MEVANS, for all your travel needs...

So...I like to travel..a lot! These are my stories.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Road Trippin'

Who doesn't love a road trip? I mean, I'm not a huge fan of being crammed in a car for 3+ hours, but it is fun.  Of course, you defs need the right people, the right amount of junky snacks, and the right kind of music for a road trip. When I was younger I would make custom "mixes" (which entailed taping songs I liked off the radio onto a cassette tape - painfully old school, I know).  Thanks to Ipods and MP3s, my music mixes have gotten way more high tech, and a bit better, I might add. Although I do enjoy what Bud and I like to call "the scan it!" feature on our radio. What can I say, we like to have options.

As I'm sure you guessed already, this past weekend we decided to take a very quick trip up to my aunt and uncle's house in upstate New York (or Siberia, as we like to call it).  It's about 5 hours each way - yes, we drove about 10 hours in a 24-hour period. Did you guys know that we are crazy? I think now you do.

Oh, New York State Thru-way, how much you love to torture me. With your misleading signs (Interstate 90 west is still considered Interstate 87??) and your 30-40 mile long stretches between each exit. I loathe you. Although I do have to give props to "rest area management" for leasing space to Starbucks. Shout out to them for caring about my caffeine addiction (New Baltimore Rest Area Starbucks, what! what!).  

Ahhh yes, the open road. It would not be a successful "Evans Road Trip" if we didn't 1) get lost, 2) get into a minor disagreement on who gets to pick which radio station to listen to, and 3) have to stop at a store because we forgot something (every time people, every time). Overall, everything went well, and it was nice to see my family - although their town has no cell service, which was killing me!!!!! I guess family is worth sacrificing some things for :)

Did anyone else road trip it this weekend? 

Monday, November 29, 2010

This is how we do Part 3: Our Florida Farewell

Wow guys! Sorry for the delay! Crazy past few days. I'm long overdo on a write up of our last day in Disney, so here we goooo!!

I hate "goodbyes". I hate being a weepy, teary mess when I say goodbye (I was a HOT MESS last year when I left Cancun). I feel the same way when I leave Disney. I know it's really just a "see you real soon" as Mickey Mouse says, but I really hate leaving.

It's almost like a waste of a day too. You're already packed up to go, you're already checked out and sitting in the big comfy chairs in the lobby waiting to picked up. All the while new guests keep pouring in ready to start their vacations, as you sit and wallow in the fact you just dropped a TON of money and now it's time for you to go home. Not to mention a hefty credit card bill is quickly coming your way.

We chose a 7:00 pm flight from Orlando, so we had a few hours to kill. We woke up late, hung out at the room, and made our way to Downtown Disney around 11:00am. We enjoyed an early lunch at the Earl of Sandwich (or sang-wich, as I like to say). Who would have thought that smoked turkey, buttermilk ranch dressing, and cranberry sauce would go so well together - apparently Earl of Sandwich corporate.  It was one word, scratch that, three words: A-MAZ-ING.  I could totally eat one right now.

After walking around a bit we stopped at the Ghirardelli Ice Cream Parlor for dessert. Don't even get me started. - OK I will anyway The ice cream was the best - we each got our own sundaes - that's how good they were! Think of a 1950's malt shop/ice cream parlor, with a Disney twist. I mean come on, how could it not be good? We wrapped up around 2:30 pm and headed back to Saratoga Springs via ferry boat - it was a beautiful ride.

We killed some time in the arcade and  politely listened to a Disney Vacation Club Timeshare sales pitch - great way to kill an hour, let me tell you (we didn't buy into it). At least I had some reading material for the flight back (I gave Sky Mall a break this time). As the flight attendant scanned my boarding pass, I took one glance back at the airport waiting area, and with a tear in my eye and my carry-on in hand, I bid farewell to one of my favorite places. Till next time Disney!

XOXO - mevans

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This is how we do: Part Deux

You might ask what going "Park Commando" entails. Let's just say; I do work. I go into hyper drive and it's go-time. Once I hit the gates of a Disney Park, I'm on a mission. I'm on a mission to cover as much ground as I possibly can in the time allotted. The less time I have in a Park presents more of a challenge.

That's the way I like it. 

