Friday, October 2, 2015

8.7.15 Phoenix Baseball Trip

We headed out for a weekend trip to Phoenix to cross Chase Field off the list. We arrived last on Friday night. We had a little trouble getting to our hotel because roads were closed to facilitiate the traffic leaving that night's game. Once we found it  - we loved it! The Hotel Palomar was fantastic. It has a fun roof top bar and a great restaurant/lounge with craft cocktails - all walking distance from the stadium. 

Saturday morning, we had breakfast at the restaurant next to the hotel, the Breakfast Club. The food was great. Then we headed east to see some of the sites. We stopped at a lovely historical marker. We aren't sure exactly what it commemorated. 

Then we went to Superstition Mountain museum that included the old sets from some of the Western TV shows. It ended up being pretty interesting. We had to try the Sarsaparilla. The Elvis chapel was also a highlight.

Then we headed to Goldfield Ghost Town I had read about. I obviously didn't read enough about it since it was a recreation - not exactly the real deal.  We took the mine tour. I liked it since they built it as a tourist attraction. It wasn't as claustrophobic as other mines I'd been in.
 We took the train ride around the Town. The best part was when the train conductor explained all the conspiracy theories about the Superstition Mountains including that aliens that live there. He went into a very detailed explanation of what they could look like: Lizard bodies with human head and arms or human bodies with lizard heads and arms.

On the way back to Phoenix, we stopped at Four Peaks Brewery. The food was really good - especially the kale salad. The manager was really nice and we had a good chat with him. We liked most of the beers.

Then it was finally time to head to the game. It turned out it was Randy Johnson's number retirement so that was really fun to see. We liked the Field a lot. They have so many places to watch the game - an area with pool tables, a beer bar in the outfield, a Fridays with tables and bleachers in the outfield. Very fun. We got a stand up table at the beer bar and had a nice time chatting up a local.

After the game, we walked back to the hotel and noticed a cool cocktail parlor: Bitter and Twisted.  We got a seat at the bar. It was so much fun to watch the bartenders whip up all these crazy cocktails. The food was pretty good too.

Sunday - we headed to the airport and spent most of the day flying.

Carnival Sensation with my sister

This past weekend I went on a 3 night cruise to the Bahamas with my sister, Sara. It was a blast! We had so much fun. Some of the highlights: 

1. The Piano Bar - We closed it down 2 out of the 3 nights. The piano player began depending on us as back up singers.  (The 3rd night it was already closed by the time we got there.) Russell - the piano player - was amazing and we had so much fun with him and the other guests. 

2. Winning at Trivia - We played trivia several times. Finally, one of the sessions was on brain teasers and we killed it! 

3. Bobby in the Lobby - Bobby is the guitar player who performed in the atrium each night. We loved him! He was a great singer and had a lot of fun interacting with the guests. 

4. Our new friends - We randomly made friends with a lot of people on this cruise - at the Pinao Bar, at dinner, at Trivia- you name it. My sister is a friend-making machine. We adopted this dude since he was by himself. We tried to get him hooked up with a girl from one of the bachelorette parties on board. Looks like it's back to eHarmony for him. 

It was an awesome trip!

Monday, July 27, 2015

July 18th - Time to go home

We pulled in Vancouver in the early morning. We decided to head straight home because we figured we would be ready after 16 days in Alaska. We were right. 

Our cab ride through Vancouver  left us wanting more. I can definitely see us heading back there for a 3 - 4 nights. 

We had a quick and easy experience leaving Vancouver - especially because we have Global Entry. It's great you clear US Customs and Immigration before you even board the plane. 

We had an easy flight home connecting through Houston. 

Re-entry was a bit rough. This was one of the toughest jet lags I've experienced. The only other one as bad was Japan. I think it was the combination of having trouble adjusting to the 4 hour time change on the front end because it never go dark and just enough of a time change to make things a bit difficult. 

