A Weekend Trip to Denver!

GIRLS TRIP!!! Yes, my impromptu trip to Denver was just that. My mom, grandma, aunt, and I made a quick weekend trip out to Denver to meet up with my cousin who was there on a traveling nurse assignment. 3 generations of women, and we all know that when family gets together chaos will surely ensue. Anyway here are a few of the highlights from the trip.

Day 1: After arriving mid-afternoon we had just enough time meet up with a family member who lives just outside of Denver in Aurora. It’s always great to catch up with family, and enjoying a drink while sitting by a fire in the process is even better! Double bonus, we also got to enjoy some delicious S’mores! Dinner that night was at a cute restaurant called Bull and Bush. We enjoyed the beer flight but weren’t all that impressed with the rest, our food was average, but the atmosphere was very loud and our service was okay at best. Definitely a place to go for drinks/apps but maybe not the best place to have a sit-down meal.

Day 2: We started the day of right, with a great breakfast at Snooze! Which I will say is one of the BEST brunch places I have ever been to, highly recommended! Although be prepared to wait in line especially during peak times. However, they do have coffee, water, and outdoor games available to ease the wait. We had fun playing bean bags while we waited.

Breakfast at Snooze
Brunch at Snooze, Doesn’t it look AMAZING!

Now here is a mind-boggling question…how I had never really heard of/understood the significance of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater is beyond me. I was blown away by the significance of the amphitheater and all the infamous concerts, and performances it has held over the years; not to mention the beauty of the rock formations. The Visitor’s center was really neat to explore and inside is also the Colorado Music Hall of fame and shows the history of all of the performances held at Red Rocks. All I can say is, after visiting I added a new experience to my bucket list: Go See A Concert At Red Rocks.

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Red Rocks Ampitheatre

Our last activity for the day was a Wine and Canvas painting event that my cousin had lined up. We painted, or rather attempted to paint a beautiful mountain landscape. I guess you can be the judge.

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Our Masterpieces

Day 3: Had us traveling out to Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. We were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day and saw some beautiful views. Contrary to the name, Estes Park isn’t a park, it is a town sitting at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park; and if you are one to enjoy exploring lots of unique/touristy shops then Estes Park is the place for you. We all enjoyed walking around the shops and especially enjoyed our ice cream break. Although we did not visit, the Stanley Hotel, famous from the book “The Shining” is located in Estes Park and tours are available if that is of interest to you. All in all, this excursion was a great way to end our time in Colorado.

Lastly here are some extra pictures from the trip:

San Diego – Surf, Sunshine, & Smiles

It all started with my friend asking me if I wanted to join her in San Diego for a long weekend trip…Now this is me we are talking about, of course I was up for leaving the frozen tundra of Minnesota in January to the welcome arms of  warm air and sunshine in San Diego!

A little pre-planning and we were set to go. We decided to stay at an Air Bnb and were very pleased with our choice; a cute little house in the Golden Hill neighborhood very clean, quiet, and quaint. Although probably outside of walking distance, the location was close to public transportation or a quick and inexpensive Uber ride downtown. It was also quite close to Balboa Park,  home to attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, many museums, some beautiful gardens, and more! In fact that was our first destination, and although we decided to explore some of the free options at the park including the Timken Art Museum, Museum of Photographic Arts, Cactus and Rose Gardens, the Botanical Building, and the Artisan shoppes, I’m sure the admission prices to the other attractions are well worth the experiences. As a bonus I even came across a shop in the Artisan area featuring me as the painter! (haha okay just my name…but I tried).

For someone who studied abroad in Italy for a semester, Little Italy was first on my list for places to grab a bite for lunch and to sniff out some authentic gelato for dessert, YUMM! Although I was not impressed with the pizza joint recommended (definitely didn’t seem authentic to me), the gelato joint we picked to stop at was AMAZING! The rest of our day was spent wandering around Seaport Village and we closed out our day with a wine tasting from the San Pasqual Winery. I cannot say enough about their red wine…so GOOD. Every glass I tasted had a beautiful deep balance with a smooth finish and was neither too sweet or too bitter. I was very tempted to buy a case; however I did restrain myself and kept my pocketbook from feeling a little too empty. After all I had just started my vacation.

