Archive for the ‘Travel Adventures’ Category

Christmas Eve Adventure

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Christmas Eve I was treated to a private flight over the Napa Valley. It was so much fun!! Flying out of Davis I got to see from the air many of the roads I have cycled on for years. It was awesome!

Christmas Eve Flight

Christmas Eve Flight

My friend let me use his camera to take pictures. Here are a few …

Pre-flight view. Look at that sky - nary a cloud.

Pre-flight view. Look at that sky – nary a cloud.

You can see Sacramento in the distance!

You can see Sacramento in the distance!

Just another cool scene headed out of Davis ...

Just another cool scene headed out of Davis …

I am pretty sure that is the Bay Bridge!

I am pretty sure that is the Bay Bridge!

Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa Dam  - see that windy road to the right? I have cycled that a time or two.

Lake Berryessa Dam – I have cycled that windy road on the right a time or two.

Almost back to Davis ... luckily in time to avoid these clouds.

Almost back to Davis … luckily in time to avoid these clouds.

I am hoping to get to do this again!

La-la-la-lava in Motion

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Kilauea Volcano Hawaii USA

We could not get to the other side to see the lava flowing into the ocean, but this was pretty amazing to see. We got about 3 or 4 feet away before it was too hot.

Happy Tuesday! Have a great one!

Tropical Salsa

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Two (of the many!) things I loved about visiting Hawaii were the fruits and fresh fish. Here is a way to celebrate them both. Aloha!

Tropical Salsa

1 pineapple
1 Hawaiian papaya
1 mango
1 red onion
1-2 handfuls of fresh cilantro leaves
juice of 1-2 limes
salt & pepper to taste

Fresh Hawaiian Papaya

Fresh Hawaiian Papaya

Fresh Hawaiian Mango

Fresh Hawaiian Mango

Tropical Salsa

Tropical Salsa

Rinse the cilantro leaves in cool water and set aside to drain on a towel. Clean and prepare the fruit and onion for chopping.

To cut the pineapple, start by cutting off the crown (top) and the stem end (bottom). You’ll want to use a sharp knife and have a stable base to cut on – pineapples are juicy and can get slippery when you’re cutting them. Stand the pineapple up on one end, then cut the skin off the sides, cutting from top to bottom. Then, cut it into 1/2-inch slabs or slices, then into 1/2-inch or so chunks from there. Place into a large mixing bowl.

To cut the mango, slice in half by inserting a sharp paring knife into the stem end. You’ll want to make sure you’re cutting around the pit. Slice off one side, then the other. Using either a peeler or a paring knife, remove the skin. Then, cut the mango into 1/2-inch or so chunks. Add to the pineapple.

To cut the papaya, slice it in half lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds. Using either a peeler or a paring knife, remove the skin. Then, cut the papaya into 1/2-inch or so chunks. Add to the pineapple and mango.

Chop the red onion into about 1/4-inch chunks. Add to the fruit.

Chop the fresh cilantro and add to the fruit and onion. Add the lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I like to let it sit a little before serving (up to about 30 minutes), but it’s great right away. It also keeps in the refrigerator for a day or two.

If you like it spicy … a Serrano chili or two is fantastic with this.

Here are a few serving suggestions …

Topical Salsa with Grilled Fresh Broadfin Swordfish

Topical Salsa with Grilled Fresh Fish

Tropical Salsa with Huli Huli Chicken

Tropical Salsa with Huli Huli Chicken … this salsa had a bit of Serrano Chili



Hawaii Cats …

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Aloha! Some of the cats I met in Hawaii seem to have it pretty darn good …

Mountain Thunder Coffee Cats ...

Mountain Thunder Coffee Cats … this little dude was pretty unshakable.

Mountain Thunder Coffee Cats ...

Mountain Thunder Coffee Cats …

...  this guy was pretty happy until the thunder and lightening started!

… this guy was pretty happy until the thunder and lightening started!

Mountain Thunder Coffee Cats ... this little lady was shy, but tolerated some petting.

