Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Along the way....

We stumbled upon this...

and ironically, a church is located at the intersection.  hmmm.

Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas

Another one of Chuck's picks was the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.  Dare I admit that he actually has really good instincts about good sights to visit?!?!?

The Library is located in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas and was (relatively) easy to get to.  There was a March of Dimes walk/run, so the area was blocked off and Garmin was in a tizzy, but we managed.

There is a pedestrian walk/run/bike bridge that crosses the Arkansas River next to the Library.  After looking at the replica Oval Office, Situation room and reading letters and daily agendas, we walked the bridge and the nature area.

Without inciting a riot (and nasty comments), I'll admit that Clinton (minus his personal transgressions) was one of my favorite U.S. Presidents.  The Library clearly highlights his achievements, specifically as it relates to his economic policies and budget/debt accomplishments.

We should have spent time at the Heifer Village and downtown Little Rock.  Next time.

Bollinger Mill Park, near Burfordville, Missouri

My sister let us borrow her "Off the Beaten Path" Reader's Digest book.  Chuck was perusing the book in search of some odd things to do as we made our journey from Chicagoland to New Orleans and back. His pick....Bollinger Mill Park.

The State Historic Park is located in Burfordville, MO, which was a slight detour on our way to Cape Girardeau, Missouri for our first overnight stop.

Inside the large mill, you can watch corn being ground into meal.  The Burfordville covered bridge is one of four covered bridges that remain in Missouri.  It is only open to pedestrian traffic, but it seems sturdy enough for a car...if you can get past the concrete pylons!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Travel Planner Competition

About 3 months ago, Chuck challenged me to a little competition.  And, if you know me, I am quite the competitive person, so I was ALL-IN!  I am also the person that planned of our trips while living in Europe, so this was going to be easy-peasy.

The rules were:
1. If flying, no flight over 4 hours.
2. Must be a city neither of us has been to.
3. Must plan the trip keeping the other person's interests in mind.
4. Each city is 3-4 days.

I picked New Orleans and planned everything around Chuck's interests.  He planned Memphis. 

The winner has been announced...but I'll post about both trips and I'm sure it will be evident who won! :-)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Saguaro National Park in Arizona

Chuck decided to work with a contractor one day, so I hopped in the rental car and headed south to Saguaro National Park.

The Saguaro National Park in pictures...

The streets of Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale, Arizona in pictures...

Restaurant Review - Sam's Cafe, Phoenix, AZ

After galavanting throughout the southwest, it was time to head back to Phoenix and meet up with our German friend, Nils.  We decided to go to Sam's Cafe for dinner, which has some amazing food!

The location is a bit weird as it's located within a mall in downtown Phoenix.  However, once you walk in the door, you forget all about it.

Our group of four ordered a variety of meals and everyone was more than satisfied.  The meal started with homemade chips and salsa.  The homemade chips not only included blue and corn tortilla chips but also some sweet potato chips, which were quite tasty!  The chicken fajitas were wonderful and reasonably priced ($11.95).  There was a nice portion of black beans, rice, peppers and onions and plenty of chicken for two meals.  The fajitas had a little hint of sweetness that was unexpected, but balanced the flavors nicely.

There's a reason why there is a two margarita limit.  Yikes!  For a light-weight drinker, I was feeling the affects after just one!!!  The margaritas are delivered in your own personal shaker and each one has about 2.5 glasses in it ($10.95).   I might have to hop the next flight just to have one of those margaritas again!

Restaurant Review - Oak Creek Brewery, Sedona, AZ

We tried a few restaurants while in Sedona, Arizona.  The first one was Oak Creek Brewery in the Tlaquepaque Village.  We typically have good luck at brew pubs and with the advertisement that they had views of the red rocks, I thought this was going to be a sure win!

Well, more of a mixed bag....

There are absolutely no views of the red rocks, unless you sit in one of the two seats outside up against the rail.  We passed and opted to eat inside.

The food and beverage, on the other hand, was wonderful.  The caprese chicken sandwich was divine.  The balsamic reduction had just enough sweetness to transform the overall flavor.

The flight offered with the Seven dwarfs is a great way to sample seven different brews.  The micro light was surprisingly good and quite refreshing.

As long as dining with a view of the Red Rocks isn't your priority, this is a great stop for a quick bite to eat.

Restaurant Review - Beaver Creek Brewery, Flagstaff, AZ

Dang, I'm behind a bit.  It seems I have about 10 draft posts in the queue that need to be finished.  And, now that we've returned from a 10 day road trip down the Mississippi River, I have MORE posts to write.

Without further adieu...

After a long day at the Grand Canyon, we were ready for a break.  Thank goodness for Smartphones.  I found my tripadvisor app and looked for a casual restaurant in the Flagstaff, Arizona area.

Given that my two co-travelers (hubs and German friend, Nils) happen to have this deep affection for beer, I thought the Beaver Creek Brewery would be a good bet.

It was (almost) perfect.  The only hiccup in the experience was the wait.  If you're in a hurry, it's best to save yourself the hassle and just pick a different restaurant.  However, if you have time to sit, relax, chat, and enjoy your day, then make this a stop when in Flagstaff.

We started with the pizza chip appetizer, which was a bit odd.  It's basically triangles of crispy cheese pizza with marinara sauce for dipping.  It was okay, but I wouldn't order it again.  The calypso salad with grilled chicken was fantastic!  The raspberry dressing was great and the chipotle walnuts were an added treat.  Honestly, I'd fly back from the midwest just to have this salad again.  Hubs had the southwest turkey grinder and loved it.  There wasn't a morsel left on any of our plates, so it must have been good!!