Tuesday, February 22, 2011

International crises to affect travel

World problems may add to cost of cruises

I traveled the world today.

It was just on the Internet, but none the less, I got a taste of what is happening.

The crises in the Middle East are pushing up the price of oil. 

For those who desire to travel, this means a lot.

Cruise lines have a fine print addendum to their prices saying that if the price of a certain kind of oil increases (usually more than $60 a barrel), a fuel surcharge will escalate to cover the costs.

Airlines will be charging more.

And if you're traveling  by the lowly motor vehicle, yes, even that will cost more.

We are on tap to go skiing near Boone, NC in a few weeks.

Gas prices may not surge enough by then to keep us away. The only problem may be that it will turn warm and most of the snow will melt.

Elk browses lawn of Grand Canyon hotel
Two years ago we took a roundtrip to California, more than 6,000 miles, during the height of the last oil spike.

We paid as much as $5 a gallon for gas, but just 5 gallons. That was in Tonopah, NV. The price over the course of the 30-day trip averaged somewhere around $3.80.

When the price of one thing escalates, we check to see if we can get something else we need as a lesser price -- such as a motel stay.

Smokys visit on agenda for spring snow skiing
Even when motel-tripping, we don't always eat each meal out (at a restaurant), unless "out" means on a picnic table or sandwiches in the confines of our van.

A cruise in May is still on tap providing the world doesn't come to an end.

Have fun and always keep travel as a priority.

Next post: Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Giants dot the forest floor

'I think I shall never see . . . '

And the poem by Joyce Kilmer goes on extolling the joys and tasks of such an edifice as a tree.

On a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains a number of years ago, my wife and I decided on a different route . . . one that would take us to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest which was dedicated on July 30, 1936.

We wanted to experience the huge trees that dotted the area. Reports indicate that some are as old as 400 years. Yellow-poplars are more than 20 feet in circumference and  tower 100 feet into the sky.

There are a number of huge trees in the Smoky's which can be seen on the path that goes a few miles past Laurel Falls. We had heard there were some elsewhere and decided to take a look.

The sidetrip to the area was worth the effort.

The park is located in extreme western North Carolina some 14 miles northwest of  Robbinsville. For more information check out the Graham County page on the Kilmer forest here.

Next post: February 22, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Big Easy parade not for the shy

Parade moves through New Orleans French Quarter
(Note: We have not included any blatantly sexual photos in this post)
It is not for the faint of heart. 

Or those who are easily embarrassed.
Don't go if you have little ones with you. (They may ask, 'What is that daddy?')
Or if your parents are with you. They too may also ask.

Some things you just don't want to have to explain.
About six or seven years ago while on a trip to New Orleans, we came across what is the Krewe du Vieux parade (Check out their homepage).
This year's parade will be held Saturday, Feb. 19 and starts somewhere around 7 p.m.
It is a Mardi Gras parade explained as being held in the tradition of a 'true' parade like those originally held.
There are only mule-drawn floats. There are brass bands, all kinds of put-together bands, and put-together people and themes.

The parade begins in the Marigny (on the east side of the French Quarter) and heads west through the quarter.
It was raining during the occasion of our first view of the parade in the Big Easy.

But we still got an eye-full. The parade floats have a satirical theme. 
The revelers in the parade (must be a thousand or so) throw caution to the wind. Actually, there is no caution. 

They are just blatantly sexual, whether gay or straight, and their costumes and accoutrements are unashamedly displayed.
It is a one-of-a-kind (we think) parade. And a one-time visit is probably the last for a lot of people.

We like going to New Orleans and visiting the French Quarter.
There are those who always feel that something has to be experienced as least one time, and that is enough.

A lot of people may feel that way about this parade. But there are those who go back for more.
This year's theme '25 Years Wasted.'
Some who observe the parade may come away thinking, 'One Hour Wasted' feeling they could have done better at something else.
But then they may come back for the next year's parade.
After all, it is the Big Easy!
Next post: February 15, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Make those plans now, and get moving

Smoky Mountain campfire (time exposure)

It is February 1, 2011.

One-twelfh of the year has already passed. We didn't make any overnight trips during January.

It was cold. 

It was rainy.

Other things came up.

We were on our way toward the Smoky Mountains, again, then decided to not go any farther than Cheaha State Park in central Alabama near Talladega.

We didn't even make it that far -- we u-turned just north of Montgomery.  It was just a long Sunday drive of more than 300 miles. We were back in our own beds that night.

Another time we headed out to Orange Beach to spend the night. That didn't materialize either.

January has seemingly been a downer for me over the past decade or so. For some reason, my mind turns to the Internal Revenue Service and the matter of trying to figure out if I have to pay any additional taxes.

And of course, there is also the hangover from Christmas, no not the alcoholic type, but recovering from all the activities and spending.

We were able to cover our purchases, so that wasn't a problem. It was just a feeling that we should not spend any more right away and try to get a handle on what we want to really do during this year.

We are already talking about a snow-skiing trip to Sugar Mountain outside of Boone, NC.

And we're contemplating another cruise. We found out that a cruise from Mobile included stops in Jamaica and the Grand Caymans. Those would be new destinations for us and continue our journey of adding at least one new country each year.

We haven't been in a new country since an April, 2007 cruise into the Caribbean. So we are not holding to our plans.

I am getting another inkling to go back to the West Coast and San Francisco. 

A 2008 road trip has satisfied until now, but I always want to go back. Maybe it will happen this year.

We have already booked a week of camping in the Smoky Mountains and look forward to another "reunion" type event with our two sons, their spouses and six grandkids, not to mention additional relatives.

And then, there is the thought of going somewhere in Europe again. My wifey wants to do London. I want to include a northern Europe cruise which would also take us to a few more new countries.

So many places to see. So many places to go. 

Isn't it great!

Next post: February 8, 2011