Category Archives: Travel

Camping at Lake Granby

One of things i do when picking camping locations is to find some place we have not ventured to or somewhere where the hike i want it would be a 2 hour or more drive to get there and then back.

This time it was the fact that we have never been up the 40 past Berthoud Pass. So i found a camp site, at the end of a lake and booked it!

It was a long and windy drive over the pass… winston and I were a little green!

Then apple maps brought us to the wrong location and with no signal to really figure out where we needed to be, so that was a fun marriage test…

Finally we found where we needed to be and set up camp, all before 5pm!

The views were pretty amazing, the restroom was close, but not close enough for people to meander through our site, and we could see the sun set! It was a great site! We also decided that even though we didn’t overlook the water, it was better, as the we were slightly down an incline and protected from the wind! Win win!

Saturday brought a chilly morning, as the sun didn’t crest the campsite until 7 or 8am. So that was kind of a treat! We relaxed and enjoyed the day as i didn’t have an exact hike on deck!

We finally decided to get moving around 11am and do a lake hike! It was a pretty nice hike, more hills than expected but a nice 4 mile hike!

After that it was time for lunch and snacks and a nap and finally some time sitting by the lake…


And of course the boys were not interested in playing in the water, they wanted to sit with us with their dirty paws….  Oh monkies…


There was definitely some experimenting with recipes for using ones we generally do at home!

Friday was our new mac n cheese – we overdid the time in the fire… But still mostly edible!

Saturday was korean chicken with tater tots  packets in the coals!



Sunday was another lazy day, we waiting for the sun to crest the hill and warm up the tent before we started moving. Eventually winston was adamant that we leave this place and get on home!

 Poor little princess hates to be dirty!

It was a really nice site, decent size! Good location to the rest room, not surrounded by other sites, and a good view of the sunset! A would do again!

On the drive home, paco decided he needed to be the navigator! He stood on the center console for nearly an hour over the pass and back to the 70, then when traffic hit, he took a little rest!

Alamosa Weekend for Rails and Ales

For a couple years i’ve been trying to get a trip down to Alamosa for Rails and Ales. Basically a long drive, for a train ride to the middle of nowhere, for beer, enh food, and hill billy music! Sounds fab, eh? I thought so! And it was!!! Can’t wait to do it again!

Basically every year we don’t know when WWDC (the big apple event) will be until april. Sadly sometimes this event can sell out prior to that. This year, it did not, and WWDC was earlier than normal! Woot!

We had enough miles to stay at the newish Farfield Inn, so that was a bonus.

Sadly, work made it so leaving early was a no go, so we had to leave at 4ish… that put us into town, tired, and close to 9. Ugh.

The next morning was the main event – see my blog post on that here.

I had a fabulous time, perhaps due to my expectations being pretty low – beer, nowhere, train… so i received all 3 of those and more! Like i said, can’t wait to go again next year!

We got back to town close to 6pm, chowed on some delicious thai food and then tried to stay awake long enough to go to bed like grownups… Y’know… 9pm.

I feel we had enough water so the next day was not too terrible (i even got in a good workout at the gym) and i could convince the hubby to take some crazy side trips on our way home!

First up was Gator Land – i mean seriously – how could you not? Gators/Colorado – they don’t really go, so we had to stop to see how they did. Bonus points – the hotel had a brochure with a coupon for a bucket of free gator food! OMG-  yes! Thank you road side america for showing me this gem and my hairdresser for going there years prior!

There is a cute history on this place – it used to be a tilapia farm and they got a couple gators to clean up the dead fish etc…  this lead to people breaking in, to see them and due to the warm thermal water the growth rate was crazy! Then lots of people would just drop off exotic animals for them to take care of, so you have gator land!


Definitely was a hoot to see all the gators and their stories and all the other random animals wandering around!

You do get to hold a gator – a baby one – upon entry – for their “head count” – we declined… but were able to get our photo with the helper fella… we did not pay for any of those photos… (Use your imagination – john pushing me closer, me leaning back…)

It was kinda hard to use up all the bucket of gator food… some were not that interested, some just had too many people also tossing food their way. But i am not sad i had it, but, be warned – we smelled like that stuff for the rest of the day, no matter how many times we washed our hands!

We did spend an inordinate amount of time at the last tub which was all turtles and baby gators. So fun to watch them all!

Next up on our adventure was the UFO viewing platform… cause… why not…

Notice a significant lack of another person in these photos?

