Traveling with a puppy.

Shortly after also adopted our adorable puppy Jax, we decided to  visit my brother in Denver.  I wasn’t ready to leave Jax for almost a week.  I’m a little smitten with our puppy.  Now for me, someone who doesn’t like to draw attention to herself, traveling with a puppy can rev up the anxiety.  Luckily with a little research it ended up being fairly painless.

There were a couple of options, Cargo (no way) or under the seat in front of you.  That’s what we opted for.  On Delta it cost us $125 each way for Jax.  We had to call ahead and make a reservation for him.  They only allow so many pets in the main cabin.  The airline will ask for the dimensions of the carrier to make sure it will fit under the seat for type of plane you’ll be on.  Setting it up was easy peasy.

For the pet carrier, we ended up getting Jax a Sherpa – medium through Amazon.com.  These carriers advertise themselves as being made for air travel.  Flygob.com helped us figure out which carrier would be best for Jax. (http://www.flygob.com/airlines/delta)

Since he is so young I was worried about Jax being anxious and that he would be uncomfortable when the air pressure changed .  My vet confirmed that dog ears have to regulate like human ears do.  So we made sure he had a treat stuffed Kong to chew on and also gave him a sedative to try and keep him calm.  When Jax gets upset he has a distress yelp that can break glass!  Happily this combo seemed to work like a charm.

Going through security my husband and I both have the Fast Pass.  We just had to take Jax out of his carrier and hold him while going through security.  The smiles that people get when they see a puppy got us thinking that everyone should get a puppy or kitten to keep them in a good mood going through airport security.

Once in the airport, we determined where our gate was, the headed to the designated pet relief area.  Both Detroit Metro airport and the Denver airport had a spot you could let the dog out of the carrier to relive themselves.  In Detroit it’s an adorable AstroTurf type surface with little fire hydrants.  To clean the area you hit a button and sprinklers come up to give it a good rinse.

We were told not to let him out of the carrier while in the terminal so we just covered his carrier up and he mostly slept.  A decent experience for our first flight with a pup.  Jax made it to Denver and was able to do a lot of playing with his cousin Zoey.

Jax      IMG_20170927_070127

https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/special-travel-needs/pets.html

http://www.metroairport.com/TravelerInfo/Departing/SpecialAssistance/TravelingwithPets.aspx

Paris November 2006

My husband and I were married in October 2006.  For our honeymoon we decided to go balls out and completely over do it!  We spent 10 days in London and Paris.  I could have spend years in either city and still found adventures to have!  This is the post about Paris, so I am trying to recount as best as I can what we did, after all, that’s what this blog is for.  I booked the entire trip using Expedia.  Next time we go I think I would like to do guided tours, possibly some ghost tours!

Before getting on the plain, the advice I heard from people most was, don’t tell them your American, tell them your from Canada!  We didn’t of course.  We also heard people were going to be rude to us.  That didn’t happen either.  We listened to some tapes and tried to learn some conversational French before going.  Please, Thank you, bill please, coffee, I don’t speak French, where the hell am I?  Things like that.  As long as we made the attempt to speak to them and were polite, we had no issues.

We took the train from London to Paris, which was wonderful.  One tip – remember to look under the train seat, otherwise you might get all the way to the end of the platform, then nearly have a nervous breakdown trying to explain to the train security who did not speak English (hey, you are in France), that your purse with both your and your husband’s passports is still on the train!  Some how through charades and what must have been recognition of sheer panic in my eyes, they figured out that they needed to get me back on the train :)   We made our way to the tube with our bags and got to the stop nearest our hotel.  It was raining, which sucks when you have all your luggage with you.  Paris is very twisty turny, but with the help of local maps and friendly people we figured out our way to the hotel.

Of course we hit the Eiffel Tower which was amazing of course.  I was surprised by all the armed guards walking around.  We headed to the top, it was cold and very windy up there in November, but the view, Oh my gods the view from the top of the tower is breathtaking. I am afraid of heights so I only braved the look over the rail once, quickly.  My husband however likes to taunt me and he has a few photos looking straight down *dizzy*.

