Dena Jenson


Dena Jenson

I am a Vice-President at a community foundation and this will be my first month off since I turned 15 and half years old. Part sabbatical and part vacation, I plan to cover 5,000+ miles and visit seven presidential libraries (eight if you count graceland!!)

2011 - a new year, a new trip. Perhaps not an epic journey, but fun nevertheless. We are heading up the California and Oregon coasts and can't wait to start the trip.

North America » United States » Utah » Moab August 12th 2012

With the bright, hot sun quickly on the rise, we awoke to a clear azure sky and perfect weather for our day here in Moab. Unequivocally, my most favorite place on this rotating blue/green globe, this place always elicits calm, serenity, connection and is a special place that I enjoy with the love my life. This morning we started off early for a terrific breakfast at Jailhouse Cafe on Main Street in downtown Moab. The good night of rest made all the difference, but I suspect we are a little rundown and overtired. For breakfast, Jim ordered Swedish pancakes with fresh lingonberry jam and I had the southwest eggs benedict. One the most guilty treats at this particular breakfast joint is their soul food style bacon (and we had some!). After breakfast, we headed into Arches ... read more
A Happy Girl
Arches Red Rock
Our Wash in Arches

North America » United States » Utah » Moab August 10th 2012

It wouldn't be vacation without a stop in Moab, Utah. Deep in Southeastern Utah, this place is our home away from home. Each year for the past five, we've built a stop in this magical canyon country. We arrived right around noon and for the first time in many, we drove right by our standard hotel accomodations and arrived at Coyote Run rental home. An 1,800 square foot, two story house located on a golf course overlooking the vast expanses of red rock, this place is amazing. Every comfort is available. We unpacked, dodging the enormous bees feasting on the desert lavender prominent in the frontyard landscape. Once settled, we went to the most amazing rock shop and 'hounded' for additional specimens for our cactus garden and succulent pots. Beautiful colors, some raw and some polished, ... read more
Woody's Bar
Green Quartz
Petrified Wood

North America » United States » Colorado » Durango August 9th 2012

A one-nighter, we arrived in Durango, Colorado in the late afternoon and were met by a thunderstorm. But that didn't stop us from devouring the city, mostly to cleanse our palate following a disappointing two night stay in Taos. Happy to be moving on, we hit the ground running! This town was a perfect salve to a crowded, uneventful last stop in New Mexico. Colorado is always like coming home. Every time I've ever traveled here (Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and now Durango), I've immediately felt right at home. This stop was no different. A college town with a historic downtown area, we set off to make the best of our overnight stay. We ran a few errands and picked up missing provisions and then walked down mainstreet, visiting a few shops and ending up on ... read more

North America » United States » New Mexico » Taos August 9th 2012

Dear Family and Friends, it has been three days since my last travel blog post. That sounds like a bit of a confession; which it is. Let me wrap up our last day in Santa Fe before I share thoughts and reflections on our short stop in Taos, New Mexico. Our last day in Santa Fe was terrific - sightseeing, shopping and a fantastic dinner at The Shed. We spent the vast majority of the morning at a shopping complex called Jackalope where multiple artists and shops are all found - everything from furniture, home decor, plants, pottery, jewlery and so on. We met a really nice couple from Oaxaca, Mexico who were in town for a few days giving ceramic demonstrations and selling their beautiful pottery and sculptures. We carefully selected a vase with calla ... read more
Jimmy & Me in Santa Fe
Ceramic Chiles!
The Gorge Bridge in Taos, NM

North America » United States » New Mexico » Santa Fe August 6th 2012

Much like our arrival to New Orleans two years ago, we literally bolted out of the truck, quickly unloaded the car and immediately began to explore all the sight, sounds, tastes and adventures Santa Fe has to offer. This visit, different from our first trip to Santa Fe, we are staying two blocks off the main plaza and within walking distance of the heart of the city. Now keep in mind, last time we were in this fine city, we were about a two months away from getting married - rigidly dieting, not drinking and working out each and every day - even while on vacation! This trip is different! We are 8 years married, arrived ready to taste red and green chile and margaritas were certainly on the agenda. After a fairly uneventful stop at ... read more
Chiles in Chimayo
Chimayo Chiles
Leona's in ChimayĆ³

