16 Aug 2013

I Got A Tumblr !

So the day has finally arrived. I decided I would create a Tumblr even though I have no idea how it works, I guess I will find out as I did with every other social media site I initially joined. I feel like this is going to be a good way to communicate even more with my viewers/readers, from adding photos, videos, notes, and links to my favourite site I already know it will most probably be the cause of my ever increasing time spent online. What I did notice however when I signed up was that it was a blue site. What I mean by that it thats its literally blue, like facebook, twitter, skype and probably so many others. What I realised what that the blue on these sites are all a shade of sky blue giving people who visit them the illusion that they are outside when in reality thats not true. Anyway enough that, lets get back to why we are here, yes Tumblr, please however excuse my first few days as I am new to this whole thing and it will take me a while to get a grip of how everything works.

Hope you enjoy my Tumbling.

Don't forget to follow me and I will se you there !

Thanks for reading,
Rachel Ward.

9 Aug 2013

No Flour Pancakes !

Who doesn't love pancakes ? 
Most people do, but how would you feel if I told you that you can make up a batch of pancakes using only two ingredients and no flour, sugar or milk !
Sound crazy ?
Its actually not that crazy at all. In fact these pancakes can be make using one ripe banana and two eggs. 

  •  1 ripe banana
  • 2 medium eggs
Optional Ingredients:
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Any extra flavours you like 
  1. Mash banana and mix with the eggs, add any extra at this point to the batter.
  2. cook as you would a normal pancake using frying oil as an healthier alternative to butter.
So easy and simple anyone can do it.

Thanks for reading,
Rachel Ward

8 Aug 2013

DIY - Luggage Tag

Good Morning ! 
Today I have a little DIY project for you to have a go at, If you know me or have been a follower for a while you will know I am a huge lover of all things to do with packing & organisation, especially packing a suitcase. When you have packed your case and checked it in, the worst thing that can happen to you if for your luggage to get lost or misplaced. Well fear not my lovely readers as I have for you a simple, unique and super easy tutorial for a luggage tag that will have all your friends and family wanting you to make them one to. 

So here it is;


I hope you found that useful, and have fun making your own luggage tag. 
Don't forget to to let me know how your turns out. 

Thank you,
Rachel Ward

2 Aug 2013

American Road Trip !

I have been documenting my entire trip across America via TravelPod which is a free app that you can use to track, blog, upload photos and ultimately get your entire trip sent to you in the form of a journal at the end of your trip.

If you dont want to go over to my TravelPod page but still want to read my blog then fear not as I will leave it below for you to have a little read of:

Today is the day I have been planning for months. I had to catch a connecting flight, manchester to London (Heathrow), then Heathrow to Newark! 
British airways upgraded me to premium economy which was a bonus. 
Arrived at Newark at 7-8ish and after waiting in the customs line for what seemed like forever, I got the airport to Manhattan shuttle into port authority, then got a taxi to my hotel. 
I stayed at the west side ymca, and to call it a hotel is to nice. It was outdated and rustic, there were cracks in the floor and the chain lock was broke, the room also smelled really bad, on the bright side it was five minutes away from Times Square and right infront of Central Park, so location is the only good thing it has going for it.


So much to see and so little time to do it. I started the day with a walk around Central Park and took pictures, and picture and even more pictures of everything and anything that came into my sight. I walked to the met museum and bought a ticket. I walked around that museum for what seemed like hours and still never saw the entire thing it was huge! 

After the museum I headed to Times Square and on the way ended up buying a cd of a random man walking the street (I have no intention of ever listening to that cd). I have no idea why I ever gave him that money.

I reached Times Square and had a wander around a few shops I ended up buying myself a pair of sunglasses. Then headed to 5th avenue and did a bit window shopping.

Today I woke early, packed stuff up and checked out of the YMCA hotel, then took a taxi to penn station and hopped on a train to Newark airport where I then took the AirTrain and shuttle bus to the Hilton hotel. 

Once I arrived I met up with Faye, Ryan and Adam and we all headed into New York to see some sights and do typical touristy stuff. We walked to Times Square, Central Park, down 5th avenue, we also walked to the Statue of Liberty and took the free staten island ferry to Staten Island which floated past the Statue of Liberty so we got some good photos of that. 

