Las Vegas-Day 1

Las Vegas is an interesting place. Seems a lot of people need to getaway and forget who they are everyday. The filters fall off and the weird and wild side they’ve pushed deep down emerges with a flash.

We ate dinner at Gordon Ramsey’s Heels Kitchen. Great food, severely over priced, but worth it for the experience. Our waiter was amazing. Our table was up next to the window over looking the strip.

We shared a tomahawk steak and had a fancy dessert with a table side show.

Today will be spent at the pool reading and relaxing.

Quick update

Day 4 and we have seen lots and the weather has been crazy.

We stayed outside of Henderson Nevada last night at a small KOA campground. I love camping and my little tent is quick to set up.

Last night was terrible though. Almost 100 degrees at 1am. I don’t think I have ever tried to sleep outside in that kind of heat.

I jumped up early and started packing. I was anxious to get on Route 66 and go to Oatman Arizona. A tiny town where the donkeys wander the streets. I will write about Oatman in another post soon. This one is more about trying to sleep and the weather we have seen.

When leaving Oatman it poured rain. Huge drops. Lighting, wind, you name it. By the time we got back on I40 we were good and the temperature started to rise again.

So our next destination was Williams, Arizona. I made a special reservation at a much larger KOA. More to come on this place too.

Here is where we are staying tonight! And the weather is more like home. 60’s.

I am ready to get some sleep. It’s a little chilly but guess what? Our tee pee has a space heater and a fridge!

Good night! šŸ’¤

4th Annual Shotgun Rider Road Trip

Well the planning is as far as it’s going to get. Less than 48 hours and we will be on the road.

I am sure I am forgetting something but I’m not worrying about it. I keep thinking about the line from the movie Coal Miners Daughter when Patsy Cline tells Loretta Lynn to not worry about not having the things she needs.

Patsy Cline: [to Loretta] “I’ll call you on Monday and we’ll go shopping. Anything we can’t buy, we’ll make. Anything we can’t make, we’ll steal!”

With that philosophy I suppose we are ready to go.

No real plans for the first 3 days. I want to hit as much of Route 66 as possible because it’s Route 66. Who wouldn’t want to travel on Route 66 given the chance.

We have reservations for Wednesday night outside of Sedona Az. That location has a little twist I will share with you when we arrive. Then 2 nights at Grand Canyon and 2 nights near Bryce Canyon. We are hoping to hit Devils Tower in Wyoming if our trip takes us in that direction.

For now I will finish the little bit of prep needed at home and just start my slow down and relax mindset.

Ahhhhhh, it’s almost time to kick my shoes off and travel shotgun style again.

My Favorite Roadtrip DISNEYLAND

A couple times throughout each year, I make the 7 hour drive from home to Disneyland. Generally it’s to an inexpensive hotel within walking distance to the parks. So that means a little dicey for the girls and they are overpriced for a Motel and gross crowded continental breakfast. Not this trip. 


This trip is to the Disney resort hotel Grand Californian. My husband made the trip over the top extravagant by upgrading our room to the Club Level. This means personalized consierge services, food, drinks and snacks all day (6:30 am to 10:00pm) Beer and wine starting in the afternoon, milk, cookies and desserts at night, DVDs available to borrow (players in each room) and so much more. Yes it’s about $150 more per night on top of the already high priced rooms but if you’re going to do it, go big! 


As an added bonus, resort guests are given 1 hour early park entry each day of their stay. You’ll be amazed at how much you can do in the first 3 hours. You’ll be ready to go back, get some snacks and relax while the crowds grow. 
I’m off to California Adventure this morning. Cars land is calling my name. 

Fitbit challenge going strongĀ 

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve updated about the Fitbit challenge but let me guarantee you it’s still happening. Four women supporting each other and tracking our steps daily. Amazing right? Women supporting each other, staying positive, no cattiness. It’s happening right now. 

I have not done all I could to be the best me I can be. Meaning I’m still eating a few things I shouldn’t. I have days I don’t make any extra effort to exercise. I do however check myself and am honest about it. 

I will step it up, eventually but today I’m happy with my 3 online supporters. I’m having a blast reuniting with some friends and getting to know a wonderful new friend from several states away. 

To my Fitbit friends, thank you! You inspire my everyday! Keep it up ladies! 

Do the things you have to do so you can do the things you want to do

Do the things you have to do so you can do the things you want to do. 

