Off to New Zealand! 11/14/2015 S

I’m back! Have you missed me? My renewal for my WordPress account is coming up for renewal, so I best get my money’s worth and post some memories.

Off onto another recap of a past trip! This trip was Steve’s retirement present and I got to tag along! We were off to New Zealand for three weeks, and you get to come also. Lucky you! For those of you who know nothing about New Zealand, it is comprised of two islands. North and South. Those are easy names to remember, unlike many of the rivers that Steve will fish!

We will stay in Taupo on the North Island for one week and then rent a car on our travels on the South Island. We will stay at three fishing lodges, and one fancy schmancy place that I picked out. Steve will fish from the fancy schmancy place also. Actually it’s not fancy schmancy, just really nice, but how often do I get to write fancy schmancy? How often do you get to read those words? Likely never again, but one of my goals in this blog is to improve the vocabulary of my dear readers!

Dinner on the flight to Los Angeles from New York. This flight was on United Airlines.

Salad greens with butternut squash.

Short ribs.

Gelato with strawberry and chocolate sauce.

Then milk and warm cookies.

Lost Angeles is so pretty at night with all the cars lighting up the road. Side streets look blissfully empty.

This airport has the worst signage. We thought TBIT on the departure board meant To Be Something Something. Instead it meant Tom Bradley International Airport. It was a good thing we asked someone, otherwise we would have missed our plane, and this excellent adventure would never have happened!

Then we needed to find the shuttle, and then the departure area, there has to be a better way! But finally we found the correct terminal!

As we were flying business we got access to a fancy lounge.

Newspapers in so many languages!

The lounge has won awards for nicest airport. I can see why. These are the outdoor fire pits.

Of course I found the chocolate mousse and a decaf cappuccino!

Not looking forward to the 13 hour flight form Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand. Total time form NYC to Taupo, New Zealand our final airport is 26 hours! Ouch!

Here is Steve enjoying his little nook on the Air New Zealand plane.

I forgot to turn the flash back on, but the first course was a lovely tomato and mozzarella salad. The lighting on the plane was a calming purple hue. It was very restful.

I chose the parsnip and spinach soup for my entree. When I have a long plane flight I often just have the soup for my entree.

Can’t skip ice cream with fruit for dessert.

Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean at sunrise.

Breakfast was a fruit salad.

Croissant and toasted fruit bread with orange marmalade.

Then more carbs with the whole wheat waffle with dried fruit and cream anglaise. No pictures of Steve’s food as we were behind each other. I am sure Steve had the omelette!

Here is a map of our flight.

You can see a close up of the Pacific. This is where the tectonic plates are colliding and one is going under the other.

Steve will not be happy with these next two pictures but I don’t care. And since it is my blog, I get to post almost anything that I want. Steve does get to have the edit finger function and remove stuff that I might get in trouble with. Let’s see what happens here!

Anyway, there are certain haircuts on guys that I really like. This is one of them. Steve does not like to wear his hair this long and since it is his head, I let him wear it however he likes to wear it.

The guy changed his clothes before he landed. Perhaps he was meeting someone who liked his hair the way he wore it. Or perhaps his lover would rather he wear his hair shorter like Steve does!

One time a long time ago, I got my hair cut short and my ears pierced. Steve almost cried when he saw me. Now I try to let him know if I am going to do a drastic hair change!

It is strange getting used to the time. It is Monday morning around ten. Back home it is Sunday afternoon around four. We lost all of Sunday traveling but will get two Monday’s coming back!

That’s it for today, or tonight, or tomorrow in that case as we left on the 14th of November her and will arrive in New Zealand on the 16th!

Do you have a dream trip for when you retire?

Or are you already retired and you went on your dream trip already?

Do you wear your hair the way your significant other prefers, or do you say “To hell with you!”?

Cow Creek Ranch, Pecos NM 9/22/2015 Tu

We told the cook that she didn’t need to stop by this morning to cook us breakfast. She had to travel at least 30 minutes for each meal that she prepared for us as she did not work full time at the lodge.