Definitely worth a drop in! Walk the crazy vortex area just to view things people have left if not try and feel some energy!

And the viewing platform – such a great place to view the valley and the dunes! Next nightime event (halley’s comet comes back soon right?), i think we might need to get a camp sit and enjoy the views after dark



Worth the $2 per person donation! And i picked up a cute pin to keep on my hiking backpack!

After that is was a meandering route home with a stop at one of the breweries we found over the weekend in Salida! Coconut Milk Stout – omg – like ice cream in your mouth – but beer…

Awesome weekend with the hubby doing crazy things!

Rails and Ales

What a beyond super duper fun event! I had heard about this event a couple years ago. is where to get the info. Obviously the event just happened, so i can’t get a link in there right now – but here is the FAQ

Basically – train to no where, beer and music. Um, hello, yes please!

I’m writing this post because there was not enough fine print information to know all you needed to know about the event!


There are 3 different levels

  • Standard – we call that the poor people and that is where we sat! ($59)
  • First class – this is the domed glass roof cars ($99)
  • Diamond Class – this is a private car where you get very fancy seats and access to the band ($125)

Opinion on tickets – standard class was fine, regular every day seats, windows open, bar service

The glass domed car- super cool and a table to hold your snacks, and card games along the way, and the bar is in your car.

The diamond class- i’m thinking if you are really into comfort and having someone wait on you and access to people in the band…  go for it. They don’t play as far as i know. (I mistakenly wandered into that car…  they don’t like peons in there….)

Add ons – get the lunch ticket. It’s easier than bringing cash for when you get there. It’s not an amazing meal, but it’s food, in the middle of nowhere…

Getting your tickets:

We received an email indicating that we could retrieve our tickets up until 9pm friday night before the saturday event. We raced down from Denver, didn’t eat, didn’t pee, didn’t gas up…

Arrived at 8:20pm….  Closed up tight.

Apparently there was a disconnect between those that sent the email and those that worked the booth to give out the tickets. Le sigh.

Next up, the email said, starting at 7am we could get our tickets

I called the number at 7:15am confirming this was still the case. The person on the ticket line wasn’t sure, attempted calling, and ended with – “they should be there”… to which i replied, they should have been there last night as well.

So info point here – be sure to confirm when they will be really getting there or staying until, and plan accordingly for your travel to and fro.

Arriving to board the train:

Parking: You can park across from the depot, diagonal from the depot, and to the left of the depot in the gravel lot.

You can start getting your id checked, your waiver signed and your glass retrieved around 8:30 or so. So get there early.

The sometimes check your bag, sometimes don’t, so no weapons… *shrug* (FYI – they hire a good amount of gun tottin’ sherrifs from a nearby town, so don’t be stupid)

For the standard seats – Be aware – one way in the train you will be facing forward and the other backward. Being a motion sensitive individual, i spent a bit of my time sitting on the arm rest sideways so as to alleviate my discomfort. I tried the motion sickness gum – nope… I forgot to bring my ginger pills, maybe next time.


What to bring:

Chairs – bring your collapsable chairs, and put a phone number on the outside. We chose to do it with duct tape for removal later if we so chose. (there are over head luggage places in standard, other “special locations for items” on others)

Water – there is water on the train, but i like to not loose my expensive lunch from too much beer and heat – so having a camelback for easy access between adult beverages.

Hat – bring a bold old floppy hat and plenty of sun block!

Hand Sanitizer – the bathroom are limited in their accoutrements, both on the train and off.

Snacks – they say only pretzel necklaces – but you get snacky on the way out unless you over do the breakfast buffet at the hotel. So stash a couple things in your back pack! (the people in the glass domes cars certainly did!)

BTW – the trip out is 1.5 hours, back it seems closer 2

Where to sit:

This is a tough one. Will you generally just be meanding around getting tastes of beer, so it really doesn’t matter?

Did you want to see/hear the band – sit straight out and in line of site – to the sides, the sound dims

Shade – basically there isn’t any, except a picnic table area, get to the right side facing the stage and claim your spot. You will be very very close to all your neighbors…

We chose a spot, kind of in the pathway of the first row of beer, but near the stairs down, that was great for us. We would probably choose to the left of the stage next time.

What to wear:

It’s 9000 feet. The temps can be boiling or cooler.

Layers people, layers. Unless you are there to attract a man, be comfortable, closed toe shoes for both the train and then tromping around in the “grass” which is really a whole lot of dust.

