Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Category: Travel (Page 2 of 41)

One Day in Sitka, Alaska

Cruise ships in Sitka Sound

Cruise ships in Sitka Sound

After our day in Vancouver, we got up the next morning and boarded the Serenade of the Seas, and headed to Alaska. Sailing out of Vancouver Harbor was beautiful and I was excited to snap some photos as we headed up the Inside Passage but at that moment I realized I left my camera batteries at the Airbnb in Vancouver. Since our first two ports were islands (Sitka and Juneau) with no road connections to the mainland and lithium batteries cannot be shipped by air, there was no way to order a replacement and get it by the time we were in Alaska. If we were still Nikon shooters, the pharmacy in Sitka sold Nikon batteries, but that was no help as we had our Fuji camera with us. While we still had cell signal we did some internet sleuthing and found a Fuji photographer who used to have a store in Juneau. We sent him an email and were able to meet up with him and buy a battery when we were in Juneau. All that to say that my photos from Sitka and the first half of our day in Juneau were all taken on my phone as we had a camera and an expensive rented telephoto lens, but we had no way to turn it on.

So, after all that stress, we arrived in Sitka. After doing all my research before we left, it seemed that Sitka is a pretty easy port to explore on your own without an excursion. Our ship docked at what is known as the Old Sitka Dock and is a few miles outside town, but they offer a free shuttle to take you downtown. Once we were dropped off at Centennial Hall, we booked a $10 per person shuttle that would take us to Fortress of the Bear, the Alaska Raptor Center, and from there we could walk to the Sitka National Historic Park and back to downtown.

Alaska Pioneer's Home

I quickly fell in love with Sitka. Sitka is located on the west side of Baranof Island on the Gulf of Alaska. Because of its location, the island is a temperate rain forest with the temperature varying between 33 and 62 degrees throughout the year with the temperature rarely dropping below 22 degrees. I don’t know about you, but that’s not really what I think of when I hear Alaska weather.

Sitka was home to one of the first European settlements in Alaska being settled by Russian explorers in 1799. In 1802, the native Tlingit destroyed the original settlement killing many of the settlers. In 1804 Russian forces returned and bombarded the Tlingit fort causing the Tlingit people to leave under cover of darkness. The Russian influence in Sitka can still be seen today with the Russian Bishop’s house and St. Michael’s Cathedral still standing in downtown Sitka.

Boats in Crescent Harbor

In August of 2015, heavy rains triggered a series of 60 landslides in Sitka, one of which killed three people. The US Geological survey did a landslide assessment of Sitka and determined that the entire island is a landslide risk. Now, the USGS has installed a first-of-its-kind landslide warning system to notify residents of landslide conditions so evacuations can occur.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop back next week to read about our time at Fortress of the Bear in Sitka! To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Wordless Wednesday: Vancouver

One Day in Vancouver

View from Vancouver Lookout

The city from Vancouver Lookout

We started our one day in Vancouver nice and early being that our bodies were still in Eastern Time. We left our Airbnb in a beautiful North Vancouver neighborhood and spent several hours at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. From there we took a bus and Sea Bus (what Vancouver calls its fery) to downtown Vancouver.

JapadogWhen planning our day in Vancouver, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to eat at Japadog. I have no idea where I had heard of Japadog, but the concept intrigued me: Japanese flavors meet an American staple. I can’t tell you enough how delicious these hot dogs were! I wish there was a Japadog in Michigan!

Cruise Ships at Canada Place

After lunch, we headed to the Vancouver Lookout to get a bird’s eye view of the city (top). Built in 1977 by Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, the Harbor Center Building that houses the lookout was the tallest building in the city at the time. Nowadays, a glass elevator takes guests 168 meters (553 feet) up to a viewing platform with a 360-degree view of Vancouver from the 6th tallest building in the city. The Top of Vancouver revolving restaurant is also in the Harbor Center Building for visitors looking for a fine dining experience with an unbeatable view. As a cruise nerd, I enjoyed seeing the ships at Canada Place (left)!

Stanley Park Seawall

From there we took a bus to Stanley Park and walked around enjoying the beautiful day. With over 1,000 acres, there is a lot to explore in Stanley Park. The park first opened in 1888 and was named after Lord Stanley, the 6th governor general of Canada. Construction of the Seawall (above) began in 1917 and took decades to complete. There is much to do in Stanley Park including 27 km of trails, a waterpark, beaches, the Vancouver Aquarium, or ride a horse-drawn carriage, trolley, or train. You could spend a whole day exploring the park!

I definitely feel like we barely scratched the surface of Vancouver! One thing I wanted to do that we just didn’t have time for was a culinary tour of Chinatown. I guess Vancouver will have to go on the list of places to return to!

