Archive for 'Travel'

Life Is A Highway And We Rode It For 4 Days

Awww..July 4th. How I love thee. Besides my birthday (more on that to come) and Christmas, the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. I love America. I love fireworks. And I love all things red, white, and blue. I’m especially fond of the new flip-flops I bought this year at Wal-Mart for a mere $3. They were the inspiration behind my new July outfit. I must have been looking too cute to bother with any pictures, but thankfully in Utah the patriotic celebrations last all month long and I will take some pics on the 24th. I love those pioneers too.

The long weekend also meant that Mr. S and I embarked on our 2nd annual July 4th weekend motorcycle trip. This year’s trip took us on almost 900 miles of some of the most beautiful highways in Idaho and Montana. The only hiccup we experienced happened about 16.8 miles in. How can I know down to the tenth of a mile? Because that is when I lost my odometer cable. I also noticed that the speedometer was no longer working. Apparently the two are connected. Who knew.

We made it safely to a Yamaha dealership and once we were assured that it was still safe to ride we continued on. And I left confident that if I did get pulled over, for the first time in my driving career I would finally be able to answer honestly when the officer asked me if I had any idea how fast I was going. I never got my chance.

Here is how the trip broke down –

Day 1: Twin Falls to Riggins, ID. At check-in our hotel offered us complimentary beer. They also welcome pets. Horses included. Day 2: Riggins, ID to Darby, MT. We found the White Bird Battlefield, rode the Nez Perce and Lewis and Clark trails, and were not offered beer at our hotel. But that didn’t matter because Darby is “the best kept secret in Montana.” It’s true. They have street banners that say so. Day 3: Darby, MT to Hailey, ID. In honor of Independence Day we took some time to visit the Veterans Memorial across the street from our hotel in Darby. Then on to Hailey. The only requirement for where we would stay was whether or not there were going to be fireworks. We stayed at a Bed & Breakfast, of which I am now the mayor, and we were able to watch fireworks from the parking lot. Not the greatest display I’ve seen and I did have to sing the patriotic themed songs in my head, but it was sufficient. Day 4: Hailey to Twin Falls to Salt Lake. Only 60 miles on the motorcycles then back to the truck. We picked up Kingston at my sister’s and made it home.I think Kingston had a great time playing with my nieces and nephews, but he was definitely happy to see us. And I him. Apparently my love for my dog is transparent. As I was snuggling with Kingston and telling him how much I missed him my 5 yr old niece asked me, “Are you going to love your babies more than Kingston?” No. Of course not. Maybe? By the way – this is not an announcement of any kind.

Not sure where we will go next year, but I’m kinda hoping I still have an excuse to speed.

Viva Las Vegas-Trump Style

bathroomtvLast Thursday I woke up at 8:30 after a good night’s sleep in a room at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. I had a full kitchen and jetted tub at my disposal. There was even a tv in the bathroom. Later someone would come and clean my room while I was out visiting Hoover Dam. And that night I would eat strawberry shortcake for dinner. I also managed to spend an entire afternoon reading by the pool, on a big chaise lounge built for two. Then enjoyed a Cirque du Soleil show. Today I woke up to the sound of Kingston barking. It was still dark outside. Reality bites.

Due to a job change and busy schedules, Mr. S and I were overdue for a vacation. We finally made it happen and spent 4 days in Las Vegas over a long weekend. The weather was perfect, the Yankees won twice, and I even convinced Mr. S to spend some time at the Outlet Shops. Ahh..luxury. I need more of it but when time and money limits the amount of pampering I receive I make the most of what I can get. Even found time to win big at the slots.vegaswinnings

Saunders Family Reunion 09

familyWe left for Colorado on Aug. 5 to spend a few days at my family’s cabin for our annual reunion. We even brought Kingston along, who may I add was a champ during the 8 hr car ride. Everyone was there, except for Chris, Tiffiney and baby, Lariah makes 3. It was good to see Kim’s family and meet their not-so-new daughter, Liz, who was born last year just before Mr. S and I got married. We spent time hiking, riding the 4-wheelers, eating dutch oven, playing baseball, and spending time with each other. It is always nice to get away to peace and quiet. Did I say ‘quiet?” Not in this family! And of course there were the nightly card games. All in all we had a great time. Though I think Mr. S wouldn’t mind if we stayed away from Logan for at least a month or two. Thirty Saunders’ are a lot to take. He’s adjusting well. I think.

Our 4th of July Adventure

July is one of my favorite months. I have a birthday and since I live in Utah, an entire month of fireworks. It’s nothing compared to ending everyday with fireworks like I did in Florida, but I will take what I can get.

Now that I am a certified and legal motorcycle rider, Mr. S and I planned a fun ride over the 4th of July weekend. Overall we rode almost 800 miles. We left Thursday night and rode as far as my sister’s house in Wellsville. It was raining, which had me worried, but I handled it like a pro. Especially if you have heard me describe my first time on the freeway only a month previous. There was a lot of pulling over and freaking out happening on my part. But I eventually overcame the fear because I knew I had to in order to make this trip happen.4thjulyDay 2 started with a ride through Logan Canyon. We stopped in Bear Lake and enjoyed a raspberry shake and fries from LaBeau’s.labeaus

The morning started off great with clear, blue skies, but by the time we would arrive at our hotel for the night we rode through 6 rainstorms. That’s right, 6! The good thing is that most of them were short-lived and we could always see clear skies in the distance to help us keep going. Our agenda for that day was to continue on US-89 to Jackson, stop for dinner and then ride over Teton Pass into Drigg’s, ID. The last rainstorm just happened to start right as we left Jackson and were headed over the pass. The scariest 10 miles of my life! It was bad enough going up the pass, but once we neared the top I realized I would also have to ride down. By that time the rain was coming down pretty hard, I was cold, wet and the roads were covered in water. I was sure I was going to drop my bike but with a lot of careful maneuvering we both made it down safe. Initiation over. We arrived to our cabin in Drigg’s cold, wet and tired. After a hot bath I was asleep by 9.

