Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Australia Week: Barrier Reefin'

Otherwise known as the finest photos you can take with a disposable waterproof camera when you were really more interested in the colors, the fish, being in the ocean, being visible from space and the hope of finding Nemo...

GBR (aka Great Barrier Reef) Fact #1 
It's the world's largest reef system

GBR Fact #2 
17 species of sea snake live in the reef
I didn't see any snakes, thankfully. 
Have you seen a sea snake?

GBR Fact #3
The GBF can be seen from outer space!

Other Posts Down Under:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Australia Week

Yay, G'day Australia!

I've had this blog for almost five years.   I've been traveling for a lot longer.   Lots of my pictures are in scrapbooks, complete with borders and cutsey stickers, with the negatives in boxes in my basement.  And not every picture ever taken should be shared with the world at large (pretty sure there are some of us belly dancing in Egypt that will never see the light of day).   When I wanted to share some memories of my time working in Yellowstone, I used my cell phone to take pictures of my pictures.    Not everything will make it into digital format.

Over the weekend, my sister and I were having a conversation about travel memories and she said that her two favorite "active" things that she's done included a great white shark cage dive in South Africa and climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.    And then I realized that all of my Australia and New Zealand photos are in fact digital and ready to share.

WOO HOO!    It's Australia Week on Traveler for Good.    You may see kangaroos, didgeridoos, and the Great Barrier Reef from the comfort of your hammock (or office chair...whatever you've got goin' on).  

Check out Traveler for Good on Facebook to catch some other fun throughout the week.    One of our guides gave us great perspective when we went to the land down under.    Australia is the size of the continental US.   We were only there for a week.    If someone came to the States for a week, there is no way he/she could see close to everything.    The same was true for our adventure.    Just bits and pieces of a big country, encouraging you to come back again.

Not a lot of places in the world where you'll see a sign like this
Australia is one of those places

Have you spent time in the land down under?    What was your favorite spot?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

In the normal course and scope of vacation, I don't sit around and think to myself, "Jen, you know what would be awesome?   Climbing on top of a bridge!"

Except in Sydney, Australia.    As you're in the park or on a harbour cruise, you take a bazillion shots of the bridge (similar to Mt. Rushmore syndrome).     If you crank up the zoom, then on the arches of the bridge you see tiny dots.    Are they giant, man-eating ants?    No.   They are bridge climbers.  

There they are....tiny bridge climbers

It's definitely a once in a lifetime experience.    And one where you cannot take photos while you're doing it. You just have to enjoy it while it happens and file it away in your memory banks.    Why can't you take a camera?  Because you are climbing above a bridge where there are people driving below you.    One careless fumble of your camera or phone, and it drops down and potentially breaks someones windshield and causes a 15 car pile up.  They take a photo of your group at the you have a souvenir (other than a stylish before or after picture in a jumpsuit).  

Oh yeah....this was the 2007 jumpsuit
Now, every time I see a picture of Sydney Harbour, whether it's the bridge or the opera house, I think of this bridge climb.    And it makes me smile (just like I did in this fabulous photo).  

What's one of your favorite "once in a lifetime" vacation memories?

If you're interested in climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, click here


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Something New: Dog Fostering

My furry weekend house guest.
Isn't she cute?

Last fall I had to say goodbye to my Chey dog.   It was rough.    
After almost 10 years of having my dog as a constant companion, I was pup-less.    

For the first few months, I knew it was too soon.

And the weather got warmer.   Everywhere I went there were happy dogs with their happy people.   
In the park.  At the farmer's market.  Relaxing on patios.

I was happy, but where was my happy dog?

Then someone let me know that there was a local service dog organization that needed weekend fosters.

Weekend fosters?   It's brilliant.   For both dogs and people.  

For the Dogs
The dogs are being trained throughout the week at their facility.   On the weekends they get to break free of the kennel and enjoy a relaxing weekend in someones home.

For the People
During the week, it's crazy.   Between work and play I'm not home very long.   But now on the weekends that I am home, I can have a furry four-legged house guest.   A house guest with very good manners. 

The Verdict
I'm still pretty new at this.   I've only had my foster pup of awesomeness for a few weekends.  
So far?   I love it.

If you're interested in fostering a dog, contact your local rescue organizations.    Many organizations rely on fosters to help with dogs in transition on their way to forever homes.             

Monday, July 22, 2013

Film on the Rocks - Party Bus Style

I have a confession.

I've never been on a party bus.   Not for a wedding.   Not for a bachelorette party.   Never.  

All across the country people are laughing uproariously and living the glamorous life.   Others look at them with envy.    Who are those people having such a good time?

Now I know.   I've been one of those people.

Every summer the Denver Film Society hosts Film on the Rocks.   Go out to the beautiful, world famous, Red Rocks Amphitheater, listen to a local band, and watch a movie.    Tickets are about $12.   If you want the Red Rocks entertainment experience on a budget, this is the way to do it.

Just one view of Red Rocks

Taking advantage of a Living Social offer, we went all out earlier this month, buying a ticket on the VIP party bus to see Point Break (ahh, Keanu in the early '90s...all is right in the world).     The fun starts at Rackhouse Pub at the Stranahan's Distillery with free beer and vodka drinks and some munchies (pulled pork and smashed potatoes, anyone?).     

