Monday, January 8, 2018

The train to Denver and back

Going to Denver on train was exciting Prospect for me I was excited to see the country and be able to not have to drive while doing this that I could pay attention to what was going on the only problem was the Amtrak was never on time and was always between 2 1/2 to 7 hours late I would not recommend it Jenny one is on a schedule but the scenery is incredible! We ended up leaving around 7 in the morning and are able to see a lot of amazing sites that cannot be seen from the freeway the mountains were beautiful, and we saw some ghost town that are not readily available from the freeway. 

We were able to get a great place to stay in Denver from stay Alfred that was only about a half mile walk from our departure from the train and very clean it was also walking distance to some restaurants and a grocery store so we didn't have to go too far to find food. The first night we took advantage of the grocery store and we're able to get breakfast as well as dinner that way for a little price.

Our next day we spent seeing the city of Denver.  We did a lot of walking, beginning the day by going to the Denver meant which is a really cool place to visit the guide told us how the coins were made well as some of the history behind it. It is nice to get out of the cold and an interesting thing to do while in the Denver area. We are able to get to get to a bus stop and take a bus to our next destination: the butterfly pavilion as well as a small aquarium and information Center it was a great place for kids but also for us who love to be in the outdoors, and enjoy nature. Were able to interact with some of the Wildlife as well lighting the butterflies float around us and touching some of the sea life the had in the building.

For lunch we decided to go to the Bonefish Grill which was your shirt walk from the pavilion we enjoyed several different dishes including the thing Bang chicken and bang bang shrimp tacos. I got hey Thai dish with shrimp in it and wasn't thoroughly impressed but still enjoyed the rest by shame with my family. 

After taking the bus back we felt pretty tired so we went back to the hotel to rest for a while then went to the Cheesecake Factory to get some dessert to go along with our leftovers from lunch. Where are family that enjoys dessert so we really love to the desserts that we got from Cheesecake Factory and were satisfied before hitting the hay that night. 

Getting on the net train the next day was a struggle we were told that we were going to leave by 7 but didn't end up leaving town early 10. Because of this we didn't get to her next destination Glenwood Springs Colorado until after dark. We quickly Dr hotel the Best Western in antlers and spoke with the attendant who told us that she could get us discount tickets to the Hawks springs which was the reason we're there in the first place. We gladly took the tickets and headed off to the hot Springs, which took longer than we wanted because we didn't know the way. 

By the time we got there it was around 9, so we enjoy the pools as much as we could for about an hour. The sulphurific atmosphere was nice for this body in the mind and we were able to relax for that our enjoying each others company and alarm sometimes hard water. I particularly enjoyed the hottest one at 180 degrees! 

We ate at tequilas Mexican restaurant and enjoy the food there. We ordered 3 emails for the fight of us and that was plenty for everyone. Hi recommend enchiladas and burritos.

The next morning be awake and we're able to eat a good meal at the Best Western which I definitely recommend. We also got some pastries from rosies Bavarian bakery for snacks later on that day which we ended up really enjoying. 

We learn from the Avalon are phones that the Amtrak was again running late this time 7 hours! The Wii had to come up with some things to do for the entire day since we wouldn't be leaving till 8 p.m. we decided to tour the city on foot and set alarm at trail the tickets around the side of Glenwood Springs which truth be very beautiful eyes if all the river. We saw the high school is well as books store and some other shopping long the way. After some naps we said up for dinner again this time I didn't Indian place that was a very delicious. We got the chicken tikka masala as well as the kabaw and another delicious curry the three meals fed us nicely, and we were on the way back to the hotel. The kind owner of the Best Western gave us a ride to the train station and we awaited the train. Unfortunately sense it was so late we didn't get to see any scenery on the way back though luckily we had seen the scenery on the way up. The train deliver to safely though very early in the morning.

I left the experience of writing on the train but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone in a hurry. Its definitely a government operation and lot of that thing seem to happen that slow it down. But if you do have the time and the means it is a cool way to travel and you meet all kinds of interesting people.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Travels to the frozen North

The trek to Coeur D'Alene Idaho is not for the light-hearted, especially if you take the path through Meridian to see the new temple!  It is quite a beautiful drive, however, and a wonderful experience if you travel with the right people.

I traveled with my long-time friend, Jesse, and we had a riot!

Stopping in Meridian for the temple open house was definitely a highlight of the trip.  Although quite far off the highway it was a beautiful sight, and one I'm gkad we took.  The patrons there were very gracious, and allowed us to view the whole place, inside and out.  The detail they put into it is exquisite, and the spirit there is evident.  Beautiful portraits and pictures abound, and the landscaping is incredible.

