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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tequila Sunset - Part Two

Little Palm Island Dining! Anyways, we arrived at the resort, outside was pitch black, but once you get to the resort it gets pretty light up. Inside the lobby was nicely decorated, like if it were in the 30s 40s with some modern touches. However, Alejandra got so touched up once we arrived at the suite. I knew that I have to impress that girl, so I went ahead and rented it a suite that was like a huge cabana and it had a wonderful hot tub inside (you know what I have in mind, right?) and a beautiful comfy bed.

The next morning, we got ready, and the suite have an exit to the back that lead to the walkway to the beach. At the beginning it feels like you are reaching an end of the road stop, with trees and other brushes and garden-like flowers that kinda covers what is behind. Once you reach the end, you have the white sandy entrance to the beach and when you see the beach in full blown daylight, boy, let me tell you, that woman will be yours forever! Mark my words!

We spend the most amazing weekend talking, playing, fooling around in the awesome clear waters of the keys. We stroll in the paradise-like gardens around the property. All in all, it felt as if you were secluded. We saw a few couples here and there, no children (thank god! Nothing against them, but you know what I mean when I say that you are better off without children if you want a nice romantic time, right?). the other people were onto themselves and it was like an unwritten rule that you knew and they knew you better not disturb the moment, which was an excellent environment for some Love and Tenderness.

You’ll probably be asking about the food, well, what can I say, the specialty of the house are in the seafood. Between oysters, clams, shellfish, lobsters, and the fresher seafood you can think, it’s a food lovers heaven! Plus at night with the starry night and simply the best weather you can dream of, everything kinda was like a chugging points and browny points with that heavenly woman!

The week kinda went by really quick, but definitely the memories will live in. Alejandra was a little bittersweet when we left the hotel. Once I left her in the front of her house, she kiss me saying that she had a terrific time and that we’ll do it again, “hopefully under the same last name”. well, I guess with sucha beauty like her, definitely being under the same last name will be a wonderful experience! Can you say that I’ve found the place where we’ll be spending the honeymoon?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tequila Sunset - Part One

Little Palm Island Resort! So this was a surprise in the making. I knew that Ms Hotness Alejandra will be having her weekend, so I was waiting with the rent-a-car in the front of her driveway. You see, she hasn’t seen the keys, and I told her that I will take her one of these days. Like usual, you probably can relate that you postponed it and postponed it and your girl is like “yeah right, you always say that” and you can hear in the back of your mind the “but…”

That’s why I decided that I will make things differently! I went to rentalcarmomma website and pickup a lovely full size car, a Dodge Charger. As usual, I pick them cause they have the best price, and I am one who checks multiple offers and compare prices.

Once she saw me at the driveway, she was like “what you doing here?” …and I was with my killer smile telling her “well, get inside, grab a few things, and your bikinis and hop, we’re heading to the keys!”. She was still in the ‘I cant believe’ mode, you know, so I told her to hurry up that we have a reservation to catch.

So, we drove until we reach Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, one of the nicest if not the best resort spa in the keys! The only drawback about the drive was when we got into the longest bridge ever, it gets a little dull and the only thing you see is sea in one side and sea in the other.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Towpath Trail! Ok so this is our second blog since we disappeared for almost a month and this time we went pretty far north to visit Cuyahoga Valley. It is located just under the great lakes in the state of Ohio. The park is located along the Cuyahoga River, a well known fishing and transportation location measuring over fifty miles. The park preserves the area from being industrialized and has served to save beautiful wildlife. Yea, you are pretty much getting everything I read on the pamphlet.

We ended up flying into New York to spend some time with our family and then rented a Ford Escape from Hertz and drove out. When we found our cabin we decided we would wait for morning before venturing out. If you haven’t noticed we have made it a habit of trying to located cabins when we go one these trips. It all started when we went the mountains in Georgia, now whenever we get the opportunity we stay in one.

The next morning we tore our cousin’s bikes of the back of the Ford Escape and headed down the Towpath Trail. It was great of them to suggest we take them, because this is probably the longest we have ever traveled since we started visiting parks. We followed the beautiful Cuyahoga river for miles and miles, found picture opportunity after picture opportunity along the way too!

