Monday, May 22, 2006

Adventure part 3

Back from Hawaii, we settle into exploring the rugged California coast. We drove up to Mendocino. It's not a drive for the faint of stomach. We made it into Fort Bragg for lunch and took a tour of the botanical gardens. The rhododendrons were in bloom and the gardens continued all the way to the coast. This coastline is definitely different from the ones we had been seeing for a week, but this is the kind of rugged shoreline that I'm used to - and miss.

Mendocino Coast
Originally uploaded by buccaneerbetty.

On the way back through the gardens from the coastline, we saw deer and explored parts of the homestead of one of the early settlers.

As always, I was sad to leave California. When we finally started our drive home - we went through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and up Illinois to home sweet home. The ride home was fun. We saw the Petrified Forest in Arizona, and lots of other places as they popped up along the way. Of course, we also had to try and stay ahead of bad weather - we drove through Texas on the one day without a tornado. Flagstaff AZ was very pretty - lots of trees and a rather nice city - seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Oklahoma City was really nice but it was early May with bugs the size of trucks and humidity that gave me a 'fro in a heartbeat - not the city for me. Texas is interesting - complete with washbasins in the shape of the State of Texas and gas station attendants recommending fried rattlesnake to us. Cowboy and I do plan to return to New Mexico when we can spend more time there. I will have to post a couple of photos from this segment once I get them uploaded.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Adventure part 2

Finally! The honeymoon! We ran off to Kauai. The perfect island for chilling out. We had a convertible and explored to our hearts content. Of course, we also spent plenty of time at the hotel - I think some people just come and never leave this hotel. Amazing place - right on the beach on the S. Shore with loads of swimming pools that are more like lazy rivers with all these secret nooks, waterfalls and little waterslides connecting one another. Here's where we stayed.

Grand Hyatt Kauai
Originally uploaded by buccaneerbetty.

Here's the view of and behind our hotel.

Kauai, South Shore
Originally uploaded by buccaneerbetty.

Surfers, crazy guys jumping off cliffs that overhang over the water, and turtles! Can you see them?

We drove up to Waimea Canyon and what a sight! This is just one of the views.

Waimea Canyon, Kauai
Originally uploaded by buccaneerbetty.

In short, a perfect vacation. We explored when we wanted to, relaxed when we wanted, and ate a ton. Here's one of the island delicacies.

Shave ice!
Originally uploaded by buccaneerbetty.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Whirlwind Adventure

that included getting married. (Part I)
We had a blast in the last three weeks. We flew out to California and headed to Yosemite. We got married after a couple of days on the lawn behind the Ahwahnee hotel, in the middle of Yosemite Valley. We even surprised everyone by having my dad perform the ceremony! Here's a shot of Yosemite Falls which served as the background for our ceremony. We even had deer show up! They were grazing maybe 15 feet away from all of us as the wedding party walked in!

Yosemite Falls
Originally uploaded by buccaneerbetty.

The wedding was great! We had a short ceremony, which was good because despite the amazing temps the 2 days before, it was actually a little cool. We found a way to include both families, which I think turned out very nicely. Cowboy designed the ceremony himself (a few days before we left), and I was very impressed. It turned out very lovely. Afterwards, we went inside the Ahwahnee and ate. They had the HUGE fireplaces lit, so people could warm up practically inside them. The room for the reception had huge floor to ceiling windows so we could still see the towering cliffs, forest and waterfalls outside. We ate, toasted, ate some more and then had dessert. The toasts were very nice. Cowboy was really happy with the people who toasted us from my side - he said Dr. 90210 got "me" across and my sister got the right emotion. They were both very sweet and I will remember them forever. Everyone sang "Sto Lat" to us - a polish tradition and we cut the cake. I think our cake topper was a big hit - we didn't really like the traditional ones so we had a figurine of Hawkgirl and Green Arrow (from Justice League) stand on top. The pastry chef made us a platform of chocolate for them so they wouldn't have to sink knee deep in our cake. We also had a dessert action station - all things flaming!
After eating so much, we hopped on a bus for a 2 hour tour of the valley. It was great - our guide was quite funny, and we saw the highlights of the valley. We even saw a climber scaling El Capitan! The guide had lots of anecdotal stories about famous climbers in the past and some tragic climbs as well. We saw Bridalviel Falls, the Cathedral Spires, Half Dome, not to mention all the seasonal waterfalls and amazing forestry along the way.
It ended way too soon. Luckily, I got to spend some time with my friends (who kick ass by making it all the way out there) before they were to leave the next day. Not enough time, but I was happy to have that small amount.
We stuck around for a couple more days before heading out to Napa. We drove through Napa for a day and flew out to Kauai the next. Stay tuned.