I was never so happy to leave any place that we stayed at . (At least that I can remember!)

Here is Steve letting us through the gate to leave.

And our van approaches the gate to leave!

Boom! One set of gates done. More to go!

Good bye Cow Creek! Not sorry to be gone!

This whole stay at Cow Creek was not quite pleasant, I find it cathartic to relive it’s end!

Good bye burned out forest!

Onto the dirt road.

Then it was onto a stone road.

Some parts of the road were really bumpy.

Then we got to the narrow section with blind spots ahead.

Where a truck always seemed to be approaching, with poor visibility of the road ahead.

The road was so uneven.

With steep drops offs on one side.

And a truck barreling down the road to look for downed wood in the forest.

I told you it was a bad road!

After an hour on the dirt/stone road we made it to pavement. Yay!

The car was a real mess from the dust and dirt!

Now would be a good time to recap Steve’s thoughts about Cow Creek.

A harrowing drive up the worst road I’ve ever seen, a burned over landscape and truly bad food will prevent a repeat visit, but I caught a lot of fish in our 2 days there. Cow Creek is a small high mountain (8800′) stream, about 10’wide and perhaps 20 CFS, that has been “improved” by digging deep holes every 30 yards or so over a 2 mile stretch. This section is divided into 12 beats. They have also dug 7 ponds. The work was done as tastefully as possible, but still feels artificial. The deep pools and ponds hold bookies, browns, cutbows, and rainbows, some 5-8 pounds. They are very wary and tentative due to the concentrated pressure, I enjoyed catching a few big ones of 4-6 pounds, one of which took a mouse against the bank near the inlet of Pond No. A. With a strike worthy of a lunker bass, but I most enjoyed the natural stretch upstream, which is tiny water full of small wild browns, bookies, and a few Rio Grande cutthroat. With stealth and accurate short casts, even bow and arrow casts, the fish rose to small dries, especially a Royal Wolff in size 18.

I found this place for breakfast on Yelp. Chocolate? Yes, please!

The bakery looked very promising.

We were told to sit anywhere, I plopped ourselves in front of the window so we could watch the bakers. “You looking at me?”

While we waited for our breakfast to be brought over, we enjoyed watching how some of the pastries were prepared.

First the dough needs to be run through the machine, several times to create the perfect flaky croissant.

Then it is placed on the slab, ready to be cut.

Here the baker is piping chocolate onto the dough.

On the right spinach croissants are being prepared.

Our breakfast were derived. I had the blue corn blueberry pancakes with piñon syrup. I probably should have had the strawberries and cream waffle. These were a bit dense and dry.

Steve had some kind of Mexican slop. If that isn’t a gloppy breakfast I don’t know what is!

Then it was time to find our hotel. We went from no stars to a five star American Express Fine Hotel with benefits!

We would be staying at The Inn of the Anasazi.

The hotel was right on the courthouse square. We went for a walk. Come along.

We checked out The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

The church was started in 1869 and is designed in the Romanesque Revival style.

It was lovely inside.

Nearby was the famous Loretto Chapel.

Inside is the miraculous staircase.

There is no newel or center pole. The staircase was built without nails. It is held together by pegs and glue. That is why it was called the “Miraculous Staircase.”

The Gothic Revival altar is made of wood painted to look like marble.

While in Santa Fe we also went to some museums. The Georgia O’Keeefe museum was going under renovations so they didn’t charge us to enter. We also went to the Historical Museum. No pictures allowed!

On the way back to the hotel we stopped to window shop at Lucchese boots. We only window shopped.

Our room was very inviting.

This was the special amenity we were given by the hotel. A handful of potato chips, a handful of popcorn and some nuts. We shared.

We had dinner at the hotel.

I love cornbread, as does Steve.

One of us had a salad.

I am not quite sure what this entree was.

This was definitely salmon!

Dessert was flan, ice cream and chocolate. All three of my favorite food groups!

Do you think I was too hard on Cow Creek?

Are you nuts?

Which one these food groups is your favorite? Flan, ice cream or chocolate?

