A Weekend in Banff

This past weekend, Mr. Tux and I loaded up our road bikes, cycling gear, and Tuxley in the Pilot for a short vacation in Banff, Alberta, Canada. We met Lobstermom, her husband, and their two hounds at their house, and all of us drove on up to Banff. After our motorcycle trip to Banff last Fall, Lobstermom, Mr. Tux and I have been wanting to return to Banff and cycle the Bow Valley Parkway. This weekend trip was the culmination of that dream. We drove up on Saturday, cycled the Bow Valley Parkway on Sunday, and returned home Monday for a relaxing Tuesday at home cleaning the house. It was awesome!

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Tuxley is ready for our new adventure!IMG_0359

Not feeling quite as excitedIMG_0360

Getting a little boredIMG_0369

Tuxley is so over this car trip already!IMG_0374

Can you spot the baby’s head?IMG_0379

A mother grizzly and her two cubs we saw at the side of the road.IMG_0385

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Beau is overseeing the setting up of camp.IMG_0396

Elk through the treesIMG_0404

Banff is so absolutely beautiful.IMG_0407

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Tuxley would like to go home now! IMG_0429

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.IMG_0432

Tuxley was so OVER the whole trip. He curled up and hid for a good part of the way home. IMG_0454

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Kiera

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3 Year Anniversary Trip

Mr. Tux and I went away last weekend on a romantic getaway to celebrate our three year wedding anniversary. We spend four days and three nights exploring Leavenworth, Washington. For those of you not familiar with Leavenworth, it is a Bavarian themed village known as Washington’s “Little Bavaria”. The town boasts of lots of shopping, wine and alcohol, and plenty of hearty German food. Mr. Tux and I thoroughly enjoyed our time away from home without the fur-kids. We slept in. Ate at the Bavarian Bar & Bistro (aka Cafe Chrysta) for every meal…they have the BEST spatzle, goulash, and chocolate torte in town!

I managed to find a fair amount of my remaining stocking stuffers in the local shops. We also found some gorgeous Christmas ornaments for our tree this year. (I will have pictures for you by next week…hopefully.) Because of the Christkindlmarkt going on all weekend, Leavenworth was packed with families with lots of young kids and dogs in tow. All of the screaming children made our desire for children shrink even more. In fact, we started talking about getting another dachshund puppy in a couple years instead of a kid. Sounds like a way better investment if you ask me. Afterall, Tuxley needs a little red-haired sister. 🙂

With the town crawling with people, Mr. Tux and I discovered that the best shopping was to be had between 9AM and 12:30PM. During that time the shops were just opening and the people with kids were not up and out yet. Some highlights from the trip included the delicious strawberry cheesecake, spatzle for every meal, chocolate torte, peanut & chocolate covered frozen bananas (so so tasty!!), and the beautiful Christmas lights. Sadly, I didn’t get to see Leavenworth blanketed in snow. There was no snow the whole weekend, and it wasn’t till Monday morning when we were supposed to go home that we woke up to a few inches of snow. Oh well. At least Mr. Tux and I got a mini-vacation just the two of us celebrating our anniversary and Mr. Tux’s birthday. It is hard to believe that almost three years ago we got married. Time has sure flown by.

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there was heavy frost on the ground when we drove to LeavenworthIMG_4243

fluffy white snow Monday morningIMG_4242

The snow was really fluffy and falling in large flakesIMG_5664

Christmas lights!IMG_5674

Our favorite restaurantIMG_5676

Front Street sparkled prettily with all the lightsIMG_5666I just ADORE Christmas lights!!

Have a great weekend everyone! I am going to dig out from under the tons of housework I have to catch up on from our vacation last week and take a nap.

Kiera

Adventures in Banff

The weekend Mr. Tux and I spent in Banff was phenomenal. We had incredible weather and the scenery vibrant. Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip.