I think I heard this for the first time on a tv show when a father was teaching his son a lesson about school. I have repeated this line repeatedly to my boys.  

Last night hubby and I watched Disneys movie, “Up”. The story is important to my blog so stick with me please. If you haven’t seen “UP”, this post is a big huge spoiler. Stop now if you don’t want me to ruin it for you. 

“up” it a love story about a regular couple. No princess, no animals and no catchy songs. Carl and Ellie meet as kids, get married, lose a baby, never have another child, and are happy with the life they share. 

As their love grows they start a fund to live in Paradise Falls someday.  Everyday life keeps draining the money jar.A broken window, a flat tire, and a broken leg were just some of the unexpected events which delayed their trip. Just not enough money. 


Like most Disney movies, a big sad moment and lesson comes when as an older couple Ellie passes away with Carl at her side. Through his mourning and bitterness he remembers the Paradise Falls jar and decides to make their dream of going on the trip a reality. Nothing will stop him. Finally he decided above all else he would complete this trip for the love of his life.

How he does or doesn’t do it isn’t really important. It’s the point that after his wife, his anchor, the one he would put his life down for is gone. They didn’t find the time and now it’s too late to do it together.

As I write today I’m reading about an unexcusable, senseless shooting in Las Vegas. At this time it’s being reported that over 400 have been injured and 50 killed. The numbers keep going up. A shooter cowardly sat in his safe hotel room and took aim on 22,000 people happily watching a country concert. 

I’m sure they were singing, dancing and having a spectacular time. None of the victims could have thought this may be my last moment on earth. 

Let me be clear. In my opinion everyone of  those attending, the working, the first responders and all of their friends and families are victims. They will live with this memory the rest of their life. They should have the fun times of the concert to remember not this horrible event which may not have been able to prevent. Does that really matter right now. It happened and the after effects are horrendous. 

My heart is hurting thinking about the unfulfilled dreams those killed never were able to make happen. Maybe the car broke down so their money had to go to fix it instead of taking the trip cross country/world with their family. Maybe they had a wife or girlfriend at home waiting to have a baby. What about the bachelor and bachlorette parties Vegas is know for. How will the future spouse cope? 

I know life is about the have to. Without it you can’t do the big things you want to do. That’s the responsible thing to do. Maybe you work  a little harder to get a little bit more. Not easy for most I know. Scrimp, save so you can’t fulfill that dream. Life is short is a common saying . How often do you think about your dream then tell yourself it’s impossible? What about the person(s) you were going to fulfill the dream with like Ellie and Carl? Maybe fulfilling dreams is a “have to” as well. 

I am so fortunate. I try to remember to tell my husband daily how much I appreciate his hard word, how much he loves me and our boys. He just got done working 18 days straight to pay for this Disneyland trip. We are driving down I-5 as I type. This trip is important. Memories for all of us are important. We, as a family did what we had to do so we can now do what we want to do. Sometimes it’s leaving the dishes undone to go for a bike ride. Movie and game night is important in our house. 

I want to fulfill my families dreams before the end of my life. Yes we are all going to die. It’s a fact of life. To quote a song by the great Greorge Strait “Life’s not the breaths you take, But the moments that take your breath away”. I want thousands of breath taking moments with my family. It’s up to me to find the things me. Do the things I have to do to have the time. 
This has been hard to type through my tears. It may have a lot of spelling and grammatical errors. I don’t care. I hope just one person reads this and makes some time. Find a way to fulfill your dreams. Big ones, small ones, ones that cost a lot, and especially those that are free that you can do everyday. 

Yes, life is short and full of the unexpected. Live it now. Find that thing that will take your breath away today. 

Make your own adventure, don’t just lfollow mine. XOXO

Day 2, I’m a survivorĀ 

Ok, let me start with Kristine Dugger is a machine. She is kicking my booty. Her energy is definitely motivating me. I can only hope to get my rear moving and start a real workout program at the gym. Maybe next week. Monday sounds like a great goal. Someone make a point of reminding me. Even better lots of you push because the competitor in me needs it. 

Planning on getting my before pictures and stats ready tonight. I may or may not show them until the end. In my head I’ve made this a 30 challenge but hope to make it a lifetime change. 

