Thursday, June 30, 2011

Deep River

After a ton of obstacles we are finally on our way. Just crossed the Mississippi. To quote Clark Griswold" the Mighty Mississippi. Ole Miss, deep river.... ". We didn't do the Griswold thing getting lost or losing car parts, but we did cross the river. Still trying to get into travel mode though. The last few days were really wearing. Too much pre-adventure for me. I am hoping the "Gateway to The West" will be a gateway to travel mode. Hoping I can shake some not so great news and the way way too much "stuff" to handle, do, take care of before we left. We are seeing friends out here so hopefully that will help. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Forget about tomorrow Scarlet. I'll think about that in three weeks.

Well, we had our denial damaged a bit today, but we are still leaving tomorrow for our cross country trek. It is not great having the wind taken out from your sails right before a big trip but we will try to shake it off and get on with "bucketlistours".We will deal with these complications when we get back in three weeks. First stop St Louis.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Lame Post

                                                              Just saw a blog  about the top 5 things to do in London http://www.dangerous-business.com/2011/06/top-5-things-to-see-and-do-in-london/. So glad we hit the number one suggestion, the London Eye. Thought I would use this as a lame excuse to revisit some of our London pics.One of the great things about the Eye was our secret find right next to it.The secret (or secret in our minds because no one we knew had heard of it) was an indoor carnival and bar called Namco Station. Walk, no run, past the McDonald's that's right alongside the Eye. Go into the County Hall building and downstairs. There are different levels with all kinds of amusement type entertainment- Bumper cars, Skee- ball and arcade type games. Just like a Jersey shore boardwalk, except indoors. They even have a bowling alley!. Go down another 1/2 flight and there is a bar complete with casino type machines, more games and pool tables. Now this place is not glamorous, nor is it going to win any culinary or service awards, but they have cold beer, drinks and some type of bar food. My husband loves the gambling machines (of course) and I am a Skee-ball fanatic so this place was perfect. Also great - free internet. I didn't see it advertised anywhere but it worked great  in the seating area. The staff is not all that concerned with serving you, but also not concerned if you hang out with your laptop for a while. Don't plan your big London meal here, but this is a great place for a break, to post your pictures or an afternoon drink when the rain starts. I will definitely be blogging from here on our next trip to London.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Adventure travels before we even arrived.

Double vision
Secret waterfall near Playa Hermosa

Costa Crocs
Sunset at Playa Hermosa
The ditch loving truck.
Marley's view
Last year, about this time, we were on our way to Costa Rica. Yes we flew Spirit who should have beat Ryan's for worst airline ever and of course we got stuck. And yes, my cancer battling husband and I spent the night in the  airport. Not an auspicious start. The next morning it was (finally) off to Costa Rica. Our friends who run Surf the Earth Costa Rica ( here I will insert a shameless plug for them   http://www.surftheearthcostarica.com ) had spent the night in San Jose waiting for us. We piled into their truck for a seriously bumpy hour and 1/2 ride. The  amusement park style ride ended about 20 minutes short of our destination in a ditch with a flat tire. Do we know how to have fun or what? We had been warned about how bad the roads were in Costa Rica, but being from Jersey we didn't give it too much thought. Well alright all you guide book writers, we get it! The tire was not fixable where we had landed, so we were stuck.  Somehow, and I really have no idea how, in the middle of nowhere we finally managed to get a cab who just happened to be in the area. We finally ended up in a wonderful (small but delightful) hotel on the beach in Playa Hermosa. Only about 40 hours for what should have been a 5 or 6 hour trip. Not bad for us. And all this before we even started our (modified) adventure trip. Fortunately things picked up after that. Just thought I would put up some pictures here as I am remembering our adventure.

No news is good news.

