Next Stop: Somewhere Near Baltimore

A reminder of why we don’t want to stay in Chicago

We didn’t take a big trip this summer for many life reasons. Don’t you hate it when reality gets in the way of travel? We’re dreaming of Vietnam and Cambodia, but our next jaunt is to the Baltimore area to see Steven’s son and daughter-in-law (and my stepson and stepdaughter-in-law). While we’re there, we’re going to look around and think about permanence. This whole time of life is a little bit travel, a little bit leap into the unknown. One thing I know for sure, though, Steven does not want to live through another Chicago winter and if Farmer’s Almanac is right, it’s going to be a bad one.

Desert beats snowstorm any day

That’s why the trip to Utah; it was a fact-finding mission. Do we want to temporarily live in St. George? Would it be possible? Do we like it? Is the the right semi-long-term trip for us? The jury is out. For sure the winter would be easy. Plus, it is a wonderful vacation spot: Beautiful, warm, sunny, plenty of hiking and we did get in a beautiful hike, so no complaints there. But….vacation! travel! Someplace new and crazy. Not happening.

I wish at least we had time to drive East. The shorter the flight, the less I see the need to get on a plane, but, again, reality. Plane=quicker, at least if there’s a pilot, no weather, no random delays, no mechanical problems, no luggage that doesn’t match a passenger. I love to travel and see planes as a necessary evil. If I am flying over an ocean I can’t think about how I would rather be driving and then I get a free checked bag and maybe some food.




Guess What I Found? West Coast Part 1

So, loyal readers (all 4 of you), remember the lead up to our Costa Rica trip? Remember the drama of my lost passport. Well … I found it. It was in the secret top compartment of a backpack I haven’t used since we went to Morocco two years ago. That never even occurred to me. Oh well. Good stories came out of it and it all ended well. And now I have my souvenir stamps and Chinese visa back.

Here I sit at O’Hare as my flight to SFO gets pushed back more and more. Please explain how once a plane is in the air, it can change its flight time. We were told that there was an earlier delay at the plane’s last stop, but apparently the earlier delay is a current delay or the arrival time wouldn’t keep changing. First 11:45, then 12:22, then 12:15. We took off at 12:50. At least I don’t have to be anywhere on the other end. Plus, I downloaded some books and a bunch of Jessica Jones episodes.

Bijan the cattle dog

I have already forgotten what my friend and I were going to do today, but I know it involved driving back and forth from San Francisco to Oakland a couple of times. Hmmm. That will be more fun as rush hour approaches, although I bet it’s always rush hour on the Bay Bridge. Perhaps this trip will remind me why I don’t want to live in the Bay Area again.

…Finally made it. No surprise, there was traffic so by the time we got to Oakland, it was already 5 p.m. We took a quick trip to Berkeley Bowl West, but didn’t really explore there. I could eat really well if that were my regular grocery store! Then we picked up Bijan at doggie day care, made Greek salad and hummus and spent the evening chilling and catching up. So far, so good!

The Joy(?) of Air Travel

Image result for united airline

For years I held a grudge against United Airlines because of an incident related to traveling with my then-preschool son. You have to give me credit because it’s not easy avoiding United when you live in Chicago. I mostly managed it, and then realized that none of the other airlines were any better.

A couple of weeks ago, I had to fly to Albany, NY, on somewhat short notice to a funeral. I didn’t want my now-postschool son to sit by himself during this trying time (once a mama bear, always a mama bear), so I paid for better seats so we could sit together and not be in the last row of the plane. Fine. My choice.

On the way back, we were sitting at the airport when we heard our flight called 45 minutes early. We hustled over to the gate to be told that the crew was thinking that maybe we could leave early since there were only nine people on the flight. Nine! So, I paid an extra $90 so that my son and I could sit together on an empty plane. I wasn’t pleased.

I emailed United customer service and got the very helpful reply that they would get back to me in 5-7 days. I will let you know what, if any, resolution there is.

Oh, and btw, we didn’t leave early. We just ended up sitting on the runway for an extra 45 minutes.

Homeward Bound

Our last day on the islands (so sad). We had a 1pm flight from Honolulu to LA then a 2 hour layover and onward to Chicago. We arrived at 6am on Saturday. All in the elapsed travel time – including airport time and taxi home was about 15 hours; a pretty long day.

The flights were uneventful, we watched a bunch movies, none of which bear mentioning.  (I disagree. I watched Lady Bird and I, Tonya. Excellent performances all around.) As with our outward trip, we bought food before we got to the airport. We ate lunch on the first flight and dinner during the layover.

It is good to be home (especially because I don’t get jetlagged).

Sorry to say that this last post is quite short as there isn’t much to say about a travel day where the flights are thankfully on time and relatively smooth.  We will go back to our Wednesday & Saturday posting dates until our next foray.

The Sun Did Come Up…

After getting up at 1:30 (ok, 1:40 after hitting snooze), we took a sunrise tour up Haleakala to see the sunrise. Unfortunately, nature wasn’t on our side. We glimpsed beautiful streaks of pink between the clouds, and then it was light. I was freezing the whole time, but despite all that, it was worth it. Our tour guide from Haleakela Bike Company,  Derek, was entertaining and helpful and our driver, Keith, made the trip seem like a breeze even when the road wound round and round as we climbed. I have a couple of suggestions: Bring snacks, because you won’t have a chance to eat for many hours and if you are like me, your stomach wakes up hours after you get out of bed. Also, warm clothes are essential! Brrrrrrrr.

20180427_073051Even if the sunrise had been perfect, I think the best part would have been the bike ride down. I was still bundled up in two fleeces and Under Armour winter pants, but cruising down a volcano on a mountain bike is FUN. You can see for yourself on the video. We did the whole 22.5 miles by 9:30 am just because going fast feels great. Then, we went to Colleen’s, a breakfast spot in the same strip mall as the tour company. If you love coffee, check it out. The Maui Roasting Company does a special blend for the restaurant and it was delicious. The food was good too.

6016728A-5C4A-47DB-8499-BD15E6EB8C2ASteven’s lunatic thought of the day:  Maui is at 20.7984° N latitude. The diameter of the earth at that point is 7,923.054 miles (Google it!), which means that the circumference is about 24,891.01 miles (using excel which does π to 15 decimal places).  Last year we saw the sunrise over the Sahara, just outside Merzouga Morocco (31.0802° N latitude). The distance between the two is 8,400 miles and 12 time zones. Maybe for our next trip we will try and figure out what is equidistant of the remaining 16,000 miles and watch the sun rise there…. I think it’s the middle of the ocean …so maybe we will bobbing on the water somewhere.