Follow by Email

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Fiesta Bowl Parade

2013 Fiesta Bowl Parade
Fiesta Bowl Parade

Onlookers lined the streets of Phoenix, AZ today to watch the 2013 Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade.

Fiesta Bowl Parade float
Fiesta Bowl Float

Locals and visitors alike, including fans from Central Florida and Baylor, and Kansas State and Michigan cheered as floats and marching bands representing their teams passed by.

Fiesta Bowl Parade
Tostitos Balloon Floats


It was a beautiful day for a parade! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Papago Park-Part 1: Hole-In-The-Rock

Hole-In-The-Rock at Papago Park

What do unique sandstone formations that mark the passage of time, a prisoner of war camp, lagoons, desert flora, and a vast array of animals have in common?  They are all part of the diverse history and present day activities associated with Papago Park, located in Phoenix, Arizona.  Today’s post marks the first in a series of interesting lore and points of interest about this unique urban retreat.
With the winter solstice just around the corner, I thought it would be a great time to feature an ancient time piece known as Hole-In-The-Rock, located within Papago Park. Hole-In-The-Rock is a beautiful sandstone butte with large cave like holes in it.  The holes, called tofani, are the result of water eroding the minerals in the sandstone over time.
Hole-In-The-Rock at Papago Park
Visitors enjoying the view from Hole-In-The-Rock
Archaeologists believe the Hohokam, a native tribe of ancient desert farmers who inhabited the region until the mid-15th century, used Hole-In-The-Rock as a way to keep track of the seasons.  During the Winter Solstice, a ray of light from the sun interacts with a seam in the sandstone rock.
The Summer Solstice, which occurs on June 21, is believed to have been marked by the sun shining on a metate grinding slick on the floor of the opening.
For pagans and non-pagans alike, Hole in the Rock is a fun easy hike with great views of the city. There is an easily accessible trail on the back side of the rock formation. The climb takes about 10 minutes.  Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and take your camera.  You could even pack a picnic!
Hole-In-The-Rock hiking trail
Hiking trail on the back side of Hole-In-The-Rock
If you go: 
Papago Park is located at 625 N. Galvin Parkway
And remember, stay tuned to Travelpacked for part two of this urban park series.
Papago Park-Hole-In-The-Rock
Hole-In-The-Rock at Papago Park

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Travel Quote Slide Show

Please enjoy my favorite travel quotes paired with pictures I have taken during some of my travels.  Comments are welcome.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Travel Tips for People with Hearing Loss

October is a great time to travel. The leaves are changing colors.  There is a crispness in the air.  It is also National Audiology Awareness Month in the U.S.  As such, I thought it would be a good time to address the challenges that people with hearing loss experience while traveling.  After consulting several professional resources, I compiled a list of the best travel tips for people with hearing impairment:

  1. Do not pack your hearing aids or cochlear implant in your checked luggage. Carry them on.
  2. Bring an extra set of hearing aids with you, especially on long trips. Consider purchasing an inexpensive set of hearing aids as a back up.
  3. Keep paper and pens handy for communication. You can also use various apps on your smart phone if you find yourself in a situation that is too noisy to verbally communicate.
  4. Take a vibrating alarm clock with you. Not all countries have special accommodations for people with hearing loss.
  5. Take extra batteries, cleaning tools, wax guards, domes, and a mini dry aid kit with you.
  6. If you have a cochlear implant or other implantable device make sure you take your medical ID card with you.
  7. You do not need to take your hearing aids off as you go through security.
  8. Train stations and airports can be very noisy. Do not rely on your ability to hear boarding announcements or directions. Check monitors often for changes in flight or train schedules.
  9. Make sure your travel documents are in order and handy. If you can't hear the customs officials, just hand them your documents and let them know you have a hearing impairment.
  10. Check ahead of time if your hotel is equipped for the hearing impaired. If so, book that room, if available. In the U.S. larger hotels are required to have handicapped accessible rooms. This includes amplified telephones and visual alerts for both the phone and smoke alarm.
  11. Use your T-coils while traveling, especially in Europe. Looping is very popular there.
  12. Ask your tour guide to use an Assistive Listening Device (ALD).
  13. Set your phone to vibrate or go off near departure time in case you can't hear the boarding announcement.
  14. Take the name and phone number of your audiologist or customer service department of the device manufacturer with you. They can ship spare parts or direct you to a professional near your travel destination in case of emergency.
For further information and helpful tips for travelers with hearing impairment consult these resources:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Beachy Keen

The gentle ocean breeze, sounds of the surf crashing to the shore, surfers, and bikini clad sun worshipers scattered along the white sand beach make Oceanside, California a great beach destination.

