Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Eve Swurvin'


Swurvin'
In the mist of Christmas and it being God's holy birthday and all I decided to do it big and get my self a rental car to go see the family. What better place to get a car than through Avis. They had a great rate from a coupon being sponsored where you get a weekend free when renting for 7 days or more so I took advantage of the savings! I got a ride for my wife and I to use and it was a beast! We rented a 6 speed Nissan 370z and it was a demon and a half. It has 3.7 liters of japaneese fury and boy did we let it loose. We slapped around all the cars on the road that we passed. It was so fun to drive around and enjoy that I just may buy one when I get home. There is no other ride like it to say the least. It had enough cargo area to fit our luggage in the boot and then some! I highly recommend this car when you are looking for a small rental car that is fun drive. So the wife and I set out on our 6 hour car ride to meet the family in south florida. It was a perfect day for a drive too. We rode the with windows down blasting that Young Jeezy as we barrelled down i-95 in attempt to get there as soon as possible. We ended up making good time and getting there early. When we got the family's hous we enjoyed a feast and a half. They had prepared some the best food in the world! We had some spare ribs that were slow roasted and basted in bbq sauce. Also we had ton of chicken and rib roast to dig into. Sides included: green bean casserole, mac n cheese, southern mac n cheese, fries, grits, potatoes, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad, macaronni salad, potato salad, cheese casserole, corn, dumplings, green beans and rolls. Just in sides it was enough to feed an army lol. The desserts were just as amazing. We enjoyed chocolate pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie, cheese cake, carrot cake and ice creams. We have a large family so a lot of food was neccessary. The family was happy to get together and we shared laughs and stories as the hours dragged on. We ended up leaving that night to make it home in time for christmas morning. It was a good time and I hope to do it again next year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Heading North for the Holidays

Cutting down our Christmas tree.Flying across the country can be expensive, especially when you are taking the whole family. But after getting invited by my relatives up north in New York to celebrate Christmas with them we had to make the trek. I guess this just means I will have to invite them next year before they invite me… clever relatives.

Anyway, instead of flying we decided we would rent a car a save some money. In fact we saved a lot of money. You see our reliable Rental Car Momma had some great deals on mini-vans. We got a 10% discount on our weekly rental. If you do the math that turns out to be a lot, plus Ill have a vehicle if I unexpectedly have to get away from the mother in law for awhile a few hours. Especially since the price of the car wasn’t that much to start with.

So we are taking our shiny Toyota Sienna up north tomorrow where we will battle the snow and visit my wife’s side of the family. The best part is up north you can actually go out and cut down your own Christmas tree. It’s going to be an exciting adventure, and I am totally ready for my holiday vacation.

Wish us luck, and there might even an update on our adventures… stay tuned!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dos Equis by the moon light


So the big day was coming up that my friends and I have been planning for, for a long time. We are going on a night time camping and fishing trip down by Sebastian Inlet. My buddy Jerry has a boat so we all are going to pile in and take a night time river adventure and see where we end up. We had a cooler packed full of the freshest brew you can think of consisting of Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, Heineken, Strong Bow and of course Dos Equis! We only mess with the best when it comes to beer. You can keep your Pabst Blue Ribbon and Natural Light for yourself. We straight hatin' on this side! So we got our cooler and some good to grub on when we get the munchies real quick and we set off on our adventure. We start at about 5 o clock on a Sunday and tow the boat out to the inlet from Kissimmee. It took us about an hour and a half to get there so it was about 6:30 or 7 o' clock by the time we actually set off on the river. We started off by fishing some of the islands that the river had to offer. We started cracking open some of that cold brew and we had a good time. We had some run in's with the big fish that the river had to offer, but they were nothing that a drunken man couldn't handle. I accidentaly stabbed our friend Cesar with a catfish. It was hilarious. If he wasn't drunk he probably would have cried..What a shame.

The night carried on and we finally found a island suitable for us to set up camp. We had a few guns with us so we had to cap them off and get a little wild. Worse case scenario we burn the island down and we move to another one, so what the heck right? Anyway the island didn't catch on fire so all was well. I slowly enjoyed all the Dos Equis That I can handle while taking in the bright moon light. It was a great opportunity to enjoy some much needed relaxation. We setup a camp fire and started roasting some of the fish we caught earlier. Jerry was the slaughter expert in house of the night. He gutted all the fish and made sure they were fire ready while Brian kept a close watch on the flame. The whole time Brock and Ivan were shooting the handguns into a sand pile on the other side of the island, seeing who could hit the targets. It was a real good time and after not too long we had some strangers on a boat come up and see what we were doing and they were saying how we were trespassing and what not. So i told them to go to hell basically and we didn't see them again. They were strange bungalo music listening folk that smelled like cabbage anyway. So it was a win, win scenario to say the least. We party rocked to sun break and the trip was a good time. We never fell asleep the whole time so there was no point in bringing our sleeping gear at all, but hey what are you going to do?

Friday, December 2, 2011

More Fun in Vegas!

We then decided to go to the end of the strip and take the famous picture with the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. It is located south of Mandalay Bay, and there’s tons of tourists there taking their shot at that sign. It is so famous that if you don’t take a picture with that sign, you haven’t gone to Vegas! So after brushing off with the traffic and escaping, we finally got to the sign, and it was in time for the late-afternoon turn-on-the-lights moment. We asked a lady kindly if she can take the picture of Alejandra and me, and we were beaming huge smiles. We did one where I was pinching her little tail and she was slapping me for being frisky, a little Vegas naughtiness!


O by Cirque du Soleil
It was time to get to the show “O”, which was getting lots of reviews. It is a show made by the famous Cirque du Soleil, who happens to have a show here in Orlando FL calls La Nouba. Everything that is said is ten-times more. We were totally immerse in their work and talents, it was amazing just what they could do, and the end is totally to stand up in ovation which is what everyone did!

We decided to do a little romantic rendezvous at the Venetian Hotel. They have recreated a section with bridges that recreates the Italian town of Venetia, which is famous for being the top romantic destination in the world! We hope into this boat, called gondola, and started going thru the canal, while our driver was serenading one of Dino’s song: “When the moon hits your eye Like a big-a pizza pie That's amore”.

In Las Vegas they truly can say that the night is young, we went to eat in a cozy and wonderful restaurant called Valentino Restaurant, and we tried their amazing Chef’s Extravaganza, which is a combination of 10-plates that are to die for! We were in cuisine-heaven, the chef himself even came to our table and asked us if everything was great, which was totally gracious and wonderful from him.

To end our first evening, Ms Hotness and I decided to go to the incredibly awesome Paris tower, which is a very romantic place as well. We went to the top, and took pictures, and asked a couple of tourist to take pics of us two. I was beaming with a huge smile, especially to be with this lovely woman, which can’t wait to marry her!

We were totally impressed with our first day in this immersive city. Can’t wait to see more and enjoy. The good thing is that since Vegas is a bit expensive; we saved quite a bit with our friends at Rental Car Momma!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Warrior Dash

Warrior Dash All-Stars
So I'm getting ready for the all extreme Warrior Dash down in Deer field Beach in Florida and I have been doing some serious training. I work out 5 days a week and each day I put myself through a brutal workout session. It's crazy enough to make anyone cry themselves to sleep while they're curled up in a ball in the corner. I work out as follows: Monday Chest, abs and cardio, Tuesday Legs and abs, Wednesday Back and abs, Thursday Shoulders, abs and cardio, Friday Biceps and Triceps, abs and cardio and on the weekends I do active rest such as basketball or football. After all this intense training I find myself ready for the white knuckle thrill called the Warrior Dash. It is an intense 5k through mud and some of the craziest terrain that Florida has to offer. You will not want to miss out on all the fun and excitement than you will have in this competitive environment. I push my self to the limit every time I walk in to the gym so I can get a good time such as 19 minutes for this 5k fury. It really is a stress on the body to prepare for this in such crucial ways. You will know what I'm talking about when you see people fighting each other to get through the huge mud swamps and pits. The heat is really on when going through the rigorous course that they set up year after year. I found myself some coupons from Alamo that gave me 35 dollars off a weekly rental so I can save some money as we venture down to Deer Field Beach. The rental car was awesome and I got to save money too so it was a win win. I'm still preparing for the great challenges that the Warrior Dash has to offer. I know that with my dedication and commitment that I will be a tough man to beat and I won't let anything stop me from winning. I will throw elbows and knees if I have to so I can win.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Everything Stays in Vegas!

Ms Hotness Alejandra and I were thinking in a way to be a bit overboard, so we ultimately decided that Vegas will be it! You know, in total honesty, we were heading for the “whatever stays in Vegas stays in Vegas” motto that we hear so much in their advertisement!

