Starling Travel

April 19, 2006

On Hiatus

Filed under: Site News — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

We’re going to be busy with other commitments for the next two weeks, so we probably won’t be posting here. While we are gone, please enjoy these entries from our past:

Read one of these every other day and that should last you until we return.

See you in May!

April 18, 2006

Barstow, CA: Barstow Station and The Havana Hut

Filed under: California,Food,Places To Visit,Tourist Attractions — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The first time we drove to San Diego, we took a break in Barstow, California. We were tired and wanting to get to our hotel, but we were many miles away. We stopped at Barstow Station and ate at the Havana Hut inside. The Cuban empanadas were so delicious that we have stopped at Barstow Station every time we’ve driven through ever since.

This time, we took some pictures before we ate so you could enjoy the flaky pastries and beefy goodness with us.

Barstow Station is a tourist trap of the best kind. There are kitschy items to buy, many varieties of food to choose from and a spot to rest when you’re just sick of driving and wish you were in San Diego already.

Even though your gas tank doesn’t need a fill up in Barstow, take a few moments and eat a beef empanada at the Havana Hut in Barstow Station. You’ll thank me for it. I promise.

April 17, 2006

Perth 2 Perth 2 Perth

Filed under: Bicycling,California,Photos — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Rhona Quarm and Gavin McDonald

You are looking at Rhona Quarm and Gavin McDonald. Mike and I met them on our drive to Disneyland. We were gassing up the Beetle in Barstow, California and the two of them had parked their bikes nearby. I noticed their bikes and left Mike pumping gas and walked over to them to hear their story.

Touring Bikes

They are touring the world on their bicycles. They left their hometown, Perth, Scotland in May of 2005, which means they have been on the road for almost a year. They have bicycled with this flag of Scotland during the entire trip. The tear in the upper right hand corner is where they encountered a bull in India, but the flag has survived.

The Flag of Scotland

I asked them how it was to bicycle for that long and Gavin said the most profound thing:

“You can go a long way with bad legs and a good head.”

They are travelling from Perth, Scotland to Perth, Australia and finally ending their journey in Perth, Canada. They aren’t insane. They are living their dream to travel the world on bicycles and they are doing it for charity. You can find out more about their journey at their website.

After talking to Rhona and Gavin, my little drive to Disneyland didn’t seem like such a big adventure anymore. Mike and I excitedly talked about the bike rides we could take around our hometown and the world seemed bigger and friendlier after we said goodbye to them.

Rhona and Gavin

April 14, 2006

South Dakota: Mount Rushmore

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Click Here To See The VideoWhen Jay and Ryanne moved to San Francisco, they drove across the United States. The only touristy thing they did on the drive was this quick trip to Mount Rushmore.

“All right, there it is.”

“It’s a lot smaller than I thought.”

That was my exact sentiment when I saw Mount Rushmore. After living in the Wasatch Mountains, these hills weren’t able to impress me, even though I was a child. I had always imagined them as tall as my mountains back home, so these “guys in stone” weren’t that big of a noise to me.

April 13, 2006

Salt Lake City, UT: Tulips in April

Filed under: Travel,Utah — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Click Here To See The VideoEvery year it happens. The sunny weather fools the tulips into coming out of the earth. As soon as they bloom, the tempermental sky dumps a foot of snow on them. Luckily, they’re hearty.

This 54 second video was taken on April 3rd, 6th and 7th, showing the process that happens every year. When I see the tulips popping out of the ground, I want to tell them to go back in. They’ve been fooled and winter is FAR from over.

April 12, 2006

A Hotel Isn’t Like a Home

Filed under: Lodging,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I found this quotation at The Quotations Page and it surprised me at how true it was.

There have been many times that we have visited a city in which we know people who live there and choose to stay in a hotel because it’s more comfortable for us.

There’s something to be said for the joy of having house guests, but the novelty of it wears off very quickly. I understand this, so whenever I plan to visit family for more than one or two days, we stay at a hotel. It’s just easier that way.

April 11, 2006

Starling Travel Wrinkle-Free Packing

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

There are lots to tricks to packing normal clothes so they don’t wrinkle, but I approach packing my clothes for travel in a whole different manner.

Buy Clothes That Are Wrinkle-Resistant

I’ve found that Columbia, North Face and REI clothing are perfect for travel. They are lightweight and they can be smashed in a suitcase any which way and come out looking great with just a shake.

Bring Jeans

Jeans are HEAVY. Packing them takes a lot of space and weighs down the suitcase. That’s the negative, but the truth is, jeans are perfect travelling clothes. When folded neatly, they come out of the suitcase ready to wear.

Bring Coat Hangers

The hotel room never has enough coat hangers, so I always pack enough to hang my clothes.

Unpack Quickly

As soon as I get to the hotel, I unpack my bags. I shake out my clothes and hang them up on the coat hangers I brought. The less time the clothes are in the bag, the less likely they’ll be wrinkled.

This only works if you are staying in ONE hotel your entire trip, but it has worked pretty well for me over the years.

April 10, 2006

Wrinkle-Free Packing

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Fodor’s has a great list to prevent wrinkling your clothes while you have them packed away in a suitcase:

Here is a condensed version of the list:

  • Lighten your load
  • One word
  • Rolling, rolling, rolling
  • Fold it
  • Delicate situation
  • Pack it away

Tune in tomorrow to see my radically different take on the same situation.

April 7, 2006

Lake Mead, Nevada: Early Spring

Filed under: Camping,Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Last year at this time, we camped at Lake Mead in Nevada. We usually go there several times a year, but last year was the first time we had ever gone there so early in the spring. We were pleasantly surprised at how different the experience was.

Blooming Cactii

The nearly monotone landscape was alive with color. I had never before seen so much pink in Nevada that wasn’t powered by neon. It was too early for bats, but we did enjoy the landscape. The campground was nearly full of snowbirds camping in Nevada for the winter, but they mostly stayed in their huge motorhomes. We were lucky to get a campsite so near Boulder Beach.

There is a little trail that runs along the area. It’s beautiful to see at this time of year and the Nevada sun hasn’t gotten to the raging heat that it does later in the season.

Lakeshore Road Walking Trail

It’s pretty obvious that this trail was made before the lake got to such unprecedented lows. This trail used to be along the lakeshore, now it’s about a half mile from the lake. It’s still worth the walk, though.

This is the perfect time of year for a quick camping trip down at Lake Mead. The plants are bursting with flowers and the campgrounds are full, but quiet and enjoyable.


Where: Lake Mead Boulder Beach Campsite: 420 Lakeshore Rd, Boulder City, NV 89005 Google Map Phone: (702) 293-2540

Lake Mead National Recreation Area – Camping

April 6, 2006

Starling Travel Camping Packing List

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Camping is far more complicated than just throwing clothes in a suitcase for a trip to Vegas. Mike and I have gotten it down to a science. You can click below to download the MS Word document and edit it to fit your needs.

Click Here To Print Up Full Camping List Using MS Word

Each bag is packed at the END of our camping trip. We leave the items in the bags and don’t take them out when we need something because they end up getting forgotten that way. If the bags are packed correctly, all we need to do when we want to go camping is take them out of the basement and put them into the car.

We found this list originally on the Internet from a site that no longer exists and edited it for our needs. None of the sites have suggested the idea of packing up your gear at the end of your trip and leaving it alone between trips so that you KNOW that you have everything that you need. That was the innovation that has helped streamline our camping experience and has made it quite enjoyable.

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