Saturday, June 26, 2010

Well Balanced........

Wednesday we were naughty---we skipped the gym and took a nice day trip down south of Spudville to the Hagerman/Buhl area. It's about a 2 1/2 hr drive from home, so we set off fairly early. Our destination:

Balanced Rock!

You can't really tell by the picture, but it's really HUGE! Here's another view: Our original plan was to hike up to the rock, break out our climbing gear (ropes, harnesses, oxygen masks, etc) and scale up to the very tippy top, plant a flag and take our picture------ NOT!! After watching some other (much younger) people hike up and slip/slide on the loose rocks--we decided that we would play it safe and just enjoy the view from the parking lot. My old knees are not what they used to be!
After enjoying the view for a while, we decided to drive to Balance Rock State Park about a mile away. It's really a pretty spot with a few nice camping areas, some picnic spots and a hiking trail along a small creek.
We though a hike was a great idea! Here I am at the picnic area:
We hiked back along the creek for about 1/2 mile. It's a fairly narrow "canyon" with high rock walls on each side. We kept hearing a strange noise--kind of like a moaning or cooing. It was almost an erie sound, echoing in the canyon. What is that? Finally we realized it was doves that were nesting in the crevices of the rock cliffs.

We watched the birds for a while--it was very interesting. The doves fly right into the narrowest crevices, barely slowing down! There were many other birds, too. Beautiful yellow finches, red winged blackbirds, crows and hawks. We also saw lots of mud dauber type nests on the rock cliffs.

Here's a couple of pictures of us along the trail (that Dave--his new camera is really getting a workout!)

The end of the trail came too soon! We were hemmed in by the cliffs on both sides and the river right in front of us. As we did not bring our kayak, and our climbing gear (ha!!) was in the car, we reluctantly turned back. Here's the end of the trail:

Notice that David is in shorts, and I chose (wisely) to hike with my legs covered. Well---on the way back he got into some stinging nettle, and fussed and fussed about it. Being the loving wife I am, and thinking only of relieving his pain, I offered to pee on his leg. Oh, the look of horror on his face! "That's for jelly fish stings, NOT stinging nettle! I DON'T think that would work". Sometimes he's no fun at all; I was just trying to help. So much for my medical expertise, huh??(Actually, I knew that--I just like to mess with him, and he falls for it almost every time! He did look a little worried this time, though!)
We had a nice walk back to the camping area and enjoyed our picnic lunch while watching the birds. By then it was mid afternoon, and time to head for home.
All in all, a lovely day for the Travelin' Lundburys.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bike Ride!

David and I have been enjoying some great bike rides the past couple of weeks. Yesterday we did a morning ride on the greenbelt trail along the river.

We have to haul our bikes down to a staring point, unlike in Anchorage, where we could ride right from our house for miles and miles. The bike trails here in Spudville have a few starts and stops!

We started out along the river, it's so pretty along the trail: We wind along the river for a few miles until we are on the edge of downtown. There is a really nice Fireman Monument right along the trail. I always think of my very favorite Fireman, Chris! Here's a picture: Pretty soon we are right downtown, but you'd never know it! The trail winds through a big park, in fact our zoo is located in this park. On one of our rides a few days ago, the giraffes were out, and had their heads hanging over the tall wooden fence! Of course, I didn't have the camera that day!

Here are some pictures along the trail:

Pretty soon we come to a nice public golf course: With a very important amenity!

Even our "out houses" in Spudville are pretty!

At this point we are on the other side of town, toward the foothills: Right about here we are back along the river, and ride for about a mile more before turning around. It's about 20 miles round trip, and a GREAT workout! Nothing like two hours of hard exercise to burn a few calories--650 to be exact. And I love every minute of it!

In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that we usually stop at Starbucks on the way home and treat ourselves to a coffee. So make that about 550 calories, I still love every minute of it-- and my coffee too!

Fun Time in Vegas

We had a great trip to Las Vegas last week--much better than our last trip--no car accident this time!

We'd received an offer from The Orleans for two free nights, so we took advantage of that great deal (which included a dining credit!), added an extra night, and had two full days and three lovely nights to explore, shop, "plunk" a few quarters and relax.

We really had three goals for this trip--to enjoy some sunshine and heat, (which has been sorely lacking here in Spudville), try out our new camera in several different settings; and, for me-- to try out a few pairs of shoes for all day walking and sight seeing prior to our trip to Europe.

