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Category Archives: Adventures

Las Vegas & Some of the Grand Circle – October 2011

I realised that I haven’t blogged much about our holiday trips, and figured that I really should, before I start forgetting about what we did on each holiday. We both thank God for this wonderful opportunity to travel more within the US, especially since most of our trips have largely only been within Asia thus far!

We are overwhelmed with the favour of God at every turn… fantastic weather, free upgrade of rental car, and everything always working together for our good without our conscious planning.

This will be a rather long entry… here it goes!

Day 1: Arrival at Vegas & Night displays

We took our virgin Southwest flight to Vegas and arrived in the late afternoon. We chose a later flight because it was the cheapest… Well, Vegas never sleeps at night, so we managed to still get quite a bit done!

We covered the ‘must see’ night shows/displays at a few of the resorts, including Sirens of TI at Treasure Island, Mirage Volcano Eruption, and the Bellagio water fountains. Since the night was still young after that was done, we continued to explore some of the others too, including Caesars Palace and Paris.

Sirens of TI at Treasure Island

'Volcano Eruption' at Mirage

Fountains @ Bellagio

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens... the tree's face can move!

Paris... in Vegas

Caesars Palace.. 'daytime' at night

Day 2: Exploring the Las Vegas Strip

A day of walking, walking, and more walking! We set out at 7am for breakfast off the strip at Eggs and I. Hubby had a breakfast skillet, and I had an egg-crepe hybrid. It was a pretty interesting meal, only that it was a little too salty for our Asian tastebuds.

We headed to the strip immediately after breakfast… and we realized that Vegas doesn’t wake up too early! Anyhow, we proceeded with our plans to explore the strip, and covered Luxor, Excalibur, New York New York, MGM, Planet Hollywood, M&Ms, Cosmopolitan, the Fashion Show Mall, Wynn, Palazzo, and Venetian. The Venetian was our favourite because of how we were transported into the world of Venice, with the architecture, gondolas, street performances, live ‘statues’, etc. According to our friends, the other IRs used to have people dressed in costumes walking around. Sadly, it seems that the Venetian is the only one which carries on with this.

The Venetian

In the evening, we watched Mystere by Cirque du Soleil, after which we went to the Fremont Street Experience, which is supposed to be the old Vegas Strip.

Day 3: Zion National Park

An early day! We set off at 7am for an approximate 2.5hr drive. We took the shuttle through the park, stopping at every stop for photos. We then hiked at various stops on the return shuttle. We did the Riverside walk, Weeping Rock, Emerald Pool, and the Canyon Overlook.

Our favourite: the Canyon Overlook hike! The trail was much less ‘perfectly’ paved than the others, which made it feel like a more interesting hike, rather than just a walk. The view throughout the hike was lovely, and the view at the end was surprising fantastic!

View at the end of the Canyon Overlook Trail

Day 4: Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce 'Amphitheatre'

Set off at about 7am. Oohed and ahhhed for a while at the first sighting of the ‘Amphitheatre’ at Sunrise Point,  then did the Queens Garden Trail-Navajo Loop Trail for 2 hours, which was one of our favourite hikes. Being at the bottom of the canyons was quite something. We got a lovely ‘shock’ when we entered the Wall Street, where the ‘walls’ closed in on us! We spent the remainder of our time driving around to the various look out points. We were left with about 2 hours of daylight at 4pm, and decided to embark on the fairyland trail which was 4 hours long. On hindsight, we should have done the fairyland hike and not the various look out points.

The hike was a little scary (ok, to me at least) because there wasn’t a single soul around! And I was paranoid of running into any animals, e.g. the Mountain Lion! I was already rehearsing in my mind the various options.. e.g. ‘in Jesus Name, go away!’ I even asked hubby what he would do…. After just about 40 minutes of hiking, I convinced hubby that we should return before it got dark. So very sadly, we only completed less than a quarter of the hike. I really do hope we will have a chance to return and complete the hike somehow. I think that if we had embarked on the hike earlier in the day, there would probably be other hikers around, and it would be less scary. The hardcore hiking without anyone else around is just not something a city girl like me is accustomed to.

the Wall Street

Day 5: Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Grand Canyon National Park

so surreal walking into this canyon

The most out of this world place.. the Antelope Canyon! We set off at 6.30am, only to discover upon arrival that they were on Pacific time (1 hr behind what we thought). We also didn’t make a reservation, and the first place we went to was booked. Thank God that He provided! We were driving around the other tour providers, and it so happened that one of the tour groups were starting that time, and a staff was around to help us. There was also exactly 2 more vacancies for us. We couldn’t close our jaws from the moment we stepped in. Awesome. Canyon Overland Tours with Rob was great!


dancing flame

a heart

On the way to Grand Canyon, we passed by a scenic lookout for the Horseshoe Bend, and decided to u-turn back to take a look. It was the right decision! Very nice! Some of the locals were just lying down and looking over the bend. Took about 30min.

Horseshoe Bend

Finally, we arrived at the Grand Canyon, but weren’t as impressed as we thought we’d be. Drove around to all the lookouts that were open to cars. Walked just a very short distance down one of the trails, which already appeared to be very strenuous. We didn’t have enough time, if not we would have attempted one hike.

Grand Canyon

After dinner, we took the shuttle to the most popular point for sunset (Hopi Point). On the way back in the shuttle, we realized that the moon was ‘rising’, so we ran with other tourists to a spot where the ‘moon rise’ could be seen. Everyone was trying to get good shots… using rocks and each other’s heads (?!) as tripods!