We must have walked about 15 miles that day and decided to take a taxi back to Times Square where we met up with Claire and Holly outside TGI Fridays. had dinner in there then we all headed back to the Hotel, I was sharing a room with Shami who was also on the coast to coast trek.


Early morning wake up, then headed to the lobby where I met up with everyone on the trek and went through paperwork and stuff like that. My trek leader is called Liz, and there are 13 Trekkers altogether. Once we loaded the trailer with all the cases, tents and everything else we all got into the van and headed to Washington DC, the first trip of many. 

We arrived in Washington at about 3ish then set up camp and ate dinner. That evening we headed into the Capitol and took a evening bike tour around all the monuments and the white
House, we saw the Lincoln memorial and a few other things that were there (I forgot what they were called).


Today we had a free day to explore the museums and walk around the Capitol. We all started the day at the museum of natural history which had all the old dinosaur bones and animals in, and old artifices, I saw the hope diamond which is supposedly the same diamond that was in titanic, we walked around there for a while then headed to the American Indian museum that was round and had no corners because the American Indian tribes believed that bad spirits lived in corners, so the entire museum has no corners. 

After that we had our fill of museums so went for a walk to the White House and took some picture outside the black fence. We then headed to the old post office when you took a glass elevator up to the top and had a view of the entire city, it was also free which was a bonus. 

We all then met up with everyone else and went for pizza which was a ridiculas size it was more like size of a wheel that a normal pizza size.


Today we put out tents away and packed up, loaded the van and headed down to Richmond, Virginia. Once we arrived we took a walking tour of the old house that a former president used to live in. We were told not to touch anything especially the wallpaper and were not allowed to take photographs. There was then an attached museum, that we had a quick wander around before heading out to eat lunch.

After that we headed out of Virginia, and up to North Carolina where we set up camp. We shared a camp ground with the trailblazer group where we sat around a camp fire, ate s'mores and got to know each other.


Today started of with a 1 hour drive out of Virginian to south of the boarder which is a huge touristy service station that is ridiculously over the top! They had hats from around the world and gigantic plastic animals dotted all over the place. We then took a 3ish hour drive to Charleston were we spent four hours wandering the streets, had lunch at bubba gump! Then walked along the waterside. 

Later in the evening some of us took a ghost tour of Charleston which was really fun, we walked through graveyards and the leader told ghost story's about past things that have happened and there was this one crazy lady from Tennessee !


Today started with a 4 hour drive from Charleston to Florida. We stopped of in Georgia and bought some traditional peaches. 

Once we reached St Augustine we went into the little town which had a western theme to it, there was a castle which I paid $7 to get in and had a look around then headed to the rooftop but we couldn't get up because there was a lightning strike and a weather warning red. Once we got to the campsite the weather was still bad, so we put up the tents and they nearly blew away. 

Luckily the weather picked up so we walked to the beach to watch the sunset which was nice.

Day 9: MIAMI

Woke up at 5:50am to walk to the beach to see the sunrise in St Augustine which was quite nice. Then loaded up the van for the 5 hour journey to Miami.

Stopped of for lunch on the way then arrived at around 3ish and checked into our first hostel of the trip. It is really nice and clean compared to the hostel I stayed at in New York. 

We all met up in the lobby at 6pm then went to a Cuban restaurant for dinner. I had pork, with black rice and this oniony stuff. It was actually quite good. Then we all headed to a bar for drinks. 


Today was our first proper free day. Went to Miami south beach and sunbathed for a hour or two with everyone, then walked down the promenade into town where we got lunch an the headed back to the hostel where we lounged around the beach until it was time to get ready for the baseball game. 

We were watching the Marlins Vs San Diego's. the game was great and so much fun to watch but honesty they weren't the best teams in the world and the Marlins lost 2-9. After the game there was a huge firework display which was insane as a great way to end the day! 

On the way home me, Kirsten, Kirsty, and Emily got a taxi back to the hostel with a mad taxi driver who ran the red lights and sped down the streets and was clearly not completely sane.


