Archive | Trip Reports

Summaries and details about my traveling experiences.

A window into heaven

Last month I spent two glorious weeks in Colorado, hanging out at a cabin neatly tucked away in one of the wrinkles of the San Juan mountains near Durango. As an extra bonus I got to keep Bonnie, my future hearing dog for those two weeks as well. Up to that point I was still unsure if I had what it took to keep and care for a dog, but we had such a great time together that I was really encouraged and more confident than ever that she would complete her training and soon become my dog for good, maybe by Christmas time.

Snowing at a Cabin in Colorado

It was snowing but this was the best kind of snow: one that doesn’t stay on the ground!

I was really nervous the first night Bonnie and I spent together, almost convinced that I would wake up in the morning to all kinds of love droppings on the carpet that I’d have to clean up, or that Bonnie would completely freak, jump through a window and run to destinations unknown, never to be seen again.  But she behaved near perfectly, almost like she understood I was new to all of this.

American Alsatian wearing a vest

Morning time with Bonnie!

As each day went on things got a lot easier, and I began to fall into a comfortable daily routine.  I’m typically a homebody who rarely likes to leave his man cave, but Bonnie forced me out of my shell, and my usual routine literally changed over night: instead of staying up till 2AM, I went to bed early and got up early, went out for morning walks, enjoyed coffee by the pond, and even talked to some of the guests that were staying in other cabins.  Just the routine of walking and feeding a dog seemed to stabilize my life and kick me out of those unhealthy, sedentary habits (like sitting in front of a computer all day).

Dog exploring cabin grounds

I think I heard a bunny!

After a few days I began to explore the area more, including taking a day trip to Silverton, one of the most picturesque old mining towns this side of Colorado.

Main Street in Silverton

Main Street in Silverton

I was a pleasure to take Bonnie everywhere I went, but our day trip to Silverton was probably the best.  This is where the famous Durango-Silverton train stops, but I opted to take the drive from Durango to Silverton instead, and I’m glad I did.

The road to Silverton, traveling on the Million Dollar Highway

The road to Silverton, traveling on the Million Dollar Highway

I took a leisurely drive just outside of Silverton and found a small park for Bonnie and I to hang out at.  The views of the valley here leading into town were incredible.  I could have stayed in that spot all day.

American Alsatian dog poses in front of mountains

Yep, I think I’ll build a doghouse right here…

All in all, it was a great trip, giving me plenty of time to unwind, experience life with a dog, and get just a little slice of the dream life that I’ve always yearned for: a place in the mountains with a faithful, wolfish looking dog, and of course, good pizza.

Snow capped mountains and lake near Surango

I think I’ll live right… there…

You can check out the rest of the photos I took at Flickr:

Christmas in Brooklyn? Fuhgetaboutit! #LoveThisCity #CBias

As part of a promotional bit I’m doing for Mastercard’s Priceless (a loyalty program offered exclusively for Mastercard holders), I made a trip into the city during a busy Sunday afternoon just before Christmas.  And by city I mean New York.  And by Sunday I mean last year (this is kind of an old post).

One of the secrets I’ve learned when visiting the city is to hit downtown on Sundays to avoid the crowds.  Downtown includes the financial district which is a veritable ghost town during the weekends, making me feel like I have the city all to myself.  It’s one of my favorite places to go then, particularly because I’m right near the waterfront, affording me gorgeous views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River.

It’s probably for these reasons that I always tend to gravitate towards going downtown instead of hitting up Times Square or Central Park.  There’s also another reason though.  How many of you have ever seen those gorgeous photos of the Manhattan skyline that includes all of downtown plus the Statue of Liberty?  Ever wonder what vantage point these photos were being taken from?  It should have been obvious to me, but for the longest time it never occurred to me that they were being taken from the Brooklyn side of the East River, until one day when I stumbled onto Brooklyn’s Promenade and saw it for myself.

Brooklyn Promenade and Fence

It only took me 30 years to find this place.

