The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

What is it about the Grand Canyon that causes people to visit by the tens of thousands yearly.  Is it merely it’s size,  it’s  massive expanse of gorges, ridges and rock formations. Or as simple as the magnificent  views it provides.

When you think how big the Grand Canyon actually is it can be a bit overwhelming trying to plan a trip or family vacation especially if you’ve never visited before.

In this posting we will try to simplify the areas of interests, things to do, places to stay with easy descriptions.  One click reservation and booking options available as well.

 This beautiful gift of nature offers so much more that beautiful views. There is world class white water rafting, houseboat rentals, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, burro descents, guided tours, and so much more.

The best time to visit is March through May and September through November when daytime temperatures are cool and the crowds are thin. If you decide to visit during the summer  be prepared for the heat, expect limited accommodations not to mention the massive crowds.

Grand Canyon Map
Basically this giant natural wonder can be broken down into four major areas.

The North Rim – The South Rim – The East Descent – The West Descent – There are wonderful tours offers in each of these areas and each of them offer their own special charm and terrain.

 

North Rim Tours

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Kanab.     -8.6 Stars-

Canyons Bouquet Hotel

Grand Canyon Tours from the South Rim offer the broadest range of experiences from Rafting, Helicopter, Airplane, Motorcoach, Jeep, Biking and much, much more. Click here to learn about all of your Grand Canyon South Rim tour options.
Hotels – South Rim These hotels are near the Rim from Tusayan,  Valle, Williams, and  Flagstaff. 
 How about a Train Ride through the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon Railway, is a heritage railroad which carries passengers between Williams, Arizona, and the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The 64-mile railroad, built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, was completed on September 17, 1901
Be picked up in Flagstaff and then whisked away by your Grand Canyon Adventure guide to the hidden gems of Northern Arizona.  Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend both are highly accessible when you are visiting the Grand Canyon and are not to be missed. These two special places are hands-down  the most iconic images of the Southwest. Although this adventure has a 1/4 mile and a 3/4 mile hike, it can be done by nearly anyone. Book your Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Tour today by checking availability below.
The Antelope Canyon with Rafting adventure is the Number 1 tour in Northern Arizona that combines 3 tours into one. Not only will you see Grand Canyon, Marble Canyon, and Glen Canyon…but you also hike through Antelope Canyon! 
You will fly over Grand Canyon, then take a 4 Wheel drive vehicle to world famous Antelope Canyon, and then float down the Colorado River through magnificent Glen Canyon just before Grand Canyon begins…
 What an unforgettable day this will be for you.  The Antelope Canyon With Rafting adventure will get you to the bottom of the Canyon! Air Tour,  4×4 Tour, and Float Trip – ALL in ONE!
Horseshoe Bend
Be picked up in Flagstaff and then whisked away by your Grand Canyon Adventure guide to the hidden gem of Northern Arizona.   Horseshoe Bend,  highly accessible when you are visiting the Grand Canyon and  not to be missed.  Hands-down  the most iconic image offering of the Southwest. Although this adventure has a 1/4 mile hike, it can be done by nearly anyone. 

Here’s an ideal tour for travelers who want to experience the Grand Canyon from top to bottom and stay on solid ground. On the Inner Canyon Tour, you’ll experience some of Arizona’s living history from the rim to the river – and places in between.

Reserve Inner Canyon Tour Here

This full day adventure begins in Williams, Arizona where you’ll board our coach or van. As you relax in our spacious, comfortable seats, you’ll travel along one of the last remaining stretches of the original Historic Route 66 route to Peach Springs, AZ in the Hualapai Nation.

At Peach Springs, Arizona you’ll descend to the bottom of the Grand Canyon! As you descend down Diamond Creek into the depths of the chasm, watch as massive canyon walls begin to tower over you, and marvel at views of the spectacular landscape and unusual desert plants. 

You may even catch a glimpse of a wild burro. Once we reach the Colorado River, you’ll break for a leisurely lunch on the very bank of the mighty river.

You’ll have plenty of time to explore, photograph, and take in the incredible scenery before returning to Peach Springs and back to Williams, Arizona via Route 66 and Interstate 40.

Antelope Canyon Tour From Las Vegas Reserve Here

-South Rim Hotels-

Canyon Plaza Resort

Dumplin Patch Bed & Breakfast

Cable TV, Free WiFi, Hot Tub, Snack Bar, and  Private Entrances. Located 30 minutes from the Grand Canyon and Grand Canyon National Park . Also breakfast complimentary is included.

The Grand Hotel

Main amenities

121 smoke-free guest rooms, restaurant and bar/lounge, Indoor pool, breakfast available, fitness center, 24-hour business center, Terrace, 24-hour front desk, Coffee/tea in a common area, air conditioning, daily housekeeping, computer station, Free WiFi and free parking, Free cribs/infant beds, Rollaway/extra beds (free), microwave, refrigerator, premium TV channels

Holiday Inn Express

This is the most kid-friendly hotel when visiting the South Rim.. Continental breakfast included,  indoor swimming pool and clean comfy rooms.

Want to go to The North and South Rim on the same Trip?  

Continue reading “The Grand Canyon”

Get Paid For Flight Delays and Cancellations

Secrets The Airlines Keep To Themselves

Get Paid For Delays and Cancellations!

 

About AirHelp: Here to Help Air Passengers

About AirHelp: Here to Help Air Passengers

From their foundation as a startup in 2013, AirHelp has grown into the world’s largest air passenger rights advocate. To date, they’ve helped over 13 million passengers understand their rights and secure compensation for delayed, canceled, or overbooked flights. They’ve helped countless more through our fight for justice. A company that  stands up to airlines in court, and  campaigns for national governments to introduce fair air travel rights.

About AirHelp: Here to Help Air Passengers

They make claiming compensation straightforward for all passengers who are unsure of their rights, lack the time, or lack the expertise to embark on the claims process themselves.  Continually investing in data and cutting-edge technology to power an easy-to-use website and makecustomers’ claims even smoother.

Visit AirHelp

They also speak 16 languages, and have a global staff of 700 that includes the world’s largest team of lawyers specialized in air passenger rights. Combined with local knowledge from a network of law firms across 30 countries, they are uniquely placed to help air passengers all around the world.

Introducing: Henrik Zillmer, AirHelp Founder and CEO

About AirHelp: Here to Help Air Passengers

Henrik is a serial entrepreneur, first lieutenant, Y Combinator alumnus, and former Rocket Internet exec, as well as the founder and CEO of AirHelp.

As an avid traveler himself, Zillmer founded AirHelp following a terrible experience on a disrupted flight. His goal, along with co-founders Nicolas Michaelsen and Greg Roodt, was to make it as easy as possible for other air passengers to assert their legal rights.

Today, Henrik is an influential figure in both the travel and tech industries. He’s still working tirelessly to raise public awareness of air passengers rights. And he’s still traveling – he’s a keen kite surfer and backcountry skier.

Visit AirHelp

The organization has achieved a lot since they started in 2013

13 Million Passengers Helped

Over 6 years they’ve explained air passenger rights to 13 million travelers and helped them claim compensation.

Justice as a Service

Previously passengers couldn’t afford to take big airlines to court. With our no win, no fee promise everyone can afford justice.

Legal Landmarks

They fight to make the laws fairer and clearer. Now everyone benefits from these rulings.

16 Languages

They started in English, but now explain passenger rights whether you parle français or forstår dansk.

30+ Countries

Air travel is global and so are they. Worldwide and work with legal teams in over 30 nations.

700 Employees

The dedicated teams include customer service, tech and air travel experts, all working to help air passengers.

 

Visit AirHelp

Best of Vegas

Did you know purchasing Show Tickets and Amusement Options when in Las Vegas can at times cost twice what you might pay with advanced purchase, “and get the worst seats in the house.”

 

BEST OF VEGAS

We have been visiting Las Vegas for years and just recently found what is the absolute best option for tickets and pretty much everything else at the best prices. They are a ticket broker actually located in Las Vegas.

BEST OF VEGAS

Piff The Magic Dragon Tickets at BestofVegas.com- key art

PIFF THE MAGIC DRAGO.   SAVE $28

REVIEWS

BEST OF VEGAS

BEST OF VEGAS

Glow In The Dark Beaches. Really!

 Something off the SYFI Channel?   Nope.

And after a short description of this phenomenon we’re going to find out where these beautiful beaches are and hotels within walking distance. .You don’t need to make a trip halfway around the world. There are plenty of locations you can experience this occurrence. Luckily, most of them are lovely vacation destinations.

Its Called Bioluminescence

The glow is caused by plankton, there are other species as well that display this ability.  There are over 1,500 types of fish  that luminesce—not including other creatures like jellyfish, sea stars and certain types of sharks. Most luminescent creatures live in a warm water environment, a few live on land. Can anyone say fireflies, also railroad worms and even the millipede.

Bioluminescence is light produced by a chemical reaction within a living thing.

Every reaction requires two chemicals,

Luciferin 

An organic substance, present in luminescent organisms such as fireflies, that produces light when oxidized by the action of the enzyme luciferase.
“the host organism must possess luciferin, a molecule that reacts with oxygen to create light”

and  Luciferase

Luciferase is a generic term for the class of oxidative enzymes that produce bioluminescence, and is usually distinguished from a photoprotein. 

Luciferin is the chemical that actually produces the light and determines what color it will be.

If that was a bit to much to chew on and you want to know more heres a link.

What causes Bioluminescence?

Those colors and their brightness can vary greatly depending on the type of animal and where it lives, but most marine creatures tend to be somewhere on the blue-green spectrum. Some of them emit light continuously, while some only shimmer when disturbed.

All of them glow for very specific reasons, although it’s not the same for every creature. For some, its to hunt prey. For others, to find mates. And yet others use it as a defense mechanism.

These neon lights are so amazing that some travelers plan their entire vacations around the bioluminescent high season.

In October and September you can experience Bioluminescence in San Diego on the beaches of La Jolla and Torrey Pines 

La Jolla

Torrey Pines 

Best Value and Closest Hotels near by –

Inn By The Sea La Jolla     Click For Info

Inn By The Sea La Jolla    Click For Info  

 

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, La Jolla.   Click For Info

La Valencia La Jolla.  Click for Info

Next Stop       Manasquan Beach, New Jersey, 

Where the Manasquan River and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Manasquan is a popular family tourist destination. Manasquan has a long sandy beach that proudly takes up a mile of the popular vacation destination The Jersey Shore. The sand is sleek and world class. The downtown is loaded with restaurants that will suit everyone. Nicely scattered shopping as well.  The most curious attraction “Bioluminescence” occurs during low tide with a dark sky present and just a trace of a crescent moon. Jersey’s blue and gold glowing waters are caused by algea  The algae puts on quite a show of eerie glowing gold and blue colors every time the water is disturbed. Sometimes even red. This is best viewed June thru September.
Inn on Main Hotel, Manasquan.   Click For Info
Inn on Main Hotel, Manasquan.   Click For Info
Lets make a stop in Jamaica

Luminous Lagoon, Jamaica

Its twice as nice when a beautiful place already, is kissed by nature. Luminous Lagoon. There are three tiny organisms creating this beautiful display. The coast can glow blue, green, or red every time it’s disturbed. The warm water rich in nutrients encourages the growth of these tiny algaeor. This spectacular colorful display attracts thousands of tourists, vacationers, students, business travelers, even the locals love swimming  among the stars.
Hotels on The Lagoon
Check Out This Value – As Low as $68 a Night
Look What $54 A Night Gets You

As long as we have no rules on our journey, Lets go back to the US where they filmed one of my favorite movies Goonies. Washington State.

Thinking back when this motion picture came out, we were so young thinking how we were the personalities in the film and which caricature we were most connected too. I just smile. 

San Juan Island, Washington State

Far away from warm tropical waters  San Juan Island has its own attractions – spectacular surrounding landscape, pebbled beaches, pods of passing orcas, and one of the largest lavender farms in the country. You wouldn’t expect to see bioluminescence in these waters but surprisingly, the waters around San Juan Island are are loaded with spectacular bioluminescence. The constant tidal exchange brings water rich in nutrients, this is a great condition for the growth of bioluminescent algae. This type of bioluminescence shines it’s brightest right before the sun sets when the algae accumulates in the shallow bay. The species of organisms that create bioluminescence in the San Juan waters are dinoflagellates known as Noctiluca.

The best way to experience this event is with the help of-“BIOLUMINESCENCE KAYAKING SAN JUAN ISLANDS”

San Juan Islands Original Bioluminescence 4 Hour Kayak Tour
Ages 12 and Up / Best May Thru September

 Leading the way this small and very knowledgeable company created the  Tour 7 years ago. When you read about bioluminescence paddling on San Juan Island, you are reading about Discovery Sea Kayaks. They have the most experience on the water at night, with a great caring staff and all the tips to keep you safe..

The San Juan Islands of Washington State have significant tidal exchanges that create swift currents and ocean upwellings. These upwellings yield highly nutrient rich bodies of water, creating an environment with a wide diversity of microorganisms. The bioluminescent creatures thrive here, creating their own light. The best part is your are kayaking at night in the ocean. How fun does that sound! 

Their link will be posted after we find a few great places to stay.

Hotels

Bird Rock Hotel, Friday Harbor.   Click For Info

Lets Go To Puerto Rico

Mosquito Bay

Mosquito Bay, better known as Bioluminescent Bay,  is a tranquil, warm, shallow bay on the southern shore of the Puerto Rico island .
The bay is world famous for its extreme bioluminescence, it may just produce the brightest lights in the world.  Kayak to the middle of the bay and watch the of light  with every paddle of your oar.
Hotels
The Vieques Guesthouse. $94 Per Night.  Click For Info

 
Australia’s largest network of inland waterways are formed by Gippsland Lake. The waterways are famous for many reasons, swimming, canoeing, fan boating, snorkeling and scuba, dolphin watching, paddle boating or simply a relaxing day on her shores. Or join a tour to see some rare glowing algae. It started in Australia in 2006  when bush fires, and torrential rains washed too much organic matter into the lakes, causing a massive algae bloom.  Now when the waters are disturbed at night a wonderful blueish light appears. This s a year round event. 