In our reservations, that is always recommended to do it ahead of time, we went to our nifty little website rentalcarmomma where we found our car, a Ford Focus. We always find great prices, and this time was no exception, $206.89, which is a terrific price! We also found discounts for Vegas shows, and we made our reservations as well!

Once we reach to Vegas, we picked up our car, and then headed to our hotel, which was located in the famous Strip. This is a whole street that goes north to south where all the major hotels are located. It is often cited as the place where all the action takes place. And once we got there, we saw how big is really the street, and feels like you can walk like two or three blocks and that is what a hotel area will be!

We reach at the hotel, after going thru a few twist and turns in our Ford Focus. We were doing our own kinda city sightseeing. We stopped to the famous Caesars Palace, and all I can say is how incredibly huge is. Plus, inside, we posed with some of the statues. We decided to go to the top of the stratosphere tower. Let me tell you, we bought the tickets for the SkyJump. Ms Hotness Alejandra and I are thrill seeker junkies, so we wanted to do this one for a long time. There we were, (to be honest) we both were peeing in our pants, cause that thing is off-the-hook! You stand in the ledge, followed by a “Yippie-kay-yay (you know what follow after that!)”, floating and then when you get to a certain part of the more than 108 floors between you and the sidewalk, you reach the land safely. To be in total hyper-adrenaline-induce-wowed-ness is an understatement! Alejandra was shaking, and I was trying to be my “Da Rock” suaveness and be in good hands! Since Alejandra is a major photographer, we decided to take pictures from the observatory of the entire Las Vegas. It looks really awesome from upstairs, so it is a great view of the entire city!


SkyJump Aaaahhhh!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Skiing in North Carolina

The Ski resort at the Appalachian Mountain ResortWith snow just beginning to fall around the U.S. the slopes in North Carolina just opened up. Now our family has made a point to go up and visit every year, we even have a time share in the area. So this year we packed our bags and headed north. We rented a Ford Escape from Budget at almost 30% off from the Rental Car Momma website. Budget even helped us pick out a vehicle for the sure to be slippery roads in North Carolina.

Let me tell you there is nothing like taking a ski down the slopes after a fresh snow. My guess is that this is everyone’s end of the year vacation dream. We arrived late at night and slept till late in the morning. If you want to get to the fresh slopes you have to get there early, because they get torn up by other skiers though out the day. Suffice to say when we arrived at noon there wasn’t much left of that fresh morning feel for us to enjoy. But that didn’t stop us from having a great day.

We visited the Appalachian Ski Mountain lodge this year, the same as we did last year. They have four slopes and last year we really enjoyed it. We skied the slopes for three days while enjoying the local food and hospitality. The ski lodge had a full dining hall with a roaring fire and of course… overpriced food. But after a day of skiing the food was a great way to end it and the warm drinks were perfect.

If you’re looking to go skiing there are hundreds of places to go. But if you ask me there is no better spot than North Carolina, that’s just my preference.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

From Seals to Lobsters - Maine the Beautiful Part 2

Portland Head LighthouseAfter that amazing time on the sea, Ms Hotness and I headed south. We drove toward Portland, but then took an exit heading to Cape Elizabeth, which is really in the coast. There, we found the Portland Head Lighthouse which is one of the oldest lighthouses here in the state. It was made in 1791, and it was directly ordered to build by our first president, George Washington! First, they use whale oil, but as technology progressed they went to lens and then to a beacon, which they can see 24 nautical miles away!

While we were at the lighthouse, I asked the gift-shop lady to tell me which is the best lobster restaurant in the area. She grab the map and then pointed me to the south to a town in the coast called Ogunquit. I put the direction in my phone's GPS and headed there. The place is called Barnacle Billy's and they have an area where you can sit outside. and it is beautiful. We have our huge blanket from the lighthouse, and stop to buy a bottle of wine in the liquor store. We seated outside by the car overlooking the coast, and what a view! the sunset, dinning with this gorgeous woman, it cannot get better than this!! We started with a warm and tasty home made clam showder, then we build our own surf and turf. we bought the famous delicious Maine Lobster and a New York Sirloin steak. All i can say is that we lick our fingers and then kiss the night away! Anything that happen in Maine stays in Maine!

This was an amazing place, and there was more that happened during our mini-vacation, but that will be for another blog!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

From Seals to Lobsters - Maine the Beautiful Part 1

Our Chevy Aveo we got at a discounted price from Rental Car Momma!Ms Hotness Alejandra and I decided to take a spur-of-the-moment trip. this time around, we set our sights to the state of Maine. We were totally impressed that it had lots of natural sights and places to visit, so we made a list of some of the things we wanted to see, and then shrunk the list down to the ones we really really wanna visit.

We book our hotel and our flight, and decided to stay in Portland, Maine, which has a lovely airport (mind you, is not huge like JFK or LAX but is picturesque). We normally book on Budget and Thrifty, but they didn't offer a compact and green efficient car (later we discovered that we were upon lobster month, more to that later!), but I was glad that our amazing super duper site rentalcarmomma offers discounts on every MAJOR rental car company. finally, we found our car in Hertz. We got a Chevy Aveo, which is a compact car and very gas-saving, plus a very nice drive, I shall say.

As usual, we like to stay and relax the first day. in that way, we kinda get the feel for the people and the "speed" of the town, plus we tend to feel what is like to be a local, even tho we are not.

So, our first stop was a sightseeing tour. we drove north in our Chevy Aveo (a briskly drive, I shall add) taking the panorama around us. You can see the coast to the east, and then in the background towards the west, you can see the mountains, which will be a lovely scenic picture-taking spot. Once we arrive in our location, we headed to the docks where the Maine Boating Adventure's crew was waiting. Inside the boat, we take our seats, which were comfy and they were padded, so it was wonderful. The tour takes us around the Maine coast where we visited places of wonderful views. As you all know, Ms Hotness Alejandra is a major photographer graduate, so she was with her professional camera snapping pictures here and there and at all angles. Me? you ask, I was with a point-and-shoot pocket Olympus camera, and for little moments I took my HTC Sensation and took a few more, so I can easily post it in Facebook! We saw seals, some lighthouse, there was a porpoise, and early morning we saw a lobster boat heading to the open sea, which was pretty cool cause you can see the captain manning the boat and the crew busying heading from one side to another getting ready for the action!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bozeman Montana

Bozeman MontanaWe found ourselves taking a vacation to one of the finest places in the whole US, Bozeman Montana. My wife has been planning this trip for so long that we were well prepared ahead of time with plans for our trip. From biking to hiking, fishing to visiting every great restaurant in town, we had the whole thing planned down to the last day.

When we arrived at Bozeman we picked up our vehicle from Budget before heading to our lodgings. I am sure you already have guessed that we got a great deal when we rented it from Rental Car Momma. Rental Car Momma always makes our vacations more affordable, it’s just down right smart to use them.

Anyway the biggest part of Bozeman is all the beautiful landscape from Yellowstone National Park. We spent our first day cruising the lowlands on rented bikes and stopping to take pictures every half mile. A little warning before hand, if you want to go bike riding realize that the farther downhill you go, the farther up hill you will have to travel when returning. Yellowstone is awesome, especially when you get down to the river, where the water is crystal clear and they are just teeming with fish.

I guess that launches me into the second day’s adventure. My wife let me take the kids out and teach them how to go fly fishing. I had this big grand scheme in my head about how we were going to eat like kings but when I thought about brining the fish back to the hotel to be gutted I reconsidered. So, we did a bit of catch and release and then decided to go out for seafood that night at a place called Ferraro’s Fine Italian Restaurant and Lounge, were we feasted into the night.

We did more exploring of Yellowstone over the next few days, just one awesome adventure after the other. Its not every day you wake up to your kids strapping on boots and waiting for you to wake up and head out the door to go hiking. Well worth the trip for a family vacation.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Atlanta Georgia’s Cyclorama

Atlanta's CycloramaNow I know I have written about Atlanta in the past but just seems to me like I keep passing through this great city. Maybe that’s because so many roads pass through it that you can’t help but get a glimpse of the place whenever you visit the south… which happens to be my home. So I guess there is good reason for them to call it the “Gateway to the South,” I couldn’t have put it any better myself.

Anyway this time on my way home from business I was driving a Chevy Aveo that I had rented before landing. They had a deal where you could save fifty bucks on the rental car if you rented it from the airport. I don’t have to say it because you already know but I found that great discount on RentalCarMomma.com’s website. Anyway as I was passing through Atlanta the sun started to go down. With almost eight more hours of driving to go I figured it would be best to take a rest and spend the night there.

Well when I woke up in the morning it was ten o’clock, I had really made no effort to get out of bed so I decided I would do something in the city before heading home. I heard about this really great place that pays tribute to the civil war. If you aren’t a history buff then you don’t know that Atlanta was pretty much wiped out during the Civil War, so you can find historical monuments and memorials just about everywhere you look here.

