Monday, December 24, 2018

Cancun Christmas 2018 - Day One & Two

Merry Christmas, from Cancun! The girls and I flew down yesterday on an uneventful direct flight. We were on the beach by 2pm and enjoying the sun. This is the first all-inclusive I have done with the girls and they seem to be enjoying it.

After a few hours on the beach we showered and went out for dinner. Annelies continues to be a picky eater and had some chocolatey cereal after our seafood dinner.

We are staying at Occidental Tucancun. The place is nice. A bit smaller than some other resorts I’ve been but it is clean, service is great, and the food is good. 

Paradis and I went to the bar after dinner and Annelies joined us after a couple movies. Paradis made some friends and hung out with them while Anna and I went back to the room. Annelies was worried when Paradis hadn’t returned by 2:30am and went looking for her. We had to a little chat this morning setting ground rules around traveling with one another now that they are adults. We continue to grow.

Day two began rather late as we slept in. We had lunch and plopped our butts in some chairs on the beach. The girls made it out to the water a couple times. We played BINGO from our lounge chairs. We ate guacamole and chips. We applied sunscreen on a schedule, which included alarms being set for the white girls. We had our photo taken with Santa. It was a perfect day.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Final: Scooters, the Beach & Punch

Day two on the island began with renting scooters. We have been waiting a long time for this day, when all of us had our license and this would be possible. Let me tell you, this is definitely our preferred mode of transportation. If you are a follower of my blog you may remember the time we went kayaking in Acadia Park...this was much easier! Afterward Anna started searching for scooters on Facebook Marketplace; she loved it.

Annelies & Paradis Scootering on Madeline Island

The Open Road - Madeline Island

Rae Ann & Paradis

The scooters included a pass to the State Park so we drove there, walked along the water and returned. We only rented for one hour, but the $86 was well worth it. We returned to our rental, changed into our suits and went to Big Bay Town Park. We simply hung out at the beach, the girls collected rocks for our collection jars, and I visited with my friend Michael (which included meeting his lovely wife and wicked smart son). How is it we can be on a small island and I run into someone I know...small world.

Big Bay Town Park Madeline Island

Annelies on the Beach - In the Shade Watching Netflix

Collecting Rocks

The sun sucks our energy, so we returned to our rental and napped for a couple hours (we love naps!). We were told Tom's Burnt Down Cafe is the place to be on a Saturday night on the island so we made our way there. If you haven't been, it is basically a trucker trailer with some refrigerators sitting alongside a bunch of lean-to structures (think "shit hole"). Not sure why it is called a cafe, we never saw food. We were told the Rum Punch was the drink of choice so we ordered a couple...holy shit those things were pure alcohol! We walked across the road to Beach Club where we ordered fish tacos and a burger. The tacos were good but we feel my friend Michael described the burger best "some people say it is the best burger...maybe the best on the island". The company was good. We returned to our rental, built a fire, cooked some s'mores, made friends with Abby the house dog, and simply hung out. It was a lovely evening.

Tom's Rum Punch
Tom's Burnt Down Cafe

Abby and Paradis
I'm writing this on our drive home (Paradis is driving, Anna is sleeping in the back). Paradis said it best "this was a great little get away for the summer". I agree.

Thanks for following me, once again, my friends. I end this trip with 51,440 views and even more travel adventures in my brain.

Hope to see you on the road some day, Rae Ann

p.s. Huge thanks to Paradis for driving!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Island: Road Trippin' & Plenty of Laughs

Greetings friends. The girls and I are back on the road...literally. Yesterday we drove through the heart of Wisconsin and made our way to Madeline Island - the largest of the Apostle Islands. I'm writing this post overlooking Gitchi-Gami (AKA Lake Superior).

Prior to departing, Annelies created a playlist titled "Car" with a description of "Singing your heart out when you are in the car". She got her license a couple weeks ago and was excited about being a part of the pool of eligible drivers. From our (nearly) five hours on the road, she drove 50 minutes. Yes, you read that right...fifty minutes, and fifteen of that was complaining she was so tired. Thankfully Paradis drove the rest of the way while I crocheted in the back seat...yes, crocheted (which hasn't been a part of my pastime for a few years now).

Annelies expressing her feelings toward driving
Despite the struggles over who would sleep in the passenger seat, it was a fun drive up north. Our travels are always filled with lots of laughs. After a few McDonalds stops for drinks we landed in Bayfield and stopped in a few shops. We picked up s'more fixings and jumped on the ferry to the island.

Ferry Ride to Madeline Island
We are staying at an Airbnb, called Deerpath. Carol and Neil have been vacationing on Madeline for thirty years and have a lovely home alongside Lake Superior.

We drove into town (keep in mind this is an island) and got some pizza and a burger at Grampa Tony's (it was good). Of course we had to sample some of their ice cream as well.

Our goal was to return to Deerpath, build a bonfire, and enjoy some s'mores. But we got sucked into Annelies' bed watching goofy videos and laughing until we ended just as it should have. Paradis did walk outside for a few minutes to have a private phone conversation with her boyfriend and got huge welts on the the bottom of her butt cheeks, most likely from mosquitos...wish I could post a photo of that one because Annelies and I both got a good laugh from it.

It was a good first day on the island...

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Final: Boston, Sculptures & Tipsy Carpentry

I'm sitting on my return flight to Minneapolis. Another early one...3am wake up call for a 6am flight. Yikes, I'm going to need a vacation from this mini-vacation. That is what you get with a $107 flight.

