Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Birthday!!

A huge happy birthday to my DH today!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thirsty Tuesday - Seattle

Beer sign in Seattle WA

New Mexico Utah and Colorado trip - 2006

Mileage 2,400 miles put on the rental car.

Used Air Canada points for this trip. Left early April Saturday morning and I didn’t check the terminal as I assumed the flight would leave from terminal 3 Air Canada. Well, we were flying US Air so we scurried over to terminal 2 and checked in quickly as they called for the 6:15am flight to Pittsburg first. Pittsburg airport has all kinds of shopping Nine West, Jockey etc. Picked up some stuff in Jockey at 50% off and then reading glasses 2 for $20.

Then off to Denver airport for a short stop and then into Albuquerque. Bought a sandwich on board – ham on a croissant with raison cinnamon cream cheese – delicious. Arrived around 1pm to really nice weather. Suitcase torn and missing the lock. 

Flying into Albuquerque New Mexico

Picked up communal shuttle to car rental and got a Dodge Stratus with Arizona plates. Hour drive to Santa Fe and checked in at VI Villas de Santa Fe.

Condo is very nice, hotel style on 4th floor. Only has partial kitchen but not a big deal. Went off to Albertson’s for groceries, signed up for discount card, which is really worth it! Yellow Tail wine was only $5.99 with a further 10% discount on 6 bottles. All the food was a really good price. Then back to condo to relax. Had wine, bread and cheese for dinner.

Sunday we had fresh fruit for breakfast and decided to go to factory outlets, we were early so took a drive on the Turquoise Trail to Los Cerridos. Took some pictures and bought earrings for $5. Stopped at a café but since it was Easter it was packed so just took some pictures of the peacocks they had.

Back to Factory outlets which were closed due to Easter! Decided to take car back and walk into Old Town. The condo offers a shuttle into to town but it is only a short 5 block walk. Had a ham sandwich on croissant with cream cheese for lunch. Walked around town, really pretty and lots to see and do. A lot was closed due to the holiday. Had a beer (Alien for me) at the Atomic Café and both got burned by the sun as we didn’t realize how hot it was. Then had chicken and salad for dinner.

Monday we decided to drive to Las Vegas, NM (68 miles northwest of Santa Fe) and Taos. Stopped at Pecos National Park and visited. They had kivas which you could climb down into.

Las Vegas, NM

Las Vegas, NM, nothing really there except for the Teddy Roosevelt Roughrider Museum which we didn’t visit. It has a long history of outlaws "Without exception there was no town which harbored a more disreputable gang of desperadoes, and outlaws than did Las Vegas," said historian Ralph Emerson Twitchell.
Stopped for lunch at the Plaza Hotel Grill. The Plaza Hotel was called "The Belle of the Southwest" when it was built in 1882 – suspended gracefully in the past, the magnificent hotel presides regally over the Old Town Plaza in Las Vegas, New Mexico… the original Las Vegas! Lovingly restored a century later and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We had a Pecos BLT, Blue Chip taco which was 3 beef tacos and 2 Fat Tire beers for $20. which was really good.

Then back in the car to head to Taos. Went directly to the Taos Pueblo and took a tour which was very interesting as the tour guide was a native Indian with a very deep sense of pride. Bought a piece of pottery for $24 and 2 pieces of pie for $6!!
Then drove to the Rio Grande Bridge and Gorge. 

Back to Santa Fe by 7pm.

Tuesday John played golf at Santa Fe Golf Course. I went shopping at Ross and Albertson’s. The mall also has a store that offers cooking classes. Had lunch in and then went to White Rock lookout where you could see Taos 80 miles away and the mountain in front of us was 11,000 ft.

Then on to Bandelier NP and saw some mule deer on the side of the road. Lots of climbing but well worth it as you can climb a ladder into one of the cliff houses.

On to Los Alamos and the historical museum. The curator was very interesting and had known some of the boys who attended the Ranch School before it was taken over by the army.

The Science Museum was just closing so we headed back to Santa Fe. Thought we would buy a new battery for our old camcorder but ended up buying a new Sony Digi camcorder at Best Buy.