Travelled down to key west and after setting up tents, made a mad dash to the harbour to get there in time for our sunset cruise. We made it in time which was great then we set sail, had a lot of fun on the boat and got to know more of the other group of Trekkers! The boat lasted about two hours and they had free snacks and drinks the entire journey, after the boat trip we went out to a bar called sloppy joes where there was band playing live music and we stayed there for a while.


Woke up at around 6am to get ready for a day at sea. We were all taken out on a boat for the day to do a head if water activities.we stated of with the jet skis, and it was terrifying yet brilliant all at the same time, we did fall off them though! Then we went paragliding which was really relaxing and calm, after that we went snorking, I did see some fish but not a lot, mostly moss and rocks at the bottom of the ocean. Here were also inflatables on the water such as slides and inflatable climbing frames. Breakfast and lunch was also included on the boat as we docked back at around 4pm. 

After that we went for a walk around the town before heading back to camp where we chilled out for the rest of the evening with takeaway pizza and key line pie. 

We were just sat in a picnic bench chatting when all of a sudden we noticed this huge animal in the water to me it looked like a whale but it was actually a manatee  which I had never heard of but it was huge and we think it was stuck but after a couple of hours it got out and swam away.


Today was mostly a drive day, from key west to Orlando it took around six hour driving in total. We stopped in the way a couple of times for lunch, petrol, and to do a food shop at Walmart. 

We all bought white T-shirts as we are going to the dye for July 4th. Today was my groups turn to cook so we made chicken tacos which turned out a whole lot better than the first meal we tried to cook. 

Once we arrived we were staying in little cottages so didn't have to set up tents or anything just chilled out for the rest of the evening.


Today we went to universal, Orlando ! For the one and only wizarding world of harry potter. Once we arrived we headed straight there and oh my goodness, it was even better in person than on pictures or tv. It looks incredible and so realistic, there was snow on the rooftops and the Hogwarts express was at platform 9 3/4 where you could take photos with the instructor, there was wizarding shops everywhere selling Wands and sweets, butterbeers and joke shops. We headed for the rides, the first ride was the flight of the phoenix, it was pretty scary actually and I screamed with my eyes closed the entire ride, the next ride we went on was the BEST ride of my entire day, it was in the hogwarts castle and queuing up you were led through te castle and got to see all the rooms and there were 3d hollograms of harry, Ron and heremine and they talked as interacted with the public, the next room was dumbuldore, all the picture frames had plasma TVs build into them so all the photographs moved it was amazing. The ride itself blew my mind, it was a 3d simulator and you were flying through the grounds of hogwarts chasing things ad escaping dementors, it was great
After we explored hogwarts a little whole longer we went on the Jurassic park ride, which we or soaked on but it was a whole lot of fun! 

Then we queued for the spiderman ride for nearly two hours, whilst in this queue there was a little girl who must have been about 3 or 4 and she was soo funny, she kept giving us dirty looks as was doing the hand motion for "I'm Watching you" hahaha. The spiderman ride was worth the wait it was another 3d simulator, and we has 3d glasses on and flew through the streets of New York chasing and escaping the evil villains with Spider-Man's help. Then we went on a ride that shot us up into the sky which was cool but didn't last that long, and after that we went on the hulk ride which was OH MY GOD! Crazy! It shot us right up into the sky before we even climbed to the top of the ride, there were endless loop de loops and twists that I nearly lost my voice from screaming so much! 

Then we went back and had another go on the flight of the phoenix, then wandered around the 
Gift shops and christmas shop then went to Hard Rock Cafe, and found the universal globe where we took some pictures ! 

When we got back liz made us all a thanksgiving dinner and we sat around and had to say what we were thankful for which was really nice, we then had apple pie and ice cream and could not move after all the food.


So we hopped in the van and headed to iHop for breakfast, and what an experience that was. I got the banana and strawberry pancakes and they had an array of syrups to try it was huge but soo good! Defiantly a must for anybody visiting america !

