Thursday, January 28, 2016

Royal Gorge Bridge - In A Colorado Minute (Week 300)

The Royal Gorge Bridge, in Colorado, is the highest bridge in America and was the highest bridge in the world until 2001, and the highest suspension bridge until 2003. In both cases, the Chinese built something higher.

Royal Gorge Bridge - In A Colorado Minute (Week 300)

For the 300th week of my weekly 1-minute Moving Postcard video series, fashion designer and quilter Miriam Blaich (visiting from Berlin), husband Scott Solary, dog Whiskey, and I went on a little road trip to Cañon City in Fremont County, Colorado, to explore the Royal Gorge and surrounding attractions.

I ended up shooting material for 5 videos, which I will share in the coming weeks. But for now, let's take a walk across the Royal Gorge Bridge... And if you dare, we'll even take the gondola...
The Royal Gorge is about 10 miles long, with granite walls rising 1,000 feet above the winding Arkansas River. The river, then just a trickle, started carving this gorge about 3 million years ago and continues to "dig out" another foot every 2,500 years.

The Royal Gorge Bridge was built in 1929 as a tourist attraction. The bridge deck crosses the Arkansas River at 955 feet (291 m), its span is 880 feet (270 m), and its total length is 1,260 feet (384 m).

To walk or drive (in the mornings and evenings only) across the bridge, you have to enter the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. The price of admission ($20) includes not only access to the bridge, but also viewing of a documentary and riding the gondola. The 360-acres park offers other rides and attractions, like zip-lining across the gorge.

A few tips: Before or after you explore the park and the bridge, turn off the main road to the park and stop to enjoy majestic vistas at the Elkhorn Picnic area. Get your ticket online to save $2. Last but not least, walking across the bridge first and then taking the gondola back requires a bit of a hike to the gondola station. If you want to avoid the trek up the hill, take the gondola across first, then leisurely walk down to the bridge.

In the video, you can see the Royal Gorge Railroad train snaking its way along the bottom of the gorge. Our original plan for week 300 was to take that train and make a video about that - because I LOVE train travel. However, even weeks in advance, tickets were sold out. But don't you worry, I already have a plan to take the train another time and share that video with you.

Oh, and the difference between a gorge and a canyon? A gorge is much wider at the top than at the bottom.

The featured song is called “Paper Wings” by Jason Shaw of He has made this and many other instrumental songs available via a CC BY 3.0 license, which is totally awesome! Thank you so much for all your creativity and generosity, Jason!

Royal Gorge Bridge over the Arkansas River
Cañon City, Colorado

Keep an eye out for more photos from the Royal Gorge that I'll be posting on this blog soon and for more videos shot during week 300, which I'll publish right here within the next month or so...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dog Catching Snow (Whiskey Business 4) – In A Colorado Minute (Week 299)

It's not a secret that dogs love snow - and Whiskey Dog is certainly not the only dog catching snow. But maybe, just maybe she's the one dog that loves catching snow the most.

Dog Catching Snow (Whiskey Business 4) – In A Colorado Minute (Week 299)

Since the first snowfall of the season at the end of November, we've pretty much spent every free and sunny daylight minute (if I wasn't traveling elsewhere) out in the snow. So this weekly video represents many memorable times out in the winter wonderland.

Our dog Whiskey definitely loves the snow a lot more than I do - but watching her relentlessly run and jump to catch snow, is definitely the cure for a bit of winter blues. I hope her antics will put a smile on your face as well!

The song in this video is called “Showtime!” and was written and performed by my friend Jason Matherne from Gainesville, Florida. Thank you so much for all your music and your support of this video series!

A special thank you to Scott for kicking, throwing and tossing snow for the video and our snow-catching dog.

This is the fourth episode of Whiskey Business. Let me know if you enjoy these little interludes in-between the more traditional travel-focused episodes about locations and events.

Dog catching snow

Snow-catching dog

Whiskey dog waiting for the next snowball

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Las Vegas Strip (Nevada) - In Another Minute (298)

No trip to Vegas without a visit to the Las Vegas Strip, the 4.2-mile long stretch of hotels and casinos along Las Vegas Boulevard South, just outside the Las Vegas city limits.

Las Vegas Strip (Nevada) - In Another Minute (298) 

Actually, most of our trip (overlapping weeks 296 and 297), we spent on the Las Vegas Strip. And yes, it was fabulous!

