Archive for the ‘Adventure Travel’ Category

Hurricane Gustav has its perks! You could wind up in San Antonio!

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Mission San Jose by Sheree Zielke

(An early morning view of the beautiful Mission San Jose in San Antonio’s Missions National Park.)

Thank you, Hurricane Gustav.  We are sitting high and dry in one of the loveliest cities in North America, San Antonio. We are supposed to be in New Orleans. But thanks to a little convincing by Gustav and American officials, we changed our plans.

On the day we were set to arrive in NOLA, evacuation orders forced nearly two million folks to leave the southern seaboard.  We had planned a holiday riding the rails, the Amtrak rails, but the trains were needed to take people out of New Orleans, so Amtrak cancelled our reservations.

We were in Houston (another area slated to be hit by Gustav) so we had no choice but to rent a car and head north to San Antonio.  In fact, on our way, we passed a convoy of 2 dozen buses that were heading south on a rescue mission.  Later, on TV, we watched as an endless line of buses, filled with those folks escaping the storm, headed away to safer zones like Dallas and Houston.

Now we are watching as the eye of Gustav makes landfall — the good news, maybe, for New Orleans, is that the eye will be passing farther to the west than expected.

But in the meantime, we are in San Antonio, where we have rented a comfortable house, we have walked the famous Riverwalk, we have ridden the canal boats, we have paid homage to the Alamo, and we have made an early morning trek to the old Spanish missions.  What a joy!

Read on . . .

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Our Disappearing Heritage along Western Canada Roadways!

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Old Building in Alberta

I felt a pang, no, a pain, that swept through me in an instant as I beheld the old decrepit building with its weathered facade and its old-fashioned architectural detals.  The pain was one of nostalgia, a yearning of things long gone, things that made my childhood magical, things that most children will never understand in today’s fast food world.

Except for my grandkids.

As long as I can walk and talk, as long as I can get into a car, and pack them along with me, my grandchildren will be introduced to my past, my heritage – a heritage in danger of disappearing altogether under the pressures of weather, urban sprawl, industry, and . . . time.

Read on . . .

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Get off the Strip – Visit Old Downtown Las Vegas For a Really Good Time!

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Plaza in Las Vegas at Night by Sheree Zielke

My husband and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary yesterday.  Our formal plans had us dining at a very cool eatery called “The Bootlegger Italian Bistro,”  in South Las Vegas. We had eaten there when we first arrived in Vegas and thought it would be a nice place, with its classic old gangster ambience, to have our anniversary dinner.

But our plans changed.  Vegas has a way of doing that to plans.  So, we cancelled our reservations in favor of another place.  And we are so glad we did.  We had one of our best times yet in Las Vegas.

Read on . . .

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Vegas is Hurting! Time to Book Your Hotel for Cheap!

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Venetian Hotel in Vegas by Sheree Zielke

I rode the Las Vegas monorail today; it runs along the backyards of Vegas’s giant hotels, all the way from the MGM to the Safari.

From its windows, you can see things you wouldn’t ordinarily glimpse from the Strip, like pools, and lounge chairs, and tanned bodies in tiny swimsuits, and white towels, and — wait a minute! — why are so many of those lounge chairs EMPTY?

Come to think of it, the traffic on the strip seems much lighter than I remember.  The casinos seem quieter and less crammed.  And the buffet restaurant lines are shorter, or even non-existent.

Where are the people?  It’s the middle of summer.  Shouldn’t this top American vacation destination be overflowing with visitors?  I am curious, so I ask around.

Read on . . .

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Las Vegas, Nevada: Insight and Quick Travel Tips

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Las Vegas Old Sign by Sheree Zielke

Are you planning a trip to that Mecca of Nevada: Las Vegas?  Maybe you have never visited this city of bright lights and money-grabbing  slots, or maybe you haven’t been there in awhile. 

The good news?  Many things haven’t changed. 

The better news? Many things have changed.  Especially at the airport and at the car rental building. 

Read on . . .

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Take a Trip Back to Yesterday: Travel the Historic Route 66 for a Magical Adventure!

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Blue Car in Seligman Arizona by Sheree Zielke

There are almost no words to describe traveling an authentic portion of Route 66.  If time machines exist, then this is one of the finest. 

There is an ambience of days gone by, the good old days, when Mom and Dad packed up the old Chevy with 3.5 kids, a dog, a cooler, Dad in his best driving hat, and Mom in her finest traveling clothes, and hit the road in search of adventures, or maybe a new life on the other side of Amercia.

The atmosphere, the sense of nostalgia along “The Mother Road” is so poignant, so acute, that it will bring tears to your eyes.  At least, it did, to mine. 

My husband and I set out yesterday in search of Americana history.  We left Vegas about 7 AM and reached Kingman, Arizona about 3 hours later.  With a few stops in the desert along the way, we had set up the perfect photo safari.  But we had no idea just how perfect our day was going to be.  Because the adventure that is Route 66 still lay ahead of us.

Read on . . .

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Rexall Edmonton IndyCar — Great weather, great time, great race!

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Rexall Edmonton IndyCar Gate Sign by Sheree Zielke

It’s all over for another year in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  The race has been run – the IndyCar race, that is, since Champ Car merged with the Indy League earlier this year.  It was the debut IRL race for Edmonton, and by all accounts, it was a success.  Especially for at least one driver.

The big winner?  Scott Dixon, of New Zealand (It was Scott Dixon’s 5th win for 2008.)  He was followed by “Dancing With the Stars” champ, Helio Castroneves, then Justin Wilson, and finally, Canadian Champ Car driver, Paul Tracy, who had fought his way up from  his 16th  starting position.

Read on . . .

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Las Vegas Side Trip: Mojave Desert, Ghost Towns and the Historic Mother of all Roads: Route 66!

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Motel Sign in Las Vegas, Nevada by Sheree Zielke

Planning our next trip is nearly as much fun as taking the trip itself.  Well, nearly.

My husband and I are bound for one of our favorite hot spots, and I mean, hot! Las Vegas, Nevada.  But we aren’t really into the Strip; we tend to tool around in other parts of Vegas, spending most of our time off the Strip, visiting spots like the Nevada Atomic Testing Museum.

But we have gotten the Route 66 bug, so we’ll go further afield this time.  Also, known as the “Mother Road,” Route 66 is just barely visible on modern maps, but a little research shows parts of the roadway can be reached in just under a two-hour drive from Vegas.  But it’ll be one hot drive, since we’ll be headed right into the Mojave Desert, at the height of summer heat.  But the photo opportunities are just too hard to resist.

Read on . . .

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Riding the Rails – Take a day trip on the Amtrak! Affordable and fun!

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Philadelphia Amtrak Train Station by Sheree Zielke

If you have never taken the train, or you haven’t ridden the rails in some time, then check out the nearest Amtrak station.  Especially when exploring a new city. That’s the Philadelphia Amtrak station showing above.

With the high cost of rental cars, gasoline, insurance, and with the irritation of battling traffic in a strange city, travel by Amtrak train is like a gift from heaven.

My husband and I have just decided to include at least one Amtrak day trip while traveling, and we are very glad we did.  We took the Amtrak between New York City and Philadelphia, and loved the trip.

Read on . . .

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Spend a day in Philadelphia – take the train from New York City – it’s a GREAT idea!

Sunday, July 6th, 2008
Click to play A Day in Philly 08
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Cheers,
Sheree Zielke