The CT scan is done.  Check

No post- CT scan phone calls from the doctor's office, so I'm thinking no news is good news and feeling like it's time to start packing. For me this usually means over- packing. I'm really trying to curb my over-packing for this trip, but doubt I will be successful. The luxury of having an entire trunk, plus a back seat, instead of one check/one carry- on will only encourage my evil tendencies. Really trying to simplify though. I will either be bragging or lamenting here by Tuesday, depending on how it goes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Good Luck

Planning our trip.Changing dates, changing directions, changing our minds? All this and we don't even have CT results yet. Talk about adventure travel.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Enjoy the ride

As the Phineas and Ferb song says “There's 104 days of summer vacation”.  Just listening to this reminded me of summer vacations when I was a kid. With the start of summer came longer days, warmer weather and no more school, all the things that helped make it my favorite season. The best thing I remember about summer as a kid was freedom, the total lack of structure or responsibilities. I recall my life being pretty structured during the school year, but summers were not. Other than 2 weeks at camp and a still way too early bedtime, I don't remember any structure at all. It was such a luxury getting up when I wanted, eating when I wanted to, and doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. My only job was to go outside and play. Summer was an adventure with the outdoors opened for business. Just a minute outside in the warmth of the June sun brings me right back there. I think this is why I am addicted to travel. I guess I keep hoping to o find that freedom again. Like Kerouac, I want to ramble aimlessly back and forth across the country. Free to come and go and experience the world on my own terms, not someone else’s.

My life is much more complicated than it was then, but I am hoping that this summer is filled with some of that childhood freedom and adventure. We have our challenges, whether traveling or not, but I am hoping for a stress-free trip. We are setting up only a very basic timeline with stops here and there for our cross country trek. I am hoping we can travel each day without pressure to “get there” and instead, experience new finds, have a little adventure, and most of all enjoy the ride.

There's 104 days of summer vacation

Sunday, June 19, 2011

REALLY!?! or He'll have the Haggis please.

A few days ago I read a blog/article about proper blogging/tweeting/posting/commenting etiquette in social media. It basically said use the golden rule. In other words, don't post mean rants or make mean comments. Now I am all for that and agree mostly...or at least I did until this morning. That's when I read a blog by someone I follow on twitter. I'm trying to follow the etiquette rules so I won't make a mean comment on their blog, but I need to let this out somewhere. This is a couple (who will remain nameless) who just started what I guess is a RTW trip about a month or so ago. So far all the misadventures they promised to regale us with turn out to be nonsense stuff that they brought on themselves, with some extra whining on the side. Travel misadventures to me mean you “plan it out” or move along "freeform" and you end up in a " misadventerous" situation. This may include, but is not limited to, things like airline delays causing you to miss the next flight and spend the night in a strange airport. Been there done that. Or it could be driving 90 miles an hour, eastbound on Route 80 through Wyoming, trying to beat a not predicted snowstorm that was 30 miles behind us closing down the interstate. Yes again. Or there’s getting caught in snow or torrential rain in the Mohave Desert. Yes I can make it rain in the desert and yes this happened to us on 3 separate occasions. Driving on the left with a shift on the left in a downpour (yes more precipitation, seems like a theme) and having all the exit ramps where you are supposed to exit closed… I could go on and on. Maybe I need to look up the definition of misadventure because I am not getting it. This couple is whining about missing food from home and the language barrier. Waah  Waaah WAAAAAH!! Stay home if you want food from home. Did you ever even think of picking up some of the area’s language in what looks like a very over planned trip? We are talking about Spanish here, not some language spoken by 300 people in a tiny obscure country. Half the US speaks Spanish for goodness sake! They teach it in every high school. I’m sure these bloggers are lovely people but these types of travelers are everything the US is disliked for and this  part of what gives us a bad rep when we travel out of the US.

