I originally created this blog as a travel journal for my backpacking trip in Europe in May of 2006. Using the blog was such a positive experience--it became a log of my itinerary and allowed friends and family to follow me on my travels--that I decided to keep it going. My vacationing experience has evolved from traveling with friends to traveling with my husband to traveling with our children. I hope you enjoy reading about my travels, and please feel free to email me with any questions.

North America » United States » Hawaii » Oahu August 8th 2022

I got up at 2am. Although activities at Aulani start up fairly early in the day, they don't start up that early! I enjoy a bit of quiet time in the mornings, though, and get a chance to work on my puzzles. Joanna has been stirring around sunrise, so she and I have been sipping on our pineapple-orange-guava (POG) juice out on the balcony while watching the sunrise. We got a standard view but lucked out. Although we can see the air conditioning units off to one side of our balcony, we also see a bit of the gardens, the rolling hills, and the sunrise! At 7:30, I went down to Rainbow Reef. I was first in line. By the time they opened at 8am, there was quite a line behind me that was at least ... read more
I zipline in style.
Oliver's 1st Zipline
Joanna's 1st Zipline

North America » United States » Hawaii » Oahu August 7th 2022

Our family had an amazing time in Hawaii (the big island) this past December. We rented a car, explored the island, saw volcanoes, rode horses through valleys, swam with manta rays, and had a blast! At the end of our trip, we had a canceled flight and ended up stuck at a resort for a couple of nights just relaxing and swimming. It was a great (if unexpected) way to end our trip. Andrew and I decided it would be nice to have a vacation at a resort, a place to hang around, swim, and relax. This year, we have a lot of milestones. He and I are both turning 40 this year. We have our 15 year wedding anniversary. Also, Andrew's celebrating 10 years of sobriety. We decided to cancel other, smaller trips we had ... read more
We met Mickey, Minnie, Chip, and Dale!
Paradise Cove
Jo at Paradise Cove

North America » United States » Hawaii January 3rd 2022

Flight cancellations have been surging around the country due to weather and the omicron variant hitting so fast. We suffered a flight cancelation, too, but it was due to maintenance issues. Because so many people have faced cancelations and been rerouted, it's taking days to be rescheduled... It started on Saturday. We had to check out of Volcano House at noon. Our flight wasn't until 10:45pm. So, for about 10 hours, we had no place to go and needed to figure out something for restrooms, shade, etc. I looked into whether our old resort had day passes and couldn't find anything. We decided to head back there because it's fairly close to the airport, and they had the great waterslide and poolside food. We rented a fancy cabana, hoping that would work like a day pass, ... read more
Westin Hapuna Resort
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Kauna'oa Beach

Yesterday morning, we made sure to swim and eat some malisadas from the cafe before we packed up and set out for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I'd been really looking forward to going to the national park, but I found that I was sad to leave our resort. There were some pros and cons to where we were staying, but, when it came down to it, we had the best time there. We loved the pool. There were plenty more beaches to explore in short driving distance. I was sad to go. It was only a two hour drive to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I didn't want to be stuck waiting for our room to be ready, so we stopped at various places along the way. We stopped to see the painted church. We were going ... read more
The glow from Halemaumau Crater
Eruption at Hawaii Volcano National Park
Viewing the Eruption from Keanakako'i Overlook

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island December 29th 2021

This morning, we got up early to make the drive to Waipio Valley, on the north side of the island. We were going on a horseback tour through the valley at 9:30. It's about a 1.5 hour drive from Kona, and we didn't want to risk being late, so we left at 7am. The plan was to stop at the Hot Malasadas Truck on the way to the valley. We arrived at the location at 8am, but the truck wasn't there yet. So, we continued on our route. About 5 minutes later, we passed it on the road! It appeared to be heading to the location for the day. We thought about doubling back, but we worried the extra drive time and waiting for them to set up would be too much. So, sadly, we skipped ... read more
Waipio Valley
With our horses on the tour of Waipio Valley
Hillawe Falls

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island December 28th 2021

There are a number of beaches within a 20-30 minute drive from our Kona resort. Our waitress at breakfast yesterday recommended Hapuna Beach (a white sand swimming beach). We were going to head there, but one of our priorities was seeing sea life. So, we decided to check out 'Alula Beach. From what I read, it's a good area for novice swimmers and also has sea turtles. Well, the second part was certainly true! When we arrived, we were greeted by a rooster. I've heard people say that there are a lot of chickens that wander free throughout the islands of Hawaii, but this was the first one we saw. We've seen goats and cats wandering the big island, but not chickens (until now). We set down our beach gear. The sand wasn't very fine. In ... read more
Sea Turtle!
They're out looking for sea life. I found some!
The rough "sand" at 'Alula Beach

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island » Kailua-Kona December 27th 2021

Our first day in Hawaii was a resort day. I had worried a bit about how the kids would do with jet lag and figured a day to relax and nap wouldn't be a bad thing. Honestly, the laid-back day at our Outrigger Kona resort worked out great! Yesterday, we arrived at the airport at 7:15am Central time (3:15am Hawaii time). At our layover in Denver, we learned that United stopped doing the Hawaii pre-clear in the airport (that's where they check your vaccination documents and give you a bracelet so that you don't have to stand in the long clear line in Hawaii). So, when we landed in Hawaii at 4:15pm (8:15pm Central), we had to wait to be cleared. After that, we caught our shuttle to the car rental place and waited for our ... read more
Free Cultural Walking Tour at Outrigger Kona Resort
Bell Rock
Andrew and the kids

North America » United States » Colorado » Montrose July 18th 2021

Andrew's parents met us in Montrose this morning to drop off the kids, and they continued on to their home in Montana. We planned a night here so the kids could get a break from long trips on the road. Montrose isn't the nicest town, from what I can see. We're staying at the KOA here, which is very nice, but it's in the middle of a fairly sketchy area. We drove by some empty lots and storage units before our final turn. Usually when we stay at KOAs, we're just outside of town. So, being in town was a bit of a surprise! We're still enjoying our stay, though. Our lodging is spacious, comfortable, and clean. We've spent our time swimming and checking out Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. It's very hot and ... read more
Painted Wall View
Overlook at Painted Wall View
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

North America » United States » Colorado » Ridgway July 17th 2021

The kids are with their grandparents in Durango, and Andrew and I are staying in Ridgway for his best friend's wedding. The wedding party and some of the guests are camping at the wedding site all weekend. Andrew and I enjoy camping, but we worried there would be a lot of drinking and such going on all weekend. Andrew's sober, so we decided to stay at a hotel instead. It will allow us to have some couple time, which is a rare thing these days, while also avoiding the party scene. Many wedding guests are staying at VRBOs in the area or staying at the Ouray KOA. When we talked to Drew last year about the wedding, he mentioned one hotel in the area. It's a solar spa called Chipeta, and I booked a room. It's ... read more
Ouray, Colorado
Ready for the Wedding in Ridgway!
Andrew's in charge of the ring-bearer-dog

We had a very long drive yesterday. We enjoyed our drive through Yellowstone on the way out, and our drive through the southern part of Idaho was also gorgeous. Once we crossed into Utah, the scenery started to change from forested mountains to arid landscape. It got very hot. Surprisingly, the highways were extremely busy in Utah as well. There were many cars on the road with a high speed limit (80 mph). It felt a little dangerous driving through the state (especially through Salt Lake City), but we eventually made it to southern Utah and the town of Moab. It was evening, and the KOA office was closed. Thankfully, they had our keys waiting for us, so we were able to get to our cabin no problem. We also grabbed Paul & Colleen's key. They're ... read more
Oliver at Arches National Park
Arches National Park

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