Sunday, July 16, 2017



So as much as I hate to admit it, I loved Montana. The only reason I hate admitting it is because Jason loves it so much and really wants me to move there and that's never gonna happen!
Again I haven't done everything in this state, but I did what I think is the most important and highly visited places in Montana.

Just a few things before we get into Glacier. Mainly because I know Glacier is what you want to hear about so I'm gonna either force you to read the rest of my thoughts before getting into it, or you just have to scroll down a bit to get to it.

Yellowstone is actually in a little part of Montana. The North Gate is actually in a town called Gardiner. Before we went horseback riding, we went to breakfast at this little place called Rosie's Bistro, which had a cute little French feel, with zero French food. But man was it pretty good breakfast.
From here we went to the Flying Pig Adventures. They offer rafting trips as well as horseback riding trips. Now in hindsight, people who do not ride horses should NOT DO all day long horseback riding adventures. Seriously. My booty is telling you to think about this before you book it. We were in the saddle for 6 hours and after 3, I was in near tears because I was hurting so bad. The ranch that we used were Hell's A Rollin'. Our guide was amazing and I would totally recommend them. We rode up through their property, through a National Forrest into Yellowstone. We took a break for lunch in a corner of Yellowstone by a ranger station.  Because of this, we can now officially say that we are the 1% of people that go off the beaten path in Yellowstone.

We stopped in Bozeman for the night so Jason could go on an all day fishing expedition the next day. There are 2 things to do there, the Museum of the Rockies, that costs around $15 to get into and I'm not a fan of museums. So we went to Grizzly Experience that was $7. However, it was actually really sad. The 2 bears that were out looked miserable. For dinner, we did hit up Montana Ale Works, which was fabulous and I highly recommend it.

I was NOT a fan of Helena, maybe because we went to 3 different places looking for the white Mexican cheese dip and there was NONE TO BE FOUND!! what kind of town does not have the wonderfulness that is queso? Helena get it together!! We did drive through town and see the Last Chance Gulch Road, where the big gold rush started.


Really this is what you are wanting to know about. How AMAZING Glacier is. It's literally the most beautiful place and I seriously think that everyone should go.
First things first. It is extremely difficult to get there. As you can see from the map above there is only one road that goes through the park and there is a road that runs along the bottom and the side of the park. The road that runs along beside of it goes through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation so just be prepared.
And as will the Wyoming Blog post, DO NOT PLAY OR GO NEAR THE WILDLIFE!! be prepared for colder conditions, pack appropriately and do research before hiking or anything. Just be safe, your life isn't worth you being dumb.
Finally believe it or not, there are several places for food around Glacier. I was pleasantly surprised about this. We ate at the motor inn restaurant in Many Glacier and it was so so so good. There are places to eat at almost all of the roads that turn into Glacier from the highway.
Now make sure that you check the road conditions before heading that way because sometimes the amazing Going-To-The-Sun road, is closed and that is what happened to us. We made it 15 miles into the road and had to turn around due to an Avalanche.
The Going-To-The-Sun road is the end all, be all part of Glacier. There are these vintage 1930's red buses that will take you on a tour of the road (if its open) and I BEGGED Jason to let me have one and he refuses. Just Google red bus tours in Glacier National Park and I'm sure you will find it.



The one place that is an absolute must go is Many Glacier. It's absolutely beautiful and worth going to. Right off the road before you get to the hotel is a little spot to pull off. DO IT because this is the what you will get to see.

There aren't many places you can go wrong in Glacier. We only got to spend a limited time here and we cannot wait to go back! 

Any questions Let me know!! 

Saturday, July 15, 2017


Welcome to State Series Blog #2! Since I just returned from a trip out west with my boyfriend, I thought I should do those states next! So Wyoming, it's your turn!
I will hopefully be adding things to this as I go since I really only got a small taste of this state!

My first stop in this state was to Fossil Butte. This place used to be a lake a long long time ago and has all kinds of fossils such as alligators, turtles, plants, and fish. It is said to be the best and most well-preserved fossil bed in the USA and arguably the world. 