Hiking and Geocaching

My husband and I try to go on hikes to various places we can get to for day trips.  About a year ago we also discovered geocaching.  So naturally, as much as we can, we try to combine the two.  For 4th of July this we we decided to revisit a park, but try a new trail.

We located the park using these sites: http://www.michigan.org/hiking/  and  http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Default.aspx?SearchType=trails and ended up at Pickney State Recreation area: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?type=SPRK&id=484  We did a great 6 mile hike that was not super easy, but it was well laid out.  The trail we took was for both mountain bikers and hikers so on a holiday there was a lot of stepping aside for the mountain bikers, all very friendly.

We managed to find several “caches” while we were out there as well: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?type=SPRK&id=484

Afterwards we were able to relax and cool down on the beach.pickney rec area beach (1)

Tonsils out as an adult – not the greatest adventure

So the winter of 2013-2014 has not been kind.  My husband and I have both been sick more than any other time in recent memory.  I ended up with a bad virus that settled in my throat and lasted a couple of weeks.  That combined with icky sinuses resulted in a Peritonsilar Abcesss (http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/peritonsillar-abcess).  I figured this out one night after 2 visits to my primary doc and no luck getting this odd swelling in my throat to go away.  So after some heavy research I ended up at the local ER to get the abscess lanced.  Almost instant relief after the pain meds wore off and a day of salt rinses the swelling was gone and so was the uncomfortably feeling it brought with it.

After a Peritonsilar Abscess you get to head the the Ear Nose and Throat doc for follow up.  The ENT asks about how often I get sore/swollen throats (pretty often) and that plus the abscess = tonsils need to come out.  So ok, this sucks.

After a month of letting the lancing of the abscess heal in I go for surgery.  I read the warnings and knew all the stuff that I needed to do for after care.  The surgery apparently did not go smoothly.  The Abscess made it difficult to get the tonsil tissue out and I bled… a lot.  However, I didn’t know any of that until 12 hours after I had been home and was heading back to the hospital.  I had begun gagging up blood.  Not just a little blood, but clots of blood would literally just roll out of my throat and I would start gagging and coughing until I nearly threw up.

I am not 2 days of almost no food, and very little sleep :(

This is of course not good because it results in more damage on top of what ever is causing the bleeding.  So I get admitted to the hospital again and they hook me up to this vacuum thing, like the thing you spit into at the dentist after they squirt the water into your mouth.  This sucks all the blood out into a bottle so the docs can see how bad it is.  I don’t know what the measurement ended up being but I recall over hearing one doc say, Yeah that’s a LOT of blood.

In my brain this justified my fears about, “how much blood can I lose before I just pass the hell out?”

They tried going back in twice and cauterizing and having me gargle with things that would help clotting.  I got excited at one point when the blood stopped for nearly 15 minutes!  Yes that is right, I had been coughing up so much so often that a 15 minute break was amazeballs!  I just started to nod off to sleep (going on 24 hours of no sleep at this point) when I coughed and yup!  There’s blood *sigh*

They ended up taking me back into surgery and finding a spot WAY in the back of my throat that had torn open.   I stayed overnight to be monitored and was released the next morning.  So far so good.  I finally was able to drink water!  I have bruises still from where my veins popped, I was so dehydrated they couldn’t get a regular IV in.

Lots of gagging still, but normal gagging.  It feels like there is a foreign object in my throat that I just can’t swallow, but the docs say that is normal.  Gah.

 

Universal Studios and Halloween Horror Nights!

For our 7th wedding anniversary my husband and I headed to Orlando, FL.  We spend 2 days at Universal Studios and both of those nights at Halloween Horror Nights.  Our feet ached at the end but OMG was it worth it!

