Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

France

by wil — Jan 3, 2013

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, Alsace

Amboise, early morning

Notre Dame, Paris

These were taken two months ago (Oct/Nov 2012)

The Magic Kingdom

by wil — Feb 2, 2012

New Year, New Beginnings

by wil — Jan 16, 2012

B-cycle

by wil — Aug 31, 2011

My wife discovered the existence of Denver’s 16-month-old B-cycle program — “the nation’s first large-scale citywide bicycle sharing system” — a couple of weeks ago, and we got to check it out in person this past week.

B-cycle is one of those urban bicycle-sharing/rental projects that seem to be popping up all over. You pay a flat fee to rent (the 24-hour rate is $6, but you can also get better-value 7-day, 30-day, and annual passes), plus a per-ride usage fee. The idea is to use the bikes to take short rides between bike stations (currently there are 51 stations in the Denver metro area). If your ride (between rental stations) is under 30 minutes, you aren’t charged a usage fee, but if it’s over 30 minutes, you are charged.

We used the 3-speed bikes to ride between our vacation rental and the Platte River and then further along Cherry Creek. We successfully carried books and groceries in the bike’s handlebar baskets, and we had a blast!

But it can be a problem if you arrive at a rental station to discover that there are not enough open slots for your bikes. This only happened to us once, but it can be an annoying and costly issue (ex: if you take a 30 minute ride to a completely-full station, so you can’t dock your bike, but instead lock it up somewhere with the supplied lock, shop for an hour, then ride another 30 minutes to dock your bike at a different station, the usage fee is $9). Luckily, there’s a handy iPhone/Android app that maps out the stations and tells you how many bikes and open slots are available at any given station.

To sum things up, B-cycle is a lot of fun, but far more cost-effective if you buy a long-term pass, and be sure to check the station occupancy stats with the iPhone/Android app!

Denver

by wil — Mar 8, 2011

Sometimes Santa Fe can seem really, really small and really, really quiet…and a visit to a big, bustling city full of interesting shops and restaurants and parks and architecture serves as a refreshing antidote. We usually get our big city fix from an occasional visit to Austin or San Francisco, but this time we thought: Why not try Denver? It’s only five-and-a-half hours away — by far the closest big city (the metro area pop. is ~3 million) — and I have fond memories of visiting Denver as a kid, so we drove up and spent a week and it was great!

We drove through miles of rolling prairie butting up against massive mountains (the view near Trinidad, CO):

We visited the Tattered Cover bookstore @ 16th and Wynkoop — probably my all-time favorite bookstore (Book People in Austin is a close second). I remember going there as a kid and being blown away by its size and grandeur.

We picked up a book titled Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti, and later that day we stumbled across some real-life knit graffiti:

We ate grass-fed burgers at Eco-Burger:

We bowled at Lucky Strike Lanes. Neither of us had bowled since childhood, but we decided on the spur of the moment to give it a go, and it was really fun!

We paid for parking with our credit cards…at the parking meter!

We admired the downtown architecture (Union Station):

Ice House:

Denver Art Museum:

We shopped at The Wizard’s Chest, a fabulous toy/magic/costume store:

We bought socks at the gigantic REI flagship store, with its giant rock-climbing wall in the distance:

We saw frozen ponds (even with temperatures in the high-50s):

We had fun!