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop back next week as we board the Serenade of the Seas and head to Sitka, Alaska! To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Wordless Wednesday: Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Exploring Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension BridgeWhile planning our one day in Vancouver, the one thing I knew I wanted to see was the Capilano Suspension Bridge and since we were not going to have a car for this day, we decided to rent an Airbnb in North Vancouver. The area was very nice and we enjoyed walking past all the beautifully manicured gardens to a nearby coffee shop for breakfast. We were even able to walk from our Airbnb to Capilano Bridge Park.

Since it was so close to our Airbnb and we were still adjusting to Pacific Time, we got to the suspension bridge shortly after they opened and I was glad that we did. You can see in the picture (left) that the bridge was busy even at 9:30 in the morning.

Treetops Adventure

Treetops Adventure

The Capilano Suspension Bridge was the first tourist attraction in Vancouver, with the original hemp-rope bridge built in 1888. The current bridge is 140 meters (459 feet) long and is suspended 70 meters (229 feet) above the river. But, there is more to the park than one bridge. A series of seven smaller suspension bridges take you high up in the tall douglas fir trees for a “squirrel’s eye view of the forest”. Interestingly, the platforms in the trees were designed to allow for the continuing growth of the forest using an innovative tree-collar design without any nails or bolts in the trees. While the big suspension bridge is more exciting, I really preferred the bridges in what the park calls “Treetops Adventure”.



The Cliffwalk walkways jut out from the granite cliff suspending trekkers over the rushing water below with open grates in some parts allowing you to see just how far up you are. To me, this wasn’t as scary as the big bridge. Where the suspension bridge moves with each step and sways with the breeze, these walkways aren’t going anywhere.

Capilano Raptor Talk

American Kestral at the Raptor Talk

One of the first areas of the park you see is the Kai’Palano which celebrates the area’s First Nation cultures by showcasing several Totem Poles surrounded by educational signs. Many of the totem poles become the first photo opportunity for families in the park.

We happened to stumble into a Raptor Talk at the Raptors Ridge area of the Park and besides the fact that it seemed like the featured birds weren’t native to the area, it was very interesting. One of the biggest takeaways for me is that one of the biggest killers of bald eagles and other raptors is ingesting poisoned food (i.e. mice and rats) and that is 100% preventable. There are other ways to deal with an infestation in your home than putting out poison which has a much bigger effect than just killing the mouse in your house.

Extreme Nature AheadOverall, we spent several hours exploring all the trails, bridges, and viewpoints in the park and even though the entrance ticket is pricey (C$62.95 for adults) we thought it was totally worth it and would probably return on our next visit to Vancouver. If you are on the fence about visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge, I highly recommend it!

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Wordless Wednesday: Chihuly & Space Needle

Chihuly in front of the Space Needle

One Day in Seattle

Chihuly in front of the Space NeedleWith our crazy plan to get to Alaska, we had one day to explore the highlights of Seattle. It was a dreary day, raining on and off. I feel like we got an authentic Seattle experience.

Chris stayed at a Citizen M hotel in Los Angeles a few weeks before and he really wanted me to experience it, so we changed our reservation in Seattle to the Citizen M in South Lake Union. The hotel really caters to business travelers with small rooms and workstations scattered around the lobby. I think it would be a great hotel for a solo traveler, but there were a lot of things about it that made it challenging for two. But, the good news is it is within walking distance of both the Space Needle and Pike Place Market.

Port from the Space Needle View from the Space Needle

We headed first to the Space Needle. The most well-known of Seattle’s attractions, the Space Needle is synonymous with the Pacific Northwest. Built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the Space Needle is 605 feet tall and was built to withstand a category 5 hurricane and a 9.1 magnitude earthquake. At the top, there is an observation deck and “the loupe”, the world’s first rotating glass floor. It was a great way to get a view of the city, but because of the cloudy weather, we weren’t able to see as far as possible on a clear day.

Boat of Glass

What I was most excited to see in Seattle was the Chihuly Gardens and Glass. I have loved Dale Chihuly’s work since I first saw it in 2012 at Meijer Gardens but this museum highlighted it best. The galleries were made for these unique glass structures and the lighting really made the artwork pop! In the gardens, it was cool to see the glass blended with the flowers in a way that glass additions to an already established garden just can’t do. Combination tickets are available for the Space Needle and Chihuly Gardens and are a great way to see both Seattle Attractions.

Pike Place Market Interior

From the gardens we walked a mile to Pike Place Market. Pike Place Market is the oldest continuously operating farmer’s market in the United States and is famous for the fishmongers throwing fish. Today the Market is home to over 200 stalls selling everything from flowers and fish to local art and souvenir t-shirts. We had planned to eat at the market, but got hungry along the way so there wasn’t anything we needed during our visit. We did stop at Three Girls Bakery for amazing peanut butter cookies and Rachel’s for a ginger beer.