The hotel:  We stayed at the Comfort Suites on Major Ave.  The room were fine, the continental breakfast was fine (stick to the dry good and juice/coffee.  The eggs and meat were not so good).  The downside was that through Universal’s Travel bookers we were told there was a shuttle from this hotel, which turned out to not be the case.  There was a shuttle from a nearby hotel and you had to get passes from the near by hotel at the butt crack of dawn each day.  One day we took a cab ($10 for <1 mile after tip), another day we shuttled to the park.  We walked back each night because the shuttle does not run late for Halloween Horror nights.

First of all some basic tips:

  • Some of the Rides require you to put your things in a locker which they will say is free but most of them will charge you after after a certain amount of time.  In longer lines this can be an issue and you may end up paying $3 for only a few minutes.  The only one that we had to use that was actually free was the one for the Harry Potter adventure.  
  • Go on off peak days if at all possible.  We did not need express passes for any of the rides and the longest wait was 30 minutes.  We were given some passes when a ride we were on broke down and we ended up giving some away.  
  • Unless you are going to drink ALOT of soda, the special cups that give you .99 refills are NOT worth it (unless you just want the cup.  I got a butterbeer one just because).
  • If you are staying near the park, you CAN cross the main road just before the entrance.  We were actually told we couldn’t by the Universal Travel people, but there was a light up cross walk and we walked home both night with no issues at all!  
  • Dining near the park is just as expensive as dining in the park, although the food might be better outside of the park, depending on where you go.  
  • We were given “complimentary” City Walk passes for fun and dining! You don’t actually need a pass for City Walk, it’s before the parks and open to anyone.
  • You can apparently take in water bottles, we saw several people go in through the gates with them as long as they were sealed.
  • Take water protection for Islands of Adventure – the rides are worth it!
  • Cabs to the park from nearby hotels START at $8.00 one way and parking all day is $16.00

Now onto the fun!

Day 1 we started out and Islands of Adventure and headed straight for Hogs Mead/Harry Potter’s adventure.  It is a brilliant place and I loved it.  The entire area is made up to look like Hogs Mead village in winter complete with shops and butter beer for sale. We had lunch and three broomsticks and browsed in Ollivanders wand shop.

HP Butterbeer HP_town

 

Hogwart’s castle is awe inspiring even before you go inside! I felt like a kid I was almost skipping as we go closer to the gate!  Oh and if you can handle the sugar rush you MUST get some Butterbeer!

HP hogwart good pic

I’ll try not to give too much away about this but it was worth the wait in line.  We even went back a second time after completing the rest of the park.  This time though the ride broke down and we were stuck staring at a dementor for over an hour!  They eventually had to evacuate us all from the ride which involved straitening all the carts right side up then sliding them to a platform.  Then one by one they unloaded us from the carts and escorted us out.  Management met us with water bottles, express passes and apologies which was nice.

Islands of adventure also had all the water rides which we didn’t go prepared for but went on anyway!  It was hot out so it was fun. I do recommend wearing a suit or bringing a poncho (or buying one in the gift shops).  We did notice later that vendors were selling towels near by *L*

The second day we did Universal Studios which was a blast!   Although my husband does NOT recommend having a Krusty Burger in Simpsons land.  We ate in Moe’s tavern and shot at Aliens with Men In Black and took part in making a Disaster Movie!  I do think if we go again I will take my motion sick pills.  The rides didn’t used to bother me but something in Florida was kicking my allergies into over drive.

We LOVED the transformers ride too! One thing we noticed over and over was the attention to detail in the parts leading up to the actual ride.   Just taking all of that in was half the fun.  Even in the spider man ride there were office cubicles inside the news rooms with half eaten sandwiches and phones ringing!

IMG_1669

At night Universal Studios kicked turned into Haunted House haven with Halloween Horror Nights!  http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/.  FABULOUS!  The main theme this year was the Walking Dead.  There were 8 haunted houses and we did 6 of them.  We could have done more but the last 2 we didn’t know much about and we were “dead” on our feet! <–bad pun intended!

