US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 11


For reference, day 11 is referring to September 30 2022.

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US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 10


For reference, day 10 is referring to September 29, 2022.

2 more days until home…

I felt a bit better, not coughing as much, though my voice still sounded pretty bad. The tough part has been getting through the night because that’s when the stuffy nose comes and I begin to feel like I’m choking. I think it might be caused by the dust in the motels which exacerbated the problem.

We stopped by the New Jersey State House in the morning. It was sorta a drop-by since we were heading toward Trenton to avoid bridge tolls. In the west, we call this the Capitol Building. I’ve never heard of it referred to as “State House” before. I learned that when I couldn’t find “New Jersey Capitol” on Google Maps.

This is definitely by far the oldest Capitol building I’ve ever been to. It was originally built in the late 18th Century before it was burned, rebuilt, renovated, and added several more wings over the years to accommodate the growing state.

It was also the one with the tightest security measures. It was like going through the TSA checkpoint at an airport. I must empty my pockets, place everything in a bucket, and walk through the scanner. We were also not allowed to tour the building ourselves. We needed to call and schedule a tour. Thankfully, the people at the Capitol building were willing to do an impromptu tour.

I learned a lot about the state of New Jersey on this tour like how it’s blueberries and peaches are well-known. I find it so fascinated to learn fun facts like these. The tour ended after 20 minutes and our guide led us to the door.

The outside of the complex is just as interesting as the inside like this tree that was dedicated to George Washington who famously crossed the Delaware River nearby and this fountain, which makes a great photo opp.

After the State House, we headed to Chambersburg, PA, where we will spend the next 2 nights and we’re planning to tour Gettysburg the next day,

US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 9


For reference, day 9 is referring to September 28, 2022.

It’s day 2 in Philadelphia and I would say it felt more relaxed than normal. There wasn’t much rushing from place to place. I think the expectation has been lowered ever since we got sick, to not try to see the entire city but to focus on one place at a time. If there’s time, we’ll see more.

Mom seemed convinced she contracted COVID from the guy sitting next to her on the plane. He wore a mask and his wife next to him seemed to be on medication that made her sleepy and confused. She was listening to the symptoms of COVID all night long.

We stayed in a hotel in downtown Philadelphia the night after staying in the worst motel imaginable. The downtown hotel felt like heaven compare to the other motel. The first thing I did was take 2 showers to rid the smell of cigarettes from my body and hair. I washed and rinsed and washed and rinsed until I could no longer smell that dreadful scent.

We spent the morning visiting the National Constitution Center, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Once again, mom didn’t like it because of the so-called “skewed perspective.” I wanted to read every placard on display in that museum but each time I found something interesting, I’d get pulled away by mom.

The exhibits I enjoyed the most were the Civil War and Women’s suffrage exhibits. I find Civil War to be one of the most fascinating time in US history and I briefly listened to a podcast on women’s suffrage last month, so I was excited to learn more. Mom was uninterested to go to both exhibits but thankfully, she let me go alone while she waited outside.

I don’t know why I keep getting the feeling of being undermined. For example, I got hungry and wanted to make myself a bowl of noodle soup. Mom wanted me to wait until she got back but I figured I’m a grown-up and I can make it myself. I overheated the water and made a tiny mess in the microwave.

“I told you to wait for me.” She clicked her tongue. I hate it when she does that because that’s when I know I done something she thinks is wrong which has been often on this trip.

Anyway, it’s back to Jersey tonight because we couldn’t book an extra night in downtown Philly. We’re heading back to Trenton, NJ to see New Jersey State House before crossing over to Pennsylvania and head for Gettysburg where we’ll stay for the next 2 nights.

US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 8


For reference, day 8 is referring to September 27, 2022.

I have so many thoughts at the moment. I don’t know whether that’s due to sleep deprivation or the fact that I am now sick, too, caught whatever Mom got from sharing a bed and probably not covering her mouth when she coughed around me. I feel like shit. My nose is stuffy, my voice is hoarse and at times, gone, and I’m coughing like there’s no tomorrow.

