Tag Archive for travel man

Our 2016 Travel Planning


Yes it is March, actually the middle of March, and I am finally getting around to sharing our travel/vacation excitement.   For the first time since Travel Man and I got married we have actually made our 2016 travel plans along with reservations for the entire year! Yay!  Our longest trip will be our travel to Arizona, which we are actually in the middle of right now.  We’re taking in a full week of baseball’s Spring Training games.   We are so excited for this trip.  It’s going to be fun taking in all of the sights and sounds of baseball. 

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Last month we took a trip to one of the regional parks close to home and really enjoyed our weekend.   The campground we stayed at was quite peaceful and the birds  chattered away in the trees the entire weekend.  Life doesn’t get any better than that.  The weather was spectacular.  Sunny, temps in the low 70’s, and a bit of a breeze.  Perfect weather for a bowl of chili for lunch.  Yes we did that.  We haven’t been on a weekend jaunt since the end of November last year.    The holidays have come and gone, the New Year’s resolutions are lingering around, and we’re ready to settle into a travel rhythm for the year.

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Our short trip last month did remind us of a few things that are needed to have an enjoyable weekend jaunt.   It  is important for us to go through our Master Camping Checklist to be sure we don’t forget anything.  Like charcoal for the grill, or Travel Man’s favorite camping chair that he likes to sit on outside.  Even though we don’t always have to venture far from home to have a weekend away, we still need to take the time for our list.  Funny thing about that is I love lists.  But when we were packing up for this particular adventure, I got a little lolly-gaggy, and didn’t go through a final check of “The List”.

As I sit here writing today I’m reminded of just how blessed and lucky I am.  Lucky to have a husband who will do whatever it takes to have a relaxing weekend.  Lucky to be able to take time out for ourselves when we get a chance.  Lucky to have so many amazing places to travel to within just a few hours of our house.

We’re looking forward to our trips out on the open road this year, and as the year progresses I plan to share our travel tales with all of you.  Happy Trails everyone!

A Shift in the Travel Man Matrix

photoTravel Man’s been working close to home quite a bit recently, and it’s been quite the shift in our daily household routine.  He has been driving back and forth to work each day for a few months now.  That may seem elementary to some of you, but for my Travel Man it’s a whole new way of working.  This means commuting on the Southern California maze of freeways, navigating around town, and dealing with the exhausting traffic.  Plus this is not his “usual”  or his favorite mode of transportation to work.  The “usual” mode meaning a drive to the airport, and jetting off to his work destination.  In case you haven’t read about my Travel Man before, he’s what I lovingly refer to as a Road Warrior.  He travels quite extensively for his job, and prior to the past few months is normally “on the road” Monday through Friday each week.  You can read more about our crazy lifestyle here.

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This is the first time in a long, long time where he has been home at some point each night and gotten to sleep in his own bed.  What I find interesting about this scenario is that there are a few things I need to make sure I’m watching out for that I would have previously not worried about too much during his “usual”  work week.  

Here’s a list or my top 5 things I’m paying more attention to and observing around the house:

#1 Laundry– The main thing I need to remember is check the laundry.  On most trips Travel Man gets home and I empty his suitcase into the washer.  Not the case right now, I have to remember to pay attention to how full the hamper is (or the space immediately in front of the hamper) Ha!!  This has been a big,  huge change for the household organization.  Not in a bad way, mind you, just a change.

#2 Menu Planning- The menu planning needs to be in place each week to keep me sane.  A lot of times when Travel Man is “on the road” I might just have a simple toasted cheese for dinner or a chicken patty sandwich. But knowing that he is coming home for dinner at some point every night I have been much more diligent with my menu and meal planning.  This is a good thing for the entire family.  Eating out less, and eating home cooked meals more.

#3 After work routine– When Travel Man is “on the road”, I don’t usually see first hand how tired  he is after work.  He needs his quiet time, and his reboot time, that’s what he does.  I don’t usually see this side of his work life, until now.  He has carved out a little desk space for himself in our garage/ his workshop, and so far he’s able to escape the noise of the household when he needs to the most.

#4 Hobby  Time – Notice that doesn’t say “Hubby” time, although I do enjoy my hubby time.  It says hobby time.  You see as a “Road Warrior” there is so much of your work week spent traveling, hoteling, and eating out that it does not usually leave a lot of time for hobbies once you are back home.  But now with Travel Man not having to jet away somewhere each week I am finally seeing my husband have a little time of his own to discover and enjoy some hobbies.  His favorites are wood working, tinkering with our trailer-getting it ready for the next trip, and selling “stuff” on Craigslist.

#5 TV Time–  This is kind of unusual but here it is.  There are certain TV shows that I record on our DVR each week.  With Travel Man gone so much (previously) I would watch “my shows” while he was out-of-town.    This may seem trivial to some, but it is definitely a shift in our home life.  Now we watch more TV together, and I record less of “my shows.  Or we are able to just listen to music, and read together instead of watching any TV at all.