Univ_zombie

The ones we did that were just ok: Walking Dead, La Llorona and Resident Evil.  I think we expected a little more.  I think we were expecting a little more, you kinda know what you get with zombies.  The second night were the best!  We started with American Werewolf in London and for the first time my husband jumped!  Very scary werewolf action AND for Doctor Who fans, there was a TARDIS near the end of the haunt!

Next we ran to Cabin in the Woods which was very fun except I wish the merman wasn’t bad animatronic :-/.  It contained some of the other scary creatures and you weren’t always sure what was going to jump out and what was safely behind glass.

Evil dead was good and gory but not as scary as I thought it might be, but there was some good jump out at you scares!

Kayaking on the AuSable River

As a teenager my brother and his friends would take a week every year and kayak over a long weekend on the AuSable camping along the way.  Even after we went into the Army he would come home for those trips with his two closets friends.  Now he lives in Colorado and camps all over the place out there :)

I thought of him and his friends many times over the 4 hour journey my husband and I braved on the AuSable.  Braved might not be the right word….drifted is probably better.  The AuSable is beautiful.  Deep enough to dive or jump from a tree in some parts and shallow enough to beach your kayak in other parts.  We went on a Saturday in early August and the weather was perfect.  We rented from http://www.oscodacanoe.com/ just inside Oscoda, MI.  We arrived about 20 minutes early and checked in.  The driver was ready right on time to take us and another small group up the river.  They had kayaks already there and got those in the river for us.

My beautiful picture<—– that’s my handsome hubby.

The first half of the trip was quiet and serene.  The second half is where they drop the tube floaters off.  It was like running into floating parties all along that part of the river.  And yes they actually rent floating coolers to attach to your tubes or boats as you float along.

My beautiful picture

At one point we found a quiet place to put up our kayaks and play in the water.  We took some fun picture of the little fish that kept swimming up to us.  If you stayed still for a few seconds they would surround your ankles!

My beautiful pictureMy beautiful pictureMy beautiful picture

 

The trip was wonderful!  An inexpensive and relaxing way to spend an afternoon.  We probably spend more than 4 hours on the river since the last half we had the wind whipping into us.  More than once when we would stop paddling were pretty sure we were going backwards.

My beautiful pictureMy beautiful picture

We were not nearly as sore the next day as we figured we would be.  I attribute part of that to playing in the cold waters of Lake Huron the next morning.

For more information about the AuSable River http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10364_52259_31442-95630–,00.html

 

 

 

 

Bay to Bridge trail – Not a favorite

Bay to Bridge trail is a walk/bike/hike trail along the eastern coast of Michigan.  The northern most point is in Port Huron and the trail runs along Lake Huron south to Algonac, though some maps show it picking up again south of Algonac and continuing on to New Baltimore.  I headed out to Algonac State Park to begin.  I knew the trail was broken up in spots, but I didn’t realize how much I guess.  Most of the trail is considered “shared use” and runs in longer than I like distances along the side of the road.  I am still a new bike rider and riding on the shoulder of the road, especially in busy areas makes me nervous.  This southern part of the trail is pretty but not very long until it gets to the road.  I rode for a while until I felt like I’d been on the busy road too long.  Then I packed up my bike and tried picking the trail up further North after getting a map of the trail from the ranger station.  I ended up in Marysville, a beautiful little town that I had not been too before.  I stopped off in the city park which is large and very pretty with lots of things going on.

One thing about this trail that I could not get past, besides it’s incompleteness, was that it’s like an industrial factory tour :(  The river that flows south from Lake Huron is a working river so you get fun barges but also smoke stacks, power lines and factories.  Once in a while you got a nice clean stretch.  At one point I rode through a cute park but shortly after that the trail crosses the highway and runs between the highway lanes for a while and there were some noxious fumes from nearby businesses.  I got fed up and went back to the park and packed things up.  I hope when the weekend comes and the businesses are closed, it gets better.  I don’t think I would go back anytime soon.

Next up is a Kayaking day trip on the AuSable

http://www.cityofmarysvillemi.com/

http://www.michigan.org/property/bridge-to-bay-trail/

http://www.eyeonmichigan.com/trails/bridgetobay/

http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=433&type=SPRK

 

My first Warrior Dash, or OMG OW!

