Compass Cove OceanFront Resort, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA

Myrtle Beach South Carolina USA

Myrtle Beach South Carolina USA

Myrtle Beach South Carolina is a fun family destination.  Lots of families with kids just enjoying the water. Food and lodging are reasonable. You can even walk to the McDonald’s from the beach in your swimming suit from the Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort where we stayed.

Compass Cove Myrtle Beach South Carolina

Compass Cove Myrtle Beach South Carolina

Compass Cove had its own entertainment including a mini water park, arcade and several swimming pools.

Compass Cove Myrtle Beach South Carolina

Compass Cove Myrtle Beach South Carolina

Our room had a beautiful ocean view. You can view the sunrise from the balcony. A beautiful way to start the day.

Compass Cove Myrtle Beach South Carolina

We walked right to the beach from the hotel. It felt safe and it was fun to get right to the beach from the hotel. It made washing up later so much easier.

Compass Cove Myrtle Beach South Carolina

Compass Cove Myrtle Beach South Carolina

 


Fall Colors in Wamego, Kansas

Fall Colors in Wamego Kansas

Fall Colors in Wamego Kansas

You can find the most beautiful trees of varying colors at the Wamego City Park in Kansas.  Just go North on Highway K-99 (also known as the OZ Highway) from Interstate I-70.

Fall in Wamego Kansas

Fall Reflections in Wamego Kansas

The park is just North of the Kansas River (as you enter the city of Wamego go East on old US Highway 24) with a beautiful Schonhoff Dutch Mill overlooking a beautiful lake. The reflections of the trees on the water is just beautiful.

 

Fall Colors Wamego Kansas

Wamego Windmill –  Fall in Kansas

There are also other cool things to see and do in the park from a beautiful Veteran’s memorial, children’s train (runs from April to October), swimming pool, tennis courts, playground and  Wamego’s Historical Museum and Prairie Town Village .


River Thames Cruise London United Kingdom

Thames London United Kingdom

Thames London United Kingdom

London Thames Clippers

London Thames Clippers

 

I had very little time in London on one of my trips but sure made the most of it. It was raining but I got into a Thames Clipper (fast river boat), stayed warm and dry while watching one landmark after another go by. You can really see a lot by just taking a ride in one of these beautiful Thames Clippers.

London River Cruise

London Tower Bridge – River Cruise

I started from the Emirates Air Line (which is a cable line that goes across the Thames River), with an aerial view of London. It is a beautiful view if you don’t mind the heights. I then took a Thames Clipper to London Eye. Worth every penny spent! Once you get off at the London Eye, you can walk across the Westminster Bridge to Big Ben. You can take all the photos from the Westminster Bridge with the Big Ben and the Parliament buildings in the background. Walk a little further and visit the Westminster Abbey. It is gorgeous. There is an Underground Tube station (Subway Train)  nearby that will hustle you to your next destination.

Westminster Tube Station London

Westminster Tube Underground Subway Station London United Kingdom


Schiphol International Airport Amsterdam Netherlands

Schiphol Train Hub Amsterdam

Schiphol Train Hub Amsterdam

An amazing airport where you can shop, dine, sleep, shower, check into a hotel and it is all integrated with a sophisticated transportation hub. It is also beautifully designed to make you feel like you have room to rest and relax! You can pretty much fly from anywhere to every where. They have places where you can securely lock your luggage and leave the airport for a trip into Amsterdam or connect to major European cities by train. The airport is clean and green (eco friendly). Most locals speak good English, friendly and helpful to travelers. The security screening process is also efficient and fast given the number of passengers that are routed from this airport.

Schiphol International Airport Netherlands

Schiphol International Airport Netherlands

Schiphol is the hub for the KLM (Royal Dutch) Airlines. Many other Premium and Low Cost Carriers fly via Schiphol Amsterdam. There is no need to drive or take a train to get to your low cost airlines if that is your choice.  This makes the airport a great hub to start your journey into Europe or other continents.

Schiphol International Airport Netherlands

 


Road Warrior Tech Gadgets

Road Warrior Tech Gadgets

Road Warrior Tech GadgetsRoad Warrior Tech Gadgets

 

If you work and travel, you will need tech gadgets to stay connected to your office and still have fun.  While a speedometer will let you know how many miles you have travelled (if you are driving),  you may be completely jetlagged while flying. You may not even know what time zone you are in or what time it is at your destination.

Time Zone Globe Schiphol Airport Netherlands

Time Zone Globe Schiphol Airport Netherlands

A good smartphone is a must. It is almost impossible to go anywhere without a mobile or cell phone. Since it is quite expensive to call from abroad, we recommend purchasing local sim cards in the country you are travelling to. Problem is most US phones do not work overseas.  You will need a GSM phone like from AT&T or T-Mobile unlocked. GSM phones work well when travelling to international destinations as it will take their local sim cards. Standard Sprint PCS and Verizon Cdma do not use GSM technology.

If you have a Mobile VoIP App (Voice Over IP or Internet App), you can get your voice mail (as an audio attachment) in your email on your smartphone even when you are abroad. You can get virtual local phone numbers that you can answer live over the Internet while travelling.

For an example, you can have your family call you on their local number (say in San Francisco, USA), which you can answer while you are in London. It will be a local free call for your family. You will need to have access to the internet via Wi-Fi or local mobile data from your local in country phone company. This really opens up world travel.