I’ve also been getting next to no sleep with mom blasting YouTube all night long while unconsciously snatching the covers, leaving me with nothing, and snoring so loud and I mean loud. I think my sleep at night has been more like catnaps – waking up every so often like someone’s anticipating the alarm to ring.

This morning, I woke up in the worst motel room imaginable, my hair and body reek of cigarette smoke and marijuana. I felt a bit better, not coughing as much. Mom was quite the opposite. She looked like she’s going to cough out a lung. That’s the last time I will ever share a bed.

At 9:30 AM, we arrived in the heart of Philadelphia, PA – the city of Brotherly Love. The traffic felt absolutely chaotic. The moment we got off the Ben Franklin bridge, we saw people walking in the middle of the road, among cars!

Aren’t they afraid of being hit? It is a highway after all.

After parking the car in the lot next to the hotel, we made our way around the city – first to Chinatown and then to Independence Hall.

I have never been to Independence Hall nor seen the Liberty Bell in person, only in movies. So I was excited to expand my knowledge of U.S. History.

Or so I thought…

Mom rushed me from one display to the next without ever allowing me to read the text. I told her to hold on and wait for me a few times but her answer was always, “there’s nothing to see here.” She said Independence Hall has changed drastically since her last visit which was 24 years ago. She said the history placards have been rewritten by the recent presidents to make the history of the Founding Fathers skew toward the institution of slavery.

To be honest, from the texts I managed to read, I did not see any skewing and biases toward African American. Sure, history is always told from one perspective and that perspective isn’t always right but that’s just what history is, isn’t it?

US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 7


I’m writing this post on my phone as opposed to my laptop. I’m not sure how it’ll look, so bear with me.

I traveled to 3 states yesterday. That must be some kind of record or maybe that’s just me because I’m from Western U.S. and the states are huge compared to the east. Anyway, we crossed into the US early in the morning after we were grilled by the custom officer.

He asked why, of all the cities in the whole world, we chose to visit Toronto and Ottawa. I don’t remember being grilled like this when I returned to the US after visiting Canada 5 years ago or is that just typical manner of the people on the east coast? Mom said he was just doing his job but really?

It certainly left a sour taste in my mouth.

We drove through New York and Pennsylvania before getting to our destination – Washington Crossing State Park in New Jersey. It surprised me by how green it was. Perhaps, it’s because I’m from out west where there’s little to no rain.

I loved the greenery and seeing the autumn colors starting to peek through. It was one of my purposes of the trip.

I’ve always wanted to see the place where George Washington crossed the Delaware river as depicted by the famous painting but it turned out, the painting had exaggerated the event as often history does. It was certainly a good history lesson and I learned quite a bit from this little history tour.

Which brings me back to why I’m writing this post on my phone. I stayed at the worst motel in the history of worst motel last night in Bordentown, New Jersey. I requested for a non-smoking room and the moment I entered the room, the smell of pot and smoke hit me like a punch in the face. I told front desk and all he did was spritzed air freshener in the room.

After he left, I discovered not only could I not get wifi in the room but my cell signal was gone too. It was like being sucked into a black hole. Normally, I wouldn’t mind a night without internet but I happened to need to modify the itinerary which involved modifying a few hotel reservations and I can’t do that when I don’t have internet.

After complaining to the guy and showing him the room was a black hole, he switched me to another room. Still, the smell of pot and smoke hit me when I opened the door. I’ve stayed at plenty of bad motels before but this is by far the worst.

Well, I’ll reporting from Philadelphia for the next 2 days. Hopefully, my living accomodations improves.

US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 6


Between Mom’s snoring and feeling cold due to lack of covers, I got a very poor night sleep the night we arrived in Ottawa. The cons of sharing a bed with my mother – she wrapped the covers tight around her because she was cold while I just had the thin blanket sent up by request.

Anyway, the day forecasted rain so I wanted to see as much as I could of Ottawa before it starts to rain. We walked down to the Rideau Canal to see the canal locks. When I was studying for my Civil Engineering and we talked about the locks at Panama Canal, I couldn’t imagine what those locks looked like. Well, I have a pretty good idea now.

The picture above was one of my favorite pictures that day despite the gloomy sky. This is the Alexandria Bridge. On the other side is Gatineau – part of Quebec Province. I love the variety of foliage colors even though I am slightly disappointed that I haven’t seen much autumn colors yet despite the autumn equinox was a few days ago.