But this particular place is known as the Atlanta Cyclorama. You sit in the middle of a room and a stage surrounds you. When they start it up the stage starts to rotate and you get to see this incredible panorama of the war. In order to bring the war to life they use sound, music and these incredible hand made soldiers. They are like life sized dolls that were carefully made to depict the war. Anyhow the Cyclorama was a really short experience, but it was really fun to check out to. Of course there were lots of souvenirs to buy afterwards, so I took some things home for the family.

If you got some free time on your hands in Atlanta be sure to visit the Cyclorama, it was well worth it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Detroit Michigan Part Two

The Fly Ball Ferris Wheel!We started out by going to COMERICA PARK MUSEUM (Detroit Tigers). We got into the park to get into the museum and found that there's a lot more to see in the ballpark. we got inside a booth from the "Fly Ball Ferris Wheel".
Alejandra wanted to experience the Carousel and sit down in one of the 30 tigers that has it, that was pretty cool. plus i took pictures with the statues that aligned the left field wall, i was so thrilled to take a picture of Ty Cobb! still waiting for my "Sparky" Anderson statue!!

Then, we headed to FORD FIELD (Detroit Lions). We both are major Football fans, so we went to the game of these newly revamp Lions vs the Bears. Oh boy oh boy! all i have to say is that watch out Green Bay, cause is not going to be easy this year to head to the Super Bowl...Alejandra and i am rooting for my Pats! I have to say that if you find a woman who likes football as much as you, marry her! and that's what i intend to do!!

We were pretty bumped out that our beloved Tampa Bay Lightnin' didnt make it to the Stanley Cup, but at least Canada has to wait another year to see if they can lift the cup! We attended the JOE LOUIS ARENA (Red
Wings) and there's no greatest team in hockey history then the Red Wings.
Just the name recalls a long history of parades and cups! we got some tickets for the game vs the Canucks, so we were very excited to attend the game. plus, alejandra and i got some jerseys so we can feel part of the fans!

i wanted to do something romantic for Ms Hotness, so the lobby concierge told me about this italian restaurant called BACCO RISTORANTE. At the restaurant entrance it has a pretty nice explanation that bacco is the Roman God of Wine. We were escorted to the outdoor patio and the night was superb, the moon was shining and the temperature was around mid 60s, which was excellent. We both love italian food, so Alejandra asked for the spaghetti allo scoglio (or spaghetti with custaceans), and i ordered Tagliolini alle vongole (the pasta is similar to the fettuccini, and vongole are clams).
While we waited for the food, we got our crispy bread. it was crunchy in the outside but inside was soft and as you put the butter, it was melting, so good was that we were asking the waiter that at the end we wanted to bring to our room a little more of that bread! the food was so good and amazing that we both were laughing cause we caught each other licking our fingers!

Detroit was a fascinating city! there was a lot that we couldn't see, but i guess we will leave that for the next time we travel here. we had fun and it was a terrific time of the year to be here. Hopefully the Tigers will win their games and head to the World Series!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Detroit Michigan

Henry Ford MuseumSo, it has been quite a while that Ms Hotness Alejandra and i went out on vacation. This time, we wanted to experience a little bit of North Central part of the country. We decided to go to Detroit, Michigan, which is home to the Tigers in baseball, the unbeaten Lions in NFL, and Cup-crazy Red Wings in NHL. Plus, there's that little thing called the place where the automobile was born!

After arriving into the airport, we headed to the Thrifty booth to pickup our car. Since Alejandra is a major "green" savvy woman, we got a Ford Focus, which is a fuel saving car! As usual, we both like using this nifty website, rentalcarmomma, which sounds funny but definitely got major discounts on our car. We arrived at the hotel and we settle in, plus rest is good cause we were very much hassled with the change of planes and the trip.

Since we both love history, we decided to first visit the museums, and there's two that sparked our attention:

the first one was the HENRY FORD MUSEUM where they have very good exhibits one about the presidential vehicles featuring vehicles that drove presidents kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Ike (Dwight Eisenhower); also the heroes of the sky exhibit that has the Brother's Wright replica airplane, 1926 Fokker Trimotor which was used by Richard Byrd the first who went flying to the North Pole, and a replica of the plane Lindbergh flew, the Spirit of St. Louis. the one that impressed us was the With liberty and justice for all exhibit that showcase anything from the civil rights starting from the beginning of the country til present day. Incredible with the rosa park bus, the chest and camp bed that President George Washington use, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, a model T that shows how people wanted to allowed women to vote, and much more.

the second one was the MOTOWN HISTORICAL MUSEUM that features the story of Motown sound around the 1960s. Within the confines of this building you can find equipment and things used by the greatest singers of our era. Alejandra and I are majored Marvin Gaye fans, plus we get our dosis of Jackson 5, and well, Alejandra can sing at the top of her lungs every single time Aretha sings "Respect", and i love Stevie Wonder, so we like the oldies Motown sound! They were having a nice exhibit about Esther Gordy Edwards who was Berry Gordy's sister and die this year at age 91.

Another thing that Ms Hotness Alejandra and i share is that we both love sports. it is without saying that prior to getting here, we bought tickets to some sports venue.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sunday Funday




Well Sunday was coming up so I had to do it big, you know how it goes. So we started planning our trip to Daytona Beach. It was forecast to be a great day with sunshine and warm water. So we loaded up Sunday morning and we did it big. We rolled out 8 cars deep, everyone of them being 240's, while we drove we had a inline 6 symphony blaring when we rolled down the highway. There is nothing like 1jz and rb25 in the morning,mmmmm inline 6 for the win. So as we drove to Daytona we made a couple pit stops to get our cars a little sideways of course. It was all in good fun and no one broke anything, thank God. It was around 9 o clock when we finally reached the beach, the sun was out and the weather was amazing, I couldn't have asked for a better day. I had a blast as the day grew on. We set up shop on the beach with umbrellas, chairs and our coolers....LIKE A BOSS! We were running that strip like nobody's business. You would have had to been there to understand the amount of WIN. Many people stopped by and asked about our cars while they were parked on the beach. Daytona is a really cool beach where you can drive up to the water. So we enjoyed sharing our information and our cars as well. Luckily the sand was nice and packed in so we didn't get stuck. We played frisbee and football in the sun. I got my tan on and couldn't have been happier. We shared the amazing drinks of awesomenesss out of that cooler like it was a gift from Heaven. Life was simple and we enjoyed every minute of it to say the least. There's nothing like gettin out and postin up at the beach like a goon and enjoying mother nature like that.

So the day was coming to an end but our fun wasn't. We decided to meet up at the Wing House there and enjoy some of the best wings on Earth while we shared some pitchers of cold brew. None of the drivers drank of course. We caught the end of some football game that was on, so that was pretty cool. All in all Wing House rocked and so did those Garlic Parmesian Wings. We departed the eating establishment and headed towards home. The 240 was hitting 35 psi of boost and we were ripping through the gears like Frankenstein on PCP. No children were taken hostage on this venture. We got home about 9 pm and we just passed out, it was a long day and a very fun day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kings Canyon National Park

General Grant TreeI took my kids with me to California to meet their great grandfather and do some site seeing. But it costs quite a bit to take my two kids and I over to California. Thankfully with the airlines rewards program it was pretty affordable, but what really saved us money was our rental car from Rental Car Momma. We found a great deal from Budget where we could get a Sunday rental for free. So we rented the car for three days and only paid for two, it was great.

Anyway my grandfather was telling the kids about how he used to take me over to Kings Canyon National Park when I was a kid. So I decided it would be a good idea to take my kids out there to see it as well. The best part about National Parks is that they usually are free or cost only a small fee of three or five bucks. So in the grand scheme of things this was a really inexpensive trip.

The one thing that I remember about the park was the General Grant Tree. So that’s the first place I took my kids. I don’t remember all the history behind it but it definitely is different then all the rest. The tree is a giant sequoia tree that you can see from miles away. It’s huge in comparison to the rest of the trees in the area and was the perfect place for pictures and lunch. With the General Grant Tree around it would be pretty hard to get lost in these woods.

We spent an entire day walking around the forest and looking at the scenery. My kids were especially impressed by the mountains in the area. We saw the Kearsarge Pinnacles and even made it over to Dusy Basin, a large lake that fills up with rain water. There was a lot more to see but you can only travel so far on foot in one day. You could spend days at Kings Canyon and still not see all the key locations at the park.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Millennium Park in Chicago

Cloud Gate or the BeanI found myself in Chicago over the weekend with my son and we decided it would be a good idea to do some site seeing. Neither of us wanted to sit in our room for a whole two days. So we rented a car from Enterprise, they have a $10 per day weekend deal that made it the perfect way to get around town. We got a Buick Regal and cruised around town checking out the restaurants and shopping in the area before heading over to the Millennium Park.