We were blessed to have some gorgeous weather full of sunshine for most of our days and we took full advantage of that. On one of the nice days we booked a Kayak and Snorkeling Tour through Everyday California and it was a blast! Not only did we get to kayak and snorkel, but our guide kept us entertained, teaching us about the history and ocean environment of the La Jolla area. Don’t get me wrong the water was FREEZING even in the wet suits; the water temperature was only 56 degrees F, but it was definitely worth the experience. I didn’t get any pictures though because I was too afraid to drop my phone in the water. Later that day, we also decided to hop on a 3hr Whale Watching tour and we were lucky enough to see a few gray whales and some dolphins! If you look hard enough in the picture on the bottom, you can see a whale tail of one of the gray whales. Oh! I almost forgot both the kayak and whale watching tour were both Groupon finds and we were very pleased with our experiences (and got to save some $$$). I recommend checking out Groupon to see if there is anything you might get to save a few bucks on, but I always am sure to read the reviews first.

The rest our our trip we left up in the air to just relax and go with the flow. I specifically knew I wanted some fish tacos, so we hit up a popular joint called Oscars in N. Pacific Beach. Many claim it is the best place to get fish tacos in the San Diego area and I have to say they were pretty darn good. After eating we made our way to the beach for some sun and surf, we rented some wet-suits, a surfboard, and a boogie board and spent the day enjoying the ocean. Although, I had apparently forgotten how difficult surfing can be, 5 yrs removed from my last surfing experience was far too long for my muscle memory!

After a long day in the sun we dropped into The Baked Bear for some amazing ice cream cookie sandwiches! The cookies were so soft and amazing, I highly recommend stopping by for a tasty treat. After our ice cream treat, we browsed some of the shops nearby and headed to the 710 bar for some drinks and appetizers. We got our beer and order of fried pickles and I swear it was the biggest portion I’d ever seen. I can’t believe I didn’t think to take a picture… We offered to share with the couple behind us because there was NO way we would have been able to eat them all, and can you believe we found that they had ties to Minnesota, such a small world! Making connections has to be my favorite part of traveling. Our night was full of fun and interesting conversation and maybe just a little bit of karaoke ;-P

Overall a fun trip to the Sunshine state

Until next time,

Danielle

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A Year in Review 2016

While I didn’t get to go on my planned trip to Nashville this year, I did have a very busy and fun 2016!

In February I started a new job working in conservation agriculture and it is keeping me busy in a good way 🙂 However the  6 month probationary period with no vacation days prohibited me from taking any trips this spring/summer.

So when September rolled around, I jumped at the chance for a change of scenery. One of my college friends had moved to Wyoming and I decided to check another state off my bucket list and visit her. You can check out the highlights of that trip here: Exploring Wide Open Spaces – Wyoming

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Now lets jump to November and my last minute trip to Colorado with my mom, aunt, and grandma. We made the trip to Denver to visit my cousin and had a blast exploring Denver and Estes Park. I plan to write a blog post about this trip in the near future so if you want to read more be on the lookout for that.

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At Rocky Mountain National Park

While 2016 technically only had 2 big travel trips, I was plenty busy with other events. Apparently, I am at the age where all my friends are getting married as I attended 5 weddings this year!

Also 2016 was a record year for concert going, and here’s the list:

  • Brantley Gilbert, Canaan Smith, and Michael Ray
  • Clare Bowen and Charles Esten
  • Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge, and Maren Morris
  • Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, and Lee Brice
  • Blake Shelton and Raelynn

*See the pattern here…All country artists 😉

Now you know why I want to go to Nashville!

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At the Luke Bryan Concert!

 

I know 2017 will be just as amazing! I’m looking forward to another year 🙂

 

 

 

 

Exploring Wide Open Spaces – Wyoming

Well, its been awhile…Since starting my new job in February, my creative writing mind has been mostly void of inspiration and motivation. However; in that time period I have had the chance to go on a couple trips and am now finally ready to post about my adventures. 

First on my list was a visit to a college friend who lives in the Rawlins, Wyoming area. Taking in a U of W Cowboys football game, driving through the Medicine Bow National Forest, spending an afternoon exploring an old ghost town, and hiking to the top of Rawlins peak were the highlights of my trip and ones I will expand on later in this post.

