30 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zzyzx

This is one of those places I have driven by many times but never took the turn off to actually take Zzyzx Road.  It's out in the middle of nowhere.  Anyone who has driven to or from Las Vegas and California will have passed the sign.  Maybe even stopped the car to take a picture with the sign.  It's a quirky name for a road.  

Honestly, the thought of stopping in the middle of the desert to go to an unknown place kinda gives me the willies.  I've seen 'The Hills Have Eyes' and I would rather avoid the stop.  But I looked up the place and it's rather anti-climactic.  It's a research center and there is a natural hot spring there, aside from that.... not much else.

The main reason I remember the word is because there was a retired staff member who continually would request his password reset.  Somehow the summer break would cause him to forget his password every year.  And every year he would call in stating he forgot his password and if I would be so kind as to set it to Zzyzx.  I never did ask him if he had tried the password because had he tried, he wouldn't have called.  Job security right?

29 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: Y is for Yukon River

 The Yukon River was frozen when I went to Alaska a few weeks ago.  So frozen I actually went out for a walk with my sister onto the river and had a nice cold beer.  We watched the sun setting together and marveled at the crisp, cold, beauty of the river.

And the Yukon River Bridge, that carries (holds?) part of the Alaskan Pipeline on it is also a part of the Dalton Highway.  More on my Alaskan adventures after this blog challenge is over.

28 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: X is for Xanax

The first time I was going on a trip that included a plane ride I was so worried about the flight that I asked my doctor to give me a prescription for Xanax.  I have had to take it before for anxiety and before dentist visits.  I know flying stresses out many folks so that's why X gets Xanax for my A-to-Z Challenge.  Anyone who has suffered panic attacks can attest to the helpfulness of Xanax.  When I first started getting panic attacks I thought I was having a heart attack!  I literally would have to pull over, stop the car and hope I wasn't dying.  It was stress, I have since learned ways to avoid getting so bent out of shape.  But I digress, back to getting a prescription for flight jitters.

Oddly enough I didn't need to take the pills.  I was more excited than anything else to go on my first international trip that I didn't feel nervous at all.  I actually have come to enjoy flying.  The last flight I was on I did feel slightly nervous only because, like an idiot, I decided to read up on that missing plane that was all over the news.  Maybe not the smartest reading material pre-flight, I guess I am a glutton for punishment.  I just had to remember the odds are much better for flying than driving.

26 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: W is for Wiesbaden

I am totally cheating and linking this post to my original post regarding Wiesbaden.  Since then, our friend who lived there has moved to Texas.  What a change!  Wiesbaden is a beautiful place but a bit too rich for my blood.  I could not afford to live there, much less shop there. 

I wouldn't mind going back to check it out when it is actually alive.  I was there during Easter and the streets were desolate.

25 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: V is for Valencia

There is only one reason I have gone or will go to Valencia....  Just one.
I love Magic Mountain!  I have so many fond memories of going with my roomie and taking exchange students who are thrill seekers.  I really want to go soon but the mister is anti-coasters.  I think they make him sick or give him migraines or something.  I am hoping once Andy hits 58 inches (if he hasn't already, somehow the kid suddenly got taller) I can coax him into riding some awesome coasters.  I have a sinking suspicion that he may be a pansy about coasters though.

I was there for the opening of Goliath, which was so intense it broke the spaghetti strap right off of my roomie's tank-top.  That was fun, good thing the girls weren't over exposed and the park offers a variety of shirts and tanks for sale.  I almost snapped my neck off riding Superman because the 'keep head back' signs were oddly enough placed to the side instead of in front of me.  Never made that mistake again, without a warning ZOOM!!!! off into the air.  I rode the predecessor to X2, the X1 and it seriously made tears come out of my eyes.  It was like nothing I had ever ridden before and I actually ran out of scream, I had to gasp for air to scream more.  I was seated next to a strange little Asian boy who just looked over and laughed at my tear-streaked, breathless face; it was magical.  The guy I went with the time refused to go on again because he insisted it would give him a stroke or heart attack.