 

Mosquito Lagoon is located in the heart of Florida. The Lagoon is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and the Indian River Lagoon system, between Ponce de León Inlet and the north end of Merritt Island. The lagoon runs right through the city of New Smyrna Beach,  next to the Canaveral National Seashore and the Kennedy Space Center. The area offers boat rides, kayaking, swimming, tubbing and various other types of water activities. You can also hire tour guides to take you out at night and be amazed by the bright blue and green lights that fire up with every disruption of the water.  Also kayak creating your own light show as you splash through the lagoon. They don’t recommend swimming alone in the evening hours due to alligator activity. This is a beautiful area in Florida

Hotels
I truly hope you take advantage of this wonderful experience no matter which location you decide to visit. We will be doing San Diego in September, the temperature will  in the upper 80s and low 90s. If you’ve ever experienced luminescence and have photos. Please Share! We would love to see them.
Happy Travels!
Chris

Airport Parking Got You Down WAY.COM To The Rescue…

There’s something very wrong when parking costs more than the airline  tickets when budgeting for that dream vacation. Anyone that flies can attest to the pain. 

Even the remote lots or the extended stay areas can be a bit much as well, and they are a must when the vacation plans or extended holiday adventures exceed five or more days. Most people book their flights out months in advance, almost no one plans ahead when it comes to how they’re actually going to get to the airport much less park.
I found  (WAY.COM ) last year and have used them ever since.
Lets look at our options

The Top 5 Cheapest Airports for Parking

Least Expensive Airline Parking Top 5 TravelBankThe Top 5 Most Expensive Airports for Parking

Most Expensive Airline Parking Top 5 TravelBank

Now Here’s a Better –

Ok, even if you decide to park in the extended lots or as some airports call them (remote lots) 99% of the time they are off the airport’s property so you will be needing to take a shuttle back to your airport terminal. I’ve witnessed families trying to juggle their suit cases, loading them onto the shuttle then unloading them curbside, only having to drag them once again to the check-in counter to present them to be checked in. Here’s a quick tip- before you park, drive up to the curbside check-in and give the valet your bags. Then Park. Now you have nothing to carry.  

Now lets change the way we think about airport parking. Way.com is the leading all-in-one service marketplace. Parking, Latest Events, Dining and more.  Way.com  has connected with all  the hotels that surround  major airports and  is now marketing their parking lots in hopes of generating an extra revenue for each property. The hotels have even agreed to shuttle guests that are using the service back to the airports at no charge.

Just look at these deals in the Dallas / Ft Worth Area

You can check on your departure city from any link.  Enjoy!

Embassy Suites by Hilton Dallas DFW Airport Parking SPECIAL DEAL

Offer

Embassy Suites by Hilton Dallas DFW Airport Parking SPECIAL DEAL

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 1.5 mi to DFW airport
Shuttle IconShuttle tracking

Red Roof Inn Dallas - DFW Airport North Parking

Offer

Red Roof Inn Dallas – DFW Airport North Parking

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 2.0 mi to DFW airport
Shuttle IconFree Shuttle

DFW Airport Hotel & Conference Center Airport Parking

Offer

DFW Airport Hotel & Conference Center Airport Parking

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 2.0 mi to DFW airport Min 1 day
Shuttle IconShuttle tracking

JoyPark DFW Airport Parking Exclusive DEAL

Offer

JoyPark DFW Airport Parking Exclusive DEAL

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 2.0 mi to DFW airport
Shuttle IconFree Shuttle
Super 8 Grapevine - Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport parking

Super 8 Grapevine – Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport parking

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 3.0 mi to DFW airport Min 1 day
Shuttle IconFree Shuttle
Sheraton Hotel Parking Dallas (DFW) Airport Parking

Sheraton Hotel Parking Dallas (DFW) Airport Parking

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 2.0 mi to DFW airport Min 1 day
Shuttle IconFree Shuttle
Park N FLY Dallas Airport Parking

Park N FLY Dallas Airport Parking

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 0.7 mi to DFW airport
Shuttle IconFree Shuttle

Clarion Inn & Suites North (DFW) Airport Parking SPECIAL DEAL

Offer

Clarion Inn & Suites North (DFW) Airport Parking SPECIAL DEAL

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 2.0 mi to DFW airport Min 1 day
Shuttle IconFree Shuttle

La Quinta Inn & Suites DFW Airport South Irving

Offer

La Quinta Inn & Suites DFW Airport South Irving

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 2.0 mi to DFW airport
Shuttle IconFree Shuttle

Comfort Suites DFW Airport Parking

Offer

Comfort Suites DFW Airport Parking

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 2.0 mi to DFW airport
Shuttle IconFree Shuttle
Park ‘N Fly Dallas Fort Worth Airport Parking

Park ‘N Fly Dallas Fort Worth Airport Parking

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 2.5 mi to DFW airport Min 1 day
Shuttle IconFree Shuttle
Doubletree Hotel Parking - Dallas (DFW) Airport Parking

Doubletree Hotel Parking – Dallas (DFW) Airport Parking

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 2.5 mi to DFW airport Min 1 day
Shuttle IconFree Shuttle

Park N Fly Dallas Ft. Worth Airport Parking

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 1.2 mi to DFW airport Min 3 days
Shuttle IconFree Shuttle
Marriott Hotel Parking - Dallas (DFW) Airport Parking

Marriott Hotel Parking – Dallas (DFW) Airport Parking

5.0 Star Icon for Rating 2.0 mi to DFW airport Min 3 days
Shuttle IconFree Shuttle

(WAY.COM  Save On Parking  – Click Here )

Happy Travels!

Chris

SLEEP WITH THE FISHIES – Key Largo Florida

JULES’ UNDERSEA LODGE

Have you ever wanted to sleep on the ocean floor? Sound a bit strange, who knows! For those with an open mind and an adventurous spirt this may be for you.

Have you ever wanted to be certified so you could enjoy the thrill of scuba diving? A lot of us have and have never been in an environment to acquire these skills. Here is an opportunity that should at least be considered. Its a two for one!

JULES’ UNDERSEA LODGE

At first glance Jules Undersea Lodge might seem like another over the top tourist spot but the lodge actually began it’s existence as a research facility.  Known as La Chalupa research laboratory placed to explore the continental  shelf off the coast of Puerto Rico. The authenticity of the habitat is what really sets it apart from other attractions.

The Lagoon  located in Key Largo where the Undersea Lodge resides has something to offer from the professional diver to the snorkeler or candidate for scuba certification. What a great opportunity! The Lagoon is a natural nursery area  for most of our reef fish such as parrotfish, snappers, angelfish, feather duster worms, oysters, anemones, sponges, etc…

This is the first and only underwater hotel where scuba diving is the only way to get to your room and the only underwater research lab made accessible to the average person.

“Marine life is actually enhanced by the presence of the lodge. It serves as an artificial reef, providing shelter and substrate for marine animals. The flow of air to the Lodge constantly adds oxygen to the entire surrounding body of water, creating a symbiotic relationship between the technology of man and the beauty of nature.

Are you hungry? Why not order a pizza!  Jules’ Standard Program For Dive Buddies (One Stateroom)  Includes your pizza dinner and breakfast. Dive buddies can stay in the same stateroom (there are two bunks) Must be requested when making reservation.

The actual structure of the lodge is sitting on legs five feet above the ocean/lagoon floor. Entering the hotel is done by swimming under the lodge and entering through a 5×7 door “moon pool” gravity makes this safe and possible. The room you first enter on the lodge is referred to the wet room. This is where you leave you gear before actually entering the living quarters. Remember the movie The Abyss or Deep Blue Sea.

The common room is eight by twenty feet, it has a galley (kitchen), entertainment center, games, intercom, WiFi, Fire Stick and a great collection of DVDs . But lets face it, the main focus is the 42 inch windows in all the rooms. Imagine what it would feel like to wake up in the morning to a School of Snappers, Angelfish or a Sea Turtle starring through the window at you. There’s really nothing like it!

The hotel is monitored 24/7 and it’s base of operation is strategically placed at the edge of the Lagoon. The control center is connected  by an umbilical cable which provides power, water, fresh air and communications.  They take every step to ensure a safe yet exciting adventure for our guests”.  Included in the Lodge’s luxury packages are gourmet prepared meals, they are delivered via scuba by a  “mer chef”  and prepared for you in the common area.  They also have flowers, cakes and pastries for special occasions.

Control Room on the surface  edge of Emerald Lagoon

 

Guests of the Lodge have included many celebrities, including former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau; rock stars Steve Tyler of “Aerosmith” and Jon Fishman of Phish.

Guests can stay from three to 24 hours, or more!

When guests visit or vacation at the  Lodge in Key Largo, Florida, they quickly realize this is not at all a Disney Dream Vacation amusement or exhibit.  If you are not a diver you will have a chance to learn through the courses they provide,  approaching the world’s only underwater hotel underwater is an experience in itself.  Relax and get to know the underwater world that so few of us have even visited.

So you don’t want to stay the night… “No Worries!”

Enjoy a three hour visit to Jules’ Undersea Lodge and have a WORLD FAMOUS pizza lunch. If you are not SCUBA certified, you will need to book the Discover SCUBA Diving program as well.

$150.00 per person and includes the lagoon fee. Two person minimum. 

Overnight Stays For Couples

 For two is $800 and includes their famous pizza delivery dinner. Breakfast is continental style. There’s plenty of water, soda, and snacks as well. Dive gear is included in your package.

PRIVACY FEE: You may guarantee total privacy in the Lodge by paying an additional $175. This fee guarantees that no other guests will be booked in the Lodge during your stay. Must be requested when making reservation.

Single Occupancy: $675

-Group Economy Packages-

Group of 3-4: $350 per person

Group of 5-6: $300 per person

Gourmet Meal Add-On – Get your choice of lobster or filet mignon, baked potato, vegetable, salad, roll, butter and home made Key Lime Pie for an additional $80 per person.

To visit the Lodge you must be a certified SCUBA diver or take the Discover SCUBA course upon arrival. They accept all current agency certifications (PADI, NAUI, SSI, etc) but you must show proof of certification. If you arrive without a certification card, we must verify your certification with your agency. If we are not able to verify your certification, you will need to take the Discover SCUBA Diving course to continue.   (It’s a mere $95 and worth every penny)

You cannot take the Discover Scuba course if you:

Are not able to swim  –   Are pregnant    –   Are insulin diabetic

-You should seriously consider not diving if you-

1. Have had difficulty with your ears

2. Are claustrophobic or have panic attacks

3. Are currently suffering from a cold or congestion

Snorkel: $15 per person.  –   Dives: $35 per person per day

The Ultimate Romantic Getaway Package

For those in love.    Check out The Romantic Package (many couples have been married at the lodge.) Take exclusive control of the lodge from a 1:00 p.m. check-in to a 10:00 a.m. check-out.   Fresh flowers and appetizers will greet you and  have your choice of Filet Mignon or Florida Lobster Tail with all the trimmings at dinnertime.   All dive gear is included in your package. $1,395.00 plus 12.5% tax.

Have Fun Everyone, Step Out Of The Ordinary, You’ll Be Glad You Did!

HOW TO INQUIRE ABOUT AND RESERVE JULE’S UNDERSEA LODGE   (CLICK HERE)

Happy Travels!

Chris

 

WANNA CABANNA!

Son’s Island – Located in the Texas Hill Country –

How much fun can you have living on the side of a river in a cabana made from real palm trees. Well from personal experience, more than you can imagine!  Spend the day kicking back, or jump off your porch into beautiful spring fed Lake Placid. Perhaps some volleyball or do a Tarzan impression on one of many rope swings dangling above the water’s edge. Horseshoes, some fun on the water slide, fishing, snorkeling the opportunities are endless.  If you are looking for a great relaxing weekend getaway, a family vacation or maybe a little romantic escape with that someone special. Its all here and affordable. They offer day of options or do a little glamping in a tent decked out with two double beds and all the amenities.

Son’s Island is actually an island on the famous Lake Placid. The island is also a great place to just relax, as there is typically a nice cool breeze that comes off the water in the summer & many hammocks located on the property. 

PROPERTY LOCATION

Getting on the Island

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Access to the island gan be achieved by crossing a 100-foot wooden bridge. Large cypress trees & cabanas outline the 4,000-foot perimeter lakefront Island!  The Island is just a short drive from all the action the Hill Country has to offer but when you are on location at the island you feel like you are worlds away from all the action. Rent a Cabana and bring your own boat or waverunner, which you may load/dock at any of the numerous docks located on the island. There is a public boat ramp located only one half mile down the lake where IH-10 crosses over Lake Placid.

There is also paddleboard and kayak rentals that you can take and keep at your cabana for use during your stay. Evening Cabana Rental & Entry for up to 8 People From 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM. Live Music Most Fridays and Saturdays.  

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All of the cabanas are unique and unless you are just looking for placement they are all wonderful. You must have a cabana reservation to enter the park. Daytime cabana rentals allow you to enter at 10:30 AM until 6:30 PM on the day of your reservation.

You can have up to eight guests per cabana reservation, if you exceed eight you can pay a small entrance fee per person up to fifteen.  Unfortunately they say their insurance does not allow them to have pets on the property. You are allowed up to 2 cars on the island with each cabana rental though they have additional parking nearby at $20 per car.. You can bring your own ice chest of food and drinks, just no glass.

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This is truly a magical place and one of the best kept secrets  The Hill Country has to offer. It’s accessible from Houston, Austin, San Antonio and the Dallas, Fort Worth area. Check it out. You’ll Love It!

INQUIRE ABOUT SON’S ISLAND OR RESERVE HERE

Happy Travels!  

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

I CAUGHT CRABS!

The Gulf Coast Is Loaded With These Delicious Little Creatures
In Texas, the entire Gulf of Mexico offers access points for crabbing — from the shore, from piers, docks and jetties, or by boat in the deep blue waters that carve out the southern part of the state. Just be sure you understand the distinction between  blue crabs and stone crabs: You may catch blue claw crabs to your heart’s (and stomach’s) content, but there are rigid catch limits on stone crabs.