Sioux Falls to Rapid City, SD. 9/4/2015 F

Before breakfast we tried to find the falls that Sioux Falls are named after. They are not what I expected at all. Back east waterfalls are big, these were just a cascading series of water. (This is not my picture, my picture would have been shaky, and uncentered! This picture is from the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce.)

Then it was time for breakfast at The Original Pancake House. Whenever we are on a trip I us the Yelp App on my phone to look for good local restaurants. We have rarely made a bad choice this way.

I had the Dutch Apple Pancake. Does this not look mouth watering? This is very easy to make and since we ate there I have made it at home for myself several times. You sauté some apples in sugar and cinnamon in a cast iron pan. Then you prepare the batter which you pour on top of the apple mixture and pop it in the oven to bake. It is so delicious! Unfortunately I had to throw out my cast iron pan since Steve has a condition that causes him to store iron in his blood, So no iron pans for us!

Steve had the Irish Omelette which is corned beef hash and cheese in an omelette!

After breakfast we stopped in Mitchell to see the Corn Palace.

I had always wanted to stop here, so this was another check off my places to visit list.

The murals on the sides of the Corn Palace are changed every fall. Thirteen types of corn are used along with other grains.

This picture shows the plywood backing that the corn will be attached to.

This picture shows how the pattern is done. Instead of paint by numbers this mural is paint by ears of corn!

We passed by a number of signs for the Laura Ingalls Wilder home in De Smet, but had no time to stop and visit. On the way back we are going to stop at her home in Missouri where she lived with her husband for many years. Perhaps we will come this way again, but I doubt it. That could be a road trip all of its own, as Almanzo was born in Upstate New York and the books took place in many other states including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and her final home in Missouri!

Badlands National Park for those who can’t read signs. But if you are reading this blog, you must be able to read!

Obligatory selfie by spouse with long arms who can’t see themselves in the view finder.

You don’t want to get lost here!

The progression of prairie becoming The Badlands. Eons ago silty deposits of a shallow sea were laid down. When the sea receded volcanic ash was deposited. After years of compaction a prairie was created. Then the land was eroded over time. The Badlands are losing one inch a year. There were comments at the visitor center about air pollution obscuring view. The only air pollution here was from forest fires far away.

We saw our first prairie dogs!

They have a bit of a chirp!

Sunflowers as far as you can see in appropriately named Scenic South Dakota!

There were many road signs for Wall Drug Store, so we had to make a detour.

It was a generic tourist trip, but at least I got my picture taken here!

If you can make any of this out, this is a red wine decanter.

It is 95 degrees outside the restaurant and I can’t stand all these pillows behind me.

What I am looking forward to is my Pineapple Upside Down Martini!

This couple at the table next to us was celebrating their 50th Anniversary! they ordered champagne which came in generic wine glasses. They were so sweet!

Happy 50th Anniversary to our new friends Fred and Libby from Someplace in California! Don’t they look like the happiest couple? I should have exchanged phone numbers, I am sure that they have great stories to tell!

No pictures of our dinner, but here is the delicious dessert. It was called Heaven on a Plate. It was! Ice cream layers, and candy bars covered with chocolate!

Dinner was at Vesper Sky Bar at the top floor at the Hotel Alex Johnson. We spent the night here. There were rumors that the hotel was haunted, but no ghosts visited us during the night!

Do you have to be Irish to eat an Irish Omelette?

Would you drive out of your way to see a tourist trap for the first time? If you do for the second time I believe you are certifiably nuts!

Do you believe in ghosts?

Copal Tree Lodge, Belize. 1/5/2020 Su

Breakfast, like all the other meals is served on the porch.

First order of business was ordering coffee. I needed some. I slept better than the night before, but I still woke up several times. Maybe tonight I will get over four hours sleep in a row. I feel like I was back in the days of breast feeding when I rarely had a good stretch of sleep. Did you know that a baby having a four hour stretch of sleep is considered sleeping through the night? Also, a four hour stretch of sleep is considered necessary for good health. I agree with that. In my younger days I used to be able to sleep for a good nine hours with out waking up. I can’t remember when that happened last!

