Blogs, random thoughts, travel

  • Routine

    I’m not sure if others felt the same, but between the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s holidays and various illnesses in our household we seemed to lack any kind of routine the past couple months.
  • Wolves!

    Anytime we can mix wildlife with our travels is a win-win in my opinion.  On our trip to Lake Superior this past fall we had great sightings of bison, beavers, and bald eagles.  But breaking with alliteration, one of the most memorable was WOLVES!

  • The Longest Night

    Have you ever made plans to watch the sun rise?  If so, you know to do so you have to get up while it is still dark.  When I was employed, I caught the sunrise most mornings on my commute. Many were glorious and actually made it worth my time to go to work. Sometimes (many) it was the ONLY thing I enjoyed about my workday!  I must admit that since I retired and put away my alarm clock, I see way more sunsets than I do sunrises.  
  • Christmas Cards

    One of the most difficult tasks of preparing to send cards is going through last year’s list and updating it for those who have passed away.  It is bitter sweet.  We grieve all over again for the loss, we think about the survivors and how different this year will be for them, and we remember sweet memories of the deceased. 
  • Writing Club

    Stacey, a friend who teaches Eighth Grade English at Kingsway Middle School in New Jersey, invited me to participate in a recent meeting of her Writing Club.  It is an after-school club that meets once or twice a month, focusing on creating some type of small writing piece.  She tells me that last year the students composed poems that were submitted to a contest and four students were published!  Stacey says “We play hard, and we work hard!”
  • Good Timing

    A refrigerator repair should never be undertaken without first having coffee.  The clicking off and on continued while Jenni and I had our coffee, but did slow considerably.  By the time we had finished breakfast, it was no longer an issue.  (I prefer repairs like that!).  We vacuumed under the front of the unit and said a prayer it would last through Thanksgiving.
  • I'm a Worrier

    Camped somewhere in the forests of Wisconsin I worried that the banjo-playing young man with a large chained dog, whose camp we used for a U-turn, would walk through the woods and find us while we slept.  I’m not sure if I was concerned what harm he might do to us or if he would just play his banjo all night. 
  • Border Crossings

    Eventually a woman leaned out of a window and waved me forward.  I asked if I did something wrong at the scanner but she ignored my question. I handed her our passports showing we were US citizens.  She still asked where we were going and did we have a reservation for tonight?  (I’m thinking: ‘I’m an American, does it really matter where I’m going?’ but of course did my best to come up with the name of a state park we were going to camp in that night.)  Then she asked ‘was this a camper with a bed and was anyone sleeping in the back?’  I replied it was just the two of us.  I was not about to let her know there was a passenger with Chihuahua Mexican-heritage, without a passport, snoring on the floorboard between our seats! Annie may have lived on the streets for a while, but she could not have survived serving time in a border holding cell at this point in her privileged life. 
  • Radio Reflections

    When I was a preteen, I discovered KTSA which played “Top 40” music.  I still remember it was 550 on the AM dial.  You could call in requests via a TOLL-FREE phone number IF you were willing to dial eleven digits on a rotary phone and then, IF the call was answered, stay on hold for 15-50 minutes.  People will say that Country music also existed at this time, but I’m not sure anyone in my family was aware of this.  I was also probably in college before I realized there were FM stations available on the radio dial.
  • Veterans Making Rookie Mistakes

    Our plan was to walk the shoreline to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse.  An online map I consulted offered a confusing trail, that looked like a road, that began in a campground somewhere behind us.  No, we were still going with our idea to walk the shoreline.  I grabbed a light backpack to carry the Nikon camera.  We debated going barefoot since it was going to be a walk on the sand but ultimately we each grabbed some waterproof shoes and tossed them in the backpack.   
  • Impromptu Blue Ridge Parkway Trip

    We said we would stop at just one overlook but that’s like eating one potato chip.  I found myself pulling into each one that offered a view.  The leaves in this lower elevation area were just beginning to change colors. I have a favorite tree on the Parkway at the Craggy Dome Overlook and it was my goal to get there.
  • No Place Like Home

    When we travel in our van Wanda, we travel with our own toilet and accoutrements.  That means “home quality” toilet paper wherever we go.  But now that the panic of the pandemic has subsided, we have taken to using other facilities as well. On the last trip I was reminded of the poor quality of toilet paper in state parks.  A friend who once traveled to Russia described their toilet paper as “wax paper at best”. I would say that most state parks use a Russian supplier who leans more towards tissue paper quality.