Posts Tagged ‘pictures’

Another beautiful weekend in Northern California…..I spent the weekend with fellow alumni from Florida International University during their FIU Wine Country Weekend festivities. We stopped in at two wineries owned by FIU graduates, B Cellars and Uncorked at Oxbow. Pictures below…

Enjoying a beautiful day in Napa, California…

Below, FIU Faculty and fellow alums celebrate FIU graduate Celeste Carducci of Carducci Wines and Uncorked at Oxbow in Napa Valley. (more…)

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Recently my boyfriend and I went on a camping trip to Yosemite National Park. I wanted to share some of the 300+ pictures from the trip (posted 6 photos below).   Most of these photos were taken with my iPhone and used Instagram filters for some extra definition. Follow me on Instagram at BettinaInclan or view more here.

Below are some two photos of us as we climb up Vernal Falls on the Mist Trail.


This image below is of us at Yosemite, composed of a collection of photos I have on my iphone. I use the iphone app – PhotoMosaica to get the effect. Very cool.

(Photo after the jump) (more…)

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Off The Grid in Yosemite

I admit it, I am a nerd, a tech nerd.

I salivate hearing about the latest gadgets and new uses for technology. I’m that rude person that has their iPhone on the dinner table, always worried about the “just in case,” and gets jittery if I don’t check it at least once….Yet, every once in a while its good to unplug, to get off the grid….

This weekend, my boyfriend and I went on a spur of the moment trip to one of our favorite place on earth – Yosemite National Park.

For a few days we enjoyed hiking and camping, internet-free with no help from Google on “how to build a wood fire.” It was just us and mother nature – and about a few thousands other campers.

The highlight of the trip was the hike up to Nevada Falls, a 7 mile round-trip adventure, filled with strenuous up hill climbs, unforgettable ranging waterfalls, incredible overlooks and even rainbows. It’s an unforgettable experience.


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My father’s initial expression upon setting eyes for the first time on the The Grand Canyon says it all.

My father is a man of little words and limited expressions. So seeing him have this kind of reaction, of pure joy, was worth documenting (and sharing.)

… More updates later, for now pictures:



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Too many people spend too much time planning their lives, and not living their lives…. Our own mortality, and that of our loved ones, is enough to snap anyone out of the planning phase and into the “Let’s Do It” stage of life.

Some of my father’s childhood dreams came true yesterday, as we stepped back in time during our visit to Tombstone, Arizona. On Day 5 of our cross-country road trip we made a pit-stop in the historic Western boom town with plans of seeing the O.K. Corral, the home of the Earp brothers and adventuring around the old mining town, which once was one of the largest towns in America.

We arrived into town early Thursday morning with plans to stay the day until about 3:00 pm, to see the 2:00 pm re-enactment of the shoot out at the OK Corral. After slathering on a lot of sunblock in preparation for a scorching day in the Arizona desert, high of 104 degrees, my dad proudly placed his massive hat on his head (my father has his sombrero/ umbrella ). Not to be out done, I found my large floppy hat, and together, with our VERY large head gear, we took on Tombstone….

Our first stop during the day was the visitor center where the nicest man provided us with all the information needed to plan out our day. We chit-chatted and I told him about the cross-country trip with my dad, and why I was moving and he told me he was a fellow Republican. We then started talking Presidential politics for a moment. He is a big Palin fan…. What I realized during the trip, is that Tombstone, Arizona is a town deeply rooted in politics… even the fight at the OK Corral was part of a Republican versus Democrat struggle. MORE

Thanks to advice at the visitor center, our Tombstone visit included trips to the Birdcage Theater, the Tombstone Court House, the Epitaph Newspaper, Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, the cemetery, The O.K. Corral and a trolley visit around town.


My father could not have been happier in Tombstone. He would stop in shops and look at the artifacts with care, as to take in each and every moment and internalize it in his memory. He really must have been in good spirits because when we made a stop at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon my father ordered a beer, a real beer, instead of his usual O’Dules non-alcoholic beer. Though his doctor told him it was ok to

drink occasionally, my dad prefers not to, just in case, but today, TODAY, was a special occasion. Sitting at the bar, he with his beer, and me with a Sarsaparilla, we made a toast to our day.