Mountain Thunder Coffee Cats … this little lady was shy, but tolerated some petting.

Oh, and the coffee was good! Check out the Kona coffee at the Mountain Thunder Coffee Company.



Monday, August 29th, 2016

I spent last week in Hawaii … What I thought was going to be a hiking and biking trip turned into a foodie trip due to rain. Oh, the fruit. I can’t wait to go back!

Day one shopping ...

Day one shopping …

Pineapples ... my mouth is watering .

Pineapples … my mouth is watering .


Dragonfruit ...

Dragonfruit …

Lilikoi - Passion Fruit

Lilikoi – Passion Fruit

Sweet and tart lilikoi ... I want more.

Sweet and tart lilikoi … I want more.



Papaya ... oh, mya!

Papaya … oh, mya!

Yes we have bananas today! Apple Bananas, that is.

Yes we have bananas today! Apple Bananas, that is.

Fresh coconut ... o.m.g.

Fresh coconut … o.m.g.

Avocados and Rambatons (similar to lichee fruit).

Avocados and Rambatons (similar to lichee fruit).



Oh, and then there was the coffee, the chocolate, the vanilla, the fresh fish …  and … the beaches and warm rain and volcanoes and hot lava and cold observatories and …  those will have to be later blogs. I have to switch out of vacation mode and back into regular life mode soon. Oh, sigh … that was an amazing week.

Peru – El Mercado

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

Umm ... Dorothy, we're not in HAACP country anymore.

While in Lima, Peru, I visited one of the markets. I’ve never experienced a market like this and let’s just say that it’s probably a good thing that I did this late in my visit. I’m a bit of a food safety fanatic, and I just don’t even want to think about how many HAACP violations I saw at this market. Had I gone to a market like this near the beginning of my visit, I don’t know that I would have been able to eat anything except heavily processed foods, or produce that I washed myself with bottled water.

If you’ve seen the first Sex and the City movie, you’ll know what I mean when I say that I wasn’t as bad as Charlotte, but I had some food safety concerns while I was traveling in Peru. If you haven’t seen the move, check out this clip and then you’ll know what I mean. I wasn’t this extreme, but I was cautious. I read all of the CDC food safety precautions and tried to follow them responsibly.

Let’s tour this market together. The produce was bountiful and beautiful.

Produce of all kinds

Loads of fresh fruits.

Peruvian limes ...

Peruvian limes (limóns) are a  key ingredient in ceviche. These limes are highly acidic and have a distinct, strong flavor.


Peruvian Cherries ...

Peru is famous for its potatoes (papas). There are about 3,800 different varieties of potatoes in Peru. You could eat a different type of potato with every meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and it would take about 3 1/2 years to try every variety. That’s a lot of potatoes! That will get you carbed up for some serious cycling or hiking.

Peruvian Cherries have been cultivated since Inca times. They also grow wild at high altitudes. I’ve had these a long time ago and they were introduced to me in California as “ground cherries.” I remember them having sort of a funky taste to me.

So, that was the kinda’ safe stuff at the market … now we’ll look at what made my inner ServSafe nerd recoil a bit … OK, a lot.

Chickens ...

... more chickens ...

Meat ...

More meat ...

I don’t even want to think about how many HAACP violations there are in these displays. Raw meat and poultry out in the open? Dripping juices on the floor … umm …

... more meat ...

Seafood ...

... more seafood ...

... more seafood ...

At least the seafood was iced. Most of the meat and/or poultry was not refrigerated and it was just out in the open for anyone to touch, to sneeze on, to … well, potentially contaminate.

This was truly an experience out of the ordinary for me. I love markets. I love food shopping, sampling, and trying new culinary adventures. That said, I’m also very aware of food safety.

It was pointed out to me on my last day in Lima, as we were finishing another lovely meal, that most of the restaurants in Lima probably shop at that market.

Sigh … it was a really cool cultural experience, but like I said … I’m glad to see a market like this towards the end of my trip and not the start.