I chose a tank for the the inevitable “missed sunscreen spot” so i could even out other missed spots. It was a warm day with an amazing breeze. I carried my sweatshirt most of the time.

Post event:

Rubi Slipper was the suggested location for a post event burger. The wait was 1.5 hours. No matter how good that burger was, i really don’t think so. Obviously this location is the closest to the depot. If you really want that, make a reservation when the you get signal again on the way back, about 20 min out.

We ended up at the thai restaurant, one more block up. Very tasty, very friendly and very big servings.

Other tidbits:

There is a lot of beer. A lot. Pace yourself. Don’t be “that guy”.

As the day wanes on, they start pouring more into your glass. Squee –  but dangerous…

Bring a koozie to keep your beer cool in your cup, or your hand from heating it up.

Do a lap with your first pour, so you can get the lay of the land and pick your next selection.

The food is at the top of the hill. Think about getting it earlier, rather than after you have had a few…  as in, you don’t navigate the stairs as well.

Cash – if you want to tip your car manager (the fella that brings you booze or water on the way to the event and leaves you a cute snack and another bottle of water on the way home), or want to buy anything on site, you need cold hard cash.

Take a picture of the logo of the beer you like. There is no signal for untapped, etc to save your favorites! And you won’t remember otherwise…  promise.

Make a friend. Hubby and i went solo (as in, all our other friends couldn’t figure out how to commit to get a ticket before it sold out) so we shared our 4 seater with a lovely couple from broomfield. It was super fun and we’ll be enjoying pizza and beer soon! You never know who you’ll meet! Also chat in line, you might get a good tip on a beer you haven’t tried yet!

It sells out. For real.

Other info links:


A graduation and a wedding

This last may was a celebration of Emma! My niece.

She graduated college, with super duper honors, commissioned into the navy and then just for fun, also got married!

VMI where she graduated from does a huge pomp and circumstance for the event, 4 days of events, parades, concerts and more! I didn’t take many pictures there mainly because my sister is the trigger finger there!

After that it was a smidge of down time as miss emma was made to stay on campus as she had not received her orders, so hubby arrived in town and we went down to Fairfax to stay with a friend and spend a day in DC

First stop, obviously – the carousel! I picked the dragon! There was only 1 wee one in front of us in line, so i was pretty certain i could get it!  Hubby being the good sport came along!

After that was the Newseum (pro tip – get your tickets on line and save 15%)

This was an amazing museum! 6 floors of stuff! Oh my goodness! We spent over 3 hours there, which for me is A-Maz-ing! o much to see, learn and do! Definitely a museum worth taking some time for! And the views from the top floor – wow!

We left there and enjoyed a nice lunch at Plan B b the naval memorial and then walked back through the sculpture garden and a detour through the Pollinator trail!

Great way to spent a 100 degree day!  We did end with an amazing meal with our friends at n all you can eat Korean BBQ!! So amazing!

Finally the main event! Emma’s wedding!

Friday she and I went and got our nails done, cause, ya’ gotta! We had some starbucks and then a “healthy” lunch at paneara to round out the afternoon!

While the fam and bridal party went off to the rehearsal, hubby and I got to see Guardian’s of the Galaxy! A pretty good flick! I laughed, i teared up, i really liked it!

Then it was time! First up was emma’s hair! So much of it, so many things to do with it!

The makeup, getting dressed and the final event!

Wonderful ceremony, fun reception, beautiful couple!

The weekend rounded out with a brunch, saving a frog from the pool and enjoying the back yard

Congrats to my niece in all she achieved and accomplished!

Day trip to Fort Collins

For a while the hubby and I have been talking about a day trip up to Fort Collins, see some sights, drinks some beer, and relax in a different part of the state.

Ok, so it’s only an hour away, but it’s just far enough…

As we all know, road side america is a big thing for me, and I love seeing fun and stupid and weird thing all around!

To start our adventure, it was the Swetsville Zoo – i mean, seriously, a zoo of all metal animals, how could we not!

Bonus – it’s right off the highway and outside of town, so you can stop on the way in or the way out of town!

Next stop was one of the Mini Statue Of Liberties! We found these ladies on a previous trip east for christmas. I love these little ladies and it’s now a “thing” for me to see as many as i can in different locations!

This was a park in the middle of fort collins! There some other interesting things to see – like concrete frogs and plastic dinosaurs, we had a nice walk around the lake and enjoyed some fresh air!

We also meandered the city for other random sites! Good thing john is a good sport!

And then finally it was time for beer!