Wednesday left at 7:50 am to head up to Utah and temperature was 28 F!! US Senate was holding a hearing on the drought in NM.

Took some pictures of the Valles Calderas and Grande. Hiway 126 is described as a “mountainous unimproved road” and this is putting it kindly! It is unpaved and takes forever to get anywhere. Took some pictures of Fenton Lake. There are 6 one lane bridges to cross. Saw a sign “Crush Smokes”. Crossed the Continental Divide on Highway 550 at 7,380 feet above sea level.

Grabbed lunch at Lotaburger in Farmington – this is a New Mexico chain. Wasn’t bad but it takes a long time for your order to be ready. Onion rings were good though.

Passed Shiprock Arizona and then stopped at Four Corners for some pictures. 

John in 4 different states!

Then continued our drive up to Moab. Arrived around 5pm and found Sunflower Hill Inn B and B which I had booked online. What a beautiful inn! We had the Loft room for 2 nights. If you have a chance definitely book the French bedroom! And try the hot tub at night under the magnificent canopy of stars. Dressing gowns are provided along with extra towels and flashlights. Breakfasts were absolutely delicious and I had the best sausages ever (excepting Irish ones!). Kathleen at the desk couldn’t have been more accommodating and helpful. At her suggestion we booked the High Point Hummer ATV excursion.

Then we walked into town and discovered Utah’s unique alcohol laws when we went to Eddie McStiff’s for a beer. You have to order food if you order a drink so they charge you 75 ¢ for salsa and chips.

Walked around deciding where to eat and settled on Pasta Jay’s. Portions were huge again, good basic pasta. Salad was very good.

Thursday after a great breakfast of fruit, scrambled eggs and sausages we headed to Arches NP. I had never really heard of this Park but John had. 

3 Sisters

Left at 8:15 and the temperate was 30 degrees – had to put the heat on in the car for the 5 miles to the park. .

Wow what a place! Hiked the mile along “Park Avenue” to the “Courthouse”. Also hiked to the North and South and Turret “Windows” and to the Double O and Landscape Arch. Spent 4 hours and left at 1:15 for lunch at the Moab Brewery. 

Food and beer were great, we decided to have the Brew Quesadilla , Jalapeno Beer Fries, and wings.

Decided to do a little pool time until we left for the hummer trip.

Rocks scrapped by the Hummer undercarriages

Lion's Back

This picture has not been "photoshopped", it was sunset.

Arrived at High Point at 6:45 and left with Casey for Hell’s Revenge at Slickrock. We had absolutely no idea of what we were in for. And certainly had no idea that a hummer could climb a rock at 45 degree angle! It was a hoot. Watched cars climb and turn around on Lion’s Back, you have to be crazy!

Went to Buck’s Grill for dinner and learned that in Utah you can bring your own wine in and pay a corkage fee. I had buffalo meat loaf and John had ½ rack of ribs, huge portions once again.

Friday had breakfast at Sunflower and then checked out. On our way to Bluff checked out Hole N the Wall – really trashy funny place.

We decided to turn off highway 95 on the spur of the moment and head towards lake Powell. Stopped to visit Natural Bridges NP and then decided not to continue to Lake Powell but rather head to Monument Valley which was a good decision.

This was the best way to enter Monument Valley as we reached Mowey’s Lookout and it was incredible to see the whole valley from that vantage point. Got to Mexican Hat and wanted lunch but the Swinging Steak only opened for dinner so we ended up at the San Juan Bridge Café and grabbed grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Then we toured Monument Valley on our own. An Indian charged us a dollar for me to sit on his horse with the Valley behind me and John checked out the echo in an other area. Annoyed I didn't get a picture of the Indian.

One of the "mittens"

Stayed at the Desert Rose inn in Bluff Utah link above) for the night in a cabin. Nice but nothing special. Went to the Twin Rock café for a beer and some frybread with different cheeses, delicious but filling. Drove around and then went to the Cottonwood Steak House for dinner.

Saturday drove to Colorado to visit Mesa Verde. This was definitely a highlight.

Again we just grabbed lunch at a Sonic (drive in fast food) and then started the long journey back to Santa Fe. I had made soup before we left so it was perfect when we arrived back at 8pm.