Fossil Butte

Jackson, Wyoming

This is Jason's favorite place and I can see why. It is a beautiful little town with several good restaurants and things to do. Our first night there we ate at this steak place called Gun & Barrel. It's a really adorable rustic feel with really good food. We stayed at a Cowboy Village Resort. It's got little cabins that you stay in complete with a kitchen. 
The next day we ate some of the best breakfast burritos I've ever had at D.O.G. Putting queso in a burrito with steak, sausage, and eggs was a genius move on their part. Then we went shopping!!! In hindsight maybe shopping on day 1 of vacation was a bad move, but you live and you learn. All around the square in Jackson are all kinds of little shops and restaurants. In all 4 corners of the square are elk sheds from the elk refuge in the town. 
The Elk Sheds 

One place that is a must stop is the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. The inside has some really cool artifacts and you can get some Rocky Mountain Oysters. Good luck and don't say I didn't warn you! 

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Finally, don't forget to visit the Elk Refuge on your way out of town! In the wintertime, the elk are all over the field as well as big horned sheep. 

Grand Tetons

Your next stop after Jackson is the Grand Tetons. It's only 12 miles outside of town and is so pretty. Make sure to stop at the Visitors Center (Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitors Center) to get your map of the park. It will cost you 30 dollars to get into the park to drive through it and my suggestion is if you are doing Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier - get the annual pass. It's 80 dollars and will actually save you 10 bucks!! 
Also if you are a disabled veteran with a 10% rating or more, you get a lifetime pass!!! You have to ask for it because it is NOT something they will just tell you about. We lucked out! 
Now there are several hiking trails around this area into the mountains and around them. Do your research on which trails are the best for your skill level. Be prepared for wildlife. 
There are several beautiful spots to pull off for wildlife viewing and photos. Just be sure to not mess with the wildlife. 
We drove up to the top of Signal Mountain and it is well worth the drive! 
Signal Mountain 

Signal Mountain

Signal Mountain

This is a beautiful drive up to Yellowstone, but to me, this isn't a real big focus for your vacation unless you are an avid hiker. Stop and see how beautiful it is, but I wouldn't spend more than a day here. 
The drive to Yellowstone also includes another National Park. The John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway (say that 5 times fast). Again there is nothing really there. Another beautiful drive on the way to Yellowstone.


The crown jewel of Wyoming. The place everyone wants to go to and it's worth it. The views and the wildlife are stunning and I highly recommend at least 2 days in this place! Even more, if you like hiking and such. 
The same cautions remarks as I said in the Grand Tetons, go with Yellowstone. Do your research and be prepared for the wildlife. 
Some suggestions: If you are camping and do not have reservations, check the National Park website. They have a constantly updated list of the campgrounds that are open and if there are still sites available. 
Be smart do not feed the animals, do not go near the animals. I know that you want that awesome selfie with the buffalo, but seriously it has horns and ain't afraid to use them. Being on TV and in the hospital for being an idiot and getting attack by a buffalo for your selfie is not worth it. 
There is no cell service at all unless you are staying in a lodge area. The park map you are given when you enter shows you where cell towers are. You can to the park to see nature and "be one with nature"... so don't complain. 

Top Things to See in Yellowstone
  1. Old Faithful
  2. Mammoth Hot Springs
  3. Tower Falls
  4. Canyon Falls
  5. Yellowstone Lake
  6. Roosevelt Arch at North Entrance  

If you are coming from the Grand Tetons like we did, You will be coming to the South entrance. Remember from above that it is 30 dollars to get into the park.
You'll drive past the Continental Divide several times throughout your trip.Don't worry I had to google what it was too. 

  Now you'll drive through the park until you come to a fork in the road at West Thumb. If you go to the right, you'll head towards Yellowstone Lake, the left is Old Faithful! Yellowstone Lake is beautiful and the right time of year there are all kinds of boats and people on it! 
Yellowstone Lake

Old Faithful, Old Faithful. It is a complete tourist trap, but man is the geyser pretty. There are about 6 different shops all connected and man was they super busy when I was there. The geyser only goes off about every hour or so, so check the time! 

