Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Las Vegas - 3am Omelettes and a bottomless cup of Joe

Las Vegas was one of those places on my someday list. I was in no hurry to visit but I knew I would get there "someday". Well someday rolled around in the guise of an invitation to meet up with some friends.
Friends of mine from California were going to drive out to Vegas and we would fly out and meet them there. And so it was we spent three days in Las Vegas at a resort off the strip and had a great time.

Our time was spent between lounging by the pool, plugging a few quarters in the slots and visiting Fremont Street. One of the best parts about Las Vegas is that the place is going 24/7. So when I woke up at 3:00am there was always something to do. Jet lag? Time change? No problem! You're in Vegas, you can eat drink and make merry at anytime of the day. Gotta love it.

Next time we visit Vegas, and I'm pretty sure there'll be a next time, I'll stay on the strip, and experience the Vegas everyone whose been there talks about. But for a first visit I couldn't have been happier than staying where we did, lounging by the pool, drinking tropical drinks (brought right to my lounge chair, thankyouverymuch) and just relaxing.

It was Vegas 101, an easy introduction to all that the city has to offer. Next time it's a room with a strip view, dinner at a famous chef driven restaurant and a great show. The traditional Las Vegas trifecta and one I'm looking forward to hitting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Where the road takes you - Dispatches from the Middle Lane

It never ceases to amaze me just how empty and wide open a large part of our country is. I'm struck time and again as we make our way across the heartland how much nothing there really is out here.

Into the great wide open...
 At the same time there is also no shortage of things to pause and wonder at. Work and leisure travel have had us on the road almost 10 of the past 12 months. It's been an interesting time for us and I've seen more of the middle of the country than I ever have before. These are a few pictures from those travels.
From the top of this lookout you can see for miles....

...the day I was there it was overcast but still a pretty nice view.

Nice rest area

Welcome to Boone Iowa

Beer garden in Des Moines, IA

You can see the iconic St. Louis Arch for miles...

Plenty of blue sky...

...and wide open spaces.
A road side monument in Menlo, IA

Painted by Ray Sorensen II

As a thank you to veterans...

...for their service to our country.
Welcome to Tennessee...

...and the Great Smoky Mountains.

The odd granite monument that is the Georgia Guidestones
While we don't know what the next year will hold we're looking forward to all of the sights...

And all of the the roads we've yet to travel...

Happy travels...wherever the road may take you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On the road again

I'm headed to the Atlanta area this week. I'm looking forward to trying some great restaurants (plus a few extra trips to the gym!)and getting to know the area.

Tops on my list are the restaurants of Hugh Acheson, Five and Ten & The National in Athens, GA and Empire State South in Atlanta.

Atlanta is said to have a great food scene and I can't wait to check it out.

Have you traveled to Atlanta? What was your favorite restaurant or dish? I'd love to hear all about it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Happy Birthday!

I thought I would have something witty and insightful to say as I embark on my next half century. But I find that all I want to say is thank you.

Thank you to my partner in crime. The one who has helped me to grow and change over the years and to become fully myself. This is some adventure Big Hoss. I love you with all of my heart.

Thank you to my family who has supported and loved me unconditionally all of my life. They are the cornerstone on which all the rest is built.

Thank you to my friends. Though few in number they are all precious to me and I cherish each and every one. Even the ones with funny accents and ones that live on the wrong coast.

Thank you to all of my Internet friends. To all of you who I've had a chance to meet and to all of you reading these words who I haven't met yet. I would have never started this thing if not for you. Your encouragement means a lot. I'm ever grateful.

And last, but certainly not least, thank you to Chloe, Tiki, Al, Nuisance and Dana. The best furry kids a pet mom could ever have. I miss you all everyday.

So cheers, raise a glass and toast to the first 50! Salute!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Roll Out the Barrel! - Oktoberfest - Munich Germany

Standing at our gate at the Minneapolis airport I still couldn't believe we were headed to Germany. We were going to be attending what I've come to think of as the worlds largest county fair, Oktoberfest! I still can't believe it. I heard our flight being called to board and this was it, we were on our way.

We arrived in Munich mid-week, a few days before the start of the festival. The main Oktoberfest events take place at the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), near Munich's center. The origin of the festivities were to mark the marriage of King Ludwig I to Therese of Bavaria.  During the 16 day long event, as it is celebrated now, millions of people will visit the fair grounds and millions of liters of beer will be consumed. Along with tons of roasted chicken, pretzels, potato dumplings and best of all roast pork.

After having a couple of days to explore and get the lay of the land, the first day of the festival was finally here. We headed out pretty early in the morning so we could stake out a great spot from which to enjoy the fun.  Some of the most coveted spots are in the huge beer tents that line the fair grounds. We walked around the extensive grounds taking in all of the sites, sounds and smells.

The midway is much like any county fair midway you've ever visited. There are food vendors, games of chance, souvineers. And people, lots and lots of families with kids, tourists, just a ton of folks milling around.

We finally settled on the Winzerer Fähndl tent (the one with the giant Paulaner beer on top of the tower) and headed that way. We walked into the tent and it was starting to fill up but not too crowded yet. There were a lot of reserved seats but still open spots for the taking. We noted as we came in that there was a huge deck on the front of the tent and decided to go back out there to check things out and decided to grab seats at a picnic table on the deck.

They we were, sitting at a picnic table on the deck of the Winzerer Fähndl tent looking around and having a pinch-me, can-you-believe- where-we-are moment.
Because we arrived early beer service hadn't yet started. We ordered a couple of half liter sodas and settled in for the day.

With the tapping of the first keg at noon and a cry of "O'zapft is!", Oktoberfest officially started. Let the beer drinking begin! So there we sat, at our picnic table, in the sunshine, drinking liter mugs of beer. As the afternoon wore on we were joined by 4 Italian guys and three local girls; from that moment on known as the Italians and the Heidis. They all spoke a little English and we all spoke beer so there was no communication barrier at all. Having happy birthday sung to you by a table full of VERY happy Italians and Germans is something you just can't adequately describe. It was amazing.

That was just day one, we would be back again.

Our time in Germany was amazing. We went to the famous Hofbräuhaus for yet more beer and schweinshaxe (crispy roasted knuckle of pork), we toured  the city by bus and train and enjoyed time at the viktualienmarkt.

We visited the Deutsches Museum and saw the Glockenspiel, it was all wonderful. Munich is an amazing city and very easy to get around in. We met a lot of nice people, ate wonderful food, drank awesome beer and just had an amazing time.
There's still so much more to see and do. We'll definitely be back.