When fully grown the spine of the blue crab may be more than 8 inches wide. The abdomen and lower legs are white. The crab claws are various shades of blue, make sure you don’t keep the females,  if you see eggs on the underbelly let them go. The females can also  be identified by their red claws, if not sure throw thumbtack as well.

Blue crabs eat almost anything, but for some reason don’t get the scavenger rep.   It’s predators include Red Drum, Croaker, Herons, Sea turtles and us. At 12 to 18 months, blue crabs have reached sexual maturity.  They are the Sexiest Creature in the Sea.   Just seeing if you’re paying attention.

Although blue crabs can be found almost anywhere along the Atlantic coastline and the Gulf of Mexico shoreline they are most abundant on the stretch of coast from New Orleans to Corpus Christie. Maryland actually purchases most of their restaurant grade crabs from a fishery in Beaumont Texas and Port Author.

Where are the crabs?

They like to congregate under piers and docks and bridges, under rocky areas that meet the shore, the muddy bottoms bays and grassy bottom shallow areas. Think about good shoreline fishing spots and you will usually find an abundance of blue crabs. Some people set traps in the bay with buoy markers.

Here are some great spots to visit.

Galveston

Lets start in Texas, our family has been crabbing Galveston for 40 years plus. You will need to cross the causeway on hwy I-45 from Texas City to Galveston. When you hit the island turn right on 38th street, when you hit the Seawall turn left, the beach will be on your right. Continue on until the road dead ends to the open sea.  Turn right, you’ll see the crab hole about 70 yards down on the left

Port Arthur’ Paradise Island

Anywhere along the interior shoreline of Paradise Island just off the coast of Port Arthur. String and net method works best here.

The Corpus Christi  area offers the Aransas Pass. Hang out where all the boat charters dock they tend to stay close to the fish cleaning stations. At times this area is much more productive than the Galveston’s crab hole.

 

Lake Charles, La  is Another great place to catch them.

 

Here are some of our favorite spots to crab:
Northline Recreation Area-        Click Here
Hog Island Gully Recreation Area-     Click Here
Blue Crab Recreation Area      Click Here.
West Cove Recreation Area-      Click Here

 

Want to Catch Blue Crabs and Crawfish. -New Orleans is the Ticket!

The Bonnet Carrie Spillway a Favorite Spot of the Locals

Pointe West,   Rockport and   Crab Lake in Galveston County have proven successful as well. These locations are linked up.

Crab Bait

Blue crabs  will eat most anything in their natural habitat, from sea worms to small fish, mollusks, decaying fish and even smaller crabs.  Bait your traps with the most oily, smelly fish heads or chicken necks you can find. They can see up to 40 feet depending on water clarity, but they hunt their prey by smell.

Many crabbers in the Gulf use crab cages however, easier and less expensive hoop traps, box traps and pyramid traps are commonly used.         I have linked these traps to Amazon they are all affordable and very effective.

Or simply use a string and a fishing net.

Both methods are fun and very affective.

Crab season in Texas is typically May thru September in the colder months they tend to move out to sea where the water is warmer on the ocean floor.

Ok, we have caught our crabs,  What now?

Safety

If your crabs die before you have a chance to cook them, (Keep in mind the Meat can go bad within an hour or two from their demise.) If this happens throw them out they can cause stomach issues.          To avoid this…

Don’t empty your crab trap until you are ready to cook or clean the crabs.

You can submerge the trap in a large container of sea water an aerator (bubble blower) helps as well.

 

Kill and clean the crabs as you go, putting them on ice or in the fridge to keep them from spoiling

 

Cleaning the Crabs

Many people just throw the crabs in a pot of seasoned boiling water this is fine but can get quite messy when its dinner time. You then will need to rip the shells off and scoop out the yellow mustard paste, some people like the mustard and claim it adds to the flavor.

I have found cleaning the  crabs before cooking is best and makes for a better presentation. Using a pair of tongs flip the crab over on its back and pierce the underside with an ice pick right at the top point of the triangle shell section. It takes only one stab to get the job done, and then you can pull off the shell easily.

Now that the outer shell is removed simply pull off the gray scales. Next,  rinse out the inside gel  with a quick spray in the sink. The crabs are now ready to be cooked. Don’t throw the crab shells out you can use them for gumbo or deviled crab.

Now just place on a cooking metal tray season with salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve with melted lemon butter.

How To Make Deviled Crab.  

Step One – Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1 cup melted butter, 4 cups breadcrumbs, and next 3 ingredients. Spoon crabmeat mixture into 10 baking shells or individual baking dishes.

Step 2 – Top servings evenly with remaining 1 cup breadcrumbs; drizzle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup melted butter. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Turn oven setting to broil. Broil 3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

How to Boil  Crabs

Keep in mind or rule of thumb it takes a gallon and a half of water per one dozen crabs.  Fill your pot about 2/3 full with water and bring to a boil. Add ½ cup of sea salt, 2 sliced lemons, and 3 tbsp of Old Bay seasoning. Stir these ingredients in with the water. This will provide added flavor to the crab and the salt will also increase the boiling point of the water, helping to cook the crab more thoroughly.

Next, add the crabs one by one, leaving the claws attached. Let them cook for 8-10 minutes. You may also choose to add garlic, dill, paprika, cumin, and/or other spices.

Drain crabs in a colander.

After cooling a minute, pour crabs out onto a newspaper-covered table and dig in. Melted butter and lemon are a great addition.

Image titled Boil Blue Crab Step 10
Check the crabs to see if the shells are red and the meat is tender. If you’re not sure if they’re done, pull one crab out and inspect it more closely. To check the meat, simply tear off a claw and crack it open.

Image titled Boil Blue Crab Step 13

Serve the crab on a platter with melted butter or other dipping sauce. Boiled potatoes and core are great side dishes.   Enjoy! 

How to eat blue crabs

When cool enough to handle, clean and crack the crabs: Working 1 crab at a time, remove the large front claws by twisting and pulling them from the body; set aside.

  1. Turn the crab belly-side up with the face closest to you. Using your hands or the tip of a butter knife, lift the triangular piece of shell at the tail of the crab (the apron), break it off, and discard it. Pick up the crab with your hands, place a thumb in the hole where the apron was (you may need to pry it open with a butter knife), and pull in one motion to remove the top shell  from the rest of the body. Turn the crab belly-side down with the tail closest to you. Remove and discard the soft, pointy gills from the body. Using a butter knife, cut the front (mouth) of the crab off and scrape away any remaining bits of gill and viscera left on the body of the crab.Flip the crab over and hold it so that the legs are horizontal and your thumbs are firmly placed on the belly, then snap the crab in half. Starting at the back fin of the crab, pull the delicate bits of shell away and pick out the meat inside the body. Carefully pull the legs away from the body and pick out any meat attached to the leg joints. Twist the legs to crack open the shell and pick the meat out. Pick the shell from each chamber in the body of the crab and pull out the crabmeat.Break each claw in half at the joint. Using a seafood mallet or the handle of the butter knife, firmly tap the shell of each piece until it breaks apart. (Don’t hit the shell too hard or it will splinter into the crabmeat.) Wiggle the pincer and gently pull it away from the claw. Serve with melted butter for dipping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YOU GOT WET

Excitement Awaits! – Suitable For the Entire Family –  Lets Go River Rafting

Embudo, New Mexixo .  The name “Embudo,” meaning, “funnel” in Spanish, was given to this area by early Spanish settlers due to the location where the Rio Embudo flowed between two distinctive cone shaped hills.

Embudo was founded in 1881 when the  Rio Grande and Denver Western Railroad crossed and opened a train depot. The station was named after the village San Antonio de Embudo locatcated on the  Embudo River. 

DID YOU BREAK THAT BOW

Broken Bow and Beavers Bend in Oklahoma

 Part of the Choctaw Nation before Oklahoma became a state, Broken Bow was a major part of the Arkansas Territoryin the late 1800s. With no roads and buildings to speak of the area was still heavily populated.  A few post offices at small trading posts along the access trails was it for any type of communication to the rapidly growing outside world.   When the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway were built in 1902,  towns began to pop up everywhere. The terrain of McCurtain county consists of foothills leading to the Ouachita Mountains in the northern part of the county to the rich Red River bottoms of the southern part. It represents the third largest county in the state. This county also contains McCurtain County Wilderness Area, a  14,087 acre tract created in 1918 and managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. This area is still protected today and a huge tourist pull for nature lovers.

Not a fisherman? No worries, there’s so much more!

Beavers Bend State Park

If you are a lover of the great outdoors,  In fact I looked in Webster’s under “Great Outdoors” and it said “Beavers Bend” Well it should. Canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, paddleboats, mini golf, bumper cars, climbing, swimming on a real beach. So many activities you’ll find in the area. Its one of Oklahoma’s most cherished treasures known by tourists and locals alike, and with good reason.  Pine tress shadow the roads and trails, with access to tennis, volleyball, picnic areas, miles and miles of hiking trails at any level and a massive crystal-clear lake. All are accessible within the park. Nearby grocery stores, restaurants, gift shops, an amphitheater and perhaps even a glimpse of BigFoot.

Everyone is welcome here, even our small furry friends

Glover River

An untamed river runs through most of Broken Bow and Beavers Bend, no dams block its course. It can get a bit dicey for unexperienced kayakers it just doesn’t seem to scare anyone off.  The Glover river starts its trek in the southwest corner of the Kiamichi Mountains, and runs parallel with Hwy 259 until it flows into the Little River, and turns off to the east. When the river is low, rocks, logs, and low falls make for a difficult float, and when the river is up, the journey is very dangerous. Same can be said for all rivers.

Broken Bow Lake

On the top side of the damm nine miles northeast of Broken Bow you’ll find one of the best attractions,  Broken Bow Lake. Its  incredibly scenic and its in close proximity to Beavers Bend State Park. Like Beaver Bend’s activities it also includes scuba diving, and plenty of places to relax. This lake has 180 miles of shoreline tucked away in in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. The bass fishing is excellent and its loaded with small islands to spend the day, picnic or explore.

Mountain Fork River

Our favorite place in Beavers Bend is the lower portion of this river which offers twelve miles of year-round trout fishing, the bottom of the damm has brought us great luck for the rainbows. Those who don’t fish love to tube, kyyak, canoe down stream or spend the day swimming at the beach.  There are also about five miles of the Lower Mountain Fork River with  boat access points within Beavers Bend State Park.

Cedar Greek Golf Course

Here’s what you’ll find at Cedar Creek.  18-holes of a supreme 5 star golf course surrounded by acres of gorgeous, pristine woodlands. The holes themselves were carved out of the wilds, so you’ll feel as if you’re playing golf while strolling through the woods. 

Recommended to Eat or Grab a Drink

Fish Tales Winery and Vineyard

Beaver’s Bend Brewery

Grateful Head Pizza Oven & Tap Room

Steven’s Gap Restaurant

Abendigo’s Grill & Patio

Adam & Eve’s

Shady Oaks – American Grill

Hoochatown Saloon

Most of the Gas Stations Have Clean Little Deli and Fried Chicken Shops

Accommodations

There are a Few Hotels In The Area but why would you check in with so many beautiful state of the art cabin homes scattered throughout Broken Bow or inside of Beavers Bend Park. They can sleep 2 up to 30. These cabins are priced less than Hotel rooms in the big cities. Take a peek…

bookingbuddy.com

 

CABIN RENTALS RENTALS IN BROKEN BOW    INQUIRE AND RESERVE

Hotels

The only hotel I can  personally recommend is the Hoochatown Inn. It sits on why 259 directly in front of the entrance of Beavers Bend State Park. With a a quant log cabin feel, clean beds, clean sheets and bathrooms. It also has a nice pool.  Another nice feature is it sit in the middle of everything, restaurants, shops, grocery and gas stations.  All for about $99  per nights stay.

 

Also if you don’t mind a 15 minute ride from Beavers Bend and require a very nice hotel. Perhaps The Choctaw Hotel & Casino is a perfect even if you are not a gambler. They also feature great breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. $119 per nights stay.

Hoochatown Lodge Inquire and Reserve Here

Choctaw Hotel & Casino. Inquire or Reserve Here

Other Hotels In Broken Bow – Inquire and Reserve Here

Can’t Wait to Eat You, I Mean See You!    BF

Hope these tips add to the fun.

Happy Travels!    Chris

 

 

I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU SAID

LOST IN TRANSLATION

Example -In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan: ‘Come alive with the Pepsi Generation’ comes out as: ‘Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead.

Once in Osaka  had a meal in a restaurant with the family. At the end of dinner I paid the bill and as we were leaving the waitress ran to the door, graciously bowed and said “Thank you for letting me pleasure you”  I had no idea what I was thinking as I responded back “you pleasured us well” as the entire family burst into laughter!

Now why we’re here today. For years we have been purchasing these nifty little voice translators you see at the big electronic stores and travel sites. They look great on the advertisement but later you  find out you would have been better off with a book to get you through those tough vacation translation issues. Over the years we’ve gone through at least a dozen or so only to return them,  give them to the kids as toys or toss them away. We have a 14 day European trip coming up this year with the kids and grandkids, and I thought not purchasing one in the last few years I would see how far things have progressed.

The technology has finally arrived.  I am impressed!

I found eight of these portable translators in a sea of options that were really something everyone should have. Our big electronic superstore Is StarPower here in the Dallas area. They have an entire section loaded with different types and brands. I will provide you with my favorites,I will be judging and making my decision on their ability  to keep up with a normal conversation and then translate in real time. Anything less will only frustrate you or possibly cause an embarrassing situation when in actual use.

Ford had a similar problem with translation in Brazil. When the car model named The Ford Pinto flopped when it came to sales in South  America. Ford finally discovered that Pinto was Brazilian for, “tiny male genitals,”

It’s True!