It was perfect timing to, because the trees are just starting to put back on their leaves. The dirt roads are well traveled and during the five or six hours we traveled we never came across another human being. One of the simplest and most majestic parks we have been to, those are my wife’s words, “majestic” isn’t in my vocabulary!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Congaree South Carolina

Congaree! Well this blog hasn’t seen our presence in awhile, but we have been off doing our thing in just about every corner of the U.S. But this particular blog is about our visit to South Carolina, more specifically the old growth and bottomland hardwood forest known as the Congaree. It’s almost like a swamp atmosphere and it really caught our attention awhile ago when we were compiling our list of national parks to visit. So we finally got the opportunity to go and it was absolutely worth it.

Since we live in Florida it was a very long drive to get there. We ended up renting a Dodge Journey from Alamo and driving seven hours to our hotel in South Carolina. Now if you haven’t figured us out by now we usually stay in a place for several days despite the fact we explore most of the parks in less than a day.

The next day after a hearty nights sleep we woke up and ate a local diner, one of those trailer diners. It has kinda been a secret desire of mine to eat in one, where there is only three tables and the bar, one man cooking one woman serving and three locals who look like they visit everyday. Pretty much the highlight of my trip, and the coffee was beyond exceptional.

Anyway we ventured out into the Congaree and saw why they call it a forest. This place is full of thick underbrush and everglades style waterways. I mean the entire time you travel through here you are covered overhead by tall trees, and just below you is the beautiful water. Of course we had to take a tour on a boat to visit, and our guide seemed to know exactly where he was going. His main interest was to show us the unique bird populations in the area; we even saw a bobcat while we were there.

The Congaree is a really interesting place, but I can’t help but think that it is too familiar to everglades. Regardless the animal species in the area are different and the terrain is beautiful, I had a very good time, especially when we got to explore on our own!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Amazing Atlanta - Part Two

The CNN Tower! After this marvelous excursion, what is a trip to Atlanta without going to CNN! This is where the news get done. The group arrived at the CNN tower, and pay for our entrance ticket. Once it was our turn, the guide told us to follow him, so we hop into the electric staircase and got into the upper floor. There, the guide shows us the different things that makes this news agency one of the best in the world and the most requested source of news in the US. They show us the studio where there was a few of the newscasters that we’ve seen in CNN.

What a treat it was to see some of them in action. one interesting thing is that they had their laptop close to them, and a little stand with wheels that had a box where they have munchies or chips to keep them at ease. At the end, we have the treat to be taken a picture with the background as if we were at the studio, and voila! We were the next America’s newscaster. Alejandra and I got seated and it was like one of those super duper newscast team! It was an eye opener to see how they do the news and what entails to make it possible to view it on TV. Have to handed it to them and applaud for their excellent way of delivering the news!

To end the night, we all decided to eat Italian. So we went to this place that was recommended by our concierge called Veni Vidi Vici. Simply, the best Italian food I’ve taste.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Amazing Atlanta - Part One

Our tall friend! So, we decided to go a spur of the moment trip to Atlanta, Georgia. we rented a SUV which wasn’t that bad in terms of price, $429.35. We split the price between the six of us. After the drive we got into the hotel and then rested from the trip.

The next morning we woke up and headed to a town called Pine Mountain. Here, we went to a Safari about an hour from Atlanta. It is the Wild Animal Safari. One of the most unique things is that they rent a van or bus that is totally painted as a Zebra, which is pretty cool to look at. Another thing that sets it apart is that you go thru different road/pathways and you can see the animals in their normal habitat all roaming free, no fences!

As we were along the tracks, there was this rhino that was in the middle of the street. Of course before, you are giving tips on how to act when certain circumstances happen, in our case, we stop the car and waited, we didn’t sound the horn, cause that will startle the animal and will predisposed him to hit us, which we didn’t wanted to happen. One really cool thing happened in the area where we saw Giraffes. One of them got really close, so close that we got our bag of treats and started to eat!!! It felt like a slimy vacuum cleaner, so “salivating” that we were thankful we got our “I got slobbered” towel.

It was said that this is one of only three safaris that are like this in the country! Let me tell you, what a treat it was. Usually, we’ve gone to these so-called safaris only to find that there’s fences and restrictions of areas where certain animals were, but here, all of them roaming free, what an adventure it was!

