Go See Do Photography

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

Tag: Travel (Page 1 of 4)

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.

Pin This:

Vancouver Pin

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.

Cords

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.

Charger

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

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

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.

Pin This:

Travel Pin Travel Pinterest Graphic

Wordless Wednesday: Norris Geyser Black & White

Norris Geyser Basin Black & White

Exploring Theodore Roosevelt National Park

CCC Pavilion in Theodore Roosevelt National ParkLocating in northwestern North Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one of the least visited National Parks in the United States. It averages about 600,000 visitors a year which might sound like a lot, but if you compare it to the 4 million that visit Yellowstone or Yosemite each year, 600,000 is not much at all. Coming from Glacier (which averages about 3 million visitors), the difference is very noticeable.

We started our exploration of Theodore Roosevelt in the North Unit which was closer to where we were staying. Of the two main units, the South Unit gets most of the traffic so when we arrived in the evening, we only saw a handful of other cars in the whole north unit. The north unit has a 14-mile one-way scenic drive that showcases the unique geological features of the park. There was plenty of parking at each of the overlooks and fresh air to breathe.

The South Unit of the park is larger than the north and is much busier. The South Unit has a 36 mile scenic loop drive that allows you to see the highlights of the park. Four miles of the road is closed indefinitely due to a landslide, although the area is open to hikers and bicyclists. Right where you have to turn around for the road closure there was one of the biggest prairie dog towns we saw on the trip.

Bison of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Wildlife is the highlight of a trip to Theodore Roosevelt. Muledeer, antelope, bighorn sheep, wild horses, bison, and prairie dogs can easily be seen in the park. When we were in the Black Hills we were SO excited to see a bison. By the end of our week in North Dakota, we were begging them to get out of the road so we could go home!

We had planned to do some hiking during our time at Theodore Roosevelt but with heat spell that was going on this summer, we determined it wouldn’t be safe. One day we stayed at the park until the sun went down and the temperature didn’t get below 90. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is on our list to return to outside of the summer or when Chris isn’t working so we would be able to hit the trails before the heat of the day.

If you are looking to visit a national park and get away from the crowds, definitely head to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, especially the North Unit. If I were to do this trip again, I would shorten the amount of time we had here, though. Unless you are doing a lot of hiking, you can see this whole park in two to three days.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week when I detail our experience at the Elkhorn Ranch Unit. To read more about this trip, check out the Epic National Park Road Trip. 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.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Overview

Roosevelt National Park View

After an amazing few days in Glacier National Park, it was time for the longest drive of our three-week road trip. We had ten hours ahead of us on US 2 to get from western Montana to North Dakota. In planning this trip, I utilized RoadTrippers to find interesting places to stop along our way to break up the driving. Unfortunately, there wasn’t to be found on this route once we got away from Glacier. The drive was not nearly as bad as I was anticipating, although it was rather boring, audiobooks and podcasts made up for that.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is divided up into three distinct units: The North Unit (near Watford City), The South Unit (near Medora), and The Elkhorn Ranch unit which is between the two. We had planned to spend the first three nights at the Roosevelt Inn in Watford City and then move to a hotel near Medora. We loved the Roosevelt Inn so much that we canceled our other hotel and spent the whole time in Watford City. Chris was working from the hotel this week and our suite had a real kitchen (not the microwave and mini-fridge “kitchenette” that some of our other hotels had) and a separate bedroom so I was able to stay out of his way while he worked. The hotel had a good hot breakfast too. It was the perfect hotel for this part of the trip and we didn’t want to risk switching to a different one that wouldn’t work as well for us.

Now, Watford City is not a tourist hub like some of the other places we had stayed on this trip. There are a lot of oil fields in the area and most of the people at our hotel worked in the oil fields. When Chris went down for breakfast early, he got stared down by tough oil field workers. If this would bother you, this is not the place for you. But, if you are looking for clean, comfortable accommodations close to the north unit of the park, I cannot say enough good things about the Roosevelt Inn.