 

Parker Pens did some billboard marking in Mexico using the captioned slogan “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you’ (They translated Embarrass to Embarazar thinking this was the proper translation ) Now when people read the billboard it clearly says to them  ‘It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”. 

Point is, the pocket translators of the past and even the highly touted translator app that Apple pushes on the iPhone is still quite a ways off to offer any degree of confidence. Here are 8 new, super cool pocket translators that I found that I would personally own.

I linked my choices with Amazon because I found the prices for these same items about 30% off of retail at StarPower.

 

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The 52 Language Two Way Live Conversation Speaking Translator

$349.95 from StarPower.   $268.20 from Amazon

 Product Features  Translate your words into 52 languages  Just talk by pushing the button at a place where business / travel communication is required  Online 52 Language Translation  Offline 12 language translation  Two large speakers that sound good even in the noise  Two microphones with high sound collection ability  Image search  When you name the place / building etc, you can see the image of the place / building.  Multimedia  It can be used as image / video playback and voice recorder with MicroSD card.  Word learning  Mathematics / Body / Food / Animals etc. You can learn pronunciation and spelling of 19 categories of basic words (about 1300 words).  Backup and transfer  Back up translated text to MicroSD card.  You can transfer text data to Langie and make it sound.  Group translations not found in other translators / Basic word learning etc. ◆ Lightweight 125 g translator  Detailed description By ” Newsbridge ”

Go To Amazon

 

$286.00 from StarPower.   $254 from Amazon

Pocketalk Language Translator Device

Pocketalk is a portable, AI-powered instant voice translation device that breaks down language barriers and bridges the gap between different spoken languages. It is one single device supporting 74 languages with more coming.

128 countries supported including: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, UK, and Vietnam.

BUILT-IN MOBILE DATA PLAN

The built-in mobile data version of Pocketalk comes with a SIM card already installed. Ready to work out of the box, the built-in Global SIM card gives you internet access in over 100 countries for 2 years. No set ups, no monthly fees, no sign-ups with mobile carriers.

REAL-TIME TWO-WAY TRANSLATION

Pocketalk uses WiFi, mobile data, or a personal hotspot to provide foreign language translations in real time. To operate, press and hold the button as you are speaking. When finished, let go of the button and Pocketalk will provide a translation.

HANDHELD AND PORTABLE

Pocketalk’s size makes it the perfect travel companion. Our language translator device fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. Put it in your pocket, stick it in your purse, or buy a lanyard and wear it around your neck. Its portability means you can take it whenever and wherever you go.

Go To Amazon

 

 

Vasco Translator Premium 5
StarPower $539   Amazon  $439
Vasco Translator Premium 5″ with scanner is a cutting-edge voice translator that will help you communicate in foreign languages. Forget the language barriers. Just say what you want to say and Vasco will recognize it and pronounce it out loud in the chosen language. Translation and voice recognition done via a WiFi network is unlimited and free of charge. If WiFi is unavailable, the device connects to a GSM network through the built-in SIM card that doesn’t require any contract. The SIM card is topped up with a data package that allows you to translate about 5,000 (depending on the country), which should be sufficient for a few months abroad. To buy the top-up visit www.vasco-sim.com

 

StarPower  $269          Amazon. $199
Best Cheap Online Small Pocket Two-way Translator

Accuracy – The product works with Google Microsoft, so it’s 98% accurate, two-way translation, and local dialect recognition. To ensure the accuracy of the translation, don’t say too much at once. You don’t need to download any APP on your cell phone, just connect to the network or 4G.

Multifunction – The product itself has not only translation function, but also intercom and recording function. Recording can identify people’s voice in noisy environment, record the key points you want, and chat with a few people during the meeting. It can avoid the embarrassment caused by different languages, and also help you to complete negotiation.

Travel – it is very suitable for the elderly, easy to operate, it can easy to get help during the travel. Large speakers allow the machine itself to make loud sounds, which are easy to hear, or to plug in headphones. The machine has a headphone jack.

Occasion – Widely used in travel, conferences, shopping, making friends, eating and reserving meals on campus, helping students to learn, they can learn their favorite language better, do not need the help of teachers from various countries, correct pronunciation.

72 language – Arabic: Oman, Lebanon, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Tunisia, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia English: USA, Australia, UK, South Africa, Canada, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania. Spanish: Spain, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Argentina. French: Canada, France Portuguese: Brazil, Portugal China (Chinese) Hong Kong (Cantonese) Polish (Polish) Japan (Japanese) Korea (Korean) Denmark (Danish) Germany (German) Thailand (Thai) Italy (Italian) Russia (Russian) Vietnam. 

Salange Sogou pro Smart AI 64 Kinds Language Mutual Voice Translator 3.1" Touch Screen Offline & Picture Translating Support Offline English Chinese
 $430.00 from StarPower.   $368.00 from Amazon
Voice & Picture Language Mutual Translator Parameter:
Two-way and Real-time translation
Color : Blue
Support 64 countries languages mutual online translation:
Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, Thai, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German,
  Hindi, Russian, Arabic, Armenian, Swedish, Indonesian, Danish, Italian, Dutch, Polish,
  Finnish, Greek, Vietnamese, Czech, Romanian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Malay, Catalan,
  Norwegian, Croatian, Slovak, Tamil, Bulgarian, Hebrew, Afrikaans, Bangla, Filipino,
  Latvian, Lithuanian, Turkish, Urdu, Ukrainian, Persian, Icelandic, Swahili, Telugu,
  Serbian, Malayalam, Marathi,Nepali, Sinhalese, Javanese, Khmer, Basa Sunda
Please note: 
1.The device can only translate mutually the bellow languages offline: 
Chinese-English, Chinese-Japanese and Chinese-Korean.(Both voice and word translation)
  2.The device can translate mutually the bellow languages offline but only word translation(without voice translation): 
Chinese- France, Chinese-German, Chinese-Italian
Chinese- Russian, Chinese-Spanish and Chinese-Portuguese. 
3.All the other mutual languages translation need to connect to wifi or hotspot of handset.
  4.The software of the device keeps updating, it will get more and more offline language translation step by step, It will continue to become more valuable. 
5.All the offline language packages are free to download all the time. And please delete the offline package which you don’t need to use, and just keep the one you need. 
This operation will keep your device to work more faster. And you can download any offline package any time when you need it. 
6.It is normal for a device to have a fever while charging or downloading a language package. 

 

ZOTO Smart Language Translator Device, Instant Portable Two Way Voice Translator Device WiFi 2.4 Inch HD Touch Screen Supports 42 Languages
$239 from StarPower.        $175.99 from Amazon.
Smart Voice Translator: This product is a portable and powerful smart.The Product Is A User-friendly, Portable and Powerful Smart Voice Translator.
ZOTO Smart Language Translator Device Will Do Lots of Help When You Are Traveling In Different Countries.
Two Way Translator Device Supports 42 Languages Which Breaks The Language Barrier.Simplified Chinese, English (US), English (English), Japanese, Korean, Thai, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Cantonese, Traditional Chinese, Indonesian , Italian, Khmer (Cambodian), Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English (Australia), English (Canada), English (Ireland), English (Philippines), Finnish, French, Bengali, Malay, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil), Tagalog (Filipino)
eMACROS Instant Voice 70 Language Translator Device,Smart Two Way WiFi 2.4inch Touch
$199.99 from StarPower.   $175.00from Amazon
【INTELLIGENT VOICE INTERPRETER】Simultaneous two-way translation in 70 languages it recognizes what you say and then speaks out.
The Product Is A User-friendly, Portable and Powerful Smart Voice Translator.
ZOTO Smart Language Translator Device Will Do Lots of Help When You Are Traveling In Different Countries.
Two Way Translator Device Supports 42 Languages Which Breaks The Language Barrier.Simplified Chinese, English (US), English (English), Japanese, Korean, Thai, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Cantonese, Traditional Chinese, Indonesian , Italian, Khmer (Cambodian), Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English (Australia), English (Canada), English (Ireland), English (Philippines), Finnish, French, Bengali, Malay, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil), Tagalog (Filipino)
Frontier The Two Way Live Conversation Speaking Translator with Touch Screen, Bluetooth 4.0. 53 Different Language Supported by Google,Microsoft,
$299 from StarPower.      $249.00 from Amazon

Live translator that provides two-way verbal communication between people that don’t share a common language.FAST AND INSTANT REAL TIME TRANSLATIONTWO-WAY TRANSLATION WITH 53 LANGUAGES UNDER WIFI OR MOBIEL HOTSPOT CONNECTION ensures smooth non-interrupted conversation between people who speaks different language. Significant problem solving for communication, language learning, travel, business and more.

BLUETOOTH 4.0 CONNECTION and USER FRIENDLY DESIGN Connect Bluetooth Earphone and Speakers to Translator For Convenience. TOUCH SCREEN& TWO BUTTON DESIGN makes operating the device easy straight forward- touch the screen to excess setting or change communication/system language. Press the upper green button to speak the language appears on the top of the screen with green color, and press the lower orange button to speak the language appears on the bottom of the screen with orange color

HIGHLY SENSITIVE VOICE/LANAGUAGE RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY NEWEST NOISE CANCELLING TECHNOLOGY enables the device to recognize human voice efficiently even under noising environment.

LONG LASTING BATTERY BATTERY STANDBY 168 HOURS while fully charged with a continues use time of 10+hours. Less worries of long time conversation and standby time while using the device 

TRANSLATE BETWEEN 53LANGUAGES Arabic,Catalan, Czech,Korean,German, Chinese-CN, Canoness , Danish, Dutch, Greek, English-Australia, English- British, English India, English, Finnish, Italian, Japanese ,Hebrew ,French-CA, French, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Norwegian, Polish,Romanian,Russian, Portuguese- BR,Portuguese, Slovak, Spain-SA,Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Malayu, Turkish, Vietnamese and MORE!

Go To Amazon

 Well, Have Fun With These Toys, I Have Personally Played With All Of Them And Would Be Happy To Carry Any Of Them While I  In Europe With The Family Soon!
I’m leaning Towards PocketTalk Model But Once Again They all Are Winners!  
Happy Travels!
Chris

CATALINA AN UNEXPECTED PLEASURE

Catalina Island, California

Catalina’s  History

Back in 1542 Native Americans were discovered  living on the island, they referred to the island as Pimu and they referred to themselves as Pimungans (or Pimuvit). In 1542 Capt Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed his Spanish galleon to the shores of what he named and began a massive exploration of the island. Then in 1602 the 24th on November

In 1542 the Pimungans greeted the Spanish galleon that bore the explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo to their shores. Thus began the start of the Spanish discovery of the island.  In 1602, on November 24th,  St. Catherine’s Day eve,  Spanish explorer, Sebastian Viscaino, sighted the island and gave it her name as we call her today Santa Catalina in honor of Saint Catherine.

In the 1900s Catalina was owned by William Wrigley Jr of the popular chewing gum brand Wrigleys. He then began renovation of the island turning it into a resort destination naming the area Avalon. He also brought The Chicago Cubs baseball team there for spring training (which he also owned) at the time. 1921 thru 1951.

Hollywood also became interested in the island and used it as a highly desired shooting location. Funny story back in the 20s 14 Bison were brought to the island and left there on completion of the movie. Today at last count a herd of about 150 bison roam the island’s interior. In the 1970’s Late in Wrigley’s he dedicated 88% of the island to Catalina Island Conservancy. Today that 88% is still wild, untamed territory

Sea Serpents in Catalina?  Looks to be the case…..

tolemour

Sea Serpents are comply know as Oar Fish they can grow to 50ft long. They live deep in the water and are rarely seen on the surface. This little guy is only 18ft long he was found by a snorkeler off the coast in the waters that separate Long Beach to Catalina on October 16, 2013.

Catalina Today

 Catalina Island is a popular vacation spot year ’round. Getting there couldn’t be easier. Its a short 15 minute flight from the mainland or a one hour boat ride from many spots on the coast. There are endless options in Avalon to enjoy and Two Harbors on the back side of the island is a boater paradise and a more relaxed feel, with campsites and access to nature..

The Two Harbors  -On the Back Side of the Island-

Avalon

Catalina’s weather is amazing “perfect climate.”  year round.. 75 degree average  in the summer. and on average  65 degrees in the winter. They have 12 inches of rain per year with roughly 300 days of sunshine. If you would like to visit both locations while you are there you can take the island bus that makes two trips daily, take one of the many water transports or a simple taxi ride through the jungle.

How to get to Catalina

As you can see on the map above there are many ferry options from the mainland. My youngest son and I took the Catalina Express out of Long Island. Here are a few images of what to expect along the way.

How to Fly to Catalina

Take a Helicopter to Catalina Island

This is a great option for those of us that may get a little sea sick on boat rides. Not only is it quicker the views you will get from the mainland and approaching Catalina are absolutely breath taking. For the luckiest of us we may even get to enjoy some sea life, dolphins, seals snd an occasional whale or two

Island Express has service from  Long Beach and San Pedro departing from thier own heliports. and Demand Charter Service I can be contracted from John Wayne Airport in Orange County and Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. 

Get More Information or Reserve Boat Seats or Helicopter Here

transportation to Catalina

Best Route To Get There Fast – Best Priced Flights From Most Major CitiesTo Long Beach  From There Simply Ferry Or Take The 15 min Helicopter Ride            Click Here For Flight Info

Where to stay in Catalina

Here are some established safe bets Fir Hotel Bookings

Free Wifi.   Free Parking

Things to do On Catalina Island

Well it depends on how adventures of a person you are. If you enjoy sitting on a park bench feeding the seagulls then skip the next few recommendations. 

As a thrill seeker you must  experience the Zip Line Eco Tour, or try diving under the supervision of the island boat tour. Shopping, soaking in the spectacular views or a trip to the spa may not cause risk to your well being, its all there for you with no judgmental  attitude.  Perhaps you love golf, hiking, biking,  or museums.  If thrill seeking is not in the cards and you love the water, then many fishing opportunities await you. along with scuba diving options,, jet ski rentals, parasailing, or even paddle boarding. 