We were told by the waiter at the diner that if we wanted to get some stuff packed into our week then we had to go to Millennium Park. She said it was like the corner stone of the city. Inside the park you can find a wide variety of art pieces that you probably can’t find anywhere else. Unlike an art museum where an art piece can usually be found in an art case or hung on a wall; these pieces take on a much larger scale that is sometimes jaw dropping.

We were particularly interested in the Crown Fountain. It’s this huge four sided wall with an LED screen on it. It changes images and then spews out huge amounts of water. You wouldn’t believe how many kids were playing in the fountains water while we were there.

We of course also went through the Cloud Gate, a massive bean shaped… mirror? I am not sure what they use for reflective material but this huge bean is mind numbing. It reflects the entire Chicago Skyline and when you walk through the middle of it you somehow can also see the sky. Something about bending light and stuff… all too far over my head but it’s really a neat attraction.

There are plenty of other exhibits in the park, but I could go on for hours talking about it all. My son and I really enjoyed it and would really suggest visiting the Millennium Park if you ever finding yourself in the Chicago area.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

San Diego Zoo

San Diego ZooSo I found myself in San Diego on a business trip and I decided to go site seeing. Something I am always hearing about when people start mention San Diego is the zoo, so I figured I would go check it out. My company didn’t offer me a means of transportation when I arrived, but I didn’t want to get stuck in the hotel all week. So I went on my favorite website Rental Car Momma and found a great deal from Dollar Rental Car and got myself a Dodge Caravan for the week, so I could do whatever I wanted.

So back to the story at hand, the San Diego Zoo was incredible. When I was thinking zoo I imagined a bunch of animals in cages, but the San Diego Zoo mine as well be its own theme park. First off I want to say that the zoo here isn’t like those dinky old $5 a person zoo you find in your local neighborhood. No, the Sand Diego Zoo was separated different sections with different themes, rides, attractions and shows that showcased the different animals and their unique traits and abilities.

My favorite was the Urban Jungle section of the park. You could take a tour that got you right in the midst of all the animals. The most interesting part of that area specifically was the bears. They had a trainer show you how the animals had adapted to their lives in habitats rather than in the wild, and some of the reasons these specific animals weren’t going to be released back into their forests.

The San Diego Zoo is great; I guess it would be kind of hard to explain it all without you being able to visit. But if you are in the San Diego area I would definitely suggest you visit, its worth the time and money.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Weekend Getaway to the Sonoma Valley

The Fairmont in Sonoma Valley
Now we don’t usually cross the country for a weekend getaway but our frequent flier miles had piled up and we got a free flight and stay at one of California’s most “Illustrious Inn and Spa.” So we decided to pack our bags and plan a date because we really couldn’t pass up such a good opportunity. The flight out to California was nice and since pretty much everything was paid for all we had to do was find transportation. We planned in advance and rented a Nissan Versa from Enterprise with a deal for a weekend special that saved us ten bucks a day. We found the deal on the home page for Rentalcarmomma.com of course, same place we always go for our rental cars.

The rooms at the Fairmont in Sonoma Valley were incredible; every one of them had a great overlooking view of the pool. Even the resort was shaped like a valley, with the pool in the center as the terrain slowly went downwards. Suffice to say that the Fairmont gave me a new definition of luxury; if I ever find the time to come back I would love to return to Sonoma Valley.

As for the entertainment there are a lot of sophisticated restaurants and activities in the area. They have the Sonoma National gold club in the area, so if you are into golfing these greens have mountain back drops and everything. If you are looking for something even more relaxing the first thing you will notice is that the Inn and Spa is surrounded by vineyards in every direction… which means there are a wide variety of wineries in the area. We visited two, but the lady at the front desk said there are over forty within driving distance.

The summer son in California was beating down most of the time, so we spent quite a bit of time indoors and down at the pool. But the area is just filled with some great places you can visit, so if you go be sure to share with the rest of us about the other things I missed out on while I was there. It was a really great place; I want to go back for a longer period of time.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

San Diego - Part Two

Trattoria FirenzeNext, we drove all the way north to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Since you all know Alejandra is a major photographer, and she likes old pictures, and she does those effects rather well. One of her secret love affairs have to do with photographing old timers lighthouses. She has pictures of the one up north in New England, and also in north Carolina and Florida, and the spooky one in Oregon. She was very thrill about taking a picture of this one in San Diego. I would say that this one takes the cake in terms of being spooky, because it was a bit foggy all of a sudden.

We didn’t stay too long cause we had a couple's only spa reservation. We drove to our appointment. It was a nice secluded place that was closer to Ocean Beach area. Ms Hotness Alejandra, soon to be Mrs. Yours truly, and I got into our room. Let me just say for the record that is really hard to concentrate when such a stunning beauty is on your side. And to top it all off, taking a massage as well! At one point we felt like little green man and woman, and then they applied those warm towels to get us off from the fungus/algae stuff....then, these two Chinese women came to the room and started the actual massage. Oh-my’s-freaking-god, lets say that I will kiss the ground they walk. You feel like going to cloud nine and all muscles relax that we were getting sleepy. What a peaceful place and i will do it in a heart-beat, without thinking, this is totally recommended!

After the awesome time at the spa, we went to the hotel and change. We wanted to have a real taste for the Italian, so we went to little Italy. Once you pass I-805 onto Balboa Avenue, you'll feel as if you were in Italia! The concierge at the hotel, told us about this awesome Italian restaurant called Trattoria Firenze. The service and the food was all phenomenal. The server was from a family that was originally from Calabria in a town called Scilla. He was so funny and certainly you can sense a bit of Sicilian in him. As usual, I asked for linguini alle Vongole, which was to die for, I was grabbing a piece of fresh warm bread made at the house and use it to get the last sauce of the clams. The guys got rave reviews of their food as well, so we all had an amazing time. The girls decided to end the evening with a Tiramisu and also espresso soaked ladyfingers layered with mascarpone cheese and fresh whipped cream. You can see in their faces that they were having once of those ultra sensory experience!

This first day in San Diego are leaving me to know more about this amazing city, definitely we are having awesome fun, and the drive has been great. Better is that we got really good discounts which help us getting nice gifts to the family!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

San Diego - Part One

The Star of IndiaFinally our trip to California has started, and everything is going smoothly. The troop was (let's say surprisingly) on time! The girls where in their usual badda-bin-badda-boom hotness. We all were waiting for this trip since we decided that we wanted to go to San Diego, California.

We picked Alamo as our rent-a-car this time. They had this awesome $30.00 discount coupon. Let me tell you, what a bargain it was! For a whole week we spend on the car $72.85 each and that is pretty good judging that California is very expensive state! Not only that, but we got the most economically "green" car in the market, the Fusion!

So we got into the hotel and set ourselves easily into the rooms. Then we rested cause we have to get over the jet lag. Then, the next morning, we woke up early and headed into the famous area The Embarcadero. It is a very nice boardwalk where you can see San Diego's seaport life. They have the oldest active sailing ship called The Star of India. We took nice pictures of us posing and the vessel on the background, pretty awesome! I can just picture Long John Silver or Barbarossa, or even Barbossa fighting with Jack Sparrow!

We headed walking; cause is a very picturesque park, toward one of the most impressive maritime museums around the USA, the USS Midway Museum. This is a mayor aircraft carrier. Just prepared to be mesmerize with the sheer spectacle of seeing this amazing aircrafts that once flew over the Pacific. You can wear your pilot sunglasses and feel as if you are Maverick from the famous Top Gun movie! You’ll be hypnotized with the F-14-Tomcat, the famous A-6 Intruder, the TBM Avenger. Roger and I are into those late 70's old TV programs, and there was one that was about the Black Sheep Squadron, and when I said that, one pilot told me that they were restoring that one. He even said to take a little quick peek and let us see it. What a super major treat! plus, they have several other airplanes that had their cockpits open, and they have the stairs, so you can walked into the cockpit and have that feeling as if you were a pilot...the guys and I were like kids in a candy store, playing our sound effects of shooting an enemy in a pearl harbor type of air battle! The girls, well, they were playing hot navy nurses!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Michigan Part Two

Detroit Institute of the Arts MuseumWe also bought tickets to a pre-season college game; the Michigan Wolverine vs. the Western Michigan Broncos. Ok, for those of you, who know I am a Gator fan, don't call me a sell out! So if you see a lone Guy with a ball-cap of the Wolverines wearing a T-Shirt for the Gators, then you know who I am!

of course, we have planned something for the ladies. We included in our short trip tickets for the Detroit Institute of the Arts Museum. It has real paintings from Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Gogh, among other incredible artists. They also have artifacts, like the courtly amber casket that happens to have been done in 1695! Including in the collection are incredible pieces of sculptures, one which I saw in their website that are appealing to me is the Sleeping Nymph and the bust of Tiberius (yep, you got that right, the Caesar himself!)

