Follow Me to: Whales Tail Charters

Location: Depoe Bay, OR
Sites to See: Whales, Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, and Sea Birds

I have been away from my blog for awhile but don’t worry I’m back! I have several travel and book review posts coming too! To kick things off I’m going to start with my recent trip back to Depoe Bay! If you have been following my blog from the beginning then you will remember that I stopped here for a very short 24 hours during my road trip last summer. I liked it so much that I just had to go back!

The number one thing that I regretted not being able to do was go whale watching. In Depoe Bay, lovingly dubbed the whale watching capital of the world, you can see whales from pretty much any shoreline, but I wanted an up close experience on a small boat which lead me to Whales Tail Charters. Their tours are done from a zodiac boat and only hold up to 6 passengers. I did some reading and found out that the early morning tours are usually best as the wind is usually not as high as it can be in the afternoon which can make the ocean a bit rough. Since I was booking this adventure in advance I went with the 10:00 am time and one and half hour tour.

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Being from Colorado I’m not used to Ocean conditions and forecasts, and when I woke up the morning of the tour the ocean looked a bit rough to me. A storm was getting ready to hit Oregon for the next few days so it was also cloudy, windy, and cool out. -One of the locals told me that they wont take you out if they don’t think you will see any whales so that was awesome to hear before we headed out that morning- We went down to the Boat at 9:30 am and were able to get right on the boat and head out early! I wont lie, I was a little nervous that being in a little boat and the water being a little rough that I was going to get sea sick, but it wasn’t bad at all!

We were able to see a few whales even though the conditions weren’t perfect for whale watching.We weren’t able to get in super close to any because of the water conditions but it was still way closer than if I was standing on the side of a cliff looking out at the water.  Over all I had a great time!  I of course wanted some of those super up close amazing photographs, but that just means I will have to go again.

I highly recommend Whales Tail Charters if you want to go whale watching on the Oregon Coast! Everyone that I worked with, by email, phone, and on the boat was fantastic and made the experience that much more enjoyable. Here are a few of the photos I got while out on the boat, I hope you enjoy!

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“The whales do not sing because they have the answers, they sing because they have a song.”
~Gregory Colbert
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Book Review: The Sun Is Also A Star

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Book-cation Location: New York, NY

Book: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Romance
Print Date: November 2016
Goodreads Score: 5 stars

Short Review: My slightly cynic heart was filled with love!

Book Summary 

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Long Review: I have found an author that I will forever pick up each of her new books. Nicola Yoon does a spectacular job with this story. It’s a story that has such a heavy topic overall yet it was still a light and fun read! I wasn’t kidding when I said I have a slightly cynic heart. I’m a bit like Natasha in that regard. I could totally relate to her feelings on the whole love at first sight, fate, and destiny ideas. I will say this tho, if a guy like Daniel ever comes along I think I will become a believer!

The characters were all amazing. Even the small ones that at first I found myself wondering why they even had a chapter in this story! Every single character mattered and I loved seeing how it all pieced together in the end. It was very interesting getting to see the thoughts/story from so many different points of view. While I related more to most of Natasha’s views, Daniel was my favorite. I spent the majority of this book smiling and laughing and 90% of that was due to him. Trust me, you are going to fall in love with him before the book is over.

I’m big on not having an spoilers in my reviews so there isn’t much else that I can say other than grab this book as soon as you can and read it!

Book-cation Ideas!

As I mentioned above the Book-cation location for The Sun is Also a Star is New York City! While there are so many things that you can do in New York here is a list of a few places that you absolutely have to see to feel as if you have stepped within the pages of this amazing book!

  • Museum of Natural History. https://www.amnh.org/ While you are there I challenge you to find the Ahnighito within the Hall of Meteorites. This is a location that you will find yourself relating to Natasha in!
  • Korea Town. Enjoy some authentic Korean food and follow it up with some Karaoke, or as Daniel says norebang!
  • Central Park. Need I say more.
  • The Subway. You can’t properly experience New York without taking the subway! Daniel and Natasha both spent quite a bit of time on the Subway too!
  • Ellis Island. https://www.nps.gov/elis/index.htm While Daniel and Natasha did not visit this destination in the books, I feel I would be doing them a disservice by not recommending it. How can you visit these spots in honor of a book that talks about immigrants without experiencing all the history that Ellis Island has to offer on just that!
“There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.”
~Daniel, The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Follow Me to: The Colorado Ice Castle

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To kick of 2018 myself and a few friends decided to take a drive up I-70 to Dillon, CO to an Ice Castle. While we found no kights, white walkers, or Ice Dragons on our adventure we did feel as if we had stumbled upon Elsa’s frozen fortress, stepped through the closet into Narnia, or had found ourselves North of the Wall. While we were there it was hard not to get lost in the magic of all the places your mind could take you.

picsart_01-03-10-53-51.jpgThis particular Ice Castle was built by Ice Castles, LLC based out of Utah. Based on information from their website and the news, these are hand crafted masterpieces that are constructed over time using about 10,000 icicles per day to create, they have 10′ thick walls and can weigh around 25,000,000 pounds! All of these fun facts aside, it is just beautiful in general.