After that we headed to Panama City Beach, on the way one of the window wipers broke in the van and we had a huge downpour of rain, the back of the van started to leak aswell, so we pulled over and waited for the rain to pass. It calmed down a bit so we carried on with our journey, then Brian (the other tour leader) rang up and told us all out campsite was flooded so we made alternative arrangements to stay in a motel in Defuniak. 

Before heading there we poped into a thrift store and picked up some nik nacs for the van them made our way to the motel. 

When we got there we wandered around Walmart as it was across the road, then got takeaway pizza and tye dyed our shirts for the 4th of July. We then went to dollar tree and bought some American themes decorations to wear with out tshirts an went abit mad in there as everything was $1. We then headed back to Walmart for some extra bits and pieces.


It's the 4th July ! 
Arrived in New Orleans at about 3ish then checked into our townhouse which was really nice, then lounged around and got ready as we all had dinner reservations at 7pm on bourbon street. We got to bourbon street and OMG! What an experience, I have never been anywhere like that before it was crazy! We got to the resterant early but that was fine we got seated and got drinks then ordered food. I had the chicken and pasta it was really good! Then we went into bourbon street got some to go drinks then headed to the Mississippi River to see the Fourth of July fireworks and festival celebrations. 


Today we all had a free day to explore New Orleans, me and Shami went for a walk at around 2pm, we went wandering all around the French quarter and bourbon street, we walked around the missipi river and into god knows how many shops. We then went for lunch and shared a chicken and chips platter from a little bar and oh my god the chicken pieces were huge!!! 

We got back at around 6pm then got ready and most of us went out to a few jazz bars for the evening, we didn't stay out long though as everyone was tired.


Today we made our way from New Orleans to Lafayette, Louisiana. On the way we stopped of at a swamp to do a tour. Our tour guide was called cajon jack, we were in a little boat and drove about 1-2 hours around the swamp looking at old houses and trying to find alligators. Honestly I found the swamp tour a little boring, not my cup of tea, after that we went to our campsite and set up along with the other group. We just had a chilled evening and ate dinner, had a shower and done some laundry. 

Day 19: TEXAS

Today we drove down to Austin, Texas. On the way we took a pit stop of at a really unique store that was completely recyclable and had a funky garden were we are lunch. We arrived at out campsite where we were staying in cabins which was nice, then we ate dinner and had some birthday cake and icecream as it was Aisha's 24th birthday. 


Today we had a lie in till noon, then went into Austin itself and took a tour of the Austin campus, and had a wander through some shops. Once that was over we went down to Barton springs to meet up with the others who didn't do the tour. It was basically a huge outdoor natural pool which was freezing but really refreshing. We relaxed there till 6pm then went to get some traditional BBQ. I got pulled pork and mac and cheese, it was so good as defiantly a must if you ever visit Texas. 

We then we all so tired and full from the food that we went back to camp and chilled out before going to bed.


Today we drove 1hour and a bit into San Antonio to do the river walk and visit the town, we walked around a bit and then got some lunch, when we returned to the van we switched it up a bit with Brian's group and half came into our van, we then drove what seemed like 8 or 9 hours to Balmorea, in western Texas. It was a little state park in the middle if no where and we could see for miles and miles. We cooked dinner today and made chicken, which broccoli and spinach in a white sauce with pasta. 

After dinner we were relaxing when all of a sudden we jumped out of our seats by what we though was a gun shot but it was infact just brain throwing fireworks at us, not dangerously though. After the four or fifth firework a neighbour and the park ranger came over and started giving out saying it was illegal to set of fireworks and he would call the police if he heard any more and then he confiscated all of the fireworks which was unfair.


Today we went to Carlsbad caverns and took the long route through the caverns we walked down into the middle, it was so interesting. But after a while it was a bit of the same thing the walk was around two miles as it was a nice cool temperature down there. 

Afterwards we got lunch them set up camp at the KOA Carlsbad campsite. Then we all went and saw a authentic drive thu movie at a outdoor movie theatre, we took camp chairs and bought popcorn and drinks from the stand then watched monsters university.