Old Faithful

Once you've seen Old Faithful blow, you can start your drive towards Madison. On the way, there are all kinds of little geysers you can stop and see if you need some more! DO NOT TOUCH THE WATER! I read a story about a guy who jumped in one of the pools to save his dog. It was gruesome and neither the dog nor the guy made it. Once you hit Madison, to the left is the West Yellowstone entrance and to the right heads toward Norris. 
Now in case, you haven't looked at the map. Getting around Yellowstone is pretty easy. The roads are basically a big figure 8, with some branches off of it that are the entrances to the parks. 
Norris is in the left middle of figure 8. From here you can go straight towards Mammoth and the North entrance of the park, or you can take a right and head toward Canyon Village. 
We stayed at one of the campsites in Indian Creek which is about 5 miles from Mammoth. It was from Indian Creek to Mammoth that we saw the most wildlife. Buffalo and Elk were EVERYWHERE! 
I almost had a Disney Princess moment and my boyfriend ruined it. Everyone knows that if you get a wildlife animal to love you, you automatically become a Disney Princess. Jason pulled me away from my new friend Mr. Elk. And I was mad, but seriously do not touch the animals. I should have known better but my dream of becoming a Disney princess was almost realized and that took over my brain. 

Moving on.

Straight up from Mammoth Falls is the North Entrance and where the Roosevelt Arch is. The Arch was built by U.S. Army and Teddy Roosevelt himself laid the cornerstone for it! On the Arch is the quote "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People." which is from the Act of Congress in 1872, which made the park!
Roosevelt Arch

The last part of our trip was to see Tower Falls and Canyon Falls. Tower Falls is really far away and you cannot get close to it. Park at the visitors center, walk the 1/4 of a mile to see it, do not walk on any trail! You can't get closer and it's not worth it. 
Canyon Falls you can see it in several viewing locations! It's beautiful and worth trying to walk around to get better photos of it!

And that's all I have for this state for now!! Promise that as soon as I see more of it I'll update this :) 
Happy Traveling and if you have any questions let me know!!  

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Hawaii - Oahu and Some Big Island

This is the first post in my State Series!! I decided to do a post about each state I have visited, post my photos, what I liked, what I didn't like, etc. There will be things added to each post as I visit more and more of the states!
So first up, the newest state to the U.S. HAWAII :)

I went to Hawaii for a week during Memorial Day and stayed at Disney's Aulani resort (see Aulani for Adults post). The resort is outside of Honolulu on the Island of Oahu. I also did an all day tour of the Big Island one day.
This post will eventually include all the islands, but I gotta visit them first! It may be a year or two though :) 


Since Hawaii is an island, you have to fly to get there! (I mean technically you could come by boat too, but I'll just stick to the fastest way of travel). The main airport is Honolulu, there are a couple little airports, but for most people coming into Oahu, the Honolulu airport is where you fly into. 

The main beach area on the island is Waikiki Beach, and trust me everyone knows it and all the hotels are in this area. It is also where a lot of surfing occurs during the year. There are multiple multiple places/people that can teach you how to surf. The prices vary, but I looked at doing a few hours of private 1-on-1 instruction and it was $100 dollars.
Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is actually really close to the Honolulu Zoo and Diamond Head. Now I didn't get to see the zoo, but during my half marathon, I ran past it and heard multiple birds and monkey at 6 am. 

Diamond Head. 
Be prepared to start early if you want to park at the start of the trail. It fills up quickly, however, at the very bottom of the hill, there is lots of parking at the community college. If you park down there, this means you have to hike up to the entrance of the trail to hike up to the top of Diamond head, but what's another mile or so, when you are going to hike another 1.6 miles (total). (If you ask my friends and me it's a lot! :0 ) 
  • When you get to the start you have to pay so make sure you have cash! It's 5 dollars per car and a dollar if you walked up there. 
  • Also, the only water on the trail is at the beginning, so make sure you bring bottles of water with you! Seriously it is a hike and pretty strenuous so bring water. 
  • Bring the appropriate shoes! There are steps and hillsides and the terrain is not flat. Some of the paths have been eroded from the rain and are not level. Wearing high heels (Legit saw some girl doing this and prayed for her poor feet) can and will cause broken ankles and depending on where you on your vacation (beginning or middle), it could ruin it. 
  • A final piece of advice: plan this accordingly. The park is open til 6 pm, but they will not allow anyone to start hiking after 4:30 pm. It does take about 2 hours to do this! 
Diamond Head's views are completely worth the hike. Put this on your must do list for Oahu.

