Category Archives: USA

Alaska From The Ocean


IMG_1455

 

A shot I took with my iPhone in July of 2013 as we cruised past on a Celebrity cruise liner.  A different look of the mountains from what we are used to as we see them from the Alberta side daily.  Very stark contrast as they rise out of the ocean as compared to the foothills and prairie on our side.


england 096

An interesting article from m Readers Digest.  I have done 3 of 10 listed, Bourbon Street in New Orleans, the Champs Elysees in Paris and Abbey Road in London.  How many have you done?

http://www.readersdigest.ca/travel/world/worlds-10-most-famous-streets

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh


Nothing fresher than a glacier in Alaska. The prompt this week is Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh.  The definition provided is “the definition for fresh has a bit of a fork in it – it’s a state (new, recent, previously unknown) and it’s a taste or sensation (cool, sweet, invigorating, refreshing). Fresh is definitely this cantaloupe (“melone”) granita I enjoyed recently here in Italy. It cooled me down immensely (and it didn’t hurt that it was delicious, too!) “.  Doesn’t fit, BUT, I have an out.

“In a new post specifically for this challenge, share a photo which means FRESH to you”

This fits very well.  Fresh can me refreshingly cool.  Taken as a panorama shot on my iPhone.

Hubbard Glacier, alaska

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

Hello From Hubbard Glacier


A quick photo off our ship. This is Hubbard Glacier from a half mile away. Extremely impressive.

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Wandering Wednesday – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, USA – A Second Day


Question Of The Day

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!

Our second day was not as sunny and beautiful as the previous day.  The Follow The Sun Tour had hit a roadblock.  We decided to make the best of a crappy day and went for a short (yah right) shopping trip.  I am sure happy that Kohl’s hasn’t hit Canada yet.  An entire store, warehouse sized and not a diversion for guys anywhere to be seen.  Glad I had my phone.  After spending what seemed liked a week in there, we went for a country drive.  We had heard of an interesting road (thinking it was Cammie from the night before, we had a piece of paper with some highlights of the area written on it and I know it wasn’t in either of our handwriting).  It is the Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway.  Sounds scenic ay any rate.  Here a few snaps we took.

Wish it was sunny and I was on a bike!!

A bit dreary today.

We had also noticed in the 1000 Places To see Before You Die book that there was a restaurant out here that was a must go.  So, go we must.  Unfortunately, they did not know we were coming and were closed.  They should have known.  The name of the place is the Wolf Lodge Inn.  We had to take a few pictures.  Read the sign, very funny.

Wish it was open. It has some character.

The Sign

We finished touring and headed back to town and supper.  The plan is to get up and head for the sun, wherever that may be.

Wandering Wednesday – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, USA


Question Of The Day

Why don’t you ever see the headline “Psychic Wins Lottery”?

Our follow the sun tour started out in Banff, Alberta.  We stayed at the Banff International Hotel.  Do Not Stay Here.  Run down and noisy.  After much discussion, we decided our first stop would be Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  We booked a room on-line at the Coeur d’Alene Resort and took off.  We headed south and hit the USA border early in the afternoon.  It really has a border look here, something I never noticed crossing over on the prairies.  There is actually a line carved into the terrain.  Check out the picture.  That line is cleared bush up the side of a mountain.

Leaving the border (yes, they let us in), we made our way towards our destination.  The highway was great, with lots of scenery, and, it was glorious day, sun shining and warm.  Exactly what we were looking for.  As we continued south, we realized we must be close to our destination.  Lori went crazy all of a sudden as Kohl’s came into view.  My worst nightmare, a shopping trip.  I managed to feint left and duck right and got away.  We arrived at our hotel, The Coeur d’Alene Resort.  Very impressive.  We checked in and at the same time booked an extra night.  It seemed like a great place to spend a few days and there was lots to do.  We headed up to our room and discovered a great view.  Nothing adds to a stay somewhere than looking out your room’s window and seeing something spectacular.

