Starling Travel

August 17, 2007

Disney Makes Submarine Ride Accessible

Filed under: Amusement Parks — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Back in June, Disney opened the long-closed submarine ride. It had been changed into the Finding Nemo ride, which caused a lot of uproar about changing the classic Disney rides. I read complaints that EVERY ride at Disneyland needed to have some sort of movie tie-in, while completely ignoring the fact that original submarine ride was an advertisement for 10,000 Leagues Under The Sea, a Disney movie.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage from Flickr

During all the complaining, it seems like no one noticed that Disney went above and beyond the call of duty to make the ride handicapped accessible. Since it’s impossible to get a wheelchair down the spiral staircases and into the submarines, they created a new observation deck experience.

The “Imagineers” at The Walt Disney Co. couldn’t retrofit the hatches and spiral staircases of the original 52-foot submarines to accommodate wheelchairs.

So they did the next best thing. The undersea voyage has been photographed with state-of-the-art equipment, and the high-definition images will be displayed on a 61-inch plasma screen in a theater designed to resemble an observation outpost.

The viewing site is also intended to accommodate people who are claustrophobic.

Kudos to Disney for taking care of everyone on this ride. Okay, everyone except the Disney purists.

August 16, 2007

Toilet Paper Origami

Filed under: Hotel SWAG — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I love it when the people who make up my hotel room do this with the toilet paper:

Toilet Paper Origami

It costs the hotel nothing to teach their employees to do this and I prefer a small touch like this WAY more than those little sewing kits they include sometimes.

Here is a site that gives step by step instructions for toilet paper origami:

Part of me just looks at the work for toilet paper and thinks it’s crazy to do something like that, but the child in me loves that the hotel even cares about my toilet paper experience. If they can’t put in Charmin rolls, this is the next best thing!

Via: blog: Toilet Paper Origami

August 15, 2007

Seattle, WA: Science Fiction Museum

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

remulak by brainware3000 from Flickr

Why has it taken me so long to find out about the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame? I have yet to visit, but the next trip to the northwest is taking me straight to it! Here are some photos on Flickr:

Science Fiction Museum by kelly_pnwThis photo is my favorite. Kelly_pwn had to stitch together two photos to get it all in one picture, so it looks wonderful!

The Science Fiction Museum is in the legendary Frank Gehry building right next to the Space Needle. The Space Needle was yet another symbol of the future that didn’t come, how apt.

My whole life, I looked forward to the future that science fiction promised me. Only now am I surprised at what has come and what hasn’t. Sure, I don’t have a flying car, but I CAN eat freeze dried food all day if I want. I think I’ll stop dreaming for a future that may never come and just be happy to reminisce about a future that is somehow in my past.


The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
325 5th Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109
Google Map

Summer Hours:
Open Daily 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m

August 14, 2007

Don’t Take Travel Advice From The Wall Street Journal

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

Westin Workout

The Wall Street Journal was kind enough to offer some travel and exercise advice. After a little research, however, it was obviously very bad advice. I wrote about it here:

“It was shoddy reporting because a two minute search of their website would have shown that very few cities have this program at their hotels and the cost for the rooms that do, end up being so overpriced that you could BUY a year-long gym membership if you stayed at a cheaper hotel.”

The Wall Street Journal doesn’t seem to understand that paying $350 for a hotel room when there is one down the street for $110 isn’t worth the amenity of a trainer-lead run around the town.

Bad form, Wall Street Journal, bad form.

August 13, 2007

California: Butano State Park

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

Steep terrain from Flickr

Two-Heel Drive has posted another beautiful hike, this time in Butano State Park.

I love what he says here:

“The Butano trail map shows a little loop called the Ray Linder Memorial Trail — I figured they wouldn’t put somebody’s name on a bad trail, so I headed in for a look. It really is a nice mile or so of trail through a stand of young redwoods (and other trees, obviously). Whoever Ray Linder was, his trail is a nice tribute.”

Next time you’re feeling trapped and unable to travel, check out the trails in your area. Take along your camera so you can remember the mini-vacation you took over the weekend.


Butano State Park

Google Map

August 10, 2007

Postcard of the Week: Savannah

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

We asked Mike’s parents to send us a postcard when they went to Savannah, Georgia and this is what we got!

Here’s the front:

Click here to see full size

Here’s the back:

Click here to see full size

I love this postcard because it’s not only pretty, but it has a recipe. Of course, any recipe that requires a double broiler is going to go unmade in my house, but it’s still nice to see.

Please send me a postcard from your travels or your hometown. If you do and it’s interesting, I will publish your postcard on Starling Travel.

Send your postcards to:

Starling Travel
Attention: Laura Moncur
P.O. Box 522032
Salt Lake City, Utah 84152

It’s like sending a postcard to the whole world when you go on vacation. It’s like bragging about your hometown to the everyone on the planet.