Our cozy cabin in DriggscabinMy favorite day on the bikes was Saturday. From Driggs we rode up through Ashton, ID to Mesa Falls. Who knew Idaho could be so beautiful. Ashton is full of rolling hills, which were a blast on the motorcycle, and green, lush farmlands. And Mesa Falls was so beautiful I couldn’t add just one picture so I put together a slideshow for your viewing pleasure. The other plus to this day. No rain!

After Mesa Falls, we continued south to Idaho Falls/Shelley where we were staying with some friends of ours. I had always heard that the fireworks in Idaho Falls were some of the best. And they really were. It helps to have such a picturesque backdrop with the temple on one side of the river and fireworks on the other. Add in some cuddling and Neil Diamond and my 4th of July was complete.fireworksWe left Shelley after church on Sunday for the final 200 miles. It’s amazing how comfortable I am on the bike now and happy for Mr. S’ sake. We are now able to share in a hobby that he has loved for so long. And I look forward to many more road trips in the future.

Surviving the River Wild

dsc010114Two weekends ago, the same weekend we brought Kingston home, Mr. S and I went for a little adventure. As if getting a new puppy wasn’t enough for us we decided to go river rafting. The owner of Sawtooth Adventure Company, Jared Hopkinson, spoke in one of Mr. S’ classes last year and ever since that Mr. S has been talking about going. I’ve always wanted to experience some good whitewater rapids so it didn’t take much convincing. But since we spent the majority of last year planning a wedding, the trip didn’t happen until this year.

We packed our bags for the weekend and headed to the thriving city of Stanley, ID, population 100. Don’t be fooled by the small number of residents. There happens to be an Upper and Lower Stanley and I am convinced that late at night the locals meet in the middle and have regular rumbles to decide who the dominant half of the city is, West Side Story style. And what Stanley lacks in residents it more than makes up for in beauty.

When we booked the trip a couple of months ago I was certain the weather would cooperate. Little did I know that Utah/Idaho was going to be hit with the wettest June in the last 10 years with record low temperatures. Luckily when we checked in I was reassured I would keep warm with whatever gear I needed. I was offered a wet suit, fleece, rain suit, and neoprene water shoes. I chose all of the above. Once we were suited up we met our guide, Jenna, and a group of 4 friends that would be joining us in our raft. Jenna was a delight. The others, not so much. They were all intoxicated from a night of drinking that had apparently ended just a few minutes before they arrived. And I was certain at least one of them was going to throw up once the rapids unsettled their stomachs. My only request was that they aim for outside the boat.

Sawtooth Adventure Company boast the motto: Idaho’s One Stop Adventure Stop. And had we had more time we might have participated in a longer rafting trip, some mountain climbing or maybe a scenic flight over the Sawtooth Mountains. But our adventure that day was the High Adventure Trip, a 10 mile float down the Salmon River experiencing class II, III, and IV rapids. Thanks to the high water levels, we had some moments of excitement but managed to all stay in the boat. Including my intoxicated friends. The really exciting rapids didn’t last as long as I had hoped but we had a good time. And for those long stretches where we did nothing but float, Jenna made sure to share her knowledge of the Stanley area while we enjoyed the beauty of our surroundings.img_2194We finished in about 3 hours and by that time my hands were pretty cold. When we got back to Sawtooth Adventure Company headquarters a steaming cup of hot chocolate found its way into my hands and slowly my body started to warm up. I was also able to view pictures that were taken by another employee at various points throughout our float. And unlike most places that rape your wallet for just one good picture, I was able to purchase a cd with ALL of our pictures for $15. That’s what I call service.

Mr. S and I are already talking about going back and doing a multi-day float trip next year. Want to join us?

Worshipping with Hillbillies

I grew up in a small town so I know what that is like. In a small town everybody knows everybody, a new retail store that doesn’t end in “Mart” is a big deal, and big hair is always in. Just for the record, I stopped participating in the big hair phenom when the eighties ended. Others have not been as fortunate. But I digress.

Mr. S and I were visiting some friends over the weekend who happen to live in a small town such as the one I just described. We attended church on Sunday morning and much to my relief I didn’t see as much big hair as I had planned. Perhaps Bumpits haven’t reached the masses. But the things we did see (and hear) gave us plenty to talk about. A boy named Kanut gave us our first laugh. Kanut? Really? It was explained to us by our friends that Kanut’s grandma is Swedish. Okay, fine. Guess I won’t make fun of the poor kid. But his mom’s oversized breasts hanging down to her knees is still free game. Then there was the 93 year-old woman who wore a cowboy hat that I am pretty sure had been bedazzled. Pair that with her Willie Nelson-like braids and you have small town hillbilly. Once again our friends came to the rescue of our latest victim and forced me to feel bad about my rash judgment. But only a little. And last but not least was the music chorister, looking very dapper in his suit and…wait for it…here it comes…leather vest!

Can’t wait for the next visit.