Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Shamu!



Shamu!

Just uploading vacation pics here… I’m slow, but getting there. While doing so – CHECK OUT THIS BABY! Holy freaking cow. Or shall I say Holy freaking KILLER WHALES?

Better Late Than Never

Finally the dust (sand?) is settling and I’m actually absorbing the goings-on of the past several weeks, including events of our California vacation that whipped by at lightening speed. In fact, I’m just now viewing all of the fantabulous photos we snapped and can’t believe NOT A SINGLE ONE HAS BEEN UPLOADED TO THE INTERNET. So here we go with the first image (one of my faves) and more via Flickr photo album soon:

Cue the Washing Machine

The worst thing about returning from amazing week-long vacations? Laundry. 48+ hours of it, and still counting.
(Note: Photo shows only a smidgen of it.)

Home Sweet Home

Well… we made it back home, but not without a few hitches along the way. First, Hub’s suitcase detoured to Rapid City, SD instead of following the rest of our luggage. Straggler. Second, as a result of our lateness in leaving the airport, we were too late in rescuing Smokie from her posh Pet Hotel, meaning she was forced to stay yet another night partying it up with her feline diva friends. Otherwise all went extremely smooth, and we’re happily shaking off the sand that hitched a ride home in our duds. Seashells, souvenirs, memories, and all.

Another childhood dream fulfilled. *yay!* 😀 (The adults thought it was pretty dreamy, too.)

Winos Gone Wild

Another early start to our Saturday in California, only this time we found ourselves at San Diego Zoo where the Catholic Family and I set eyes on animals we’d never before seen in real life: PANDA BEARS. Not only that, but afterward, we ventured through Coronado where we did some Hotel Del Coronado sightseeing and drooled a lil’, mostly because the Disney version we viewed in Florida was a pretty darn close rendition of the real thing. And finally, the Catholic Family found a beach shop, stumbling upon a comfie Oceanside hoodie to keep mom warm during the last evening surfside where the pier lit up beautifully, a much more valuable souvenir than any other imaginable.

Besides those cheap inexpensive Barefoot, Woodbridge, Tisdale & Turning Leaf bottles of California-made wine consumed throughout the vacation. Because really, that just goes without saying.

California Trip: Day 3

This morning, our second of the big California trip, we actually SLEPT. No more tossing and turning for the Catholic Peeps all night long with messed up internal clocks, because exhaustion finally set in and completely wiped us out for the night. In which case, waking up and getting a move on was that much harder, yet we succeeded and took off for more west coast adventures. And what an adventurous day we had! Here’s how it went:

  • Point Loma – Finally, something for the grown-ups in the group! Not only did we see the coast, but we witnessed breathtaking views of San Diego and the local naval base.
  • Sea World – even though we’d already visited SW in Orlando 5 years ago, the entertainment was nothing less than spectacular in San Diego. Our faves? The Shamu and Dolphin shows, fins down. Did I already say SPECTACULAR? No exaggeration there for us, especially since we sat ourselves in the Soak Zone, named that way for reasons we found out quickly. (Tidal waves. Seriously.)
  • LEGO Land: Day 2 – We really did purchase 2-day passes to this park, especially since it was the primary reason for our visit. So heading back to LEGO Land was a must-do before leaving California, thus our second trip back. With closing hours at 8:00 pm, we had @1+ hrs to take care of missed rides/activities. And you know what? We experienced the best visit of all, with shorter lines, fun ride facilitators who made us scream “Ghost Busters!” when prompted with “Who ya gonna call?”. Not only that, but one of the Picture People gave us a huge discount on the photo we’d taken in the Coaster Saurus ride, probably because we looked so freakishly odd with our funny faces. (Photo to be posted soon!)
  • Oceanside Beach – Thanks to that faithful Garmin of mine, we located the first Californian Subway sandwich shop of the vacation, a place we’ve truly missed since leaving home. And the visit did not disappoint! Those sandwiches gave the Catholic Peeps just enough energy to visit the beach before bedtime, a relaxing (albeit a little cool for my standards) way to end a perfect vacation day.

Next Stop: San Diego Zoo, etc.

On With Plan B

After a restless night of sleep thanks to jumping back 2 timezones, the family and I hopped in the rental car and headed over to Oceanside pier to witness all kinds of surfing and fishing action before making our way over to that magical destination: LEGO Land. Because unfortunately, the LEGO attraction didn’t open until 10 a.m., and we needed to waste a couple of hours. But it was all good – we actually educated ourselves in the art of surfing the waves and catching fish before all of that LEGO fun.