July 17th - Sea Day aka Pub Crawl

Our last day on the ship was a Sea Day. We decided to do a pub crawl heading to all the bars on the ship with our friends Tom and Margaret. In retrospect, it was a little weird to take the most beautiful, warm day we had with amazing scenery to hop from bar to bar, but it was a blast!
The day started with Coffee and Bloody Marys 

Martinis with a shot of espresso - that's a breakfast drink - right?
We ran into our friends Jon an Jackie
The ship had a Noro Virus scare so they weren't handing out fruit. It's a weird rule. We did shots of tequila so the bartender found us some limes

Lunch with our favorite bartender - Jake 

We did finally go outside - A drink from our Mini-Bar 

Glenn and I picked up the Penny Whistle from our cabin to serenade the end of our pub crawl. 

July 16th - Ketchikan

Ketchikan turned out to be my favorite port. It's the port I am most excited to return to. We headed out in the morning on an Eagles, Totems, and Lighthouse excursion. This was the perfect excursion after so many intense excursions. The Captain was a little odd. He reminded us of a Jim Carey character in a movie making fun of people who go on these type of tours. Here's the Captain:

We saw several bald eagles, got a glimpse of the famous Totem poles and did see a lighthouse.

After the tour, we headed into town. The Maitre'D had recommended the Burger Barn for a good burger. We hustled over there, ordered a burger and headed next door to the Aslym for a beer. It took about 30 minutes for the burger. It was good.. really good. We headed over the Great Lumberjack Show.

I loved it!! It was so much fun! It was about an hour show going through some key challenges. I liked the corny jokes. It was worth the price of admission. 

We headed back to the boat to prepare for the 2nd formal night. This was lobster night. 

We were pleasantly surprised it was Maine Lobster. We are used to Caribbean lobster on other Caribbean sailings. 

That night, there was a balloon drop in the lobby to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Mosaic played and it was SO MUCH FUN! 

July 15th - Juneau

Juneau was one of the ports I was most excited to visit because the excursions are fantastic. We signed up for the Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier Photo Safari. I chose the excursion because it meant a small boat with windows that could open to take better pictures. Our guide was terrific, but he took the photo safari part pretty seriously. Let's just say he was not impressed with my hot pink Canon point and shoot. He would make comments like "For those of you who have cameras you can actually change the setting on...." It was pretty funny. 

We board a boa to headed out. We were so lucky we immediately got reports of a group of Humpback whales in the area. We came across a group of 7 - 9 humpback whales playing. Three of them breeched. It was an incredible moment. I even got a little teary-eyed. But - I didn't get any pictures. I'll just have to remember it always. 

Sleeping sea lions are must easier to take picture of. 
Not Pregnant - Those are my hat and gloves. 

After the boat ride, we headed over to the Mendenhall Glacier. Gastineau Guides are the only tour company allowed to offer a guided a hike on a trail that leads the back way to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor's Center. It was really nice to hike in with just us and see the glacier from what felt like a private view area. 

After the Glacier, we head back to town. We got dropped off in town and explored a couple local bars and had a great lunch at a local cafe. 

We enjoyed another night on board. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

July 14th: Skagway

Skagway is a small isolated town in Southeastern Alaska. When we visited, they hadn't had eggs in two weeks. A barge comes every Tuesday to bring supplies and they just didn't have any.

For Skagway, we signed up for two excursions. The first one was breakfast at the Red Onion Saloon and a Suspension Bridge in the Yukon of Canada. The excursion was well done. The Red Onion Saloon's history as a brothel was really interesting and a good glimpse into what the town must have been like during the Gold Rush.

The scenery on the bus ride was great. The Suspension Bridge was cool and we got to try some Canadian beers.

After the tour, we headed back to the ship for lunch. Princess highlights local food as part of the lunch offerings. Today, they were highlighting crab cakes. They were really good. 

After lunch, we tried some beers at the Skagway Brewing Company and did some window shopping. We bought a bottle of Alaska Rhubarb vodka as a souvenir. Our second excursion was on the White Pass Railway train. It went the same way as the bus ride from the morning - just on the other side of the river.  The train had the best scenery. 

We arrived late back to the ship and headed straight to dinner. Tom and Margaret met us after their Crown Grill Dinner.