national parking, Travel

The Volavkas are Going East

grand canyon, J and J

As I’ve mentioned previously, we’re moving this month. And next. And maybe for part of December, too, I’m not really solid on that front at the moment. Basically the Navy is sending us to a new place (again) and the never-ending adventure continues. We just figured this time, as it’s our first move that doesn’t involve crossing an ocean and water-tight shipping crates, that we’d make the journey into an epic. This is the beginning of that journey.

We left San Diego on Monday, October 20. As of now it’s Wednesday, October 22, in Mountain Time-zone. I’m in Colorado. I’ve never been to Colorado before yesterday. It’s rather beautiful. But how did we get here in two days? All. Of. The. Driving. There have been plenty of amazing stops along the way; we try for at least one big Thing a day. Monday we stopped for lunch in Temecula before driving late into the night to reach…

grand canyon, under a tree

The Grand Canyon. It’s…. well, huge doesn’t quite do it justice. Monumental? Humongous? It doesn’t look real, I will say that. At least, not without hiking down into it I’m sure, and we didn’t have an entire week to tackle that. Suffice to say we’ve seen it and it is large and beautiful. As one of the US’s signature natural features, Grand Canyon National Park has been on my life-list for years.

Point of interest: We had lunch at El Tovar Hotel’s dining room and scored one of the best tables in the house overlooking the canyon. The hotel itself opened in 1905 and still has the old style and grandeur, plus the food was tasty and reasonable. I had the Navajo frybread taco, definitely recommend. Of course, I’d recommend anything with Navajo frybread… ~_^

From there, we drove on to Colorado and…

mesa verde, cliff palace

Mesa Verde. I’ve been fascinated by Native American culture since I was a kid, and it was amazing to actually get to visit these adobe cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in person. For some size perspective, you can see an archaeologist surveying the site in the above photo. This is Cliff Palace, one of the biggest sites in the area. The cliff dwellings were built by the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived in the area between 1500 and 800 years ago. There are over 20 tribes descended from them today.

mesa verde, climbing out of cliff palace

Point of note: Getting in and out of the sites is tricky, and involves climbing wooden ladders. Between the steepness and the high altitude, this is rated as a “strenuous” climb and not for people who aren’t in at least descent physical shape. If you can make it down and back up again, though, it’s very much worth the trip.

mesa verde, spruce house

The other major site we visited was Spruce House, which is the best preserved of all the dwellings because it sits so far back into the crevice that it’s protected from the elements a bit more. Though access also involved hiking down and back up, there is a paved trail with benches along the way for catching your breath, and not a ladder in sight, which makes it a bit easier. I still got more winded on this one, though, simply because it was a longer trek. Altitude is rough when you’re not used to it.

mesa verde, trail to spruce house

It’s gorgeously autumn here, with the leaves changing and all, and I’m actually enjoying the cooler weather. Cooler. Not cold. This is important, as I’ve got a whole heap of cold waiting for me at the other end of this trip… But that’s not for today. Instead I’ll leave you with this really cool monumental tower we passed today. Tomorrow we head south again, toward Petraglyph National Park. (Are you seeing a pattern yet?) More when I have internet again.

mesa verde, nearby monumental view

this and that, Travel, updates

As seen on… September 2014

meadow near El Capitan

Happy October! It’s time for another monthly roundup of stuff I did in other places. Yay!

Newsy things:
Heyheyhey, I got invited to join the staff of International Geek Girls Pen Pal Club as a “Ninja.” Whoop! Just means I’ll be doing more behind-the-scenes stuff, really, particularly in January once I’m (theoretically) unpacked and a bit more settled, because…

This is moving month. EEP. The movers come in less than two weeks and I’m trying to clear things out (which is hard in a small space) and use up consumables and all sorts of things.. Expect not much posting between now and then.

For our last weekend roadtrip, we went to Yosemite National Park this weekend! I’ve got a ton of gorgeous photos to go through asap and try to get posted for you, but the photos in this post are a sneak peak.

