Friday, December 2, 2016

New York/Pet Shop Boys - Day 5

The time for leaving finally came, as it always does.  We had an afternoon flight on Monday the 14th, so we had a relaxing morning packing and having breakfast.

Dough at City Kitchen was so good that we went back again for our last New York breakfast.  This time I had a really well made cafe au lait donut that I savored while watching the world go by out on the street.

We walked back to the W, grabbed our packed bags and checked out.  Our Uber driver took us to LaGuardia and after getting through security we had about an hour and a half until our flight.

We'll be sharing our flight today with, let's see...
...looks like Olaf the snowman and Peppa the pig.  Their 4-5 year-old owner and her dad sat down in the chairs right across from us even though the whole gate area was available - can't really blame them though as it was right by the windows.  She plopped her friends on the window ledge then spent the rest of her waiting time watching a movie on a cell phone while chewing on her blanket - it was sopping wet when her dad took it away from her before they got up to board.  The blanket, not the cell phone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

New York/Pet Shop Boys - Day 4

This was Sunday the 13th and our last full day in New York.

We slept in and so it was nearing lunchtime when we left the hotel.  We walked a few blocks to Toasties on 49th and sat at the window as we ate.  I had the Cordon Bleu (on a roll) which was a chicken cutlet with grilled honey baked ham, melted mozzarella, grilled onions, lettuce & tomato.  It was delicious.

When lunch was finished we took the R train downtown to the Oculus and One World Trade Center.  The Oculus is a transportation hub for the area, but it's also a giant shopping mall.

Waiting at the 49th Street station
Having fun with the Prisma App:





Arriving in Lower Manhattan at the Oculus.  Not very crowded when we arrived...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New York/Pet Shop Boys - Day 3

This was Saturday the 12th.  We started out the day with Dough at City Kitchen.  City Kitchen is a collection of different food vendors brought together in one space.  Dough makes donuts.  Large, very delicious donuts.

I had the salad-plate-sized mocha almond crunch
Todd's dulce de leche with toasted almonds

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Almost Forgot

I forgot to add in my last post that I picked up this neat "pop up theater" in the Dairy visitor center/gift shop while in Central Park:

The laser cut paper construction comes flat in a envelope-sized package.  Once removed you bend the folds in the opposite direction to form a cube.



While I don't see it online, the Central Park Conservancy does have other great items available in their shop on the web.

New York/Pet Shop Boys - Day 2

Friday, November 11th - a great day for a stroll through Central Park.

We started off with breakfast at Kellog's NYC, a branded cereal bar just down the street from our hotel.  This was a "Malted Nutty Banana" which included Krave chocolate cereal, malted milk powder, toasted hazelnuts, sliced banana, and skim milk.  It was a good combination.
Who doesn't love cereal?  Not this guy.
USS Maine National Monument at the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park.
Subtitle:  Three youth at rest.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

New York/Pet Shop Boys - Day 1

On Monday we returned from a 4-day trip to New York where we saw the Pet Shop Boys again in concert at the theater at Madison Square Garden.  This was our third trip to New York (the last was in November of 2014 - read about it starting here), so we didn't do some of the typical sightseeing this time.

Let's jump right in, shall we?

We flew American this time and were served breakfast on the plane.  I had steel cut oatmeal with shaved coconut and dried fruit, brown sugar, and butter.  It came with vanilla yogurt, a side of fresh fruit, and milk.  Todd had biscuits and gravy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Birthday Phantom

After our return from Vegas, for her birthday we took my mom to see the national tour of the new production of The Phantom of the Opera at Bass Hall in downtown Fort Worth.

The cast was excellent as was the production.  The new staging was innovative and fresh, but the standout (for me) was Katie Travis as Christine DaaĆ© - what a talent!  Go see this show if you can.

Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth, TX (taken from the parking garage)
Looking up at the covered infamous chandelier before the show starts
The chandelier after the "crash" at the end of Act 1.  Even though I've seen the Phantom before, it was still quite dramatic especially since we were underneath it.  Mom (and I) got a chuckle that I gave out a little involuntary yell when it came down.  :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Vegas/Pet Shop Boys - Day 3

It had been swell, but it was time to go home.  I highly recommend that you go see the Pet Shop Boys on tour if you can, even if you're not a longtime fan - the songs, sounds and visuals are great and it's a fun evening.  If not, at least give their newest album Super a listen (and while you're at it check out Electric too).  Great stuff!