When I heard of this event called a Warrior Dash, I was a bit intimidated. I don’t run.  I try, but it’s more like a walk/jog, as in walk a block, run a block.  I do Zumba and some Pilates to try and keep in shape.  I started also doing some strength training as the date neared for my first Warrior Dash.   I’ve done several 5K runs (walk/jogs), so this was going to be a fun new thing.  An obstacle course!  I was mostly excited to see if I could do all of the obstacles and still not die before the end of the course.   They give you a time tracking device and when you turn it in they give you beer!  Brilliant!

My beautiful picture

Ok so also another reason for doing this, I feel a bit broken most of the time and this was a test of myself to see how I would fare.  I’ve had an ACL reconstruction (ligament in the knee), a rotator cuff repair, a sever angle sprain and this pesky pinched nerve near my spine.   I wanted to see if I could do this and not break, sprain, pull something.  I mostly succeeded.

This was not easy, but it wasn’t the worse thing ever.  I think the Aerial class I did in April left me more sore on the upper body.  The obstacles were doable, but you had to put forth some good effort.  There was climbing and swimming and mud ditches and hurdles and fire!  I really pushed myself so towards the end I felt like I was going to throw up!  There were only two little obstacles left though and I knew I could do it.  I just had to keep in mind there was an ice cold beer waiting for me at the end!

This is the first and only obstacle course I have done so I do not have much to compare it to.  For my part, I did pretty well.  I can walk/jog a 5k in about 50 minutes.  My husband and I both completed this course and every obstacle in 67 minutes +/- a few seconds.  There is an option to walk around the obstacles if you can not complete it.

As I write this two days after the race, I am finding bruises in places I don’t recall hitting.  I have a large bruise all down my right front thigh and smaller ones on my arms.  I have rope burns on my shins and forearms.  I am proud of each and every bruise and scrape because damn it I earned these suckers! As far as injuries, I’m not sure if it’s related but I may have irritated or re-injured my rotator cuff.  Time will tell.

I am proud that I made it through and am considering doing another one in the near future.  Near being far enough out that I have healed fully 😉

My beautiful picture

www.warriordash.com

Paint Creek Trial

I get bored easily, probably why I like adventures so much.  Even for something as simple as doing a walk/jog I find I do better if I change my scenery.  So on this particular day I found a not too far away place called Paint Creek Trail.  This was a high point in a day that wasn’t going so well.

Paint creek trail can be reached at several points.  I ended up near the paint creek cider mill on Orion road in Lake Orion, MI.  This is not hard to find if you have decent directions.  I had a map program that was possessed by evil electrical gremlins giving me wrong turns trying to anticipate the route it thought I would take and zooming when I need it to zoom the least.  So an hour and a broken phone screen later I arrived at the mill.  Blissfully they have public restrooms as well.

Paint Creek wheelsPaint Creek_1

This is an absolutely beautiful and well marked trail that was converted from a rail line.  It’s crushed rock and wide enough that you don’t have to worry too much about a bike or jogger being able to pass you. The path runs along Paint Creek and winds in and away from the path in spots and makes that beautiful bubbling music that creeks can do.   It’s a straight trail so I as much as I wanted to keep going, I had to keep in mind that I still need to muster the energy to get back to my car.  For my needs, this was a beautiful path that gives me a few options to mix it up since I can’t yet do the full 8.9 miles and then back again.  I can begin at any one of the easily accessible trail heads and do a few miles at a time.  This particular day I did 2.7 miles one way.

Paint Creek 2

If your hungry, there is a cute little cafe where they lure you in with the sweet sweet smell of cider and cider mill donuts *drooool*.  I was starving after my driving mis-adventure so I indulged in a darn yummy hot dog before setting out.

Paint Creek cafe

You can find specifics about the trial here http://www.paintcreektrail.org/ or here http://www.traillink.com/ for starters.