This year proved to be especially challenging, as we realistically (and financially), could only visit the Parks for one day (2 nights/3 days, remember?).  It was my goal this year to see all 4 Disney Parks (Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot) in one day. I know what you're thinking - that's insanity. It is, and I am insane, but I love the thrill of a challenge. Visiting all the parks in one day is definitely not for the faint of heart, and hey, I like life in the fast lane! This was actually on my travel "bucket list" - which I can successfully say that I was able to cross off!  

We calculated the average wait times that we've experienced over the years and figured how long it would take to get through everything we wanted to see, factoring in crowd levels, transportation time, food breaks, and other stops along the way (Food & Wine Festival stops...yum!). I'll spare you guys the specifics, but by 9:00 am we were at Animal Kingdom, by about 12:30 pm we were at Disney's Hollywood Studios, by about 2:00 pm we were at Magic Kingdom, by about 5:00 pm we are at Epcot. I have never been in so many different kinds of moving vehicles in one day. We were able to see all the attractions we wanted to see, plus, we were able to fit in seeing Sugar Ray perform at Epcot (remember them?).

By around 10:30 pm we were back at our room, and completely exhausted. I felt a great sense of accomplishment (*sigh*, don't you love that?). It was a great day!

Now that I've completely scared you guys with my craziness, here are some pics of our adventure:

Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios

Animal Kingdom: Kilimanjaro Safari Ride & Main Entrance

Isn't it beautiful? Cinderella's Castle! See! I follow through on my promises


Check me out tomorrow and I will give you the details on our last day in Disney! I know that you are all waiting with baited breath....

Monday, November 22, 2010

This is how we do: Intro & Day 1

I don't have to tell many of you - I'm a Disney addict. I love the crowds, the queues, and the craziness. I spend endless hours on my travel websites trying to figure out a way to make my Disney fix happen. Last month me & Bud indulged a bit and took a last minute "quick fix" trip to Disney World - 2 nights/3 days. I mean, IT WAS our anniversary (hah, like I need an excuse). Because it would be terribly boring to make one long blog entry, I'm going to split it up over a couple of entries (I can hear the cheering/jeering, I'm not sure which).

My search for an affordable Disney trip happened mid-September. Bud and I had time off that we had to use, and I was in extreme need of a Disney fix. Southwest had some affordable flights, and since October is off-season at Disney, I found some breaks on the Saratoga Springs Resort at Disney.

Flash-forward to October, and it was go-time! We opted for the 10am flight and after a not-so-wonderful airport breakfast, we were soon in on our way. Thank goodness for the 2.5 hour flight (as you know, I get antsy) because before I knew it, we disembarked and were at my favorite airport, my home-away-from-home, Orlando International (I know, it's really sad). Bud and I proceeded straight to the Magical Express pick-up. As soon as we got on the bus, I looked out the window and said, "I can't believe we're here". The sun, the palm trees, the excitement as you pass under the "Welcome to Walt Disney World" property sign, always makes me feel like a kid again.

We arrived at the hotel around 2:00 pm and thanks to the fabulous invention of on-line check-in, our room was ready. The Saratoga Springs Resort resembles the town of Saratoga Springs in upstate NY, circa early 1900s, where "Health, History, and Horses" is the motto. The building in this resort used to be the Disney Instute where classes and training were offered  - if anyone remembers, or cares (shrug). After a quick tour of the grounds, we were inside our room. Here are some pics:


The rest of the day was pretty relaxing. Although a bit breezy, we hung out by the pool for a bit and soaked up some sun. The pool bar had some great margaritas and a DJ! That is totally my scene right there. We headed back to the room around 5ish and it was time to get ready to eat!

After a bus ride that seemed to take FOREVER (it was almost painful how long it took), we arrived at the Beach Club resort. In my last blog entry, I mentioned the Cape May Cafe. This is our favorite restaurant. It's an "all-you-care-to-eat" New England style clam-bake, and let me tell you - we cared to eat A LOT. I think I ate about 3 bowls of clam chowder - that stuff, man, it's pretty serious.  We took a stroll along the Boardwalk and we were able to catch some of the fireworks from Epcot's Illuminations, and I really felt like I was home. There's something about the night air, the fireworks, and spending it with the perfect person that really makes an evening special (sigh).

At around 10:00 pm the day's travels and activities had caught up with us. We were spent! My pillow was calling me. We decided to turn in because the next day was a big day- it was my day - it was Park Commando Day! More to come on that....I'll let you soak the Disney in for right now.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Food for Thought

I think everyone would agree that a big part of traveling is sampling the local cuisine. Everyone likes to eat, right? Some moreso than others, but that's besides the point. I was rummaging through my online photo gallery (I love you Shutterfly), and noticed that we like to eat  - A LOT. Let me rephrase that - we have a lot of "food-centric" photos. That sounds classier, doesn't it?