For breakfast I ordered the French Toast with bacon on the side. For you bacon lovers, and who isn’t a bacon lover (excepting Miss Mary!) it was nice and crispy. Just the way I like it.

I promised you a little bit of a tour of the property. Here is a snippet.

Here we have the upper bar, not many people hang out at this bar, but you could if you wanted too!

Here we have the upper Christmas tree, the porch where all meals are held is in the background.

Another view from the porch.

This is a picture of the gift shop. Last night Steve told me that he realized that he forgot to pack a cap. When he is fishing he needs a ball cap to keep the sun out of his eyes. Last year Steve forgot to pack a cap also. As Steve is very fastidious with his packing for trips I inquired if a ball cap was even on his list. Steve told me he thought not, which was a very good guess as no cap was packed. Anyway I suggested that he either go to the gift shop before it closed for the evening or have a staff member call Steve’s guide to bring an extra cap for Sunday’s fishing trip. Steve, the obedient husband that he is, went to the gift shop and bought a very fugly ball cap. Its saving grace is that it has a dark under brim, that should help keep the glare out of Steve’s eyes. As this week is promising to be cloudy, he might not even need the cap!

Here is the little ride to the Canopy Suites. Unfortunately there are only four and they were sold out when we booked our stay. We stayed there last year and they were really nice, but very warm as the air conditioning units were undersized for the rooms.

Down this way is our room. That’s enough of that for now, let’s go back to the main lodge before I show you the room.

There was a guest at the front desk inquiring about places to take a jog. I quickly went in another direction. Let’s not spoil a good vacation be being too active now shall we?

Here is another view of the main area. The Christmas decorations are still up. I think I will check out the chairs on the desk and put my feet up for an hour or so.

The couple in the background were from Texas and waiting for the Jeep to the airport. My hour of resting is up, let’s take a walk to check out the pool, shall we?

The pool area is pretty, but the water was too cold to swim in or to even dip my toes in. I am not sure if there is a hot tub, I will have to inquire.

Last year there was a guy with many tattoos hanging out at the lower pool. He wasn’t there today. Since we couldn’t get one of the super deluxe rooms with its own private pool I had to share the main pool with this guy snoring pool side. At least he wasn’t snoring too loudly while he was sleeping. I overheard him talking to his wife later about trying to kill 4 hours in Belize City between flights. They were thinking about going into Belize City and wandering about. From what I have read, it is not a nice place to visit. Better to stay at the airport where you can people watch.

After hanging out by the pool for a bit I retreated to the room. My phone battery needed recharging and that is difficult to do pool side. I must admit that it was difficult to hoist myself from the chaise lounges as they are so low to the ground.

Then it was time for lunch.

The iced tea was nice and refreshing.

The burger was tasty, but I think I will choose something else tomorrow. Steve’s steak last night was a little bit too well done. Same problem with the cheese burger today. Also, they don’t have any french fries, just home fries so I guess I will have a salad Monday.

After Lunch I decided to work on my blog post on the veranda. There was a nice fan blowing air above me and lively music playing on the sound system. You can’t see it because of the haze but I think that is the ocean in the distance.

Unfortunately I didn’t see any hummingbirds sipping sugar water. Just some teensy flies. Ditch that, I just saw a hummingbird come by but I must have scared him!

I went back to the room and sat on the porch reading in the afternoon. First stop was this couch, but it was a bit lumpy.

So I migrated across the room. Much better!

We had new guests that were in the villa next to ours. I heard an “OMG, a spider!” I lifted my head up and inquired if I needed to freak out also. No need, the spider was in the jungle. Phew!

Steve came back later, but had no good news to report about fishing. He didn’t have any bad news either. No broken rods, no falling into the ocean, and definitely no sunburn. Just no fish anywhere. He did see some nervous water-that is water that looks like it has been disturbed, but it was only a ray.

Then we were off to dinner.

The amuse bouche was snook on a cracker with pickles on top. Steve liked it better than I did.