One unexpected, but delicious meal was had at the KFC/A&W.  While it goes against my grain to eat fast-food that I can get anywhere, it was tasty and satisfying, and did not cost me an arm and a leg to obtain.  Plus, it was conveniently located next to the freeway, making our hasty exit timely, as we were far behind schedule.

Tubbs Hill, Mcewan Park

Burgers and pie was for lunch on Saturday, and has done it for over one hundred years, so I let them supply it for me.  They have a very limited menu, but that pleased my indecisive nature, making it easy to find what I wanted.  There were 3 flavors of pie, and three of us, so we got one of each flavor, and shared between the lot of us.  That was an excellent decision.  The Strawberry Rhubarb was probably my favorite, but the French Silk and Coconut Cream were lovely as well!

I met some other friends, Alex and Alli at The Republic, a nice little hole-in-the-wall joint in CDA for dinner, and found some extremely good fare awaiting me.  I chose to eat the Montechristo, a sandwhich on Sourdough bread that contains bacon and cheese, that is then fried, and covered with a fried egg.  At the point you cut off a piece, you dip it in homemade raspberry jam, and shove it in your face before the exquisite smell knocks you out!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Memories of Maui (February 2016)

I knew Hawaii would be exiting, exotic, and warm, but I didn't know it would be quite as fantastic as it was.  The culture, the beaches, and the adventure was just incredible. I can't really do it justice with my words, but I'll share some of my favorite things in hopes that it will inspire some people to visit.

We stayed in a private condo in Kihei.  I would definitely recommend this area to travelers.  In so doing, you avoid the hustle and bustle of a large resort, allowing for beach time without the crowd!  There wer some points where we were all alone!  lso, as the sun was going down one night, we heard saw a mother and baby whale surface several times, hearing their wails (No pun intended) as they called to one another.  That was one of the most incredible things I've ever experienced.

The drive to Hana.  This drive is not for the faint of heart, as the road is extremely narrow.  For those that brave it, however, vast treasures are in store for the senses.  There are waterfalls, crystal clear pools, hikes through bamboo forests, and flowers of all colors and smells.  There are also many roadside sytands to fill your stomach with delicious Hawaiian treats. At the end of the road is Haleakala National Park, home of a ZGiant Dormant Volcano!  One of my all-time favorite National Parks, one is able to hike through bamboo forests to beautiful waterfalls that feed pristine pools.  

The Gazebo.  We had to wait in Line for about an hour, but the food here was delicious!  I got the breakfast sandwich, while much of my family got he banana macadamia nut pancakes-or some form of pancakes.  This was a wise decision on my part, because the pancakes were much more than my relatives could handle, so I got to eat my breakfast sandwich (which was wonderful, by the way), as well as sample as much of their pancakes as I could handle (which was enough to have to make them stop me)!

Leoda's Kitchen and Pie shop.  As a big dessert fan, this was the place for me.  I got chicken and waffles and a cookie/pie, but was able to sample all kinds of delicious food from my family members...I'm getting smarter!

We also chose to do a Zipline tour on the island, which was amazing!  I was pleased with the service of our tour company, the guides were amazing, as was the tour.

Driving around Maui was aso a joy.  As the garden island, it is filled with all kinds of plants, great hikes, and Sandy beaches.  It is incredible! Hanging out on the beach, or playing in the sunshine is always a good plan in Maui.  I found it was better not to have a plan, and just "Hang Loose".

One really special place to me was St. Joseph's church, where my great-great grandfather was christened.  It's fun for me to be able to "walk where my relatives walked.  The original church was burned down and rebuilt, but I was happy to be in that place.

Thanks for tuning in, and I hope you get to visit Maui soon!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Barging into Bicknell to Escape in Escalante and Prance through Panguitch(Nov. 2016)

The trip to Escalante can seem boring to some, but there are some amazing things to see along the way, if you take the right route.  Our route took us from Orem to my friend's family mountain near Bicknell, then down to Escalante National Monument (our ultimate destination), and back. 
A favorite part of our journey was stopping to spend the night at the ranch (Navajo Trails) near Bicknell.  It was run by the Sampson family for 50 years, running families on high adventure trips, and now is a much smaller venture, doing a few weekend trips in the summer.  Its a definite must do if you can get a chance.  It also boasts amazing star-gazing, as there are very few human habitations within 100 miles, and those that are have very few people around.  Thus, no light pollution, and more stars than many other locations in the world. 