“Wide open spaces” is an appropriate saying when describing the majority of the 2nd least densely populated U.S. state, falling only to Alaska. Fun fact: The population of their largest city is only 95,809! That doesn’t even crack the Top 300. Sage brush and range land are widespread as far as the eye can see, and the scattered mountain forest areas in the southwest are a refreshing change of scenery that just makes them more beautiful.

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Plenty of Livestock Roaming Around

One of my first adventures after arriving was driving the Snowy Pass road through Medicine Bow National Forest. We headed to Laramie to take in a Cowboys football game, GO POKES! But along the way, I got to take some beautiful pictures and fell particularly in love with this breathtaking view.
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A view from Snowy Pass
 

We couldn’t have asked for a better mid-September day to sit outside at a football game; however the sun was so strong that I got a nice sunburn to take home. At least the team pulled off the W so we could celebrate!

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My next exploration was off to find and explore the “ghost” city of Carbon, WY and I have officially decided that county roads need to be better maintained in Wyoming. The road to our destination was no better than an rutted up field road…I even had to get out and open and close livestock gates. *Insert statement about “Only in Wyoming”…here* However the journey was almost as fun as the destination. See the pictures below to explore the town yourself!

The last big highlight from my trip was an unplanned hike up to the top of Rawlins peak (the highest point in Rawlins) as my friend had to run in to work for a few hours. The solitary hike was the perfect way to spend my morning enjoying the landscape and pushing myself for a great workout. In total hike was approx. 5 miles. The perfect length and difficulty for someone not super used to the high altitude 🙂

Anyway a big shout-out to my friend for hosting me and showing me the sights! So glad I got to come visit and catch up. As a bonus, I can even cross off Wyoming from my 50 state countdown now!

Until next time!

Danielle

Who Are We, Really?

As a blogger posting mostly about her travel adventures, I realized other bloggers are in the same boat. We write about topics that relate to our blog with the occasional unrelated post that for some reason struck our brains with inspiration. However; by doing this we create an alternate “life” where we share only the certain aspects of our lives that we deem worthy for others to read. And really, that is the essence of blogging and why I believe so many of us are drawn to it. My “normal” life is definitely not as exciting or as filled with adventure as I would like;  I’m also going to hassle a guess that your life isn’t all adventure all the time either. That’s just the way it is, plus who wants to read about a normal boring week at work?….No one??? Come on! We all want to write and about the events in our lives and the lives of others that are interesting.

Where am I going with this you may ask? Truthfully, I’m working on that as I am writing here. I guess I want to give you a quick look at the lifestyle I grew up living. This weekend I am home helping with our family’s farm as it is a busy time trying to get everything planted. So here it is; a peak into my “normal” life. Granted these pictures still show what I choose to add to this post, I hope they accurately reflect reality.

Tractor Selfie while working the field

Btw, this photo was taken after fixing one of the wheels on the digger not just once but twice! Needless to say it was a frustrating morning until we finally got things working.

Autosteer is a lifesaver!

Without autosteer helping me out I’m pretty sure things would be a little more crooked and wavy in the field. Also, driving a tractor may seem like fun, and it is, for awhile anyway. Personally it gets old fast (I get bored) after a few rounds up and down the row and I’m ready to be done.

1 row down, many more to go

This weekend I got my fill for awhile when it comes to tractor time. I also did my first solo planting with our high tech planter. I was nervous! Look at all the screens, buttons, and knobs!!! Ahh…!!!

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So confusing…Haha luckily I only had to concentrate on a few of these!

I was relieved to get through my planting job without any major issues, I consider that my biggest win! I think that’s about all for now. I hope this wasn’t too boring! Haha

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This is the planter, it’s pretty amazing at what this piece of equipment can do!

 

What’s Next? My next Destination!

I’m excited to announce my next travel destination! This place has been on my bucket list for years now, and I am anxious to finally visit the home of country music. That’s right, I’m going to Nashville, TN!!! Coming from a huge country music fan, this city is gold for finding current country artists, aspiring musicians, & remembering the ones of the past. And come this fall I will finally get to experience the city that is the heart and soul of country music.

On my list of places to visit are:

-The Grand Ole Opry (OF COURSE!)

– The Country Music Hall of Fame

– Ryman Auditorium

– The Bluebird Cafe

– The Wildhorse Saloon

If you have been to Nashville before please let me know if there are any places I should go! Or places that could be missed!

I’ll take all the tips I can! Hope to hear from you!