Babymoon – Cabo San Lucas!

Babymoon Preface:

September 7th 2014, the day after my brother married his best friend, Liz Oliver, now Carroll, my wife and I were shocked with a real blessing… We were pregnant!

That moment forwards, our lives have been a good kind of different. If you are our friends, family or even a social media acquaintance, you know that our life has been a production set which my wife has become center stage in her own reality TV show. Hey, I guess that makes me along for the ride. Yeah it is mandatory but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now that we have made it past the “gender reveal” party, we are now upon our “babymoon”! Thankfully this time around, I have the means to celebrate and enjoy the moment with my wife. Now that we are just about to enter our 3rd trimester of pregnancy, it is the perfect time to enjoy our last chance getaway, an all-inclusive week in Cabo San Lucas at the Riu Santa Fe!

A very warm and sincere thank you to our good family friends, Andrew and Rosi Vaughn, without them we would not have looked into Sun Country’s vacation packages and found this great deal! Cheers, Uno have been a big help in making this babymoon happen!

2.12-16.2015 РDía Uno, Dos, Tres & Cuatro:
Upon arrival here in Los Cabo, we were easily greeted by our Sun Country hosts and taken to our resort @ Riu Santa Fe. Upon checking in, and after exchanging our original room for an ‘acceptable’ one, we were able to set up for the week. With our bursting carry-ons unpacked, we settled in and jumped into our normalization period. You know, the time needed to clear your head from the business rigmarole and get used to eating and drinking whatever and whenever. Yeah, I am a big believer in all-inclusive resorts.

My initial assessment was that the Riu Santa Fe was by far the largest resort complex that we have ever stayed. With more than 900+ rooms, this place was constantly buzzing with foreigners, especially Canadians! The upside, the resort had massive space and was set up to accommodate large live shows and many many thirsty patrons wanting to belly up at the bar! The downside, having to reserve dinner plans in advance (which is fairly typical, but getting in at anything but 9PM is a real challenge, good luck!), and the mediocre at best food.

It took us a couple of days and about a million Blue Jays hats to realize that we had arrived during the Canadian spring break. They definitely added to the youthful party atmosphere and made for some interesting sight-seeing! We didn’t really let that detract us from our baby moon focus. Thankfully Nell was quite content pool side while I was able to drink to my heart’s content and socialize with other travelers in serious need of a vacay! Thus leading to several nights where a power nap turned into a 4 hour crash, oh well.

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Drinks on the beach, in the pool, or any where you want! Smiles everywhere. My beautiful wife happy to be relaxing and taking good care of our baby boy!

Breakfast time was an easy favorite to both of us as we often felt catered to by the welcoming staff, many asking how far along we were. Our favorite pit stop quickly became the omelette station and Nell began a daily regimen of sugar doughnuts. It is nice to treat yourself from time to time and we were enjoying all the Riu had to offer.

Typically we would stop back at our room and grab our beach bags, sunscreen was a must!

Note – a word to the wise, if you want a lay-down reclining chair at the beach, you had better hurry down before 7:30AM to stake claim to your spot for the day.

We found that the closer you got to the beach, inherently the busier it was, makes sense. Once Nell was comfortable and we were set up with a shade umbrella, I would normally head to the beach front and take a swim. They warn folks about the undertow of the ocean current and for good reason, it is very strong and has no problem pulling gown men and women into the deeper water. If you’re a strong swimmer, it is a fun challenge, but for the elderly and young children, you are better off entering further down the beach about half a mile or so. Either way, it made for some entertaining people watch and also was responsible for a few topless exposures, yikes!

We made it to Riu Santa Fe!  Loving the resort, enjoying the warm weather and sandy beaches! Happy Babymoon! :-)

We made it to Riu Santa Fe! Loving the resort, enjoying the warm weather and sandy beaches! Happy Babymoon! ūüôā

The bars close by were awesome and each offered an infinity pool lookout. The bartenders were great and were proficient at serving up rainbow shots, mai tai, bahama momma, pina coladas, and basically any concoctions that you could dream up. One notable thing I liked was the great music and the offering of fresh snacks pretty much throughout the day; it gave some good balance to the overindulgence of alcoholic drinks. I would grab Nell a virgin cocktail and we would go dancing in the main pool, spinning and being silly, it was nice to be close with my woman.

By the time it was near to 5PM we would head back and shower up and attempt to get ready for dinner. After a few power naps became power sleeps, we learned better than to rest too much, lol. Making dinner reservations was a hassle unless you beat the rush early in the morning. Our favorite spots were the Italian and Mexican restaurants and our least was probably the Asian. The steak place was so-so. Overall the food was forgettable and none would rate over a 6/10 in my book, and I am not a very picky eater.

Every night was date night and we took full advantage!   After eating dinner we often took a stroll around the Riu complex, so beautiful!