Driving from the ranch to Escalante had some incredible vistas, and roaads that were cleverly engineered, but made for danger if one wasn't paying attention (there were some steep ledges on both sides) at some points. We enjoyed one of only a few radio stations on the drive, and marveled at the views.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a really great place to visit.  It allows for some great hikes, and good weather during the summer.  Unfortunately, we visited in November, so the park was technically closed, and it was a bit cold.  We still decided to take a trip into the place, and found some fun trails to hike.  If it weren't raining, it would have been a much more enjoyable experience.  With the rain, the clay turned "slick as snot" as my buddy so eloquently put it.  It was tough and dirty, but still quite fun. 

On the way back, we decided to take a different route, and made a stop in Panguitch for dinner.  As per usual, I found a great little hole-in-the-wall joint (probably the only one open in town for the winter), called "Flying M", for dinner.  I got the Liver and Onions, which was quite tasty and tender.  They did a great job, the lone waitress/cook/cashier was kind, caring, and a little nosy (she heard us talking about a band, and immediately interposed, saying that she had seen them in concert in the past-it was unexpected, but then, it was a small town, so it wasn't unwelcome).  We enjoyed the atmosphere, the food, and the fact that we found someplace that was open!

The ride back was uneventful, and quick (as speed limits are 80 MPH on I-15), at least util we reached Nephi.  That's when we encountered the first big winter storm in Utah for the season.  Traffic moved extremely sowly from that point on, and roads were slick.  After sliding around for about 2 hours--when it should have only taken 30 to 45 minutes, we finally made it home.  My advice for travelers in the winter is to find someplace warm to stay until the snowplows do their work!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Sightseeing in Sparks (and Seattle) July 2017

Driving from Utah to Seattle, and then Forks, and back is quite the undertaking.  It's a 12-15 hour drive to Seattle, then another 4 into Olympic National Park. That's one-way!  The sights are not incredible until you get into Western Washington, but with the right group of people, it's a blast! We made several stops, and among my favorites were:

Boise Fry company in Boise.  They had a great burger, but the fries were incredible!  They had fries from all the different potatoes (I chose yam fries, which I thought were the best), and had more kinds of dipping sauces and extra sprinkling herbs than I ever thought possible! I thought the blueberry ketchup was interesting and tasty.

Pike Place Market.  I don't know of another place where you can watch guys throw fish around, so there's that (and it was cool to see).  My friend loved the fact that he could visit the first ever Starbucks (which was extremely crowded, and took forever to get served, since everyone wanted to get their coffee there).  There's something for everyone, and plenty of vendor hoking their wares. A fun place to visit if you have a few hours.
Just driving around the city, seeing the Microsoft offices, and the Seattle LDS temple was a fun experience for this country boy.  I enjoyed the sights, smells, and sounds there.  It is a neat city, one that I hope to visit in the future, and one that I hope I won't forget.

Olympic National Park. I LOVE National Parks, and Olympic was fantastic.  There's not many places I know where you can experience Rainforest, Mountains, and the beach in just 2 days.  My guide and friend took us to experience all three, along with ferry rides and camping.  The Hoh Rain Forest was something I'd never experienced before, being from the deserts of Utah, and they pleased both the mind and the senses. A must see if in Western Washington.
Sully's Burgers in Forks, Washington: We were surprised that fate brought us to Forks twice in our 2 days in Olympic National Park, and even more surprised that we wanted to eat at the same place!  The twilight-based town drew us in, and wouldn't let us go, and Sully's Burgers was a cheap and decent place to "fill the tank" (our stomachs).  We went for the food, but stayed for the shakes!

Camlann Medieval Village, appropriately located in king County, Washington.  It was truly interesting to be able to eat on bread plates, be entertained by the court jester with song and story, and when ordering water to drink, be told: "we can do that, kind sir.  I'll make sure the servants fetch it above where the cattle are frolicking". They had good, though not incredible, food and I left satisfied, though not full. The meal was a bit pricey at $20 plus extra if you ordered drink and dessert (which I obviously did), but overall a good experience.  I just wish I could have been there when the villagers were out and about, playing their roles.

Oregon Trail Cafe and Bar in Glenn's Ferry, Id.:  I like hole in the wall joints, and this was a great one!  The food was great, the service was awesome!  I Felt like a local coming to his favorite small-town joint, and was treated that way.  They have funny books to glance through, and the menu hasn't changed in 50 years! If you can hold back your hunger til you get past Boise, it's a great stop with no traffic.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Certainly Cincinatti

I traveled to Cincinatti for the Love Summit, a conference that aimed to increase love in business, I stayed for the Theme Park.   It was an amazing weekend, with incredible people, and great business. I was impressed by the kindness and help I received from many places and people.