Friday, March 04, 2010

It's a "Crater" of Love - Part Two

Crater Lake! We went to the area that is in the actual lake. As you getting closer and closer, you can see how unique this lake is. What impresses you at first is that is a vibrant blue, the bluest blue you can ever think! Also, how big the lake is. It is so big that inside in the western side has a little island that is called Wizard Island.

You can take a boat that gets little sightseeing tours around the lake. We hop into one and as we were going along the waters of the lake, we can see how pristine the water is. The boat captain was telling us about the “Old man of the Lake” which is a huge piece of wood that has been wobbling since 1896!!! It moves depending on the weather, right now hasn’t move cause the weather is clear and beautiful. But since is huge it wobbles and that’s it. The captain maneuvered the boat as close as he can possibly can and we all took pictures of the huge trunk. Let me tell you, that thing is huge, the captain said that one person can fit perfectly on top of it, plus is long…here’s where you can see how clear the water is!

We finished our tour of this marvelous area, so we both decided to end the day with a nice dinner. We asked around and the people around told us that the best places are found in a town nearby called Ashland. Several people told us about a steakhouse named Omars Restaurant. We went there, the place is totally great. The atmosphere is all family but with the servers were hip and full of energy. The food, simply is fantastic! You’ll lick your fingers. We both got a little taste of the steaks and seafood. Alejandra got the NY Strip and I got the Tuscan Seafood Fettucini, however, we both cut our plates in half and share the food.

It was an awesome time we spend here in this area of Oregon. The scenery and the natural vistas are spectacular. The driving is cool cause the roads are well-kept and the car we pick was excellent for what we wanted to do, something intimate and romantic at the same time.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

It's a "Crater" of Love - Part One

Mount Lemmon! I decided to surprise the gloriously beautiful Ms Alejandra. So, I book the flight for Oregon and made my reservation for one of those lovely cabins in the Crater Lake area. As usual, I went to rentalcarmomma where I always get the best discount. I rented a Dodge Charger, which is a roomy and comfy car, and has a great engine that will make everyone discover his or her “racing” body cells!

The flight was awesome, and we got into a nice cabin that was closer to the area of the crater. We sort of rest this day cause of the flight and also cause we needed to acclimate from the jetlag.

In the morning, we ate a great hearty breakfast, and headed to the crater area, there’s so many trails and areas where you can see this amazing natural park. It is an extensive area, but one thing you cannot take your eyes off is the sheer beauty of its natural vistas!

We went to this area in the Crater Lake national park that has the Pinnacles. From this area, we went with the tour guide; he was explaining that millions of years ago this was a volcanic area. Fumaroles and gases were spill every time making this an impenetrable area. But that changed for some unexplained natural phenomena that occur here. Everywhere you look, you can see certain areas that are a bit desert-like, and there’s areas fill with flowers and pastures. The Pinnacles was an area where there was a lot of gases and where trapped and made like mounts that fills like stalactites but in the open, pretty awesome. Alejandra took pretty amazing pictures, and since she is a superb photographer, she was making sure to put different effects, some were Black and White and others where like in “infrared”, pretty cool. This woman is full of surprises!

Wednesday, March 02, 2010

Arizona Rock Climbing Heaven - Part 2

Mama Louisa’s! It is an awesome place to be, plus it was for the easy route. Boy the girls got into their gears, which was an extra we have to pay. It was a little into the $200.00 but sure it was worth every penny. The guide was giving us lessons in how to put the rope and how to set the harness. The deal was following him. So with little help, we finally got into the climbing and we click on the clips that he was leaving along the way…kinda like the white lines in the road, that shows us the road we have to take. There was a moment when he told us to stop, and he went to the other side around us and show us the trick to stay there without exerting our force, and boy! What a change that makes, instead of tiring your arms by holding you, the rope is pass around your thigh and makes a form of clip so you wont fall down, totally awesome! We continue and as we go along and higher, you can see the amazing view. There were some areas where there was lots of colorful flowers, which we were taking pictures and you have to be there to experience the thrill of being high above ground and climbing. One of a kind experiences! We reach the top where we all took a group picture with helmets and all…what a time we have here and definitely is recommended to all thrill seekers! We stayed there till the sunset. It was a super time, one we wont forget that easily!