Lunch at Big Nose Kate’s was an experience. Performers played country music while staff danced and walked around in period costumes. A man dressed like an Old West Saloon manager greeted us to the establishment. He and the bartender chatted us up and made us feel right at home. Before I knew it, he was sitting me on top of the bar and posing me for pictures!!

My father got plenty of attention himself, due to the sombero/ umbrella…The hat’s very large brim stood out among the traditional cowboy hats worn my the locals. A few times people complemented his sombrero, that is, when he wasn’t chasing after it because a gust of wind had flung it off his head. Yet, he would occasionally look over at me and say the hat was a “sensación,” as he gleefully walked down the covered wooden boardwalk of old town Tombstone.


At 1:40 we we made our way to the OK Corral for the reenactment.

The show was interesting but long … Lots of monolog that I could have done without. I did learn a lot of Tombstone history.




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Today, on Day 5 of the road trip, the goal is to make some of my Dad’s childhood dreams come true.

My father is a HUGE Old West fan. Growing up his heroes included the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. He has told me of stories of reading countless comic books, watching hours of television shows and spent countless afternoons dreaming of these Western legends when he was growing up in Mexico.  He even dressed the part, and LOVED Western style clothing.

Can you find my dad in this picture below:

During our first road trip, we headed North and spent time in South Dakota and Wyoming finding some great Wild West history.

This time we are in Arizona and headed to some famous Old West towns… any one want to guess what is our next destination?

Interested in more pictures from the trip, follow me on Twitter and Instragr.am 

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Pictures from San Antonio:

Will Samuel order Lulu’s famous 3 lb cinnamon role? (thank you Andy Lee for the tip)


Children dancing to Mexican folkloric music in typical clothing from Veracruz, Mexico. Taken at San Antonio’s Market Square/ Mercado outside of Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery.


Below, a photo of San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio. San Fernando Cathedral was founded in 1731 and is the oldest, continuously functioning religious community in the State of Texas.


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It’s true when they say everything is bigger in Texas. The food is bigger, the days are hotter, the hats are massive and the experiences are more elaborate…

The day started with the largest waffle I had ever attempted to eat. And yes, it was in the shape of Texas. Dad and I soon got on the road for the short drive from Hidalgo to San Antonio.

We spent a total of 20 hours in San Antonio, arriving at our hotel around 11 am on Tuesday.

The visit started a bit humorous, like out of a National Lampoon vacation movie. We stayed at a small hotel I found on a travel site and it seemed to have decent reviews. The description listed its’ location as “steps from the Alamo.” While the staff was great, nothing could have prepared me for the lack water in the room. When I checked with the front desk, they just said “oh yeah I forgot to tell you we are working on the pipes for the next hour.” …umm ok?…. I decided to just go along with my day, praying we would have clean running water upon our return. We headed to the Alamo. Thankfully, we took the car, because “steps away” apparently means a mile in 104 degree weather.

San Antonio has a lot to offer and we did all the basics, The Alamo, River Walk, San Fernando Cathedral, El Mercado and much more.



We ate a large lunch on the River Walk at the famous Casa Rio Mexican Restaurant for some proper TexMex. After a River Walk cruise we strolled the shops, until my dad decided he needed a large brim hat to protect himself from the sun. We were now on a mission for a hat… We finally stumbled upon a place right across from The Alamo that appeared to have every Mexican wrestling mask every created (we bought one for my brother). It was there that my father found his hat.

The monstrosity of a sombrero couldn’t have been any bigger, if not it would have been an umbrella on his head.


My dad loved the hat. It reminded him of a sombrero he has in Mexico which he uses when he works in the farm. He said it would be a “sensation” (una sensacion) especially as he planned to use it for our upcoming trip to the Grand Canyon. (I will say a few people did complement my dad on the hat. Others just looked in bewilderment.)