Arriving at McCarran International Airport and heading...no Todd, that's not our airline.
Goodbye Las Vegas
Quarry
Hoover Dam
Back home.  Now, where did we park the car?

Thanks for reading - see you again soon!

Vegas/Pet Shop Boys - Day 2

The day of the Pet Shop Boys concert and the morning was bright and clear.  We slept in until 10-ish because, Vegas, then got ready and headed out.  Our only goal for the daytime was to walk over to The Cosmopolitan and find out where exactly we needed to go later that night.

Good morning Las Vegas

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Vegas/Pet Shop Boys - Day 1

Last week we took a short trip to Las Vegas to see the Pet Shop Boys in concert.  We're big fans and always catch them on tour, but this year they didn't come to Dallas.  What to do?  Well...

The Vegas show was the first U.S. stop on their SUPER tour.  We flew out the day before the concert and flew home the day after.

Todd (and my desk) is a mess
That's better.  At Love Field enjoying a Dunkin' Donut before our flight
Hanging above Todd's head is SKY by artist Brower Hatcher

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

South Dakota Road Trip - The Journey Home

Well, all good things must come to an end, so it was on this day that we had to pack up and start for home.  We planned to drive back to Salina, KS, albeit via a different route from the way we came, then drive home the following morning.

We had breakfast, then sandwiches were made for the road and put with a couple of bottles of frozen water in the small collapsable cooler we brought.  Todd loaded up the car and we we were off...almost.  We made a short stop down at Sylvan Lake for one last look before driving to the lodge to check out.

Goodbye you gorgeous place
After checking out at Sylvan Lake Lodge, we were truly on our way...well, almost.  Our route took us south past Wildlife Loop Road and as we passed through, lo and behold:  buffalo!

Hello sir

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

South Dakota Road Trip - Day 6 - The Rest

This is part 3 of a 3-part post about the 6th day of our trip.  See part 1 here and part 2 here.


Let's see...where did we leave off?  Oh yes: it was 1pm and Todd and I had just returned to the cabin after our hike up Harney Peak (now known as Black Elk Peak.

We got out the sandwich stuff and Mom, Todd, Shirley and I sat down for lunch.  After our sandwiches and chips we cleaned up and got in the car - the plan was to spend our last day in Custer driving around the park.

A map of the park

Monday, October 24, 2016

South Dakota Road Trip - Day 6: Summit

This is part 2 of a 3-part post about the 6th day of our trip.  See part 1 here.

Picking up where I left off in the last post:  Todd and I had just hiked up to Harney Peak (now known as Black Elk Peak) and were about to enter this cave:

The mysterious cave
Turns out it's not a cave - it's a rock chamber that's open on top.  Along one wall there's a set of steps that spirals up...
...to these stairs which bisect the top of the chamber.

South Dakota Road Trip - Day 6: Ascent

Today was the big day:  Our hike to the top of Harney Peak (now known as Black Elk Peak), which is the tallest point in the U.S east of the Rockies.

We'd been looking forward to this ever since we planned the trip!  Todd and I got an early start (Mom and Shirley stayed in the cabin area and went to the lodge) and arrived at the Cathedral Spires trailhead right at 7am - we were the only ones in the parking lot and the first ones up the trail.

The trail from Cathedral Spires to the peak and back is 7+ miles, and the elevation at the peak is 7,242 feet with an elevation gain from our starting point of about 1500 feet.  Harney Peak is the tallest At the summit is an abandoned fire tower that is open to hikers.

Wildlife spotted along the way:  chipmunks (so many chipmunks), deer, woodpeckers, squirrels, hawks, various other birds.  There are no bears here, but there are mountain lions; luckily we didn't come across any.

There's a lot of pics for this day, so I've broken it up into three separate posts:  Ascent, Summit, and The Rest (of the day).  I'll try to keep the text brief.