What a view

After settling in, we headed out for a bite to eat.  We decided to try out a place called Tito Macaroni’s, an Italian place on the main street downtown.  Bad choice.  The food started out okay, but as you dug deeper it became very greasy.  Tip to the restaurant, cut back on the oil.  The best part was Pinot Noir that we tried.  Very good.

Nice Pinot

From Tito’s, (we needed to leave) we headed for a place I had spied that advertised live music.  Right up our alley as it was called “The Wine Cellar“, meaning it covered off two ticks right away. music and wine.  We headed in.  We were immediately seated and we were served by a terrific young woman named Cammie.  We were discussing our upcoming trip to Portugal and she noted that her background was half Portuguese.  we ordered some Port (we are in training) and settled in to listen to the band.  It was a great evening.  I only wish I had recorded more but, we were busy socializing in a very friendly establishment.  The performer was Max Daniels and his band.  Loads of fun.  Here is a sample.

At The Wine Cellar

The evening ended and we headed back to our room, looking forward to exploring the countryside.

 

On Vacation


The Coeur d'Alene Resort, on Lake Coeur d'Alen...

The Coeur d'Alene Resort, on Lake Coeur d'Alene in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In reference to my previous post, we went south and are currently in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho heading towards Spokane, Washington, then somewhere else after that. Lots of fresh material to share beginning next week. In the meantime, I am officially on vacation. See you next week.

Remembering Coco Robicheaux


The famous Rue Bourbon, or Bourbon Street, is ...

Bourbon Street

New Orleans is poorer in its music scene this week.  Coco Robicheaux, (real name Curtis Arceneaux) mainstay of the local music scene passed away at the age of 64.  He apparently suffered a heart attack at one of his favourite spots, The Apple Barrel on Frenchman Street in the quarter.  He played there on a regular basis.  A self taught blues guitar player, Coco began his career on Bourbon Street at the age of 17.  As the story goes, he found his first guitar in pieces on the street.  He repaired it and began learning to play.  It worked well, as he became a top tier player in New Orleans.  In his career, he recorded 6 albums and appeared on several TV shows and movies.  He recently appeared as himself on an April 2010 episode of “Treme“.   Speaking of “Treme”, this is a must watch show, seen on HBO and HBO Canada.  Attached track is a song called “Cottonmouth” and features Coco on guitar and Hubie Vigreux on percussion.   It was recorded live at a blues bar in Hawaii.

Coco Robicheaux – Cottonmouth

Trip Summary – New Orleans and Western Caribbean


Safely back in Calgary it is time to summarize, review, price and recommend.  First the beginning, the flight from Calgary to New Orleans.

Continental Airlines

We flew via Continental Airlines, with a connecting flight in Houston in both directions.  We chose Continental for a couple of main reasons.  First, they had the flights that fit our need, second, they are connected with Air Canada, which allowed us to earn Aeroplan.  Total cost for flights was approximately 650 each, return including luggage fees.  The flights were on time (early on the return to Calgary).  I had two issues.  On the way down they ran out of hot food for purchase, which was a downer on a flight that I had to at the airport for at % in the morning.  Second, in-flight entertainment did not have a free option, only pay.  Overall, I would easily fly with them again, especially knowing what to expect.

http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/default.aspx

There is an app for Iphone as well.

New Orleans

Lots to see and do in New Orleans.  we spent 3 night at Garlands Guest House and Creole Cottages.

1129 Rue St. Philip
New Orleans LA 70116
(504) 523-1372
(800) 523-1060

http://www.garlandsguesthouse.com/

This is a bed and breakfast about 100 feet off of Rampart Ave, right beside Louis Armstrong Park.  We paid about 150 per night and the accommodations and breakfast were very good.  I would rate it 4 of 5.  I would double-check the rates etc. as the place had been sold, with new owner operators taking over on April 1.  We were there on the 27th of March for our last night.

We ate at the following establishments

Eat

http://www.eatnola.com/

Great little restaurant. Easy 4 out of 5.  Reasonably priced and bring your own booze.