24 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: U is for Underwater

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows about my fear of the ocean.  I started taking baby-steps and learned to swim.  While in Hawaii, I did the unthinkable and went snorkeling.  I actually swam out, away from the boat, on my own and looked into the ocean.  I got to see the wonder and beauty that I was only able to see through fish tanks before.  I got to swim through a bunch of little fish and I loved it.  I was scared to death when I got in the water but after my panic subsided and by breathing returned to normal I was off exploring INSIDE the ocean.

I am hoping to continue snorkeling when I go on other adventures.  Being able to see life underwater was life changing and inspired me to face my fears more often.  I hope to have the opportunity to go underwater again in the future.  Maybe on my next vacation!

More on facing my fears in Hawaii will be coming up soon as soon as this blog challenge is over.  I plan to upload some video I was able to take while snorkeling too.

23 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: T is for Tehachapi

Tehachapi has been something of a recurring place for me since about the time I was 16.  I remember my friend Jeff talking about Tehachapi, A LOT!  He wanted to visit Tehachapi for one reason, the train.  You can look up lots of news related articles regarding the Tehachapi Loop.  He was a train buff and envied that I lived so close to the train tracks and could stand so close to them as they whizzed by.  I still haven't had the chance to see a train descend or ascend the Tehachapi Loop.  I wonder if Jeff ever got to see a train on the loop.

Later in life, on my first road trip to Las Vegas, we passed Tehachapi.  I had never witnessed windmills like the ones in Tehachapi or so many!  I think in retrospect I would have preferred a nature walk in the area surrounding Tehachapi than having gone to Vegas.  

A few years after that I met a gal online through a message board, we exchanged addresses and she lived in Tehachapi!  I sent her a few of my t-shirts for her to tye-dye and I knitted her light green toque.  I wish I had gone to visit her while she still lived in Tehachapi.  I still intend on stopping there one day to see the loop and spend some time there outdoors.

22 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: S is for San Francisco

I really enjoy San Francisco, I don't know if it's the impossible hills, the crisp wind or the late foggy mornings.  I do know, the food is great and I have never been lacking for anything to do any time I have ever been there.  The last time I went was wonderful, it was my mom's first time and it was my first time to actually walk the Golden Gate Bridge.  It's one of those things I always meant to do but never got around to it.  It was just our luck that we have a semi-clear day to walk the bridge and take pretty pictures.  That's me, my mom and my sis.

21 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: R is for Residenz München

Or Munich Residenz if you don't speak German.  

It's beautiful, big and makes you feel like a tiny dwarf in some of the grand palace rooms.  I especially loved the huge mirrors and doors.

Oh and I can't forget the amazing collection of bones.  Yes, bones!

For more pictures from my trip to the Munich Residenz click here.

19 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: Q is for Queensland

One of these days when I make it to Australia, I plan on stopping in Queensland; specifically Brisbane and Ipswich.  If I haven't mentioned it before I have hosted several exchange students.  Most of the students I have hosted range from a 2 week stay all the way to a 5 month stay.  The shortest kids I hosted were a group of four boys from Ipswich Grammar School that stayed with us for four days.

The four boys were traveling with their teammates through the US playing in basketball tournaments against other high schools.  These boys were nothing like any of the other students I had previously hosted.  Most of the students I had hosted were mousey, shy and Asian.  These boys were rambunctious, outgoing and very friendly; they were also ravenous eaters!  They encouraged us to come visit sometime in the future.  Some of the boys that stayed with us still remain contact online.  I hope one day to be able to visit where they came from.

18 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: P is for Pismo Beach

I bet you thought you were going to see the stereotypical, Baywatch-esque, California beach, huh?  Or you were expecting to see this Pismo Beach:
That is the Pismo I avoid, it's getting to be that time of year.  That time of year when folk from Bakersfield and the surrounding areas flood the central coast looking to escape the oppressive heat of in-land California.  They show up in droves, three day weekends are the worst.  I wouldn't get so upset about it but for the most part they show up acting like entitled jerks that litter the beaches with cigarette butts, Coors Light containers and fast-food wrappers.  This time of year I usually run the hills to hide.  Reminds me of an episode of Family Guy, the one about the Leafers.  Except we don't get Leafers, we get Bake-O's (as it people from Bakersfield).
Forget it!  I prefer it much more when the weather is overcast and not a soul want's to enjoy natures beauty.  The best time to enjoy it is when you can actually enjoy it instead of wading through an ocean of sweaty, gross, litter bugs.  Maybe I'm anti-social but I have my reasons for preferring a quiet walk on a gloomy beach over a crowded, sunny day.