Today we got up ad made our tin foil hats then headed to Roswell to visit the alien museum we wore out hats into the museum and got some funny looks but it was so much fun reading about the alien landing and taking pictures, we went to the gift shop and I bought another fridge magnet to add to my collection. 

After Roswell we headed to Santa Fe and after nearly four hours we arrived and had a couple of hours to wander around and see the sights, Santa Fe is such a beautiful place it's so clean and architecturally beautiful. 

After that we headed to camp and had dinner, it was a great meal we had chilli soup with rice and tortilla chips and guacamole. It was amazing I have to get that recipe. We then chatted for a while around the tables and watched the lightning which was weird as it was not raining or thundering but a nice cool


Set of for Colorado today and I sat in the front of the van and was the DJ for the day which was too much pressure for me to handle and made me quite anxious but I somewhat overcame that fear and powered though. When we arrived at Durango me, Emily and Kristen wandered around and window shopped, Emily bought a owl cake stand and we got free samples of fudge which was amazing.

We then headed to camp near Mesa verde and set up our tents, after dinner we chilled out for the night and there were a few horses in a barn next to our tents so I went over and chatted to them for a while before i went down to the recreation centre where we chatted for a while before heading back at around half eleven.


Today we went on a hike around Mesa Verde ad saw the cliff hangings where people lived 100s of years ago, we hiked for around a hour or so then had a roam around the gift shop and I bought a national park passport. 

When we or back to camp we chilled out for a few hours then it was my groups turn to cook so we made hotdogs. We then went into Durango and went to a brewery for a couple of hours before heading back to camp. 

Today on our way to Moab, Utah we stopped of at newspaper rock which is a big rock in the side of a canyon that had drawings and images that people had carved into the rocks hundreds of years ago. 

When we reached Moab, it was HOT, HOT, HOT!!! We set up tents and then me, Kristen and Emily went for a wander around the town and bought some snow cones. 

When we returned we ate dinner then me, Kirsty, Tom, Adam, Kristen and Liz got picked up for the hummer tour. 

The hummer tour was crazy, the driver was called ciler and was a nutcase but so funny! We drove in a military jeep through the rocks of Utah up and down canyons. We stopped to view the sunset and took loads of pictures (to many pictures). The tour lasted about two hours and then we got dropped of back at camp. 


Today we woke at 4am to go on a sunrise hike in the arches national park in Utah. We hiked and accidentally went of trail and ended up going the wrong way but we found the arch in the end and got there in time for the sunrise which was beautiful. 

We then headed to see the balancing rock in the arches and then to the visitors centre where I became a junior ranger and got a badge. 

Once we were done some of us want to macdonalds and the rest to the pancake haus. I went to get pancakes and they were delish. 


Today we headed to monument valley. On the way we stopped at a roadside attraction called "hole in the rock" which was a huge rock in the side of a canyon carved out and they had a gift shop, zoo, trading post and loads of little quirky things to take pictures of. Today was also Adams birthday and he turned 25 so we had cupcakes for him. 

When we arrived at monument valley we stopped at the side of the road that forest gump ran down and the same road he did in the movie and took loads of pictures. 

Then we arrived at the Navajo part of monument valley where we spent the night in tee pee style huts and had a hummer tour with a Native American called Richard. We toured the valleys and ran down sand dunes before having some traditional Navajo food of tacos and streak. There was then some entertainment from the leaders of the tribe and they danced and sang and played some instruments which was really good. 

When we were sleeping we all lay outside first and watched the stars when all of a sudden a group of horses walked past us, we slept outside until about 1am when it started to rain so we headed into the tee pee to sleep for the rest of the night. 

We woke at 5am to see the sunrise in monument valley.


Today we woke up at 5am in monument valley and watched the sunrise, then headed to the Grand Canyon ! 

On our way we stopped of at the trading post where we ate lunch and bought some gifts. We arrived and were blindfolded and led in a line to the edge of the canyon then removed our blindfolds and saw the view. 

We then had a little wander around before heading to the camp site to set up tents. 

That night we went bowling which was fun, and on the way back to camp we walked into a stag randomly walking through the mccdonalds car park.