I ordered a watermelon smash. It was smashing! Ha Ha! Capalli rum, bourbon, Peychaud’s bitters, mint, lime and watermelon chunks. So refreshing!

Steve ordered the Farm Lamb Tostados for his first course. Shredded lamb, cabbage slaw, Queso fresco and Pico de Galle. He liked it.

My first course was the beet salad with fresh vegetables.

We both ordered the Pan Seared Caribbean Snapper with roasted carrots, sautéed curry cabbage, and lime butter cream sauce. It was yummy.

For dessert Steve had the chocolate cake.

I had the lime ginger curd.

Then it was back to the room where I struggled to open the door, until I realized that I was grasping the door number and not a door knob!

Have you ever been to Belize?

Do you know where Belize is?

Have you ever been so smashed by a watermelon smash that you can’t tell a room number from a door knob?

Copal Tree Lodge, Belize. 1/4/2020 Sa

New trip report! Steve and I are trying to continue his caught fish a month streak. We decided to try Copal Tree Lodge in Belize again. We had such a nice stay last year, and Steve was lucky enough to catch a permit so we were excited to try again. The streak might be broken as Permit are very difficult to catch. The weather is expected to not cooperate also, as we are not expecting to see much sun. If the streak is broken it will make our lives easier as we won’t be having to gallivant all over to keep the streak going!

Steve did try to go fishing on Thursday at a friend’s pond, but there was too much ice. Steve does not do ice fishing so ice fishing is not an option! It would have been really nice if he had caught a fish as that would likely be his earliest fish in the year ever!

As we had an 8:30 flight out of Newark we needed a really early car pickup. 4 a.m. in the morning is not my normal wake up time. On another trip with an early flight out of Newark we stayed at an airport hotel. We couldn’t sleep due to all the noise in the hall, so we said let’s stay home and get a short sleep at home this time. I went to bed at eight and didn’t fall asleep until 1, woke up at 2 and then ended up getting only another 90 minutes of sleep as I had set my alarm for 3:30!

Check in was a breeze and there was hardly any line at pre check. We were entitled to the. United Club Lounge so off we went to check it out.

The best part of the lounge was the light show outside the window. I think they need to change out some of the burnt bulbs though!

Here is Steve exiting the United Club lounge. Steve’s expression is “How long do I have to stand here before you take the picture? Enough already!”

We made our way to the gate and waited for the plane to push back.

This way!

Okay, now stop!

You are on your own now, buddy!

We both selected orange juice as our PDB (pre departure beverage).

No warm nuts, but we did get barely warm towels.

After the swill in the United Club lounge I needed more coffee.

For breakfast I ordered the bread budding with fruit sauce. Normally I don’t like bread pudding but this concoction was yummy.

Steve had the eggs. He scraped off the yucky topping.

The cinnamon roll was as good as it looked!

The flight was full in First Class, but not in premium economy or economy! We could have saved money and bought exit row seats and had the whole row for ourselves! When I checked two nights before we left there were only three seats that had been purchased in first class. The other nine seats were upgrades! We have no status on United so I doubt that we would have been upgraded anyway!

The back of the seat entertainment was working so I watched “The A Team”. I used to watch that show when it was a television series. The movie was very stupid, very violent and very funny. I enjoyed it immensely. Bradley Cooper is good looking, but my heart still only goes pitter patter for Steve, David Gandy and Colin Firth. (Not in any particular order!) However now that Colin Firth has separated from his wife, Steve better hope that I don’t find myself locked in a room with Colin!

In proof reading for my blog to make sure that I don’t get into real trouble Steve inquired who David Gandy was. As many of you may also have forgotten from prior year’s posts here is another picture.

For those who don’t know what a smoldering look is, see the above picture.

Look! It’s Abaco, but no stop at Delphi on this trip!

These clouds over Florida were very interesting.

We flew over the Florida Keys.

The flight wasn’t that long, it was 4 1/2 hours but I was still ready to get off the plane.

In case you don’t know where Belize is, this bigger map might help.

