Cross country road trips are something that every person should partake in a lifetime. I often use to think that all the beauty in the world could only be seen by hoping on a plane and flying to the other side of the world. I have learned in recent years that some of the most beautiful wonders and interesting achievements can be viewed right here in the good ol’ US of A!
During the drive from Washington State to Rhode Island we drove through Colorado. Colorado provided us with a fantastic view of naturally occurring wonder called Hanging Lake. Off of I-70, Glenwood Springs, Colorado has a trail that is a little over a mile long and primarily all up hill.
After making the short, but steep trek to the top…
You are met with ‘Ferngully’ like views of Hanging Lake. I would highly recommend the hike if you are ever passing through this part of Colorado.
Flowers – What woman doesn’t love a nice bouquet of flowers. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is one of the most visited events in Washington State and offers the opportunity to explore different types of tulips during the prime growing season.
There were tulips for every preference. One hundred and fifty different varieties covered the 15 acre farm. Growers of the Tulips are family run. The Roozen family has been growing Tulips in Holland and US since the 1700s and they know their stuff. I wish I had more to add about food or different sights to see, but this event is all about the tulips – enjoy the photos!
Flaming Kiss Tulips
Big Smile Tulips
The Hubbard Glacier part of the cruise was a beautiful day out at sea. The ship began sailing toward the glacier on a surprisingly warm and clear Wednesday morning in May.
The sheer vastness of the Hubbard Glacier was astounding. To know this glacier is the result of mountain runoff freezing and thawing before the next winter is just mind-boggling!
I know what you’re thinking, “How close can you actually get?” The answer – very close. After traversing through chunks of ice like in the picture below, we finally made it up close to Hubbard Glacier.
After a few hours we finally arrived at the glacier. We were close enough to see natural changes occur called ice calving. Ice calving happens when chunks of ice breaks off at the edge of glacier and crashes into the water. The rest of the day involved a polar bear plunge into the cold, saltwater of Yakutat Bay on board the Celebrity Century . Enjoy the Calving pictures below!
ALASKA: The Last Frontier
Oh man, what can I say about this travel experience? First, my husband came to me a few months ago with this crazy idea of taking an Alaskan cruise in May. I say it was crazy because the weather is historically rainy, cold and cloudy until around June. Hesitantly, I gave in and resigned myself to a terrible cruise experience. We had cruised before, but never to Alaska, never in the month of May and never with Celebrity Cruises. Little did I know we were in for a treat!
The first afternoon was cloudy, but by the end of the second day, the sunset was definitely a precursor to the rest of the trip.
The Celebrity Century is the oldest ship in the fleet. As a guest on the Alaska Hubbard Glacier seven day cruise, I couldn’t tell! The boat had very comfortable accommodations and the staff were joy to be around. Our waiter and assistant waiter – Ketut and Elena filled our evenings with exceptional service and served the tastiest food.
Our first port call on the seven day cruise was Icy Strait Point in Hoonah, Alaska. After disembarking from the cruise ship, we were welcomed by the local Tlingit tribe in their native tongue with song and dance.
Welcome to Icy Strait
We were excited for the World’s Longest Zip line we booked at Icy Strait Point. The oldest person to have taken a trip down the 5330 ft zip line was 92 years-old. To get to the top of the mountain takes 45 minutes. The ride to the top had many lookout points for breathtaking views. There are two options to get down the mountain. You can chicken out and take the ride back down the mountain in a bus, Or you can opt for the 1350 ft drop and the 90 seconds it takes to arrive on the beach.
We made it to the beach in one piece. I can say I’ve ‘Been There, Done that and Got the T-shirt!’
After coming down the mountain – a snack was in order. I am not usually a fan of seafood, but not partaking in the freshly caught cuisine before heading back to the ship would have been a crime.
The Crab Station
Living in Washington state makes a trip to California, or anywhere with a ton of sun, a necessity during the winter months. A short, reasonably priced plane ride from Seattle, Washington to Palm Springs, California was just what we needed to make it through a rainy winter.
The U2 Album, ” Joshua Tree”, always made me want to visit Joshua Tree National Park in California. On our second day in Palm Springs, my husband, sister-and-law and I decided to hop in the car and explore one of California’s coolest national parks!
Joshua Tree National Park
The Joshua Tree wasn’t in bloom, but they were unlike any tree I had ever seen before and they were beautiful all the same.
We found Marilyn Monroe in Downtown Palm Springs! During the early Hollywood days, the stars were required to be within a two hour drive of the sets where they were working. Palm Springs, California became a favorite destination of Hollywood actors who were looking to get away from the hustle of the city.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the world’s largest rotating tramcar, takes you 8,517 feet to Mount San Jacinto State Park.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
As it was three days before Christmas when we landed in California, we were interested in seeing how the town celebrated the holiday season. We were told about an oddly entertaining art exhibit called Robolights . I would strongly encourage visiting Robolights – you won’t be disappointed! Enjoy the photos.
Fact: Seattle, Washington averages 58 sunny days per year.
When a sunny day appears around these parts you MUST take the opportunity to go out and see what the beautiful Pacific Northwest has to offer. A short drive from home placed us at Mount Rainier National Park – Skyline Trail. The wildflowers were in full bloom and cute furry animals posed for the camera.
On clear days, you can see Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens from Panorama Point. Be mindful of the slippery conditions and find a place to take advantage of having a snowball fight in the middle of the summer.
Golden Gate Trail
On our way down the mountain we saw some amazing greenery and even a waterfall.