Fall Fun

Hey folks!

Been super busy with life at home.

Just wanted to show some love with these pictures from our recent visit to Edaville Theme Park in Carver, MA that remind us it’s autumn in New England 🍁 🎃🌽

My favorite season 🧡

Edaville theme park in the fall Jack-o-lantern decoration at edaville Pumpkins at Edaville

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Little Rock, Arkansas

On Monday, October 27th, we made the 5 hour drive from Dallas, TX to the capital city of Little Rock, Arkansas. Of course we defaulted by using Hotwire to book out hotel in downtown area and ended up landing La Quinta Inn & Suites. We were pleased that this place offered a fitness center, free breakfast, and complimentary parking too. There was minimal traffic on our drive, but as soon as we hit the downtown exits, we noticed a significant amount of cars. Luckily our hotel was on the edge of the downtown traffic, so we bypassed all of the stopped cars along the way, and it only took us a few minutes to arrive and check in. We noticed an entrance through the parking garage, but we had to check in to grab the room key to swipe to enter the parking garage.

After reading the Lonely Planet Travel USA guide, we were ready to take on this city. One thing we like about this book is that it gives you highlights of each of the major cities and places of interest in the U.S. It is just big enough with some small maps of downtown streets and just small enough to not be too much of a hassle to lug around during our road trip.

Our hotel is pretty close to the River Market district. We decided to walk there, but the hotel also offers a free shuttle to the market. It was around 5pm when we left the hotel to search for a place to go for dinner. We enjoyed our stroll to the riverside. Autumn was peering its way through to us as we felt the wind blow through our hair and clothes. Along the way we accomplished finding and placing our mini Frisbee placement in a nearby cache.

After that quick find, I was craving buffalo wings, so we decided (since we loved it so much in Texas) to check out The Flying Saucer. Trying some local Arkansas beer was definitely a plus too! The Queso Fondue looked pleasing to us and because the waitress informed us of the larger portion of this appetizer, we decided to just get the buffalo wings in addition rather than getting individual dinner entrees. I’m glad we definitely went that route, because we were really full, and we did not even finish those dishes. One thing we noticed was there was also a Flying Fish next/near the Flying Saucer we went to, similar to when we were in Dallas. I just came across this article, in the Memphis Business Journal, which confirms our initial idea that they are in fact owned by the same company!

After dinner we walked along the water and noticed some sculptured scattered throughout the area. We took some photos of the artwork and some neat touristy signs. There were a few running electric trolleys in transit and many people in restaurants on their laptops and electronic devices. The streets were really clean and the atmosphere was really nice.

The Farmer’s Market in the downtown area only opens on Tuesdays (May-August) and Saturdays (May-October). It’s just too bad we missed it already, although it was still romantic and run to see the area as the sun set and the moon came out on a quiet Monday evening. There is just so much to see in Little Rock, and we were surprised there are so many historical sites to visit. On our walk back to our hotel, we passed the Capital Hotel, the Marriott, and the Doubletree Inn by Hilton and down Broadway to reach our hotel.

The next morning we decided to stay in, skip breakfast, and get a nice workout in the morning at the fitness center. It was a small but functional room, and we really worked up some sweat in there. On to our next state: Tennessee, where we will be exploring Memphis!

Nebraska

Next up was Nebraska. We decided to stay in Omaha and dedicate a day to visiting Henry Doorly Zoo. When we arrived in Omaha it was a bit late and we had barely eaten all day. We checked in to our hotel, Hawthorn Suites, and decided to find some dinner. We stopped at a nearby Red Lobster. I actually don’t remember the last time I had been to a Red Lobster. There food was actually pretty good. It reminded me of Olive Garden, which makes sense since they are both owned by Darden Group. We headed back to our hotel which was a pretty nice room. There was a living area with a couch, kitchenette, and table, and there was a separate bedroom and bathroom. They also offer free breakfast which is always a plus in our book.

The next day Christina and I decided to head to the zoo. This is definitely the largest zoo that we have ever been to. There was so may different sections to the zoo we barely got to see half of it. We started off visiting the big cat exhibit. We got to see some really neat animals there and we got a few good photos. We were able to see a few bengal tigers, snow leopards, and lions.