Day 6: Back to shopping and eating

On the journey back to Vegas, we passed through the historic Route 66 at Williams (where we stayed for the night after Grand Canyon), as well as Hoover Dam (the highest concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere). We spent the afternoon shopping, then checked-in at Mandalay Bay, took a short nap, and headed out to watch KA by Cirque du Soleil. It was simply AWESOME and mind-blowing, and in our opinion, much better than Mystere.

the historic route 66

Hoover Dam

Day 7: Mandalay Bay

Finally, a day where we could sleep in a little more and just relax! We headed straight for the ‘beach’ in the middle of the desert… the pool that Mandalay Bay is famous for. Loved our stay here!! Last stop was the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay.

Mandalay Bay

the lazy pool.. with a tide that pushes you along..

the wave pool

Goodbye Vegas for now. Thank You Jesus, and thank you hubby for the wonderful, fruitful holiday!


Trip to Red Fish Lake & Sun Valley (3-4 Sept 2011)

Realised that I haven’t been updating the blog on our holidays and adventures. Tsk myself! I really should, so that I would have proper ‘records’ of our 2 years here. So I will start now, before I generate further backlog. This post is about our most recent getaway (the posts will not be in chronological order due to how much backlog I have)

On this trip, we went to Red Fish Lake and Sun Valley. Sun Valley is supposed to be where the rich and famous holiday and ski. There were photos of Marilyn Monroe, Arnold, etc there. Apparently, a lot of celebrities have vacation homes there too.

Scenery on the way to Red Fish Lake

All the ladies!

Hubby at the Redfish Lake, Stanley

The water was super clear

I wanted to take these, but it's a good thing we didn't. Would have taken us forever to cover the whole lake!

Always happy to drive the boat

Such lovely scenery at the lake

Outdoor ice-skating rink at Sun Valley

you can dine here while watching the ice show at the ice-skating rink

Ice show! LOVED it so much. Lots of star performers.. Olympic medalists, US champions... Jaw-dropping stunts!

Side note on the Ice Show… We were the only ‘swa ku’ ones who didn’t know that we had to bring blankets to cover the very cold metal benches. Everyone else was so well-equipped with thick, fluffy blankets and puffy jackets!

car auction for all the happening vintage cars! Truly a place for the rich and famous.

the chair lift that we took to the top of Bald Mountain

Scenery from the peak of Bald Mountain

First outlet shopping trip

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Hubby brought me on my first ever outlet shopping trip over the weekend at Salt Lake City, Tanger Outlet, a scenic 4 hour drive away. Salt Lake City is a beautiful place surrounded by lots of mountains (and thus ski resorts). I really enjoyed myself spending time with hubby, and of course, shopping!

the same 'trees for sale' that I photographed on our way to the Shoshone Falls have turned green!!

Mountains high & valleys low, You will never let me go...

We were enjoying the view, with our fav church songs playing in the car 🙂

Finally at our destination after a long drive!

hotel room

shopping for the 1st night

7 Eleven has a petrol kiosk?!

lovely mountains

taking the climb up towards Tanger Outlet

shopping among the mountains

Interesting signs along the way

happy with all my shopping!

the spoil from the trip! my very first pair of Crocs, which are VERY comfy, some kitchen stuff, winter scarf, A&F hoodie, running shoes, winter boots, bag, balsamic vinegar

Shoshone Falls

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Our 7th May Saturday excursion was to the Shoshone Falls. The experience starts from the drive, because of the interesting scenery along the highway. Also, because of the high elevation here, the clouds feel really close to us. A very therapeutic way to start the day 🙂

Trees for sale on the right

Every turn brings a different view

We were literally gushing at the view every few minutes!

The clouds felt so close to us

It was a generally rainy day, as you can see from the pictures of the clouds. Thank God that it wasn’t raining during the window of time when we were at the Shoshone Falls and the Dierkes Lake.

The Shoshone Falls is 212 Feet high, and is 45 feet higher than Niagara Falls. It is also sometimes called the “Niagara of the West”. This period is one of the best times to go, according to some reviews on Trip Advisor, as the water is diverted for irrigation in later months, leading to a smaller volume of water flow at the falls.

Here is a video and some pictures of the beautiful falls. It was really quite breathtaking. Unfortunately my photography skills really don’t do much justice to the view!

Niagara of the West!

Dierkes Lake - you can actually swim here, but it was too cold that day

Farmers’ Market @ Boise

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The Farmers’ Market just opened 2 weekends ago at Boise (1 hour drive from where we are), and we have already been there twice! I reallyed enjoy just walking down the booths, soaking in the atmosphere, taking photos, trying food, etc.

Here’s some pictures from both visits…

First visit:

Cilantro - my first herb plant ever! From the market!

Flowers in my favourite colour... How to resist...

Next up are pictures from our 2nd trip on 23rd Apr… This time it was more happening because it was sponsored by Toyota, with little treats like a free potted plant in exchange for you going food tasting at some chefs’ booths for free. Ok, at least it was more happening to me!

Passport to getting the free potted herbs

New additions to my herbs family... Oregano and Lemon Basil... Yipee!!!

C.J. Strike Dam

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There seems to be a whole lot of outdoor things to do in Idaho. We clocked on our first on Sunday – C.J. Strike Dam. We wanted to jog when we were there, but it was too cold, so we ended up just doing a recce, taking pictures, and going back to the gym to jog instead! haha

It’s a really beautiful place, and it’s only a short drive away. Here’s some photos… We’ll be back for sure!

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