I almost forgot our surprise that day. We had planned to tour Parliament Hill but it was closed. As we continued to walk up the street, we found men and women dressed in kilts and were practicing their pipes. I tried to ask around to find out what was happening but just my luck, everyone I talked to was a tourist like me and they either didn’t speak English or they, too, were just as clueless as me.

I tried to Google it on my phone, too, but had no result.

Then the parade began. Men and women walked down Wellington Street in either a police uniform or in kilts.

In the meantime, mom has developed a dry hacking cough. She was cough every few seconds. At the same time, she was having leg pain. I told her a few times, “if you must rest, rest,” but she was adamant, saying she has traveled this far to see Ottawa, not to lie in a motel room.

I felt frustrated to had to stop every few minutes to look back to see her grimacing at the pain while hacking a cough or two. It made me feel hopeless because I couldn’t help her. It also made me feel frustrated because she was throwing tantrums as well.

By the end of the day, I am starting to feel an itch in my throat. I sure hope I haven’t caught whatever’s got mom because my swollen gums have just gotten better. I don’t want a hacking cough and who knows what else.

US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 4-5


For date reference, day 4 is referring to September 23 and day 5 is September 24. I think this is more for me than for anyone in particular.

As I wrote in this post, I felt like the trip had gone downhill after day 3. Even with the spectacular views from CN Tower on day 4, I can never compare those views to that of the Niagara Falls.

After CN Tower, we took the street car up to Toronto Chinatown. I have been to only two other well-known Chinatowns so far – Los Angeles and San Francisco – and I’ve come to expect rowdy behavior from the senior residents of Chinatown. Still, it was a bit disorienting and with Mom constantly wandering to God-knows-where, I had to be on my toes every second.

Can you tell my anxiety level has been pretty high during this trip?

After finally grabbing a bite, we walked a few blocks down to Toronto City Hall. It was my idea because I needed a photo of the Toronto sign in the Nathan Phillip Square to prove I’ve really been to Toronto. I don’t know about you but have you ever had to prove to someone that you’ve really been to a certain place?

I have. From then on, I’ve always photographed the sign of the place I’ve been to.

That afternoon, on the way back to the hotel, I received a call about my car. At first, I thought they were calling me to notify me my car was ready to pick up but it turned out they broke something while dismantling the car door. So now, new parts will need to be orders and who knows how long that’ll be. I became so anxious after the call. I know I should had been but I was.

Day 5 aka my birthday was spent driving from Toronto to Ottawa. Mom drove while I sat back and enjoyed my birthday drink from Starbucks – Iced Matcha Latte. I was thankful she allowed me to connect my phone to the rental car so I can play some music instead of listening to the hum of the road and our pathetic attempts of trying to make small talks with each other despite our small talks so far lasted less than a minute before Mom either got angry and started shouting or she got bored.

She also wasn’t feeling well that day and she had to exit in a random town and take a nap behind a Tim Horton (Canadian coffee franchise) while I just sat there, earbuds in, and listened to my music. I volunteered to drive but she wouldn’t let me, most likely still worried about my driving skills after my accident.

We finally arrived at the Ottawa motel at a little after 4 PM. As soon as we had a small meal, mom took some cough medication and went to bed.

US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 3


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US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 2


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US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 1


The last two days has been absolutely crazy. On Monday, I worked almost 12 hours before continuing on Tuesday with a little over 4 hours to complete my 16 hours of the 40-hour work week.

For the first time in a long while, I felt hectic, trying to get every customer billed and all the payments reconciled. I am a billing and accounting specialist, in case you haven’t figure that out. I send bills to customers and reconcile payment for a living.

I am writing this post prior to getting on my first flight from Salt Lake to Las Vegas. From Vegas, I’ll have a 4.5 hours layover before boarding another flight to Buffalo, New York. Of the airports I have been to so far, the Salt Lake airport has the best Wi-fi. So I’m taking the opportunity to type this on my laptop with a physical keyboard.