Glass Ceiling Chihuly’s Persian Ceiling

After our day exploring the city, we headed to the Greyhound Station for our bus to Vancouver. The bus station is not in the nicest part of town, but I never felt unsafe while waiting. The drive was almost five hours with traffic and the bus seats were more uncomfortable than I expected, but customs in Canada was a breeze. I heard horror stories from people on our cruise about the lines for customs at the Vancouver airport taking two hours. We were in and out of there in less than 30 minutes for the whole bus. You do have to take everything you brought with you off the bus, including under bus luggage, so it’s a little more of a hassle than in the airport, but it was not bad at all. Overall, the next time I have to go to Vancouver, I will book a direct flight, but if for some reason I had to get somewhere and Greyhound is the only option, I would do it again for a short (less than 5 hour) ride.

Chihuly Glass Chihuly Glass Garden

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Wordless Wednesday: Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Planes, Buses, and Boats: Exploring the Pacific Northwest

Juneau from the Air

Cruise ships in Juneau, Alaska

We are back from another amazing trip! This time, we headed to the Pacific Northwest to cruise to Alaska on Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas! We went to a lot of places that have been on my list for a long time and I really feel like I just got my toes wet in this beautiful area!

This may not come as a surprise to longtime readers, but we will go to some great depths for a cheap flight. For this trip, we booked nonrefundable flights to Seattle with a cruise leaving out of Vancouver with the thought that we would take Amtrak across the border, but when we went to book the train we learned that it hasn’t been operating since COVID. There was hope that they would get it running this summer, but now it’s been pushed back to the winter. So, after doing hours of research we decided to take the bus across the border. Because of schedules we ended up book Greyhound from Seattle to Vancouver and then QuickShuttle from Vancouver to Bellingham, Washington where we rented a car for the rest of the trip. I will give our thoughts on these options as it comes up in the trip report.

Here’s a little rundown of what is to come on this trip report:

  • Day 1: Seattle
  • Day 2: Vancouver
  • Day 3: Embark Serenade of the Seas
  • Day 5: Sitka, Alaska
    • Fortress of the Bear
    • Alaska Raptor Center
    • Sitka National Historic Park
  • Day 6: Juneau, Alaska
    • Mendenhall Glacier
    • Whale Watching
    • Mt. Roberts Tramway
  • Day 7: Skagway & Haines, Alaska
    • Dogsledding & Musher’s Camp Excursion
    • Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park
  • Day 8: Cruise Tracy Arm Fjord
  • Day 10: Disembark Ship, Quickshuttle to Bellingham, Rent Car to Port Angeles, Washington
  • Day 11: Olympic National Park
    • Crescent Lake
    • Rialto Beach
  • Day 12: Hurricane Ridge
  • Day 13: Sequim, Washington
    • Dungeness Bay National Wildlife Refuge
    • B&B Family Lavender Farm
    • John Wayne Marina
  • Day 14: Hoh Rainforest
  • Day 15: Mt. Rainier National Park

As you can tell from this overview, this was a busy trip and I’m so excited to share it with you! Be sure to check in next week as I detail our day in Seattle!

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

18 Things You Need For Your Next Trip

Plane WingSome of the links below are affiliate links and as such, I earn a small commission from purchases that allow me to continue telling you my stories without costing you anything extra. Prices listed are at time of reporting and are subject to change.

I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for gear that will make traveling easier and more comfortable. Here are some of my favorites that I have found so far:

Luggage Photo

Hard-sided luggage: Hard-sided luggage is sturdier than the more traditional soft-sided and it is lighter so you can fill it up with more stuff before reaching the airlines’ weight limit. I have a complete set of the Amazon Basics brand and I have no complaints about them! The 26 inch (checked size) is $96.32 and 21 inch (carry- on size) is $76.04 on Amazon and is available in four colors.

Carryon Backpack: Sometimes to save money we will fly a budget airline that charges extra to check or carry on a hard-sided suitcase. In those cases, I can squeeze everything I need for a short trip into a personal item. But, since you’re carrying everything you need for the trip, that bag can get heavy so you will want something that is comfortable to carry around the airport. This large backpack is easy to pack, fits within the budget airlines’ personal item dimensions, and is $32.98 for a black backpack. Price varies for the other 5 colors.

Headphones: Most people love earbuds, but I can’t stand them. They hurt my ears. I’ve used over-the-ear headphones for years, but the big ones take up a lot of space in your bag. I love these headband-style headphones. They are so much more comfortable and don’t squish your head as much! And they double as a sleep mask. Bluetooth headband headphones is $17.95 on Amazon and is available in four different colors/patterns.