What made all this even more annoying is after all this whining, they get supportive, helpful comments on their blog. And TONS of them! GRRRRRRRR Maybe I'm just a jealous, beginner, blogger, wannabe, but this really ticked me off.  Here I am trying to travel with numerous challenges before we even walk out the door and the idea of whining about food in a foreign country wouldn't even occur to me. And believe me I am a serious complainer. My husband has a stent, a small metal tube that keeps his intestine (duodenum) open so he can eat. His diet is beyond difficult, with a gigantic list of what he can't eat. So when we were in Scotland did he eat the Haggis? Of course he did! Mostly because of a dare, but hey he ate it. And the Black Pudding too and we still don't know what is in either! By the way, please don’t comment with an ingredient list. Some things are better left unsaid.
You can call it cultural awareness or respect (or mostly our pride) but when you are visiting someone else's country shouldn't you try to assimilate if only for a day, week or month? I haven’t quite figured out the moral of this story yet but I have it narrowed down to a few:

If you are going to whine, stay home.
When in Rome go to McDonald's?
If it involves “wine-ing” make it Napa or Sonoma
Or finally
He’ll have the Haggis, but hold the whining.

PS. Sorry to my entire  2 or 3 followers for the rant.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

RIP Clarence Clemons


 So sad to hear about Clarence Clemons. Also feeling sad about never seeing the E Street Band again. If anyone was irreplaceable in a band, it was him. I am so glad we went on some crazy travel adventures to see Bruce and the E Street Band over the years. I am thinking back to 2007, before my husband was ill and instead it was me on the DL ( the disabled list not the down low). I had shattered and dislocated my leg and ankle ( broken in 3 places) in mid October of that year and had emergency surgery with plates, rods and pins put in. I was in a wheelchair because I had sprained the other ankle at the same time so crutches were not working and I was strictly forbidden to put weight on the broken, casted and braced leg. I guess the sensible thing to do would have been to take to my bed. But no, less than 2 weeks after the accident, there I was all Vicodined up with my leg propped on the dashboard with my husband driving to Cleveland  to see Bruce and E Street. What a trip that was, at least what I remember of it. It was 8 or 9 (possibly 10) hours of being either completely drugged and unconscious or constantly trying to find a comfortable position with my on leg pushed up against the front window.We had changed our hotel room to a handicapped one ( the Olga Korbut suite as we referred to it) and my husband schlepped me around. We met his niece who had flown in from California for the concert. I remember we found someplace to eat which involved rolling over a cobblestone road. I don't recommend it in a wheelchair when every movement sends shooting pain through your leg. Then we were on to the concert where I took one for the team and we finagled our way into the best wheelchair seats-better than the original seats we had. 

This was the first of quite a few handicap seating options we procured throughout that tour, traveling to see Bruce on the east and west coast.

Some of our friends thought we were crazy just like they do now when we travel but I have no regrets. I'm glad I had the chance to see the entire band at their best before some of them were taken from us. RIP Clarence. We will miss you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Moors near Haworth Village
The same moors the Bronte sisters walked
                                                                                                                                                                                     It's raining so it must be time for some England pictures. These were taken about 3 weeks ago on our trip to London, Stonehenge and Haworth.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Where do I fit in?

So much great information on all the travel blogs out there. Taking it all in as I am trying to set up my own ground rules for this blog. What to share, how much to share, how much is TMI!?!  Our situation is a bit different than other travelers but we don't like to dwell on those differences. I don't want this to become a place I rant about the medical field and all its failings or whine about our fate.  My husband's health does affect our travel though so I can't ignore it.

Where do I (we) fit in? Almost all the travel blogs I read (as well as the tweets) are so positive. Everything is great, no one seems to have a full time job , they aren't making any money in the travel world,  yet they travel to exotic places and have a great time. All the cancer blogs are way too depressing. Memorials, caregiver-saints, little kids suffering. People fighting valiant battles. I guess its supposed to be a comfort, but mostly it just keeps me up at night.  I am hoping this blog will fall somewhere in between. Don't expect too much of that valiant battle stuff here. I'm a realist and although I live and travel in denial, I won't be sugar coating things. If anyone is looking for inspiration on how cancer makes you a better person, blah blah blah ... you won't find it here. Cancer SUCKS! There is no way around it. If there are people out there saying cancer is a blessing and if that is their denial path , I wish them well but it won't happen here. Cancer, at best, is a tremendous pain, physically,emotionally and financially. At it's worst, it is a thief and a killer. It robs you of your health, your dignity, your money, your relationships and finally your life. Believe me it doesn't make your life better. What it does do is help you set your priorities. When my husband first became ill, I decided 2 things:Number 1) I would find him the best care possible, with the greatest chance of prolonging his life, hoping that new options would be out there and 2) We would do what ever he wanted to do whenever he wanted to, without robbing a bank of course. So far those 2 priorities have guided us through. He has one of the top Pancreatic Cancer docs on the east coast and in the last 2 1/2 years he has been to the Kentucky Derby twice, hit golf balls at St Andrews in Scotland and been on the Vegas Strip probably more than some Vegas natives. We are not looking to inspire ,we are just looking to live. If there is any goal here, it is that I don't want anyone to say my husband is dying from cancer and I don't want anyone to say he is surviving with cancer. I just want  people to know he is living and living a pretty good life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ch Ch Ch Changes