17 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: O is for Oso Flaco

 So it says it's a lake. And growing up out in Guadalupe, I assumed it was a huge beautiful lake but much to my surprise it was an odd kinda pretty and more of a multi-habitat.  As you can see above the entrance is alongside agricultural fields.  Fields as far as the eye can see but then you take a short walk in the direction of the beach and you find beauty.  I know it looks gloomy and that's how most of my childhood mornings appeared.  Gloom and doom until about 2pm!

 A few hundred feet and a sharp right brings you to the actual lake.  There is a bridge that was constructed by volunteers and children (my brother was among them) to help you traverse the lake.  The lake is home to several endangered species in the Central Coast.... snowy plover is among my favorite.  At the end of the trail you can meet the violent ocean that is the Pacific.

16 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: N is for Netherlands

And annoyed that my post failed again.  Even after I check the time/date/zone.  Blogger I officially hate you and will be looking for a suitable replacement.  But before that let's get back to my day, just ONE, in the Netherlands.  Specifically Amsterdam for a 20 some odd hour layover.

Okay I lie, the layover was cut short by bone chilling winds, travel exhaustion and just plain exhaustion.  In the first picture I posted you can see I have a foot bandaged up.  That foot had walked for 2 weeks all over Germany and I think my poor hurt ankle was done for.  And I was done for.  But while in Amsterdam I did get to visit the Anne Frank House, Homomonument, Vondelpark, the giant I amsterdam sign, took a canal tour and had the best cup of coffee I think I have ever tasted in my life.  I did not visit a Coffee Shop, though I probably should have since they are now verboden to foreigners.  Ah such is life, being from California a smoke shop really wasn't of much interest to me, every corner street of a large city has a dispensary here.  Oh, we also got to stay in the airports capsule hotel which was expensive and kinda creepy.

15 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: M is for Munich

Another pilfered photo
I already have an image heavy post about Munich here.  I just have two things to say about Munich beer and food.  Okay, the buildings are pretty cool and the people seem way laid back too which was nice.  For my first German city, I really liked it.  The public transportation was impecable!

So back to the food.  I got to try weisswurst for the first time in Munich, oh man that is some GOOD sausage!  My sister and I enjoyed it so much we had to go for round two the next day.  We crave it from time to time and the only place we can get it is from German Deli.  If you live in the US, Puerto Rico, Canada or have an APO/FPO; they ship to you.  So if you are in the mood for some German goodies, they are good.  I have ordered from them twice and have no complaints.

As a side note blogger seems to be failing at posting my scheduled posts.  Sorry thins one posted a day late but it was intended for yesterday.  Guess I will have to find time to clock the Publish button.

14 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: L is for Lava Beds

Lava Beds National Monument is out in the sticks! I didn't even know they existed but I am glad I learned of their existence.  I remember it was in August, it was hot and the air felt quite oppressive.  I grew up at sea level so the elevation was causing me to feel fatigued.  10 feet into any cave the air temperature dropped quickly, more so in the ice caves.  I almost wish I had been better prepared for the lava beds.  Unfortunately, much like my random stop at Klamath, the lava tubes were an afterthought that was squeezed into my road trip. 

I was just talking to the mister and he thinks it would be a great idea to go there.  Maybe on the way up to Grant's Pass we can take a day or two to camp at this lovely high desert.  A quiet, dark, natural place to stargaze at night.... and a spelunkers paradise during the day.

*Photos pilfered from the government.  Back when I road-tripped, I didn't have a camera because it was a million years ago and capturing moments in time was low on my list of priorities.

13 April 2014

Guest Blog Post: Running For Fitness

No one looks sexy running; but damn if you don't feel it!
So I started running because my sister wanted a running partner for a 10k in San Fran.  I figured, "Ugh I don't run!  Why?!  Ugh, ok, I will do it!"  For my sister you know... and then a funny thing happened, I liked it.  No, no, I found a new drug!  Running can be so great for health; both mental and physical.  And magically I fell in love with it and as Forrest says, "For no particular reason I just kept on goin'."  So, Healthline wanted to do a guest post and I figured why not if the subject matter was of interest to me.  Running is, so for anyone who is thinking, not thinking or even uttered the word running.  Here is to you and I hope you can join in the good fun that is running.

