another post!)

3. Hobo Pool-Saratoga, WY

hobopoolsaratogaThis pool was believed by Indians to have healing properties.  This is a public pool and it is free.  It is also open 24/7 so some night-time soaking is an option!

Another notable hot spring is located on the grounds of a resort, the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort, to be exact.  This place looks fantastic! It has a large open spring and a few small semi private springs that are covered by teepees.  It offers a golf course and best part, it allows pets!!  It’s a bit pricey, but I think the price is worth a quick two night stay! We’ll see what the future brings!

There are definitely more than just these three springs in Wyoming, but these are the first ones that I would like to check out.  I am still so shocked that I am just now finding out about these little pools of wonderful! Can’t wait to experience it for myself!!

 

Countdown to Universal Studios, Orlando! (pt 2)

We will be in Orlando for Spring Break ’17.  It has occurred to me that my kids are growing up too fast, in fact, Chase will be 18 in a year and a half.  Crazy.  So yeah we decided to throw some money away and take the boys to Universal Studios Orlando.   We got the 2 day, 2 park pass that has a bonus 2 days free admission to both parks.  Also we sprung for the express passes.

As part 1 previously covered, we are spending the first day exclusively at Adventure Island. We don’t want to rush through anything or have any stress at all, plus I know that we are going to want to do some rides multiple times!  As soon as we are done exploring Adventure Island we will head back to the amazing hotel we are staying at and chill by  the pool! (This whole approach was my idea as I just REALLY want to hang by the pool on this vacation!)

usf_summer_2012Day 2 of our Universal adventure we are going to be spending at the main Universal Studios park. There are some really cool attractions this year! Some of the rides they feature are for Shrek, Revenge of the Mummy, the Simpsons, Race Through New York, Despicable Me, and oh my god, so many more! There are a few specific rides I am really getting hyped up for:

 

Seriously though…the Transformers 3D Battle ride looks like it is going to be so much fun! We may have to do this one a couple of times (this is where that express pass is going to be imgrescrucial).  Also, a selfie with Optimus…I think so!!  I have watched the preview videos of this attraction and I have to say, this may be the one I am looking forward to most now.  I went ahead and checked out some of the souvenirs for this one and unfortunately they don’t have anything too awesome, the coolest thing I saw was a mug topper, but I’ll probably still get one!

There is an ET attraction that looks fun and all sorts of nostalgic! This was the first movie slideshowI remember seeing in a movie theater. Cried so hard when the bad guys came to do experiments on the little guy. Also would be the #1 trigger for  Reese’s.  This feels like more of a storytelling ride than a thrill seeking one, maybe for younger kids, but either way, I’m on it!  Apparently ET talks to you at some point too. This should be a fun one.  Hopefully my boys will enjoy it a little.

Okay so the Terminator ride has GOT to be awesome! The pictures look just amazing.  It seems to be a true 3D show.  Also there is a life-size T9 in the gift shop.  This will most likely be my greatest photographic muse of all time.  The ride takes place in a replica of the Cyberdyne Building.  Seems highly visual.  Also, I checked out the souvenirs again and thankfully there are a bunch of cool items for this  I just don’t think it could be any cooler.  Kind of getting excited to type up the after trip entry.

Anyway, that’s just a few of the rides I am getting more and more excited to ride multiple times!  After a day of exploring the parks, I’d like to spend some time on the Citywalk. I imageshave been looking up things to do there and it seems there is a mini golf course, a cineplex, a Hard Rock Cafe, indoor skydiving, as well as many eateries, shopping experiences, including a Bob Marley inspired restaurant/bar called “A Tribute to Freedom,” and so much more! Plus think of all of the photo ops!

We have 2 more free days to hit up Orlando or just revisit all the best stuff both parks have to offer .  My husband insists that he is going to want to do Universal again a fourth day, but I already know that I want one more day by the pool before we leave.