You can also use apps like WhatsApp (now owned by Facebook) , Skype (now owned by Microsoft), Google Hangouts etc. The neat thing about your own mobile app is you can even program or filter which calls you wish to answer and send the rest to voice mail. If you run the mobile app via your corporate or work VPN or Private VPN, you can have better encryption and privacy.

 

 


Pacific Coast Highway 1 California USA

Pacific Coast

Pacific Coast

California’s Highway 1 is probably the 2nd most famous US highway after Route 66. If you have driven the Trail Ridge Road hugging the side of the Rocky Mountains (Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park), you would observed the steep valleys below. Here you will get to drive high above the cliffs with the  the Pacific Ocean below.  It is a drive with gorgeous views at every turn and along the way.

California

Panaromic view of the Pacific Coast from Highway 1 – California’s Pacific Coast Highway. Stunning beauty and raw power of the Pacific Ocean.  You can see white caps as the waves hit the rocks below.

Pacific Coast

Beautiful Flowers Adorn the Pacific Coast Highway

Beautiful flowers grow on the side of the cliffs from the mist of the Pacific Coast Ocean spray. In some places, you can park the car on the side of the road and get off on a trail to the hidden sandy beaches below.

 

Pacific Coast Highway California USA

Pacific Coast Highway California USA

Amazing engineering work done to build bridges connecting one cliff to another. If you are headed south, you will have land on the left and the Pacific Coast Ocean view on the right.


Great Smoky Mountains National Park USA

Great Smoky Mountains National Park USA

Great Smoky Mountains National Park USA

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-see. It is one of the few national parks that you can visit for free, which is a great bonus for a family on a budget.

One feature that is interesting if you go at just the right time of year is an area where the lighting bugs, a.k.a. fireflies, light up in sync with one another. We were not there at the right time when we visited, but our waiter in Pigeon Forge told us about it, and we researched where to go next time. Our future trip will most likely be timed to see those special lighting bugs.

There are a lot of beautiful trees and wooded areas, as well as the distinctive smoky look of the mountains. Friendly park rangers give educational presentations about the history of the area and the wildlife. It is common to see elk and other wildlife.

When visiting the park, you can stay in Pigeon Forge, which has a variety of family-friendly entertainment and lodging options. Or there is Gatlinburg, which is a beautiful family-friendly tourist town.


Rocky Mountain National Park USA

Beautiful Estes Park is the closest town to the Rocky Mountain National Park’s East entrance. You can find affordable lodging and restaurants here.  Even Elk roaming the golf course in the Fall!

Rocky Mountain National Park Bear Lake

Take a gentle hike around this lake and enjoy its beauty. You can see the Rocky Mountains reflecting on the water. Stand or sit (some rocks you can even lay down flat) on any of the  huge rocks on the side Bear Lake’s and soak in the beauty of this place.

 

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park – Trail Ridge Road

As you drive on the Trail Ridge Road (closed in the Winter), take some time to stop and take photos at the various stops.  Due to the high altitude, drinking lots of water and taking gentle strides in your walk will help you catch your breath. You can get out of breath easy at this high altitude!

View from Alpine Visitor Center Rocky Mountain National ParkView from Alpine Visitor Center Rocky Mountain National Park

Stop at the Alpine Visitor Center for some food and a break in the trip. Enjoy the view of the valley and melting snow (depending on the time of the year and amount of Winter snow).

Beautiful tundra. You can find beautiful flowers up high in the mountains. Please keep to the trails and try not to damage this fragile ecosystem.


Rocky Mountain Glaciers are melting away. Let the kids run out some steam by hiking and sliding!

Poudre Lake Colorado

Milner Pass  and Poudre Lake ColoradoGet up to the Poudre Lake and Milner Pass and take a photo next to the Continental Divide sign. You have been to the roof of the United States! Water flows either East to the Atlantic Ocean or West to the Pacific Ocean.

 


Golden Gate Bridge California USA

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco California USA

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco California USA

If you ask most people to list one thing that they know about San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge would be at the top of the list. The problem is that when you drive across it, you really don’t get a great view of it.  You can take photos at the park by the entrance, but that may not be what you are looking for if you want great photos.

Where do you go if you want to get the nice view from the photo above?  Baker Beach is the place.   And as a bonus, you get to hang out at the beach for awhile. We had a wonderful time there, watching the kids enjoy the waves and taking photos. The water was too cold to swim when we were there in June, but it was a great place for a nice walk along the beach.  Watching my kids enjoy playing with the waves coming in, I couldn’t help but think of Frank Sinatra singing “I left my heart in San Francisco”.  The photo below is how I remember that day.  And we also got some good photos of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Family Beach

Baker Beach, San Francisco

 

To give you some idea of the different views of the Golden Gate Bridge, see the photos below.  The first one is the view from the small park right by the bridge. The second shows how much more of the bridge is visible from Baker Beach.

Golden Gate Bridge

View of Golden Gate Bridge from park with Lonely Sailor Statue

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge as viewed from Baker Beach


Puget Sound Seattle Washington USA

Puget Sound Washington USA

Puget Sound Washington USA

A ferry ride on the deep blue waters of Puget Sound is an easy way to view Seattle, Washington and Mount Rainier (in a distance). Get on a ferry to Bainbridge Island, Washington. Park your car on the ferry and enjoy the ride. The Seagulls will join you for the ride as well. Enjoy the sea breeze and watch the scenes around you.