We climb back down and then we headed to the restaurant where we took our cars and got back to the hotel. We relax a bit, took a nice cold and comfy shower, and headed to the lobby, where we ask the concierge of a good Italian restaurant. He gave us the tip of Mama Louisa’s, which has 55 years running! Once we got in, we were greeted by one of the Elefante family, which adds to the family ambience in the restaurant. We waited and we spoke with this family that was outside waiting for their table and they said that this is the best Italian, that they come frequently and its been like 3 generations cause they were the granpa’, father, the son and wife (that we were talking) and their teenage daughter. So we were seated, finally, but I tell you the wait is worth it! Those plates were really Italian style, big and full. We have sucha wonderful time and we will come again. Food was excellent and you cannot have more fun than to have an awesome waiter who was such an entertainer! (he was singing acapella and the girls thought he had a voice like Michael Buble or Dino, for those who doesn’t know is another name for Dean Martin).

Arizona was a pleasant surprise to us all. Not only we did something outdoorsy but also we were surprise by their food. And the girls had a blast at the spa, but that’s for another blog, one that can be summarize in one word: Steamy! And Hot!.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Arizona Rock Climbing Heaven - Part 1

Mount Lemmon! Alejandra (Ms. Hotness for you all), Adrian, Samantha (aka Sam) and me decided to do something new and exciting for this vacations. So we were having our table full of different venues and places where to go. It came to two, either diving or rock climbing. We postponed diving cause the weather was divine for outdoors activities. Made our reservations and we hope into the airplane and travel to Tucson. We then got into our SUV, which we rented it thru the website of Thrifty Car Rental that comes out to $489.50, which is not bad during the summer time, and to top it off is with unlimited mileage!!

So we drove North until we found North Craycroft Road where it will drop us to the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. It was a beautiful resort and one thing that the girls love it was their spa. And the boys like it for it was very close to the mountain range. It is not without saying that the views to the mountain are spectacular and the sunsets and sunrises are one major beauty of this area!

We stayed at the resort and the concierge recommended us the Flying V Bar & Grill. We were seated nearby the cascading water fountain. It is a steakhouse, so of course, their specialties are meat. We decided to ask the waiter and he gave us his recommendation, which was ribs. What a super pick! Their ribs were totally melting in our mouth, best ribs I’ve ever ate! Don’t forget that I gave you that tip.

The next day, we woke up early and headed to the restaurant where they were greet us by one of their experts climbers. You see, we made reservations thru Rocks and Ropes who specializes in teaching rock climbing in the outdoors. We were really thrill when we got into one of the faces of the mountain range of Mount Lemmon!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dry Tortugas National Park

Fort Jefferson! We finally got the chance to visit one of the coolest National Parks on our list! The only way to access this great park is via ferries and we were absolutely ready to head out into the ocean. We were told that several months ago you could actually see the oil damage in the area, so I am glad we decided to go when we did.

So we rented a Jeep Wrangler from Avis, just like the one I own but red, and headed towards the keys. Are plan was to visit the Dry Tortugas National park, but more importantly the Fort Jefferson. So when we arrived at the location where you get on the ferries we were a little more than exited. As we passed over the crystal clear waters on the way to the island we saw a variety of sea life including dolphins and large schools of fish.

When the fort came into view we hadn’t realized that it was in the middle of nowhere. I really mean it; there is just a massive fort in the center of the ocean! The Dry Tortugas are a series of eleven keys that make up this small land mass. The fort was named after Thomas Jefferson, the third president and recommended to the navy by John Rodgers. It was to be a forward outpost in the Golf for the navy as well as a trafficking island for trade in the area.

At the time the massive fort was a functioning enterprise, and the 65 foot lighthouse offered direction during hurricanes that frequently found their way into the Gulf of Mexico. I am pretty much repeating what the brochure said, but it is all very well interesting. The fort was beautiful and we spent about four hours exploring before they ferried us back, definitely a fun trip!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Big Bend National Park

The Big Bend! We are still on our raging war path to finish our list of National Parks in the U.S. and the next one on our list was the Big Bend National Park. So I am going to cut right to the chase and tell you we flew into Brewster Country Airport and got a taxi ride to a nearby a Thrifty Rental Car. We rented a Jeep Grand Cherokee and decided to spend the night before heading over to the canyon. We also made sure our reservations for the guide would still be valid.