Zip Line Tours

 

 

Get Tickets Now.  This Event sell Out Fast

 

Glass Bottom Boat Tours Tickets Here

 

 

Another Actiivitiey You May want To Get Advanced Tickets.  Here

 

Flying Fish Tour. Speed Boat

 

 

Fills Up Fast But Not Urgent For Advanced Ticket Purchase

 

Stay dry with a  Hummer or Jeep tour, Camping at one of the island’s numerous campgrounds

Hummer and Jeep Tours

 

Make Reservations, Secure dates,  Get tickets

 

 

Camping Reservations Secure Dates

 

 

Everything is within walking distance or a short cab ride The list of things to do is plentiful so easy to book

Did you bring the Family

Adiious Theme Parks  Say Hello to Catalina, Amazing and out of the ordinary. When it comes to family entertainment, Catalina Island has the right blend of authentic activities and beautiful scenery to satisfy kids, kids-at-heart and anyone in between.

For a relaxed pace, check out Avalon’s popular and eclectic shopping, relax on one of our beaches or plan a trip to the spa! Many of the Catalina Island tours offer a view of the island from the comfort of a jeep, boat or Hummer!

Shopping

 

 

Beaches

 

 

Spa  Get Info.       Make Reservation

 

DAY TRIPS FROM THE MAINLAND 

If you are staying on the island or perhaps vacationing on one of the beautiful Souther California Beaches, or perhaps you have friends on the mainland that wish to come visit while you are in town. may we suggest a day trip to Catalina

Stroll around the Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Gardens

A beautiful ode to the island’s famous founding father.It’s about a 30-minute moderate hike from the beach (you can also get up to it by renting a bike, or via golf cart—more on that in a bit), and once you’re there you’ll be immersed in a 37-acre botanical garden focused on plants endemic to California and the Channel Islands, and a tower overlook built from quarried rocks culled from the island itself.

A classic burger-and-drinks shack—with the best fries you’ll ever have.Just one trip to Luau Larry’s explains why all of them look so ecstatic: It’s because they’ve all gotten their Wiki Wacked by ordering a heavily-alcoholic drink of the same name.

Rent A Golf Cart. Most Visitors Keep Them the Entire Stay!

The best way to see a large percentage of Avalon—and get a great view.In about two hours you can get up and over the top of town for beautiful views, check out some of the historical structures on the island

Celebrate the Island’s Centennial at the Catalina Island Museum

A well-curated museum that explores the island’s intriguing history.Catalina Island Museum dives deep into a fascinating history that touches on Natalie Wood’s suspicious death and Wrigley’s vision for a vacation utopia.An outdoors person’s prime reason to visit.

 

Hope this info helps we had a great time there and will return again soon!

Happy Travels!   Chris

WHY DON’T YOU GO CLIMB A TREE YOU LITTLE HOBBIT / EUREKA TREE HOUSES

 Eureka Springs was founded on July 4, 1879 and named by the Indians that lived around the area believing the springs had healing powers. Dr. Alvah Jackson had come across the Basin Spring in 1856. He soldDr. Jackson’s Eye Water” that he collected from the springs, claiming it had restored site to his son’s  life long vision ailment. The rumors of the healing waters spread rapidly.

   The population exploded  with shanties developed rapidly. Many more healing springs were found running from the side of the mountain and the wealthy built lavish properties within feet of the flowing springs. Consequently, the poor people lived up on the hills and looked down on the wealthy!In 1882 Investors gathered rapidly in hopes of instant success and poured what would be millions today into resorts, hotels, and cottages

At the turn of the century modern medicine began to gain credibility the town experienced a decline until the 1920s when automobiles caused the town to become a vacation destination. Since that time the Crescent Collage has kept the town breathing and maintaining a sense of validity

Eureka Springs
Tree Houses, Caves, Castles and Hobbits
Tree Houses
Hobbit Caves
Castles
Both  locations are just minutes away from Eureka

Food, fun, grocery, gas, civalization are with in a five minute drive. We took our scooters and found the road peaceful and beautiful. There is also a trolly for $6 for an all day pass.

 At the Eureka Springs Treehouse property the Trolley is about a 5 minute walk to the main road. The location is intended as a romantic getaway therefore there are no children allowed, but you are encouraged to pursue increasing your family numbers while visiting.

During the high season 3 nights are required for reservations on the off season 2 nights are accepted.Details are on the actual site link to follow.

Eureka Springs is a relaxed and casual destination. You are welcome everywhere in Eureka Springs in jeans/shorts and tennis shoes!

If you are planning to bring a trailer, we only have a few extra spaces so you must double check to make sure they can provide accommodations for your trailer.

Refrigeratos, Coffeemakers, Coffee,  Microwave, bathroom towels and linens are included All Eureka Springs Tree houses have a Jacuzzi and a separate bathroom with a stall shower. All have Cable TV and DVD.

 Free WIFI in all the Treehouses.

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) out of Bentonville is about an hour drive. Closest Regional airports are in Berryville about a 20 minute drive and Drake Field in Fayetteville which is about an hour drive.

THINGS TO DO IN EUREKA SPRINGS

Downtown is just super cool! No need for a guide just go explore. We have electric scooters and take them everywhere, I got them so we could keep up with the kids and grandkids but you don’t need them. if you are staying with the Hobbits the kids are not allowed. I miss them just saying that. its a great town! 

Save Our Wildlife!

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Visit some abandoned or abused furry big friends and drop a dollar or two in the contribution box. Visitors to the Wildlife Refuge have many ways to interact with the resident animals and learn more about their species.

Why not visit the actual springs that made Eureka Springs famous., The spring was considered a sacred space for local and traveling. various gardens are also worth the visit, just minutes away.

Eureka Springs and North Arkansas Railway Company

Located a mile from downtown Eureka Springs established in 1883 and still in operation. A restored transport is still operating offering lunch and special dinner options.

Onyx Cave Park

Onyx Cave Park

First discovered in 1891 Onyx Cave is minutes from Eureka Springs and offers a family-friendly opportunity to see some amazing cave features. This is not a large cave and most everyone can view with ease

The landscape is amazing for those that like hiking and exploring nature.

The Crescent Hotel and Spa

Much more than just a place to stay, the Crescent Hotel and Spa is a landmark offering a travel back in time with amenities of today. Celebrating over 130 years on a hilltop overlooking the city, this historic hotel provides day visitors and overnight guests with activities ranging from full moon yoga to spooky haunted tours, as well as great places to eat, socialize, and indulge in spa treatments.

 Gourmet pizza is served on the hotel’s balcony, with great views overlooking the Ozark landscape.

NEW SWIMSUIT NEW ATTITUDE!

BIKINI.COM

Our favorite online everything summer shop. Women, Men, Curvy, Teens and Kids And Everything Summer

Everything is marked down 25 to 40% off retail to begin with, their sale section is amazing and changes daily.

Bikini.com is a lifestyle destination and curated collection for the explorer, ocean lover, and daydreamer. We help consumers and influencers discover relevant new brands that meet their evolving interests.

Our lifestyle content entertains and engages our beach globetrotting audience. From wellness to music festivals, runway trends to conscious consumption, young women can count on Bikini.com to provide them with approachable and inspiring content.

Our online boutique features a curated collection of swimwear, accessories, and beauty products for every beach-bound woman, man, and child. We proudly carry over 200 emerging designers from over 25 different countries around the world.

Shopping for a swimsuit is up toward the top of the list for most women of the most painful things they ever have to do, but finding the right swimsuit is so important. I’m a big fan of online shopping, but I truly believe swimsuits are a strictly in-store purchase. Beyond the style and color, you need to find a swimsuit that truly fits well to feel confident. It should be tight (but not too tight) in all the right places. It should be long or short enough. Picking wedgies and being worried about losing your top in the waves does not make for a confident swimmer. In the dressing room, jump, squat, dance around, and generally act a fool. You need to find out how that suit moves!

Try on a million different sizes, colors, and types. I always thought the swimdress was something only old women wore, but I tried one on for the first time a few years back and the swimsuit gods smiled down on me! I now own three swimdresses and love each one of them. And even though the swimdress is still the chosen swimwear of the octogenarian set, I get compliments all the time on my swimsuits. 

Never thought you could wear a bikini? Try one on. Maybe board shorts are perfect for you. You’ll never know until you try them on. So many times women are in such a rush to get through swimsuit shopping that they skip right over what could be their perfect swimsuit. Do you have a tank suit now that you hate? Then skip the tanks suits and figure out what works for you.

Women (and men!) tend to be so snarky when beach time comes around. I’ve been guilty in the past of whispering something like, “She shouldn’t be wearing that bikini!” but the truth is, all I’m doing is hurting my own confidence by knocking down others. Anytime you are tempted to comment on someone else’s less-than-perfect bikini body, instead think of a compliment (and if you are feeling particularly nice, share your compliment). 

Turn the negativity around. Seeing other people in a positive light means you’ll see yourself in a positive light as well. Also, with the negativity gone, you can take some time to really look at people. I bet, more often than not, you’ll see a ton of people who don’t have the same body as the models in magazines but are happy, confident, and beautiful.

Beach confidence doesn’t just stop with finding a great swimsuit. I know I always feel really well-put together when I have the whole beach package. Find coordinating sunglasses, hats, beach bags, and shoes. Even throw on a necklace or some earrings. So many people complain of feeling so bare when wearing a swimsuit, but it doesn’t have to be that way!

For some reason, I see a lot of women wearing swimsuits that are completely and totally opposite of their usual clothing style. There no reason to depart from what you love and works for your body and personality. Do you tend to be a bit of a tomboy? Then you can skip the skimpy bikini that isn’t “you” and look for board shorts and a swimtank or shirt.  I truly believe there is swimwear out there for every style.

Confidence is sexy. But confident is also not something that you can just choose to have. But what you can choose to do is fake it! Even if you are feeling self-conscious, strut across that beach like you are the most confident person in the world. 

Chances are, no one will notice your “fake” confidence and instead will just notice how glowing and fantastic you look. And that will build your confidence until you no longer need to fake it.

 

Seriously ladies, you are beautiful, regardless of your size, height, or shape. Go strap on a well-fitting swimsuit and have some fun in the sun!

 

Hats Galore!

Hundreds of Beach Bags

New Ideas in Skin Care

Fun Phone Assessories

Something For Everyone!

We Can’t Say Enough About The Selection and Flexibility for returns.

Bikini.com

Bikini.com  Super Sales

 

And now Its time for a smile…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AL PACINO LIVED IN RENO

Well Actually Lake Tahoe

Ah, Reno Nevada, “The Biggest Little City in the World” As it boasts this proudly for decades.

 

Reno got her start by being centrally located for travelers headed west for the California Gold Rush.

What made her so special was the Truckee River, an inland river that flows west to east from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake . It provided an easy and swift crossing in the 1840’s and 50’s. Once the Comstock Lode (an epic gold find) was discovered in the nearby Virginia City foothills in 1859. the river crossing became increasingly important for the growing trade in mining. Reno was officially established in 1868, the same year that the transcontinental railroad, which paralleled the Truckee River, reached the town.

Still today known as“The Biggest Little City in the World,” which arose as a result of the wide range of cosmopolitan amenities in a city of its relatively small size. Reno became a quickie divorce destination in the early 1900’s, and in 1931, when Nevada legalized gambling. Reno was a front runner in creating the model of destination hotel/casino gaming throughout the world today! 

So much more than a gambling town today.

Travel Reno Cheap

Reno, with an impressive Riverwalk and famous downtown Whitewater Kayak Park, is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

Downtown Reno, formerly filled with casinos enjoyed a renaissance of sorts over the past few years. The casinos are still there but now there are chic new condos, museums, coffee shops scattered about, restaurants offering local fare and a great new vibe.  The Truckee River Whitewater Park at Wingfield Park, host of the annual Reno River Festival, the nation’s leading whitewater event. Recently completed, The Freight House District, an entertainment complex at the Aces Ballpark with bars and restaurants.

To get your grove on head east a few blocks and  experience the MidTown district. Full of quirky, locally owned shops and distinctive restaurants, this is one part of town you’ll definitely want to experience.

Just west of downtown Reno is Verdi, home to Cabelas, one of the world’s foremost outfitters and an ideal spot to gear up before hitting the great outdoors. With less than an hour s drive you can be racing down the slopes on any of Nevada’s premier ski slopes, also mountain biking and hiking trails, numerous golf resorts, scenic Pyramid Lake, and the truly World famous Lake Tahoe presented in The Godfather II Trilogy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The food, art and jazz festivals, outdoor expos, fun runs, marathons, and bicycle races have found a new location to expand. Hot August Nights, Artown and Street Vibrations, just for starters. The events are so varied there is truly something for everyone.  The fact is, “The Biggest Little City in the World” Was then and has no intention of changing!

Lets change gears. Every September in Rancho San Rafael Park, The Balloon Festival of all balloon festivals. ‘The Great Race” explodes with excitement. Its more of a celebration of flight than a race. Keep in mind you are in Reno so betting is allowed. The actual race is operated by paid city employees. The real work is handled by volunteers. Aeronauts, consists of about 100 people providing help in many areas of the race including field set-up, pilot crewing and up keep of the grounds. They also assist everyone involved in the race from the organizers and pilots to the sponsors and spectators. Eleven months out of the year these guys meet and meticulously discuss and tweek operations for the next year’s celebration.   2019 will be the 36th anniversary. It has become the largest free hot air balloon event in the country and is held the first weekend after Labor Day yearly. last year they saw an attendance of 140.000 plus, the numbers should not make anyone hesitant to attend, you are visiting “wide open spaces”  in “The Biggest Little City in the World!’

Travel Reno Cheap

Need a mellow yellow type of afternoon, the spas in Reno are world class.

Sparks is right next door. When you are energized. The Nugget Rib Cook-Off In Sparks was named “Best BBQ Festival” by USA Today Top10 Readers’ Choice. The annual event transforms the Labor Day holiday into a must-attend culinary, music, craft and family end-of-summer affair. Swimming and first class condo style accommodations are also in the mix.