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The water in the rivers was the clearest crystal blue I had ever seen. Reminded me of the floating icebergs in Alaska. The bear picture is the only one I have that turned out. It is the mother Grizzly eating berries. Lobstermom has a ton more photos and I plan on getting them from her whenever we see her next. The flowers were all planted in the Cascade gardens. There are over 50,000 flowers planted in the gardens. While the flowers were absolutely gorgeous, Mr. Tux and I were eaten by mosquitoes which detracted from the garden’s beauty. Overall, it was well worth the 1,100 miles and sore but to experience Banff first hand. Maybe for our next motorcycle trip, Mr. Tux and I will go to Yellowstone. I have always wanted to go to Yellowstone.

Kiera

The Weary Travelers Return

Mr. Tux and I spent the last weekend gallivanting around on the Harley. We put 1,100 miles on the motorcycle over the course of four days, while driving up to Banff National Park with Lobstermom. It was a total blast. I had never seen the Canadian Rockies before and found them to be as truly impressive as Mr. Tux said they were. The four of us stayed in a nice hotel in the heart of downtown Banff. We spent one afternoon driving the Bow Valley Parkway and seeing lots of animals. We also drove up to the Nordic ski area and drove around the Lake Minnewanka loop. However, due to extreme bear activity, we were unable to hike to the Bankhead Ghost town and mine. Large areas of the park near Lake Minnewanka were closed due to bear activity. I can attest to the bear activity. We saw two black bear (one just a cub, though we never did see his mother), and had the scary experience of being about 100 feet from a mother grizzly and her two cubs. Nothing like sitting on a Harley 100 feet from an animal you have heard horror stories about and her two cubs with no protection. We definitely got out of there quickly. Along with the five bears, we also saw elk, big horn sheep 40 feet from us on the other side of the road, numerous deer, and one marmot. Overall, quite an accomplished wildlife viewing weekend.

I still haven’t sorted the pictures yet, but hope to do that over the weekend. Mr. Tux and I are still battling the summer cold that we caught over 3 weeks ago. It is getting ridiculous. Riding on the motorcycle while congested is an experience I hope to not re-live any time soon. In between sleeping, relaxing, and beating the cold this weekend, I will try to get the pictures edited and ready to post here next week. For now, I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and a splendid weekend.

Kiera

Oregon Trip – Part 5 The 1st Beach Excursion

Saturday morning, we woke up, ate breakfast and headed out to the beach with Tuxley. The Tide was out and we hadn’t even reached the water’s edge before the adventure had a snaffoo. Tuxley went running through what he though was a little puddle…turns out, it was an eighteen inch deep Tide Pool. Dachshund went running in, sank, and came flying out the other side without ever slowing down. Boy was he pissed. The wind was blowing loose sand around and in seconds we had a wet, cold, sand-covered, miserable Doxie, who was ready to go home. I picked him up, and we walked back to camp. Beach Excursion 1 turned out to be a total failure. Tuxley was DONE!

Later that afternoon, after he had dried off, we coaxed the reluctant doxie back out onto the beach for a walk with Lobstermom and Bentley the Beagle. That walked turned out much better. Tuxley didn’t mind the beach as long as he wasn’t in the loose blowing sand, near the water, or anywhere other than the five feet of acceptable packed wet sand.

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shaking off the tide pool waterIMG_3660

pissed dog faceIMG_3661

oh hells no! get me away from that terrible wet stuff!!IMG_3664

that was awful!IMG_3666

I never want to go backIMG_3667

playing with BentleyIMG_3668

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the wind was blowing his tail fur…so cute!IMG_3671

now this isn’t too bad…i guessIMG_3672

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wading across a creekIMG_3677

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After beach walks, the Doxie needs lots of blankets and a heater to warm upIMG_3722

freezing cold little Doxie. He was shivering so badly.IMG_3726

Mom, don’t make me go out there again. I want to go home. Camping is just not for this city dog.

Overall, after the first horrifying initial walk, Tuxley got over his reserve and seemed to enjoy himself on the beach. I have one more post to do of some more beach pictures, and then I am pretty much done with Oregon pictures and we can move on to other topics.