Here is where someone rich lives in Belize City.

Welcome to Belize City airport.

The lines for immigration were long. While we were in line we chatted up with the gentleman who sat behind us on the plane. He had a really hairy neck that I was dying to take a picture of for my blog. I thought better of it. I don’t want to go to Hell.

Welcome to Belize!

Since we only got breakfast on the plane Steve made a stop for snacks. His orders were not to bring back potato chips as I thought they might give us a stomach ache.

The Cheetos were so good I made him buy us another package of crunchy Cheetos to share!

In one of the gift shops at the Belize City airport they were selling lots of hot sauce. But since you were paying attention from last years post you would remember that!

I also saw a hat in the gift shop. It was $36!

I love people watching. I told Steve I thought it would be highly amusing if he got a blue Mohawk. He thought not.

In one of the magazines about Belize in the airport there was this story. I laughed so loud!Soon it was time for us to board our next flight. This is the plane we were going to Punta Gorda in.

The plane was packed. We were told to sit right behind the pilot as we were going to be the last people off the plane.

Steve with his generic “what am I supposed to be looking at” expression.

This one is much better. But if I can’t make fun of Steve, than who can I make fun of?

Here is the pilot of our plane. I think the plane basically flew on auto pilot except for takeoffs, landings, and turning around on the tarmac.

It always makes me a bit nervous when the altimeter function on my phone is not working. Should I be saying “glub, glub” instead of “help”?

First stop was Dangriga. Four people got off here.

Second stop was Placencia. There is money in Placencia! Do you know how I know? It has a very nice looking airport. A tad nicer than Dangriga.

There were lots of plots of land for agriculture. We weren’t sure what was happening. Had they just harvested? Were they going to plant?

The bustling town of Punta Gorda. Our lodge is up in the mountains, about 20 minutes from the airport. They grow rice and shrimp in this area.

End of the line. Punta Gorda Airport. It is also the post office.

No time to stop at Tim’s Shopping Center.

People were swimming in the Caribbean Sea also known as the Atlantic Ocean.

We passed by the marina on the way to the Lodge. It doesn’t look much different than it did last year! This is where Steve will depart for his fishing trips.

We actually saw the second picture first. Coming from the lodge you would enter thorough the gate and then take off in one of the boats. But that is making a short story long and is neither here not there!

Upon arrival at Copal Tree Lodge we were given a glass of Ginger Infusion. It was refreshing but spicy. It was comprised of ginger lime and honey. Alcohol free. Drat! You can see that I am not getting manicures. I thought that would make my nails healthier. I am not sure if it is working!

We hung out in the room a little bit and then it was time for us to go to dinner. I will show you pictures of the room another day.

As usual, Steve had a a glass of wine. I had the sparkling wine. It was not champagne as it was not from France.

The amuse bouche for the evening was devilled eggs. Did you know that I never had a devilled egg until I was in my 40’s?

I had the beet soup as my first course.

Steve elected to have a salad.

For dinner I had the pan fried Creole grouper with coconut cilantro rice, sautéed garden greens fried plantains. Next time I will say hold the plantains!

Steve had the steak, it was more medium than medium rare.

For dessert I had the Mayan Chocolate Budino. It was very sweet. Can you imagine, me saying something was very sweet! It tasted like a thick cold chocolate with caramel and bananas.

Steve played safe and had the chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce.

Do you think Steve would cry if I got an electric blue Mohawk?

Do you think that Steve will catch a fish?

How hairy is your back?

High Lonesome Ranch, CO. 9/8/2016 Th


As Steve was off fishing the KBarT again on the White River, I decided to visit a park.

There are many beautiful parks in the Western United States. How many have you seen? I have been to all of the listed ones except for Grand Canyon.

The entrance to the park. Come along with me to see the park.

Map so you can see where I traveled.

You can see clearly here the levels of rock. Would you believe that 90 million years ago this area was covered by water? Now instead of a parking lot it is a lunch lot! Doesn’t that sound like a song?

Independence Monument and how it was made.