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Freeway Car Shopping - MI trip

We've looked at buying a better travel vehicle for a few years now. It is tough for our old bones to get in and out of our sedan nowadays. We thought about an SUV, since the seats are level with our ... bottoms so getting in and out is simpler.

So during our recent driving trip to Michigan, we watched all the cars in the wild. I've always thought the best way to car shop is to go a few miles slower than everyone else on one of the major freeways in the USA. Try it.

A Maserati SUV looked lovely and graceful, though I only caught a glimpse as it sped past. I was driving an easy 75 mph, so he was cruising.

Of course we saw vehicles of all shapes, sizes and colors. Lexus,Chevrolet, Ford, Lincoln, Nissan - you get the idea. They all cruised by us. We own a Toyota and it always made me proud to see one pass us by. I saw one poor Toyota Corolla held together by duct tape, spit and prayers and it was still traveling at a good clip.

Gotta love those Toyotas.

We returned from our trip to Mic…
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Soaring Spirit

Our youngest darling daughter, a Librarian in Aurora, CO, invited me to be part of the Author panel at their yearly Mini-Con. My very first Author panel!

This, of course, means travel to Colorado from Houston.

Drive, I say. We'll look into travel vans or something, or just drive.

"Because you love driving so much," says Darling, looking at me from the corner of her eye.

Jumping in the car and going somewhere is not a big logistics issue. A few days travel would get Darling and me to Colorado. And a few days travel back...

So I checked airlines. Wow, the fares at Spirit are pretty cheap. Despite the vague memory of warnings from our daughter that Spirit advertises Bare Bones Travel - and means it - I booked our flights.

Well, the cost is good. What's this? The only free carry on is the size of an over-sized lunch box. 

We are excellent packers and have suitcases that fit the bins of most airlines, so I didn't think this would be an issue.

Over $50 apiece to carry on our n…

Let's call it quits on this one

The idea for the Traveling Grouch developed from our train trip.

That trip was so bad, for so long, that I thought I needed to write about it. Then I thought about all our other trips and figured they deserved their own blog.

They don't.

Let's face it. I've had one or two readers for this one and I struggle just to get a post out here on a regular basis.

I think I'm boring myself, and if I am, I'm boring you - the readers.

Let's call it quits on regular updates. I'll post the trips out here eventually. When we travel, I'll drop the notes here, like I did for the Costa Rica Dental Tourism posts.

Otherwise, thanks for reading. Fun while it lasted, but we'll sign off for now.

God bless and safe travels.

Africa, A Mission Trip

When Pastor Don mentioned the upcoming trip, something twinged in my heart, but I shrugged it off. "No, thanks, God," I said. "Africa is too much to handle."  A few months later Pastor Don mentioned it again, and my heart jerked in my chest. Astounded, I told God "It just isn't happening. Africa is too much for me." A month before the trip, Pastor Don told the church there was still time. I turned to Darling and said "I think I have to go to Africa." That's how it is with me and God. Darling, of course, said she wanted to see what God had planned in Africa. So in the middle of March, 2011, Darling and I went on a mission trip to Africa. When we returned Pastor Don asked me to say a few words about the trip. This is a modified version of that.
I could talk about the flight over, but it’s a haze in my mind, with memories of Pastor Don and Darling talking to people about Jesus Christ, but that’s not news to anyone here either. I could talk about me…

Timeshare Nightmare

Some days, I just cannot manage to get a post finished. That's today.

Darling was sick all night.

The thing is, aside from throwing up she was also cold - like ice cold.

The last time that happened we were vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, at a super-nice club.

We booked it with an exchange of our timeshare, so had to attend one of their sales meetings.

Let me just say, if you EVER are in a timeshare meeting - don't buy. The high-pressure tactics are designed to influence you to buy what they have. Just. Don't.

Walk away. They'll come after you and make deal after deal. Keep walking and enjoy your vacation.

We bought. Yeah, you read that right. The pitch they made us was incredible. The young salesman was our best friend, our son, our brother - all rolled into one. He was willing to consolidate all three of our existing timeshares (I confess. We speak from experience here.).

I wanted to get our timeshares down to a single one. We signed. That was Saturday.

Oh, and the half-hour s…

San Antonio, February 2019

Not all our trips are epic, but I'll share them anyway. 

A few weekends ago we traveled to San Antonio, Texas to visit my life-long friend John. He and his wife flew in from Michigan for a conference.

From Houston to anywhere of size is three hours, minimum. SA hits that sweet spot. We've driven there and back in a day, but that's not something you want to do unless you have to.

Or have a travel van. Maybe I want a travel van...

Back on point. What do you do in SA?

You can visit the many ancient old missions that dot the map near the city center.

Nothing we immigrant USA citizens have built is more than five hundred years old. By European standards, buildings are almost new around here. To see ancient, we need to find Indian ruins or go to Italy.

John's Darling Wife, Rachel, did most of that touring during the week when we couldn't make it over there, but that always leaves two things I love about SA - eating and the Alamo.

We spent a wonderful evening catching up with Joh…

First Bus Trip

I'll cheat a little on this post and go back in time to my second Travel as an adult - the trip that brought me to Houston almost four decades ago.

The first Travel as an adult was a plane trip to California as a graduating ChE. I told everyone it was a job interview, but it was really about a girl with a job interview. That's all I'll say on that.

I detest buses.

Let me clarify that. As long as I am conscious and have a choice of transportation, I won't ride on another public bus in the United States. That was a promise I made to myself in 1980, and it's worked pretty well so far.

Oh, I think the bus system works well. My oldest son just returned from another city on a bus. If the bus wasn't available, he would have stayed home and missed a short adventure. So, buses are okay, for the young.

Sometimes something happens in your life, though, that creates a long-term impression. My mother's cooking had a long-term impression on my next older brother, and I'll…