All in all, I think we have a pretty good schedule, one that will appeal to the ladies as well as the boys. Hoping that no one bashes me with the "Gator bite" chants...but i am a fan thru and thru!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Michigan Part One

Comerica ParkMy friends and I decided that we were going out for a guy’s only outing. But the girls wanted to be included...let's just say that we cave in... Cause being in the "dog" house and being put in an arctic hold (if you know what I mean) is altogether a bad idea. You would have reacted the same way, by inviting the girls as well.

As our personal way to get revenge, we were going to make it an all the things guys love, college football and baseball! We decided this time around to go to Detroit Michigan. Land of the Tigers and Wolverines, and that is exactly what we had planned.

One of my friends told me about this awesome website where we can get discounts on renting a car, which we will need. It is called rentalcarmomma, sounded stranger at first when I heard it, but trust me I found a great discount! Since it was a bunch, we rented a minivan. I was a little apprehensive cause i thought it was going to be a lot, but hey it didn’t come out that much. The discount, you may ask... $227.45, for the six of us, that is about $38 each...for three days, it is a bargain!

We bought tickets to go to Comerica Park, which is home to the Detroit Tigers. we are gonna see them play the Chicago White Sox. Another good thing about the ballpark is that it has a museum portion that shows statues of the baseball greats who played with the tigers, like Ty Cobb and Sparky Anderson and many more. Plus includes memorabilia from those early years and modern day baseball, which is awesome!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Summer Fun in Cali

The following day, Alejandra and I did a nice hearty breakfast and then we make a basket with some crackers and caviar and wine and cheese. We headed north thru highway 1 and kept driving until we saw our first stop, the Bixby Bridge. It is a beautiful looking bridge, but what is most impressive is that it has a view directly to the Pacific Ocean. And boy, if you can see all sort of marine life!! There were seals and walruses, so it was very incredible to see that area very much alive. One thing that definitely make it a highlight is to see an old guy riding with his 1940 Dodge coupe. Since we were in the “tourist” area, he stopped by and said how a nice couple we made, and then he was very friendly giving us a nice story about the car and the bridge. Happens that his wife died five years ago and every time he made the pilgrimage to the bridge cause that’s where her ashes where spread. Alejandra was totally enchanted and then started crying. Me? Well, I guess a little something caught my contacts, and that’s the story I am sticking to it!

Point Sur LighthouseThen we continue driving and found the Point Sur Lighthouse, which is the spooky part of the trip. They have a tour that gets you around the lighthouse, and since its one of the oldest in the area, it has amazing stories to boot. Plus, Alejandra is a major Horror geek, so it was awesome the little spooky stories. We weren’t disappointed. You maybe asking about why the basket, well, it was for the final portion of the trip, we travel a little off from the coast, and found the Henry Miller Library. Alejandra’s eyes were sparkling, because as you all know, she is a sucker for poetry and all things literary. We saw things that Henry Miller used for his poems and his novels. And, outside, there’s live entertainment. Either music groups or also they have open mics, which allowed people to write poems or little stories in whichever form. I was totally in awed when in the mist of eating the caviar and drinking our wine, Alejandra stand up and with a piece of napkin she totally floored the people around with a beautiful poem, if I say standing ovation is to say the least, at the end people stopped and talked to her and told her how talented she was!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer in Cali

Ms. hotness Alejandra and I been planning this trip like forever, finally the day has arrive! We are going for the first time to California. Exciting doesn’t come close!

After the jitters of luggage, “where is the camera?”, “did you have the tickets?”, “omg, I am forgetting the hair dryer!”, “pulled for a last minute shop”, we hopped in the plane and here we were arriving at San Francisco.

Then, we went to the counter and have our car, which was booked using Rental Car Momma. They have a super nice Alamo coupon that added a little extra discount on top of what they already showed, so it came at a affordable price. Since Alejandra is majorly into “going green” (she changed the light bulbs around the house and put those energy-saving ones, you know, the kind that looked like pretzel), I totally went to the Focus which is a hybrid. The price was not bad, especially for the summer $382.00

We drove south to a nice little cabins in the middle of the woods by Big Sur, California…which is a nice outdoorsy area. Once we reach there, we settle our luggage and things, and drop dead in the bed. We knew the flight was going to take a toll on us.

Big Sur

Next morning, we headed to the coast and then we book a charter boat that get us to experience whale watching. We depart very early, still was looking dark. Both the captain and his co-pilot (who happens to be his wife) were super-duper nice. We were altogether like 40 people on board, and there were some with ultra-professional cameras. We were ready with our Nikon Coolpix camera that we bought specifically for this trip. The waiting is what is killing, but once the captain thru the speakers said that they have a nice spot, we were all ready turning our cameras on. Alejandra, since you all know she is a pro in photography, she was all decked out, and I was with my ultra-light easy to use camera. Then, the moment came and we were all wowed with the spectacle, two killer whales, came on view doing like a somersault, like those that Shamu at sea world make, but seeing in the wild is more fantastic. Then we kept driving to the open sea and that’s where we saw a blue whale, in the far left of the boat. The captain was like soo thrill that he even came out and took a couple of pics too. His wife was then taking the helm and giving tips and incredibly awesome info on the whales. It was a totally immersive experience, one to remember!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Florida Everglades

The Florida EvergladesSo my family and I decided we wanted to revisit the Everglades. We haven’t been down there since we first moved here and were all guns ho for visiting all of Florida’s major attractions. However at the time when we did it we took a tour that started in Orlando, so you can imagine we had a very short time to meander around. In fact we spent about two hours walking around the edges and out on the boardwalks… we never actually got to go out on a real “tour.”

So we decided that we would get to the Everglades as quickly as possible before the kids had to go back to school. We found a sweet deal on Rav 4 from Hertz on RentalCarMomma and off we were on our way to the Glades. We stayed at a Marriot for the night and decided we would get a head start in the morning. We made plans to go on an airboat tour the first thing in the morning. We got the location of the place from a pamphlet down in the Marriot’s lobby.

Early the next morning we were in a massive boat with ten other people, all dawning the bright red headset so the roar of the engine didn’t fry our ear drums. I never realized how big the Everglades were until our guide stopped after about a half hour of driving to show us a few alligators. He made a comment about how we were only a few miles in despite the long drive, because there really is no straight path through the Glades. So naturally I asked him how large the Everglades were and he said that while the Glades were constantly growing and shrinking each year it was currently over a million acres. That means I could spend a lifetime in here and never see it all.

So if you are looking to explore the Florida Wildlife in Florida then you need to visit the Everglades. I would suggest taking an airboat tour because it really is the best option out there. You get to see all the great wildlife in a short period of time, plus the guides always know where they are going and the animal “hot spots.”

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hartford, Connecticut - Part Two

The Pond House CafeBoth Alejandra and i have a love affair with reading, and one of our favorite authors is Mark Twain. He was the author of such memorable books like "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", "The Adventure of Tom Sawyer", "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", and many more writings. So once I found thru a search that he had a house in Hartford and was also a museum on his name. I chalked it down into the paper as a place to go. Saw the pictures of the house and it has an outdoorsy kinda look, which is perfect cause Alejandra and i love nature.

Since we love the outdoor and nice buildings, there was a castle that is a bit of a drive south which is the Gillette Castle State Park. One of the nicest things about this place is that it has a ferry that goes around the river from one side to the next, and as per the website and the reviews, the vistas are super nice! Plus it has that "old" look, which adds to the uniqueness of the surroundings.

I found also a nice place that is going to be my "surprise" to Ms. Hotness Alejandra. It is called Pond House Cafe. Set in a landscape with beautiful gardens and variety of flowers and trees, with that as view, the cafe has a nice menu, so I am thrill and know that we both going to have a very romantic time.

At night, I found a couple of places. we love music, so i am going to take her to The Webster which is an underground concert hall, that has a very "intimate" feel but also keeping its "hard rock live" vibe. And to eat, I read reviews of incredibly nice restaurants, and all agree that SALUTE (which is Italian for Cheers) is one of the best. went to their website and check the menu and my mouth watered with those awesome appetizers and entree!

I have a pretty good idea how the itinerary will be, and can’t wait to have the treat of my life by showing Alejandra around Hartford. However, can’t wait to get over with the "Meeting the familia", I tell you, it is the only thing that is getting me the heavey-Jeeves! But all for the lady and all for love!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hartford, Connecticut - Part One

Our Ford Crown VictoriaLately, Ms. Hotness Alejandra and I have been talking about getting to meet our respective families. So, it was without saying that ladies go first; therefore, meeting her family is such nerve-wrecking for me. I decided that the best time of the year will be autumn, around September.
I went into research mode and get quotes and places we can visit while being with her parents and family.

