Stopovers. In our experience, they’re generally a waste of time, money, and effort. At various times we have decided to break up a long flight with a stopover in, say, JFK, and I have to say, they never live up to our hopes. Instead of a luxurious sleep in, for instance, before a 17 hour flight to South Africa, we were advised we needed to check out by 10am or pay a late check out fee, which amounted to an entire additional night at the hotel! After an expensive, not great night, we still spent hours sitting at JFK. Not my idea of a great time.
We pulled into town on the afternoon bus from Saigon. Heat waves shimmered off the pavement, and the smell of pungent fish sauce assaulted our sinuses. Saigon, our entry point into Vietnam, had been sheer chaos. Amazing, intriguing, delicious and dripping in history to be sure, but absolute chaos. After risking our life and limb on a daily basis exploring the city, we were more than ready for a different type of traffic jam. Enter Mui Ne.
“Oh crap, she did it again!” Jim hastily rolled down the windows for a refreshing breath of fresh air, intent on dissipating the overwhelming scent of Aspens seemingly never ending gaseous emissions from the back seat. Our little family was heading to the beach for a fantastic three night getaway, taking advantage of a long Thanksgiving weekend. We’d started the day by enjoying a festive family dinner, leaving Aspen and Porter at his parents during dinner. We returned for them only to discover several pieces of drooled upon bits of something. Opps.
I have got to admit it, I am not in a good place this week. Tired, in a funk, dreading the daily trek to the cubicle, my mind is churning with possibilities, but my body and soul are exhausted. I wan to be gone~ floating down the Nile, drinking an ice cold Corona on the beaches of Mexico, slurping street noodles in Asia. I want to be anywhere else.
On our road trip to Overland Expo in May, we were fortunate enough (smart enough?) to take the road less traveled, i.e, scenic Hwy 395. This, mostly two lane, highway runs from the Canadian Border in Washington, through Oregon, and as far south in California as Kramer Junction, even dipping briefly into Nevada at Reno. Having never driven through the Sierra Nevada’s previously, we were game for scenic wonder, little traffic, and some new sites along the way. We couldn’t have chosen a better route.
The drive west on Highway 26 appears paved in gold. Lined with thousands of trees displaying a dozen shades of red and gold, the wet road reflects the multi-hued colors, creating the appearance of a golden pathway leading to weekend bliss. The sun was setting as we pulled into camp, turning the calm bay as golden as the road ahead of us.
We are stuck. We spend our free time reading other travelers blogs, sucking up the nervous energy of those just preparing to embark, the excitement and joy of those on the road, and the reflection of those at the end. We exist in a rather odd place in the middle. We have, in a sense, already “been there, done that”. We’ve previously taken off on our own long-term journey when we backpacked around the world in 2007-2008. We were scared and more excited than we had dreamed possible. I remember, like it was yesterday, the overwhelming sense of adventure, as we prepared to head out into the world for a longer than the typical American holiday.
What do you get your parents for Christmas? That baffling question that rolls around once a year, just about this season. By the age of 77 and 80, Jim’s parents have acquired everything they really want or need. In an attempt to NOT further clutter their house with stuff, last year we chose to, instead, present them with an experience. A weekend away at their choice of destination- the beach, Bend, Mt. Hood?
Darkness had fallen by the time we pulled into camp. Immediately greeted by Ron and Dario, talking over eachother, regarding the “situation”. While still at the office I had received the text from Dario advising us that they had taken over our campsite, swapping out with theirs, just next door, but we had no idea of the drama that would ensue.