After the cat exhibit we headed to see the apes. They had a multitude of monkeys and gorillas. We took some really good photos of the gorillas, and we took two of my favorite photos of the whole trip. We headed out of the ape exhibit and went to the barn. At the barn there were all different farm animals running around it pens. if you wanted you could go into the pens and pet the animals. We opted to stay outside the gate and just get some photos of the animals. While Christina was taking photos I noticed one goat that was sticking his tongue under the fence right near my shoe. He was trying to get the maple leaves that had fallen to the ground. I figured I would help him out and push some leaves towards him so he could eat them.

We found a small aviary that had parakeets, ducks, and some other birds flying around. We were able to go in and take some bird food on a stick so we could feed the birds and have them land on us. Christina kept chasing around the white and blue birds and trying to get them on her food stick, with no avail. There was also a larger aviary that we were able to go into. Here they had flamingos, and some other large pink birds, as well as some big heron.

At 3pm we were scheduled to watch an IMAX movie, Born to be Wild. It was about orphaned elephants and orangutans and the people who helped raise them. The animals were cared for until they were able to take care of themselves and then they were to be retuned to the wild. It was a really good film that got to show us some very caring people to have dedicated their whole lives to rescuing these animals.

We left the movie and headed straight to the indoor desert dome. This was the first desert exhibit we had ever gone to ever! There were some really interesting horticulture as well as wildlife to observe there. It was also very hot in there. After that, we headed to the “Creatures of the Night” exhibit, which was attached to the desert dome. It was a bit dark and scary for Christina, so we walked briskly through there past the bats, termites, crocs, snakes, frogs, and other amphibians. There was just so much to see!

The aquarium in the zoo was next on the agenda. It was a decent size. There was a shark reef, some jellyfish tanks, and a few other salt water tanks scattered around. The aquarium definitely was the size of most stand alone aquariums but it was pretty good considering it was part of a zoo. When leaving the aquarium we noticed that the pathways were blocked off. We asked one of the employees what was going on. They let us know it was their “Spooktacular” event. It was basically an event where kids could come and trick-or-treat as well as go into a couple of the exhibits. The only exhibits that were open were the ones that we had already been to so we decided to call it a day. We actually on viewed about half the zoo and wished we had another day there but what we did get to see was very good.

On our way out of the zoo we stopped in the parking lot where there was a cache hidden. The cache was a quick find and we were on our way back to the hotel.

The next morning we slept in and missed the hotels free breakfast, oh man! Since it was a little late we decided to hit the road. On our way out of town we needed to get a state magnet. I stopped to get gas and Christina ran into the gas station. She came out with magnet in hand and we were off to our next state.

The Grand Canyon

After Vegas, Michael and I attempted the 4 hour drive to the Grand Canyon.  However, we were very tired from Vegas, and it was getting dark at that point. So we made a pit stop at Kingman, AZ, where we stayed at a Days Inn for the night.   Upon check-in Michael was sneezing and getting chills: now it was his turn to get the rest he needs for the next leg of our trip. It was Monday, October 13th, Columbus Day. Check-out time was around 11am, and we made the journey to the Grand Canyon.

We entered through the South Rim, and we were happy to find out that it is the only entrance that is open year-round. We would have been able to enter through the North Rim because it closes on the 15th of October, but regardless we made a good decision. We took our time getting there as we stopped along the way. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, and we got there at the perfect time, around 3pm. The sun was shining towards the overlook, so it made for some great pictures.

Michael and I did not stay too long, but we watched a 22-minute video at the Visitor’s Center in the park. We stopped briefly at the National Geographic Visitors Center, which is located a few miles outside of the park, but they pretty much had a gift shop with an IMAX movie. So we decided to just head to the park itself to see it for ourselves. I know Michael was really looking forward to seeing the canyon, and I felt really bad that he now had to feel miserable while we checked it out.

After the Grand Canyon we stayed in Page, AZ for a night. Unfortunately a road was closed so it took us an extra 2 hours to get to our hotel for the night. I would not allow Michael to drive at all because he took care of me when I was sick, but for some reason, even though he was sick, he did not think I was doing him a favor.

The next morning Michael drove for 2 hours through Arizona to get to Utah. Along the way we stopped at Seigman, which is the birthplace of Rt 66, and found our cache there! We also found our magnet during a rest stop=success!