We got up early the next morning and headed over the canyon and the spot where we were supposed to meet our guide. We noticed almost instantly as we got closer how the air got musty… is that a word? When we arrived our guide led us and three other groups down… or up to the ridge where we had the opportunity to peer over the edge. Im not sure how far down we were looking but the guide said the deepest point of the river was 1,800 feet below sea level.

I am so glad we had a guide because the magnitude of the canyon is amazing, but other than two solid rock walls there is really not much to learn. He explained that the park contained over four hundred species of birds and nearly 75 species of fish. I don’t know about you but seventy five species of fish is a really big number for a river. We were led very carefully down to the bottom of the canyon. The guide continued to say that not everyone gets to go down because of the water height, and that sensors were set up to ensure there wasn’t a flash flood while we were down there… very comforting.

The two rock walls on either side are solid rock walls, it’s very intimidating. The bottom is really smooth sand and small pools of water, something that changes at random apparently. We really enjoyed the park, its rather simple but really astounding.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon! If you guys have followed our previous blogs you have probably seen that we posted nearly a hundred over the past year and a half. We really like this blog, mostly because we rent all our vehicles through the Rentalcarmomma so it seems appropriate to blog about the adventures they make possible for us. Well this time we went to one of the most unique of places on our list, Bryce Canyon. About a year ago we started a list of national parks in the U.S. we wanted to visit; we have hit up over fifty of them in the past year.

When we landed in Utah we had already reserved a vehicle from National, so in no time at all we were headed on our way to Bryce Canyon. The best part is it was snowing, so we figured that once we got there we would find the bright red rock that makes the canyon so unique capped off with a layer of snow. It took us almost an hour longer than we had hoped to find the place, but when we did we knew the trip was worth it!

The canyon must be a couple miles wide and a million miles long… well not really but it extends far enough into the distance that you can see where it ends. Years of erosion have left the rock in some really unique formations, and the snow just added to the scene. It was like an image out of a fantasy novel, I really have seen nothing like it!

If you are ever in the area than this is an awesome place to visit. I would go so far as to say it is on the must see list for national parks in the U.S. It was really much higher than my expectations, and seeing it in the winter was something special.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Vermont Part Two

Ri Ra Irish Pub! That night we went to an Irish restaurant, the Ri Ra Irish Pub & Dining Restaurant. What an awesome place and nice atmosphere. The music, which was live has that irish influence. April was totally in her environment cause she is half Irish half Latina, wow you just can fall in love with that feisty woman! Of course, we didn’t leave until we had those amazing irish ales that was recommended by someone in the Hildene Estate! And let me tell you, it is worth the travel to enjoy this place!

The following day, we went to a ski resort where we booked a training session! April, Mika and I wanted to be like Shaun White “The Flying Tomato” and learn how to snowboarding! The others wanted to use the regular ski. The place was The Bromley Ski Resort, that was about 2 hrs north from where we were staying. Once in there the temperature was like minus 15 degrees! Good thing that we followed my aunts advise and put like three layers of clothing and one skiing-type of coat and three thick sox!!! Let me tell you, once in there, you understand why the skiing coats have those bright multi-colored looks! However, once you start wearing the skis and slide in the snow, it’s a major exercise fitness program! Halfway thru the day, we stop a little to muchin a little in the cafeteria, drinking Hot Chocolate and enjoy the adventure. At the beginning you buy a ID ticket that has three different colors: Green, Blue, and Black. Each one tells you what type of passage way in the mountain you can go. Green is if you are a rookie (if its your first time), Blue is if you have experience but you are not proficient, and Black is if you are pro or you have experience going in every terrain (cause some areas have a snow and ice or are rocky ice-y). We have sucha blast that we’ll do it again in a heart beat!

At night we went to this Japanese restaurant, Koto Japanese Steakhouse. The ambience was super and the food was extremely fresh. Since it was a bit full, we went to the sushi bar first. We had combination platters that had great variety between sushi and sashimi, there was one that was “Love Boat for two” that immediately April and I said at the same time, for which we both laugh hard and the gang was like saying that “love was in the air”, heheheeh. Then after eating and sharing our sushi platters, we went to the hibachi table where our chef was waiting for us. He was awesome, doing the incredible entertainment we would expect of this kinda food. Plus he did the usual volcano and some flips flops that fell in our plates that got us into the “how he did that” kinda state of mind! We tasted the sake and with our belly’s full we were totally happy with the night.