Ok, well sort of. As much as a person could be educated by standing there looking anyway. What a life these people lead – that’s all I can say!

So anyway, spending the day at LEGO Land turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment, with Catholic Son announcing, “I’m getting kind of bored.” midway through our visit. Well yeah, I could see his point after standing in long lines for most of the primo rides… and after waiting too long to eat lunch, then having to change tables when bees invaded our food. That would pretty much suck in anyone’s book, IMHO.

So what’s a family to do? Head for the beach, get soaking wet while crashing the waves, dirty up oneself while building the most humongous sand castle ever created on the beach, then watch as said castle gets smashed to smithereens after the tide creeps higher.

Now THAT’S the vacation I’m talking about.
(image of beach here later – photo upload issues in hotel)

Peeps Have Arrived

We made it! From Omaha, Nebraska to San Diego, California, we’ve officially embarked on the biggest summer family vacation since that whole Disney World experience a couple of years back. The shocker so far? The Spanish speaking; but mostly, the overall look and feel of the west coast. My words described it best after saying:

It’s like we’ve been transported to another planet, a place where we’ve never been before – from the jutty pseudo-mountainous areas around the coast to the silky white sands on the beach. This place is absolute heaven on earth! Pinch. Me. Now.

Home Sweet Home

Once again, we made it back home from our glorified Great Wolf Lodge vacation in record time without a single bathroom pit-stop along the way. The mini-vaca lasted just long enough for us to miss being in the comfort of our own digs and sleeping in a familiar place rather than in a room that resembled a humongous Wolf Den. As much as we enjoyed all of those exhilarating water slides and casually floating around on inner-tubes, home is that nifty welcome-feeling place to return to after being caught up in so much excitement.

*ahh* It even smells good – who cleans this place?

Today, the day after our return, it was back to tennis lessons (the last one for the summer), home cooked meals, swimming at the local pool, and me reclaiming my own personal space for catching up with business clients again. The downer? Heaping piles of chlorinated laundry:

Final Hoo-Rah

This morning was the last of our vacation at the lodge, and we took advantage of the water park to the fullest: meaning, we jumped out of bed @7 am and packed up our luggage before taking ourselves back down for more water sliding goodness. With the park opening at 9 am and check out at 11 am, we really didn’t have much time to waste if we wanted to slide down every water slide a gazillion more times before leaving. So we kicked it into high gear, Starbucks coffee being a big motivator kick in the pants for me, and managed to slide down every ride at least 3 times each, all before 9:45 am. Sa-weet!

Graciously, I offered to head back to the hotel suite before the rest of the crew to make the most efficient use of Shower Time. Yes, Mom takes longer in there. But in no time flat, my peeps were pounding on the door ready for their own showers, thus sending me skittering around the room all wet-towelled. Geez, Peeps. Anyway, everyone finished cleaning themselves up in record time, then we packed up the vehicle and made our way over to the Bear Claw Cafe for that final chance at fudge buying. Personally, I had my eye on the overpriced bag of Funyuns in the gift shop, but no thanks.

So then what? Lunch. Our plan was to visit a favorite Kansas City submarine sandwich shop in the nearby Legends shopping center. Only… where in tarnation did it go? After driving over and checking out the center’s directory to find it NOT THERE, we did what every other family-desperate-for-food would do while starving in a shopping center and settled for the closest eating establishment available: Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. But in no way was that pretzel meal going to hold off our hunger. Nuh-uh. And Hubs accurately described our lunch as ‘only putting a dent’ in our appetite for food after all the morning watersliding we’d accomplished. Metabolism gone completely and utterly wild, I know.

But yet the Catholic Family and I couldn’t very well leave the Legends without poking our heads into the Nike and Adidas shops; because of course, that would be a total abomination. So we meandered into both stores and scored bargains on t-shirts, shorts and a Nike brand Nebraska hat to help me cheer on that Husker football team in the fall.

Wait. Did that really happen? We’re on vacation in Kansas and I’m buying NU paraphernalia for rooting on our favorite football team back home? Something just isn’t quite right with that souvenir purchase. Meanwhile, I tried not to think too hard about that lil’ faux pas as we headed home, snacking on fudge and praying for Smokie’s forgiveness after another summer GWL escape. *fingers crossed*