Monday, August 29, 2011

Dune Trip!! 2011

Another fun summer weekend spent at Silver Lake Sand Dunes! We look forward to this every year. Even more so this year, now that Chris got a new truck! He was SSSOOOOO excited to try out his new Ford F-150 and put it to the test. Even I have to admit it was a different ride in the new truck - LOVED it. We drove, we swam, we laid in the sun, we camped. It couldn't have been better. I haven't had so much relaxation in a long time.

Of course, as much as I love driving the dunes, the beach time is the best. I really got some sun this year! Amber and I hung on the beach with the boys, while the bigger boys had their fun.
And each night ended with a beautiful sky display. Can't wait to go back!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Birthday Trip to Point Pelee

This year for my birthday I wanted to go with my family to Pelee Island. I loved it when Chris and I went two or three years ago and . We headed out early Saturday morning to catch the ferry to the island. Of course it was a mad dash to get there in time to catch the boat, lol. But we made it. We left the cars and took only our bikes and luggage across. Chris and I had packed backpacks, but my parents easily figured out how to work their suitcases with the bikes!
After checking into our bed-and-breakfast we hit the road to explore the island. We stopped at a really nice beach as we rode up the West shore. I really wanted to jump in the lake, but we had just started our day and were headed to the bakery for lunch. I didn't want to reek of seaweed just yet.

We ate lunch at Connorlee's Bakery. It was even better than I remembered. I ordered a yummy spicy turkey wrap with tomato bisque - which was the best bisque I've ever had. SO GOOD. And of course we had to follow lunch with delicious bakery deserts - white chocolate macadamia cookies and strawberry rhubarb crumble.
We continued around the island stopping for a nice walk down the Northeastern tip to the lighthouse, finding rocks, shells and sea glass (or "lake" glass rather) along the way.
After another few miles we completed our 18-or-so mile bike ride for the day. We ended at the winery, of course! We spent quite some time tasting the Pelee wines and listening to the live band. Great way to relax after our bike excursion.

After the winery we took a taxi up to the Anchor and Wheel Inn for dinner, then the rest of our evening was spent hanging out in the B&B. It was a great place to stay. We basically had an "apartment" to ourselves. And in the morning Midge (the owner) cooked a delicious breakfast for us. We really loved talking with her as we ate. She was such a great person and wonderful host. We'd love to stay with her again at her Summertime Bed and Breakfast.
Mom and I did a quick ride along the last portion of the perimeter roads that we hadn't done the day before - along the southermost portion. We stopped at the beach again looking for stones and such.
Packed and ready to catch the ferry, Mom and Dad checked out the kite museum while Chris and I got all of our ferry tickets back to the mainland (we had seen the museum last trip). Then off we went.
Back on the mainland we grabbed a quick lunch and drove to Point Pelee National Park. First stop, the visitor center while we waited for the shuttle to the point. Outside of the center we saw a flock of turkeys and this awesome lizard! It's a five-lined skink.
I love the point - waves crashing from both sides and meeting in the middle. It's so pretty. And what had started as a rainy morning had become a beautiful sunny day.
After some time at the point we loaded the shuttle back to the car so we could check out the Marsh Boardwalk before heading home. The boardwalk is my favorite part. A lovely stroll along floating docks through the marshes. Benches and a gorgeous gazebo along the way, all through a magical maze of cattails. It is so serene. It was a beautiful ride home after a perfect weekend with my wonderful husband and family - I couldn't have been happier.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chiago 2011

Just after arriving home from Colorado, Chris saw that Soundgarden was playing in Chicago the following weekend. On a whim, we decided to go - this was their first tour in about 15 years and they had no scheduled dates in Detroit. Plus, we love Chicago.

We got to Chicago a few hours before the concert to check into our hotel, and got some AWESOME Chicago style deep-dish pizza for dinner. The concert was great. Chris Cornell (the lead singer) is an AMAZING vocalist, and never disappoints at a live show. The following morning we got up early were going to get up early, but apparently our non-stop schedule had worn us out. We slept in until 10:30. So much for hitting the city early and heading home by noon. So we rolled out of bed, late, and went to check out Millenium Park and grab some grub at the Cheesecake Factory before heading home.

Albeit short, it was a fun weekend. Good music, good food, and a walk in the park. Have to admit though, when we got home we were ready for a day off!!


Over the Fourth of July Chris and I went out to Colorado to visit my friend Amber who has moved out there from Michigan. I was SO happy to be back out west, I just love it there. My heart is in those mountains. Chris took off when we landed to go spend a couple of days in Wyoming with his friend.

In the meantime, Amber and her boyfriend tried to kill me with some crazy scrambling climbs in the mountains. And I LOVED it. Wish we had rocks I could blimb like this here in Michigan.

They also took me to the top of Mount Evans, which was simply stunning. 14,265 ft! The views were amazing, and we saw big horn sheep and mountain goats!!
When Chris got back to CO, he and I took off for a couple of days in Utah to check out Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. I hate to say we were both a tad dissapointed by Arches.

The arches were neat, but not much in between and once you saw one or two, nothing else seemed much different. I did love the little hike to Landscape Arch, which was the most beautiful by far. And there were a lot of neat lizards running around - whiptail liazards and leopard lizards (we even saw a leopard lizard eating a whiptail). (Leopard lizard pictured left)

Canyonlands, however, was breathtaking. I've never been to the Grand Canyon to have for comparison, but I can't imagine anything bigger. There was actually a canyon within the canyon - which was GINORMOUS in and of itself. Just amazing. Even standing there, I felt as though I couldn't comprehend how big it really was. We headed back to Colorado, stopping along the way at a Dinosaur Museum (which Chris was very excited to find), a winery, and Colorado National Monument. I had known nothing about this park, but it was a nice surprise. A 27 mile scenic drive through a canyon with nice stops and views.
A couple more days with friends. Amber took me hiking up to Lower Mohawk Lake while Chris enjoyed the apartment AC and recovered from the intense desert heat.

It was a beautiful hike up the side of a mountain along a waterfall. Near the top of the mountain was Lower Mohawk.
On our last night we went out with our friends Jay and Sarah. They took us up a little hike to Boulder Falls.

We also went to a bar in Boulder where Jay said they have the best margartias. I must admit, they were VERY good margaritas! Last stop - CASA BONITA!! Chris had been dying to go here eversince he saw it on a Southpark episode. So we went. And it was.... entertaining! The food was MUCH better than we had heard (we were expecting catfood burritos). You are given a little flag to raise when you want more sopapillas (YUMM!). Their margaritas - not as good, but by this point it didn't matter, lol.
And the best part - they have high divers! What an unusual place - almost like a Chuck E Cheese for drunken adults, but for kids too. Lol.

We had a wonderful time and I really hated to leave. I'm already anxious to get back.