Today we woke up and hiked down to cedar ridge in the Grand Canyon, it was a three mile round trip and going down was the easy part but coming back up again was a killer. I hiked back up in 30 minutes which was quite good. 

We then went to catch our helicopter ride across the canyon, it was amazing and such a unique experience but I was quite tired and dozed of a little bit during the flight. 

After that we watched a movie in the visitors centre about the Grand Canyon and became junior rangers and got a badge. 

Later on in the day we went to see a IMAX movie about the Grand Canyon and a man who canoed and hiked with one arm across the canyon and the Colorado river.


Today we headed to lake Powell to the cowboy camp. 

We arrived at about 4ish and set up tents then went horse riding with jeff and Patrick which were the horse ranglers/cowboys of the camp. 
The ride was fun but after a while I wanted it to go a little bit faster rather than walking slowly on the horse. 

After the horse ride we had dinner at the ranch which was good. I had a veggie burger and beans and corn, then a chocolate brownie for dessert. 

After that we went to the party barn!


Today we left lake Powell and the party barn and headed to Bryce Canyon. Once we arrived we went on a 4 and a 1/2 mile hike around the canyon and took loads of pictures and sweated like pigs. 

After the hike we set up camp in the state park where we had a joint BBQ dinner with the trailblazer group and had a campfire and played baseball and card games during the evening.

Day 33: ZION 

Today we traveled to Zion national park and did a hike to the upper waterfall section. The waterfall itself was supposed to
Be spectacular but instead it looked like someone forgot to turn the tap of completely and it was less than impressive. Me, Aisha and Tom hiked to the upper section to see if there was something better and it was really pretty up there, like a little haven tucked away. 

Once we were done we headed to camp where it began to pour down and we got soaked. It rained the most it ever did during the entire trip. 
It was my groups turn to cook so we make spaghetti bolanaise it was really good :)


Today before heading to Vegas we went on one last stop to Zion national park where we went for tea and breakfast and then headed to Las Vegas !

When we arrived we checked into the quad hotel and had over a hour to get ready and sort out stuff out before we met up in Lizs room where we had a pizza party before the party bus picked us up for our ride across Vegas 

The ride was two hours but was definitely not long enough and should have been longer, we had two stops one at a lights show and the second at the Vegas sign where we took pictures.


Today I woke at 8am and had a wander around the hotel to see if I could spot anybody. After a hour or so I found Faye and Nicole and we spent all day walking into all the hotels and shopping malls within the hotels and spending a lot of money. The shopping malls were amazing and had fake outdoor sky's inside and one even had a gondola ride inside the hotel. 

We walked for over 12 hours going in and out of all the shops, we stopped for dinner at a bar and I got a burger and chips which was amazing ! 

Later in the evening we met up with Clair and holly and went and done a little more shopping then went to the casinos and done a few slot machines.


Today we left Las Vegas and headed down to San Diego on the way we stopped of at iHop for breakfast and I got two pancakes with bacon and scrambled eggs. 

The drive today was the longest drive of the trip and we left at around 9am and didn't arrive till nearly 7pm in San Diego.

Once we set up tents and ate dinner it was getting late so we just lit a campfire and sat around chatting for a while before heading to sleep.


Today we went to the San Diego beach and relaxed for a couple of hours sunbathing on the beach. We stayed there till around 4/5ish then we all went and got some Mexican food and ate it in a little grassy patch near the beach. 

We then went back to the campsite and had a final campfire and make s'mores and talked about our time on the trip.


Today we headed to LA, once we arrived we took a quick stop of at the stars and saw the hollywood sign. Then headed through Beverly Hills and checked into the hacienda hotel. Both our group and the trailblazer group went for a final meal together that evening. 

We then said our goodbyes To everyone when we got back to the hotel, as people were leaving that night and some early the next morning.


There you have it, 5 weeks travelling the USA. An unforgettable experience and one that I will never forget. If you are at all considering booking a trip with trek america then do it ! you will not regret it, I had an amazing time and wish I was still there. Im even thinking about booking another one it was that good! 

If you have any questions or concerns about booking then dont hesitate to ask me as I will be more than happy to answer your worries. 

Thanks for reading,
Rachel Ward