Half Dome, overcast day

Things I wrote:
As usual, I’ve been posting stuff in other places. Over at IGGPPC, I’ve got two movie reviews, a Hobbit Day celebration, and an everyday cosplay post.
The Giver was excellent, and much better than any of the other dystopian teen world movies I’ve seen of late. It ought to be because the source material is fantastic.
The Maze Runner was enjoyable and I’m interested in what’s going to happen next. I like that we don’t have all the information going in, and that we learn things as the protagonist does.
Huzzah and Hooray, it’s Hobbit Day! We celebrated Sept 22 over at the site, too.
Everyday Cosplay: Some things happening this month and links to other articles. Just a roundup of stuff I liked this month.
I was also featured as part of the September Staff Picks, which you can check out over here if you like.

Tunnel View after storm

So that’s about it for September. Internet might be patchy in October, but I hope to have some fun things to share about the Great Moving Adventure. See you soon!

Travel

Australia 2014: Queensland and Port Douglas

Australia, Port Douglas, Wildlife Habitat Koala photo

The final leg of the journey (or so I thought; I always seem to have these bonus adventures when I’m abroad, don’t I?) took me to Queensland in northeastern Australia. We did a lot of iconic things, and I’ll give you the rundown here.

Continue reading “Australia 2014: Queensland and Port Douglas”

Travel

Australia 2014: Heading south in Western Australia

Australia, WA open road

Welcome back for another installment of the Great Australia Travelogue of 2014! For the next leg of our journey, we packed up our friends’ SUV and headed onto the open road, south through WA and toward the coast and countryside.

Continue reading “Australia 2014: Heading south in Western Australia”

Travel

Australia 2014: Arriving in Perth

Australia, Perth beach walk

The second leg of our journey took us to Perth in Western Australia, to meet up with old friends and see a different part of the country. Our first morning we got up and went for a walk along the beach, and a series of inlets and small lakes with lots of local birds.

Continue reading “Australia 2014: Arriving in Perth”

Travel

Australia 2014: Starting in Sydney

Australia, Sydney Haymarket

So I’m finally getting around to getting some of my photos from our trip to Australia up and realizing I have a lot of them…. Over 3,000 actually, but as it was a three week trip, I guess that’s not too bad really. At any rate, I’m going to begin with our first stop on the journey: a three night excursion in Sydney.

Continue reading “Australia 2014: Starting in Sydney”

Travel

Catching up on things and a quick Australia summary

Australia at the Opera House

So, Australia was absolutely fantastic! I had a lot of first-in-my-life experiences (including diving for the first–and second–time), visiting two world heritage sites, and meeting a long time friend for the first time face to face, plus other fun things like a Geek Girl Pen Pals Club tea party and all the local wildlife and…. Well, it’s going to take several posts, and I’ll get on top of things eventually, but you’ll have to be patient with me. It’s coming. And if you’d like to do what we did and see what we saw, I’ll make a list of the places photographed!

A quick summary in the meantime: I both started and ended the trip in Sydney, first with J and then with my folks, so there are quite a few photos of the ever-photogenic Opera House.

Continue reading “Catching up on things and a quick Australia summary”

Travel

Australia or bust!

Image

Hello!

I’ve been in Australia for the last two weeks but haven’t had much chance to really post anything simply because we’ve been so busy. Here are a few photos for now, with more to follow including a dailyish log when I have time to wort through all the photos. ^_^

 

In the meantime, why not check out my review of Muppets Most Wanted? Captain America will follow shortly, too.

 

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Travel, updates

Photos from the Philippines

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This isn’t a real post, it’s mostly just to link to my album of photos from the Philippines trip.

As a fair warning, there are 485 photos in that album, so be aware before you go down the rabbit hole. That’s because A) it’s gorgeous over there and B) I want to scrapbook but I don’t know which photos I want yet, so I uploaded ALL of them. Y’know. Just in case.