North America » United States » New Mexico » Las Cruces August 4th 2012

Last left off with the Blackberry Jalapeno Margarita at a lovely brewery/restaurant in Las Cruces, New Mexico. All I can say is, thank you Yelp! The place is called De La Vega's Pecan Grill and specializes in, you guessed it, Pecan Ale. Before the margarita, we sampled the unique brews - Pecan Ale and Green Chile Ale. Flavorful and bold with the scents and taste of respective names. The menu was a bit too pricey given that so many amazing New Mexican restaurants were available, we passed on dinner here, but did follow through on the recommendations of the bartender who recommended El Sombrero Patio Cafe. We arrived at this seemingly tiny restaurant with a very packed parking lot a bit after 6pm. We nabbed the last four top table before the wait for tables began, ... read more
Old Mesilla, NM - Window
El Patio Cantina - Old Mesilla, NM

North America » United States » Arizona » Tucson August 1st 2012

Mid-week, first week and we arrived in Tucson late yesterday afternoon (7/31). We took a slight detour coming from Ajo when we looked up and discovered Kitt Peak Observatory. Large expanses of mountaintop covered with white and silver domes housing telescopes pointed at the sky. There was a twisty turvy 12 mile drive up there to 6,850 foot elevation - super cool that it's open to the public! We took a way long and way too wordy tour with an astronomer from the 1960's. Here's were I admit the guy was probably a genius and confess to having flunked Astronomy on the first go (truth be told, didn't do so well on round two either). We walked up to see the 2.5 meter telescope and learned lots of interesting facts about how it was built, how ... read more
Very Happy Girl
Cactus Flowers
Saguaro National Park 2012

North America » United States » Arizona » Ajo July 31st 2012

Good evening from Ajo, Arizona! A sleepy and VERY small town 135 miles from Tuscon and 43 from the Mexican boarder. We arrived yesterday following a very long drive from Palm Springs. The trip wouldn't have been nearly as draining had we not run smack into a highway closure of the 10 and were diverted well into agricultural land with miles and miles of alfalfa fields, probably adding 45 minutes to an already long drive. We checked in to a tiny road-side motel La Siesta and unloaded all our wares into a shoebox size cabin - our home for two nights. Easily the tiniest room imaginable, the cabin has a quaint feel to it and is comfortable in spite of not having a lot of excess room to move about. But we are really not supposed ... read more
Desert Tortoise
Organ Pipe Cactus
Love birds in the Sonoran Desert

Where do I even begin? I could bitch about LA traffic but who can even remember such a trivial nonevent when compared to handsdown, the best first day of vacation that I can remember? Palm Springs - definitely an oasis in the middle of the dry, hot desert. An oasis on so many more levels as well. Is it possible that we have discovered such a gem of a place to stay that I hesitate to even share its name on this blog for fear that it will be over run and not available next time we visit? Hotel California is a boutique hotel on the far end of the strip. Beautifully manicured cactus and succulent landscape matched with lush, tropical banana plants. We were welcomed by name by the hotelier Lucy, daugher of the property's ... read more
Jimmy & I: Vacation 2012
German Pancake at Elmer's
Moorten's Botanical Garden

North America » United States » California » Ventura July 26th 2012

Summer Vacation 2012! The bags assembled, the road warrior provisions procured, the route selected and a mix of cost effective and splurge accomodations booked - here we go. We are sitting quietly this afternoon (on vacation, did I mention that?) readying to leave for three weeks on our annual road trip. With stops in Palm Springs, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and a soft landing at the end in California's beautiful Central Coast, we begin this year's journey with a much less heavy heart and head of worry. Wish it was totally cancer free, but to no avail. While I won't be making this trip gripping my cell phone in anticipation of details about my mom's cancer treatment, this year we are thinking of Heidi and her very aggressive fight against round two. I'm hoping ... read more

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