She is from the New England area. we put in a little hat places we would like to visit, specially near her place. After a few stirs and blindfolding her eyes, she picked the paper and it was Hartford CT. we both laughed, because it was sort of our first choice but we were not sure.

I am left with the setting up the itinerary and the places we're going to visit. Plus the renting of the car. I found this nifty website that offered a super offer and a coupon for additional discount, rentalcarmomma.com

We wanted a comfy car, so we both decided to go with the premium car, the Ford Crown Victoria. I know it feels like riding on a magic carpet, plus is really spacious which is awesome to put Alejandra's huge luggage and the bags with her makeup and other accessories. Tell you, this woman is the ultimate fashionista, but gosh! She always looks simply amazing! The price is simply awesome, $250.00 for that car during that week, plus unlimited mileage!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mid American Air Museum in Kansas

Mid American Air MuseumSo we ended up heading to Kansas this week to meet up with one of our kids friends that moved away. We met their family through our sons and we made good friends. In a recent phone call she earnestly tried to get us to come up and visit. It really wasn’t one of those “I offered because it was polite” circumstances. So we decided, why not? We looked on RentalCarMomma and found a $35 off weekday deal. If you rent a car for more than five days on weekdays then you get a big discount. So off we headed to Kansas in an Infiniti with the whole family.

Anyway I can tell you all the boring information about how we traveled which was pretty plane and simple or I could tell you about what we got to do up there. You see the day after we got there they started telling us about what they had in the area to do. The first thing that caught the kid’s attention was the Mid America Air Museum. Now we had been to museums just like this, even a really big one in Virginia but the kids were all excited and it was inexpensive so we decided to go.

In fact it was only $7 bucks for each of us, that’s a whole lot cheaper than an amusement. This place is absolutely full of planes. I mean the information for an air museum usually boasts about the number of planes but there must have been a hundred here. As soon as we got in the kids had off and disappeared running down row after row of them. Heck they even had planes from World War One here.

I guess my point is that if you are in the Kansas area this is definitely worth the seven bucks a person. We must have taken a thousand pictures and still not captured all the planes. The kids really liked it and I am sure they learned something… probably “Planes are cool!” But I had fun to, so I have no regrets. We left at the end of the weekend to the worst pun, when we crossed over into Oklahoma my son said “We aren’t in Kansas anymore.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fishing in New Orleans Part Two

My meal!So when they suggested that we were going deep sea fishing on a large fishing boat they lied. We ended up on something that could only be described as a yacht. I mean this thing was enormous! We woke up early and got to the docks just in time to meet our captain before sailing away. We also found out that we wouldn’t be the only ones on the boat. Since it was so large there were two other groups. The captain said they can have up to fifteen people on board at a time, including the crew. Since there were three in the crew I guess they can fit twelve people. Either way, the other guys on board pretty much kept to themselves.

Anyway we sailed out of the “harbor” and went straight into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. It took us almost two hours to get out to deep enough water for them to consider it “deep sea” fishing. But I am not complaining, because this massive yacht had a bar underneath, and of course they were already cooking up some mean burgers and hot dogs. Don’t ask me why we ate lunch at ten o clock. But when you wake up at 5:30 to get to the docks on time I was read to eat.

Now I am sure you are all wondering about how the fishing is in the Gulf. Well its nothing like the Atlantic. The captain said the waters were choppy because of all the hurricanes in the Atlantic, but even with choppy waters the waves never rose over a foot out of the water. So it felt like fishing on a giant lake the entire time. But that didn’t deter us, we caught all kinds of fish, mostly dolphin and snook with the occasional king fish. Some were big some were small but the biggest had to have been one of the king fishes that was probably four and a half feet long.

The best part about the trip was that they fired up the grill on the way back to shore and we had two of our dolphin and two of our snook right there on the spot. Ever wondered what a fish tasted like just an hour after being pulled from the water? Delicious.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fishing in New Orleans Part One

The Court of Two SistersSo some of my old time friends invited me to go deep sea fishing with them in New Orleans. I can’t really believe that its deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico but I guess its close enough. Anyway I was looking into plane flights from Orlando to somewhere near New Orleans when I realized that purchasing a ticket two days before flying there was going to cost me a fortune. So I pulled up the trusty RentalCarMomma.com and they had a National deal where if you rent a car for three days you get a free weekend day free. Since I am driving up there for the weekend and I will be there three free days it works out perfectly.

So there I was crossing the state of Florida on my way to New Orleans in a Jeep Wrangler, my ideal choice of car for a fishing trip. Anyway the night I got there we decided to go out for food at a place called Court of Two Sisters. Of course we took my Wrangler; I mean if I am paying for it I am going to get my moneys worth. I never would have found this place if it hadn’t been for my friends that lived here, which was really cool cause the food was great. They serve an awesome Seafood Gumbo; I could eat here all weekend.

Anyway the plan is to go fishing in the morning, bright and early. Getting away from the house is great, and I haven’t travelled alone in some time. The guys charted this large fishing boat, so I will have to give you guys an update on Monday about how it goes. But hey a fishing trip can’t be bad, three guys on a boat in the Golf and a few drinks is the good life, right?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf

San Francisco’s Fisherman’s WharfSo my wife and I found ourselves in San Francisco over the weekend for another one of our business travels. This summer has been really harsh on those, but we always find a way to make our travels worth it. But this time we were only going to spend a day in the city before heading further south, so we decided we would head out and see the Golden Gate Bridge before leaving. Of course that meant we needed to rent a vehicle because the hotel/resort her business put us in was located in the airport. So we checked with RentalCarMomma again and saw this free upgrade on Enterprise airport rentals. So in no time at all we were in a Cadillac DTS heading for the bridge.

So it turns out the best place to see the bridge is from what they call the “Fisherman’s Wharf,” along the shore. In fact we saw Alcatraz island from there also. It’s practically a huge harbor with docks filled with all kinds of boats and water craft. They have a lot of restaurants in the area and me and my wife decided to eat at Bubba Gump Shrimp for the night. We had a photographer take a picture of us with the bridge in the background, a pretty cool souvenir.

Then we decided to walk the pear to see the sea lions that are supposed to be there by the hundreds. But when we got the end we weren’t greeted by their loud shrieks or abundance. Instead it was dead quiet and empty, with one or two birds flying around. Turns out they are only there at certain times of the year. When we turned back we were greeted by a bunch of street performers. I mean they were on just about every corner doing some wild stuff. My wife was really enjoying the flame breather… is that what they are called?

Anyway for the short time we had to go check it out it was really fun. If I ever go back it will definitely be to check out more of the restaurants. If I had known you could get really fresh sushi and seafood there I would of eaten at one of the gourmet restaurants!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Center for the Puppetry Arts

A wooden puppet!Now this is really a unique one. Since I am still in Atlanta driving around in my Ford Escape I figured I would check out some more things while I was in the area. Someone in our sister office said that if I really want to see something out of the norm I should head on over to the Center for the Puppetry Arts. It turns out they have a museum here that’s entirely dedicated to the art of puppetry… as the name implies.

This museum is awesome. It’s what they call “fully interactive,” because you get to mess with half the stuff here. If you ever wanted to just play with puppets for a little while then this is your place to go. The tours through here are probably your best bet; the guide explains a lot that you would never have a chance to figure out yourself.

Personally I was interested in the wooden characters, the ones that look like Pinocchio. For some reason I found these puppets to be more creative and artistic. Their movements are more robotic, at least when you first looked at them, but the guide showed us how well they move under a “master,” and they look almost life like.

Normally this isn’t the first kind of place I would suggest if you are visiting an area. But if you end up in Atlanta I would definitely make time to take your family here. Its a strange place, but I enjoyed it. One thing I can tell you however is that I would not want to be in this museum at night, to many faces looking at me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Coca Cola Museum

Coca Cola MuseumSo I recently took a business trip to Atlanta, Georgia, a place that used to be as boring as… well, Atlanta. You see it wasn’t till recently that the city started to grow in entertainment, and over the last few years I have been making my visits through a yearly business trip to our sister office. I ended up taking the job again so I rented a Ford Escape from Thrifty Rent-a-Car and head up north. Anyways this year after I had spent a day in a meeting with some colleagues they told us about the new Coca Cola museum that they just put in. The way they described it was that all the small museums around the U.S. had combined their knowledge and resources to make on large showcase, that has everything there is to know about everyone’s favorite drink (Yet to be determined).

As soon as you walk through the lobby which is filled with screens of changing pictures that show people all around the world drinking Coca Cola you enter what is called the Coca-Cola Loft. Here you can see just how the awesome drink was started, in fact I encourage you to read up on its history somewhere, it’s kind of comical in its own way. From there you head to the “Happiness Factory Theater, where they show you how they produce so many Coca Cola bottles a day, it’s really amazing.

