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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mount Rushmore

We have been to Mount Rushmore 3 times since 2004. Yes, 3 times! Granted, the last time was on our way through but the kids insisted that we take a detour to see it once again. My daughter was 12 and son was 7 the first time we ventured to South Dakota for a family vacation.

I had been there as a kid but it was rush, rush, rush...gotta get going! Did you see it? Okay, let's go. Walk up to the wall in front, pause, take a picture and hustle back. Who knew they had great walking trails that get you right under the monument? And the interpretative center? Awesome! At night, they have a program that tells stories of the monument's beginnings and historical facts. The kids were enthralled. Ok, ALL of us were enthralled with it. But the best part of the ceremony was when they asked for all the service men and women who were there to stand and everyone in attendance were asked for a round of applause in appreciation of them. No dry eyes in our famly! I respect and appreciate all the men and women in uniform for allowing us the freedoms we have today. For those of you idiots (yes, I used that word) that didn't join in ...shame on you!) But here is a shot from the lighting ceremony. Please forgive the poor detail in the was before I had my mean my good camera, yeah, that's it, my good camera. This was my desktop on my computer for a long time (until I found my happy place!).

We have lots of pictures from different angles but the one that is my all time favorite was taken by my son. Don't ask me why, but he is always looking for crevices and cracks to crawl into and just happened upon one at the base of Rushmore. So like a little rat, he crawls into this crevice and comes out all excited...MOM! Gimme your camera! So I hand him the camera, he crawls back in...And the result was spectacular at least in the proud opinion of a mom. :)

So, when we went back with my newest addition to the family in 2007, I had to have him try to recreate the picture with a zoom factor this time and this was the result. (please do not use the pictures without giving credit~thanks!). The Mount Rushmore area is a great place to take the kids...or for anyone to visit. Next up...our next favorite spot in South Dakota...Custer State Park! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Memories of Maui

Our first trip to Maui was in 2007 and we were hooked! Ok, truth be told, WE is a strong word. We implies that the whole family was hooked. For my kids and I....the we is we. For dear hubby, it means he just went along with us because the boss said so.

I can't say that I blame him. The travel to get there can be taxing, oh man. Once you get there it all melts away like butter on fresh corn on the cob. Maui is my happy least until I find the next happy place! Hey, a girl can change her mind!

One of our days we decided to follow the advice of Maui Revealed and look for the snorkel spot called the "Fishbowl". Let me tell you, trying to get to this place is like walking on the have to walk across a lava field with bags in toe. Speaking of toes...I sure hope you have them covered. The lava is like Pedi-Egg on steroids! We trekked across the lava with no blood dripping down our toes and got to the location. It was gorgeous, the water was freezing! We saw lots of fish and my son and I are snorkeling our little hearts away just in awe of the fish in the colors of rainbows and I look back where my daughter (chicken poop would't come in) and I see my hubby looking rather green.

Thinking he got sick, my first thought is CRAP! A sick man on vacation...there goes MY good time! I mosey on over to see what is going on...I see him pull the car keys out of his swim suit pocket. YES! The rental keys that have the electronic car door opener on it!!!! Here we are over a mile from our car, with a wet electronic key...what do we do? We just know, JUST KNOW that it won't work when we get back to the car. At this point, all enjoyment is drained from everyone. We trudge quietly back to our car. Hubby is thankful that he doesn't hear..."I told you to watch those you know how much that will be to replace?" Nope, didn't even think it (for too long, anyway).

Get back to the car. Decision point. Do we try it? Do we try to open the door with the key hoping it doesn't set off the alarm system? So....what do we do?

Push the button.....wait for what seemed like an eternity....we hear a quiet thunk as the locks.....UNLOCK! WHEW...expensive crisis averted. We never got back to the Fishbowl the last trip...I wonder why? Back to my happy place....

Have you ever had something like this happen? Let me know...I would like to hear from you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dream (Nightmare) of Travel Snafus

You ever have one of those dreams where you wake up and go OMG, I am so glad I woke up?!? That happened to me this morning. I am beginning to think that I need to take a trip just to quell the dreams...

In my dream, I was still working at my old, old place of employment but with my current coworkers which is weird in and of itself. It starts at the airport which is 'just across the street' from the office. I get through security only to find out the plane is delayed. Then I realize that I forgot my laptop at the office! As a technology geek and knowing my job requires my computer (ok, my sanity as well) I tell my coworkers I have to go get my laptop and since the plane is delayed, I am going to run and get it. After all, the office is 'just over there'.

