Travel tips


Distressing Detector

Most of my elderly relatives lost their hearing, but I never heard of any of my predecessors getting burned.  So when our camp trailer’s smoke detector shrieked without reason once again, I was more concerned with preventing further cochlear damage than preserving the detector.  Steve entertained our friends, who were camped next door, with a dramatic rendition of that incident, and Linda asked him to send me over to fix their detector too. Some years later, that infamous detector still seems to be working, it just doesn’t attach to the ceiling anymore.  Steve noticed today that it is 10 years old, and the ones in our house are […]


Dog Gone 2

In search of attractions to add to our Deep South itinerary, I came across a coon dog cemetery.  I like dogs and cemetery strolls, but I think it’s enough to know that this coon dog cemetery exists. If you’re thinking of adding it to your list, Labor Day might be the time to go.  An annual festival includes Bluegrass music, hickory smoked barbecue, decorated graves, and a Liars Contest telling tall tales.  No, really, it’s true!


Painreliever Puzzle

When we drove the Alaskan Highway, my back protested the long hours in the truck.  I tried pillows and cushions and giving Steve heck, some of which helped, but not enough.  Then I happened on another sort of remedy–Sudoku.  Puzzles do an amazing job of muting discomforts of all kinds, and for some reason, staring at them doesn’t make me carsick. They are somewhat addictive, and I miss miles of scenery, but I see a lot more than I would staying home with a bad back.


Driven to Distraction 2

The man is losing it. I’ve gotten used to Steve firing up our GPS, Faith, to drive to places that he could find in his sleep. I concentrate on my puzzles and block out her prattling every name ever assigned to each highway. When he ignores her pleas to “turn around when possible,” I console myself: better her than me. But for our trip to Newfoundland, Steve decided that we would listen to Faith and the truck’s built-in GPS’ in tandem.  A month-long duet of “route recalculation” and “turn around when possible?” Yes, absolutely, a second opinion would double our chances of finding the best route for our 8,000 mile journey. Great, […]


Brilliant Gift for Traveling Dad

We spent last June on the road. Steve hoped that his stingy watering program would keep our lawn from going jungle, but that plan was called on account of rain.  Our ever-loving (and seriously overworked) son sent a message telling us how bad our place looked, then followed up with, “I mowed it for you.  Have a good Father’s Day.” He couldn’t have come up with a better gift. Now, here we are gallivanting through June again.  We hear it’s been hot at home, so maybe Plan A will come through this time.  In any case, we hope our overworked son lets the lawn go and enjoys a day […]


Losing Faith 2

Our GPS leads us out of the darkness so unfailingly that when our friend Pat suggested the name Faith, we embraced it. Since then Steve began calling on Faith’s ways of finding reasonable rooms for the night whenever we grow weary. Our March road trip to New Orleans tested Faith on several evenings when pickings were slim, but between our Faith and Pat’s Siri, we found comfortable vacancies.  One evening Siri’s Trip Advisor ratings insisted on an inn a good way off our beaten path.  Without Faith the complicated cross-town zigzags would have been overwhelming, we didn’t despair. Over a late supper, we plotted our final leg, […]


Snub Boat? 2

I hadn’t realized what cruising has done for me until a writer friend dithered over her clothes and etiquette while attending my dolphin presentation at the local country club.  Before my first cruise I was equally stressed that all those rich, sophisticated people would look down their noses at me.  Now that I’ve spent a couple months sailing with seriously wealthy cruisers, I say “no worries Mate.”  There are always people looking for ways to feel superior, but Steve and I found that most frequent-cruisers are looking for friendly conversations rather than one-up ops.  People who are into status games must have a tough time figuring out who to snub because multi-millionaires generally dress and act the way they want to.  A […]


Anti-Oops Checklist for Booking Flights

The more we travel, the more Steve and I stress over booking plane tickets.  We know how easy it is to overlook an important detail and how much misery a little slip-up can inflict.  Strangely enough, checklists for avoiding such problems seem to be hard to find.  Here’s ours. Anti-Oops Checklist for Booking Flights Before you start, write down required departure and return dates, ground transportation hours, airport names and anything else you are unsure of, so you can easily check them. Before you click, check: –Arrival date for every flight –Are your departure and arrival times reasonable?  Is your 2 pm really 2 am? –Do your layovers allow enough time to make […]


Booking Tips from a Travel Ace

What luck to find a travel agent who knows just how to smooth the way for an elder in Peru.  I’ve been on a mission to get my 85 year old mother to Machu Picchu since told me she’d always wanted to go.  Jacquie Whitt fixed us up for April, but  could only suggest international flights for getting there and back.  Even with her suggestions, we almost had panic attacks over booking the tickets.  There are just so many details to get right and so much money blown if it’s wrong.  Too late I thought, Jacquie books trips all day every day.  Ask her how to get it right.  Here’s what she said: When I book plane tickets: * […]


Where to Eat in the Inside Passage

“I think a banana is a good gift,” a rafting guide told me.  The more I listened to Alaskan guides, the more I realized that food is an issue in those parts.  Transportation costs make food pricey up north, and customs regulations much compound the problem.  Another guide talked about buying berries in Canada and having to pull over and finish eating them before she reached the border. A camper I know was so disgusted at having to give up her oranges “to protect Alaska’s citrus orchards” that she smuggled a few tomatoes through the next checkpoint.  I would never do anything […]