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Travel Man’s crazy schedule has calmed down so much over the past few months if he starts to fly all over the country again we’ll probably both go nuts missing one another.   I’m not entirely certain we’ll be able to successfully manage shifting the matrix back to the airport life.  We are always so grateful and blessed to have our time together at home.  Of course we’ll do what ever is necessary for Travel Man’s work world, but the Road Warrior  lifestyle would be on a different path once again.

 

 

Cavorting in Colorado

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A glimpse of the Rocky Mountains.

A few days ago I shared my Road Warrior story about our trip to Denver.  It was a quick trip there and back, and then a day and a half later my Travel Man took off to Spain for a week. Yes this is how our crazy life works.  Travel here-travel there and planning ahead pretty much is non-existent.  I have come to terms with that part of our lives, and I just make sure our time together is quality time.  No fussing, nagging or whining allowed!

Now, while Travel Man was doing his work thing I kept the rental car and went exploring in Thornton, Colorado.  This was truly a first time experience for me.  I normally just stay at the hotel and take walks to go shopping or to eat, or many times I go for a swim at the hotel pool. But this day was different, I had some wheels and I wanted to make the most of them!  Also, I did have the trusty Travel Man GPS to guide me on my way.

In our normal travel tradition (for us this is “normal”, you may think we are just weird) I located the nearest Super Wal-Mart and got some snacks and bottled water for our hotel stay.  Next I wanted to get some cash so I used the GPS and found an ATM nearby.  After that stop I decided to bop over to Barnes and Noble for some “browsing” time.  (This was going to turn into a shopping afternoon after all.) While at Barnes and Noble I happened on a display of adult coloring books.  These books are the latest “stress-relieving” rage.  Have you picked one up and perused it yet?  I could not resist not getting one, so I picked out one that had designs that appealed to me.  I did browse around the store a little after that, and tried to locate some colored pencils, but there were no bargains to be found.  So, it was off to the Office Max next door for some colored pencils.  The pencils were successfully located, and there was a Cost Plus next to the Office Max.  Of course I had to go in and browse the Cost Plus.  Such interesting furniture and fabrics there.  A fun place for browsing to your heart’s content.

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Coloring for me…

My last stop of the afternoon was the hotel.  I wanted to get us all checked in before I had to pick up Travel Man from work.  Now remember this is not my normal operating mode. Usually I am the travelling bystander and Travel Man is taking care of these details. Not on this day though, it was my job to get it done!  After we were successfully checked in it was time to go and get the Travel Man from work.  We had a nice anniversary dinner together, and then got ready to head for home the next day.

Our dinnertime fajita platter-yum!

Our dinnertime fajita platter-yum!

This was a definitely a different kind of day for me.  It was nice to change-up the travel routine and do a few out of the ordinary things on my own.  What’s the last travel adventure you took by yourself?  I’d love to hear about where you’ve been.

On a Road Warrior Trip

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Last week I made a trip to the Denver area with my favorite Travel Man.  It was a quick work trip, but we got to spend some much-needed time together.  His work schedule has been a little crazy recently.  We were celebrating our anniversary and a certain Travel Man’s birthday during this week.  It was a lot of fun to be together to celebrate, and do some travelling together.  This trip I dropped Travel Man off at work and took the rental car to do a little exploring.  While I was cruising around by myself for a few hours I noticed that a few things were a little different in Colorado.

1) The grass here is so green. I’m very jealous. At home in Southern California we are in a Stage 3 drought alert. In our neighborhood we are restricted to watering our lawns just three times per week. Our front yard is surviving ok, the backyard not so much.

2) I drove around by myself with the rental car while Travel Man was at work. This is the first trip that I have done this.  I realized I should have been doing this much more often over the past couple of years. I have a fairly good sense of direction and got around town just fine.  And of course there was shopping involved.

4) I’m reminded that my Travel Man’s work life is constantly in a state of flux. The customer he was taking care of here needs parts to repair their machine.  Receipt of those parts will delay finishing the job. Travel Man’s schedule does not allow him to stay here and finish this one! He’s back on a plane in two days heading overseas.  This means we’re going home a day early and he’ll have an extra day to relax and pack his suitcase.

5) There are “Help Wanted” signs everywhere!  The hiring signs were definitely in abundance.  Every store I went into had a hiring sign posted! It was nice to see that for a change.  We haven’t seen that as often in Southern California.

6) I am blessed to be in this place right at this moment.  I can pack my bags at a moments notice and head off with my hubby to his next work destination. How many people get to do that every week? I’m a lucky gal.

Have you had a Road Warrior in your life?   Did you get to travel together much?  Or maybe you were a Road Warrior yourself.  I’d love to hear some of your best travel stories.