Beginners Guide to Running for Fitness
Setting fitness goals is one of the most common new year’s resolutions around. Unfortunately for many, this desire to get in shape and turn over a new fitness leaf soon fizzles out in a week or two because of lack of planning and setting unrealistic goals. Some tend to choose fitness activities that require a lot of time and planning, while others choose those that don’t need a lot of preparation, such as running and jogging. Running is probably one of the best forms of exercise anyone can do; however, proper technique is important. Here are several running tips for beginners:
Plan your Schedule
Like any other exercise routine, setting a specific schedule for running is important. For beginners, most fitness experts recommend at least 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week. Running too far and too fast is the number one cause of injury among runners, so it is best to start easy, and increase the pace and distance gradually for a more positive result. Keeping a running journal or log is also a great way to track your progress. It also allows you to tune up your running routine if necessary.
Set a goal
Setting a goal is important when starting a fitness routine. It helps you to stay focused and motivates you throughout your exercise. Writing it down and posting it to an area where you can see it every day is also a good idea. Make sure that your goals are specific, attainable, measurable, timely and realistic to help you progress consistently, while avoiding the possibility of lapses. It is also recommended to categorize goals as short-term or long-term so that you are able to focus on one goal at a time. It also allows you to adjust physically and mentally to the changes brought by the new fitness program.
Clothing and Equipment
Running is an easy and cheap alternative to other exercise routines because it can be done almost everywhere, and requires very little equipment. A good pair of running shoes is the most important investment runners should make since this ensures the safety of the runner against injuries incurred with the use of improper shoes. It is best to purchase running shoes in specialty shops because they are more knowledgeable about what kind of shoe will complement your physique, goals, running style and ability. The late afternoon is the best time to shop for running shoes since feet swell slightly during the day.
Learn running techniques
Make sure you know all the basics before starting a running program. It is important to consult your physician to know your health limitations, especially for men 45 years and older or women who are 50 years and older. Start each run with a warm-up for at least 5 minutes. This can include quick walking, knee lifts and climbing stairs. Start running slowly with walking intervals to avoid straining. As time goes by, you can increase your pace and running time up to a speed and duration you’re comfortable with. Give yourself a few minutes to cool down after each run by walking and gently stretching your legs afterwards. It is best to run at least twice a week, consistently every week. Make sure that even if you’re running, you’ll still be able to carry a conversation. Running at the right intensity will keep you from burning out too quickly.
Mix up your routine
Mixing up other exercises or activities and adding variations can keep your fitness regimen more interesting. Running the same route over and over again can be boring, so it’s best to try different routes as you progress. Trails in woods, hills and beaches are also great places to run, since they allow you to enjoy your surroundings even while working out. You can also add variation by doing other activities such as cycling and aerobics. Try to add at least 20 minutes of strength workout in your routine twice a week as well. This will help you to build muscle and bone density, which can protect you against injuries.
Track what you eat
Exercise is not the only solution when trying to lose weight or keeping yourself healthy. Your eating habits play a big role in helping you achieve your fitness goals. Make sure to keep an eye on everything you eat. Try to avoid colas, candies and foods that are high in salt and sugar. Fruits and vegetables should comprise most of your diet since they contain fewer calories and significantly more nutrition.
David Novak is a international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Reader's Digest and GQ Magazine, among others. David is a health and diet enthusiast, and frequently writes on a wide array of health topics for various publications, including regular editions appearing in healthline.com. For more of his Healthline articles, visit http://www.healthline.com/ .

12 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: K is for Klamath Falls

Pilfered photo.
Klamath Falls was an unplanned stop that I am thankful for stopping at.  I was on a roadtrip way back when and just north of the California border is Klamath Falls.  It was beautiful!  Green as far as the eye could see, a pretty lake that made all other lakes I had seen look like dirty mud puddles.  And the smell was amazing, the air was crisp and clean.  I am hoping when the mister's family decides on roadtripping up to Bend that I can stop at Klamath Falls again.