We stopped at a couple breweries downtown between the raindrops and then ended up at Coppersmith! We had been here ages ago and decided to see what we remembered! The food was good, the staff was good, and we also ended our stay with a Rootbeer and Cream Soda Float! Delicious and highly recommended.

The final stop and whole reason for coming up to Fort Collins was a Yelp event at New Belgium

We got a special tour, and then a special couple hours of free beer just for us – hello – i did indeed feel special! My favorite was the beer-rita – who knew it could be so good!

The tour itself was amazing, seeing all the vats and how it all works – and of course the slide at the end

All in all it was fabulous day and so glad we got to spend the day in a place we have been trying to enjoy for a bit!


Morro Bay Adventure

Man have i been remiss on my blog here!

I started a new adventure – – a place where i am trying to help those that kind of like to cook be able to make healthy meals during the week with a couple hours of prep on the weekend. (And of course i throw in some DIY recipes for cleaning and some dog treats!)

But i digress…  This post is about where i spent my weekend!

My client is currently in San Luis Obispo, so i decided to extend my stay through the weekend and have the hubby fly out for a fun weekend!

I was able to skip out “early” on friday when most of the rest of the team flew home.

Hubby and I enjoyed some local brew at a speakeasy – they store their beer behind a cool bookcase/door! And it’s down stairs, as in underground. No sun, no windows, but still cute and fun!

Next up head out to Morro Bay… to our first ever Air B-n-B. I’ve been having trouble trying to reserve one in Germany for our next “big” trip so figured some history might help. Of course by the time we booked this one, i gave up on them completely and decided to just go with a hotel!

As far as how i like Air B-n-B… meh. It’s stressful. So many people “sneak” having one, so we felt like a criminal the whole time. The gps map didn’t work, so we had to follow the specific instructions that were bag on the listing… ugh. Then we weren’t allowed to use the front door since the key only worked on the back… Yikes. Besides all that, the carpet was phenomenal on my toesies and the bed was super comfortable. But no tp… hmmmm…  And no points… All in all, i think this mode of booking a room might just not be for me/us

Our first night – we started downtown Morro Bay at Libertine Brewery – perfect for me – tons of sours. But also some other good taking brews! And fried food. Mmm!

Saturday morning started with Road Side America for our route…

First – The Elfin Forest

Definitely in the better than advertised category! I mean the description was a – we have to stop – type of thing, but then meandering the wooden boardwalk and feeling contained in all the trees, it was a hoot. Sights were great and scenery wonderful!

Second – Dinosaur Caves

This just had such a great tag line – “Defunct tourist attraction site is public park with a playground. Kayaks visit the sea caves below.”

Sadly none of the cool stuff – like the hole that people accidentally fell in  – is gone. But there are dino eggs and one of the random painted cows and beautiful views. So it was a nice stop!

Next quick stop was the stairway to nowhere, but it has sadly been dismantles and now is jus a lonely pole…

And the clamshell animals. They were decorated for the Monarch Butterflies, and i didn’t snag any photos…

Final stop before lunch – Monarch Butterfly at Pismo Start Park! Squee! So cool!

Basically where the butterflies winter, so amazing to see so many just floating around ot gathering in clumps! Official website and info here.  In the middle photo all those little specs of orange and gray are butterflies! Amazing! (It’s really only a 20 min stop max, so don’t go out of your way to go here…)

After that we returned to Morro Bay for some lunch, some Jerky, and a walk out and about at the rock!

Time for a nap, some amazing thai food and some chilaxin with CNN “The 80’s”

Sunday we got up a little later, cruise Cayucos (pretty quick trip) – but the pier was fun to walk down, the surfers were fun to watch get smooshed by the waves and then cheer when they road one! And we stopped at the Brown Butter Cookie Company. OMG – the espresso ones…  i almost ate the whole bag of those we brought home!

We cruised SLO the rest of the day for some beer at Central Coast Brewing – hello chai ale and coconut schwartz, and the Fromage store – best snack on the plane!

Fabulous little adventure weekend with the hubby!

Cruise Advice – again..

Funny thing about this post was, half way thru this cruise we said, we need to write some of this down so we remember next time… which we also did last time, but didn’t read that one before this trip either!


Cool things to bring:

  1. Shoe caddy to hold all your little things and keep the bathroom counter clear!

We used it to hold sun tan lotion, pills, nail clipper, ear phones, aloe, workout ipod, makeup, everything little that gets lost in a bag and takes up space on the counter!

