A Starting Point

To call our trip to California a vacation would not accurately capture its purpose. Perhaps “sad vacation” is a more apt descriptor.

Mark lived in Los Angeles for a year after graduating from Wheaton and being accepted into Brown’s MFA program in 2009. Returning has been bittersweet at best. Memories of our (separate) trips in 2008 abound.

As iconic as it gets.

Mark completed his first walk in 2010 at the Pacific and Santa Monica Beach. It’s fitting that our trip begins here. 

On the beach.

We’ll spend a bit more time hugging the coast, then it’s time to head for the desert. Updates will follow in good time.

Travel Day

Last Thursday, I got on a plane headed to Omaha, Nebraska. On the way, we had to stop in Charlotte because the airline said it takes two planes to make it halfway across the country.

My travel companion was headed to Omaha to swim, bike, and run. This was for the 2016 USA Triathlon National Championships in her age group. She had qualified at last summer’s Challenge America Triathlon held in Old Orchard Beach.

Initially, I wasn’t bullish on going to Omaha, Nebraska. But a vacation is good once in awhile, even if I think they’re overrated. Plus, Warren Buffett lives in Omaha, and maybe he’d give me a pile of money if I saw him on the street.

Miss Mary (my travel companion and wife) swam in some water on Saturday morning. This was Carter Lake, and I think it was actually in Iowa, but I’m not sure. Iowa is really close to Omaha—it’s just across the river, truth be told.

After her swim, Mary biked. She did really well. Mark (our son, who met us in Omaha after coming down from Vancouver, headed to Providence, RI) and I cheered every time Mary went by us. We took lots of pictures, too. Continue reading

Trip Planning

Back in the day, before Google siphoned all the fun out of planning that special vacation journey, travelers had to rely on non-Internet tools to route their vacations. Some of these old-school accouterments were things like maps, gazetteers, and a handy-dandy atlas.

Now, all you have to do is ask Google (or Siri), “what’s the way to San Jose?” and before you can say “Swiss cheese for brains,” you’ll be routed on your way.

Growing up, I remember the year our family took a vacation trip to Burlington, Vermont. I think I was 13, or maybe even 14-years-old. My sister was two years younger. I still fondly remember that first trip to Burlington, a vibrant college town, nestled alongside Lake Champlain.

Of course, traveling with the ‘rents sometimes meant that Dad, Herman, or Winter Carnival King of ’51, required quadrants so he’d know his bearings along the way. If he didn’t get them from Saint Helen of Immaculata, he might get a bit cranky, and of course, it might become hell on wheels between the two of them. I think I get some of my driving impatience from my dad when I’m logging time behind the wheel on a trip, and I get lost somewhere between points A and B. Maybe it’s just a male thing. Can I even publicly state that men and women are different? I sure hope so.

Hitting the open road!

Hitting the open road!

Continue reading

Over There

There is this phenomenon where we believe or conjure up a place where the grass is greener. That greener, more amenable place is always “over there,” or somewhere other than here.

I don’t know for sure, but I think this behavioral trait may have something to do with the American tradition of vacationing, especially now with the ease of travel, particularly air-based travel. Jet-setting across the globe has become the norm for most Americans, at least those with even a modicum of disposable income. Continue reading

Cape Escape

Our 21st century lives place more demands on us all the time. Life seems especially hectic and sped-up for Americans.

In my own life, work, family, writing, commitments to be fit–all of these place increased pressure on my personal speeding train that sometimes seems precariously close to jumping the rails. Continue reading

Train, train

Amtrak Platform, Freeport, Maine

Amtrak Platform, Freeport, Maine

Today, almost all passenger transportation in the U.S. takes place via automobiles and airplanes. Currently, about 1 percent is by bus and rail, even though both of these are energy efficient options.

Since WWII, the preferred mode of travel has been one person in one car, sometimes referred to by critics of this model as “Happy Motoring.” Many large American cities are notorious for poor public transportation systems and as a result, freeways in and out of most cities are choked with cars idling in traffic during morning and evening rush hours. Continue reading