As I am going out the door, getting yelled at by security (like THAT ever happens...) I turn back and see the passengers coming off the jet bridge. The plane won't be delayed as much as I thought, I better hurry! So I run across the skywalk (we have those in Minnesota instead of tunnels) and the elevator door is open but the elevator isn't coming all the way down. So, what do I do? I crawl on top of the car and try to push the button. Doesn't work! Oh no, I am going to miss my plane! I get off and plan on taking the stairs up to the 5th floor. As I run through the hallways, I realize that they remodeled the floors, and I have no clue where I am going. I end up in the mechanical room with a catwalk (different than a skywalk). I turn around and the door slams shut behind me! Of course it's a dream! So I run across the catwalk and find the stairs. I rush up to the office. As I pass the windows, I see the plane flying over Lake Superior. They left early. FIGURES!

Sorry guys, I won't be getting to Abbeville today! (Yes, Abbeville of all places! It's in South Carolina, btw!)

Sigh of relief when I hear my son in the hallway coming to wake me up. Any ideas of what this type of dream means? Maybe I need to take a trip sooner rather than later? What do you think? What is the weirdest dream you have had recently?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lake Superior North Shore in March

The sun was shining, my house was clean and I didn't want to spend money today. With plans to go to Duluth's Lakewalk for a stroll, we got a little side tracked and turned left instead of right at highway 61. Thank goodness I remembered my camera. Destination? Gooseberry Falls. The trip was worth a little bit of comedy...there are stairs that go down to the falls and when you get to the bottom this time of year, it is pure ice...

After I got my shots, I started back to my daughter and hubby as a family of 5 were coming down...Mom warns the teen sons "if you didn't know, it's really icy down here" as they skip down the stairs. Son #1 steps of the last step and BAM! Down he goes! Son #2 is just steps behind him...last step down, BAM! down he goes...Yes, I was laughing inside and really wanted to stay and see how many people did the same thing. I know, I know, it was wrong and I am glad nobody was hurt but it really was funny! So here are the pics from our little journey up the shore.

Gooseberry Falls...Still frozen

Upper Falls
Silver Creek Cliff Tunnel heading back home

Icy branches

Ice orbs 

Icy love birds...

Ice falls

Ice branch

Lonely bird

Icy Point

Love Geese!

Ice bench

McQuade Safe harbor

Safety Beacon

Waiting for Spring
Hope you enjoyed! Comments are appreciated...let me know if you have any questions about the North Shore of Lake Superior. If I don't know it, I will find out!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

There's a storm a brewing....

When I am on vacation, I take pictures and lots of them. I have to admit, it's hard to pick my favorites and I always think that I really should have taken more! I find it hard to delete anything off my camera...even the bad ones that are blurred! Thank goodness for the digital age...I would go broke with the cost of film! My only problem is that I am behind the camera and tend to see the sights through my lens...So here are some of my favorite pictures from Moab and the Canyonlands area. The first group is from Arches NP when a storm was working its way through the park. It was my first try at capturing lightning. How many pictures did I have to take to get them? Ummm...remember my comment about thankful we have digital...well it was nearly 500 pics in 30 minutes!
The start of the clouds while hiking...

We took a hike to Landscape Arch and beyond early on in our vacation...this was still when I was extremely wimpy when it came to heights and all that adrenaline pumping stuff the guys liked to do...I admit to not being in shape for the amount of hiking we were planning on doing but figured I would get in shape as we went. At the end of the trip I got really ticked off when I got home to find 50 miles of hiking didn't change the scale...cripes!
They keep billowing

We started seeing the clouds creeping in and we were in a valley...we did not want to be swept away in a flash flood! We high-tailed it back to the truck for safety and none too soon...the lightning started off in the distance. So, true to my self...I insist that we find a place to pull over to watch ( through the lens!) the storm. I started clicking patience paid off. Yes, my hubby's patience was tested but too bad, so was worth it for me...I hope you enjoy~

And the best for last!!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Angel's Landing Pictures

I will spare everyone with more tales of the hike but felt that I really needed to share more pictures from Angel's Landing. Enjoy!

Walters Wiggles looking up.
Safety(?!?!) chain

Looking down (Ok, I didn't look down)

Right on the edge...with a smile on my face!

This was not an illusion. The chain actually was off the edge

This was worse than it looks

This wasn't!

Looking down...gulp!

Ahh, an easy spot!


The river below

Canyon View

The specs at the top of the picture under the tree? People!

Stepping over the edge?

Look how far!