I had a wonderful birthday weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. We brought our dog, Rudy, who seemed to enjoy all of the new places to sniff out. We’ve traveled with him before, to our go-to place, Galena, Illinois, where we stay in a rental house. This time was different because we stayed at an actual hotel — dog-friendly, of course. But being in such close proximity to other people had me anxious because Rudy barks a lot. It was kind of stressful. We’re on the road now, and I’m looking forward to being home.
So You Know
. . . was created by Candace of Revenge of Eve. Each week, she will pose questions for us to answer.
From Candace (only the answers in italics are mine): [So You Know] is a series of questions meant to bring the reader closer to their favorite bloggers. It’s easy to participate! Follow these simple guidelines:
Publish a post on your site answering this week’s questions.
Create a pingback to this week’s post. Don’t know how? Chat with me and I’ll explain.
See simple, right?
This week’s questions
- Do you take a vacation during the summer months? If so, what amount of time do you travel (days, weeks)? During the summer we usually take one or two, just for a few days each, like maybe a long weekend, to a place that’s only a 2- or 3-hour drive away. The rest of the year we might take road trips and/or fly to various destinations.
- Do you meet up with family or friends at the destination? During the summer and at Christmas we usually meet up with my in-laws. When we go to Las Vegas, we see my family.
- What has been your favorite destination spot? Savannah, Georgia
- What has been your worst traveling experience? Omg. Pull up a chair. So one summer, we traveled to central Illinois to stay at a bed & breakfast. They provided us with dinner when we arrived (B&Bs usually only serve breakfast), and to our surprise, they sat down with us! They were eating, too, but it was weird because none of the innkeepers in the other B&Bs we’ve stayed at never did that! Then at some point during the meal, the wife started talking to us about God and Jesus and whatnot. And we were like ????? I mean, it’s fine if you’re a Christian, but please don’t push your beliefs on me. We checked out early.
- If you do not travel each summer, what do you do to escape your reality? n/a
Three items on my bucket list (things I want to do before I die/”kick the bucket”) that I’ve done are going off-roading, going to a Big Ten championship, and going to Savannah, Georgia, maybe in that order but I’m not sure.
Off-Roading: Last December my husband and I went off-roading in Las Vegas, Nevada. That was awesome!!! We were in a 2-seater vehicle with chunky tires and driving around in the desert (my husband drove). We had guides of course, one we followed and one who followed us in case we got lost. We followed each other at a short distance because the all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) kick up lots of dust in their wake, and if you’re behind one, you don’t want that in your face. We lucked out because we were the only ones who signed up for that particular tour, and somehow, that made it more “romantic” lol!
We took a break about halfway through and the main guide took our picture. They supplied us with helmets, goggles, and gloves before the tour began. We looked like something out of Mad Max lol! We drove all around and saw distant mountain ranges that were actually part of California. It was so majestic. At one point, I thought our ATV was going to tip over because it was having trouble getting over a ridge. But we made it back to the starting point safe and sound!
Big Ten Championship: I’m a HUGE college (American) football fan. My team are the Ohio State Buckeyes, which is a poisonous nut, because I went to The Ohio State University. Also, I played Women’s Club Ice Hockey there while in school, and I developed an affinity for the Buckeyes. The Big Ten Championship is between the East and West Division Champions of the Big Ten conference. In 2017, we were the East, and the University of Wisconsin Badgers were the West.
The game is always held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Indianapolis Colts play there during pro football season. From what I recall, we had pretty decent seats. My memory is bad, but if I remember correctly, it was a pretty exciting game with both teams taking turns scoring. We won by only 6 points.
And that was it! My beloved Buckeyes were Big Ten Champions. We stayed behind to watch them give the trophy to the coach. He and the team were standing atop a riser, or some sort of stage-like thing. When the trophy came out, tons and tons of confetti came down from the ceiling bringing color and even more excitement to the moment. It was so much fun. I’ll never forget it! I’m hoping to go to a National Championship game, if the Buckeyes continue to do well.
Savannah, Georgia: I actually wrote a post about it here, around the time we returned from Georgia. Last March we took a trip to Savannah. It was unlike any other city I’ve ever seen. The architecture was stunning, the food was delicious, the tours were fun. I particularly liked the poop receptacles on the grounds of some of the squares. You simply step on a lever and it opens, and you drop the stuff in lol! We had a blast!
What’s on your bucket list?
Part of what happens when I’m anxious about going somewhere is that I obsess about things that could go wrong. I can’t rid my mind of these thoughts. What if it’s crowded? What if there’s a delay? So I’ve learned to be prepared for the outing. My husband drives me everywhere because I can’t drive, so I don’t have to worry about taking public transportation to get where I’m going. However, it is one of the goals I’m working on in therapy.
Taking public transportation makes me anxious: the wait for the train or bus, wondering if they will be delayed which would then cause me to be late, wondering if it will be crowded. It’s a lot easier to ride the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) going home because there are no time constraints or anything like that. It could still be crowded though.
When I regularly rode the CTA, I tried to make sure that when possible, I would travel at non-peak times, as in before or after rush hour. During rush hour the trains and buses get so crowded it’s like a pack of sardines (sorry for the cliché). But even before I’ve left my house, I’ve made sure there’s money on my fare card and I’ve checked a public transportation app to see what time the next bus/train will arrive.
When possible, do one or more dry runs of the route, days before the meeting. Take the train/bus to your destination. Bring a friend for support if you can, so you won’t have to do it alone. Practice.
On the day of the appointment, when I get to the train station, if there’s a line at the turnstile where people pay, I try to move swiftly. Before I even get to the station, I have my fare card in my hand, ready to pay my fare; no fumbling in my wallet. Yes, it could get stuck in the slot where you insert it, but that doesn’t seem likely. And if it does? What’s the worst that can happen? You’re late to your appointment through no fault of your own. And if the people you’re seeing aren’t understanding, you may want to rethink whether or not you want them in your life. Or is that too harsh lol?
These are the things I did when I took public transportation. Since I’ve been unable to leave my house by myself, I have yet to take my own advice.
How do you get around?
At the Venetian casino in Las Vegas, my husband and I went on a gondola ride in the outdoor canal. They also have an indoor canal, which we’ll check out next time. We wanted to have this experience. Okay, I wanted to have this experience and my husband went along lol! I’ve always wanted to ride on a gondola in Venice, and I hope to one day. In the meantime, there’s the Venetian.
The gondolier helped me step into the gondola at the starting point. Gondolas are maybe 12 feet long by 5 feet (if that) wide. Both the bow and the stern curve upward. Before you take off, a photographer takes pictures of you and your party that you can buy at the end of the ride. Oh, that reminds me: it looks like the gondolas seat 4 people at a time. We wanted a private ride (because I didn’t want to sit with strangers), and ended up paying for the 2 empty seats, but it was worth it.
Finally, we took off. During the ride, our gondolier sang “traditional” Italian songs in English, such as “‘‘O Sole Mio” and “That’s Amore.” He sang unaccompanied and thankfully had a good voice. I imagine that’s one of the criteria for becoming a gondolier.
The ride seemed to only take 5 minutes. It had to be longer than that, but that’s how it felt. We pulled back into the pier. We disembarked and bought 2 of the many photos they took of us, one of which you can see above. I love the gondolier’s face lol!
What sorts of touristy rides have you been on?