Kiera

Oregon Trip – Part 4 The Pinnipedia

One of the top highlights of the Oregon Aquarium was the backstage tickets Lobstermom tracked down for Sea Lion kisses! The four of us – Lobstermom, Mr. Lobstermom, Mr. Tux, and myself – went behind the scenes at the aquarium and kissed a California Sea Lion. Our sea lion, Quill, was a twenty-three year old California Sea Lion. She loved performing the different tricks for the audience of ten thrilled people and receiving her herring and mackerel rewards. While I don’t have kiss pictures for you, I do have pictures of Quill performing and various other pictures from our backstage tour.

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a harbor seal sunning itselfIMG_4821

harbor seal swimmingIMG_4960

another sunning harbor sealIMG_4828

Max the Sea LionIMG_4842

Max was the largest sea lion there. He was quite a big boy!IMG_4989

bulletin board behind the scenesIMG_4990

Bulletin board on the pinnipedsIMG_4991

Bulletin board for the ottersIMG_4992

Remember Judge?IMG_4993

Schuster was the baby at only two years oldIMG_4994

Mojoe the mystery critterIMG_4997

Quill and her trailerIMG_4999

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Quill knew how to work the cat seal walkIMG_5054

the two of them had a really close bondIMG_5006

The sun feels goodIMG_5019

such a contented face. Look at those whiskers…I kissed that!IMG_5024

Pretty girlIMG_5049

A sea lion smileIMG_5050

more smilesIMG_5057

She applauded herself for a good jobIMG_5055

A happy Quill!

If you ever get the chance, the Sea Lion Kisses adventure at the Oregon Aquarium is totally worth the money! We loved it and would totally do it again.

Kiera

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Oregon Trip – Part 3 The Mustelidae

Remember last week when I posted the picture of the mystery critter? Are you ready to find out what that critter was? Any last minute guesses? Suspicions?

Drum roll please…….Meet MOJOE, an enhydra lutris otherwise known as a…

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SEA OTTER!!IMG_4781

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Mojoe climbed up on the rocks and flirted with Mr. Tux and the camera. We were able to shoot some amazing, post-card worthy pictures!IMG_4795

the otter parkIMG_4759

Judge and Mojoe showing off for the crowd.IMG_4769

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Bye-bye Mojoe

I LOVE sea otters! I LOVE their furry little faces! I LOVE their whiskers! I just FREAKING LOVE sea otters! Having Mojoe come out of the water and play on the rocks right in front of us was a highlight of our trip. Quill was another hightlight of the trip, but you will have to wait for my next post to meet her.

Kiera

Oregon Trip – Part 2 The Aquarium

I love aquariums! I love going to see the sea otters, sea horses, and touch tanks. One of my favorite aquariums is the Oregon Aquarium in Newport. We first visited the aquarium the week we were engaged. And going back this year, three years later, was even more fun. It was great to see all of the changes that had happened since we visited last. Mr. Tux hauled his good camera and I have phenomenal pictures from our day there. I will be splitting up the aquarium visit into several posts to enable you to see and experience everything better. Plus, I can post more pictures this way. Up today are the birds, fishes, and touch tanks as well as some invertebrates.

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Bald Eagle flying overheadIMG_4809

pretty flowersIMG_4852

The resident Giant Pacific OctopusIMG_4854

A decorative pondIMG_4861

sea-horseIMG_4892

anemone IMG_4893

anemone in the touch tankIMG_4883

grumpy ol’ crabIMG_4898

shrimpIMG_4868

jelly fishIMG_4869

Jelly Fish picture that turned out amazing!IMG_4911

Tufted Puffin

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Crested puffin nestingIMG_4912

this puffin was debating if he wanted to jump or not. He kept creeping up to the edge and chickening outIMG_4917

…There he made it!IMG_4916

He was quite proud of himself

Coming up will be aquarium posts about harbor seals, sea lions, and the mysterious critter. Stay tuned.

Kiera