Flying with Frontier Airlines was not as good as it could have been  I was not informed that carry-on luggage was charged a fee of $30, until I was preparing to board!  Luckily, I was able to put it under the seat in front of me (though it left little foot-room), thus avoiding a fee.  Apparently, Frontier only allows personal items to be brought on for free, so watch out for that next time you book a flight! On my second flight, I was allowed to stow my item overhead, so I'm not sure what the difference was.  It was also made better by an extremely humorous flight attendant who kept my attention by telling jokes during the often monotonous pre-flight checklist.  He was definitely the star of the show. There were also no free snacks to satiate your hunger, no matter if it was a 1 hour or 3 hour flight.  They charge for everything!

I had a good experience with Budget car rental after arriving in Cincinatti Airport, getting my car quickly and efficiently, after booking on They were ready for me even at 4 a.m. (when I landed)!

Quality Inn and Suites Downtown was extremely accommodating to me.  I arrived early that morning, so they didn't have any rooms ready to me, but offered recommendations for breakfast, and also offered breakfast to me there if I wanted to just rest and relax before my conference.  Their breakfast was more than sufficient, and they offered to keep my luggage in the back for me while I attended my conference, which was much appreciated.  By the time I arrived later that evening, My room was ready and clean, with a Giant bed, good t.v., and peace and quiet, despite the busy downtown location.  I was extremely pleased with my stay there, and the easy access to downtown.

The blink festival was going on while I was visiting.  This is an event I would recommend to anyone.  The city lit up the sides of buildings with lights that had a kind of motion (e.g. a rabbit that hopped across the building).  There was also a parade of individuals and floats adorned with lights that roamed down the streets of Cincinnati for approximately an hour.  It was amazing how creative and fun they were, from dragons, to bicycles, to Disney characters.  It was fun to be out and about, and though I got lost a few times while walking around, I was pleased that I never felt unsafe or threatened.

After a continental breakfast of biscuits and gravy, muffins, and fruit juice, I attended my last day at the Love Summit, with extremely good speakers who explained how to use Love and appreciation to customers and workers, and made my way to Newport on the Levee, which is a must-see if you visit Cincinnati. I ate at Brothers Bar and Grill, which offers a beautiful view of the city,  from Kentucky, and has great burgers! I particularly enjoyed the ugly patty melt. The fall weather was perfect, and they had outdoor seating.

I traveled Kings Island for a day trip and was soon wrapped up in the stomach raising and heart-lifting experience of traveling at untold speeds on some of the best roller-coasters I've been blessed to haunt.  From Diamondback, to Mystic Timbers, to Firehawk, I was appropriately stimulated from terror to ultimate joy in the course of about a half a second.  Though lines were sometimes quite long, it was a joy to spend time with old friends and new.

After traveling to Indianapolis, I boarded a light with Southwest Airlines, where I enjoyed brilliant service with friendly staff.  It should be noted here that I switched my flight several times, and Southwest was incredibly accommodating to my indecisive nature, offering cancellation to within 15 minutes of my flights, and giving me credit for the time I actually decided to travel.  They offered free carry-on luggage and personal bag, as well as in flight treats.  These little things seem small, but it made my experience way better! My connecting flight in Denver was also right next to where I was let out, allowing me to get to my next flight quickly.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pie Day (1/13/2014)

In the beggining there was man...and pie!  Man looked at pie and thought, "Boy you look good".  Then pie was eaten.  
fast forward several thousand years to the year 2014.  Now pie is commercialized and sold at Village Inn's across the planet.  Lots of pie! 16 flavors in fact.
Neil and Spenser enter the pie scene (the Village Inn on University Ave. in Provo, Utah).
Waitress: What can I get you boys?
Neil and Spenser: We want one of everything!
Waitress: Are you sure?! (surprised look on face)
Neil and Spenser: Yes, we want ALL THE PIE!!!
They begin to forge through the pies when Neil gets a pained, sick look on his face and exclaims: "I need to  take a break!" 
Spenser responds with his war cry: "Nom, nom, nom", and continues the battle, only stopping to stack his empty plate and place a pie-filled one in front of himself.
Neil reenters the fray and gains the name "The Finisher".
The men reassert their dominance over pie.
And that's why (Spenser+Neil)+pie(X)=No pie...ever!

The End...or is it?