11 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: J is for Japan

So, I haven't been to Japan. But I want to go and I always thought I would go first.  Alas, it seems like the mister will go first.  He has family in Hokkaido, family he hasn't seen in some where about a decade?  So it seems my plans for Japan shall be put on hold for a tad bit longer.

Thought at some point I would like to spend some time in Hokkaido, possibly meeting the mister's family.  Possibly snowboarding?  There are other places of interest, as a tourist of course, that I would love to visit. 

As a future tourist are there any must see places I have to stop at?  Is there anything to see that is off the tourist beaten path?  Any suggestions are welcome... also, I think I am jealous and nervous.

So I kinda sorta failed on this post because it's not about where I have been but where I will go.  But still, it's related to travel.

10 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: I is for Ice

Or igloo!  Really thought, it's for ice, as in the Ice Museum at the Chena Hot Springs.  I have much more to talk about regarding the Ice Museum but that's for a more in depth post at a later time.  With way more pictures.  
See the Beauty and the Beast rose?
 But, I do have to share that the Ice Museum has an ice bar, which serves cocktails in ice martini glasses.  There are several ice sculptures and four bedrooms all designed out of ice.  The lighting gave it all a very magical feel.
All of the sculptures in the museum are hand-made by Steven and Heather Brice.  If you are ever near Fairbanks, it's worth it to take a very scenic drive to the Chena Hot Springs.  Check out the amazing ice scupltures, have nice dip in the hot springs and have a dinner afterwards; depending on the time of year maybe even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

09 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: H is for HooDoo

HooDoo Brewing Company was the only brewery I visited in Alaska.  I can't judge all Alaskan beers the same but I kinda want to.  I really didn't find any beer that stood out among the rest that I tried.  Most if not all of the beers from HooDoo had this funky aftertaste.  Like if I had mixed up a handful of dirt in with my beer.  I get the same dirt flavor when I have had Budweiser or similar swill.  But I digress, let me move on to the beers.  A flight of 6 is twelve USD.

Sorry about the shitty picture but I was too busy dying of Thai food coma.  But I will list off the 6 we tried (it was what they had available):
German Kölsch: ABV 5.1% // IBU 25
Belgian Saison: ABV: 5.9% // IBU: 19
Scottish Export Ale: ABV: 5.6% // IBU: 26
American IPA:  ABV: 7.2% // IBU: 73
Belgian Tripel: ABV: 8.3% // IBU: 30 
HooDoo Stout: ABV: 5.8% // IBU: 45 

I did have a second helping of their HooDoo Stout, we even took home a growler to share back home.  For a small brew company they do a great job with the selection of merchandise and keep their website up to date with what's on tap.

08 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: G is for Garden

When I go new places I make it a point to see gardens because they remind me about the good things in life.  Pretty things.  The settings for many of the gardens are just so serene too.  I could lose myself for hours in a garden if left up to my own devices.

Lan Su Chinese Garden; Portland, OR

Japanese Tea Garden; San Francisco, CA

James Irvine Japanese Garden; Los Angeles, CA

Garden of Eden Arboretum; Haiku, HI

Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm; Kula, HI

World Peace Rose Garden; Sacramento, CA

California Scenario - Noguchi Garden; Costa Mesa, CA
I enjoy underwater gardens as well... alas the closest I have been is when I snorkeled in Maui and going to an aquarium from time to time.  But there is always time to change that.

07 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: F is for Füssen

A few years ago I found myself in Füssen.  What for you ask?  I was there to see the famous Hohenschwangau Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle.  The amazing view down toward Füssen from a little vista located just outside the Neuschwanstein Castle can bee seen down below.  I still remember how crisp and fresh the air smelled.  I hope to go back to Germany and visit other parts I have yet to see.

06 April 2014

Review: Koa Wood Ring - Offset

So, once upon in my 'About' I mentioned I was not a review site.  But since then I have reviewed a few things.  Some things I have purchased and some things I have not.  I like to pride myself in honesty and when I review something; purchased or not I am quite upfront.