Sunday decided to take it easy and walked downtown and then over to Canyon Road to view all the art galleries, there are so many! Back to town for lunch at the Blue Chip where John had and I had a BLT in a wrap. Then we decided to find the Railyard area which ended up being really close to the condo!

Canyon Road will be the subject of another blog as there was so much to see.
Walked back to Albertson’s and picked up spaghetti for dinner.

Tuesday John golfed at Towa.

Wednesday we drove to Roswell.

The Roswell UFO Incident was the alleged recovery of extra-terrestrial debris, including alien corpses, from an object which crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, USA, on or about July 8, 1947. Since the late 1970s the incident has been the subject of intense controversy and the subject of conspiracy theories as to the true nature of the object which crashed. The United States military maintains that what was actually recovered was debris from an experimental high-altitude surveillance balloon belonging to a classified program named "Mogul"[1]; however, many UFO proponents maintain that in fact a crashed alien craft and bodies were recovered, and that the military then engaged in a cover-up.
The incident has turned into a widely known pop culture phenomenon, making the name Roswell synonymous with UFOs. It ranks as one of the most publicized and controversial alleged UFO incidents.   

Area 51 -The small town of Rachel has become very famous and popular with UFO fanatics because of this. Highway 375 has changed its name to "Alien Highway" as its allegedly the best place to see UFO at night.

Area 51 is a nickname for a military base that is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles (133 km) north-northwest of downtown Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large secretive military airfield. The base's primary purpose is to support development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.The intense secrecy surrounding the base, the very existence of which the U.S. government barely acknowledges, has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.

Thursday John golfed at Black Mesa.

Then we went to Ten Thousand Waves spa, wish we had found this last week! There were no private rooms so we went to the communal pool. When you get to the pool it says “clothing optional”. It was mostly men there, I guess the women prefer going to the women’s one.
It was so amazing that we booked a private room for Friday.

Drove to the 2nd Street Brewery for a beer.

Friday drove up to Sanctuario de Chimayo. Chimayó is located 40 miles south of Taos and 24 miles northeast of Santa Fe, about ten miles east of Espanola in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. It is on Hwy 76, often called the "High Road to Taos" –a scenic route through beautiful old Spanish villages and gorgeous Georgia O'Keeffe-esque landscape vistas.Believed to be built on sacred earth with miraculous healing powers, the legendary shrine El Santuario de Chimayó, is probably the most visited church in New Mexico. The crucifix which began the original shrine still resides on the chapel alter, but for some reason its curative powers have been overshadowed by El Posito, the "sacred sand pit" from which it sprang. Each year during Holy Week thousands of people make a pilgrimage to Chimayó to visit the Santuario and take away a bit of the sacred dirt. Pilgrims walk a few yards or a hundred miles. Many claim to have been cured there of diseases, infirmities and unhappiness. The walls of the sacristy are hung with discarded crutches and before-and-after photographs as evidence of the healing.

Songs heard:

Old Red by Blake Shelton

Shores of Old Mexico

The Chair George Strait

Rambling Fever Haggard

Radio station



American by Birth. Country by the Grace of God

Made with Pride in the US of A



Alien from Roswell


If a man talks in the forest and there is no woman to hear him is he still wrong?


Silverado – filmed at White Rock

Mission Impossible II

Thelma and Louise

Young Guns

Manhattan Project



Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid

City Slickers

Easy Rider

The Last Outlaw


Los Alamos fiction thriller by Joseph Kanon


On a Colorado liquor store – We’ll keep you in good spirits and cold beer

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday's Child - Puerto Vallerta Mexico

I took these pictures in 1982 in Puerto Vallarta on one of our many trips to that town. it was a Saturday in November and the school children were having a parade to celebrate the Mexican Revolution.
It is still a favourite, however, haven't been back since the 90s. Too many other places to visit!
This remains one of my favourite photos even though the quality is not as good as it should be.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Books set in London
This site has an amazing interactive map!

Visiting Nottingham

Picture from website below.

Seems like there's a lot to do in this town. Information below is from various Googles.