Rock Formation in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Unique rock formations in the north unit of the park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is named after the 26th President of the United States who is often referred to as the Conservationist President. While president, Roosevelt signed into law five National Parks and 18 National Monuments along with the first 51 bird reserves, four game preserves, and 150 National Forests, totaling 230 million acres.

The future present first came to North Dakota in 1883 to hunt bison. After his wife and mother died on the same day in 1884, Roosevelt returned to the badlands of North Dakota to heal. He was known to say that if it wasn’t for his time in North Dakota, he would never have been president. The area on the Little Missouri River was first set aside for preservation in 1935 before becoming a National Park in 1947.

Be sure to stop by next week when I detail our experiences in the North Unit of the park! To read more about this trip, check out the Epic National Park Road Trip. 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 Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Pin This:

TRNP Pin

TRNP Pinterest Graphic

 

Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave Sign

Wind Cave National Park is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, about 10 miles north of the town of Hot Springs. Wind Cave National Park was established in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt and was the 7th National Park to be created in the United States, and the first cave to be made a National Park. With 149 miles of explored passageways, Wind Cave is the 7th longest cave in the world.

Boxwork in Wind Cave

Wind Cave is a barometric cave, meaning it equalizes the pressure in the cave to the air above which causes the cave to breathe. The cave got its name when two brothers discovered air blowing from a hole in the ground at the natural entrance to the cave. Wind Cave is known for a calcite formation known as boxwork (above). 95% of the boxwork in the world can be found in Wind Cave.

Aboveground,the park is home to the largest remaining mixed-grass prairie in the United States. The grasslands can be explored through 30 miles of hiking trails where bison, elk, pronghorns, prairie dogs, and other animals roam freely.

Wind Cave BoxworkThe park offers several different cave tours each day but they are very popular and can sell out by mid-morning in the peak season. Knowing this, I arrived shortly after the visitor center opened and had to wait an hour and a half in direct sunlight and unseasonable heat to get tickets. I ended up doing the Natural Entrance Tour which is a longer tour but it doesn’t involve crawling through the cave. They sell 40 tickets per tour so it was pretty crowded in the cave. They try to move so many people through that you are kind of herded through it without really being able to appreciate it. The group I was with was not great and they kept talking over the ranger so all-in-all I did not have a great experience.

I don’t understand why they are not selling tickets in advance. Recreation.gov already exists, the other cave parks are using it for this exact thing. They can save some tickets to be sold same day, but it’s ridiculous that you would have to wait in the hot sun to buy tickets for a tour. I wish there was a way to tour the cave with fewer people and be able to actually appreciate it. It’s possible that some of my bad experience was just due to the other people in my group and if I went back it might be better. If you really like caves or you have a goal to visit all 63 National Parks, obviously you should check out Wind Cave. Otherwise, I enjoyed Jewel Cave (which I will talk about next week) much more.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Epic National Park Road Trip. 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 Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Pin This:

Wordless Wednesday: Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake

Custer State Park

Path Around Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake

Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota is a large park on the scale of some of the most popular national parks. If there is some type of outdoor recreation you enjoy, I’m sure it can be found at Custer State Park. From hiking and camping to rock climbing and scenic drives, there is something for everyone at Custer.

Getting Ready for the Hay RideThe 71,000 acres of Custer State Park is home to a variety of wildlife. The best way to see the wildlife is to drive the Wildlife Loop Road. Bison, Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goats, and Prairie Dogs can be seen along the road. For my birthday, we took the Hayride through the wildlife loop road (left) and it was fun because our guide slowed down in areas where the animals are likely to be found and talked to us about them. At the end of the tour, we had a chuckwagon cookout and sing along which was a lot of fun and the food was good too! If you’re in for an off-road experience, the Buffalo Safari Jeep tour looked fun too!