My friends Michele and Valentina have also jumped on board. I expect to see and hear from you two regularly, ya hear? Just keep moving šŸ˜

Who wants to throw down a small and obtainable goal for us? Go hiking, run your personal best, then try to beat it. Anyone want to send us some motivation? New gear to try? Healthy snacks and shakes? I have an address if you want us to give your products a try, I’ve said it before, this blog is for me but heck free stuff for me and my friends = free advertising for you makes for a win:win in my books. Just throwing the idea out there. If you don’t ask the answer is definitely no. 

Stay tuned for our continuing adventure towards weight loss and getting fit! 

Get FITBIT CHALLANGE SHOTGUNRIDER VS KRISTINE-AUTHOR

I’m a shotgun rider. I sit in the passenger seat while my husband drives. However I’m finding that my weight is slowly inching its way up and I worked very hard to lose over 100 pounds in the past five years. I did have weight-loss surgery which made a huge difference in my life but it’s so easy for the weight to come back on slowly inch by inch pound by pound.  This last trip I didn’t want to take any real hikes. I was very lazy. 

I first noticed those pounds coming back on in my thighs. Jeans just tend to fit a little bit tighter. I’m not gonna lie it’s what I’ve put in my mouth. I haven’t always made best choices  And I’m not as active as I used to be but all of that is about to change. 

Some of you may know my obsession with romance books and the authors. I devour books 3 to 6 per week. Thanks to Facebook I’ve gotten to be friends per se with some indie authors and it’s really a close community. It’s also expanded an online friendship with many fellow book lovers. 

Would you believe that I ran across an Indy author who loves softball and she has actually written a romance book that includes softball. 


It’s on my to be read list I actually have a signed copy and softball ball from her. I won it during an online auction for a fellow authors charity. The only reason I haven’t gotten to it yet is because I generally read off my iPad and only read paperbacks when I’m sitting at the pool. 


So back to the weight-loss story so much can do more on my road trips. I was on Facebook a few days ago and this author Facebook page Kristine Dugger mentions wanting to get back into shape. I messaged her with an online challenge request. Being a competitor it’s really hard to do this by myself. 

She responded and believe it or not is writing a blog about her progress too! Now we can blog compete too! Challenge each other in some unique ways with some help from our fans. Even better get our friends ad fans on board to compete and give us challenge ideas! 


We both have a Fitbit so we’ve decided to do the simple challenges even though neither of us really know what we are doing. She started today, I started around 2:00 today. Ok so my excuses are starting already. Pretty sure Kristine is gonna kick my ass today. I’m ok with that. 


You’ve got my blog page, keep following and referring to other friends please. I’m begging for followers. I’m not too proud to beg.

Check out and follow my Challengers blog.  Kristines Blog DAY 1

She’s so brave and posted pictures. I’m jealous. I plan to get some good measurements and ….. so scarey, pictures so we can hopefully see the progress. 
I keep telling myself…it’s a marathon, not a sprint! Wish us luck and let me know if you want to join our Fitbit group.  

Come join me on my new adventure!!!

Day 1 starting weight eeeek.  140lbs,  I was at 125lbs at my lowest 5 years ago. There I womanned up and spilled the beans. Goal is to lose at least 15 would like to hit 115 lbs. 

Like how I hid it all the way at the bottom just for those for those who don’t read the entire article. I surprised ya, huh? 

Halloween at Disneyland

18 days and counting until our annual October trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. AKA Disneyland.  I’ve started packing already. I have to conjure up some Halloween costumes too. Thinking we could all go as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Hmmm……maybe.

Disneyland during the Halloween celebration is magical. I think maybe even more so than during Christmas. Pumpkins everywhere. To make our experience even better we pay the extra fees to attend Mickeys Trick or Treat Party. The special event tickets always sell out. We buy ours in August, shortly after they become available for purchase. 


This special event ticket gives you the right to stay in the park after it closes for everyone without a ticket. They put a wristband on you when you check in and hand you a small bag for truck or treating. It is really tiny so if you attend be sure to bring a backpack. 

Trick or Treat paths are set up throughout the park and they never run out of treats. If you like a certain treat, just keep going back through that path. They don’t care. Occasionally the Treat is sliced apples or bag of carrots. Be sure you separate them from you other candy and snacks as soon as possible. Those fresh items make for a great pick me up snack while walking the park too. 