If you can imagine it. Enjoy it in style in northwest Nevada.

 

Look What $77 Per Night Gets You!   Click Here

Need a Flight / Frontier  Gets There From Most Everywhere Cheapest     Click Here

 

If you have visited, please share your experiences and photos. We love to share.    Happy Travels!  Chris

 

 

 

 

If you have visited, please share your experiences and photos. We love to share.    Happy Travels!  Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


SEPARATE VACATIONS

Should You Vacation or Travel with your Ex-Spouse for the Kids Sake -Good or Bad Idea-

This is one of those subjects thats going to take some serious thought and consideration.
The first thing that needs to be examined is the causes that led up to the divorce or separation. And how is the relationship between mom and dad at this point. We assume we are  newly separated or divorced with young children in play for the sake of the conversation.
The first thing you hear from past couples that are kicking this concept around is “We are good friends and we laugh a lot.” “We have a great communication and we share pictures when one is not with the other.” “He’s great, we are great, and we keep on keeping the kids first..” With no disrespect intended, we may be trying to convince ourselves that things are much better that they really may be.

I think everyone is all for peaceful divorces and respectful co-parenting. But I have to wonder:  Is it confusing for kids to see their divorced parents getting along well enough having a great time  together, then having to say goodbye all over again to the sadness a broken family can bring.  Even worse, putting the possibility of possibly reuniting. This is truly a hard subject to discuss and it saddens this reporter. “I’ve seen a couple of families that have made this work beautifully,” The families who successfully vacation together, spell out clear expectations for their kids to avoid confusing them. “I’d even recommend a brief family meeting before a vacation is planned as to get a feel on the situation., ‘We’re going to do this, but we don’t want you to think we’re going to get married again. That didn’t work, but this arrangement does,’ “It has to be abundantly clear that you’re a family and you love each other, but you weren’t good at being married.”

Co-vacationing is less confusing to older kids than younger ones, but why do it at this point, the reality of the situation needs to set in eventually. If this is happening maybe a closer look at the marriage is worth reevaluating. Sometimes a fight is just a fight and everything escalated out of pride or anger. Perhaps the decision to co-vacation is a sign that “I miss you” without saying  “I’m sorry. ” You never know and I hope this is the case. The little little ones are only kids once and they need both of you.

 Sometimes we just need to be apart and theres nothing we can do about it.  It’s a much better scenario to not expose the kids to any negative conflict if possible so they don’t think this is an example of relationships and repeat. Rare is the divorce in which both parties wanted out of the marriage equally.  So if the vacation is going to dredge up painful or unresolved feelings for one of the adults, it’s also not worth pursuing.

If either mom or dad are going into the vacation hoping that’s when he or she will win the other back over, the kids will pick up on this instantly. False hopes are good for the little ones, they are wanting this to happen. 

Acting like nothing has not changed does not make it so.  Kids need room to adjust the same as we. Learning to adjust to the change after a divorce is important for everyone.  Be Honest.

This is a sign that you are both on the same page which bodes well for the “I love you.” Even if it is a self-imposed, feeling or pressure to express this is a problem.  

 The kids are going through every bit as much as  mon and dad, If there is constant fingers pointing, insults or loud voices, separating your lives from one another frees them of that burden.

So I guess the best advise offered here is include everyone in the vacation discussion, be honest with  all expectations. Its never easy but you can get through it. if approached correctly. 

Get the kids off their phones and

SMILE!

Wishing you the best.          Happy Travels!

Chris

 

 

 

CRAWL BACK IN YOUR CAVE

Have You Ever Spent The Night In A Cave?

KOKOPELLI  CAVE HOTEL.  Farmington New Mexico

Ko-ko-pel-li
(koko = wood, pilau = hump)
the humpbacked Flute Player, mythical Hopi symbol of fertility,
replenishment, music, dance, and mischief.

The history of Farmington can be dated back over 2,000 years ago when the Anasazi “basket makers” lived in the area in what is now known as “pit houses” and later in pueblo structures built from the native sandstone rock.    

Their rich colorful history can still be felt and seen in their cherished ruins that accent the beautiful country side. Once the Anasazi Tribes chose to migrate north the area was taken over at times by the Navajo, Jicarilla Apache, and the Utes, which add charm and artistry to the area that is vividly apparent today. In the late 1700s. the Spanish eventually settled in the eastern part of San Juan County  It was not until mid 1870’s that the population of the area began to grow with the actual settlement of what was to become Farmingtown, later shortened to Farmington. Farmington began to blossom into a flourishing farm and ranch economy and incorporated on July 15, 1901.

In the early part of the 1900s, apples became a prime crop for the local farmers. “The harvesting of some 2,000 acres of fruit calls for a lot of activity in this valley. There are about 53,000 bearing apple trees in the San Juan district. Farmington went through several “oil and gas” booms during the 20th century. At one time, Farmington was the leading oil and gas producing area in the state of New Mexico. The oil and gas industry still remains a staple for the area.

Farmington today is a well kept cute little town. It appears to be populated with locals that seem to know everyone in town. They love to answer questions and know all the must sees in the area and what time of year to visit them. There are plenty of small local restaurants, shops and smaller hotel chain options around the outskirts of town. 

Things to see and do around Farmington

Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, is a beautiful area for hiking or just taking in the feel and sights of where you are

B Square Ranch

The B-Square Ranch is a 12,000 acre  private wildlife refuge, working farm and ranch, and home of two museums. Some 15,000 year-round and 100,000 wintering waterfowl call it home. Also in abundance are deer, pheasant, quail, hawks, eagles, and owls along with cattle, sheep, pigeons and turkeys. Seven man man made lakes covering some 75 acres also contain crappie, bas, and catfish.

Take an air-conditioned ride on a Locomotive across the countryside.

The Bolack Museum of Fish and Wildlife was built by and dedicated to Tom Bolack by the Bolack family. It is one of the largest private collections of it’s type in the world today with over 2,500 specimens. The collection from five continents gives visitors a change to view animas in their natural setting and to appreciate the beauty in nature’s animal kingdom.

The Bolack Electromechanical Museum is a forty-year collection from the areas past.  Antique electrical, radio, communication, industrial and agricultural artifacts on display.

What to go for a swim?

The Beach at Farmington Lake is a refreshing Option

BUT NONE OF THESE WONDERFUL OPTIONS ARE WHY WE ARE HERE

LETS SPEND THE NIGHT IN A CAVE        Come On, Lets Go!

WAS YOUR BELLY BIGGER WHEN YOU GOT BACK

So you worked out from January through June, you are an absolute hottie  to everyone you know. Feels good! Of course it does. The act of dedication is actually sexier than the person that you have become, but no one mentions this because they don’t understand what it took to achieve this goal. Congratulations!  You have more energy and an endless supply of self confidence, you feel like anything is possible. Being fit is the secret to enjoying life to its’s fullest. Let maintain this lifestyle wherever we go.

Well thats the plan.

Like wedding receptions, office parties or any group celebrations seem for some some reason provide a license excess drinking or eating. The same can be said for vacationing when it comes to all the hi calorie food and those delicious fruity drinks.

 So hard to resist and a lot of the time it seems like the healthy options can be limited. We find this especially true on  Cruise Ships and All Inclusive Resorts. With the all inclusive food options available ship wide or on property you may find yourself nibbling all day courtesy of those burger & french fry stations and snack areas spread throughout the ships or resorts not to mention the monster buffets provided three times daily. Then add the sugary drinks, cocktails and beer. It doesn’t take long to wipe out all the hard work you put forth in the gym earlier in the year. 

Picking a hotel that has a fridge in your room will make it easier for you to stock up on healthy snacks No fridge? You can still load up on non-perishables like granola bars, beef jerky, popcorn, and nuts. Just as important as getting a room with a fridge, view and great pool outside  is choosing a hotel that has a gym. 

Here are some drinks options you may want to consider that most every well set up bar can easily make for you. They are delicious and 1/4 the calorie count as your traditional summer drinks

Use your imagination there are thousands of combinations if just use the right ingredients and fresh juice choices.

The biggest mistakes people make at all-inclusive resorts and cruises are eating more, eating multiple helpings, and eating dessert at every meal, because it’s free but more often it’s there. If you want to make sure you can still fit into your skinny jeans of bikini by the end of the week, stick to three main meals a day, and incorporate a couple healthy snacks in between meals—, Pina Colada don’t count.

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Instead of the high calorie, fatty choices offered for lunch and dinner perhaps you may want consider options like grilled or baked salmon, steamed crab legs or shrimp, (skip the butter-use lemon or lime) or roasted chicken. Cut down on portions by using smaller plates and load up on steamed vegetables. Also consider fresh fruit for dessert and possibly breakfast.

Theres nothing wrong with indulging on the sinful delicious foods, desserts and fruity frozen drinks. After all its vacation time,  just a little awareness can make you a much healthier happier camper.

 

Laugh a little!

A young couple were on their honeymoon . . .

. . . and were staying at a hotel with a large swimming pool. They decided to go for a swim, and the bride donned a new bikini that she had recently purchased. As she swam and splashed around in the pool, she soon discovered that the bikini was to large, and the top and bottom kept coming off. As they were the only ones in the pool, she and her husband would laugh and playfully retrieve the bikini from the pool’s bottom.

That evening they dressed for dinner and headed to their hotel’s elegant restaurant, where they were seated next to a huge aquarium. Strangely, the aquarium was devoid of any aquatic life.

When the bride asked their waiter why the aquarium had no fish in it, he smiled broadly and said, “That’s not an aquarium…that’s the swimming pool!”

 

NOW GO HAVE SO FUN

YOU DESERVE IT!

Look What We Did In Sunny Southern California Thanks To Last Minute Travel!

LAST MINUTE TRAVEL is an online travel agency and online travel club that offers users deals on commercial airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages, and various attractions and services. The company is backed by Travel Holdings Inc. the United States’ largest travel and distribution company, and is based in Orlando Florida

Last Minute Travel uses its own hotel reservation system for contracted, bulk-rate reservations, giving travelers access to over 120,000 hotels in over 4,500 cities around the world, as well as 10,000 activities and 175 airlines.     

Its True, Last Minute Travel is now our hero, when it comes to saving and receiving the most value for your dollar. Our family and extended family recently spent two weeks in Santa Monica at the Wyndham. There were 22 of us total, we had the entire vacation booked through another service until I stumbled upon  Last Minute Travel  just three weeks before were scheduled to depart.  We canceled our original reservations then simply rebooked our exact trip for everyone and saved a bundle. Are you ready for this, $8,420.00 in savings.  It left so much  money on the table we were able to do so much more than expected.

During our stay the first week we chilled on Santa Monica Beach, Venice was just a five minute bike ride south, the side walk shopping was amazing with food stands to many to mention, we were never hungry.  A hurry up and do nothing attitude overwhelmed the entire process, everyone must experience this at least once in their lives  The beaches were fantastic. Remember Baywatch in the 80s. You are there and can feel it.

We also went north to Malibu Beach, simply breathtaking. The Following week we took a one hour drive that took two hours to San Diego. We didn’t mind, it was a pretty drive. Our goal was to swim with the dolphins.

So much fun, the kids loved it. San Diego is like being in Dallas with mountains and an ocean.  Then Disney…. I used to be a stick in the mud when it came to oversized money pits, but unlike Florida this was quite achievable. By this I mean, you feel like you are not swallowed up by the size. I actually had a great time.

The last few days we just kicked back at the Wyndham, Pier and Beach.

There are many Hotels in the Santa Monica and the Venice Beach area, let’s face it, as beautiful as the beaches are for 90% of us the Pacific Ocean is much colder than we are accustomed to. The locals complain when the temperature rises above 85 degrees. We visited from June 6th 2019 to June 13th, not one  day over 76 degrees. Great weather! Yes! But our brains were in the mindset of swimming, running around half dressed and trying to stay cool. It was 96 in Dallas when we got on the plane. 

BOOK LAST MINUTE TRAVEL HERE

Have You Smiled Today?

Did You Remember To Smile Today?

A man had just been laid off from work. He was standing on the railing of a high bridge getting ready to jump off, when he happened to look down and see a  man with casts on both arms dancing around  the river banks. .
He thought, “Life isn’t so bad after all,” and got off the railing.
He then walked down to the river bank to thank the  man for saving his life.
“Thank you,” he said. “I was going to jump off that bridge and kill myself, but when I saw your dancing even though you appear to be horribly injured, I changed my mind.”
 the man replied … “Dude, I jumped off the same bridge yesterday, my butt just itches and I can’t scratch it!”

Happy Travels!

Chris

Can A Ghost Get You

Jefferson Texas was a major river port to the West for products and immigrants. Jefferson was named after President Thomas Jefferson. It is located in northeast Texas in the Cypress Valley.

In it’s Golden Era it became a major steamboat port from 1845 to 1875. It became a cosmopolitan town like most port cities with a confluence of cultures and businesses. During this period it very much resembled New Orleans yet the homes were mainly of Greek revival design. In the late 1800s the Army Corp of Engineers dammed up the bayou to create a more suitable water source. Jefferson lost it’s river traffic and Jefferson’s better days were behind her. However, many of the mid-nineteenth century homes and buildings on the Historical Registry remain.

 

Today Jefferson Texas is a small yet busy little country town. Its the pride of Marion County.  There are countless festivals and events every weekend, it is loaded with very cool antique shops, a general store that is a must see with an old fashion ice cream counter. A museum open to delight most anyone, Steam Engine Locomotive trips, Riverboat trips, Ghost Tours on the weekends. And yes, if you dare. The world famous “The Very Haunted Jefferson Hotel!”

The Jefferson Hotel

Are you brave enough to stay here overnight on you next  family vacation. There are plenty of folks willing to do just that.