Every night was date night and we took full advantage! After eating dinner we often took a stroll around the Riu complex, so beautiful!

The bars located in the main square were quite busy the remainder of the evenings as they hosted the audience watching the nightly shows. Overall the shows were not very impressive and covered the normal Michael Jackson and karaoke themes, fun but mediocre as the talent used was the Activities staff. It would have been nice had the brought in specialized acts, oh well.

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This woman is glowing! Together we captured a few pics stepping out to enjoy the Riu nightlife including dinner, drinks and dancing!

My lasting thoughts of the all-inclusive resort was that it was very well-kept up as it was power washed every morning and there were adequate cleaning crews. The staffing however was a but of an issues and lead to longer wait times at the concierge desk, dinner reservation station and also the bars. Probably the most annoying was that the reservation dinner spots were never more than half full but wouldn’t take walk-ins. I am sure they have there reasons but still. Also, if you don’t get food by 10PM in the resort you are left to fend at the “sports bar” which meant you had the option of pre-cooked burgers and watered down nachos and a bit of fruit. Do NOT make the mistake of eating there, you’re better off starving.

Lastly the amenities including number of pools and bars was excellent. I would say however that this is much less geared for babymooners and young children, but instead more set up for the college crowd and above.

2.17.2015 – Dia Cinco:
On our fifth day, Nell and I had booked an excursion through Olympus our Sun Country sponsored travel consultants. This morning we would be leaving with High Tides for a glass bottom kayaking and snorkeling tour of Chileno bay. Upon arrival we were happily created by Sergio and Sheco our dedicated instructors. We lucked out as it was only Nell and I with them on the tour which h made it much more fun and allowed them greater flexibility with our adventure.

Due to Nell’s pregnant state and our risk aversion, we else ted for her to be set up on the beach with an umbrella and some water and snacks. Sheco took her to the bay while Sergio and I started out in a different spot. Wanting to show me a great experience, Sergio suggested that we also bring along a paddle board, so we did. Being a great swimmer and all, I opted to not wear my life jacket and comfortably we shoved off. After getting my bearings in the kayak and rounding the first set of cliffs, Sergio took my camera and snapped some cool pictures of me out on the ocean.

Adventure with a little bit of fear as the turquoise water turned to a deep blue.  The ocean really put things into perspective. My first attempt at paddle boarding was a success, so fun!

Adventure with a little bit of fear as the turquoise water turned to a deep blue. The ocean really put things into perspective. My first attempt at paddle boarding was a success, so fun!

About a half mile off shore, we switched and I gave paddle boarding a shot. Being my first attempt, it took me a moment to figure out the balancing and yes, I did go for a swim two different times. Kind of freaky when the water is that deep blue and no signs of bottom, JAWS can begin circling your thoughts. Anyway, I caught on quick and soon we were moving along at a steady pace. We encountered a very large sea turtle which was pretty cool to sea. It got skittish when I got about 15 yards away and poof, gone!

A little later we were greeted by a pod of humpback whales about 400-500 yards away. Cool but scary to think of how big they are. Later, on shore Sheco told me that he had been out last week and had one swim under his board he got wobbly knees and sat down, lol. Once we had taken a few pictures paddling, it was time to head in for shore, two miles in total. It was a core workout! I then took Nell out for a calm kayak ride in the bay near the area that I would soon snorkel. She seemed to enjoy it but of course was fearful for her safety given her condition and inability to swim, I put her at ease and made sure she was safe.

Couples Kayaking on our Cabo babymoon! Nellie and my son were very brave and let me bring them out for a short ride!

Couples Kayaking on our Cabo babymoon! Nellie and my son were very brave and let me bring them out for a short ride!

With Nellie now comfortably relaxing and enjoying conversation with Sergio, it was time for Sheco and I to go and check out the reef surrounding Chileno¬†bay’s beach. He knew exactly what cool areas to show me and what specifically to look for. Immediately, you could see an abundance of marine life all over the place, there were many different species of fish and corals. As we went along, he took time to explain where to look and what native species were good for eating. Sheco flipped over a few rocks in order to find a starfish; within moments of holding the starfish, it would adhere itself to my hand. Over the next 45 minute stretch around the surrounding reef, we found many other cool crustaceans and sea urchins. When we returned we were both needing some fresh drinking water (I guess if you put some on the back of your neck it takes away some of the dizziness.).

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By far the best snorkeling experience ever @ Chileno Bay in Los Cabos. My guide Sheco really took his time to teach me where to look for the best marine life! So much fun!

It was now only about noon and the day had already been a big success. We made our way back and tipped our friends from High Tide. They were great sports and all about delivering a quality experience. The remainder of the day slipped away with more food, drinking and ocean views.

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Smiles for these two soon to be parents! Looking out from the infinity pool, we enjoyed the amazing Cabo views! To quench our thirst, we both enjoyed a pineapple punch!

2.18.2015 РDía Seis:
Waking up was always welcome as a freshly prepared breakfast was sure to follow. This morning we were up and active early because we had an 8:30AM excursion; our agenda included whale watching and an afternoon near Lovers Beach! Our vessel was to be a double-decker boat full of all-inclusive accommodations. Upon boarding we made our way to the top deck to get a good sight-seeing spot.

While others enjoyed breakfast, Nell and I had some fruit juice and enjoyed the music playing on their surround. We were not hungry but I did enjoy a bloody mary. Soon we set sail and headed to the main attraction in Cabo, the incredible rock formations jetting out of the ocean coastline. After snapping several photos, we headed for deeper waters to make acquaintance with a couple of whales!

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Beautiful day and calm seas, just perfect for whale watching! Nellie and I enjoyed the views and snapped a few selfies while we were going out to see to catch a glimpse of the whales!

Cabo San Lucas is home to one of three places in the world that humpback whales come to spawn and raise their calfs. Interestingly, we found out that the massive sea mammals are very social creatures and often show signs of their playfulness. Some of these behaviors include slapping their large fins and tails to slap the water and even breach the water by jettisoning their bodies out of the water in a spectacular display. They also show affection by brushing against one another which serves to remove barnacle and other parasites that get attached to their skin over time.

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Humpback whales were playfully breaching the water, fin slapping and giving us a show. Such an impressive show from one of the sea’s gentle giants!

The show was quite impressive. They would come up for air roughly every ten to fifteen minutes and show us their magnificence. In the meantime, I would have cocktails and chat with Nellie. After capturing several pictures our boat began to make its way to port. They quickly turned to music and dancing in which Nell and I both made moves on the top deck dance floor, super fun!

Upon our return we were to make our way to Lovers & Divorce beach. We caught a water taxi and were on our way in a flash. They call them glass bottom boats, however, it’s really not an attraction as you are moving quickly and cannot really catch a glimpse of anything but the passing water. On our way out we saw that Pelican Beach was packed of snorkeling adventurers and I knew this is where I wanted to be. After getting the OK from the boss, we let our chauffeur know that we would be getting off here and that he could pick us up in two hours.

Like a gentleman, I scooped Nell up and safely got her off the boat. There were several locals out there selling beers and renting umbrellas to ease the burden of the hot Mexican sun. I found Nell a comfy spot, laid down a beach towel and got her set up with an umbrella. Excitedly, I grabbed my gear and got ready to have another go at snorkeling.

Upon entering the water, slightly more rough today but still great visibility. The fish were abundant and the various corals were also plentiful. Many vibrant colors everywhere, but it seems that only once you slow down do you really see the smaller forms of life. Snorkeling is very relaxing as you only really focus on watching your environment and manage breathing.

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Snorkeling on Pelican Beach was awesome. Such a variety of fish and coral were in abundance. The reef dropped off into the deep blue abyss. On my return to shore, I found my very first geocache on the reef wall!

After making my way around to the back side of the furthest portion of the snorkeling area, you could see a straight drop-off to depths of the ocean floor that could not be visibly seen. It was impressive and slightly terrifying at the same time. It’s when the aquamarine color turns to a deeper and more ominous blue that I know I have gone far enough. Several times I would challenge my breath by holing it and diving to get a closer look at the playful fish and swaying sea fan corals.

Upon my return, one such dive yielded a very unexpected treasure. At first I saw it and then a moment later I knew exactly what it was. I had found a geocache or some call them travel bugs. It was a unique pyramid object resting upon a ten pesos coin. I had just found a treasure eight feet down on a coral reef wall at Pelican Beach; it blew my mind. Good thing I had my underwater camera, without it, I wouldn’t have captured some of these great shots!I made it back to shore and shared my experience with my wife, she was shocked. It would be our challenge to identify it online and to hide it once we return to Minneapolis.

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Cabo + Corona + Cache = Best Babymoon EVER!

2.19.2015 РDía Siete
Sadly our last day here in beautiful Cabo was upon us. Thankfully we had a late flight with afforded us one more chance to absorb the Mexican sunshine!

Up early and packed, I left the Mrs. sleep in while I stepped out and enjoyed the sunrise and a cup of coffee. It was quiet, the calm period before all the college kids came out to party. I really appreciated my surroundings and strolled the Riu complex before heading back to have breakfast with Nellie.

After another fresh breakfast and taking a moment to tip out the service staff we headed back to checkout. Thankfully everything fit back into our suitcases and we were able to have the concierge hold our luggage while we made the most of our final day! With our flip-flops on, we headed to the beach one last time! Our babymoon was exactly what we needed, it was magic!

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As we say our goodbyes, I can only smile and be thankful! Our babymoon has been a great trip to relax, reconnect and be ourselves!

At least we have something to look forward to when we return… the arrival of our son, baby Ethan!

Thanks for coming along for the ride!¬†Until next time…

Honeymoon @ Sunscape – Ixtapa Mexico

Months before exchanging wedding vows with my now wife Nellie Carroll, we decided that delaying our honeymoon until our one year anniversary would best allow the dust to settle and us to budget accordingly. The first few months seemed to fly and I thought it was cute when we would call out our ‘monthly anniversary’. We had been batting ideas around about exactly when and where but we needed to get our financial ducks in a row and make a decision.

Months prior to the wedding, while stopping at my local StateFarm agent’s office, I was recommended to contact Ketti Menne (see her site here), an experienced travel agent that had assisted. She had assisted my agent and got a good review so I gave it a shot. After an initial consult we began narrowing our travel scope and available budget. Eventually we booked a trip to Sunscape Dorado Pacifico¬†in Ixtapa, Mexico.

This was to be an all-inclusive getaway that offered a beautiful getaway on the pacific side of Mexico. The price was very reasonable and our package included flights and ground transportation which can greatly reduce stress when in a foreign destination. With the arrangements made, the excitement began to build and soon we were counting down the days in till our trip.

We booked for a full 7 days and were both looking forward to that extended getaway. It was going to be a trip focused on celebration. Nellie had just converted to a FTE in her career at Prime Therapeutics, and I had just completed all my course work for graduate school and studied for and passed my CISSP (a gold standard exam for those in the IT Security profession). Let’s not forget that this was also about reconnecting with one another and sharing time discussing our first year of marriage. ¬†No marriage is perfect and we are not invincible from the harmful realities of demanding jobs, financial bumps, and daily temptations. But, we weathered the storm and deserved a celebration and it was now upon us. After a long weekend Saturday of shopping, thank you Macy’s, we had fresh new clothes for our getaway. We were ready; it was go time.

Once we had surpassed the Herculean task of packing, we departed early the morning of May 17th. Together and as a team we traveled from Minneapolis to Phoenix and eventually to Zihuatanejo/ Ixtapa, MX. Once we had finally arrived, we were escorted down a ramp of stairs from the plane onto the Tarmac and quickly into customs. At that moment we finally were able to get our first taste of the hot and humid weather that was to be our new paradise for the next week. Love it!

Couldn't be more excited for our honeymoon! Officially on our way to Ixtapa, MX.

Couldn’t be more excited for our honeymoon! Officially on our way to Ixtapa, MX.

Once through customs, Nellie and I were quickly identified by an Apple Vacations representative that squared away our travel to Sunscape. As we began our travels through Zihuatanejo to the tourist sister city Ixtapa, it was obvious we were in a third world country. Things were visually much less developed; the city itself was nestled in a large valley and most houses were built into the steep sloping countryside. While the living conditions are at a much reduced convenience for most, our taxi driver assured us that the city offers electricity and large water-tank trucks would deliver water for a reasonable fee. Overall, it was a change of pace, but to the inhabitants this was home and they were very happy to share it with tourists like us.

Finally we arrived at our stacation¬†destination, Sunscape Dorado Pacifico¬†and were greeted with smiles from the concierge. We quickly checked in and were then requested to attend an informational meeting regarding all the available experiences available to us. There were several other Americans that had just arrived, initially we exchanged common salutations but didn’t realize we would end up experiencing much of our vacation with them as new friends. That was really great!

Note – Travelers beware, Emilio at the front desk will try to convince you into attending a two-hour meeting for $50-100 worth of pesos; however, he downplays that it is a really a pitch to sell time shares and pressure travelers. ¬†This definitely took away a bit of the ‘warm welcome’ that we received, but we didn’t fall for it.

While attending, our fantastic consultant, Roberto, explained what excursions were available for booking and what times throughout our stay that they would be available, which was very helpful. Once we had that foundation, Nell and I began tossing around comments on which we would both like to attend. By the end we were well-informed and able to knowingly have a minimal sight-seeing agenda that still allowed for enough poolside relaxing! Loving it even more! When we made it to our room we were welcomed with a ‘Honeymoon’ banner and a desert made specially for us. It was okay, but it was really the view that captured us, WOW!

After a warm welcome, we made it to our room and got to look out as our new view from the 10th floor, not bad!

After a warm welcome, we made it to our room and got to look out as our new view from the 10th floor, not bad!

The temperature outside was a steamy 93 degrees and sunny; we could not ask for better weather. Having barely survived a hellacious Minnesota winter, the tropical weather was more than welcomed. That said, while on this trip we were in swim attire the vast majority of the time. Prior to the trip, the wifey decided to take a chance and try out braids which were super cute and very functional. I loved them and she was instantly received as a model amongst the guests staying at the resort. We made our way downstairs and got a little time in at the poolside enjoying a drink and scoping out the resort. On our first night we kept things pretty casual and decided to do dinner at the Bluewater Grill which was quite good!

Night 1: So much fun taking in all that the resort has to offer. Great evening with such a beautiful woman!

Night 1: So much fun taking in all that the resort has to offer. Great evening with such a beautiful woman!

The next day we slept in and eventually made our way down to breakfast and enjoyed the buffet, Nellie especially liked their sugar doughnuts and decided to spoiled herself. We found everyone from the resort staff to the other vacationers to be extremely pleasant and more than willing to teach you spanish. Buenos Diaz! There was little to no language barrier at this destination which made things very convenient, and you could tell that the locals appreciated your attempts. It seemed that everyone enjoyed getting to know us and had curious questions to ask, like where we were from and whether we like Ixtapa very pleasant atmosphere!

After getting our fill, the whole day was dedicated to relaxing and spending time poolside lounging and swimming in the ocean. ¬†Often Nellie would be resting from shore as I would battle the strong waves along the ocean’s shore. They may have only been 6-8 feet waves but they were quite powerful. I am thankful that swimming is one of my strengths because the ocean current can be very formidable. Beyond being a total vegetable, there were several¬†volleyball games hosted by the resorts entertainment crew (which were fantastic) that I was able to participate in. Actually during one of the games is when I ran back into one of the Americans we had met the day before, Jason, which was cool. I really started to absorb a lot of the Mexican sun and added a few shades to my complexion. ¬†Luckily, Nellie was great about keeping me covered in active sunscreen.

To cool off, we waded through the pool to the swim-up bar and ordered another round of drinks. I think we enjoyed a pi√Īa colada and a Bahama Momma as we chatted. Before we knew it the entertainment crew had sprung¬†back into action, but this time it was an adults only drinking game. Essentially, they showed us some of their favorite Mexican shots and how to make them, of course they had to cap it off with a tequila shot at the end, yikes! ¬†The libations were all fantastic and it really opened up the group of us Americans into conversation and getting to know one another. ¬†From there we had many laughs and decided to all coordinate dinner.

Nothing better than having shots and changing complete strangers into new vacation friends! Can you say "Tequila"?

Nothing better than having shots and changing complete strangers into new vacation friends! Can you say “Tequila”?

For this night we were going to be checking out Da Mario, an Italian influenced restaurant. We got dressed up and were looking the part of a couple relaxed honeymooners and headed down. ¬†As always we are usually operating about twenty minutes behind schedule but oh well, its vacation and we didn’t take things too seriously. Afterwards we made our way outside where they had music playing and people were dancing and drinking well into the late hours! It was cool that each night offered a different music theme. ¬†Once we had our nightcap we went back to our air-conditioned room for some much-needed rest!

Great dinner with new friends and of course, my best friend! Looking cute in our vaca threads we just had to snap a few!

Great dinner with new friends and of course, my best friend! Looking cute in our vaca threads we just had to snap a few!

The next morning we woke up and headed down for a breakfast.  I had finally gained my barring now as to the different accommodations and found that Coco Cafe made a really good Americano so I grabbed one on my way into Windows for a bite. We found our group and immediately were sat and served some tasty mimosas to get the day started. To that I say cheers!

Breakfast mimosas and yummy food, must be rough living like this everyday, lol! Loving our all inclusive getaway!

Breakfast mimosas and yummy food, must be rough living like this everyday, lol! Loving our all-inclusive getaway so far!

Soon there after we were back into our swim attire and out enjoying the day. We had no difficulty finding different activities to get involved with. After having a couple of drinks we were feeling comfortable and really enjoying the weather I got intrigued by all of the vendors on the beach offering parasailing.  I knew that it was something that I wanted to do and for only $20, I had to give it a chance!

Awesome rush all the way up parasailing.  I had the best view of all Ixtapa; what a cool experience!

Awesome rush all the way up parasailing. I had the best view of all Ixtapa! What a cool experience!

When I returned, I found my wife being entertained by Gabriel who was leading a group of about fifteen people in water aerobics. It was so silly some of the things that they did, I was laughing so hard when I saw Nellie try to carry Gayle through the water in a buddy exercise.

Note Рprobably the most memorable experiences were only attainable with the fun and energy that the Entertainment Team brought to the table.  You had 1) Carlos Рa really great guy that was eager to play a game of volleyball, 2) Gabriel Рthis guy is probably the best dancer at the entire resort and knew how to make people smile, and 3) Blanca Рa very outgoing woman who knew how to charm the crowd with her coconut bowling expertise and smile. They were so polite and gracious, I consider all of them to be my friends!

Earlier that day, I had checked the schedule and Carlos was scheduled to lead those interested on bike ride around the surrounding neighborhood.  So we suited up and went for a nice hour-long bike ride and history lesson of the surrounding area. Lol, I recall the bikes being quite uncomfortable and squeaky, but we managed and I snapped a couple of bike selfies as we rode along.

Fun bike ride around Ixtapa had us sightseeing and sweating... HOT! Such a fun time, Carlos was a great guide!

Fun bike ride around Ixtapa had us sightseeing and sweating… HOT! Such a fun time! Carlos was a great guide!

It was a cool experience but by the time we got back we were a bit worn out and in need of more beverages. We got back grabbed some refreshments and made sure to meet up with Roberto so that we could finally book the excursions that interested us the most.  Nellie wanted to do horseback riding and I wanted to go snorkeling and zipplining through the rain forest.  She was much more open to adventure than I thought, which was really awesome! We booked them all and found that the rates were fairly reasonable. Overall we only had to spend about $300 on everything that we wanted to do including a day trip to Zihuatanejo to do some additional shopping on our last full day.

That night we once again got dressed up for another fantastic dinner with the group and even were able to enjoy some dancing afterwards. This was the first night that we really got it in and cut a rug until 2AM! It was a lot of fun dancing with Nellie and just letting go.  There is no judgement when no one will remember you tomorrow or tell the stories back home, lol!

Night number 2 done right... Dinner and dancing couldn't have been more fun. Pretty sure I easily burned dinner off!

Night number 2 done right… Dinner and dancing couldn’t have been more fun. Pretty sure I easily burned dinner off!

The next morning we had to wake up a bit earlier as we had scheduled a fun morning of horseback riding.  So we enjoyed breakfast and rehydrated after a long night of drinking and partying. Thank you Coco Cafe for the caffeine; I quickly grabbed something to perk me up as we exited and hoped into a suburban that drove us to the horse ranch about 20 minutes away from the resort.

When we arrived we saw the horses and were quickly designated a suitable stallion. We mounted up and were escorted by a guide down a long road before heading onto the horse path that led out to the ocean. My horse liked to linger towards the rear of the posse which was okay with me as it allowed me to take some good pictures of Nellie and of the surrounding area. It was exciting to have the both of us experience something like this for the first time. It was great.

Probably my favorite moment here is when my horse decided to gallop on the beach. It was truly remarkable how strong they were and they made it seem effortless. We eventually turned off and made a loop through the rainforest before heading back. It was well worth it and we would love to do it again.

Horseback riding on the beach was a total blast! One of the most memorable experiences while on my honeymoon!

Horseback riding on the beach was a total blast! One of the most memorable experiences while on my honeymoon!

With our adventure over by no later than noon (to avoid the hottest part of the day), we were back in our swim wear and enjoying more of the resort. The rest of the day we enjoyed a wine tasting event put on by our favorite entertainment team and relaxed poolside. That night there were to be more dinner stories and dancing. This was a long and fun day¬†and I couldn’t have had a better time swinging my girl around on the dance floor.

Another amazing evening with Nellie and our travel friends Jason, Tara, Kia and Gayle

Another amazing evening with Nellie and our travel friends Jason, Tara, Kia, Gayle, Victoria and Mike. It was a wild night of dancing and drinks!

The next day we had planned an exciting day trip to Ixtapa Island where we would be able to enjoy their three main beaches. I was especially eager¬†to go snorkeling as they have some of the better coral reef in the area to swim over and investigate. ¬†My wife Nellie was onboard for this adventure but also quite terrified as she cannot swim. I have to commend her on her bravery, because with only minor hesitation did she willingly strap on a life jacket and flippers and make our way to the ocean’s edge. Thankfully,¬†my mom had provided us her set of snorkeling masks. ¬†The ‘tube’ or breathing apparatus with her set did a really great job at blocking water from accidentally going too far under and made expelling extra water really easy.

Nell got a bit more comfortable, she was able to participate and really enjoy herself and see all the beautiful fish and coral. Keep in mind that when she would panic she would grab my vest push down to get her head fully out of the water.  This means that she essentially almost drown me like three or four times, but I was very understanding. It was also extremely cool of my brother Justin to borrow me his waterproof camera for this trip, which I wanted specifically for these pictures, enjoy!

What a perfect day to go snorkeling and to swim with the fishies! Way to go to my sweetie Nellie for being so adventurous and brave!

What a perfect day to go snorkeling and to swim with the fishies! Way to go to my sweetie Nellie for being so adventurous and brave!

After about 30 minutes of snorkeling we felt like it would be best to wade back into shore and enjoy some refreshments and partake in our group lunch. ¬†So funny, the folks that ordered the spicy fish didn’t know what they got themselves into… it was insanely spicy even for Nellie! We transitioned to the beach and enjoyed some fresh coconut water and caught some rays. While nellie was prancing around and hanging with the girls I was able to capture a few pics of her looking cute; she is a 10!

Pretty sure that this is the definition of vacation.  Sunshine, coconut water and relaxation!

Pretty sure that this is the definition of vacation. Sunshine, coconut water and relaxation!

Before I had left on vacation I had also promised my little Peanut Butter (Madison) that I would bring her some sea shells back. Once again I grabbed my scuba gear and accomplished my mission and pocketed several nice ones and gave a few others to some of our travel companions. With our time nearing an end on the beach, I was able to successfully negotiate us a wave runner jet ski for about a half hour, costing us only $25. Having never been on one before, Nellie was overly cautious but I had a little fun opening her up on the straight aways.  For some ominous reason I was always worried of falling off and having a shark take a nibble, yikes.  Safely back we caught a couple of pics and said goodbye to the fantastic Ixtapa Island. I would not hesitate to recommend this place to travelers.

A first for the both of us, wave running out there on open ocean was a real treat! I am sure that I terrified Nellie a few times, sorry honey!

A first for the both of us, wave running out there on open ocean was a real treat! I am sure that I terrified Nellie a few times, sorry honey!

Later that night we got back and decided to catch dinner together at Gohan. This was a real treat as it was the first night that it was open since arriving and they served sushi. If you know my taste buds then you know that I am a sucker for sushi. I think it is just because you can eat as much as you want and never feel too full. So we smashed and then wandered over for a nightcap and dancing once again. Super fun!

Another nice dinner with friends! We each had someone to share a special moment with and collectively we felt connected and in good company.  Great dancing followed a wonderful meal!

Another nice dinner with friends! We each had someone to share a special moment with and collectively we felt connected and in good company. Great dancing followed a wonderful meal!

The next day we woke up and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast, Nellie and her sugar doughnut and me with my Americano. Are you beginning to see a pattern happening here, lol? We had to get our energy up as we were about to embark on our last major excursion, zipplining through the Ixtapa jungle. Not really knowing what to expect, we kept an open mind and dressed comfortably. Soon our driver arrived and took us to a remote residential area on a hillside outside of the tourist city. Having been a little early we were able to jump right into our harnesses and get through a minor ropes course before we got onto the big stuff.

We made it through our low ropes course portion and surprisingly Nellie never lost a flipflop! Oh and Polly was able to say 'hola', hahaha!

We made it through our low ropes course portion and surprisingly Nellie never lost a flipflop! Oh and Polly was able to say ‘hola’, super adorable, but dang with a beak-like that I wasn’t about to get too close!

 

The guide took his time teaching us how to attach and detach to each safety wire and how to ensure that we always had a safety latch attached just incase.  Now the equipment and wood planks and wiring at times looked a little suspect, we still continued on and enjoyed pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. Nellie really took on this challenge and beat her fear of heights one step at a time. What transpired over the next hour was an amazing adventure of self exploration and daredevil adrenaline packed thrills weaving through the jungle trees. Here are some of my favorite pictures!

Swinging by a teathered wire and catching a thrill doing it. Spending time in the trees definitely qualifies this as an adventurous honeymoon!

Swinging by a tethered wire and catching a thrill doing it. Spending time in the trees definitely qualifies this as an adventurous honeymoon!

Generously we tipped our driver as we arrived back at the resort and bid our farewells. It was now time to relax by the pool, drink perhaps a bit too much rum and fall deeply asleep for a few hours, well at least I did. Nellie also found her R&R and after she woke me it was time for another dinner and dancing session. So we took a few pictures and made the most of the night. Gosh I love me some linen pants, so comfy!

She looked so good, I just had to sweep my queen off her feet. I love this woman! You have to love the diva pose too, lol!

She looked so good, I just had to sweep my queen off her feet. I love this woman! You have to love the diva pose too, lol!

With our trip nearing its completion, we had only one full day left to do some serious shopping.  The next morning we embarked on a day trip to the main shoppes of Zihuatanejo  During our shuttle ride we were given great insights by our driver as to what stores were the best places to buy goods. When we arrive we saw different types of textiles and wares for sale that were all so colorful. Quickly you realize that everything has a negotiable price, but the people were very friendly and wanted to do business. Together Nellie and I set out to buy a few dresses for Madison, some shot glasses for my neighbor Marcus, a decent picture frame for our home to remind us of this trip and of course a refrigerator magnet.

Our shopping didn’t stop until they drug us out at the last moment before our shuttle was about to leave to head back to our resort. All of the items we had desired to get were readily acquired at a fair price and I was also able to purchase a legit silver chain. With our bags in hand we boarded and left happily with lighter wallets; after all, we had little desire to bring any pesos back to the States with us!

The remainder of our stay was really about rest, relaxation and some one on one time with Mrs. Carroll.  Though we decided to do a group dinner on our last evening, it really was all about us enjoying ourselves and watching our last Mexican sunset (at least for a while anyway). Happily our dinner host took some photos of us just prior to being seated. The night was perfect and allowed for some really great pics, take a look!

 

A beautiful evening with my gorgeous wife Nellie. As our honeymoon comes to its final dusk, we absorb as much as we possibly can. Feeling blessed!

A beautiful evening with my gorgeous wife Nellie. As our honeymoon comes to its final dusk, we absorb as much as we possibly can. Feeling blessed!

The next morning we finally have to wake up and pack our bags for our final departure.  Thankfully our flight is not until later in the afternoon so there was no need to rush. We had one last resort breakfast and in the meantime I made sure to cash my last $50 into pesos and thankfully walked around and said my sincerest thankyous to the kind staff for their service and hospitality.  A special thanks goes out to all those that were on the Entertainment Team (Carlos, Gabriel and Blanca), to our personal room attendant (Gloria), all the bar and restaurant staff, and the hotel concierge staff.  It never felt better to give a little extra when nothing was expected, super thankful!

I took one last stroll on the beachfront and enjoyed my toes in the sand before having to return to the resort for our final departure. I was glad that all of our new comrades were leaving at the same time, it gave us a great opportunity to say our final farewells and to grab a couple of group selfies.

A farewell salut to all of our new found friends! It was a total blast and we were so thankful to be able to come and visit your paradise.  It really has been a slice of heaven! Adios!

A farewell salute to all of our new-found friends! It was a total blast and we were so thankful to be able to come and visit your paradise. It really has been a slice of heaven! Adios!

This concludes our most amazing and adventurous trip together ever.  What a great way to mark our 1 year anniversary and honeymoon! May there be many more of years of happiness and trips such as this one! Thanks for joining us as I did my best to recapture this profound and exciting trip, god bless!

Meet NASTY

Hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy posting to it!

Immediately after I saw her, sat on her and heard her deep-bass exhaust I knew she had to be mine. I speak of none other than my beautiful motorcycle, NASTY! Meet her for yourself…

Sitting on my bike nasty as I look out over Devils Peak, SD. BEAUTIFUL!!!

Sitting on my bike nasty as I look out over Devils Peak, SD. BEAUTIFUL!!!

After recently getting in an accident and having Epiphany temporarily out of commission, I was just a little heart-broken. So, just for S&Gs, I scooped up my daughter Madison and stopped by Hitching Post to see their inventory. Upon walking on the showroom floor I quickly fell in love with an all-black monster of a bike. It was a 2008 Suzuki GSX-R 1000. I was quick to get some assistance from their on hand staff in answering some questions. Come to find out it recently had come in on trade. I wanted it!

This particular bike had a few things going for it that really appealed to me.

  • It had StompGrip on both sides of the tank (which helps conveniently hold you in place).
  • The bike had a nice set of black frame sliders on the bike; a must if you want to reasonably protect your fairings if the bike is laid down or is tipped over.
  • It had the stock foot shift lever and bracket fitted with a nice aftermarket piece which is easily adjusted for the comfort of the rider.
  • And my favorite, it was fitted with an aftermarket M4 exhaust system which eliminated the catalytic converter box under the bike (making it look sleek and sound like a pissed-off diesel truck).

With every upside there was probably an equal and opposite downside right? Well in this case, kinda. A couple of things to note:

  • The sticker asking price was a bit higher than what I wanted to spend (around $8,200).
  • The bike was only 2 years old and had about 12K miles on it (which was kinda high for how new it was at the time), so I knew it had been broken in.

Madison was too funny, she was like yeah dad you should buy it… hahaha!¬†Beyond her approval, I felt that since the bike had fresh meat (new tires) and had been looked over and serviced recently that it would be a decent purchase. I just had to negotiate and provide a down payment. Luckily for me, I still had majority of my payout from the insurance claim on Epiphany and was able to roll that into this note. So once a good financing (i.e. low APR) arrangement was settled she was mine.

Here is my little girl pretending to be like Dad!

Here is my little girl pretending to be like Dad!

Over the course of the next couple of riding seasons I was able to do my little tweaks to add a bit of flare and functionality to her. Beyond a regimented maintenance plan the add-ons included: a smoke windscreen, a new reaper tank pad, some silver rim tape, an installed phone charger under the rear seat, matching silver Suzuki or skull/reaper decals, a RAM mount (to conveniently hold my cellphone), rear passenger footpeg brackets were powder coated gloss black, rear license plate bracket, and my favorite flare – LED lights that make her brightly glow (purchased from Joe Florida and self installed.

Looking nice with some LED lights installed!

Looking nice with some LED lights installed!

The coolest thing about my bike is the nice inner city functionality. I can quickly get from A to B and have fun doing it. NASTY has become a normal way to get to the office, the gym, or to the lake to train. She has also seen many fun sites (of which I will blog about soon) and she now has 35K+ miles… Now that’s riding!

Never the less, I wanted to formally introduce her in all of her glory. I will do my very best to keep the shiny side up so I can blog much more about our adventures!