We scored on all three! It was definitely hot and sunny, although a bit windy the first day. We enjoyed looking at a few new casinos, and then walked to a great mall on the strip-Fashion Square. It's huge, and we spent 5 hours shopping and had lunch there. David bought some new clothes (much needed!), and I found a new watch. After the mall, we stopped at one of Emeril's restaurants and sat outside and enjoyed a cold beer and shared some nachos. Here we are:

That evening we had dinner at Spago, which was just OK. We weren't very hungry, so we just ordered from their cafe menu and shared a pizza and salad. It was NOT the best pizza we've ever had, for sure. Moose's Tooth has it beat by a mile!

The next day we were ready for something different. On a recommendation from my friend Pat, we went to the Springs Preserve Botanical Garden just a few miles from the strip. It was a wonderful, relaxing change from all the noise and hustle of the strip, and was very interesting.

Who knew the desert has such beautiful flowers? Our new camera got quite a workout, and here are some of the best pics:

After enjoying a few hours at the gardens, we headed back to the strip for our last afternoon and evening in Vegas. We explored the other end of the strip, and had a late lunch at New York, New York Casino. I tried to talk David into riding their roller coaster--but no dice!
After a bit more wandering around, we decided we were "done" with the strip--toooo many people! We caught the shuttle back to The Orleans, played a few slots and won enough to pay for our dinner! We had a nice, quiet sushi dinner, and called it a night.
Friday was a nice, hot sunny day for a 10 hour drive back to Spudville. Good thing we got an early start, as there were several construction delays. Rolled in to our driveway at about 7:30. Another great road trip!
It's alway good to come home--so we can plan our next trip! Where will the Traveling Lundbury's be next week?? Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Donna, Janna and Di in Seattle

What a fun time we had in Seattle!

Tuesday morning I drove from Linda's to Donna's sister's house in Olympia. It's a beautiful house right on Puget Sound--I could live like that!

After a nice visit with Donna's sister Pat, we drove into Seattle. A quick stop at Janna's house to pick up her room mate Kristin, and we were off for a coffee at their neighborhood coffee shop "Herkimers". We drove downtown and checked into our hotel-The Mayflower Park. After a quick bit of window shopping we headed out for dinner. Janna had suggested a pizza place--but not just any old pizza--this was Serious Pie! It was delicious-we had a Truffle and Mushroom Pizza that was fantastic. I think David and I will be going there when we are in Seattle in July.

Janna invited us to join her for a friends birthday celebration that evening. The party was being held at a bar/nightclub called The Unicorn, located in the Capitol district. Donna was careful to ask Janna about the atmosphere at this place, and Janna assured us it was great. Oh, we might see a few characters in the neighborhood, after all it's Capitol District! Well, little did she know there was a cross-dressers party that night! What a hoot! I'll never look at turquoise Lycra and feather boas the same!

I really enjoyed meeting Janna's friends--what a delightful group of young men and women. So friendly, polite and welcoming. It was a great evening!

Donna and I made our way back to our car, and to The Mayflower. Texted Janna and tried to convince her we were lost and still looking for our car an hour later, but she's too smart for that!

Of course, we sat in our jammies and talked for a few hours. The next morning I was up early--5:30! Made a cup of coffee and waited for that Donna to wake up. Hey--there's a whole big city out there to explore--and I've got shopping to do!

She was up by 7 or so, and we had coffee, showered and lounged around in our Mayflower "spa" robes. Here we are:

We decided to walk down to Pike Place Market area for breakfast. We found a great little French place near the market, and decided it looked just perfect for a leisurely breakfast. The menu was entirely in French--so it was good practice!
I had two poached eggs on garlic croutons, with a red wine/foie gras sauce, mushrooms and pearl onions. It came with a side of pommes frites--for breakfast!! It was wonderful! Here are a few pics of our breakfast:

Janna joined us for breakfast--here she is munching on our pommes frites: (please excuse the blurriness)
Isn't she cute? And she is just as sweet and thoughtful as she is pretty. I can't believe she is all grown up, though!

After several more cups of coffee and our delicious breakfast, we set off to explore the market. We stopped at one of my favorite stores, Sur La Table--a wonderful kitchen/cooking store. Of course, I didn't leave empty handed!

We crossed the street into the Market, and explored all the wonderful food stalls and artist booths. Here we are!
After we finished at the Market, we walked a few blocks up hill to Nordstroms and Macys--we power shopped!! We all found just what we were looking for, and as Donna said--we contributed to Seattle's economic stimulus, for sure!

Sadly, it was time for Donna to get to the airport. After a sweet goodbye to Janna, we got my car from valet parking, and found our way out of downtown Seattle with no mishaps. I dropped Donna off at the airport with another sad goodbye, and managed to get out of the airport WITHOUT 4 return trips to the terminal (ha, Deb!)

It was just the best of times, and I think we should make it a yearly tradition!