At a time when steamboats overloaded the waterways from New Orleans to get here, it was nearly impossible to get a room at The Jefferson Hotel. Last minute travelers were out of luck. Although it was for a time “The Hangout” for the wealthy, for this period in time it was a very affordable option for a hotel stay. You would find factory workers and farmers, vacationing families with small children rubbing elbows with the very rich and famous. This must have added to the charm and popularity.  For a brief stint after the damm was erected it was used to store hay. At the turn of the twentieth century however it was transformed back into a hotel and has served as a haven for weary travelers since that time.

Its very easy to get lost in time inside it’s old creaky piers and beams. One can almost imagine the sounds of petticoats whisking by, the faint sound of a ragtime piano, children playing, the scent of cigars as  stately gentlemen and common men played poker in the saloon.  And of course the countless stories and tales from the guests about its hauntings.

I visited with my 10 year old son and I must say it was definitely an experience. The staff will not stay there after dark, they give you a card with the door code on it so you can let yourself in and out. How creepy is that. We may have been the only ones there that night as you can see by our truck parked out front.

As we were about to go upstairs my son stood in a frozen trance and said “Dad, what is that?” Yes it was a ghost,  I told him to stay put,  I ran up the stairs..

Thanks to my paranormal defense training I was able take out a few of them.

This all started with Elizabeth Montgomery, She was a guest that hung herself in the hotel in the 1870s. She was a bride that was stood up on her wedding day. She hung herself from the 12 foot bed post that is currently in Room 19.  Local historians think that she probably was pregnant.  might 

Is any of this true, Historians actually found an old newspaper paper about the entire ordeal. . It is a true story. It happened on April 14, 1912.  If that date sounds familiar there’s a good reason it’s the same day the Titanic sank..

There are children’s ghosts as well .They like the lower floors. They are said to be pesky practical jokers. They like to move objects around and so guests bring toys for them to play with.  Some people say they have actually witnessed  the children running around the hotel’s corridors.

The  manager after hearing from a guest that claim they saw the children, says, she always would ask back “what did they look like.” the answer is always the same. It’s a little girl and little boy, about 7 to 8 years old. They always describe her as wearing the pinafore, white leotard and black high-top button boots. They say he has on knee britches. 

There is apparently another ghost residing there, guests have reported seeing is a man. It is a tall man wearing a long duster-type jacket with his pants tucked inside his boots. He is seen walking down the hall. He will turn and walk left to turn into a room, (but) when you go to look in the doorway, the room is completely empty. The hotel encourages the tales and for its guests to write about their stay in journals supplied at the front desk.

Not all guests enjoy their brush with the supernatural, people have left in the middle of the night or sleep on the couch on the lobby.  Would you stay!
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ENJOY JEFFERSON TEXAS  /  BUT BEFORE YOU GO BACK HOME CONSIDER  UNCERTAIN TEXAS
Funny name, I know, but a beautiful place. Uncertain Texas is a twenty minute drive east from Jefferson. It sits on the banks of Caddo Lake, which separates the boarders of Louisiana and Texas. Cyprus trees hang over the shores as a cool gulf breeze blows over the water. It is truly a mystical place. The cabins are on the shores and can accommodate a romantic number two up to a party time thirty-six, and so affordable. Go gator spotting, enjoy the wildlife or catch some trophy sized bass. Its all there just waiting for you and the family.
Time For A Smile
A woman was leaving a cafetaria with her morning coffee when she noticed a most unusual funeral procession approaching the nearby cemetery. A long black hearse followed by a second long black hearse about 50 feet behind. Behind the second hearse was a solitary woman walking a pit bull on a leash. Behind her were 200 women walking single file. The woman couldn’t stand the curiosity. She respectfully approached the woman walking the dog and said, “I am so sorry for your loss, and I know now is a bad time to disturb you, but I’ve never seen a funeral like this. Whose funeral is it?” The woman replied, “Well, that first hearse is for my husband.” “What happened to him?” The woman replied, “My dog attacked and killed him.” She inquired further, “Well, who is in the second hearse?” The woman answered, “My mother-in-law. She was trying to help my husband when the dog turned on her.” A poignant and thoughtful moment of silence passed between the two women. “Can I borrow the dog?” “Get in line!”
Happy Travels!
Chris

 

Do You Believe? Roswell New Mexico

 Roswell      70 years of conspiracy theories.

What do you think?

On 8 July 1947 the Roswell Daily Record newspaper published an article that captured the minds and imagination of the nation and world.

Roswell Army Air Field Captures Flying Saucer  in Roswell Region” and the legend began.Today, many conspiracy theorists consider the incident” to be one of the most valid pieces of evidence that the US government has covered up the existence of extraterrestrial life on Earth. 

On 7 July 1947, around 75 miles north of the town of Roswell in New Mexico, debris from a highly classified project used by the US Army Air Force, recovered foreign debris from a ranch after being reported by ranch worker William Brazel.

Intrigued by the idea of flying saucers, Brazel gathered some of the debris and went to Roswell where he told Sheriff about his find. The Sheriff immediately reported the encounter to the Air Force base at Roswell which promptly sent agents to visit the ranch, but not before the press picked up the story.

On 8 July 1947 Roswell Army Air Field  issued a press release stating that a “flying disk” had crashed on a ranch near Roswell during a powerful storm.  Scientist were also called in and by the end of the day the story had changed stating that instead of a flying saucer it was a weather balloon. Reporters were shown pieces of rubber, metal and wood to verify the statement.

The Roswell paper retracted its claim on the next printing and stated that the Air Force had determined it was indeed a weather balloon. Brazel later went on record to say that he regretted causing any fear or confusion. The story was mostly forgotten for the next 31 years until The National Enquirer reported the original Roswell Daily Record story again, but not the correction.  Once again the thought of a government coverup spread like a wildfire.

A hand full of people people claimed to have seen  a blazing aircraft in the sky shortly before it crashed, but the real controversy came from a mortician, who claimed in 1989 that a friend who worked as a nurse at the Roswell Army Air Field had accidentally walked into an examination room where doctors and military brass were bent over the bodies of three creatures. They apparently resembled humans, but with small bodies, spindly arms and giant bald heads.

In 1995, Ray Santilli, a London-based entrepreneur, released “footage” of an alien autopsy performed in Roswell in 1947. Experts immediately ridiculed the footage as a hoax. Its a bit strange  The Enquire’s republication of the story came just one year after the release of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”  In the year that Independence Day and Mars Attacks were released there were 609 UFO sightings around the globe.

We stopped by for a visit earlier this year and found a tired, sleepy and luckiest small town on the map. Its full of quirky alien art, statues, prefabrications and building structure add ons. You just can’t help but crack a smile due to the sheer goofiness of it all. The locals were very kind and catered to everyone with a “we’re glad your here” attitude. If you decide to visit, the museums and shops are a must and fairly priced. There are a few local restaurants, bistros and sandwich shops in town that were quite nice and they picked up the feel of New Mexico.

During your stay its worth a short drive to the National Parks.

BOTTOMLESS LAKES STATE PARK  is quite out of the ordinary and a great option if you want to cool off from the hot desert sun.

And for you nature buffs  BITTER LAKE NATIONAL PARK  is a must.

There are a handful of small chain hotels in town we found  

The Town Place Suites by Marriott a great option. They have two room suites for $165 to $185 per night with free breakfast.  

Go To Marriott Now!  

Candlewood Suites looks very appealing as well. Two room suites     $75 to $105 per night

Go To Candlewood Suites Now!

Hope you enjoyed this review. Have Safe and Happy Travels!

DO YOU BELIEVE?

Warning! Experts Are Saying 4 out of 5 Will Be Eaten By Sharks This Year!

Yes its true, coming from the experts that have no idea what they are talking about. We thought we’d take a few moments today and possibly ease any anxiety you may have on these beautiful creatures.

Despite their scary appearance sharks are not fond of eating people, they are constantly in search of fish and mammals such as seals and seagulls. With over 300 species of sharks only a dozen or so have been documented attacking humans.

Sharks have been around for millions of years before we even existed, we’ve  never been part of their diet. They usually attack when they get confused thinking a splashing person may be a wounded mammal or sea lion leading to an accidental attack.

The White Shark or Great White Shark more commonly known has more documented attacks on humans than any other species of sharks. Fossil remains have provided evidence that these magnificent creatures date back  44 million years. They also stand out from the pack because they are active during the daytime hours. The females can reach 15 feet in length, the males roughly 12 feet. Sea otters are their preference when dining. They’ve  been known to attack divers but most believes its a case of mistaken identity. Wet suits can easily be mistaken for seals. Great Whites may hit unfamiliar prey in an attempt to seek its potential as food then release and swim away. this would explain the hit and run attacks over the years along the beaches. 

 

Unlike The Great White,

The Opera Shark also known as at The Melodic Shark as seen below is very passive. This female specimen can be seen here gracefully gliding through the sea singing familiar enchanted melodies.

 

Four More Species with Bad Reputations

THE TIGER SHARK

Within the International Shark Attack Files – Yes it is a thing. The Tiger Shark comes in at number 2 ,  following The Great White when it comes to attacks on humans. They are pure formidable ocean predators. They seem more curious about humans than other species, when they see us they usually  do a fin hit and swim away.

 

THE SHORTFIN MAKO

The Shortfin Mako comes in at number 3 when it comes to human attacks. This guy is the fastest of all shark species clocking in at 20mph. They are extremely aggressive and blamed for many attacks on divers and beach goers. Many fishermen have been injured making the mistake of bringing them in the boat to soon after a catch. This is the most sought after shark, poachers are killing them for just their fins. You have most likely heard about this crisis on the news. The World Conservation Union has these guys listed  as “Near Threatened

 

THE OCEANIC WHITETIP SHARK

The Whitetips seem to show up first when tragedy strikes at sea. We all know the horrifing story of the sinking of  US war ship Indinapolus during WWII. The ship was carrying a crew of 1,196 men when it sunk, when rescue arrived only 317 were pulled from the water. It is thought the Whitetips took the rest. The same can be said for the Nova Scotia around the same period. Roughly 1000 men on board only 192 were pulled out of the water. Eyewitness accounts documented a feeding frenzy. The Whitetips are described as fearless and unpredictable

 

THE BULL SHARK

The Bulls are thought to be the most aggressive even though The Great White gets most of the bad press. There are 69 documented attacks and experts think maybe more but can’t identify bites due to this guy’s attack style. When he gets you he viciously shakes his head from side to side. He is also known to leave the sea into fresh river water leading to lakes.

 

THE DORKY SHARK

Although The Dorky Shark is the only species documented to have no brain and diminished swimming skills. He basically kind of just floats on his side barely cresting the surface.  Don’t be fooled.  If a wave manages to push him into you he has the capability to crush you with his massive cow teeth.

 

 

When you consider there are millions of people and only 80 attacks per year averaging six deaths you have a much better chance of dying from a coconut hitting you in the head  than a shark attack.

 

With All That Said

There are precautions you can take to  reduce the chances  being attacked.

  1. Never swim far out.
  2. Never enter if you are bleeding
  3. Don’t get caught off guard just because dolphins are near.
  4. Always swim in groups.
  5. Shiny jewelry should never be worn.
  6. Never swim at night
  7. Avoid water where fishermen are present
  8. Don’t swim under piers
  9. Don’t hang out in the drop-offs near sandbars
  10. Don’t swim with pets
  11. Bright clothing never a good idea
  12. And, if you are ever attacked by a shark if you can keep your cool experts say punching a shark in the nose or the gills is your best bet on getting away.

Truly hope this puts a little ease on the subject and have a Great and Safe Vacation!
Watch out for The Dorky Shark!

 

 

Securing Your Home When Taking An Extended Vacation or Holiday

Ok  your flying over the Gulf of Mexico preparing for final approach to Cozumel, quality time with the kids and hubby are finally here.

No-one ever thinks this could happen to them, but it does happen, approximately 2.2 million times in the US  last year alone. When you are traveling there’s nothing you can do. There are some precautions you can take to lessen the risk.  Research has proven at least 66% in your favor.

We gathered some information from the Dallas Crime Prevention Unit and from three of the major home security services.

Install a security system with cameras in front and back of home.  With the advancement in digital technology todays systems are more affordable than you may think.We found it more cost effective to purchase ours rather than lease through a security service. We called ADT and they monitor for fire and break-ins  $12 per month.

 

2.  Place security sign clearly visible in front and back yard stating there is a monitoring service in place and active. The security companies are happy to provide these, they get free advertising.

 

3.  Install motion detector adapters in all the exterior overhead lighting around the house’s exterior. Not an expensive upgrade, and you get a discount on most insurance policies for doing this.  We will put all these items in the (Travel Toy Store) section on the homepage.

4.  Have someone take care of the mail every few days and stop any FedX, Ups, Amazon deliveries, or reroute them. If you are one of the few still receiving a daily news paper,  nothing worse than papers all over the yard. Dead giveaway.

 

5.  Schedule a neighbor or a service to cut the lawn and if trash needs to go out to the curb on a certain day. If you are using a neighbor you trust you may want to give them a key in case of emergency. Many of our neighbors let the police know they will be gone, the police patrol the neighborhood anyway nothing wrong with an extra pair of eyes.

 

6. We like to turn our water off just in case of a burst.

7.  Replace batteries in all smoke detectors.

 

8.  Granted, every pet is different, and thats why we love them so much, but think carefully before you leave your little buddy for someone to come once a day and feed him or her. They miss you and act out. If possible have someone you trust come live in the house while you are gone. If that is not an option figure out a way to secure the doggy door, not just the little plastic weather slide that came with it. Most people just point a motiondetector at the doggie door wifi enabled.

9.  Your garage door can be bolted from the inside.

Do you have a sliding back door? Here’s a good option

What about the windows? This is a great quick fix.

 None of these DIYs will break the bank and you will need them again one day.

 

10.    Jewelry, small electronics, guns, cash, important papers etc… Heavy fire proof safes are always great idea, but we know not everyone has access to these. Walmart sells a fire proof brief case type safe/firebox, get one fill it up and give to a family member. If that is not possible hide in a place like the attic under the insulation or whatever creative place you come up with. We will be listing these items in the vacation must have section on the homepage.