This post shared at the MidLifeLuv Linky party.

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Across the Country – We Took a Road Trip.

48-IMG_0066 2Today is the second anniversary of the day my  Dad passed away.  For myself it’s important to acknowledge this day, and have some long-time remembrances of my Dad, and my parents together.  As I started to write this post I was thinking a lot about my Dad and the fact that he wouldn’t want us to be sad and somber, but to remember the good times with him, the laughter and the love.  Today I’m going to share a story about a road trip.  This particular road trip happened  in July of 2013 and it has taken me awhile to put my thoughts together to be able to share this story with all of you.  As it happened my parents were visiting my grandparents in Illinois when my Dad became critically ill in June of 2013.  My Dad passed away very unexpectedly, and it was just a fortunate circumstance that my siblings, myself, and Travel Man were there to be with my Mom and Dad during this most difficult time.  Once all of the affairs with my Dad were decided and concluded it was time to get my Mom and her car back to California.  Travel Man and I volunteered for this “Road Trip” as he had some vacation time, so we knew we could make this happen.  This would definitely be a somber experience.

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I’m sure my Mom was anxious and nervous on this entire trip.  Everything that was “normal” for her had been turned inside out and upside down.  It was a poignant trip, with lots of talk of our past family vacations, and my parents travels.  Travel Man learned a lot more about the family history on this trip that he’s ever had the occasion to hear.

Our first day out we traveled through western Illinois to Des Moines, Iowa.  Somewhere during this day we came up with the idea that we would enjoy movie nights at our destination hotel.  The movies we selected had to be set in the state we were staying in that evening. The first night we were in Iowa so if course that called for a viewing of “The Music Man”.  A timeless classic, and I’m sure we heard Travel Man saying, “Pick a little, talk a little” for the next few days.  One of his favorite lines from that movie.

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Our second night out we stayed in York, Nebraska and watched “About Schmidt” with Jack Nicholson.  During the day we took a little detour and did some touring at the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Kearney, Nebraska.   A great monument that tells the story of the role Nebraska and Fort Kearney played in the expansion of the West.  It was great to take some time off  the road, and just enjoy ourselves.

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Next it was on to Colorado and I’m pretty sure we ditched the movie night theme for a wine night.  Our destination for the day was Silt, CO.  I remember this was such a poignant day.  Travelling through the Rocky Mountains, and my Mom playing “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver on the radio.    That song has always been one of our family vacation favorites.  I cried in the car the entire time the song was  playing.  So many memories washed over me that day.  My Dad loved Colorado and all of its scenic glory. At our destination hotel that evening we had a beautiful view of the Colorado River from the balcony of our hotel room along with our glasses of wine.

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Random tourists taking pictures of my Mom’s Honda.

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The Eisenhower Tunnel

 

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Rocky Mountain High

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Colorado River in Silt, CO

The following day our drive took us through Grand Junction, Colorado along the I-70 to Cedar City, Utah.  The most amazing scenery on this day was the Black Dragon Canyon near Green River, Colorado.  My words cannot do justice to the beauty of the landscape here.  Plus we saw the biggest thunder-cloud we had ever seen.  We skirted around the rain for a bit, and then drove right through it.  Wow!  Looking back at our pictures and Facebook posts apparently we ditched our movie watching theme after the second night.

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Thunder Cloud!

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Big thunder cloud / Photo credit-JW

Once we got to Utah all three of us were ready to be back in California.  My Mom needed her hugs from the grand-kids.  They had not seen her since the end of May.  The last day of our travels we blasted through Utah, a teeny, tiny corner of Arizona, Nevada and made it to our home destination in California.  Travel Man did all of the driving for this trip.  What a trooper!  We are forever grateful for his travel experiences, they always help us get where we need to be.  And yes we did have an Oscar Meyer Weinermobile sighting on this day, in Las Vegas.  Always a funny site to see on the road.

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This trip will be forever ingrained in my memory bank.  Seeing my Mom’s sadness and listening to her reflect on such great family times with my Dad, and then being able to share some laughs and some tears with her was a necessary part of the grieving process.  My parents were the most loving couple I have ever known, and yes I am partial because they are my parents.  We were so grateful to help my Mom complete the trip she had started with my Dad on the 4th of June 2013.  We traveled the route they would have taken home together.

My Mom wrote about her journey with my Dad on her blog joanontheroad.com.  It’s a great story, and will bring a tear to your eye. A few lessons I have learned about family in the last couple of years;  If you have a chance to visit your family don’t pass it up.  If you have the time to take some pictures with your family members grab your camera and get it done.  I realized while composing this story I am so thankful for the pictures we took.  It allowed me to finally share this story, and put it on the family’s’ history pages for years and years to come.

This post linked to the GRAND Social

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