If all goes according to plan this trip should be an exciting family fun time! I can’t wait to get there!! just a little over a month now and I am just counting down the hours!!

Countdown to Universal Studios, Orlando! (pt 1)

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Yeeeeea!! We are FINALLY taking the kids to freaking Universal Studios Orlando!!  Well I guess I’ll back up, I finally get to go to Universal Studios lol!  I can’t tell a lie this trip is mainly for me.  I mean, they will have the best time as a happy coincidence, but its NOT the reason I booked it!!   I have been dying to visit it for Marvel’s Superhero Island, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter,  Jurassic Park and its corresponding river ride.  I’m looking forward to the Jaws attraction, what a classic beast! Can’t wait.  Also, currently they  have a new addition Kong’s Skull Island that looks pretty cool!  In this entry I’ll just be going over what I think is cool about Universal’s Adventure Island only.

imagesWhile in Orlando, we will be staying at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.  I liked this one for its close proximity to the park and for its family friendly vibe.  There is a bowling alley and 2 on site pools and cabana_bay_mapa lazy river. The hotel also features hot tubs, fire pits, a pool slide, an arcade, a garden walk, and seriously a lot more!

I booked us a poolside, courtyard family suite.  I figured the little bit of extra room would be nice.  We will be there for 6 nights so a spacious room is a must.  The hotel is a fifties themed retro explosion and I for one cannot wait to be clichéd to death!

orlando-island-adventure-xmen-bk-4-2001I have been fantasizing about visiting Marvel’s Super Hero Island since I first saw an ad for it in Uncanny Xmen in the late nineties.  I have aged a bunch since then, but I am still so hype!  It has a 3D Spider Man ride, a Hulk Roller coaster, Storm’s Force Accelerator and Dr. Dooms Fearfall….don’t know if I’ll do that one as I am super afraid of heights.  There is also a Captain America Diner….don’t even care if I have just eaten a huge meal, I will eat here!

There is a rumor that because Disney bought out Marvel, the days are numbered for Marvel’s Superhero Island at Universal.  The time to go is now or never…well not necessarily true, but I love drama!  (But seriously this may go away).

A bit of that Captain America’s Diner menu, if you are so inclined:

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is my next stop!  I positively cannot wait to pick out my own wand at Ollivander’s, also I have been told that for $10 extra dollars you can upgrade your wand to make the windows of Hogsmeade and Knocturn Alley come to life with magic!  My kids, who are 13 & 16, think this is the lamest thing, but I think their lame and I’m doing it!

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I can’t wait to explore Hogsmeade or to try all 4 versions of butterbeer (hot, icee, ice cream, and soda)!  I’m excited to ride both of the roller coasters as well.  Apparently these are  two big attractions to Universal and we got an early admission pass because we are staying at a Universal hotel, so we are going to make a b-line to those suckers first!!  We will definitely be eating at The Leaky Cauldron.

Lastly on this attraction, I CAN’T WAIT to ride the Hogwarts’ Express!! (free pass to ride this as we are staying at Universal Resort).

Now onto the Jurassic Park attraction.  This one I really want to do the River Adventure ride.  Also I really want a selfie with a dinosaur….Hopefully I get a good one with a T-Rex or a couple of velociraptor.  This will be a fun walk around.  We will definitely check out the discovery center.

There are a few more attractions at the Islands of Adventure Park that I’m sure are just as cool, but I’ve never really seen or heard much about them…so I guess that means I will have to do a follow-up entry after we have visited!

I’ll be posting a part 2 soon.   This one will cover what I am most looking forward to about visiting Universal Studios main park and CityWalk!

An Evening in Boulder, Co.

