Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • Coffee by sachman75For those of us who are addicted to coffee and its many variations, finding a decent cup of java while on the road can present a challenge. I’m a big Starbucks fan, but I occasionally frequent independent coffee shops, just for a little variety.

    Yesterday, I thought I would try McDonald’s new iced coffee drink that is being advertised. I’ve tried Burger King’s iced mocha in the past, and it would do in a pinch. I’ve also sampled Sonic’s frozen coffee blend, which while the taste was decent, I could feel the fat contained in this concoction sliding down my throat and straight to my behind. Well, all I can say about McDonald’s new iced coffee is, “Run away!”

    McDonald’s iced coffee was the most disgusting thing that has ever passed through my lips.

    I usually try to find something redeemable to say in my experiences and to make my opinion a bit more palatable, but there is no other way to word this opinion.

    So, how do you find good coffee while on the road?

    Text: Send a text message to Google (466453) with the subject coffee

    Web browser: Find the nearest Starbucks at mobile.starbucks.com

    Phone: If all else fails, call 800-235-2883 and the Starbucks operator will assist you in locating the nearest Starbucks.

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  • I’m a television freak. If you add travel into the TV mix, I’m even more fanatic about it. That’s why I love Thursday night television. CBS has Survivor and ABC is airing new episodes of LOST.

    A few years ago I had an to visit Hawaii and a few filming sites from LOST. Here are a few of my favorites:

    Ala Moana Center – Take a ride up the escalator and shop at what was the airport scene for the Oceanic ticket counter.

    Hawaiian Tourism JapanWaimea Valley – This site is home to the infamous waterfall where Kate and Sawyer retrieve guns in the first season. There are also trails that are oddly familiar from the first season. As of February 1, 2008, this historical site has returned to the hands of the Hawaiian people. It was recently an Audubon Center. It is unknown at this time if the waterfalls are open to the public for a dip. I do know that the falls have something special in them for the skin. My skin was softer for at least three days after my swim. This is definitely a special place that should be visited while in the islands.

    Dillingham Airfield – During my visit, I snuck around back and found the storage for the fuselage. I also took a glider ride that provided a glorious view of the beaches. It is also the airfield setting for the episode “The 23rd Psalm” which gives some background about Mr. Echo.

    Mokule’ia Beach (Army Beach) – This is directly across from the airfield and was the beach setting for the pilot episode.

    Ka’a’wa Valley – The LOST survivors played a few rounds of golf in this area that was also a film site for Jurassic Park, Godzilla, and Pearl Harbor. Do you want to play on the course where Sayid shot the guy? Visit the 17th hold of Turtle Bay Palmer Course.

    Want to see more? Check out Lost Virtual Tours for pictures and videos of even more film sites. I’m looking forward to tonight’s episode. I wonder what crazy conspiracy will be revealed.

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  • Today marks 50 years of The Daytona 500, a glorious day for race fans. This is the Super Bowl of car racing in the US, conducted at the birthplace of NASCAR. It is a day of honor and glory for men across our nation, a time where they can sit in their recliners wearing a sleeveless t-shirt, drinking beer and eating corn chips until the checkered flag is waved. But, for some NASCAR fans, this is not enough. They must make a pilgrimage to this Sacred Site of the Hemi.

    I took one such trip, trying to relive my teenage summers spent at Huntsville Speedway. I would sit in a plastic lawn chair, listening to the roar of the engines (and feeling it too) waiting until my uncle’s stock car lined the track. Heck, I even had a racing boyfriend at one time, so that I could get the full effect of the Race Car Lifestyle. It didn’t work out (alas!), but it did give me a glimpse of the people behind the races.

    Race car fans are not just your stereotypical redneck. The majority of spectators are business owners, corporate types, and even lawmakers. If one were to judge by the drivers themselves, NASCAR is full of pretty smart marketing people. So, when I was invited to check out the Daytona International Speedway and all it has to offer, I jumped at the chance.

    Daytona is not just a place to go to a race; there are beaches that visitors can drive on, restaurants galore, and luxury hotels. But in sticking with the theme of this post (MountainMama is going for a visit soon), I’ll educate you on things to do at Daytona International Speedway after the big race is over.

    The Walk of Fame – This is a free attraction along the sidewalk of Daytona International Speedway. Visitors can find their favorite driver’s tile and place their hands in the driver’s impression.

    VIP Hot Pass Tour – This includes admission into the Daytona 500 Experience (normally $24), a 2-hour personal tour of the speedway, lunch at the Budweiser Bistro, 2 Acceleration Alley vouchers, and a discount on merchandise in the gift shop.

    Ride-Along – Must be at least 16 years old. A ride-along gives you the thrill of the track starting at $135 per person. This is part of the Richard Petty Driving Experience and must be booked in advanced.

    The Daytona Experience – This is the grand-daddy of them all. You get to actually DRIVE a race car for 24 laps (after some training). This can run up to $2199 per person and is part of the Richard Petty Driving Experience and must be booked in advanced.

    No matter if you watch the Daytona 500 from your recliner or a box seat, the Daytona 500 Experience is waiting for you all year ‘round.Photobucket

    CajunMama at Gatorade’s Victory Lane, Daytona International Speedway

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  • 100_0582.jpgMardi Gras isn’t just a trip for adults, it is also a great time for a family vacation. Kids and parents can learn about the history and culture of New Orleans, the event called Mardi Gras, and the food that makes this city so memorable. Take a step inside and old warehouse to discover the mysterious Krewe of Rex and dine on fine cuisine at Galatoire’s, a New Orleans favorite.

    Yesterday morning began with a limousine ride to the Rex Den. A den is the place where Krewes build and house their floats. The Rex Den is located in the 9th ward and many of the floats were damaged in Katrina. However, Rex would not let a hurricane bring them down, and they rebuilt their floats and have begun to use their creations for educational purposes. This year’s theme is about rivers, which each float representing a river. School children have been able to come into the den and see these representations of rivers such as the Tiber, The Nile, The Mississippi, and many others. I feel honored to have been invited in to this special place, where the waterline from the flood is still visible on the metal walls.

    The Rex visit was followed by a New Orleans favorite, Galatoire’s. This restaurant does not take reservations and a dinner jacket is strongly advised. This landmark begins seating at 11:30, but this does not stop diners from lining up in advanced. Galatoire’s invented Oysters Rockefeller and Crab Sardou, leaving their own mark in culinary history.

    Carnival Season in New Orleans is home to so many different Krewes and parades. I was able to catch Shangri-La after lunch, and then a few more after my dinner at Grand Isle Seafood, located on Fulton Street at Harrah’s. Pegasus was the last parade of the evening and I walked back to Harrah’s looking like Santa Claus with an enormous bag of beads thrown over my shoulder.

    I was so glad to get back to my room and soak in a hot bath, to prepare myself for the next day of festivities. Thank goodness Harrah’s has a never-ending supply of scalding hot water. Oooohhh!

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