Let's start with the ascent.

The car's done a great job so far on this trip.  Time for the wheels to have a rest while we put our legs to work.
Wish us luck - in case we don't make it back

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pet Shop Boys In Concert In Las Vegas

Just returned from a quick trip to Las Vegas to see the Pet Shop Boys SUPER tour - had a great time! I can't wait to share it with you, but first let me finish up with posting about South Dakota.  Next post coming soon!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

South Dakota Road Trip - Day 5

On this day we visited the Crazy Horse Memorial and walked around Sylvan Lake by our cabin.

I woke up early and was the first one ready, so I walked down to Sylvan Lake for some photos.  The lake was formed in 1881 when a dam was built across a gulch, and is most recognized as a location from the movie National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

The morning was brisk and still and beautiful.

Heading down from the cabin
A variety of watercraft are available for rental

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

South Dakota Road Trip - Day 4

This was the day we migrated from Rapid City to Custer State Park.  After a leisurely morning spent having breakfast and coffee at Alternative Fuel Coffee House then walking around downtown one last time, we packed up the car and checked out.

Gardener's quiche and vanilla latte at Alternative Fuel.  Yummy!  On a scale of 1 to 10, I gave it a 12.
A great little coffee shop/eatery in downtown Rapid City

Sunday, October 16, 2016

South Dakota Road Trip - Day 3

I believe we were talking about breakfast?  We needed delicious fuel to start the day before visiting Wall Drug and Badlands National Park:

Waffles with yogurt and fruit at Tally's Silver Spoon

Friday, October 14, 2016

South Dakota Road Trip - Day 2

An early start today on a bright and beautiful morning.  After the complimentary breakfast at the hotel (omelettes, sausage, biscuit, cereal, banana, juice, coffee - you know I'm not much of a breakfast eater but on vacation I love a big breakfast to start the day) we checked out and were on the road at 8am.

Oh, what a beautiful morning!
Yes, I know that's from the musical Oklahama!; as soon as they make a musical called Kansas! you be sure to let me know.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

South Dakota Road Trip - Day 1

South Dakota here we come!

When we decided on relatively short notice that we wanted to take a road trip with my mom and my aunt Shirley, we knew that we wanted to go someplace familiar that would be a great getaway.  South Dakota quickly topped the list.

Todd and I had previously driven to South Dakota in 2013, and had had a great trip.  Custer State Park was a standout of that last journey, so this time we knew we wanted to stay in the park.  With that in mind we booked a cabin and set the following itinerary:

Day 1:  Drive from Dallas to Salina, KS - check in to the Holiday Inn Express
Day 2:  Drive to Rapid City, SD - check in to the Hotel Alex Johnson
Day 4:  Check in to the cabin at Sylvan Lake Lodge in Custer State Park
Day 7:  Drive back to Salina and stay at the Holiday Inn
Day 8:  Drive home

When the day came we loaded up the car with luggage, snacks of nuts and dried fruits, and were on our way.  So, with that out of the way, let's be off!

Our chariot awaits!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Universal Orlando Trip - Day 5: Going Home

All good things must come to an end, and so we had to bid farewell to Universal Orlando and the Loews Royal Pacific Resort.  It was hard too because we woke up to such a beautiful day:

Hard to leave, but it's gorgeous after days of rain and it's Saturday - crowds are sure to be out in full force.  Our timing seemed to work out perfectly.
Todd's in good spirits waiting for the shuttle to the airport
Just plane fun
Ha ha, made you laugh
Why is the window wet?  Adjust focus...

...oh crap.  What happened to the great weather?!
This looked a lot worse in person - like the hurricane had circled back around and was headed straight for us.  The plane took forever to taxi - we kept willing it to go faster.
Phew! - we beat the storm and weren't delayed.  It didn't take long to go from this...
...to this.  Then it was clear skies all the way home.

We had a great time.  Next time (next year?), we're planning on going during Halloween Horror Nights.  They were setting up some of the outdoor areas while we were there and it already looked amazing.  Can't wait!

Thanks for reading.  Coming up next:  South Dakota - so stick around, we'll be right back!  ;o)