Remember Rusty from the "Ocean's" franchise - in almost every scene he's eating something? That's Bud. For some reason, I have a lot of photographs of him and food. I'm not really sure why, but I guess it's a funny reminder of what "food-y" experience we had during the trip. Usually there's some kind of story behind it. Here are some of our food adventures over the last four years (ahhh, memories):

The DQ in Tulum, Mexico. They don't even have these in NY! 
Shout out to J-Mills for the pics!

Best Mexican food in Old Cancun!

Bud enjoying an empanada in Montevideo, Uruguay (I wish I could say they were better). 

The JAM New England Clam Chowder at the Cape May Cafe at Disney's Beach Club resort. 
This was on our honeymoon! Aside: How can someone put THAT many crackers in soup? 

Dessert time! Bud enjoying his favorite snacks in Epcot. The churro is obviously from Mexico. 

Funnel Cake from America! Kinda gross though....

Is anyone else hungry??? 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Up in the Air (not the movie)

I get antsy when I fly. Somewhere between finishing my 100 calorie packet of stale pretzels (to which I always say "these pretzels are making me thirsty"), and desperately trying to see if I can get a glance of someone's watch to see what time it is, I've exhausted all options to distract my attention. I basically start to lose it. It's at this time when I reluctantly pick up the SkyMall magazine, located conveniently in the seat that's about an inch from my knees, to occupy me until I have to put my tray table up.

Just to give you a visual, while I am fidgety and looking at the next opportunity to "roam about the cabin", Bud is SOUND ASLEEP, like he was born to sleep in any moving vehicle. I never really get to share my thoughts with anyone on these items when I'm up in the air. So today, I'm going to torture you guys with some of my faves! I can almost hear the groans over cyberspace. I'll make it fun, I promise!    

Does this count as a carry on? 
I think the guy's face in the picture says it all. How is that comfortable?

One word: Classy.

This is actually pretty cool. We do know people that bought it, and comes with little push-pins so you can mark places you've been, you plan to go, and what's on your travel "bucket list". I'd like to splurge on it, but this blog is serving the same purpose for right now. 

Do I really have to say anything about this? I think not. 

(Pictures are courtesy of

Oh SkyMall, you get me every time!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Waiting Game

I'm not really a patient person. It's funny because Bud just called as I type and said that I am sooo impatient (aside: I changed "dear husband" to Bud because it's way easier and less lame, thanks!). I definitely DO NOT like to wait in many every day life scenarios - on the phone, on the line at any retail establishment - do not even get me started on TJ Maxx, or the bathroom. I guess that's the hostile New Yorker in me.

The airport is even worse for me. Although I love to get up and get my trip underway, I'm not a fan of waiting at the kiosk to check in, waiting at the security check, waiting to put my shoes on after I've gone through security, and waiting to get my last fix of Starbucks before a flight, etc., etc., etc....

Then the end-all-be-all of waiting - waiting to board my flight.

This wait is the most exhaustive part of traveling for me - I'm exhausted just writing about it. Forget it if the flight is delayed - your 1-3 hour regular wait just turned into a 5 hour nightmare. The only saving grace to waiting is if you are waiting in an entertaining airport with interesting shops and food options - or if you have a smart phone, a laptop, and wifi.

Here's a few things that I like to keep busy with, especially if you are traveling solo:

-People watch - people do the wackiest stuff when they don't think you are looking
-Find a gift shop and play with every toy that makes noise
-Tune out the world and listen to some music and read
-Pace the terminal and search for a tabloid that doesn't contain any headline about any of the Kardashians (this might kill a lot of time)
-Talk to your fellow travelers (there's always an interesting comraderie that develops when you are en route)
Any suggestions for a waiting-hater?  

I know, not a great pic, but it's the only airport one I have - sorry guys!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I like lists....

I like making lists. I like it when life fits into boxes and when I categorize things. Easier said than done though, right? I have lists for work, grocery lists, lists of things to do, etc. I also LOVE to cross things off these lists. I was talking to my friend, Navigating Nancy, about this the other day. She mentioned that one of the things on her "lists" is to try to travel SOMEWHERE out of state, for at least one day, once a month. 

