Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!

This past Sunday, the country’s most recognizable bridge celebrated its 75th birthday. Constructed in 1937 and painted international orange, the Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County. We visited San Francisco in 2009 and one of our first orders of business was to head down the Golden Gate to take the obligatory tourist photographs. Watching the bridge peek through the thick fog was an amazing sight and one I could never get sick of seeing.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gateway to the West

Standing at 630 feet, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis is the nation’s tallest man-made monument. Completed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen in 1965, the Arch commemorates Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States. The Arch is located at the site of St. Louis' foundation, on the west bank of the Mississippi River. Back in 1764, this was the spot where Pierre Lacl├Ęde told his aide, Auguste Chouteau to build a city.

Up close, the Arch is just so impressive and it is hard to gauge how massively tall this structure is until you are standing under it. Or hugging it, like I did. Trying to photograph the Arch proved next to impossible and I became quite the contortionist to try and get the whole thing in the frame. If you think you’re going to get a cute picture standing underneath of the Arch, you can pretty much forget it. See below for reference. Ironically, I think my best photograph of it was taken while we were on a tour bus driving through downtown St. Louis.

Beneath the Arch, you will find the Museum of Westward Expansion. This museum is chock full of artifacts from our nation’s pioneer days, from tools and guns to the covered wagons of the explorers, pioneers, cowboys and Native Americans who helped forge our nation. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we didn’t spend a lot of time in here but got the general idea of what it was all about.

Our biggest regret is not travelling up to the top of the Arch. We didn’t realize that ‘Journey to the Top’ tickets sell out pretty quickly each day and were long gone by the time we got there. I’m sure the view from those little windows at the top of the Arch would have been worth climbing into that extremely claustrophobic tram ride for. Next time!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Missouri: Photo Album!

Sharing photos is usually something I do pretty quickly after a vacation.  But for some reason this last vacation sucked out all of my energy and I've been having the hardest time getting back into the swing of things!  Laziness has gotten the best of me and I must confess that I actually JUST uploaded all my pictures yesterday.  Oops. 

Below are a few of my favorite snapshots from our last trip.  Recaps, reviews and stories to come!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

99 Things

It's a new year for the blog and I am shaking things up a bit.  I saw this post on my friend Courtney's blog and since a lot of it had to do with places I've been, thought it would be fun!

Rules, bold things you have done. (My count is 28.)

1. Started your own blog (duh!)

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland (I’m counting Disneyworld)

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning (Thank you, Ranch 1)

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (private tour, no less!)

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square (pretty much every day)

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Got a tattoo

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

Monday, May 7, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!


It appears that while we were on vacation, my blog celebrated its first birthday!  Kind of appropriate, no?  I've truly enjoyed sharing stories of our adventures this past year and hope to share many more ideas, suggestions and reviews in the coming year.

A big THANK YOU to all my followers, all those who have left sweet comments and anyone who has landed on this blog and stayed long enough to read a post.  I'd also like to thank my wonderful husband for encouraging me to keep blogging even on the days that I wanted to quit because I thought no one was reading. 

Look for some fun things to come in the next year.  And as always, please send any and all suggestions my way.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Travel Goals vs. Travel Realities: Missouri

Now that we’re back from our latest trip, I thought I’d revisit the travel goals that I set to see how we did this time around.

Go to the top of the St. Louis Arch
We tried to do this but by the time we got there, tickets for the trip up were already sold out. However, we did get to spend ample time with the Arch and that made us happy.

Drive part of Route 66
Route 66 goes through St. Louis and we certainly found ourselves driving on it during our rides around town. One of the best places along Route 66 that we stopped at involved goal #3 below.

Have some Ted Drewes frozen custard
Oh.My.God. Heaven in a paper cup.

Try and find some of the houses in Missouri that my dad lived in when he was a kid
The house was definitely rebuilt, but we found the block and address that my dad lived at in O’Fallon. What a cute little town!  We didn't make it to the other two towns because my dad wasn't really sure of the addresses and we didn't feel like attempting to follow his cryptic instructions on where they were located.

Eat some kick ass Kansas City BBQ
Jack Stack BBQ did not disappoint. Between the two of us, we ate a menagerie of BBQ goodness - turkey, beef, sausage, chicken and pork. YUM!

Revisit Nebraska and actually get out of the car
Yeah, this didn’t happen. Driving from St. Louis to Kansas City was about 4 hours and the thought of taking another long road trip was not something we wanted to do. We did venture into Kansas though, so another state checked off!