 

11.  Close all  curtains and blinds. Thieves love to stop by first and look in windows.  Also unplug all non essential electrical items, not only will you save a few dollars you will decrease the possibility of fire.

12. We’re almost out the door.

Make sure to let someone know where you will be staying with contact information, sometimes you may be without cell service. Try to avoid social media, just don’t announce to the world any plans about your departure and make the house a sitting duck.

One never knows. 

We travel all the time and it is my wish that these little tips may help to relieve any stress that may take any pleasure away from your Cozumel trip or wherever you may be traveling to.

13. Now!

Go back in the house and check the windows, is the iron on, is the back door locked , I have 5 kids why are there only 4 in the car,  I better check my suitcase for the makeup bag, Omg where are the airline tickets, honey did you give the key to the neighbors like I asked…

You got this!

 

Have a great time,  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegas Touts, Bring The Kids / Branson Really Is Kid Friendly

 BRANSON 

 Branson just because of her location has been attracting visitors for over 100 years Stunning scenery and fresh air seems to bring out the best in everyone. It’s an unexpected amazing vacation or weekend getaway thats  graciously waiting just to satisfy the young and young at heart.

 

Get River Diner Cruise Tickets Here From $38

The first family attraction was The Marvel Cave, because of its limestone walls, most thought it to be marble.  It now sits below Silver Dollar City. In 1885 (Scientific American Magazine) described the cave in great detail and word of this natural wonder spread throughout the continent. Canadian mining expert William Henry Lynch read of the cave, purchased it, moved to the Ozarks with his two daughters and created the first professional attraction.

In 1954 the area gained exposure when Red Foley, a legendary country singer with 38 top ten hits, moved to Springfield, Mo. from Nashville, Tenn. to host “The Ozark Jubilee,”a gigantic hit show in the age of television.

The construction of the Table Rock Dam in 1959 gave this small mountain town the power it needed to become what it is today. Rockaway Beach, located just a few miles east of Branson on the banks of Lake Taneycomo, had long been a playground for America’s rich and famous with movie stars and U.S. presidents among those who retreated to the small resort community. At this point they now could tout bass fishing and water sports. In addition, the cold water from the bottom of Table Rock Lake was producing one of the largest population of rainbow trout as it flowed into the cold deep Taneycomo River (Which is referred to as Taneycomo Lake today)

On December 8, 1991, the popular “60 Minutes” TV program proclaimed Branson the “live music capital of the entire universe.” Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Branson not only saw tremendous growth in the number of theaters, but the number of hotels, resorts and restaurants.

Today

We actually just got back with the kids, there’s a new attraction called RunAway Mountain Coaster.  It’s a non traditional roller coaster where a pulley drags you up the mountain side, (It’s a beautiful tranquil eight minute ride up,) then  releases you within seconds of cresting. You immediately develop a new respect for gravity as you race down the mountain side.     Winding, looping, free falls, the only control you have is the braking by pushing down on the handles you are clinging to.   So much fun! 

Get Discounted Tickets Here

Do you like Trout and Fog

Some of the best trout fishing can be had at Lilley’s Landing just a three minute drive from the strip. The water stays so cold in the summer months the mornings not only offer the best trout fishing in the states but gives an added unique foggy environment not easily found.     Its just cool! 

The Landing offers Cabins for roughly $100 a night and expert advice on what the rainbows are hitting on at  the moment

 

If you prefer warmer waters Table Rock Lake is just minutes away. Great Bass and Cats are waiting to hit your line. There are also many high dollar resorts and campsites scattered around the shore. The dinner river boat cruses are also worth  consideration.

Silver Dollar City

We spoke of this earlier,  What a wonderful opposite of  the Disney concept. The staff is comprised of mostly local teenagers who are constantly interacting with the smaller youngsters with a fun, warm and personal approach.  -The spirit of the Lord is alive and well in Branson- The daily fee floats around $30 depending on the season. This is a must for vacationers with children.      I can’t say enough!

Get Discounted Tickets Here

Vegas touts, Bring The Kids, why would they say that?

You can bring them here, all of the shows are perfectly suited for everyone. Some of the shows are a bit cheesy yet some are amazing. The town for a bit picked up a reputation that it was for granddaddy and grandma, but from what we experianced it couldn’t be further from the truth. The Reza Magic show was first class, they intentionally bring the kids up onstage.     Stampede was loud, stinky and wonderful.

Get Discounted Show Tickets Here

Lets go Shopping

So many options, clothes, old fasion ice cream parlors, sporting goods, fragrances, novelty items, local art… One of our favorites was Dick’s 5 and Dime. This place was an ultimate throwback from the days of Mayberry fromThe Andy Griffith Show.  Just loved it!

When it comes to accommodations, there are so many choices . We hands down love The Clarion Palace Hotel centrally located on the strip.  If we were in Branson just for the trout fishing, Lilly’s Landing would be our first choice. The Clarion Palace has no hotel chain in fact it exudes the charmand warmth of the area.  And it’s pricing per night for what you get….  Amazing!

The pool is a safe gathering place to let the kids run wild.  They have a dry sauna, a beautiful indoor pool as well, a workout room and free breakfast.     All hovering around $100 a night.

 

 

Book The Clarion Palace Hotel Here

Book Lilly’s Landing Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galveston Oh Galveston!

Galveston Oh Galveston,

“I still here your sea winds blowing…”  We’ve all heard the song but have we felt her charm and warm waves crashing. It’s one of Texas’ treasures with an abundance of things to do, places to see and some of the best dining the gulf coast has to offer.

Imagine a  Fun, Exciting, Romantic, Island over loaded  with  History. This is exactly what you will find when visiting here.  Galveston is part Southern, part Texan, covered with towering oleanders of every color, with stories 50 times bigger than this little isle herself.  Many people refer to her as a Republic of Texas, as it is so unlike Texas in her attitude and feel. 

When the Europeans first landed in 1528 it was occupied by the Akokisa and Karankawa Indians who camped, fished and hunted the swampy land and buried their dead. It was discovered by Bernardo de Gálvez, a Spanish  general. he was sent to chart the Gulf of Mexico from the Texas coast to New Orleans. In  1786, Bernado  discovered an area near the mouth of a river and named it Galveston Bay.

It’s hard to resist a town who’s first occupants were pirates. Capt  Jean Lafitte established a colony of Campeche on Galveston Island in 1817, of over a 1,000 salty scavengers. . Lafitte was eventually forced out burning his town behind him and Galveston as we know it was established, by  Samuel May Williams and ,Michel Menard among others. The homes of these early island pioneers are still standing.

 In the nineteenth century, everything in Texas was done first in Galveston.  Galveston quickly became the most active port west of New Orleans and the largest city in the state. This small island actually built the state’s first post office, first opera house, first hospital, first golf course, first country club and so much more.

 On September 8, 1900, Galveston was wiped off the map by the most deadly natural disaster in history known today as The Great Storm.

 One-third of the city was completely destroyed and the rest in shambles, 600 buildings were destroyed or left crippled uninhabitable, 6,000 people were killed, there were so many ,conventional burials were impossible..This horrific day still looms large in the island’s collective memory. The Great Storm a film documenting the events can be viewed at Pier 21 Theatre in the Strand district and  is well worth seeing.

The survivors that stayed banded together and raised the entire level of the city by eight feet, 17 feet at the Seawall, slanting the ground so water would run off into the bay. (Interesting note:   The engineering and hard work was so successful that when the next hurricane came in 1915 just as powerful  as The Great storm of 1900, the city was safe and only eight people were killed.

Once Houston dug it’s own ship channel in 1917 and with the beginning of the prohibition era , Galveston evolved into a gambling and drinking resort town. At the high end was Sam and Rose Maceo’s star-studded Balinese Room, and at the low end were numerous saloons for wayward sailors. This lasted until 1957 when the Texas Rangers raided the entire town. The island languished for years after.

Today The Magic is Back

Even after the devastating arrival of Hurricane Ike September 13, 2008

The World Famous Flagship Hotel crumbled into the sea and was replaced by The Pleasure Pier, an amusement park constructed on the same pier where she sat. We can highly recommend The Pleasure Pier from personal experience. Roller Coasters, a Ferris Wheel.  Sit in a swing and fly over the ocean over 200 ft in the air. Slide down a 44 ft water flume log ride, and so much more.

 

Need a little nature?  Head out to the local crab hole just west of east beach, or spend the day fishing at the San Luis Pass.

 

  1. Go north on a (drive on ferry) for some jetty fishing and while your there take in the sites of Crystal beach where portions of the movie Dusk Till Dawn was filmed. Motor bike rentals, jeep rentals, pedal cars, bicycles, fishing trips, jet skis, and so much more are available right on the beach  and bay fronts. Or enjoy historic downtown and The Strand, a great place to chill, shop or dine in the late afternoon or evening.

Hotels.com is actually cheeper than booking through either hotel yourself.
Here is a nice option for families that require no amenities just wedding a nice clean condo with a great pool.

 

Today’s Smile

Happy Travels!

Chris

Hotels

 

 

 

 

Diamond Resorts is a well run first class organization where the guest comes first. All one need do is stay with them once to understand. What we particularly like about this company is when they run sales or special packages they are among the best the web has to offer, 4 and 5 Star accommodations at 2 and 3 Star prices.                                      

    Look at these Deals!

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go to Diamond Resorts

 

 

Hotels.com Rewards Program

Hotels.com® is a leading provider of hotel accommodation worldwide, offering booking services through its own network of localized websites and telephone call centers.
Hotels.com gives travellers one of the widest selections of accommodation on the net, including both independent and major chain hotels as well as self-catering in over hundreds of thousands properties worldwide. The company offers a one-stop shopping source for hotel pricing, amenities and availability and also specialises in providing travellers with accommodation during sold-out periods.

 

Go to Hotels.com

 

 

 

  • Lets go Globe Hopping in style without breaking the bank.
  • The Movenpick Chain is designed just to do that. For the upper scale establishments they operate the are very affordable. Catch them when they run specials and “WOW”
  • Mövenpick’s story is one of inspired thinking, which in the 1940s when the brand was conceived, revolutionised the European restaurant industry and introduced a new style of modern hospitality that was truly ahead of its time.
  • The secret to running this type business is
  • “We aren’t doing anything extraordinary,”
  • “We are simply successful because we are doing quite normal things in an extraordinary manner.”
  • This marked the start of an unparalleled success story for Mövenpick, a brand that has been synonymous with culinary and hospitality excellence for more than seven decades.
  • Go to Movenpick Hotel & Resorts

Flights

Flights.

Jetradar – Great Deals and Fun

In our desire not only to bring you the best pricing when it comes to quality airline travel, we continually strive  to make your experience fun and entertaining as well.

If you have never used a.             JETRADER  DESTINATION  MAP

you are in for a fun new ride. One of the reasons we love this company is that you can actually tell the map how much you would like to pay with fun little toggles, and it narrows down the travel possibilities for you.

 

I particularly like, as you will see, the destination set up.  Just type in your departure location on the top right of the screen and all of your  travel destination cities become little icons ready to be selected. I think you will enjoy this, it’s a bit addicting. Enjoy your flight!

 If you have a moment after, let us know what you think, or if you find any new features, please share. I’m sure our readers would love to know as well.         Check It Out

 

 

Here’s another great airline option for GoCheepNow Fans. Here are some samples of their average pricing and if you can be what they refer to as a flexible traveler savings can plummet an additional 30% to 40 %.

We looked into their online reviews and the positives  out weighed the negative 10 to 1. It seems like what most unhappy campers were upset about  were the non-refundable service fees if you decide to cancel. These service fees are included in the low ticket prices that they are advertising, and we found on their website this information clearly posted.If you can live within these guidelines they have some of the best prices online and if you are a flexible travel most likely the best.

This is actually a bit bettter than you find with most of the major carriers. Our phisophy here at GoCheepNow is if you’re looking for the best deals or cheapest last minute getaways or vacations br flexable and keep an open mind. The are alot of great deals to be had.

Check out their Super Summer Deals

 

 

 

We love these guys, they are always courteous, the customer support is outstanding and if you can book in excess of 45 days there are some really  unbelievable deals to be had. Fly from Dallas to Lax for $98 one way. Also if you find your flight for a lower price after you are booked and paid they will adjust the price you paid  Great company!

Check Out These Deals

Bandera – The Last of the Old Frontier-

The Texas hill country as we are lernen partner, still has a few suprises hiding under her stirrups, wide open plains, grassy fields full of hungry cattle, and a small town just southwest of Waco, as the locals call her “Bandera” Need a getaway or weekend vacation as unique as The Great State of Texas herself can offer.  Well come on down!     Chicken fried steaks are a  cooken, Shiner beer flowen in the waiten area.

 

Just out of the outskirts of town about a three minute ride on horseback sits, T”he Flying L Ranch”

In 1947,  Colonel John H. Lapham purchased it from the original Polish settlers. You can see where the Big L comes in.  He had a vision to create a place where modern people could go, find themselves lost in time.  He later opened an airstrip and flying lessons were available to anyone that needed a little extra distraction.  After several aviation mishaps the “Flying L” came upon hard times.

For the kids or the kids at heart, you also have access to a great western theamed waterpark.  Exciting slides, lazy river and wave pool.

Are we scared of ghosts? On Friday and Saturday evenings at dusk you can most certainly find out.  A real life ghost town is standing on the property with an organized tour.

Want to get off property?  Just minutes away you have the Media River, one of the few warm water rivers in Texas for floating tubing or canoeing. It provides an oil painting background to the entire experience. there are several options for rentals, bus ride drop-offs and pickups.

We loved the cabins the best,  around a hundred a night, clean and spacious.

If you are looking to relax this is the place for you,  ‘hands down’  and they allow 10 year olds to drive on the property in search of deer if you don’t get caught. Great place, if you can fly in to Waco less stressful. Austin is closer but might take longer to start doing nothing and loving it….

BOOK YOUR WEEKEND GETAWAY         -TAP HERE-

 

WANT TO SEE THE KIDS DRIVING IN BANDERA

Hold a Cabin or Room at The Flying L Ranch here