Anxiety-wise, I think now that I’m sitting in the airport, sipping on an iced chai latte, I am feeling a better, not near-hyperventilation like a few hours before. In fact, I had been near-hyperventilation for the last few days.

I was getting cold feet about trip. There’s so many worries. As much as I tried to relax and look forward to my long-awaiting trip, my anxiety, as always, was holding me back. Darn you, anxiety! Always causing misery. Why can’t you leave me alone?

So many things to do, my brain kept telling me. You can’t go. I barely slept the night before my flight. My brain kept me all night with about a million thoughts. Why didn’t you purchase carry-on luggage for the flight? There’s no way you will bill all these people before your flight. You can’t place your trust in those people to take care of your garden.

All night long. Just thought after thought. Ugh!

I spent Tuesday night on the flight to Buffalo, New York and will be there at 5 AM. Hopefully I will get a few hours of shut-eye during the flight.

Trip to Dinosaur National Monument


Why does it feel like either I’m not taking trips at all or I’m taking trips all the time? It’s the second trip this week (the first was on Sunday) and this time, it was a trip to the Dinosaur National Monument, which is about 4 hours from me in Jensen, Utah. My uncle drove this time while I was in the passenger seat making sure he doesn’t get lost while enjoying the scenery.

I haven’t processed many of the pictures yet but I can tell I got some of my 2022 favorite photos here.

I have been to Dinosaur National Monument before, back in 2017, but as much as I am interested in dinosaurs, I actually came for the natural scenery this time. As we stopped at each location, I tried to find subjects for my photos because one of the recommendation I got from the instructor of the photography composition class I took in April was to focus on something. “Try to focus on something and not just taking pictures of the general landscape.”

I think focusing on something makes a photo that much interesting. Don’t you think so?

Strawberry Bay: Enjoyable or Not?


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Yellowstone 2021 Day 3


I should’ve done a “Day 3” of the trip 3 days ago but with my guests still in town and work, I just couldn’t find the time.

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Yellowstone 2021 Day 2


It’s amazing how I’m able to find so much in common with my fellow traveler and guest, who happens to be a 15-year-old.

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Yellowstone 2021 Day 1


Of the five Yellowstone trips I’ve taken so far, I think this is the most relaxing trip so far or maybe I’m just exhausted from all the traveling I’ve done recently.

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Las Vegas 2021 Trip Day 4


I think a picture of the sunset from the 35th floor is a fitting picture to end this journey. Another end to another trip.

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Las Vegas 2021 Trip Day 3


I think this is definitely a 2021 thing. I was told this conference is going to be crazy, that there would be lots of people, believe me, 1000 is a lot of people especially in a time like this but it has been slow-going working at the registration desk.

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Las Vegas 2021 Trip Day 2


One thing I must admit about Las Vegas or perhaps every city, the night view is definitely different from what I’m used to especially when it’s from the 35th floor of a 5-star hotel room.

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Las Vegas 2021 Trip Day 1


It was around 8:45 AM when I arrived in Vegas and it was 100-degrees. So hot!

It’s my first time traveling to Las Vegas guys via an airplane and I have to say it’s more exhausting than driving – you have to park at the airport, ride a shuttle to the terminal, go through security, walk to the gate, board the plane, and ride for an hour. An hour later, more walking. Oh and let’s not mention all the things you cannot bring with you when you air travel.

I’m on my way to the hotel. My cold has somewhat subsided after taking multiple medications this morning. Hopefully, it’ll stay that way.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #150: Let’s Get Wild


This week on Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #150, Dianne assigns the topic of “Let’s Get Wild” and I say let’s get wild with Mother Nature.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #149: Cool Colors – Blue and Green


This week on Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #149, Tina has challenged everyone with the topic of Cool Colors – Blue and Green and I have just the pics.

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A Photo a Week Challenge: Unexpected


I spent this past week traveling and on the first day of my road trip, while I was walking along the Fremont River in Capitol Reef National Park, I spotted something moving in the trees. At first glance, I thought it was an owl. I have no idea what made me think of that. I was about to point and whisper-shout, “Owl,” when I realized it was just an ordinary fatty of a squirrel.

A Photo a Week Challenge

Highway 12 Road Trip Day 4


After about 4 hours, I am at last home.

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