Nottingham Tram

From Old Market Square tram stop

First stop has to be Nottingham Castle. Although only a small part of the original castle remains, there is plenty to see. Inside the castle are the famous caves, art gallery and museum. Outside, the gardens are beautifully laid out in summer and the panoramic view isn’t bad either!
Along from the castle is The Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard, housed in five 17th century cottages and depicting the social history of Nottingham over the last 300 years.
Next to Brewhouse Yard is the famous Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem pub, built into the side of the rock underneath the castle, it claims to be the oldest pub in Britain. Make sure you check out the “cursed” galleon and have a go at “ringing the bull”.

Conveniently situated on Maid Marian Way is the Tales of Robin Hood. Have a medieval adventure with England’s best loved outlaw as he wages war against his arch enemy, The Sheriff of Nottingham.
Welcome to Nottingham Castle - a magnificent 17th century ducal mansion built on the site of the original Medieval Castle, with spectacular views across the city. The Castle has a turbulent past, linked to kings and conquerors and still has a maze of original caves hidden beneath its imposing walls.
Opening Times and Admission Prices
The Castle is now closed on a Monday
March - September Open Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm (last admission 4.30pm)
Adults - £5.50
Tickets give joint admission to Nottingham Castle and The Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard (situated approximately 5 minutes walk away on Castle Boulevard)
From 23 March 2010, new admission prices apply - to include the NEW Robin Hood - the Movie, an exhibition of costumes, props and behind the scenes materials! Don't miss your chance to see this unique exhibition which is only running until October.

Here is a Beginner's Guide to Robin Hood -

And I guess we'll have to visit here for a brew.
If you are coming to visit us by the new Nottingham Tram here are a few tips to make sure you don`t get lost. The Nottingham Tram is a great way to travel and trains run every six minutes or so from Nottingham Central Station. We are only a five minute walk from BASFORD station. When you alight the tram go straight to the nearest road which is Nottingham Road - do not go over the rail overpass. Walk to the end (one block) and turn left - this is Church Street. We are only 50 metres along on the left hand side.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Planning the Rose and Thistle Trip - Updates Ongoing

Picture taken by T!!!

Thinking along these lines (dates subject to change):

Fly out on Friday May 21 morning flight to Heathrow.
May 21, 22, 23, 24 London 4 nights London at same hotel K, T and I used royal National or one of their others in the chain
K and B will be coming with us!

We will probably take the train to B'ham and pick up a car when leaving there.
May 25/26 go to Birmingham overnight with Tanya. Have breakfast on this canal barge.
 Visit Nottingham and Sherwood Forrest on May 26.

May 27 Liverpool overnight

May 28 either Newcastle, Hadrian's Wall or else straight into Scotland

May 29 - Apartment is booked in Edinburgh. M and A will join the 4 of us here. The guys can golf to their hearts' content. Golfing plans are with DH to sort out.

Stay in same place for 8 nights and do side trips unless we want to stay maybe overnight in 1 of the cities. Driving distance between Glasgow and Edinburgh is only 42 miles!

June 6 - check out.

June 6 - K and B fly home from Edinburgh.

June 6 - 4 of us will decide where we are going.

June 9 - we will take bus to Heathrow from B'ham for flight home.
M and A will head to Ireland for a few days then back to London and fly home from there.

Now considering extending our trip to return home with M and A??? Depends on the cost to do that.
I thought we went to Glasgow last time but when I checked our photos it was Stirling that I was thinking of that we went to.
Mangocheeks over at made me laugh yesterday as she posted about going to visit Stirling Castle and how the statue of Wallace looked just like Mel Gibson which was exactly our response in 2001 when we saw it.

In Glasgow I want to go to the Peoples' Museum and the Barras. Already have a vegetarian restaurant picked out for M there. The People's Palace -
After visiting there we will stroll over to the Barras market and perhaps lunch at
The 13th Note for lunch as suggested by Mangocheeks in her blog Allotment2kitchen.

As discussed plan is to have 2 cars once the 6 of us are in Scotland. I am checking train pass prices for England but on quick investigation think renting a car will be cheaper and easier since there are golf clubs involved!!