Peru … Getting There

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Packed & Ready To Go!

Sudoku ... of course!

CDC medication and safety check list … done.

Buckets of sunscreen … check.

Sunscreen clothing … check.

Wide brim hat … check.

Hiking boots … check.

Passport … check.

Plane tickets … check.

Way too much other stuff, too … uh, yeah, maybe.

My day began with a very early morning flight from Sacramento to Houston, then a long layover in Houston.

Stunning clouds!

Look at these cloud formations!

Houston Airport

Wow ... retro!

I arrived to Houston just in time for lunch.


One of the Houston aiport restaurants, Pappadeaux, came highly recommended. That recommendation was so spot on. It was one of the best meals I had on my trip.

I wasn’t super hungry, so I was looking for something really light. I ordered an appetizer of fresh ahi tuna, avocado, mango, and arugula. Served with a light vinaigrette, it was was amazing and exactly what I was hungry for. It was simple, fresh, and delicious.

Ahi Tuna with Avocado, Mango, and Arugula

I savored every last little bite. It really was that good.

Yeah, I know ... wine at lunch ... but I was on vacation!

With my lunch, I enjoyed a local (Texas) Viognier. It was the perfect complement.

This was the most leisurely lunch I’ve had in quite some time and I enjoyed every perfect bite.

To pass the time, I studied a little Spanish … played a little Sudoku … did a lot of people-watching.

I checked in early for my flight and am so glad that I did because this gave me the chance to chat with some of the airline staff and ask for a better seat. I had a terrible seat assignment and was hoping to switch. The flight was completely sold out, so my hopes were quickly dashed. However, good fortune was in my corner that day because one of the connecting flights was terribly late and missed our flight. I’m very sorry for the other travelers, but I was so thrilled because I got to move to a really great seat by the window rather than being in the center seat of the middle of the plane.

Beautiful views on my way to Peru!

Checking progress …

On our way!

Getting closer!

Almost there!

More to follow …

Coming Soon … Peru – the Food

Thursday, June 11th, 2015
More to follow …

One of my favorite meals I had in Peru ... Ceviche Mixto


Peru – Machu Picchu

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

I took hundreds of photos in Machu Picchu and not one adequately captured the awe-inspiring, breathtaking beauty, but here are a few from my visit. To see them larger, simply click on the photo.

Panoramic View - before the crowds show up!

Machu Picchu - Las Ruinas (The Ruins)

Stunning views ...this is the BIG mountain climb ... what is the name?

The air was deliciously clean ...

Contemplative Llamas ...

Some of the terraces ... these were all built by hand ...

Some of the buildings ...

... more ...

... a different view a bit later ... clouds and impending rain, much welcomed by this parched Californian!

Aaaah ... cool, refreshing, invigorating, delicious, gentle rain!

I am still mentally and emotionally processing this experience. What I will take away from this and keep with me for the rest of my life is a feeling, and though our group was given a very informative tour by a very knowledgeable tour guide (Eddie), what I will remember more than the history, is how warm, welcoming, gracious, and kind he was.

I will always remember how the air was so clean.

My breathing was surprisingly good at this altitude. Yes, it took a few minutes at first to get my breathe, and it was very helpful to stop now and then to hear the history and to take photos. We did not take on any super challenging hiking (no Inca Trail, no BIG mountain pictured above … which I cannot remember the name of and at this time I cannot find it and I have to go to sleep!), but I felt like I could have hiked UP almost anything (as long as I had a wall or railing or something to hold on to because a few times I felt a little wambly … THAT was the altitude and that is my story and I’m sticking to it.) Downhill … well, that’s an entirely different story. For some reason, I often find it harder to hike down than up.

If you’re interested in learning more about Machu Picchu, here are a few good sites to check out:

I’ll be posting more about my trip to Peru. The food. The sites. The people. The experience.

Machu Picchu

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

A once-in-a-lifetime experience …

Wow. Just wow.

More later …