This brings me to my travel "bucket list".

I don't think I need to explain what a bucket list is. I think Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson did a stellar job of that a few years ago.....

My travel "bucket list" is more of a list of things I want to do/places I want to go, before let's just say I can't do it for whatever reason (think of a mash-up of "The Buried Life" and "World of Jenks"). You know - when life pelts you with lemons and you are forced to make lemonade to survive (*shudder* I can't believe I just used that phrase).

I've given some thought about my list - and continually keep adding. Maybe I should change it to travel "wish list" but, I don't think that packs as much of a punch. I'm a dreamer and a planner - so this is one of my favorite lists! Hey, on my list of "things to do" was to start a blog, and I did that!

I mean, come on, who wouldn't want to visit every Disney theme park in the world???

Here's a short list of mine, in order of some kind of importance (I plan on creating a page in a little bit): 

1) Visit every Disney theme park in the world - I only have 3 more to go! 
2) Visit every state in the US - I'm about half way there.
3) Visit every continent in the world.
4) Visit every "Wonder of the World" - natural and man made wonder - I can cross two off the list!
5) Visit the Sydney Opera House.

What's on your list???

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Picture Says A Thousand Words....

So me and DH are not exactly the best photographers, and we are definitely not the most photogenic. Over the past few years we've mostly relied on pics of our travels from friends and family. I know, soooo lame. So my next resolve is to get a good dig (digital camera) and actually take some pictures. I'm going to not bore you guys with my commentary; well maybe some commentary. I'll let the pictures do the talking....Here are some of my favorite places..

Chichen Itza, Mexico - crazy right? Unfortunately the government's preservation society does not allow you to climb those steps anymore. I'm so happy that I got to when I visited in 2004. It's quite a trip!

Tulum, Mexico, a few hours from Cancun, Mexico - you know, historical stuff... 

This is the beach in Cancun outside of the Hilton in Cancun, but it represents my love for beaches worldwide! I miss you sand and sun! 

This is the Statue of the Christ in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. It's really an amazing man made structure. The picture on the left is the view from the top. You can see Sugar Loaf Mountain in the distance.  

Paraty, Brazil, was the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It's a small fishing village off the coast of Brazil. Here we went snorkeling, which was the best snorkeling experience I ever had. Although I was wearing one of those patches for motion sickness (we were on a cruise) and kind of couldn't swim. It was, well, an awkward experience LOL. Shout out to JM for not letting us drown!

And last but certainly not least, and it's always the first place on my list of places to go - Disney World. Sorry, no pictures of  Cinderella's Castle - next time! Fun Fact: I have visited Disney World in Florida - wait for it - 25 times. It's sad, but true LOL. Sorry Mom & Dad, you created a Disney monster!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Taking Off

Wow! My first blog post. This is exciting (for me at least, I'm not sure about the rest of the blogosphere). So, a little bit about how this blog came to fruition.

I was blessed in the fact that my family (parents and little sister) traveled at least a couple times per year. We toured the country visiting family and friends mostly within the US. Of course, there was always the yearly homage to Disney World - I'll get into my mild obsession with Disney Parks in another post....

Back in 2004 I met my dear husband (we will refer to him as DH) and in 2006 we sealed the deal on seeing the world together. I'll give him a quick "shout out" here since he always has to deal with me trying to figure out SOME way to get out of New York for a little bit. Hey, it does get cold up here! 

If I could eat, sleep, and live traveling, I would. I love the early morning wake-ups for the airport, the feel of the first night of sleep or lack thereof in the hotel, and disappearing from your every day life for what seems like a year, even if it's only for a few days. I like not wearing a watch, and being so immersed in your travel that you forget what day it is.  

Unfortunately there a few things like a mortgage, a full time job, and personal commitments that keep me in NY for most of the year. Travel Channel, if you are out there, my resume is totally ready and waiting!

For those of you who don't know me, I also am, well, clumsy and, well, if you couldn't tell by the title of this blog - awkward. A lot the situations I get myself into are entertaining to say the least, and I always handle them with the utmost awkwardness....I like to think of it more as an endearing quality than an embarrassing one, or at least I hope it is.

I hope all you out there find this blog _____________(fill in the blank - entertaining, helpful, insightful, any adjective really). I look forward to sharing my life's travels with you all.

Thanks for starting this journey with me!  Good stuff to come, I promise!