2. Clothes line – there is one in the shower, but this way it can swing in the breeze in the room not the stuffy bathroom and actually dry!


3. Sea sickness bands and ginger. The at sea days can get dicey. Now-a-days they are much fancier!


Cool things to know:

  1. The pre-purchase wine comes out pretty affordable! 8-9 dollars a bottle!
  2. Watch the news letter for which beer and which bar has the specials that day
  3. On a winter cruise, know the temps from departure port down thru all the ports you are visiting
  4. Always take the first departure group to get off the board…  Either walk off – with your luggage in tow, or the first group where they take it the night prior. We’ve made this mistake at least 2 times now, just get the heck off, you are kicked out of your room as fast as they can since the next group is coming on in a couple hours, and the buffets close at 9-ish, and nothing else is available for purchase. Bring a book or a game if you don’t, it’s a long annoying wait.
  5. Never buy anything from the gift shop on the first half of the cruise, there will be a sale before it ends. I promise.
  6. Become a part of the “frequent cruiser” club – it lets you “cut” the line  on embarcation day!
  7. A cool packing list can be found here
  8. Use packing cubes. I swear by them for regular trips, a cruise is no different.
  9. I also found the cruise critic very helpful… this one and this one
  10. Some other interesting tips here
  11. Bring a lanyard! They will clip a hole in your room key to make it easier to carry.


Xmas Vacation – Trip Home

The joy and curse of traveling by car, is you can pretty much do what you want within the limitation of time, distance and stamina!

On our trip to WA we skipped our favorite winery in favor of getting there without an extra day. We decided to hit it on the way home. It ended up adding an extra 2 hours… and since we weren’t trying any other wineries.. probably not necessary, but it did break up the monotony of the drive!

We got 4 of our favorites and then splurged on another one we tasted and really liked!

The rest of that day was just getting to Boise – to sleep in a king size bed! Ahhh! MIL and FIL have a double bed, and with 2 people that spread out and the pups… oy!

So we pulled the block out curtains and enjoyed the night!

The next day was trying to get to Moab so we could visit Arches the next day before heading home!

We got there too late and too pooped to enjoy all that Moab had to offer! Breweries and fun restaurants!

The next morning we did the “if you have 1 and 1/2 hours to spent” trip thru the national park

From there we scooted home as fast as we could!

We were tempted to hit our favorite wineries in Grand Junction again – but decided a side trip was not what we wanted to do, so our next order of business is to find them in the big liquor stores locally!

It was a fun trip – not very many fights, or getting lost!

We are considering doing the same this to my parents this coming year…  we’ll see!

Xmas Vacation – in WA

It was a pretty relaxing week! I got to the gym every morning – except for Christmas day! We walked the pups with their cousin Bounce many of the days and just enjoyed the company of family!

We had a nice day on Christmas! Lots of great presents from Grandma and Grandpa, and SIL and BIL

One day while we were there we took a trip to a local winery – English Estate Winery

It was an adorable little place with interesting “Bag” distribution and adorable bags to hold the bags in!

We enjoyed some tastings with my MIL and took a couple home to enjoy later!

On our last day in town – the day it rained ALL day – we finally decided to take a jaunt down to Portland!

We started with Voodoo Donuts

I went with the maple bar with bacon – yes, i did it! It was great! The hour wait – was not worth the results. It was fun and we were just chatting the whole time, but i think i would visit the second location that is less popular!

Our next stop was the 24 Hour Church of Elvis

I mean really, how could we not take a peak at this one??

We ended the night with dinner with friends!

It was a great trip!

Xmas Vacation

What did you do over your Christmas vacation?

We took a road trip with the pups to see grandma and grandpa in Washington state!

We cruised thru Grand Junction and picked up some of our favorite wines – Carlson Vinyard and Colorado Cellars – also some jalapeno mustard… Super yummy!

That night we decided we weren’t feeling like wine tasting since we were both feeling the affects of our cold – why bother to taste something when there isn’t any taste going on…  So we decided to cruise thru to grandma and grandpa’s with a quick stop at Shoshone Falls!

This place was absolutely amazing! They said it was the Niagara of the west and it was so beautiful!

The mist from the falls left an amazing layer of ice all over the parking lots and sidewalks and it sparkled!

On the way into finding this little midwest treasure we stopped at a little view point to check out the snake river. We were amazed!!

This bridge did not look quite as scary going over as from below!

From there it was drive drive drive to Washington State!

We got there before Grandpa went to bed, and got to catch up with everyone before we hit the hay!