After downtown, this is probably the best place to go during the evenings.  My general routine is to either drive or take public transit to the financial district, then walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to visit the Promenade.  They are still renovating this area to convert it into a full fledged city park, but most of the grounds are accessible and includes one of my favorite ice cream haunts (The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory), along with plenty of eateries to choose from (and of course, what else, Starbucks).  The famous Grimaldi’s is also right here if you’re in the need for some touristy trappy Brooklyn pizza, and finally the River Cafe, one of those places you only eat at if you’re looking to propose to someone (because the food is going to cost you almost as much as the diamond ring will).

If I’m here, I usually wait for the sun to go down and I’m eventually rewarded with the kind of Christmas lights you can enjoy all year long:

Manhattan Skyline

Very Christmas-y… #LoveThisCity

So how does Mastercard fit in?  They have an attractive loyalty program called Priceless that offers generous discounts (and sometimes freebies) for travel oriented cardholders, usually tailored for those visiting or frequenting major cities.  Though I usually check out the offers for New York, they also have intriguing offers in Chicago and Los Angeles as well (with more cities on the way, including international.)

Ice Cream is the new health food sign

YES

Some of the offers look pretty generous too, with my favorite being the cupcakes deal.  (Don’t hate.)  I’ve always liked these kind of discounts, and while they tend to be oriented towards business travelers, it’s still basically taking luxury items or services and price breaking them to make them more affordable for those of us in the lower upper middle class traveling on our dime.

Brooklyn Bridge and Lights at Night

The costs to dine at River Cafe here: $200+. The cost to enjoy the this view: PRICELESS

Thanks for reading.  Remember, if you ever visit New York and you want to see the best possible view of Manhattan’s skyline, the Brooklyn Promenade is where you need to be.

Disclosure:  I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and MasterCard #CBias #SocialFabric #LoveThisCity

Snowmobiling in New Hampshire using the EveryTrail App

Back in 2011 I went snowmobiling for the first time ever in New Hampshire. Had a lot of fun and it was shortly after I had gotten my iPhone, so I had a chance to play with the EveryTrail app while cruising around the trails. I’m surprised by how well it worked, as it accurately mapped out everywhere I went until I finished my tour. Can’t believe it’s been a few years already, and while Colorado has usually been the focus of my getaways, I still miss the White Mountains. I may just decide to head back there in February and see if I can hit the trails once again.

Snowmobiling in Bartlett


EveryTrail – Find the best Hiking in New Hampshire

Final Slideshow of my Fall Road Trip

In case y’all didn’t notice that I have a Flickr Album, here’s a slideshow of most of the photos I took during my road trip last October. I’ve since bought a new camera and can’t wait to give this one a good workout for my next trip.

Happy Thanksgiving (and more photos from my road trip)

If there’s one thing I’ve been thankful for this year, it was my last road trip that took me from the wonders of the Grand Canyons, to my (hopefully) future dog in the mountains of Colorado.  I wrapped it up by staying in Dillon, and honestly I don’t think I could have found a better vantage point from which to enjoy the views of snow capped mountains right from my balcony than I did there.  Dillon is one of the skiing tourist traps west of Denver, but when you travel off-season it is surprisingly cheap and relatively uncrowded.  If you ever want to truly ensconce yourself in the mountains of Colorado for a quick getaway (but at a discount price), visit the Dillon, Silverthorne and Frisco region during off-season.  You won’t regret it.

Trekking through the Grand Canyons and Arizona

Finally got some free time to drop a few more pictures from my October road trip.  That GPS photo BTW was a screenshot of my iPhone while I was traveling to Sedona in Arizona.  Smooth sailing and then like a hundred switchbacks before I could finally get into town.  LOL

Sedona is an amazing place though, plus I managed to get some decent time in at the Canyons before an unholy abomination of humanity descended like locusts onto the place.  Right before the government shut it down, of course.  Once I left the Canyons I traveled through the Navajo Nation and stopped by the famous Four Corners (also owned by the Navajos).  I definitely recommend stopping by there, as the Navajos maintain a flea market of amazing arts and crafts that you can purchase as souvenirs.

A Day on Route 66 in Arizona

Finally taking a little trip down memory lane from last road trip by sifting through my digital photo scrapbook.  These are some of my favorites starting from Vegas and taking a dip down Route 66 to the ghost town of Oatman in Arizona.  I capped off this part of the trip by visiting the Route 66 Museum in Kingsman before moving on to the Grand Canyons.

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