Termination Dust

Do you know what termination dust is?  No?  I didn’t either until today.  It is the phrase coined by Alaskans to describe the first snow that you see dusting the mountain tops.  “Termination” because it signals the termination of summer/fall and the beginning of winter.  Ugh.

So today I drive into Anchorage at 2:00 pm and drive back to Eagle River about 3:30 pm at no point did I see snow.  Cole comes home and asked me if I saw the snow on the mountains.  I assumed it wasn’t much or I would have noticed it, right?  Wrong!  I didn’t see it because it didn’t start falling until about the time I was heading back to Eagle River (or I’m assuming because that is when it was raining on the ground).  At 6:00 pm I’m driving back to base and I have a mini freak out because I see this…

Termination Dust

Termination Dust

Now I know 100% it wasn’t there earlier because I would have seen that.  I think it’s crazy that it fell so quickly!  I’m really not ready for winter and snow and cold!!!!

In other news, I debuted my cookies tonight at bunco and they were a hit.  Sugarcakes is going to take Alaska by storm (or sugar!)  I love the trees with the leaves falling from them.

Fall Cookies

Sugarcakes Designs Fall Cookies

Last but not least my mom and the pups will be in Alaska in about 40 hours (not that I’m counting or anything).  Yay!

LA July 29 – 30, 2014

LA Map

Map from San Deigo to LA

Cole hasn’t seen Clayton in a couple years so we were very excited to get to LA to spend some time with him.  We had a great time there with Clayton but Cole and I both think one visit to LA was enough for us!

We stayed in this very kitschy motel called The Safari Inn in downtown Burbank. It’s been in several tv shows and movies including CSI & Armageddon.  I loved the view we had there with the mountains in the back and the sign in the front.

Safari Inn

Safari Inn

The first morning we were there Clayton took us out to breakfast.  Within 10 minutes of sitting there we saw our first celebrity!  We were sitting in the restaurant and Gabriel Iglesias and his “crew” came in.  Immediately the staff seated him in the very back facing the wall so no one bothered him so Cole wasn’t able to snap a picture even though he tried lol.  The next day Clayton took us to a taco truck and we were sitting there eating our tacos and Adam Arkin sat down at our table with his son.  Cole was cracking me up because he’s trying to do these slight head gestures and eye movements trying to get my attention to show me.  So funny!

Gabriel Iglesias

Gabriel Iglesias

Adam Arkin

Adam Arkin

The first day there we went to Universal Studios and had the luckiest time.  We stood in line for about 30 minutes to get on the Jurassic Park ride and that was the only ride we waited for.  The next ride was Transformers, the wait was about 30 minutes but as soon as we walked up one of the employees said hey it’s your lucky day and he took us and about 10 other people through to the front of the line!  Something went wrong with the ride and we ended up sitting on it for about five minutes.  When we got off the ride they apologized and gave us a front of the line pass for another ride.  Then we went to the Simpsons ride and were discussing if we wanted to wait for it or not and then an employee came up to us and handed us more front of the line passes and took us to the front of the line for that ride.  I wanted to ride the minion ride and the guys didn’t so I was waiting in line and I was talking to the staff to see if they had a “single rider” line and they said they didn’t.  The guy said to just go with him and he took me to the front of the line!  It was really the best amusement park day ever!

Universal

A giant minion statue!

A giant minion statue!

Clayton & Cole at Universal

Clayton & Cole at Universal

Later that night we went to the Storey Tavern where Clayton works.  It was a neat little Irish pub and they had amazing food.  I had a mac n cheese burger, it was a fat kid’s dream!

Mac N Cheese Burger at the Storey Tavern

Mac N Cheese Burger at the Storey Tavern

The next day Clayton had an audition so Cole and I were on our own.  We decided to go to Hollywood Blvd to walk around and to take a Hollywood stars tour.  Let me just say now…DO NOT waste your money!  If we had a better tour guide it would have been at least a little entertaining but mostly it was just looking at big houses that were probably just random people’s, not stars’ houses.  This restaurant called The Rusty Mullet was the most interesting thing I saw the whole time.