Pearl Harbor 

If you are an American citizen and you don't go to Pearl Harbor while in Oahu. You should probably move to another country. I understand a lot of people not wanting to go to battlefields and different parts of American history, but not going to pay your respects to the men and women that gave their lives during this attack is shameful.
I went on Memorial Day with a friend and it was the highlight of my trip. We only got to do the Arizona Memorial due to time constraints but it was worth every minute I got to spend there and I really want to go back one day. 
  • Tickets: You have two options with tickets, you can reserve ahead of time. They only have a limited amount of tickets for purchase for the advanced booking. Or you can go the morning of and get tickets. The park opens at 7 am. 
    • On the day I went, the national parks website stated that it may sell out of all tickets early, so prepare for that. We got to the park at 6 am and were the first 50 people inside with tickets. The first boat over to the Arizona is at 7:30 am and we were on it. I truly recommend going early, not only to make sure you get in but also it's not nearly as hot at 7 am as it is at 1 pm. 
  • There is more than just the USS Arizona Memorial. However, anything other than the Memorial and the museums cost extra and are not actually part of the national park system. There is the USS Bowfin (a submarine that is on the right side of the park), the USS Missouri (where the Japanese surrendered and is on Ford Island) and an aviation museum on Ford Island. 
    • There is a shuttle service from Pearl Harbor to Ford Island. 
  • What I thought was the best part of my entire time was meeting Sterling Cale, a Pearl Harbor survivor. He is an amazing old man that I would have totally taken home with me. Check out his book if you think about it and read about his life story.

Meeting Sterling Cale

Meeting Sterling Cale 

Arizona Memorial 

Road Trip Hawaii

One morning we did a road trip around Oahu. We started out by driving to Hanauma Bay. Then drove to Waimanalo. On that portion of the drive, we stopped at several scenic viewpoints and hopped over a rock wall to get that perfect photo. We also stopped to see the Halona Blowhole (it was on the drive, I wouldn't make this an important stopping point). From there we decided to continue our drive to Kualoa Ranch. Kualoa Ranch is where a lot of films are filmed! Jurassic Park and the second Hunger Games to name a few. There is a lot of things to do here, ziplining, jeep tours as well as movie tours.
We didn't end up going to Kualoa Ranch, but we did pass by it. We drove all the way up the North Shore stopping at Pipestem. During the winter months, these are some of the biggest waves but in the summer time, it's a nice calm area perfect for snorkeling. Our final stretch back to our hotel, we saw lots of fields and came across the Dole Plantation. We decided not to go in, and I regret that decision. I have since learned that pineapples from Hawaii will become a thing of the past as Dole is to source everything outside of the country, thus the Dole Plantation will be no more.

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

Halona Blowhole


Big Island
Big Island from the Sky

Now on to the Big Island! I flew here from Honolulu and it only took about an hour total. I did a tour with Roberts Tour Company, which is all over Hawaii and seriously if you leave your hotel you are bound to see one of their buses.
Our first stop was at Richardson Ocean Park and to see the black sand beach! I was particularly excited about this because I wanted to compare Iceland's black sand beaches to Hawaii's, and they are not similar at all except in color (both are black! lol) Iceland has more of pebbles instead of actual sand where Hawaii has actual sand. It is a beautiful little park full of surfers.

Next stop was at Rainbow Falls State Park. It's a beautiful waterfall and I would put it on my to-see list for sure! 

Rainbow Falls

We stopped at a garden for a buffet lunch and stopped at a macadamia nut factory too, but really the entire reason I booked the trip was for the volcanoes! I wanted a guide to explain to me different things about the volcanoes, which is why I picked this tour. 
I got to see an actual volcano spewing lava! Obviously, you can't get really close to it, but I got to see it. I also went through some lava tubes and saw where the last volcano made its way down the mountain into the ocean. There is actually a live volcano that has lava going into the ocean, but it is a 4-mile hike both ways to see it, so maybe next time I go. The best part was that I saw a crater that was once an active volcano, inside the crater was a rainbow. 
Real Live Volcano! 

Lava Tubes

The black is the lava rock showing the path going into the ocean

Lava Rock

Rainbow in a Crater 

All in all, I LOVED my time in Hawaii and I can't wait to go back and see more of the islands and the culture!