August 9, 2007

Momentshowing Goes To Cambodia

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

Ryanne and Jay are in Cambodia right now. They have posted two videos of their experience here:

Momentshowing: VIDEO: Cambodia, Day 1

Click here to see the video

Momentshowing: VIDEO: Driving around town, Cambodia

Click here to see the video

If you have ever wanted to visit a different country all the way around the planet, click on over to Jay and Ryanne’s video blog and watch their two videos about their stay in Cambodia.

August 8, 2007

Bat Caves in Africa

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

Michael Edwards went to the Kyambura Gorge and on his way to the Jacana Lodge, they stopped at the bat caves. This is in West-Central Uganda.

There are many places to visit bats all over the world, but Michael got some great video of them flying around this head.

August 7, 2007

Bozeman, MT: The Museum of the Rockies

Filed under: Montana,Museums,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

We went to the Museum of the Rockies to see an exhibit that they have there until September:

The Museum of the Rockies: King Tut Exhibit

Here is their description of the exhibit:

“Ten years in the making from the artisans of the Pharaonic Village in Egypt, the Field Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this dazzling collection of 126 reproductions faithfully preserves Tutankhamun’s treasures. Included in the exhibit are Tutankhamun’s magnificent state chariot, golden shrines, beds, thrones, jewelry, his spectacular funerary mask, mummy case, and royal mummy. There are also associated artifacts from the period surrounding Tutankhamun’s reign that reconstruct both the historic discovery of the tomb by Howard Carter and the life and times of Egypt’s celebrated boy king.”

If you have seen the King Tutankhamun Museum at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, you will be underwhelmed by the reproductions at The Museum of the Rockies. In fact, if you have seen the gift shop at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, you will be underwhelmed by this exhibit.

The entire cost of entry, however, was made up by the dinosaur exhibit. I have never been to a better dinosaur museum. I was amazed at the collection that they had. Here is me next to a T-Rex skull.

T-Rex Skull at The Museum of the Rockies

My favorite part of the museum was the collection of Triceratops skulls lined up according to age. Baby Triceratop skulls right up to old age and everything in-between. Each skull was labeled with the exact location in Montana where it was found.

They also had paleontologists there, working on fossils and explaining them to questioning children. I felt like a peeping tom, looking in on their work in the office, but it didn’t stop me from looking. It was totally awesome!

With the horrible King Tut reproductions forgotten, we left the museum happy and wishing we could stay and see more.


Museum of the Rockies
600 W Kagy Blvd
Bozeman, MT 59717
Phone: (406) 994-2251

Google Map

August 6, 2007

Billings, MT: Grains of Montana

Filed under: Food,Montana,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Grains of Montana

After dining at some casino restaurants in Billings, Montana, I had given up on finding any food in an enjoyable atmosphere. Then we found Grains of Montana and were pleasantly surprised.

The most endearing part of the restaurant for me was a small touch that might not even be noticed by most people. The “number” that they gave us to put on our table while we waited for our food wasn’t a number at all. It was a little card telling me something about a town in Montana. In this case, it was Pendroy.

Pendroy, Montana

It gave the restaurant such a local flavor that I immediately loved eating my egg salad sandwich on sourdough bread with kettle chips. It was a simple meal, but it felt like incredibly good food that I couldn’t get anywhere else.

Egg Salad Sandwich with kettle chips

Mike had the chicken pesto pizza. I had no idea that Billings had heard of “pesto” until we saw it on their menu.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Unlike so many of the trendy bakery restaurants that have infiltrated Salt Lake City, Grains of Montana had an EASY ordering process. We were able to tell ONE person ONCE what we wanted and paid her. At Paradise Bakery, for example, we end up having to tell four separate people our order before we are allowed to pay for it. Grains of Montana made the process so much smoother.

Grains of Montana ordering is easy.

There were desserts aplenty. We tried the cinnamon roll and its delicious cream cheese frosting was perfect: not too sweet and fresh. There were so many desserts to try that we wanted to return, but our time in Billings was short. If you get a chance to try their brownies, please comment here and tell me what I missed out on.

Free wi-fi at Grains of MontanaBest of all, there was free wi-fi available. We had looked all over Billings and finding free wi-fi is difficult, to say the least. Grains of Montana announced it loudly with this sign on their door. It had been days since we had partaken of free wi-fi, so it made that little cafe feel like a piece of home.

In the end, the visit to Billings was made better just by visiting Grains of Montana. It’s amazing how healing an egg salad sandwich and free wi-fi can be where neither are easily accessible.


Grains of Montana Bakery
926 Grand Ave.
Billings, Montana 59102
Phone (406) 259-7142
Fax (406) 259-7152

Mon. – Fri. 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sat. 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sun. 8:00 am – 8:00 pm

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