I recently have been given the opportunity to review a Koa Wood Ring, graciously provided by: Altin Place out of Los Angeles, California.  The ring I chose to review was their Offset, I thought it a little smarter than their other rings.  As pictured above it has an etching of the Hawaiian Island, which the Koa wood is derived from.  I thought that was a sweet little touch to the VERY, light weight, titanium ring.  The beauty of the Offset is you can wear it with the wood band close or away from the body.  I would interchange this as well as the finger I wore it on.

Being married, I did not replace my wedding ring with the Koa ring but I did rock it on the right hand on both the ring and index finger.  It was light-weight, smooth around the edges and easy to live/sleep with.  All of those qualities are something that potential wedding bands should possess.  As for wear and tear, here is the break down.  Keep in mind I have worn the ring for only a month.

I am a potter and have removed the ring when throwing pottery (makes grooves in my pieces) to keep the clay from drying out the protective layer around the wood.  But I have used it while trimming, glazing and other pottery related activities... it has held up like a champ (showering doesn't seem to cause problems either).  I also like to travel and had the chance to take the Koa Ring to below freezing levels in the Arctic; the ring stood up like a champ.  As titanium has a tendency to do as it does; scuff.  But as I see it, in a wedding band, it means it weathers the good and the bad just like a marriage does.  If you want flawless go for a lighter on the pocket-book tungsten ring.  But if you want high quality and beautiful shine through the scuffs of life go with the Koa (or gold/platinum).

Like I have said, I have only had the pleasure of wearing the ring for a month and have not seen any defects or downfalls to the ring yet.  This ring, as per the website has an unbeatable warranty, "Not all wood rings are created equal and many just won't look as good 5 years, or even 6 months down the line. But this line of titanium and koa rings and wood wedding bands for men come with a Lifetime Guarantee."  How often can you get that kind of guarantee with anything?!  If the company gets me back in another 6 months or even 5 years I can provide further data.

If I was a gal that needed a matching theme thing to happen I would for for the: bangle, ring, earring combo.  Alas I don't wear earrings and bracelets get in the way of my work.  But as far as a ring goes, this one has yet to get in my way and it looks good.

05 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: E is for Einbahnstraße

So as most of my followers know, I can't think straight when I have to pee.  I get lost, confused easily and often times get quite giddy (sometimes drunkeness coincides).  This challenge reminded me of the 2nd time in Germany that I lost my wits to the pee-pee dance monster.

Pics of the day wandering in Köln can be found here and here is an excerpt of that post:

"We got to walk through this really peaceful park when the wandering turned into hilarity.  My sister and I were heading out of the park when I noticed a street sign and mentioned we must have wandered closer to where we were staying.  I blame the urgency to use the wash closet, darkness approaching and beers.  But somehow I managed to confuse the name of the street the hostel was at Engelbertstraße, with the sign posted on the street that said Einbahnstraße.  I knew what the word said but my lazy brain was filling in the blanks, it started with E and ended in straße that had to be the street, right?  We just keep following that street in the direction of the hostel and we will be there, right?  No, not right.  Einbahnstraße basically means one way street.  We had a good laugh over my ridiculousness.  Let's just say the urge for urinating supersedes my keen sense of direction and comprehension skills."

We had been staying at the Meninger Hotel which is located on Engelbertstraße, I am sure you could see where my silly confusion came from, no?  I do highly recommend AGAINST the hostel we stayed at, it was not what I was looking for.  No, I am not picky but damn the bunk beds were half falling apart AND the shower stalls were dirty and pooled up to well above your ankles even if you were water savvy and turned the water off between soaping and rinsing.  No joke -_- all bad... And I won't take the, "You get what you pay for," bullshit because I could have paid less and slept in a church and quick washed in a WC for much cheaper.  Fuck you Meninger Hotel!

04 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: D is for Deschutes

Borrowed without asking from their website.*

One of the things I enjoy doing when I travel is to explore local breweries.  Pop in, have a bite and a flight.  And that's just what my sister and I did while we had a long layover in Portland.  I have tried Deschutes' Mirror Pond Ale as well as their Black Butte Porter, time to try a little more!