Cant wait until planning out another adventure, but definitely the gang agree that we could repeat again the trip up north to Vermont cause we truly got Freedom and our group became more tightly united!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vermont Part One

The Bennington Museum! So our gang wanted to try something new and different. Ms. April (The irish bombshell), Mika, Simon, Nicole and I were looking for different venues to visit. You can picture the table totally fill with pamphlets and brochures and DVDs with the “come visit us in…” lable. At the end, we settle for Vermont. We’ve heard lots of good things about that state and how good it is in winter time, specially since we all wanted to ski.

We book our flight that went directly to the Burlington International Airport. Then we rented out a SUV Jeep Grand Cherokee that cost us about $83.00 each, unlimited miles for the whole week! We got into our hotel that was conveniently located close to the major transit highways.

Our first visit was to The Bennington Museum. We all like history and museums, specially Mika. He is the history buff geek in the group. This is a lovely museum cause is about the New England area, things that were use in the different wars: Revolutionary and Civil. This museum has been stablished since 1852. some of the artifacts and exhibits are truly amazing. Few of the highlights are the flags Gallery that features one of the oldest “Stars and Stripes” in existence! In the day we were visiting, there was this awesome exhibit that was about the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Bennington settlement, which is the oldest in Vermont. There was this neat gunpowder container in the form of a horn and engraved was an old map of Vermont, you’ll be totally amazed with the level of detail and you can picture it used by one of those revolutionary farmer fighting a red-coat!

At night we went to this fantastic Italian restaurant called Trattoria Delia that offers incredible Italian food. Totally yummy. Everyone loved it, specially Nicole (who’s father is from Bari a town in Italy), and myself (who I adore the Italian culture). It was funny that Nicole was speaking to the waiter in italian and one of the owners, Thomas, came to the table and spoke a little with her and about her dad, it was an awesome treat to hear them in their native Italiano tongue!

The next day, we went to this awesome place called Hildene Home, which was the summer house of the last remaining member of President Abraham Lincoln named Robert Todd Lincoln. Once inside we were immersed with the continued history of the Lincoln’s. we were very surprised to know that this house was use for every member of the family until the last one die in 1985! The Estate has lots of historical artifacts. When you walk inside from chairs to desks to the china to the different decorative statues and little things, you can sense that smell of history. The girls where enchanted with the outside, the gardens were totally incredible with that Winter-y look, but still looking beautiful! I sort of steal a glance from April and wince at her, she had this mischievous smile!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park's view of the Porcupine Islands! Finally got some more time to sit down and write about one of our trips. We haven’t had a lot of time lately because of the holidays and some of the stuff that has come afterwards to spend a lot of time sitting down writing but things are starting to calm down. So we have finally gotten around to mapping out what we did over that time and we hope to update you over the week,

Well one of our best trips was to the Acadia National Park in Maine. Now we are used to the area up in the northeast corner of the U.S. but we had never been to the park. Since we are continuing our “See all the National Parks in the U.S.” campaign it happened to be one of the places on our list. So off we flew to the great state of Maine where the sky is always grey and the gas prices are always low!

When we landed we went to the Thrifty counter and rented a Buick Regal, we usually rent a vehicle before arriving but this time we were winging it. So when we got our car we headed to a Knights Inn over by the park and rented a room. When the sun came up we made our way over to the park and crossed the bridge leading to Bar Harbor, kind of the starting area for the park. The interesting thing about Acadia is that it isn’t really a park; it’s more of a mountain.

As you walk towards the center of the island/park you gradually start moving upwards until you are overlooking the harbor and bay. The view is gorgeous and the small towns around the edge of the park are a perfect silhouette to the blue waters. In the distance you can see the Porcupine Islands, a line of small islands we used to visit when we were kids. It’s funny to me that this was always right next to where I lived and I never visited. Definitely worth the trip up here, I can’t get enough of the northeast atmosphere!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Puerto Rico Travels

Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza! We don’t usually go out of the country for vacations or trips but when we got an email from a travel agency we used in the past offering us a vacation package half off we were ecstatic. It turns out that when they start new vacation packages they contact people to try it out before they start selling it. That way if they find that a cruise line or hotel they have chosen for their customers is a disappointment they get to hear about it before charging their customers. We got lucky when they picked us, and when we found out we would be flying to Puerto Rico we leaped at the chance!

