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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Life Is Chasing the Waves Now....

It has been more than a week since I updated this blog, and to think I should have more free time because it is already my summer vacation. But then, the summer break bug caught up on me, and I had been lost in the summer lifestyle, that is of chasing the waves now.
Me, my Boogie Board and the Waves
There are different ways to ride the waves, the most popular one is surfing. Though I love to imagine myself surfing, but I still do not know how. For now, I enjoy riding the waves in 2 ways. One is through boogie boarding or bodyboarding. The other way is simply riding the waves freely, without any board. How? Just like boogie boarding, you position yourself to where the wave will break. As you see a wave swelling and approaching you, dive in and kick your feet toward the beach so that the wave propels you. 
Then, just simply feel the power of the wave pushing you along towards the shore. If you do not want to hit the sand, just make a turn by twisting your body either to the left or the right before the water level gets too shallow. Though of course, it is much faster to ride the waves with a boogie board than without one, but riding the waves freely without any board is just as fun as well.

Summer starts officially now, June 21st. What is your summer lifestyle? How do you mostly spend your summer days to enjoy the gifts from this season?

What I love most about summer is that I get to enjoy both hiking and the ocean. Though we have the ocean here in San Diego year round, but I wait for a more comfortable water temperature to enjoy feeling the power of the waves.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Google Maps in Travel Planning

Do you know that technology and travel go very well together? These days, cell phones have all the information we need for travel or vacation. For example, having the traffic and road conditions in our cell phone really work wonders in saving us time by avoiding the traffic or some temporary road closures when we are navigating unfamiliar roads. Also, there were times, we ended up in a location not initially planned. But thanks to google maps in iPhone and/or IPAD, the mobile apps really helped us identify places of interest to hike in an instant. Though they were not planned, but we still ended up with some precious REI moments (or OUT is IN moments).
Some of our REI Moments in an Unplanned Adventure directed to us by google maps in cell phone
I am really glad for the presence of google maps, travel sites, national park sites and photography sites in the world wide web. It makes a lot easier for me to plan an itinerary.

Here is an example of how I use google maps in planning for an itinerary. I will use a future vacation destination so that while writing this post, I am also planning at the same time. When the time for us to take this vacation, an itinerary is already well planned.
1. I type the fisrt two places in google maps that I wanted to visit in this trip to find out the driving distance and time 
a. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
b. Acadia National Park, Maine

-please click image to enlarge-
image of google map above from my computer screen was captured using Snipping Tool
As you can tell from the google map search, the 2 places are 820 miles apart and takes approximately 16 hours of non-stop driving. Now, that is quite far! Unlike in the West where National Parks are in abundance and quite close to each other, National Parks in the East (except those in Florida) are too far from each other because there are only very few of them. Because of the distance, either we will divide this vacation into 2 trips, or have it in one longer road trip. Since I am still researching about this future vacation, I will proceed ahead of looking into one long road trip.

2. After finding the driving distance and time between Shenadoah and Acadia, I searched for places of interest near these 2 places for that much needed interesting break so that we can have shorter drives in one day.
Places of interest I found and wanted to include in this itinerary:
          a. Washington D.C.
          b. Luray Caverns, Virginia ( close to Shenandoah)
          b. Niagara Falls ( a longer inland detour)
3. I typed again these places to see how it is like ( see google maps below)
-please click image to enlarge-
image of google map above from my computer screen was captured using Snipping Tool
Because I am seeing the details in the driving distances and time above, this kind of vacation would probably take us a minimum of 2 weeks! Thus I am starting to see the advantage of really dividing this trip into 2 separate vacations.
Trip A:
trip A: the North East ( Niagara Falls-Boston-Acadia National Park-ME).

Trip B:
Trip B: South East (Washington, D.C-Luray Caverns-Shenandoah National Park, Virginia- Great Smoky Mountain National Park, TN).
Though I wanted to finish seeing all of US 57 National Parks as soon as possible, but then, we do not want also to rush and be stressed in our vacation. So, which trip first to take? Now, that will depend on airfare tickets and lodging costs by the time we plunge into any of these two trips.
Here are some vacation itineraries that I have shared before:
3. Klamath Circle of Parks ( Northern California-Southern Oregon)
4. Sierra Nevada from the West
An adventure vacation is really fun, exciting, exhilirating, very educational, and provides tons of inspiring memories if it is well planned enough. Planning makes your trip more productive, smooth, and will bring a lot more joyful and priceless photographic moments. Thankfully, planning is easier now with technology such as google maps and Bing in our computer, cell phones and Ipads.

Homemade cinnamon rolls with lots of icing

Guest post written by Charlie Madison

I can't even tell you how many times I've had cinnamon rolls out of the tube that come in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. They're just so delicious! But i have to say that it's a shame I've never tried to make them on my own after eating so many of them before. So I decided I would give making them from scratch a try.

I went to my best resource to find a recipe, the internet. As I was doing that, I came across a great site http://www.get.wildblue.com/ and after I looked through it a little bit, I decided to sign up for an internet package for my apartment through the site. I needed a better internet service anyway, so I was glad to find that site.

The directions that I found to make cinnamon rolls wasn't the easiest sounding thing, but I gave it a try and it just may have been worth it. At least this way I was able to make as much icing as I want to put on top of the rolls because there's never enough for my taste otherwise.