Makes you thirsty don't it!
We both selected a different flight and shared with each other.   
From the top left to right on the first two rows is the Brewer's Choice:
*Hop Henge Experimental IPA - IBU's: 99; ABV: 9.3%
*Fresh Squeezed IPA - IBU's: 60; ABC: 6.4%
*Double Impact Belgian IPA - IBU's: 55; ABV: 6.1%
*Cinder Cone Red - IBU's: 55; ABV: 5.4%
*Bachelor Bitter - IBU's: 4.3; ABV: 5.0%
*Hoppy Pilsner - IBU's: 41; ABV: 5.0%
Followed by The Classics:
*Deschutes River Ale - IBU's: 28; ABV: 4.0%
*Mirror Pond Ale - IBU's: 40; ABV: 5.0%
*Chainbreaker White IPA - IBU's: 55; ABV: 5.6%
*Inversion IPA - IBU's: 80; ABV: 6.8%
*Black Butte Porter - IBU's: 30; ABV: 5.2%
*Nitro Obsidian Stout - IBU's: 55; ABV: 6.4%

The Deviled Eggs are to DIE for!
And shared some snacks while we enjoyed our beers.
Stout Deviled Eggs and Grilled Washington Pear and Goat Cheese Pizza; oh yeah it was good.  And the food paired quite well with some of our beers.
The service was neither good or bad but the beer and food was good.  I probably don't want to return to Portland unless it was specifically to visit breweries.  Portland did not give me a good vibe and I tend to trust my instincts about places.  I won't discount all of Oregon because I have had great times in Klamath Falls.

*I met an adorable little busker outside of the place and gave him all of our travel snacks since we were on a plane back home.  A bag of pretzels was among the snacks, the busker happened to have a tattoo of a pretzel on his hip.  It was meant to be, he was happy for the snacks and all felt right with the world.

03 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: C is for Cockpit

I got to enjoy a cool ride to Coldfoot, Alaska on an 8-seater plane.  I got full view of the cockpit as there was no co-pilot.  I really enjoyed the flight, you could see out both sides of the plane and didn't have to worry about the typical flight problems people are hassled with.  You got the isle AND window seat, no standing room or bathroom so no one would have to disturb your travels.  You just sit back, enjoy the ride and take in the scenery.

While up in the air the pilot was nice enough to point out some places of interest as well as angle the plane accordingly to show us the spots he was talking about.  We flew over a village that has no roads going in and out of it, it's all done via planes.  I got to the the beautiful Yukon River, still frozen but still quite visible and HUGE!  We also got to see several of the different peaks and mountain ranges.

Given the chance I would love to fly in a small plane just for the chance to see the countryside at a lower level than a larger plane and the ability to see on both sides of the plane.  The ride was very smooth as well as the take off and landing.  I expected a rougher plane ride on a smaller plane than one you get on a larger one, I guess it was just a good day for flying.  It was scary when we got to Coldfoot because there was snow on the tarmac which worried me a bit but I guess it was ok.  For some reason I assumed landing couldn't be done on a snowy tarmac.  Live 'n' learn!

02 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: B is for Blitzen

Whose head I found on the wall in Fairbanks, not too far was Babe.  No, not Babe the pig.... Babe the ox.  While in Alaska I learned how big hunting is for folk in general..... for food, fur and food heh.  I kinda assumed hunting was a thing but I didn't realize it was such a big thing.  Thought the animal activists would get snarky regarding hunting, it is a way of life.  Some of these people depend and LIVE off of the land.  The land including animals; sea, river and land animals. 

People always assume California folk are all yoga, vegan, gluten free, animal rights activists and look down their hoity toity noses at anyone who is not into all or some of the above.  I ran into one of these people in Alaska.... she was from Brentwood.  God she was obnoxious!  Ya know up in Alaska, they don't have produce going year round like where I live.  I assume being vegan in Alaska is pretty tough. 

Leaving my little world in Santa Maria, California helps me learn how diverse people are.  How people around other parts of MY nation live.  How preconceived notions of how people are, are sad generalizations and often time have some truth and some falsehood to them.

We (my sis and I) have been mistaken for Alaskan gals a few times being here.  I feel proud that I am not looked at with disdain being a tourist.  But at the same time I am sad that so many tourists can portray themselves so poorly that being a tourist, I fear being looked down upon.