Yesterday I arrived in Boston and Mary picked me up at South Station. We made our way to Cambridge and ate at one of her favorite restaurants for which I'm familiar...Border Cafe. Good food and great margaritas. We made our way to deCordova, a sculpture park in Lincoln. It was a peaceful walk allowing us time to talk endlessly as we caught up with one another.

Mary at deCordova
We stopped at a community garden for some bread, eggs, cheese and a second stop for wine. After consuming a large portion of my bottle Mary mentioned she had a couple projects she could use help with, including hanging a curtain rod. I'm not super confident the rod is straight, but it is hung and hopefully the darkness will allow her to sleep in a bit later on mornings which her schedule allows.

We settled into her living room where we talked the night away. I just love this woman. She is not only brilliant, but loving, honest and has an amazing way of challenging our thoughts in a positive way. I adore her.

With my 3am wake up call looming I settled into her guest bedroom where I had a view of a good high school friend. As I fell asleep that night I couldn't help but think about the happy memories with him, including learning to drive a stick-shift and figuring out how to hide alcohol from our parents. I continue to be amazed by how life is simply one big circle of decisions and experiences.

I end this post with 51,141 views and so many more adventures in my future. The girls and I will be making our way to Madeline Island in a couple weeks...I'll be back in touch to document the adventure.

Safe travels everyone!
Rae Ann (

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Portland, Peak Island & Mt. Chocorua

I am currently sitting on a bus traveling from West Ossippe New Hampshire to Boston's South Station. I'm on day three of this four day trip...time to catch up.

I'm going to begin by telling something I have been conflicted about sharing for some time. When I fly I give a little gift to flight attendants as a way of saying thank you. My friend Robert shared this idea with me in the spirit of Burning Man's gifting value (FYI: Burning Man is on my bucket list). I usually give a Target gift card along with a token of sorts. This trip Annelies suggested a unicorn theme when she saw matching gum and cards...I must say they were freakin' adorable!

Flight Attendant Gifts
I have been reluctant to share this tradition because I do not want any attention for my act. I feel strongly about thanking the attendants for their work (which I know is not always easy) and expect nothing in return. On this flight I received a thank you card from the crew along with many many personal thank you's. It was sweet. 

Thank You Note from Flight Attendants

I am telling this story because I want to encourage all of you to consider the value of gifting. It doesn't have to be monetary in value nor for flight attendants...maybe share a talent or simply give a card telling someone how much you care. Expect nothing in return. Just enjoy the act. Every time I get on a plane I am grateful for the crew for getting me to my destination safely, and I want to thank them for that.

Ok, I'll get off my soap box and continue to journal my adventures the last couple days. I arrived in Boston and boarded a Concord Coach for a two hour bus ride to Portland Maine. My friend Jackie, and my new friend Jess, picked me up at the station. We checked in to a hotel and made our way to Sanctuary Tattoo where Jackie spent a couple hours getting a hummingbird. It gave Jess and I an opportunity to grab a Tecate and taco and get to know one another. I have said this a million times, but life is way too short to meet all the fabulous people in this world.

Jess and Jackie at Sanctuary Tattoo
Damn that hurts!
We ate dinner overlooking the harbor and returned to the hotel. Saturday morning Jackie's sister Shelli arrived and after being up all night crashed for a couple hours while Jackie and I decided to get massages. Ahhh...I simply love massages.

Rae Ann, Shelli and Jackie in Portland Maine
Portland Maine
We had lunch at Porthole (shitty service but good food) and grabbed a ferry to Peaks Island. We rented a golf cart from Mike's Carts (pro-tip: reserve online unless you want to jog to the checkout once you exit the ferry as they go quickly). It was a fun jaunt around the island with a few stops along the way (we rented for one hour).  I just love the water and will never tire of this view.

Jackie & Shelli Facetiming with Mom
Peaks Island
Peaks Island
Cairns on Peak Island, Maine
We didn't spend a ton of time on the island, but it was enough to grab an ice cream cone. Then made our way back to Portland. Paradis and I had been on Peaks Island during our trip in August 2016. It was funny how it felt like such a different place - neither better or worse than the other - just different. We drove to Portland Head Light and did a little walking. Again, just beautiful. The weather was absolutely perfect.

Portland Head Light
Jackie & Rae Ann at Portland Head Light
Jackie & Shelli at Portland Head Light
Jackie had been staying at a home in Tamworth New Hampshire for the week in celebration of her 50th, so we made our way back there after our lighthouse visit. We stopped at Krista's in Cornish Village Maine. When we drove up I saw "coffee house" and saw some bikers outside, so my expectations for the food were not high. But let me tell was AMAZING!

Shelli and Jackie are just hilarious. Shelli's sense of humor, along with their comfort in being sisters produces a level of honesty that is truly joyful. I laughed so hard during that dinner and our drive was just wonderful. 

Cannoli's and Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake

The laughs were uncontrollable
Tamworth New Hampshire reminds me of northern Minnesota, minus the mountains. Quiet simple living with lots of trees. We arrived in the dark Friday night so I wasn't able to see the landscape, but woke this morning to a beautiful view. I'm now on my way back to Boston where I will see my friend Mary and return to Minneapolis early Sunday morning. I love bus rides...they are so peaceful.

Tamworth New Hampshire overlooking Chocorua Mountain