Well forget the northern road right now. That has been moved to the trip back. Right now it looks like we are taking the middle road, or as the rest of the country calls it, 70. All this is still very tentative with a CT scan scheduled for the end of next week but we are starting to plan the map. Looks like a visit to our friend in Missouri (or misery as we like to call it) is first up. Hoping to include a night out to hear  The Morleys  http://themorleysmusic.com a great St Louis area band. We will have to see how the scheduling goes. After that it is westward to The Arches National Park. This is one on my bucket list. My husband has outlived the average life span of someone with this disease by at least  4 times. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining but  we have been to many of his stops 2 or 3 times. That doesn't count Vegas ,which I think has been 10. I decided this spring that its time for us to travel to some of my bucket list items. This park is one of them. Then of course its off to Vegas hopefully for the 4th of July. That should be crazy but fun. We will eventually end up at Lake Almanor in California and then see what happens from there. Hoping for Napa and Sonoma but we will see how long the bed and breakfast (AKA my husband's niece and fam) can handle us. The ride out should be part of the adventure because we have never taken 70 across the country. Some of it will be retracing Clark (not Lewis and) Griswald's path which will be entertaining. Can't wait to be on the road! As we are telling family and friends " if the CT scan is good, we will be leaving end of June and if the CT scan is bad, we will be leaving the end of June.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Figuring things out

I'm still trying to figure out with this blog and twitter. Trying to get my tech world organized so it will be frustration free ( or as frustration free as tech can be) on the road. Still working on trip plans too. Looks like it's the northern road to California via North Dakota.will definitely post pics if we get to the largest ball of twine.The destination goal is Lake Almanor in CA. Then down south a little bit with a stop at Napa and Sonoma. Hopefully after that Vegas. Hoping to go back thru the middle road so I can visit one of my original (as in from high school) BFFs just outside of  St Louis. And yes there will be plenty more Nat Lampoon Vacation references for that stop.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Starting to plan our cross country trek. This includes a visit to North Dakota, the only state in the lower 48 we have not been to. Can't wait to get on the road. More updates to follow.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Traveling in my mind today.

It's one of my favorite days of the month again (read sarcasm here). Another trip to sloan with all its frustration and annoyance. Hoping I can travel in my mind today and ignore the place.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wish we could be there.

It's The Ninth Annual Walk Through the Vineyards Saturday, Jun 11, 2011 For any traveling near wine country this week and like to travel for a cause, check this out. It is a  walk and silent auction to benefit the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

If you have no one affected by this killer to walk for, make a sign for Bucketlistours. Thanks!

Plus, hey its a winery which means WINE!

Wish we could be there but can't. Not missing it because of my husbands health, but our niece's graduation which her crazy charter school moved up a week. Not too bummed, we should be hitting California and the wineries by early July.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Capsized on De nial

It's amazing how you can cruise along the seas of denial for so long and then hit right into a brick reality wall. Wondering right now if we can travel at all.Hoping we can but not feelin it.

can't wait to be..

on the road again. Jersey mini-trip tomorrow then plans for a cross country drive at the end of June. Stay tuned for updates.


Well its time for a new blog.