Friday, March 30, 2012

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-15 in Idaho

Western Pocatello, Idaho seen from Red Hill, O...
Image via Wikipedia
The major north-south highway in eastern Idaho is Interstate 15. The cities of Idaho Falls, Blackfoot and Pocatello are joined by I-15. To the east of this interstate in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming is Yellowstone National Park. If in this area, be sure to take the side trip to beautiful Yellowstone, which was established in 1872 as our country's first national park. Another amazing attraction is Grand Teton National Park which is also in Wyoming just south of Yellowstone. Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is to the west of I-15 between Idaho Falls and Pocatello.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for your choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure you give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Handy things to take: Bags for the camera


Last year I treated myself to a new camera. When I purchased this camera in Los Angeles, I needed a new bag because my old camera bags were back in Ohio. At first I looked for a regular camera bag, but I decided that since I was traveling by myself, I did not want a bag with a brand name on it that was going to broadcast that it contained a camera. I finally found a messenger bag that could hold the camera and all its accessories.

Since the messenger bag did not have sufficient padding for the camera, I had to be creative to save money. I went to several stores to find anything that was made of neoprene. I finally found a neoprene laptop bag that was large enough to hold the camera. For each lens I used a neoprene wine bottle bag. Although created to hold a wine bottle, these bags were great for padding a camera lens. When I did not want to take the messenger bag with me, I placed the camera in the neoprene laptop bag and then put the camera into a big purse or tote bag. As I said, I did not want to draw attention to the camera. If I felt I needed more padding, I used more neoprene bags and some foam I have.

I liked this messenger bag so much that I have not used any of my old camera bags!!

(Photo of camera bag taken in 2012)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-15 in Montana

Going to the Sun Mountain in Glacier National ParkImage via WikipediaInterstate 15 has its beginnings at the border of the United States and Canada. I-15 is the fourth longest north-south interstate. This highway's path in Montana takes it through Shelby, Great Falls, Helena, Butte and Dillon. Glacier National Park, home to two hundred waterfalls, is to the west of Interstate 15 at Shelby. Both the park and the Rocky Mountains are well worth your time to visit.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for your choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure you give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Handy things to take: Zippered plastic bags


I love zippered plastic bags!! I love them in all sizes from the snack size to the XXL size. Even though I use cosmetic bags, I like to put any bottle with liquid or any powder item in separate plastic bags. That way any spill is contained.

The tiny plastic bags that hold extra buttons for shirts are perfect to use for small pieces of jewelry such as rings, pins or charms. I try to put any item that can scratch or damage something else into a plastic bag. The snack size can be used for jewelry, but is also perfect for makeup.

Gallon-size bags can be used for a variety of things, so I always take a whole box of them with me on trips. Baby wipes, tissues, snacks, makeup and pens are just some examples of items that are contained in their own plastic bags.

I use the really large bags for pillows and bedding. Instead of putting a pillow under my arm to carry it, all I have to do is grab the handle of the bag that contains the pillows. The soft sides of these bags make them easy to wedge into available spaces during packing.

The bags in the photo are my newest ones. After filling them and placing them in the back seat, I use luggage straps to join them together. My final step is to put the seat belts through the handles on the bags to secure them in case of an accident. These bags stay in the back seat of the car when I stop at a hotel. Since the bags are clear, I figure anyone looking into the car will see the bedding, will not be interested and will leave the car alone.

While I love the versatility of zippered plastic bags, I really love how they fold down and are easily stored when I get to my destination.

(Photo of zippered plastic bags taken in 2012)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-10 in California


The journey of Interstate 10 in California begins in the beautiful Mojave Desert. Near the eastern section of I-10, Joshua Tree National Park is a popular attraction. Halfway across the state I-10 enters a more populous area joining Palm Springs and Los Angeles before the highway ends in Santa Monica by the Pacific Ocean. Be careful to avoid the Los Angeles area during rush hour traffic. The 210 runs parallel to the 10 and the 110 and the 710 provide north-south highways that cross the 10. Attractions in the Los Angeles area are too numerous to mention, but the Getty Center off I-10 on the 405 is well worth a visit.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for your choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure you give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.

(Photo of Mojave Desert taken in 2011)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Handy things to take: Sleeping bag

I always carry a sleeping bag when I travel since I never know when the car might break down in cold weather. My old sleeping bag has been on many journeys with me. This summer I got a good price on a new sleeping bag, but it has not been as warm as my old one which had a flannel lining. To compensate for this, I also took a blanket with me.

Some might think a sleeping bag is necessary only in snowy situations. When I travel, I encounter very little snow since I have the luxury of planning around the weather. I need the bag most in desert situations. The temperature may be warm during the day, but once the sun goes down, so does the temperature. I would be in trouble if I broke down in the desert at night without a sleeping bag.


Another item to have in the car in case of a breakdown is a small candle. I have a candle that is contained in a small jar with a lid. In a crisis the heat from this candle will keep me warm until help arrives. All I have to do is make sure the window is vented. This candle is small enough to fit in the car's cup holder. Do not forget a lighter or matches!! Thanks to Missy and Lisa for the candle idea!!!

(Photo taken in 2011)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-10 in Arizona

"The Stack" of Interstates 17 and 10...Image via WikipediaInterstate 10 travels across the beautiful deserts of southern Arizona. Major cities along this highway are Tucson and Phoenix. Make sure to avoid the Phoenix area during rush hour traffic. Of particular concern is the area known as The Stack, which is the juncture of I-10 and I-17. Just west of Phoenix is a sign that always brings a smile to my face. Two joined signs give the wise advice: State Prison Next Exit/Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers. Nearby attractions to I-10 include Saguaro National Park and the Maricopa Mountains.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for your choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure you give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Handy things to take: Travel Binder


In an effort to stay more organized on the road, I put together a travel binder. My choice of binder was one with a flexible cover that could zip closed. The first section of the binder contained information about the trip itself and included the following: a list of my favorite gas stations with their exit numbers and the available restaurants in that area; a set of travel notes with the prices paid for gas, the number of gallons pumped and the mileage at each gas stop; and a list of trips taken with the interstate routes driven for each. Another section had phone numbers and email addresses for friends and the same information for businesses. In addition, I wrote down important business and utility account numbers and hints of the password for each. I did all this as a backup in case something happened to my computer or phone.

The next section of the binder included a list of my medications and supplements in case I needed the information for a medical emergency. I was involved in that type of situation a few weeks ago and all I had to do was grab the paper and take it with me. The miscellaneous section contained the warranty information for my tires, a list of special things I need to remember to do when I return to my house, a supply of blank paper, etc. The last section of the binder was a plastic envelope where I put all the receipts for my trip.

I have tried to contain any important fact or figure I might need for my trip in this binder. When I travel alone, I do not have the luxury of asking someone to find information for me as I drive. Taking the time to put this material together before I leave has saved me a lot of hassle on the road.

(Photo of travel binder taken in 2012)                                                   HB2M

Friday, March 2, 2012

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-10 in Western Texas and New Mexico

Las Cruces, New MexicoImage via WikipediaThe western section of Interstate 10 begins at Exit 462 and travels through Texas to the state border at El Paso. This section of I-10 covers an area that is not as populated as the eastern section of Texas. For now I am going to include the small portion of I-10 that is in New Mexico. Perhaps in the future I will do separate posts for each. Fort Stockton and El Paso are the Texas cities joined by I-10. New Mexico's section of I-10 cuts through the southwest corner of the state connecting Las Cruces, Deming and Lordsburg. Watch the speed limit signs in Texas. The state is in the process of increasing the speed limit!!

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for your choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure you give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.