Hello, whiskey

And then it's time to get on the bus.   Did I mention it was a party bus?    Not a school bus.   Not a van.   Not a motor coach.    A party bus.   Complete with mood lighting, TV, and a sound system.   And more adult beverages.    Other people are sitting in traffic and dealing with the parking.   You are enjoying a cold one with your friends.   

Cue the mood lighting

Of course, the real show is at Red Rocks.   Red Rocks is gorgeous any day, time or season.   But on a clear summer night?    Colorado doesn't get much better than this.

Do you have a favorite Red Rocks experience?

Friday, July 19, 2013

That One Time I Won a Radio Contest

On Saturday I'm going to go see Kenny Chesney in concert.   Again.  (YAY!)

Based on my highly scientific calculations, I have seen him every other year since 2003.    2003 was the first year (I think) that he had gone a little island style...pretty sure the tour was called Senoritas and Margaritas.   Definitely a sign of things to come.    I still remember my senior year of college and "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" being on constant radio play to the dismay of my non-country-loving friends.  

2003:  Indianapolis (out at the amphitheater...not sure what it was called)  
2005:  Indianapolis (same place...this time we were smart and got lawn seats to four different country shows over the summer)
2007:  Denver (Dick's Sporting Goods Park....not the best place for a concert)
2009:  Milwaukee, WI (Summerfest)
2009:  Cheyenne Frontier Days, WY
2011:  Green Bay, WI (Lambeau Field)

Getting to that one time I won a radio contest.

It was not this year.    I don't usually try to win, but a few weekends ago they were giving out tickets to the sold-out Luke Bryan and Florida-Georgia Line show.    I know what the cue to call sounds like and had the number programmed in my phone.    I was close.   A real person told me I was caller 7.   But sadly, I was not lucky number 12.

But I did win Kenny tix in 2009 for knowing my jams.    It was one of those music montages with about 10 songs in it.   I owned that one and did a victory dance in my bathroom while getting ready for work.

The moral of the story:  You can win concert tickets.    Your odds might be a little easier if you're playing a game that has right or wrong answers versus being the lucky caller.    On the flip side, the lucky caller doesn't have nearly the chance of sounding stupid on-air for being wrong.

And if you wonder who the tall blond girl on the upper deck is who is singing along at the top of her lungs?   Well, that will be me.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Great Coffee Shop Views - Estes Park, CO

Last weekend we had our Mile High Family Reunion.    Our family isn't all that big - it was about 22 fun loving people when we all got together for grill and pool time on Saturday afternoon.     Since we had cousins visiting from out of state, Estes Park was a good choice to get a little of the Colorado mountain feeling without having to drive too far.       The picture above was taken from the patio of a coffee shop.
Their vote was that this was the most beautiful view from....a Starbucks.     Half of the shops, cafes and restaurants in Estes Park back up to this beautiful creek and walkway, including other favorite coffee shops like Kind Coffee and Longs Peak Coffee and Paper House.     

This was my first trip to Estes this year.    I need to go back, stat!

Do you have a favorite coffee shop with a view?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Glow in the Dark Golf and Fortune Telling Fish

Lots of fun was had in this Traveler's world over the holiday weekend including:
  • Fostering a weekend dog for the first time (yay!)
  • Yard Games
  • Summer Brew (never heard of it?  me, vodka, lemonade..mmmm)
  • Grilling out with friends
  • Fireworks
  • Cooking
  • Sleeping In
and then this afternoon we wrapped up the holiday weekend with glow in the dark mini golf!  

Armed with our Groupons we ventured to Putting Edge at Colorado Mills Mall.    Can I say that it's been a long time since I've been in a mall?    I'm more of an outdoor shopping center kind of girl...when I shop at all.  

Key advice - wear something white or neon so that you have a satisfactory glow while golfing.     This was a fashion fail for me, but my friends glowed like they meant it.   

It was a lot of fun!   And if your score matches the answer of the trivia question of the day, you get to spin the prize wheel.    Laurie (friend and fellow blogger) was victorious...her score matched the length in inches of an unwound coat hanger and she lucked out with a free game of golf for a future visit.  

I was a dismal glow golfer today, but did have the high score among the four of us in skee-ball (33,000!).   I am also now the proud owner of my own fortune teller miracle fish.

This fish can tell whether you are jealous, indifferent, in love, fickle, false, dead or passionate.    
If I see you in person sometime soon, prepare to to feel the miracle fish!

Any unique and crazy fun for you over the holiday weekend?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Balloons and Bikes - Colorado Style

This past weekend was my fifth time participating in the Colorado Bike MS.   It's a big party on bikes...with a few hills thrown in for good measure.    As we were riding somewhere between mile 10 and mile 30 I told my Mom that last year I had seen hot air balloons.

And then we turned a corner and BOOM!  The early morning Saturday sky was full of them.    What a gorgeous backdrop for our ride.

And there they were!
When we hit rest stop #2 we were in the heart of the balloon action.   Everyone had their phones out to take a quick shot while fueling up on water and bananas.

Have I mentioned how much I love Colorado?
I think that Bike MS is a great event to get into, no matter where you live.   You can prove to yourself that you can do more than a casual ride to the farmer's market or ice cream shop.

If you get a view like this, that's just icing on the cake.

Have you done a long distance fundraising bicycle event before?   Which one?   

It's true.   Google Reader is gone.   Yesterday I could read it on my phone and today?  Nada.   Good thing I've migrated all my favorite reads to Bloglovin'.

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