Now the package had it set up so that we could fly in and stay at the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza… say that five times fast. It’s the beautiful set of hotels on the corner of the island. It overlooks these great beaches and beautiful rock-filled waters. We were absolutely amazed by our accommodations. The room was massive with separate room to relax in, something you don’t see in most hotels.

The beaches in Puerto Rico are fantastic, I mean just gorgeous. White sand as far as the eye can see and crystal clear water with this slight bluish hue that makes you just want to take pictures. We even decided to snorkel there; there is a lot of fish out by the rocks, and the reefs are awesome. The restaurants around the area are beyond this world, I mean we had a hard time going to more than one just because we weren’t sure we would get the awesome food at other places. Then again by the end of the trip we never had a meal that average, they were all fantastic.

The shopping in the area is apparently really good to. I personally never went shopping but my wife filled a suitcase to the max on the way back so it has to be great! We really liked this area of Puerto Rico, but everyone we met there said the whole island is pretty much the same!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Back to New Jersey

Our smoking Nissan Versa! Finally got to sit down and tell you about another one of our adventures. Well, actually, I wouldn’t call it an adventure so much as an experience. You all know that we have a tradition of driving on our vacation/trips, and we always use a rental to save money and the mileage on our cars at home. In fact at one point I told you guys about my sweet Jeep I got for my birthday, but that was another story. This one happened as we were on our way to New Jersey to meet with some family.

We often have miscellaneous car problems when using rental vehicles and they are usually voided when we return them as “mechanical failure” or “mechanical error.” However our recent trip was a little more exiting than squeaky brakes or an unglued rearview mirror or even a flat tire. This one was a little more exiting but surprisingly not that time consuming.

We were on our way from Florida to New Jersey in a Nissan Versa driving in the fog early in the morning. We made it all the way up to North Carolina when the check engine light came on. So we instinctively called National the ones we rented the car from to ask them what we should do. They gave us a location of the nearest National and suggested we call them. After calling them they said we could swap the car out for a new one to ensure we got there safely. If you read between the lines they were probably more concerned about their car, but they should be, repairs cost good money.

Well we were fifteen minutes away from the National destination when the car started smoking. It wasn’t like it was driving bad or careening off the road, it was just smoking. So we pulled off and gave them another phone call. They sent out a driver and had them pick us up and take us to the National Rental Car while they towed the old one. They wouldn’t even let us help unload our stuff, they did it all for us! When we got to the National location they got us into another Nissan Versa and we were on our way!

That’s the kind of performance we have come to expect from our rental car companies. This is the best we have been treated, thank you National for setting the bar!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Blackfoot River

Blackfoot River! We are getting to be old, and sadly we know it. In fact every time we end up going on an adventures vacation or trip we always crack jokes about it being the last time we will ever be able to do the trip again. But somehow we always end up finding something else we want to do that we aren’t ever sure if we are still capable of doing. This time it involved taking on one of natures most beautiful rivers, Blackfoot.

Blackfoot River is located in Missoula, Montana, one of the most visited locations in the United States. The reason it is so popular is because how rural and beautiful the countryside is. You can find a wide variety of simple entertainment in the area, and one of the most popular is kayaking down the Blackfoot River. We never found out why it was called Blackfoot, but it probably has to do with solid black rock that runs along the edge of the river. The “foot” part probably has something to do with where the river is located.

Anyway when we arrived in our rental car rented through Thrifty we went straight to the river the next morning. Now we have kayaked before so it wasn’t like it was going to be an extremely complex deal. We just picked out the gear we wanted and got permission to head down to the water.

The views were really great, and the water was crystal clear. The best part is all the snow had just melted so everything was this reflective/glistening color. The water was filled with fish, made me kind of wish I had brought my rod and reel. However I am not sure there is anywhere to fish in these waters.

Anyhow, we were thoroughly impressed by Blackfoot River, and even more impressed by our ability to still maneuver a kayak! I know you guys haven’t heard from us in awhile but we plan to put up some more blogs on our visits to national parks recently. We are coming to the end of our list, we will have to find a new theme for our vacations!