 

 

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The Golden Ticket

I live in Cheyenne, WY.  It’s close enough to the Colorado border that I am always on the lookout for good events and shows to go to in Denver.  Well, one of my lifelong heroes, Henry Rollins, had a spoken word show scheduled in Boulder.  I snatched up the tickets, which were only $26.   I didn’t even have a planned date to said event, but I bought 2 tickets anyway! I was just going to force my husband to attend.  Luckily, my girlfriend and longtime concert buddy, Jenn, expressed an interest so I floated the ticket her way.  Jenn lives in Colorado Springs and we meet a few times a year in Denver to go to various concerts.  Neither of us has ever been to Boulder, so we decided to make a day of it.

I booked us a room at The University Inn a little budget motel right down the road from a sweet little park and next door to an Alfalfa’s Grocery store.  There is a seasonal pool, which wasn’t open when we were there, but no worries, we didn’t come to hang out at the motel anyway.

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After check in we set to exploring Boulder.  I asked a few locals, including the clerk at the hotel, and they all said that the best local restaurants are located at the Pearl St. Mall, an outdoor mall paved with brick streets and plenty of art and local gourmet and organic foods.

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A bit of Pearl St. Mall

I recommend walking as you pay 1.25 an hr to park by Pearl St.  My traveling companion was not feeling the walking vibe, so we drove, and I’m not going to lie, I really wished we could have checked out all of those small parks on the way, but in life there are always compromises and I was just happy to be there with my friend.

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We parked and explored Pearl St.  We checked out the super artsy shops and chatted up some locals.  We ended up eating lunch at The Lazy Dog.  I had an excellent bacon Bloody Mary…well…two excellent Bloody Mary’s and some Hawaiian pork tacos…so tasty and filling!  After a bit more window shopping we headed back to the hotel to get ready.

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The Boulder Theater has such style! Look at that deco facade!

We decided to head out and get some local beers before the show started.  We parked right by the venue, The Boulder Theater, and decided to check out a place called Shine.  This was a very cool, very hip brewery/restaurant.  When we went in the place was empty and we were wondering why when we sat at the bar.  The draft beer system was down, so unfortunately my friend Jenn, who doesn’t drink any hard alcohol, was forced to drink water, as she was waiting on the system to be restored.  I started off with a Pinot that was dryer than I usually like…lol….I drink beer or simple cocktails, I had no idea what I was drinking, I just needed something in my hand while I checked out the drink menu.  I settled on this house specialty called an Elixir, it had Kambucha tea in it and 5% alcohol.  It was DELISH so I had a second!  We also tried their little cheese and meat plate and it was a tasty treat. After all of that, I was pleasantly buzzed so we headed over to the show.

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I love the lit up marquee!

We got in line at 7 and as usually happens, we bonded with the people around us and it was a generally fun wait.  The theater is small enough that no seat is bad.  We were in the final row and I still could see his face, plus we were right next to the bar so I had a couple of vodka tonics before it started.

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Henry doing his thing.

The show was great! Henry talked surprisingly positive about the future of America and he told some really funny stories where he referenced Glenn Danzig, Rupaul, Obama, growing up with no friends, having severe social anxiety, environmentalism, feminism, and lgbt rights.  It was inspiring and uplifting.  Funny and insightful.  I left feeling better than when I went in.  Excellent night.  I bought a t-shirt, hoodie, and autographed book.  The show was a bit over 2 hours.

We headed back to the hotel and called it a night!

This was an excellent night and Boulder will hold a special place in my heart for a while.

 

Our 2016 South Dakota Adventure 

This weekend I am accompanied by my awesome kids, Chase 16 and Isaac 12.  We left Cheyenne, WY via I-85 N and drove the 200+ miles through rolling fields of grain until we got to Newcastle. After that town the road became craggy and full of lush Wyoming woods, until we crossed in South Dakota.

We drove a total of 4.5 hrs before reaching our destination of Deadwood, SD.
Upon arriving we quickly checked in to our hotel, Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort.

After we explored our domicile for the next 2 days, we grabbed some grub from the hotel’s restaurant, The Brown Rock Cafe.  We headed to the pool and burned off some of that pent up road energy.