Cable organizer: Have you ever gotten to your Airbnb late at night and you just want to plug in your phone and put your head on the pillow but you can’t find your charger in the bottom of your bag? I love this cable organizer because everything is in one place. It does take a while to learn how to fold your long cables to fit in the small pockets, though. The small travel cable organizer is $11.99 on Amazon and is available in seven colors and three sizes.

Portable battery charger: Don’t let your electronics run out of battery when you are on the go! These little chargers had two recharges before needing to be plugged in themselves. And they fit right into the cord organizer I recommend above. 2 pack of USB Battery charges are $13.99 on Amazon and are available in two different colors.

Water bottle: Don’t get stuck paying airport prices for a bottle of water. Most airports have water bottle filling stations now so it’s easy to fill up after security. I like this one because you can clip it on the outside of your carryon and it doesn’t have a straw so it’s easy to clean while you’re out and about. This 26 oz bottle is $21.99 on Amazon.

Packing cubes: I am late to the packing cubes game but they really make packing easier. Sometimes when we travel we share a suitcase and these make it so much easier to determine whose clothes are whose and they seem to make the clothes fit better in the suitcase. If you haven’t jumped on the packing cubes train yet, I highly recommend it. Veken 6-piece packing cube set is $19.99 on Amazon.

Shoe bags: I used to always pack my shoes in plastic bags to keep the dirt from getting on my clothes. Then, I found these reusable drawstring bags for just that purpose! 6 pack travel shoe bag is $5.99 on Amazon.

Hanging Toiletry Bag: Hotel bathrooms never have enough counter space. Keep your things off the counter by using a hanging toiletry bag. I used to always have my makeup and my shower toiletries in separate bags, but now I just use this one bag with nine zipper pockets, and it’s all in one place! WANDF Hanging Toiletry Bag is $15.99 on Amazon. For shorter trips, this PAVILA Hanging Toiletry Bag holds travel-sized toiletries for $19.99 and is available in 6 different patterns.


USB Charging hub: A lot of hotel rooms don’t have enough plugs for all of our devices and most cruise lines no longer allow power strips. A USB hub allows you to charge all of your USB-powered devices at one outlet and you only have to carry one charger block in your cord organizer! 4 port USB adapter is $9.99 on Amazon.

Roku Stick: This is not something we take with us on all trips, but if we are going to be staying in hotels for a while, I don’t like to be stuck watching scheduled television. I cut the cord a long time ago and must prefer watching what I want when I want to watch it. Why does it seem like Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives is always on when you’re in a hotel? Roku Stick+ is 37.99 on Amazon.


Passport/Vaccine Card holders: On our last cruise, I literally kept our passports and vaccine cards in a Ziploc bag to keep from losing them. I got home and ordered these holders and they look so much nicer. They’re big enough that your documents won’t get lost in your bag. 2 Pack Vaccine Card Passport Holder is $10.99 on Amazon and is available in 15 different color combinations.

Neck pillow: If you’ve ever tried to sleep on a plane, you know that it is hard to get comfortable! This memory foam neck pillow bends to keep your head and neck straight or you can bend it to cushion your head against the window. Twist Memory Foam Neck Pillow is available on Amazon for $24.99 and in available in 5 different colors.


Airplane footrest: Flying coach can get cramped and uncomfortable. This airplane footrest allows you to put your feet up and relax on those long flights and takes some pressure off your feet. It folds up small enough that it doesn’t take up too much space in your carry-on. Everlasting Comfort Airplane Footrest is $19.95 on Amazon.

Portable luggage scale: Have you ever packed your bag and headed to the airport, only to learn that your suitcase is three pounds over the weight limit and then have to scramble to move things into your carry-on? This small scale fits easily into your suitcase and allows you to weigh your bag before you get to the airport! Amazon Basics Portable Luggage scale is $10.34 on Amazon.

Scarf with hidden pocket: It’s frustrating when you get dressed and realize you don’t have any pockets! Add this scarf that will carry your phone and ID for you without being bulky! Pop Fashion Infinity Scarf is $10.00 on Amazon and is available in 6 colors to go with every outfit.

First Aid Kit

Travel first aid kit: Accidents happen everywhere, including on vacation. It’s good to always have a basic first aid kit with you on every trip. This 100-piece travel first aid is $14.95 on Amazon.

Travel pill organizer: I don’t have any prescriptions that I have to take every day, but I do travel with pain killers and allergy meds just in case we need them. I used to always keep them in Ziplock bags that took up way more space than they needed. Then, I found this handy pill organizer that lets me fit several weeks of the just-in-case meds that we may need when we are out and about. 2 piece Travel Pill Organizer is $6.48 on Amazon.

Thanks for stopping by! Do you have any must-have travel accessories that I forgot? Let me know in the comments! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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