Finally you head on into the Coca-Cola Hub. Here it’s like an airport, and by that I mean that it is surrounded by terminals. Each terminal houses its own set of attractions/information. One of the rooms is called the Bottle Works, and it’s my favorite. You get to actually see the Coca Cola bottles being produced, no screens, no cameras it’s literally the assembly line behind a glass, definitely the coolest part.

I am not going to spoil the rest of the experience for you, but if you’re in town it is an awesome place to visit. I gave you just a small amount of what there is to see, and truth be told I didn’t explain a lot. That is because there is so much to see and do that I just don’t have the time to tell you it all! As far as I am concerned the Coca Cola Museum is a must if you are visiting Atlanta.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Romancing Rafi pt.2

St.Augustine Fort
For the second part of the trip, we headed north to St. Augustine. It is a picturesque little town that had a huge Spanish influence. The town itself is very small, had this cozy feel to it. We arrived at the hotel, which had a very romantic bed & breakfast feel to it. She was very impress with the itinerary and was looking forward to a time just for the two of us. We just walked during the days and in the evenings we go to a different restaurant. The last night we made it to be extra special, so I was waiting in the lobby for her to show up. Let me tell you when this woman came out from the room into the lobby, even the lady in the front desk was looking at me as in “this is your lucky night, don’t mess it up!”, which I then had a sheepish smile. You betcha that I totally complimenting her, plus I brought a bouquet of flowers just for this occasion.

We went to this Spanish influenced restaurant and asked for one of their specialties, the paella! It is rice with seafood and also chicken and pork plus pieces of chorizo, it is totally to die for. We ordered it with some calamari for appetizers and a jar of homemade sangria. The weather was god-sent, with a little heat but with a soft whispering breeze that totally made the night awesome…I was thanking god and his angels for the skies because they were clear and you can see stars patching the sky, a romantic night to boot! They were also a couple of guitar players playing Spanish songs, and I don’t know, perhaps indeed this was my lucky night cause when they got into our table they were singing “besame, besame mucho…” well, you know the song…and both Alejandra and me looked at each other and laugh, but at the end I sort of play Mr. Smooth-guy and she totally couldn’t resist giving me a kiss.

So finally we finished the food, and then we walked outside and went into the shores a little, taking off our shoes. Then I stopped her and gave her the promise ring and she totally was in heaven.

Then it was time to get back, I drop her into her house and went to mine. It was a night that we still talk about it…of course; I am leaving a few details because there must be some private romantic stuff that I have to keep, wink, lol…

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Daytona Beach Wedding Invitation

The wedding chapel in the garden!My family and I were invited to a good friend of mines wedding. It turns out that they decided to have this wedding in Port Orange over at Daytona Beach. I guess they had been looking at places to have their wedding and they found a really nice place over on the West Coast of Florida. But the nice part is that it isn’t only a place to get married at it has all the necessities for a one week vacation. So all the families that were attending the wedding were invited to stay for a whole weekend at this resort style place.

You see the whole place is like a massive garden with a full dining hall and chapel for the wedding. But behind these two places is a group of condos and rooms, and then just another step beyond that is a sandy white beach right on the bay. Well we had rented a Dodge Charger from Hertz and made our way out there for the wedding, which was spectacular by the way. They had a long and energetic wedding reception and then we hit the sack in one of these beautiful condos.

The next morning we were on the beach and enjoying the awesome Florida sun. They even had jet skis on the beach for us to use! There is nothing like cruising around the bay at Daytona for a relaxing vacation! It was definitely a great way to kick back and relax, something I wish I could do again in the future, just got to convince someone to have a wedding there!

We spent most of our time on the beach and hanging out with the family while we were there, but at night we headed down to the shore line for some light shows and the Fourth of July fireworks! We even hit the movie theatre the last night we were there to catch a new release.

Daytona is awesome, I really haven’t spent that much time in the area but I definitely enjoyed my time there, as did my family! I just need to find another friend and convince him to get married at that same place!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Romancing Rafi pt.1

I wanted to surprise my beautiful and lovely girlfriend Ms. Hotness Alejandra with a romantic trip.

So, as usual, I went into the Rental Car Momma site to get my discount for renting a car. My surprise was that they were offering a nice coupon where you can get an extra discount. I picked my favorite company which was Budget, and got my 20% off coupon! It is super easy and user-friendly to pick a car…just punching the date I was going to pick up the car, then the drop off and put the coupon code (plus making sure to print the coupon for when I was going to pick it up) and click on the type of car I wanted, voila! The computer does its magic and in a blink of an eye I get in front of me the car!

I went to Budget’s pickup place and got my Ford Fusion, which to my surprise is a real slick and awesome ride. Plus the price wasn’t bad cause for the whole 5-days I got it for $50 per day with unlimited mileage, which was very convenient for what I had planned!

honeymoon island sunsetFirst stop, Ms. Hotness’ house. She lives in a very lovely residential area. Once I pull out to her driveway, she immediately comes out, guess she was waiting over the window. We both had our duffle-bags, some change of clothes and our swimwear, plus evening clothes for dancing and nice restaurant going out type of thing.

Then we headed to Honeymoon Island by the gulf and stayed there for the night. I got reservations beforehand in a nice hotel, with a view to the beach. In the morning, we both grab a little something for breakfast and headed to the beach. She was wearing this lovely bikini that had the Hawaiian flower as a designed white with red. She looked so incredibly stunning, as soon as she took off her little skirt-cover thingie, I was with my mouth open in awe! She looked at me and she just gave me that wicked smile that I was probably looking around. We dip into the beach, had fun throughout the day. I let her bury me into the sand and then we got into that outdoor restaurant that she liked so much and got some burgers and beer. We had two marvelous days of water and sand that totally was beautiful with her bronze tan!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A trip to Daytona Beach

Jerky by the Pier at Daytona Beach
On my latest adventure to the beach I decided to use a coupon from National that I found on Rental Car Momma. It was a coupon for a free weekend day. You bet your butt I used that coupon to travel to Daytona Beach and live the high life for a weekend. It was a great time too. The trip wasn't that bad, only about an hour or so from Orlando. The trip was great to in our rental Camaro SS. That thing was bad. It had 350 horse power and a luxurious interior to couple that makes a sweet ride for any one that appreciates great sports or muscle cars. You will be able to see and experience this car for yourself when booking with National. They are an exclusive provider for the new camaro's in the rental car market. You will love this huge v8 and the amazing torque and sound that it provides. So book your rental car now and start enjoying what you have been missing for so many years.

You will find that Daytona Beach is one of the most popular beaches in America for a reason when you first stroll up to it's water side. There are miles of top rated hotels, bars and clubs right along the beach that you can visit or stop in to when you feel the need to get a little crazy. Don't hesitate to let your wild side out at this Florida hot spot. I had the time of my life traveling there. The water was amazing and the beach was very clean. You could even drive your car on the beach. So you bet you butt I drove our new camaro ss onto the sand and drove it like I stole it. It was a great time and I am surely gonna make another trip to Daytona in the near future. I had a lovely time bringing my wife and my lil bro to play in the sand and enjoy the water front view. The Sun was out so you bet I got my tan on while staying there. There were several drink/ and snack carts to cater to your any taste or desire so don't worry if you forgot the cooler at home like I did. You will be more than taken care of here.

Daytona Beach is home to many hot attractions besides just the beach. You can visit the one of a kind Daytona 500 and see what it's like for these sports car racers and the huge track that they fly around every year. Also you can visit a para sailing ride that takes place on the beach. You will get a great birds eye view of the area and be able to see out for miles. So make sure to stop in to the parasailing booth. Also, you an rent atv's, scooters and many more motorized vehicles on the beach that you can enjoy with your loved ones while staying there. So make sure to travel to Daytona and plan out your stay because there is just so much to do that it's crazy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Williamsburg Virginia, Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown SettlementSo I have a couple of cousins up in Williamsburg Virginia and my wife has some friends just a couple hours away from there and we decided it was high time to take a visit. So when we called them and asked them where a good place to rent a room was at if we wanted to hang out with them they offered to let us stay at there house… something I secretly and almost manipulatively hoped they would offer. I could just see them in the back of my mind scrambling to clean the house for our arrival as we boarded the plane, almost feeling guilty.

Anyway we landed on Tuesday morning around six and rented a Dodge Charger from Avis and made our way to their house. After a long night of flying and watching boring television reruns on the airplane the only thing my family was looking forward to was crashing. Well everyone that is except my one son that sleeps a total of four hours a day. At first I assumed it was for attention but now I know it’s just the ridiculous amounts of red bull and caffeine he consumes on a regular bases.