These are the moments that it’s much better that I’m an adult and not a teenager traveling with my father. The 15 year old version of me would have been mortified and would have VERY vocally protested the massive sombrero. My current adult self still thinks the hat is silly, but am more concerned that my dad is happy and is protected from the sun with the sombrero/umbrella.

Now accompanied by his hat, we continued on our San Antonio adventure to San Fernando Cathedral. The historic church is amazingly beautiful. There we lit a candle in front of La Virgen de Guadalupe. (MORE PICTURES AFTER THE JUMP)


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It’s all about Texas these days. On day two of the road trip, we entered the Lone Star state for three days of adventures.

Armed with my boyfriend’s hat, my dad and my Jeep Liberty we took on Texas.


The 10 hour drive from New Orleans and down the Eastern coast of Texas went by smoothly as we enjoyed the changing scenery- farms, towns, rail roads… It was a welcomed change from the mundane drive through Florida where most of what we saw was just tall trees on either side.


We breezed through Houston as we made our way South in route to Hidalgo, TX to visit with family. My cousin Yani and her husband live on the other side of the border in Reynosa, Mexico. I hadn’t seen her in 13 years.

While driving on I-10 my dad made the commentary that what he really wanted to do is travel through backroads to see the “real” country side. God must have been paying attention, soon after we where driving on tiny two lane highways through almost forgotten Texas towns.

Some of the “largest” towns we drove through include Refugio, TX, the hometown of baseball great Nolan Ryan, and the city of Falfurrias, TX with a population of 5,297. (I think my high school had about 3,000 students alone.)

My father’s only complaint on the drive was the apparent absence of Texas Longhorns. He commented in Spanish “ni vaca de cuerno largo, ni cuernos corto.” Saying he hadn’t seen hardly any cattle on the drive. Growing up on a farm he loves animals and keeps an eye out for farms, ranchos and livestock during our road trips. Hopefully during the next few days in Texas he will finally see some famous Texas Longhorns.

20110614-092229.jpgAbout 5:30 pm we arrived in Hidalgo. My cousins soon after picked us up to take us to dinner. We originally wanted to cross over the border to Reynosa, but figured customs would give us a hassle given all the bags jammed in to my car. We went to dinner at the great American establishment, The Olive Garden.

The most interesting part of our dinner conversation was how social media, like twitter and Facebook, are helping keep Mexican citizens safe. Yani’s husband, Luis, showed me Facebook and twitter users who continuously report when violent incidents occur within Mexico warning people to stay away. The updates are quickly circulated and have helped many Mexicans avoid deadly situations.


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On Sunday, my Dad and I started our road trip out west departing from Miami a little bit before 6 am. The sun had yet to rise, but our adventure was well on its way.

After 13+ hours in the car we both felt like it was the longest car ride ever – and it was, as we logged in over 1,000 miles. The feeling was probably augmented by the fact that it took over 10 hours just to get out of Florida.

Driving on I-10 West we finally made it to our Day One destination – New Orleans.

As we got off the expressway and made our way to our hotel on Canal Street, my Dad’s face lit up like a child on Christmas when he saw the street cars. He shouted “¡Mira los tranvias!” They reminded him of his childhood in Mexico when he would go in to the big city, Veracruz, which was once busy with street car (tranvias) traffic as a means for public transportaion.

We jumped on the St. Charles street car to see NoLa’s Garden District and historic homes. Ironically, I ran into a D.C. reporter I’ve worked with on past campaigns who was in vacation with her husband…. When the street car got stuck behind a car accident we (including the reporter, her husband and two very lost Texans) all had a mini-adventure trying to find our way back to Canal street by foot. Thank goodness, my iPhone and google maps saved the day!!!

Greeted by street performers and fellow camera toting tourists, we finally made our way to Bourbon Street in hopes of finding some dinner.


As expected, once in the French Quarters my Dad started taking pictures as we meandered down the crowded streets. Before long we called it a night (especially after seeing the Miami Heat loss).

We got an early rise this morning to squish in some last minute sightseeing in New Orleans. First stop, Jackson Square.


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