Staying in the stylish Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Hotel provided everything you'd want. Visual art everywhere. Delicious cocktails at the the Vesper Bar and The Chandelier, which over 3 floors gives you the option to lounge at the top, inside or at the bottom of the sparkling chandelier. Of course, you can gamble to your heart's delight on the casino floor... and dance at the Marquee and eat and shop and... maybe try to get some sleep too. Last but not least, the Cosmopolitan features rooms with balconies (!!!) that offer a stunning view of the Bellagio Fountains, the north-end of the strip and the mountains beyond.

Of course, we explored beyond our hotel. Other highlights included: dinner at Le Cirque inside the Bellagio and playing Poker and slots at Caesars Palace. By the way, this seemed to be one of the few casinos on the strip that features a Poker Room. Being able to walk to the various hotels, casinos, theaters and shops without having to go outside or at least use walkways above the street (with great views) adds to the feeling of an adult playground.

I seriously can't wait to go back to visit other hotels, like the New York - New York, Paris Las Vegas and the MGM Grande and places away from The Strip... and make time to "take in a show".
We did check out downtown Las Vegas at night and during the day. That's where we celebrated a renewal of vows wedding at Graceland Chapel - topped off with a stretch limo ride down the Las Vegas Strip.

Again, I want to thank Stephen Conklin, Scott's brother, for showing us around. Oh, and I'd like to thank Scott for taking me on this unforgettable anniversary vacation! You rock my world, baby!

The featured song is called “Bebop 25” and was written and performed by Jason Shaw of He has made this and many other instrumental songs available via a CC BY 3.0 license. Thank you so much for all your great tunes, Jason!

If you want to see more, please check out the other videos (and posts) from a few days in Las Vegas:

Las Vegas Sunset (Nevada) – In Another Minute (Week 296)

Downtown Las Vegas (Nevada) – In Another Minute (Week 297)

Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas

 Soon, I'll also publish a series of photos on this blog...

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Downtown Las Vegas (Nevada) - In Another Minute (297)

Downtown Las Vegas, centered around Fremont Street, is the historic alternative to the Las Vegas Strip. It's where it all began, when it comes to gambling, booze and broads... and spontaneous brides...

Downtown Las Vegas (Nevada) - In Another Minute (297)

When Scott and I traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, we already knew we'd be headed to downtown Las Vegas for a renewal of vows ceremony at the Graceland Wedding Chapel with a Las Vegas Elvis impersonator. But it was Scott's brother, Stephen Conklin, who lives in Las Vegas, who suggested we also experience the historic downtown at night. Can't deny the suggestion of a local! So on Anniversary Eve, he whisked us away from The Strip for a fun night out around Fremont Street.

We started with dinner at Oscar's Steakhouse in the Plaza Hotel. The restaurant, owned by former mayor Oscar Goodman, sports the slogan "Beef, Booze and Broads" and features matching old-timey atmosphere, with charismatic waiters, huge portions and a view of glitzy and sparkly Fremont Street.
The insider stories of the staff at Oscar's were only matched by our own local guide, Stephen, who seemed to know the thrilling history of every place and supplied us with plenty of inspiring gambler stories ("...he used his last dollar and one a million dollars on a slot machine..."). Thank you so much, Stephen!

We gave ourselves the full Fremont Street Experience, with the overhead light show, live cover band, cocktails from Binion's and finally ducking into several of the classic casinos. We did however skip the zip line and the slide through the shark tank. Instead, I won a $1000 in a $2 spin on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine inside the Golden Nugget!

We closed out the night at the more modern casino The D, where the female card dealers alternate between dealing cards and dancing on pedestals - and where the male bartenders entertain with their flair bartending skills. A special thanks to Eddie Razo for making the most entertaining Cosmo I've ever had - and letting me film the process.

Fremont Casino on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada
Actually, we probably closed out the night at a bar or blackjack table in the Cosmopolitan Hotel back on the Strip. But who can really remember? All I know is that we had a ridiculous amount of fun that night and still made it to our renewal wedding at Graceland Chapel the next day on time... (In the video, this is in reverse order to give it a nicer visual flow from day to night. Creative license and all.)

Next week, I plan to share a 1-minute video about the Las Vegas Strip. If you want to see more right now, please check out last week's video: Las Vegas Sunset (Nevada) – In Another Minute (Week 296)

And hopefully in the near future, I can return to downtown Las Vegas. Because there's still so much I haven't seen and captured...

The featured song is “Boogie Woogie Bed” by Jason Shaw of He has made this and many other instrumental songs available via a CC BY 3.0 license. Thank you, Jason!

Last but not least, a very special thanks to "Elvis" and Abe and everyone at the Graceland Wedding Chapel. Definitely, an unforgettable and totally American experience. After all the options, I'm so glad we chose this as the way to honor twenty years of marriage and all the decades to come - with laughter, singing, dancing and lots of kissing!

Elvis and us