Needles Highway

Probably the most scenic drive in Custer State Park is the Needles Highway. The Needles Highway takes you through pine forests and the unique needles rock formations. The drive isn’t for the faint of heart or those with oversized vehicles because there are some hairpin turns and one-lane tunnels through the Needles. I have heard that the road can get pretty crowded in the summer but we found that driving in the late afternoon or early evening we were able to enjoy the drive without crowds. We enjoyed the drive so much that we did it several times while we were staying in the area.

There are several good lakes for paddling in the park but Sylvan Lake (top) is probably the most popular. The unique rock formations are fun to paddle around and explore. It is a landscape unlike I had ever seen before. The downside of Sylvan Lake is that is fairly small and we had gone around it twice in probably less than half an hour. We were going to check out the bigger Stockade Lake after but when we got there it was closed due to bacteria. Oh well, I guess that gives us a reason to return, right?

The Black Hills really surprised me. I didn’t expect the scenic beauty that can be found at Custer and the surrounding area. I would love to return and be able to explore deeper into the park. I would love to stay at one of the many campgrounds or lodges. If you are going to be in the Black Hills, be sure to check out Custer State Park. You will not be disappointed.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Epic National Park Road Trip. 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 Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Pin This:

Pinterest Graphic

Custer Pinterest Graphic

Custer State Park Pin

Epic National Park Road Trip

For the benefit and enjoyment of the people

We are back from our biggest trip yet. We were gone for 23 days, visiting 7 national parks, 4 other National park service sites, and 4 state parks spanning 12 states (8 of which were new to us). We had incredible luck on the trip securing a reasonably priced rental car and managing to score last-minute reservations at two incredibly popular national park lodges. To top off our luck, the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National park opened for the season on the day we needed to use it to get from one end of the park to the other.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip during the busiest summers for our National Parks ever! Throughout this trip report, I will share our experiences with the crowds and ways to avoid the worst of the congestion.

Here’s a little breakdown of the trip and a sneak peek of what is to come throughout this trip report:

  1. Ottowa, IL
  2. Dakota Dunes, SD
  3. Custer, SD
  4. Old Faithful Inn
  5. Rising Sun Motor Inn
  6. Watford City, ND
  7. Moorhead, MN & Madison, WI

We did SO much on this trip, this will probably take me months to recap, but I am looking forward to it! 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 Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Pin This:

Road Trip Pin

Ocqueoc Falls

Ocqueoc Falls

Ocqueoc Falls is the largest and only named waterfall in Michigan’s lower peninsula. When you compare it to some of the grander falls (Tahquamenon, Bond, Munising Falls), Ocqueoc doesn’t really stand out, but at less than an hour’s drive from Mackinaw City or Alpena, it is a fun excursion in the lower peninsula.

One way that Ocqueoc Falls stands out from many other Michigan waterfalls is that you can swim in it. This is a popular northern Michigan swimming hole. Even though it was only 50 degrees out when we visited, a teenager was swimming under the falls. I was glad the long exposure blurred her out or my photos may not have been usable.

With the completion of the bicentennial pathway in 2012, Ocqueoc falls is now accessible to all visitors and is the first universally accessibly waterfall in the United States with a wide path with no stairs from the parking lot to the falls. There is even a tiered transfer station, allowing a person who uses a wheelchair to get in the water. Near the falls is a picnic area with ADA-compliant picnic tables making this one of the most accessible outdoor spaces in the state and possibly the whole country.

Across the street from the falls, there is a rustic state forest service campground with 13 small campsites, an outhouse, and a hand pump for water. Reservations are not accepted, the sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There may not be a lot of amenities, but I’ve heard there is good fishing in the Ocqueoc River which runs through the campground.

Overall, we didn’t spend a lot of time here, but it was a fun stop and would be a great place to explore if someone in your family uses a wheelchair. The campground looks like a nice, quiet place to spend a weekend.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next week when I begin the recap of my western National Park adventure! 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 Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Pin This:

Ocqueoc Pinterest Graphic

Page 1 of 4

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén