tour

365 Challenge: Day 244 – Connection

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Connection: relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else

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When I woke up this morning, two things came to mind after reading a few messages on my phone. It sits on my night table on the lowest possible volume so I’m not interrupted overnight, but it’s the first thing I check when I wake up to see what’s going on.

The first thing I realized is that it’s Veteran’s Day and everyone is doing something fantastic to thank our veterans. I am not a fan of war (or any confrontation) and always look for a peaceful solution; sometimes, as we’ve seen in the past (today and the future, too), it’s not always possible to avoid battle. While I don’t condone and agree with war as a general statement, I understand it and I am absolutely grateful to all the amazing veterans and active duty defenders who have kept us safe for hundreds of years. Their hard work, often leading to death, loss and/or pain, has enabled so many of us to make connections around the world. Thank you to our veterans for everything they have done. Your sacrifice is unmatched by any other I could possibly think of…

The second thing I realized is how many people reading my blog and participating on the Watching Glass Shatter book blog tour are making new connections with one another. If I could have any success with all of the effort for my book launch right now (other than sales and good feedback), it would be to build a path that connects together people who didn’t know one another before, but now they do. I enjoy seeing everyone chat with one other, find new blogs to follow, meet new people potentially who live near them, etc. This is amazing to witness and I am grateful for all of you who have been part of it.

Life is about making connections and doing something to make the world a better place. I’ll never match what our veterans have done for us, but if I can help bring people together through a blog, then I feel just a little bit better about my contributions today. I am grateful to those who stand proud and honorable and for giving us our freedom and protection.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Watching Glass Shatter: Blog Tour Day 1 – A Book Review, A Conversation and Breaking News (Sequel!)

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It’s DAY 1 of the WatchingGlassShatter Book Blog Tour. Invisible No More has kicked off this fantastic event with
a Book Review, a Conversation and Breaking News about the GLASS family. Read her post below to see more! Thank you so much to her for all efforts.

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Welcome, to the Watching Glass Shatter Blog Tour!!

Today we celebrate the debut novel by James J. Cudney

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Book Review

Watching Glass Shatter

James J. Cudney

4.5/5 stars

Most first time novelists will keep their story simple and the number of characters to a minimum, in order to manage the task of development and continuity within the narrative. This strategy makes perfect sense and has been successfully employed, many times, by young writers looking to produce a strong, first effort.  Numerous moving parts can be difficult to pull off even for seasoned writers, so many debut novels will be lacking a particular depth, or breadth, within the story itself.  James J. Cudney boldly ignored that safe path and crafted a story full of colorful, flawed and relatable people who have, not only their own demons to wrestle, but issues to resolve that affect the future of their entire family.

Watching…

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365 Challenge: Day 197 – Estate

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Estate: A ‘few’ pictures of the Biltmore Estate from yesterday’s tours in Asheville, Nort Carolina

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Ryder is on vacation in NYC. He sends me pictures and videos each day of his walks, playtime and morning treats. He wanted to tell you all that he’s very happy and wishes he was on the trip with me. He’ll return for his own posts next week. As for the Dads, we spent most of Saturday and Sunday touring the Biltmore Estate. I could generate tons of posts from this part of the trip, and I may do a few special ones upon returning; however, for now, it’s just the pictures from the basic tour. I went on an Upstairs/Downstairs Tour which shows you everything basically comparing it to Downton Abbey. I then took the Roof Top tour which shows you all the inner workings of the estate’s technology, construction and rooftop peaks. Yes, I was all over the roof and thru crawl way spaces and attics. And the final tour was in an outdoor vehicle all over the grounds. More to come, but enjoy the pics from today’s general tour of America’s largest privately owned estate home.

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About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 193 – Touring

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Touring: wandering around checking out all the important stuff

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Today started off with a quick drive through Chapel Hill and then we took off for Duke University in Durham. We wandered the campus and saw a bunch of beautiful old buildings and chapels. It was over 90 degrees in the sun, so I kept looking for shady areas. I also felt guilty because students were in classes and I got to spend the morning touring. After, we went to the gardens and had a golf cart drive us around for part of the way before we walked the rest on our own. So many great trees and flowers. Best part of the day!

We had lunch in the downtown area and shopped in old village stores. We later drove to Raleigh and checked out neighborhoods. A few cool ones and a few run down ones. Toured the state capitol building which was awesome. I think Charlotte is still the nicest of all the cities, but we have more to see tonight in Cary and downtown Raleigh. Off to meet a friend’s sister for dinner. A home cooked meal! No touring tonight but back at it tomorrow with Greensboro and Winston Salem. See ya soon. Enjoy the pics.

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New hotel room in Chapel Hill at the Siena

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Final picture at Chapel Hill as we toured around

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Walkway into Duke Gardens

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Entrance Fountain at Duke

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One of the sitting areas in the garden

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Pond at Duke

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Stone Gardens Built into the Walls

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Asian Gardens at Duke

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Ducks at Duke

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Another Duke Walkway

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Waterfall

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Tree Path

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Pathway while walking

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Part of Duke Chapel

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More of Duke Chapel

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BrightLeaf Square in Durham

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North Carolina State Capitol Building

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State Capitol Statues

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More statues

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Final set of statues

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Trips: USA – Sedona, Arizona

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Where did I go?

When did I go?

  • 5 days, 4 nights in mid-March 2017
  • Weather was great
    • 70 degrees in the daytime, 50 degrees in the evening
    • 1 day of rain (very unusual), so we did a lot of site-seeing in the car

Who did I go with?

  • Significant Other

Why did I go?

  • We both turned 40 in March and wanted a little celebratory get away

  • I hate hot weather so it had to be somewhere cool to comfy
  • Relaxation
  • I’d only been briefly once, about ten years ago during a cross-country drive trip. He’d never been before and wanted to see the area.

What did I do?

  • Wednesday
    • Arrived at the hotel around 9:15pm
    • Had dinner and went to sleep
  • Thursday
    • Since it rained, we drove around and checked out various views and sites.
      • Cathedral Rock
      • Oak Creek Canyon
      • Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
    • Spa Time! Facial and Massages. We went to the spa at the hotel. The services were good, and the facility was clean. But it wasn’t as relaxing as it should have been. With so much nature and sweeping views, they should have had it outdoors or at least somewhere that made you feel like you were out in the open.

  •  Friday
    • Historic Tour of Jerome, Arizona via http://www.toursofjerome.com/
      • Van with AC picked us up and drove around for 5 hours to Jerome, Clarkdale and Cottonwood towns. It was an old mining area that was very profitable until the 1950s when people just started abandoning it due to poor quality, conditions and lack of money.
      • Jerome was a famous ghost town where you can take a tour of all the ghost sightings. It also was a city of brothels! We visited one. Relax – it was no longer in operation. I’m not confessing to anything here. 😛
      • Clarkdale was founded by Senator William Andrews Clark, a transplant from Montana who helped build out the mining facilities and railroads. The family was also very prominent in Nevada (Clark County) where Las Vegas stands.
      • Cottonwood was a beautiful town full of great tourism and a lot of history.
      • Wine Tasting… had a few good wines. We tried to buy some but they won’t ship again until November when it’s cooler. What a shame!

  • Saturday
    • Chapel of the Holy Cross – a beautiful church built into the landscape

  • Saturday
    • Verde Canyon Train
      • 5 hour train trip with breath-taking views
      • On-board appetizers and drinks
      • Was an amazing experience as you have an outdoor car, tour guides, a few stop… felt like a little tour of history as the area is rich with famous explorers, founders and the birth of the West.

  •  Sunday
    • Head Home! 😦

What didn’t I do that I should have?

  • Jeep Tours of the area – drivers take you everywhere!
  • Helicopter Tours of the area – what a view!
  • Las Vegas: Two hours away, but would be an all-day trip
  • Flagstaff: An hour away, but couldn’t squeeze it in

Interesting Info

  • Sedona is a Dark Sky Community, meaning they have very little if any traffic lights so that the beauty of the night sky shines through without interruption. You see so many stars and across long distances.

  • It’s the land of the traffic circle! Every day, the trip from the hotel to the parts of Sedona we visited had at least 20 traffic circles. After the first day, we became experts at the proper merging positions.
  • Always make reservations! The first two nights, anywhere we went, the wait time was for 90 minutes for a table. I can get a table at a fancy NYC restaurant quicker than that without a reservation. Shocking!

Restaurants

  • Wednesday
    • At the hotel bar as it was so late
  • Thursday
    • Lunch – Nick’s in West Sedona. Basic American diner, but had a solid brunch!
    • Dinner – At the hotel restaurant as everything else was closed… but was still good food and we could have a lot of drinks without having to drive anywhere. Had tried to get into the Mexican restaurant but the wait was too long! Prickly Pear Margarita!!!!
  • Friday
    • Lunch – At Grapes in Jerome. Part of it was included in the bus tour. Was a really great restaurant.
    • Dinner – Mariposa, a Latin / Spanish restaurant on the top of a hill with valet car service only, where Chef Lisa Dahl dreams up savory cuisines. Beautiful building with so many glass windows and tall ceilings. And she followed me on Instagram after I posted about her restaurant!
  • Saturday
    • Lunch – On the Verde Canyon Train, we grabbed some appetizers. Nothing big or fancy. We knew we had a dinner we were looking forward to.
    • Dinner – Cress on Oak Creek at L’Auberge. It’s now one of my favorite restaurants. We ate outside along the banks of stream at 9pm with a few spotlights and candles, a heat lamp and rushing water about us. Excellent food. Expensive 3 or 4 course meal, but well worth it.

Hotel

  • Hilton Bell Rock just outside of Sedona. I didn’t realize it was about 15 minutes away from Sedona, which meant a little extra driving every day. But it was a great hotel.
  • Spa, Pool, Fire Place in room, Restaurant and Bar on property
  • Very friendly and informative staff
    • Not enough coffee in the room… and always decaf! 😦
  • Parking was a little tight, as we didn’t get back until after 10 each night and many of the spots were taken. So we parked in the furthest lot. Oh well! Walking is good for you.
  • http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/arizona/hilton-sedona-resort-at-bell-rock-SDXSEHH/index.html

Transportation

  • Trip to Sedona
    • I took an American Airlines (AA) flight out of NYC’s JFK Airport and arrived in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport at 6:30 pm. It was a direct flight, about 4 1/2 hours to fly.
    • Once you arrive at the airport, you take a shuttle bus to the car rental facility, which is at least 15 minutes away. That was a surprise!
    • Rented a mid-size car at Alamo for about $60 per day. They were super-friendly and sent us on our drive to Sedona.
    • In hindsight, it would have been better to arrive during the daytime in order to enjoy the view on the 2 hour drive, as it was dark and we were unable to see the beautiful red rock mountains. We did on the drive back tho!
  • Trip Home
    • Drove from Sedona early in the morning back to Phoenix. No traffic, about 2 hours. Dropped the car off at the car rental facility.
    • Shuttle Bus back to Sky Harbor Airport.
    • Delay….. about an hour, not too bad. Got on an AA flight by 3pm and arrived back in NY about 8:15. Home by 10 to check on Ryder… (our shiba inu dog… he missed us a lot!)

Favorite Part

  • Verde Canyon Train

Lease Favorite Part

  • Wasted time looking for places to eat the first two nights

 

About Me

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Each week, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare!

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think.