900 Dumaine Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116

phone
504 522 7222

hours
tuesday – friday: 11am – 2pm + 5:30pm – 10pm
saturday: 9am – 2pm + 5:30pm – 10pm
sunday brunch: 9am – 2pm
closed monday

Muriels Jackson Square Restaurant

http://www.muriels.com/


801 Chartres Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
Phone: 504.568.1885
Fax: 504.568.9795
Email:
info@muriels.com

we highly recommend this place.  The service was great, the food reasonably priced and very well prepared.  If in New Orleans, you have to go here for at least one meal.  At least 4.5 of 5 stars.

Riverfront Restaurant

Average place, a little pricey for the quality, but a nice place to sit if you can get balcony seating.  Pleasant staff.

http://www.riverfrontrestaurantneworleans.com/

River’s Edge Restaurant

RUN AWAY.  DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT EATING HERE.

Other Places

We popped in and out of several other places, but these stand out.  Bourbon Street is full of bars and music, we enjoyed the House of Blues, with Rafael Saadiq and the Funky Pirate with Mark Penton and the Pentones.  I look forward to maybe getting back here again some day.

The Cruise

We cruised on the NCL Spirit (Norwegian Cruise Lines).  This particular cruise line does free style cruising, meaning that there were no set dinner times and tables and dress was casual.  The service was what you would expect, top-notch.  If we had any issues, it was with the entertainment.  Very low quality and we did not enjoy it.  We tended to ignore it.  Other than that, there were lots of activities on board to keep us occupied.  I can easily recommend this cruise company.  Overall cost was about 1200 per person after  excursions and extras, and we didn’t feel ripped off at all.

http://www2.ncl.com/

The Excursions

Costa Maya, Mexico

Boat Blast and Snorkel.  This was entertaining, driving a 2 seater out into the ocean to a portable dock and then snorkelling the Belize Reef.  This was a good excursion as it was not to strenuous and involved a 40 minute bus ride, which gave us a view of the area.  I would recommend this as suitable for most as you do have to snorkel and there is a beautiful beach to spend some time relaxing on.

Belize

A 37-mile drive along the Western Highway brings you to the Caves Branch River and its winding path, through the Maya Mountains and numerous ancient caves once inhabited by the Maya. Upon arrival at Caves Branch National Park, you head out for the caves with your equipment.  This excursion was the most interesting part of our trip.  The drive was good as again we had the opportunity to see the countryside and a bit of Belize City as well.  Suitable for all, you can get wet, so protect your camera.

Roatan Island, Honduras

Tabyana Beach & Gumbalimba Park was the excursion we picked.  A great day, suitable for all,  The park was fun, with parrots and monkeys o interact with and many picture opportunities.  the Pirate cave was a bit lame.  Tabyana Beach beach is spectacular.  The nicest spot on the whole cruise was Roatan, and we will be back for sure.

Cozumel

Cozumel by Jeep and Snorkel was the tour we chose.  Awesome tour guides.  I would say that this was the fullest day we had.  We drove to Punta Sur Eco Park, Cozumel’s unique Ecological Reserve.  We saw salt water crocodiles close up, a lighthouse, Mayan ruins and a spectacular Corona commercial beach with awesome snorkelling.  The snorkelling was strenuous but the rest of the tour was suitable for all, and if you didn’t snorkel, the beach was there.

The link for all NCL excursions is here’

http://www.ncl.com/nclweb/staticPage.html?pageId=ShorexPDFs&destCode=CARIBBEAN

And that was our trip.  We enjoyed the company, and we enjoyed the cruise.  I was skeptical, but would do one again.

New Orleans – March 27, 2011


Our last day, flying home on the 28th.  Cleared customs off the ship and headed back to the Garlands, where we stayed the first 2 nights we were here.  Stowed our gear and off we went.  First stop was Royal St in the French Quarter.  People everywhere.  as I have said, this city breathes on its own.  Food booths and music everywhere. This is a sample of what we saw and heard on the street. Read the rest of this entry

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