Another advantage is a special parade, fireworks and …… the villains are out and about for pictures and autographs. We buy a Disney Halloween shirt for the characters to sign with a laundry pen. The lines for the rides are short and sometimes nonexistent. We walked right on to Pirates of the Caribbean and Nightmare Before X-Mas themed Haunted Mansion. One time my youngest son and I ride the Storybook boat ride all by ourselves. That was a very special night. 

This year not only will Disneyland be decorated for Halloween but California Adventure will join into the Halloween spirit. Mater is dressed as a vampire. I’m so excited to see everything. I think that’s one of the great parts of Disney Magic. Finding new things each time you visit. I have an annual pass so I go several times a year always finding something new to me. 

I won’t give away all of the special sites and magic because it really is something you must to see to believe. 

Disney magic is real if you open up and let it in. 

I will report back with updates soon. 

Disneyland, my favorite road trip then and now

Hi. My name is Donna, aka Shotgun Rider,  and I’m a Disney addict. Disneyland is my go to favorite vacation spot. 

I went when I was a little girl. This was a time when you bought ticket books and each ride or attraction required a specific ticket. A-B-C-D-E. see below for a whole book. My mom still has some old tickets somewhere. I’d love to frame them up one day. I remember wearing my Mickey ears and my Donald Duck squeaking duck bill cap. My sister and I  had matching hats. I’m 47 now and have witnessed lots of changes to Dusneyland but the magic has always been there. 


The best rides were “E” tickets. We always ran out of “E” tickets. It was all about the “E” ticket. 


That left the other tickets for the not as fun stuff like the Swiss family Robinson tree house. The tree house is now Tarzans tree house. 

You even needed a ticket for the shooting gallery.These other tickets were ok. They just were not “E” tickets. “A”tickets were the worst and we always came home with leftovers since you purchased the tickets in books. 

The competing amusement parks policy of general admission for the entire park and all rides forced Disney to fade out the tickets in 1981. Most kids today don’t have any knowledge of the old carnival ticket style of getting on rides. The times you just could not go on a ride because you were out of tickets. Thankfully with the general admission fee I have visited Disneyland a lot without the worries of running out of tickets. 
It’s my happy place. I went to celebrate my first year together with my boyfriend in 1989. I went for my honeymoon with the same man in 1991. I go for so many reasons now but mainly because of the magic that surrounds me the instant I see the sign above the archway to enter main street. My breathing changes and I feel the stress release from my shoulders. My smile grows, my eyes sparkle and at times tears sneak out. It’s a feeling I cannot duplicate. 


Fast forward to the present and how I keep the magic new and fun. My family travels to Disneyland at least 3 times a year. We’ve purchased annual passes the past 3 years for the whole family. I am in Disney heaven. This makes each trip relaxing since we are not rushing to get in every ride or having to stand in the long lines. Plus after so many years we’ve developed a fool proof plan to get on the rides we want without the crowded lines. 

In 2006 Hubby bought me a permanent memorial brick which is installed between the entrance gates of Disneyland and California Adventure. We visit it at least once each trip. It makes for a great meeting spot when we separate. “Meet at my brick st 1:30 and we will grab lunch”. It’s a place that’s never crowded and never has a line. 


Even after all of these Disneyland trips we find things to do that are new to us. Rides to go on, sites to see and adventures to take. Disney does update rides and brings in new rides very often. These are not the new parts I am talking about. I’m talking about rides like the canoes, the Mark  Twain steam ship, the Columbia ship. And most recent in California Adventure, the ferris wheel. I was always in a rush to go on other  big rides. I did not want to waste my precious minutes riding in a slow moving boat or paddling a canoe. Our annual passes have made me slow down and experience these classic attractions for the first time. I’m still working my way through all the things I’ve never done. Have you ever taken one of the tours? I haven’t, but I will eventually. 

I won’t go through all the “secret” tips because you can find them on other sites. I will tell you I’ve experienced almost all of them. Still waiting to get a ride inside the Lilly Belle car on the Disneyland Railroad. If you can visit during Halloween and Christmas you will see another side of Disney magic. 

There is also a long of foods I’ve never tried. The Monte Cristo sandwhich in New Orleans Square.  A Bloody Mary from Cathay Circle. A chili mac cone from Carsland. I’m sure there is more and I’ll keep looking and eating my way through all that Disney has to offer. 

You can be sure I will be posting more about Disneyland while I ride my favorite attraction and try some new ones to. My will continue adventures with Mikey Mouse. Next trip planned for October 2017.