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Upon your entry you will receive a map of the different rooms in the Castle. I’m not going to lie tho, I glanced at the map, tucked it into my pocket and just wandered through the castle. I climbed into crevices that opened up into rooms like an igloo, stood in line with all the other grown kids to take my turn on the slide, and marveled at the artistic quality of the icicles throughout each room. We were there during the day time so we unfortunately did not get to see the light show, but it was still worth the drive into the mountains for this fun afternoon adventure.

This is something I would for sure recommend you do for fun. It’s fun for the kids and the kids at heart!

To order tickets to the Ice Castle and for more information go to http://icecastles.com/dillon/

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“The ice pressed close around them, and he could feel the cold seeping into his bones, the weight of the Wall above his head. It felt like walking down the gullet of an ice dragon.”
~ Jon Snow, A Storm Of Swords, George R. R. Martin

Follow me to: Oregon Coast

Location:  Depoe Bay to Newport
Sites to See: Whales, Heceta Head Lighthouse, Tide Pools, Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Devil’s PunchBowl, Beaches, Oregon Coast Aquarium
Place to Stay: The Inn at Arch Rock

Short Review: One and a half days was NOT enough!!

Long Review: To start off I have never been to Oregon so I was excited to see everything that the Coast had to offer.  At this point in my Road Trip I only had enough time for 1.5 days here before I had to head home.  After getting such a small taste of the Oregon Coast I WILL be needing to make another trip back to be able to truly enjoy it all!

DSC07847.jpgThe first thing that I did was drive a few miles past Depoe Bay to Otter Rock. This is where you will find The Devil’s Punchbowl State Park. Growing up in a land locked state I will never be unimpressed by the ocean. It’s a beautiful site to behold. I wish that I would have been at the park during high tide to really appreciate the glory that is The Devil’s Punchbowl. I was also told that during low tide there are some nice tide pools to check out in this area also! I arrived just as the water was high enough to block our access down but not high enough to fill the bowl.

I then drove back to Depoe Bay where I would be staying that night. Fun fact: Depoe Bay considers itself the whale watching capital. While I never saw any, fellow travelers said they saw them from the street or from the beaches as there is a local pod that lives there and can be seen often.  I unfortunately was unable to do one of the whale watching tours due to the time we had available, but it will for sure be at the top of my list for the next trip! I spent some time wandering through the local shops and of course picking up a few souvenirs. What’s a trip without them right? I then headed to The Inn at Arch Rock for the night. Due to the nature of our last second travels on the road trip we ended up in the one room that does not have an ocean view at the Bed & Breakfast, but let me just say it didn’t matter.  It was still a wonderful stay!  They have coffee in the room from a local coffee company and a decanter with some sherry in it to greet you upon your arrival. I immediately changed into some warmer clothes, it was only in the 60s at the end of June, and headed outside with a book and my camera.  The Inn has its own private backyard area on the cliff and access to a small beach. I ended up reading a whole two pages before wandering down the stairs to the private beach.  It was very small as it was nearing high tide that late, but still a nice view and experience.  There was even a little seal down there just hanging out!

dsc07910.jpgI then stayed outside until the sun set, soaking up every beautiful second wishing I could stay another night!

The next morning I went to the main office for breakfast. The coffee was amazing and the food they had was even better!  They have a local bakery delivery the pastries fresh every morning.  I had the pleasure of enjoying an apple cinnamon turnover with walnuts and caramel drizzle, and it was so fresh it was still warm when I got it!  I also was treated to a spectacular view while I ate.  They have a few small tables that you can eat at if you don’t want to go back to your room that face the ocean and have a pair of binoculars there in case you want to whale watch also!2017-07-26_22.10.58I then made the short drive to Newport to go to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.  I was disappointed to find out upon my arrival that the lighthouse was under construction and there were no tours available, but that wasn’t the main reason I went there so I was ok with it. As a heads up, there is a $7 per vehicle fee to enter the park. The first exciting thing that we came across when we arrived was a large gathering of people with binoculars and cameras pointed up to the edge of a cliff. Being the curious person I am, I tried to find what they were looking at.  Turns out, there were two fledgling peregrine falcons up there! I was lucky enough to see them fly around for awhile and capture a few photos too!

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After spending some time watching the birds I made my way down to the main attraction, the tide pools. I have never seen tide pools before so I wasn’t sure if there was something specific I was looking for or if it would be super obvious, so I went up to one of the rangers and asked them!  (Hint: its super obvious, even if you are from a land locked state.)  He then so kindly showed me the way to all of the cool starfish, because lets be real, that’s what everyone really wants to see. A side note for anyone going to this particular beach to tide pool, wear tennis shoes.  I was in sandals because well that’s what one wears to the beach right?  It was a bit difficult to keep up with the ranger as he was leaping and jumping over the tide pools, and the entire time I was following him I was concerned I was going to lose a shoe to the urchins and never be able to retrieve it. Luckily that didn’t happen, but consider yourself warned!   I was able to see some cool crabs, red and purple urchins, tons of muscles, starfish, and seals with their pups while I was there. It was an awesome experience!

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We also made a stop at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. This isn’t something that I would recommend.  While it was a very nice aquarium, there wasn’t anything spectacularly unique about it. I honestly preferred the Denver Aquarium over this one and found it very underwhelming, especially for the price. Save your wallet a little bit of pain and spend some time on one of the many beaches instead!

After the disappointing trip to the aquarium we wandered along a few more beaches and took in the views of Heceta Head Lighthouse and then turned the car east to make the journey back to Colorado. DSC08056.jpg

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.”
~Wyland