The best thing I saw on the Hollywood stars tour.

The best thing I saw on the Hollywood stars tour.

We walked around the Chinese Theater and looked at all the Hollywood stars.  Almost immediately I found the best star out there…Slash!  So cool 🙂

Slash's Star!

Slash’s Star!

We also went into the mall that is by the theater and stumbled across a candy store called Sweet.  They have a “Chocolate Lab” where they make custom chocolate bars for you while you wait.  It was really neat and our chocolate turned out delicious.

Chocolate Lab Menu

Chocolate Lab Menu

Chocolate Lab at Work

Chocolate Lab at Work

Cole Candy - dark chocolate, peanut butter filling, M&Ms, & coffee beans

Cole Candy – dark chocolate, peanut butter filling, M&Ms, & coffee beans

Bridgett Bar - dark chocolate, milk chocolate filling, pretzels, sunflower seeds, and cookie dough

Bridgett Bar – dark chocolate, milk chocolate filling, pretzels, sunflower seeds, and cookie dough

The Bridgett Bar & The Cole Candy - Yum!

The Bridgett Bar & The Cole Candy – Yum!

They also had all these fascinating pieces of art that were made out of candy.  My favorite ones were of the characters of Orange Is the New Black.  They were so cool!

piper

Jelly Bean Red

Jelly Bean Red

Jelly Bean Crazy Eyes & Pensatucky

Jelly Bean Crazy Eyes & Pensatucky

LA was fun and it was great to spend time with Clayton but when our time was over there we were both ready to head to San Francisco.  Stay tuned for more of our trip!

San Diego July 28, 2014

Grand Canyon to San Diego

Grand Canyon to San Diego

We arrived about 3:00 am in San Diego on the morning of the 27th.  We had originally planned a stop at Joshua Tree on the way from the Grand Canyon but once we realized we were going to be so late getting to San Diego we scratched it.  When we were planning our road trip we knew which cities we wanted to hit but didn’t make many plans of what to do once we got there.  This was good and bad.  Good because we had the option to change things up and just go with the flow.  Bad because we really didn’t plan enough time in our schedule to do a whole lot so when we decided to do something that took a few hours it really put us behind on our travel schedule.

When we woke up that morning in San Diego and I looked out of our hotel window I was so excited, it was simply beautiful.  The water was sparkling and it was dotted with sailboats.  Then when we went to breakfast our view was of the marina and there were so many sailboats and boats!  I have no idea how a person could even get their boat out of that mess.  It was so neat though.

View from our hotel

View from our hotel

My one goal while in San Diego was to walk along the bay.  I just wanted to soak in the sun and the sounds and smells of being by the water.  It was so nice and relaxing and it was so nice for the sun to be shining since it had rained on us the past two days.  We were down there around lunch time and I saw a guy in a suit sitting in his car eating lunch.  That’s where I want to have lunch every day too.  Jealous.  While we were walking along Cole points out something out in the water…it was a sea lion!  I couldn’t believe it!  He was too far away and moving too quick for me to get a picture but I was just so excited to see one just out and about.

Taken while walking along the bay

Taken while walking along the bay

Cole really wanted to go to the infamous San Diego Zoo but I looked up the ticket prices and for both of us it was going to be $92 for us to go!!  What?!?  It’s a zoo!  So we decided against it and were going to find something else to do.  I decided to call and see about a military discount and I’m so glad I did because Cole got in for free and I got a 10% discount.  It was still steep to pay $42 for both of us to go to the zoo but it was a lot of fun and a really nice zoo.

He looks extremely happy even though his hump is so sad.

He looks extremely happy even though his hump is so sad.

For those of you who know Cole is aka Panda so it was a necessity to see the pandas…well that and we’ve never actually seen one in person.  When we walked up to the exhibit it said there would be a 45 minute wait to see them.  Wowza!  Luckily it was only about 25 minutes but you know I would have waited the full 45 because they were so dang cute!  I didn’t get any pics of the mama but the baby was just so cuddly looking.  I wanted to squeeze him and hold him like a baby.

