MISSION: To visit every state and territory in the U.S. For my mission a visit is greater than a stop over; I wish to explore the natural and cultural environments of these areas. Each of these locations has a story to tell, and I want to find it.

As of February 2018 I have visited all 50 states (and Puerto Rico and 2 island in the US Virgin Islands) at least once.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rough Seas to the Islands

The week after the crazy week that took me from Vegas to Denver, I returned to the Pacific time zone for a week in Ventura County California.  The week took me from the the sun in the lower 70s to snow in Denver, to the 60's (in Denver - gotta love the weather there) to the 40s and rain, now brought me back to warmth and the 70's sun in California.  All LA traffic aside, it is not a bad gig to be sent to southern California.

After a full day of travel and a battle on the 101, I ate a very late lunch at Ventura Harbor, stopped by the National Park Visitor Center to buy postcards and check out island maps, then headed to the beach.  Instead of checking in and hanging out in a hotel room, I sat on the beach, listened to my favorite sound (waves rolling), and read my Kindle.  What a great way to decompress from a long day's travel and relax for a week of training and outreach.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

One Day in Vegas

I nicknamed last year my Texas year since I visited the Lone Star State more than ever before.  This year, while only 2 1/2 months in, might turn out to be my Nevada year, or better yet, a Vegas year.  Yes, I have been to Vegas before - a few times over the years - for my 33rd birthday, for a wedding, and to celebrate a divorce.  This year, I have already visited 2x; once for a quick weekend date/spa trip and now for a quick girls' night out.

Ever been to Vegas for 1 day?  Well, I can say yes to that now.  Not sure I recommend the endeavor, but, I definitely had fun, and it was a needed break.

So what does a day in Vegas look like?  Well...

I flew in on Sunday evening/Monday morning - arriving to airport traffic and a hellish taxi line.  Finally making it to my hotel (the Westin) after midnight.  Starving after all that travel, I check in and grabbed a light bite at their restaurant that thankfully had fresh fruit and a grilled chicken sandwich for my late night meal.  While not on the Strip, the Westin is close enough for me and, most importantly, smoke-free!  Plus, the sweet sleeper beds usually mean better sleep than anywhere else.  Just lovely!

A few hours sleep and I had some time to kill before meeting up with my friend for dinner and a show... in Vegas that means shopping.  Of course it is raining in Vegas; it does that maybe 3x a year, so of course when I need to walk around it rains.  Good thing I don't melt and it was warm outside; I can handle some raindrops falling on my head.  I bounced between a few casinos, looking for inspiration for a birthday gift for a friend I was seeing in Denver the next evening.  I was hoping I could find something here and not resort to the mall in Denver.  And in a city where you can find almost anything, I knew I just needed some time.  After visiting the shops at Caesars, the shops of Paris, and the shops of Planet Hollywood, I found what I wanted.  With some more time to spare, I wandered back to the Mirage (home of Terry Fador, whom I saw in January) and visited a boutique that caught my eye.  Glad I did, I found a few things that were too cute.

Headed back to the Westin to head to my friend's hotel... what a step down.  There is no comparison between the Westin and the Rivera; just the smoke smell alone was enough to stop me in my tracks.  I was only staying there for a few hours, but wow!  I will admit, the rooms were nowhere near as bad as the casino floor; the smell was not as bad and they were clean.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Getting Ready for the Next Trip

Headed on for a work trip to Denver on Sunday... well, that is almost true - what I am doing is flying to Denver for work, but taking a quick side trip to Vegas to visit a friend for one day and then going back to Denver.  Yep, you read that right, I am headed to Vegas again and I am going for a WHOLE DAY! 

A girlfriend will be in Vegas for work and asked for me to join in on the fun.  I could not go the whole time, but I was able to squeeze in one day.  Luckily, flights from Denver are cheap enough to justify this insanity.

I know I was just there for a quick weekend in January, but this time is with a different friend.  Scheduling doesn't afford us much time to goof-off together.  And, let's face it, work has not been kind to either of us.

I plan to window shop on Monday - looking at all the expensive things.  I actually like window shopping at super expensive boutiques and galleries; there is no chance I can be temped to buy anything that I see.   I just collect business cards and note what I like.  I can't justify some of those price-tags on a federal salary... but it is still fun. (maybe when I hit the lotto.)  That evening, we have tickets to see the Jabbawockees. Dinner and a show and maybe something else.   It will be a quick girl's trip before I have to get down to seriousness in Denver.

I know I am going to be exhausted (have a 6 am flight from Vegas to Denver).  I will sleep on the plane and hopefully my hotel in Denver will let me check in early to get cleaned up.