The next morning we woke early and sought out The Gem, the restaurant inside the Mineral Palace hotel as it had been recommended by a friend. The restaurant has all kinds of old western memorabilia and many interesting old photos hang on the walls.  The building itself used to be a brothel ( the history of the building is located on the front of The Gem’s menu, worth the read). This place definitely merits a visit if you have the time and are hungry!! We ate some eggs benny and hit the road for the hour drive to Mt. Rushmore.

Along the way we got to experience a truly beautiful winding drive to Keystone, SD. Seriously a gorgeous stretch of road.  There were architecturally interesting bridges and even tunnels through the mountain.  So many small shops and pubs line the highway. We took HWY 385 all the way to Mt. Rushmore. Just a simple, scenic highway.

Once we arrived we stayed a good 20 minutes just in awe of the monument. We took a bunch of photos and had ice cream and coffee at the cafe. This was a great day and a great trip. Thank you, South Dakota!!

 

Musically Inspired Vacation Destinations

Like most people, I have an intense love and appreciation for music.  Melodies of all flavors have touched my soul. There are so many locations across the globe that are marked forever musically.  Places like Nashville, Graceland, or Detroit.  I have decided to narrow down my fantasy musical tour of North America to just a few of the dozens of locales that are out there.

  • Lodi, NJ-Not necessarily known for being a mecca of musical talent, it was however the birthplace and stomping ground of the legendary Misfits.  I would love to walk the streets of the very place where the (original) band was born and raised.  Stuck In Lodi is a really good article about the birthplace of my own personal lord and savior, Glenn Danzig.  I am such a huge fan of the myth that is GD.  While I have always been aware of his absolute cheese factor, I am still drawn to the charisma and talent that is the original face of horror punk.
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The Man, The Myth, The Skelly Gloves…

  • CBGB-NYC, birth place of the American Punk Scene of the 70’s, 80’s & early 90’s. The Ramones, Blondie, Iggy Pop, and so many others played shows here.  Some historical moments in musical history happened in this tiny club, which officially closed in 2006 and is now a small boutique.  The owner preserved one wall of flyers and stickers from the buildings past life.  Good on that guy!
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Blondie performing at CBGB 1977

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I wish I had gotten a chance to stand inside before it was changed.

  • Paisley Park–AKA Prince’s domain.  This was originally a label created by Prince under the Warner Bros umbrella called Paisley Park Studios.  The label signed and released albums by other artists, but none were as succesful as Prince himself.  The label folded in ’94, but Prince continued to live and record, and eventually overdose, at Paisley Park.  I really would love to take the VIP tour one of these days.  I miss him. He was an amazing man. This one still stings.

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  • West Hollywood-Sunset Strip, (an amazing article on the glory that was the 80’s Sunset Strip), The Viper Room, The Roxy, The Rainbow Room, Tower Records, The Whiskey, and…omg the list goes on.   I would love to walk around and explore this hotbed of debauchery and Aquanet.  This is it, this is the music from my youth.  Back in the day, when MTV played videos, the Sunset Strip was a dominant background in a lot of rock videos. It created a mystique about that place.
  • Capitol Records Building  is also in Hollywood.  Man, what an iconic building!  Still in operation so no tours or anything, but you can still get a cool shot of the outside.

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  • Seattle-there was such an explosion of unbelievable music coming from this part of the country when I was a teen in the 90’s.  Singles was one of my favorite movies for about a yr and a half and I would watch it ALWAYS and listen to the soundtrack in heavy rotation.  Just a great time to be alive musically.  I’d love to stop by a sit a spell on the  Viretta Park Memorial Bench.  Also, Reciprocal Recording Studio, a tiny corner building that recorded such huge bands as Green River, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, and Nirvana.  A lot of Sub Pop artists recorded there for a time. Also the EMP Music Museum.  This would be the first stop on my musical tour of Seattle, I think.  This is just a huge attraction.

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