Monday, September 17, 2018

Camping Gear, Zero Plans, and Missouri Highways

It's that time of year again, camping season.  We took off for the long holiday weekend, Labor Day, without any reservations and decided to see where the back roads of Missouri would take us.  Normally we wouldn't camp before now, it's way to warm, but the temperatures were going to be in our favor.  The morning started off rainy but a few hours East and the sunshine decided to grace the sky.

As we made our way on Hwy 50, we decided to take a small detour to Hermann to grab a bite to eat at the local park there.  Nothing better than a sandwich, chips and and an ice cold Banquet to satisfy a person.  We needed to stretch our legs anyway and let Lola run around.  Southbound on Hwy 19, we figured we had better decide where we wanted to set up camp for the evening. A quick google search in the Mark Twain National Forest led us to Red Bluff Campground.  We had no idea if any spots would be available but took the chance.  We drove up the park and actually found the perfect location.  It was a smaller campsite but had some amazing views and a crystal clear creek running right across from where we landed.  The BF made a quick run to talk to the camp host and I started setting up camp.

It was time to cool off, which meant a quick change into our bathing suits before heading to Huzzah Creek.  The water was running and the temperature was perfect.  The rocky bottom creek ranged in depths anywhere from 6 inches to maybe a foot, so  it was great for wading and letting Lola cool off.  As we made our way further down the creek, I was trailing behind; flip-flops are a bit of a challenge when wading. Never did I think I would look down into the perfect clear water to see a snake, popping it's head out of the rocks staring at me...you can imagine my reaction. Screaming, jumping, trying to run to shore, and avoiding the snake, all while trying to keep my shoes on without falling down.  Picture that, you are welcome.  It took me a minute to catch my breath before I realized there was one way back to camp, crossing the creek.  I made the other two lead the way, and I followed closely behind.

After getting the fire started, we prepared dinner which consisted of Teriyaki Rice with grilled tomatoes, onions, and avocado.  A night of card games was the perfect way to end the evening before hitting the tent and starting to read Hatchet, a wilderness survival novel by Gary Paulsen.  I definitely recommend it.

The next morning we made a breakfast scramble of eggs, potatoes, and bacon; a few cups of hot tea, and a few hours of enjoying the crisp air before packing up and heading on our way to the next destination, which at this point, was still unknown.  We would take off through Mark Twain National Forest and just drive; which lead us to some unexpected destinations before finding our home for the rest of the weekend.












Happy Camping!
Shona

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Beach Days and Tropical Nights

For the final days of our adventure in Mexico, we decided to take it easy! After touring the Mayan Ruins, check out my previous blog post for the details on that, it was time to hit the beach!  This meant finding the perfect spot, under a shade umbrella, listening to the sounds of the Caribbean and taking in the salty air.  Oh and being served tropical drinks and food without ever getting up!  After a few hours of complete relaxation, we had dinner reservations at Chianti.

Chianti is an Italian restaurant located at the resort, Hotel Nyx, where we were staying.  We made our way at sunset which was perfect timing for a great photo before heading into enjoy dinner.  The service was great and the food was even better.  I started with Beef Steak Carpaccio followed by the Caprese Salad, while he opted for the Spicy Tuna.  For the main course I chose the Neapolitan Ravioli which was very filling.  A few cocktails ended dinner perfectly before we headed to end the night with the local bartenders.

The last full day in paradise, we spent entirely at the beach. After having an early breakfast and changing into proper beach attire, we found our usual chairs which we managed to have the entire time we were there and settled in.  Hours of beach time, napping, eating, enjoying fruity drinks and a few tequila shots in between was the perfect Sunday.  We did take a small break so I could get my most favorite souvenir, my maracas, made right there in Mexico!  The next and final morning in Cancun {insert sad face}, we managed to get a late checkout. He had some emails to get to, so I made my way to the beach for a few more hours of sunshine, sand, and sea before he joined me for our last tropical cocktails beach-side. As we were leaving a storm rolled in but it was the perfect ending to one amazing adventure.












Sea you soon Mexico! 
Shona 

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Iguanas and The El Rey Ruins

Right in the heart of what the locals call the Zona Hotelera lies the amazing ancient El Rey Mayan Ruins which date back to 1200 A.D. The ruins include 47 stone buildings and a temple shaped as a pyramid.  This region marks the entrance known as the Mundo Maya or Mayan World.  These ruins will take you back in time as you walk the grounds in which they rest.  The Mayans abandoned this area once the Spanish settlers arrived.  Although many of the ruins have deteriorated with time, you can still make out images that resemble kings or other significant members.

The Zona Archeologica del Rey is a self guided tour which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to see. It just depends on how fast you can run from the Iguanas! Just kidding, but they are everywhere and another attraction to the ruins.  They are used to people so there is nothing to be afraid of, however, I kept my distance.  I did manage to snap an iguana selfie, of course.  The iguanas do blend in very well with their surroundings, so there's your warning! There is little to no shade so make sure and bring plenty of water and sunscreen.  The day we visited it had rained that morning, so it was very hot and humid!  But well worth the small fee to tour the historical site and being drenched in sweat!  Although these ruins aren't as grand as some of the others a bit further from Cancun, I am glad we made the short bus ride there.  It's located at the edge of the Nichupte lagoon, near the center of the hotel district which makes it convenient to get to.










Until next time Iguanas!
Shona

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