Oceanside Beach
Oceanside Beach

A quintessential beach town along the California coast, Oceanside has a lot to offer.  The classic wooden pier reminiscent of days gone by is a prominent landmark of this friendly beach town.  While there, make sure you walk to the end of the pier to grab a bite to eat at Ruby’s Diner.  The kids will love it and so will you.
Take a break from the beach and head inland to Mission San Luis Rey, the largest of the California missions, or cruise the coast highway (Historic Route 101) through downtown Oceanside.  Next, stop at Oceanside Harbor Village to shop, have dinner, or enjoy the boats.  We went to Harbor Village at sunset and had some spectacular nautical views.
Oceanside Harbor
Oceanside Harbor Village
Whether you love to ride the waves, bask in the sun or just enjoy the laid back vibe of a beach town, Oceanside, CA is for you.  It truly is beachy keen.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Toast in the Desert

Arriba, Abajo, Al Centro, Al Dentro, Salud!  These words make for an interesting start to happy hour at the JW Marriott Starr Pass in Tucson, Arizona.  This traditional tequila toast, shared with guests at sunset each evening, is one of the many traditions that make this hotel a great place to stay the next time you visit Tucson, AZ.
Cactus FlowerThe toast is completed on the hotel’s back patio amidst the magnificent beauty of the Sonoran Desert.  Guests in attendance are treated to the Legend of Arriba Abajo as they enjoy the stunning views, a complimentary shot of tequila, and an occasional glimpse of desert wildlife.  We were lucky enough to spot a family of mule deer amongst the amazing flora of the desert surroundings.
According to the legend, a Mexican revolutionary, General Pancho Villa, was madly in love and wanted to marry his beloved, Juanita.  When he asked Juanita’s father, Don Pablo, for her hand, Don Pablo devised a plan to avoid losing his daughter.  He challenged General Villa to a tequila drinking contest.
I am not going to tell you how the legend ends.  You will have to visit the JW Marriot Starr Pass to find out!  And while you are there, take time to enjoy a round of golf on the Arnold Palmer golf course, float on the lazy river, relax at the Hashani spa or just drink up the beauty of the Sonoran desert.  Salud! 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Presidential Experience

Richard Nixon Presidential Library
Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
Who is considered the second greenest president of the United States, a supporter of women’s liberation and gay rights, and the man who predicted that Khrushchev’s children would live in freedom?  These interesting facts and more can be learned at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library located in Yorba Linda, California.
Berlin Wall
A portion of the Berlin Wall
There you will find an interesting array of artifacts, documents, photos, and multi-media exhibits.  Not just of President Nixon’s life during his presidency, but a history of America and the many changes that took place during a significant part of the twentieth century.  From the house where Richard Nixon was born to his final resting place, both located on the beautiful library grounds, people of all ages will enjoy the vast collection of American history the museum has to offer.
Limousine of President Nixon
Presidential Limousine


So the next time you are in southern California, be sure to make time to visit the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.  It’s only a short drive from Disneyland. 

Birthplace and Childhood Home of Richard Nixon
Birthplace and Childhood Home of Richard Nixon
If you go:
Operating Hours
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. 

Adult $11.95
Children (7-11) $4.75
Children (6 and under) Free
Be sure to ask for your military, AAA or student discount.


Monday, February 4, 2013

The Town That Time Forgot

Assisi, Italy
Stepping out of the tour bus and onto the uneven cobblestone street, I felt transported back in time.  As I looked around, lush landscape and rolling hills were visible as far as the eye could see.  A stone staircase carved out of the hillside was the only path that led to the charming town that time forgot. 
Passing through the massive medieval gate and into the heart of the city, I was greeted by an array of wild flowers whose intoxicating fragrance filled my senses.  I was entranced by the peacefulness and charm of the city.  The ancient stone buildings, the Franciscan monks in brown wool robes strolling the narrow cobblestone streets, the merchants displaying their wares in the windows of quaint shops, the ancient basilica nestled in the hillside. 
Sitting atop the rolling hills of the Italian countryside in the Umbria region of Italy lays the ancient town of Assisi.  Best known for being the birthplace of St. Francis, the patron saint of Italy, Assisi is a destination not to be missed.