Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Receipts reveal 'the good old days'

The Golden Gate Bridge as it flows into San Francisco

In addition to bringing home souvenirs from our travels, I also usually keep nearly all of our receipts.

Not only do they give me an indication of how much was spent, but sometimes they are good to have around in case I can’t remember the name of a certain place or restaurant that  we visited.

A while back, maybe three or four years, wife and I were talking about a restaurant we visited on the California coast south of San Francisco.

We couldn’t name the place, and then I decided to hunt for the file I had on that trip.

Sure enough, there was the receipt.

I have  been keeping our receipts from early on, say the late 1970s. 

But that’s changing.

I am not only not keeping a lot of receipts now, I am throwing away those from years ago. Well, a lot of them, perhaps not all.

It's hard to part with memories.

Last week I started cleaning house on receipts. And of course, there were some reminders of the good old days.

Ever heard of the Hotel Californian in San Francisco? The building remains, but the name was changed a number of years ago.

The hotel is located at 405 Taylor Street in the downtown area. It was one of the places we stayed at on a number of occasions.

Ah, the receipts.

How they reveal how good the “good ole days” were. 

There is was. And I’m going to keep it, at least for now.

On our 1993 trip to the City by the Bay, we had a nice, clean, comfortable room on about the 5th floor for the sum of $47.50 plus a $5.70 room tax. The fee for parking our car was $14 a night.

The Hotel Californian is now the Serrano Hotel which offers rooms from $148 to $260.

The old hotel, as much as we could tell, served foreign travelers, young people traveling light, and of course, our kind, looking for a good deal.

And it was a good deal for us. Twenty-three years later, the $148 price still seems OK although I don’t think I would go for the $260 offering.

Those, seemingly, were the good old days. For people just starting out on their traveling life, today’s prices probably look to be a good deal, and 23 years from now, will look that much better.

Next post: Aug. 2, 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The beauty often hides the danger

Grand Canyon offers beauty, but just a slip, or small misstep, can be disastrous

When one enters one of the larger outdoor-type national parks, there is always danger.

And that danger has been playing itself out a lot over the past couple weeks.

An accident on a trail in the Grand Canyon led to the death of a woman.

Another person died earlier in the year from a fall after getting too close to the edge of a cliff.

My wife and I have been to the Grand Canyon on a number of occasions. We enjoy the grandeur and the expansive beauty.

But we realize one needs to be very careful when getting close to the "edge."

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is our go-to park. It is closer than the other more famous destinations.

But evenso, I am always aware of the fact that danger lurks.

Whatever park one enters, there is always the possibility that an individual can get hurt or killed.

Enjoy the hike, but realize the danger

There are wild, yes, “wild” animals. Bears, deer, wolves, buffalo, elk and even a raccoon can cause a problem for unsuspecting individuals.

Visitors seem to think that the animals aren’t dangerous. But tell that to their surviving relatives.

It is not DisneyWorld, although people can just as easily die on the grounds of an amusement park.

In the national parks, there are the animals, other people, rock formations and steep cliffs which contribute to deaths and injuries to those who are too adventurous or believe that nothing bad can happen to them.

People over-extend, go out unprepared, don’t take enough precautions and fail to prepare for whatever the weather is for a particular season.

The streams that run through the parks also pose a danger. They seem to entice people to do dangerous things such as jumping off high cliffs to the water below.

A rainstorm can turn a slow-moving stream into a torrential river.

There is danger everywhere and people need to realize that.

So just be aware!

Next post: July 26, 2016

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Museum dedicated to work of the CCC

Statue dedicated to men who worked at Cheaha State Park in the CCC
The Civilian Conservation Corp, which was created during the Depression of the 1930s, opened the door for thousands of men to earn money to help with their families.

 And even though they built things almost 100 years ago, some of those things remain. My wife and I are familiar with projects in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that were completed by those in the CCC.

CCC Museum at Cheaha State Park, AL
And we have come to realize, from our stayovers at Cheaha State Park in Alabama, that the CCC participated in projects at that location.

Cheahah State Park, which is the highest point in Alabama, has a small museum dedicated to the men who undertook work there. 

Hit by state budget cuts, the museum has had to reduce the hours that it is open.

It is amazing to realize how much the CCC program contributed to improving the parks for everyone to enjoy.

Next post: July 19, 2016

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Nothing like wildlife out the back door

Momma raccoon and babies entertain granddaughters

My wife and I are getting up in age.

Which means, somewhere down the road, we won’t be traveling  as much.

But we thoroughly enjoy visiting the Great Smoky Mountains.

And so, 15 years ago we bought a piece of property in our hometown which gives to us a feeling of being in a mountain campground.

Currently we are surrounded on three sides by woodlands while still being, basically, in the middle of town.

All we have to do is get up out of our beds and go to the window seats on the north side of our recently completed new house to have that “mountain” feeling.

And our relatives, children and grandchildren, say they get that mountain feeling when visiting us.

Our backyard, after we throw out some birdseed, fills up with a variety of wildlife including birds, squirrels, turtles, rabbits and raccoons.

Two of our granddaughters over the 4th holidays enjoyed watching the animals through the windows and French door.

An especially exciting treat for them was when a mama raccoon showed up with her four babies.

In our previous house, we had a problem with raccoons (all eight) invading our attic.  Hopefully these won’t want to get that sociable.

Next post: July 12, 2016