Anyway the women decided the next day which would be Wednesday that they wanted to go shopping and my cousin told me that we had to go take the kids to see the Jamestown settlement while we were in town. Best of all he said it would be pretty darn cheap for the seven of us to go. He even offered to pay for us but after that mental image of them cleaning passed through my mind I took the higher road and ended up paying for them as a thank you.

Jamestown Settlement is really cool; it’s what they call a “Living Museum.” They literally have soldiers in the streets and people going about their business like it is still the sixteen hundreds. In fact they even had replicas of the three original ships that brought the first European colonists to the states for you to explore. It’s practically an entire city replicated after Jamestown, where you feel like you have traveled back in time. If I told you everything there was to know I would be teaching you a history novel on the entire sixteenth century. But this place has so much entertainment and live demonstrations of how people of that era went about their daily work. It is definitely something I would like to do again, and my kids loved it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Golden Doodle

Our Future Golden Doodle
Now this is no new story to anyone. If you want a specific kind of dog and you don’t want to pay a ridiculous price you find a private breeder… that wasn’t plan on breeding his animal in the first place. Our old dog died a few months back, and my wife was looking to replace. We wanted a Golden Doodle… no I am not joking that was my wife’s choice. It’s a breed between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle. All the fun of a Golden Retriever without any shedding, sounds great right?

Well it turns out this dog was two states away, so we needed to go pick it up. Luckily it was almost a thousand bucks cheaper than market value, so the drive would be well worth it. They had even set aside the animal we wanted and everything, so we were making our plans to drive over there. Now if you know anything about me you know that I use this blog… a lot. That’s because we don’t own a car, my family has seemed to do well without one, and whenever we go on a trip we just rent a vehicle. So that was the plan this time.

We use Rental Car Momma because we could always go around looking for the best deals, or just use their system and be done in seconds. I really mean it, just punch in your dates and information and the best deals just pop on your screen. I could work for these guys; I have used them more than enough to know their business inside and out.

Anyway we got lucky; Avis is having a sale where you can save up to 35% on a vehicle. I don’t think it’s ever been that good. So I am not complaining; we are going to get this dog for half the price most people will. With that I give Avis a big thumbs up and Rental Car Momma two thumbs up for saving me money on this mongrel! We will ship out in the morning to go meet the newest addition to the family, nothing like house breaking a dog… again.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

St. Regis San Francisco

My wife works for a high end law firm and she somehow acquired a lot of the traveling responsibilities around the office. Whenever there is a seminar or an important even that the office needs to be present for she ends up with the job of going. We never really complain because they usually set her up in fantastic hotels and resorts. Why its not a big deal is because I usually convince her into letting me tag along.

So when my wife was asked to go on a trip to Francisco she said “sure” as if she had a choice. So I asked when she was going and if they booked her flight already. We ended up flying on the same plane just different rows but we got there fine. When we got out of the plane and into the terminal we followed the signs to car rental and we were in an E-Z Rent a Car in like fifteen minutes. We got a Ford Escape, we weren’t being real picky because we were only going to be there a few days, so we just asked what was available and chose the one that interested us most.

The Saint Regis resort was incredible. We had a room three stories above the first courtyard balcony. Their balconies were incredible, I mean pools, spas, great views, plenty of room to spread out and tons of tables to eat at. In fact we spent most of our time on the balcony, just looking out over the city. They even have a nine thousand square foot spa, it was insane!

We saw some of the sights in San Francisco, like the Golden Gate Bridge, but the hotel was definitely the best. The rooms were fantastic, the service was even better; we even had seafood in our bed. It was the perfect weekend getaway; I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cahutta, Georgia – Part 5

Cahutta, Georgia
Our last day there we were asked to clear a whole mountainside down to the ground. Now we were cutting trees down and clearing away brush but this time they wanted us to clear everything that stood above our knees. So out came the weed whackers with a chainsaw blades and a variety of clippers and of course, my personal favorite the machete.

We started at the base of the hill and worked our way up, then over across maybe two hundred feet of steep hill. We left the trees but cut down all the shrubs, which consisted of mostly small trees and a collage of vines and thorns. We did this all the way till the sun went down. We must have carried away fifteen trailer loads of brush before we could no long work.

We headed back to the cabin, showered, ate and then said goodbye to the camp staff. There was a twenty minute talk about how grateful they were and then we climbed into the cars. We had brought a CRV hooked up to a trailer full of supplies, food and bags and a Dodge Caravan we had rented from Budget.

I would tell you the rest of the trip but I honestly slept the entire way back. I woke up to us unloading the vehicles and collecting all our personal belongings. For a mission trip it was great, exhausting but great. We got a ton of work done and we had a really good time doing it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cahutta, Georgia – Part 4

Paintballing in the woods of Cahutta!The next day as we continued to clear the mountainside by machete, axe and weed whackers the camp maintenance manager came down to ask if we wanted to play paintball that night. Of course just about everyone said yes, most of us having worked around the new courses hanging nets we got real excited when they told us we could play.

They had us all geared up and ready to go after lunch. They had purchased 200,000 paintballs for the kids that would be coming throughout the year; we also got to use the guns they had just purchased. Originally they had told us we would be playing against the camp staff, but they ended up not being able to get away from their work. So we split our group up five verse four (one didn’t want to play) and went at it.

The courses were very small so the games went quick. When you have so many people shooting at each other with paintballs most players get out in the first thirty seconds. But there was always that occasional one on one stand off where both players were afraid to come out of their hiding spots. But there is nothing like the echo of paintball guns of the mountains, it made the guns actually feel powerful.

I also thought it was funny how many precautions people take to avoid the pain of the paintballs. One of the guys on the trip was wearing three shirts and two sweaters; he looked like a bloated target running around. Regardless the game was awesome, we must have fired six thousand rounds in just less than two hours. By the time we were done we were all covered in paint and had the welts to prove we played.

Half of us were talking about purchasing guns when we got home, but finding a place to play would be kind of hard in Central Florida. Regardless it was the highlight of our trip to Cahutta Georgia.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A trek up north

Dodge Challenger srt-8So I had to go and see the family in New York so I figured I get a rental car to drive up there. Where else would I go besides Rental Car Momma to get an unbeatable rate? I got to use their online coupons in order to book my dream car. It was a Dodge Challenger srt-8. That thing was awesome. It had a huge v8 that sang beautifully whenever you stepped on the throttle. You will surely fall in love with this machine if you ever find yourself behind the wheel. You will want to get the most out of your rental car so make sure you book it ahead of time and choose the company that best suits you.

We started out in Orlando, Florida and we drove up North to reach New York in one day. It was a long trip, but we did make it nonetheless. You wouldn't beleive the amazing scenery we saw while trekking north. I got to see stunning swamplands all the way to the northern mountains of the US. You will surely be amazed when driving this route. We soon made it in about 10 hours of fierce driving. I never found myself this far North in America so it was pretty cool to see the "big apple" for myself.

When we finally got into town we had to meet up with my uncle since he was getting married and help arrange the marriage hall for everyone. It was a couple days worth of work and we knocked it out and then we had fun at the reception. I had the time of my life, and it wasn't even my wedding. I'll tell ya, there is nothing else like a good wedding with some BBQ and beer. It would put a smile on anyone's face.

Anyway the time came to say goodbye and set out in our srt-8 to head south and arrive in Orlando once again. We drove a little slower this time to enjoy the road and the view. We stopped and stayed at a hotel over night to make things easier on us. When we then hit the road again we put the challenger to the test to see what it was made of, and it did nothing short of pleasing me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cahutta, Georgia – Part 3

The Cabins we stayed inWe woke up early the next morning to the now traditional “Get up maggots, its time for breakfast.” Strangely enough our leader had somehow found an air horn, and thought it was comical to blast it in door ways at 5am, so it was wise to be out of bed and downstairs as he suggested.

We ended up taking a variety of chainsaws up the side of the mountain that day to clear away trees. Since they own nearly a hundred and fifty acres of land they could have a team of workers on the side of the mountain all year round and they would never finish cleaning up the year’s wear and tear. So we ended up taking down nearly twenty dead trees as well as four or five large oaks to make way for a wooden staircase they planned to put in along the hillside in the near future.

The worst par about it all was that all the wood needed to make its way up hill instead of down. That meant throwing logs over your shoulder and walking up a steep incline. To make matters worse it had recently rained and just about everything had a fresh layer of water over top of it. We originally tried having one team pull up logs with a rope while the rest tied, but it was taking way to long. So we ended up just grabbing freshly cut logs and walking up the hill.

After a grueling day of work it finally seemed as if we were getting something done. We had a twelve foot high pile of logs and the cuts and bruises to prove it. They kept telling us that they were going to have a large bonfire when the wet season came… and here I thought it was the wet season.