Look at that face!

Look at that face!

Baby Panda

Baby Panda

For them to be “giant” pandas they were a lot smaller than I expected.  The San Diego Zoo is a definite must if you are there and have the time.

I forgot to mention this in my last post but when Cole and I got to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert there was a sign that military got in free.  When we got to the gate we showed them our IDs and they gave us an annual membership pass.  I was so excited!  Between there and the Grand Canyon this saved us almost $50 in park fees.  So don’t forget to ask about those military discounts, up to this point in the trip we had saved over $100 with our military IDs.

 

Arizona July 26 – 27, 2014

Petrified Forest to Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon

Petrified Forest to Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon

Arizona Sign

After a full day in Santa Fe & Albuquerque we began our drive to Arizona.  We really underestimated our drive and almost didn’t make it to the Painted Desert & Petrified Forest before dark.  It is a 26 mile drive through the national park where you start at one entrance and can exit at the other entrance.  We started at the Painted Desert entrance and I’m so glad we did…it was amazing!  After going through my pictures I realized that I didn’t get any pics that did it justice at all.  At least this one has a cute couple in it 🙂

The Painted Desert

The Painted Desert

Several of the informational signs mentioned monsoons and lightning storms during the summer months and we didn’t really think much of it.  Well sure enough about half way through the park it starts lightning, a lot!  Then the temperature dropped about 15 degrees suddenly and then the rain came.  It was crazy.  We got to see enough of the Petrified Forest to know that it was just a bunch of dead fallen trees lol.  We weren’t impressed.

Lightning at the Petrified Forest

Lightning at the Petrified Forest

Although Santa Fe was pretty it was absolutely no comparison to the beautiful
landscape of Flagstaff. When we arrived the night before it was dark so we
didn’t see it until going to breakfast. We are driving to Denny’s and turned a
corner and we were both in aw of the beautiful mountains. Cole and I both agreed
that it was a view we could get used to.

Our first view of Flagstaff

Our first view of Flagstaff

I found information on a ski resort in Flagstaff that uses it’s ski lift during the summer months to give tourists an aerial view of the mountains. It was a 25 minute ride to the top of the lift (can you imagine skiing down that far??) and the temp changed about 20 deg from the bottom of the lift to the top.  When we were waiting to get on the lift operator told us that they were expecting rain that day and with it being at such a high altitude that it could occur at any moment.  Well about five minutes into our lift ride it starts raining and it got so cold.  Thankfully Cole had the great idea to bring a blanket on the ride, it saved us! The view was amazing even through the rain and it was pretty romantic.  When we got to the top of the mountain it was so cold that we just got right back in line to ride back down.  On the ride down it stopped raining and the closer we got to the bottom the warmer it got…so weird to have those temperature changes so quickly.

Panoramic view from the mountain in Flagstaff

Panoramic view from the mountain in Flagstaff

Flagstaff5

Elevation 11,510 ft!

After the aerial ride we drove a couple hours to the Grand Canyon.  There was nothing along that drive so we had to eat at this weird Flintstones themed restaurant, it was just so random.

Flintstones Restaurant

Flintstones Restaurant

At the Grand Canyon we had more lightning storms and rain but because of that we saw multiple rainbows!  It was beautiful to see them spanning across the Grand Canyon.  I even saw a double rainbow that was side by side so that it looked like it was extra wide.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a pic of that one but I did get a couple decent ones.

Rainbow over the Grand Canyon

Rainbow over the Grand Canyon

Rainbow over the Grand Canyon

Rainbow over the Grand Canyon

I guess because of the electricity in the air everyone’s hair was standing out all over the place.  It was really funny to see all these women walking around with their hair standing straight up.  Leaving the Grand Canyon park we saw our first wildlife of the trip.  We saw three elk standing on the side of the road.  You could tell they were used to the crowds because they were completely undisturbed by the passing cars.  I even saw one woman standing fairly close to them getting her pic taken with them.

Next stop: San Diego!