Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On the Road: Shoes for Driving

Taking the time to choose a comfortable pair of shoes for travel is an important task for any driver. Many people do not worry about their footwear since they figure they will just be sitting in the car for the entire trip. Those individuals do not think about the swelling of the feet that occurs when a person sits for a long period of time. The possibility of having to walk a long distance for assistance in the event of a car mishap does not enter their minds.

In the past I have usually worn tennis shoes when I am driving for a long distance. When I wore sandals for an entire long trip, I sometimes suffered from swollen ankles by the end of the day. In the winter I found boots too uncomfortable for driving for a long stretch, but I have worn them if the weather was bad. Hiking shoes that do not cover the ankles have also been a good option for me. I just make sure that the height of the heel on any shoe does not put my foot at an odd angle that would make my ankle hurt after a long time. If I ever find myself in a situation where I need to walk for assistance, I want to have a good pair of shoes that will not damage my feet.


Last year I dug around in the mass of shoes in my closet and found a pair of tennis shoes that had velcro fasteners instead of shoelaces. What a pleasure it was to wear them! I did not have to worry about the shoelaces coming undone at inopportune times. If my feet started to feel a little uncomfortable, I just loosened the velcro. When I stopped to get out of the car, I could quickly refasten the strap. Love these shoes!! Shoes with elastic laces are also a good option.

When driving for hours in the desert, I have chosen sometimes to wear sandals for that time period because my feet got too hot when I wore tennis shoes.  However, I always made sure to have another pair of walking shoes available in the trunk of the car. Taking the time to make sure I took proper footwear on vacation helped to prevent some sore feet later.

(Photo taken in 2011)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-90 in South Dakota

Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sioux Falls, Mitchell, Kimball, Presho, Kadoka, Rapid City, Sturgis and Spearfish are some of the cities joined by Interstate 90 during its 412 mile trip through South Dakota. I-90 is the only east-west interstate in South Dakota and Interstate 29 is the only north-south one. Badlands National Park is located south of this highway east of Rapid City. Other attractions near I-90 include the Akta Lakota Museum, the U.S.S. Battleship South Dakota Memorial, Fort Kiowa, Fort Hale, Fort Defiance, West Bend State Recreation Area, Crazy Horse Memorial, Wind Cave National Park, Ice Cave, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Jewel Cave National Monument and Spearfish Canyon.

The Mount Rushmore Monument as seen from the v...
The Mount Rushmore Monument as seen from the viewing plaza. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for the choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure to 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.
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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-90 in MInnesota

Looking west from an overlook of the Upper Mis...
Looking west from an overlook of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge over the Mississippi River.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interstate 90 travels for 275 miles along the southern state border of Minnesota. I-90 joins the cities of Stewartville, Rochester, Austin, Albert Lea, Fairmont and Worthington. Attractions near this interstate include the Mississippi River, the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, Whitewater State Park, Myra-Big Island State Park, Blue Earth River, Ocheda Lake, Blue Mounds State Park, Niagara Cave and Mystery Cave. The gold paint on the highway near the rest area at Blue Earth marks the joining of the eastern section and the western section of Interstate 90.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for the choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure to 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.
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Friday, December 20, 2013

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-90 in Wisconsin

English: The Madison, Wisconsin skyline, seen ...
English: The Madison, Wisconsin skyline, seen from the shores of Lake Monona. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interstate 90 has company as it travels for 187 miles in Wisconsin. I-90 is joined with I-39 as it enters Wisconsin near Beloit. Near Madison, I-94 intersects the other two interstates for the longest stretch of three interstates traveling together. I-94 then continues with I-90 after I-39 runs north. At Tomah, Interstate 90 ventures west on its own for the rest of the time in the state. Cities near this highway include Beloit, Jamesville, Madison, Tomah, Onalaska and La Crosse.

Many attractions are near this interstate. They include Rock River, Angel Museum, Lake Koshkonomo, Lake Mendota, Lake Monona, Lake Waubega, Lake Wingra, Perrot State Park, Wisconsin River, Wisconsin Dells, Cascade Mountains, Christmas Mountain, Mill Bluff State Park, La Crosse River, Mississippi River, French Island, Mississippi Palisades, Devil's Lake and Cave of the Mounds.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for the choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure to 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.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On the Road: Quiet, Please!

When I stay at my usual hotel complex in Los Angeles, I always have the incredible luck of getting one of two types of rooms. In the past I have stayed either in the room located under the 300 lb. people who like to dance or in the room located next to the drunken interns who like to party every night. Dealing with the noise of other rooms is one of the challenges of staying in a hotel. If the establishment clearly posts the quiet hours and the noise is occurring after that time, a traveler can call the front desk or security to complain.

If nearby rooms are noisy but quiet hours are not yet in effect, a few options can be tried. One technique is to turn on the television. Over the past few years I have learned how to fall asleep this way. It enables me to be one in charge of the noise level. Another idea is to pack a small desk fan and use it on the nightstand for some white noise. Hopefully, the noise of the fan will drown out the loud people. A last resort would be to use earplugs. I usually take several different brands with me. In fact, I always carry earplugs with me just in case I need them. Check out online reviews and find the pair that works best to keep out the noise.


If those options fail, one can always request a room change. Sometimes the hotel is full and a change is not possible. A new room can bring a whole new set of problems, so make sure to investigate the change as much as possible.

Online reviews of hotels are available on several travel sites and Yelp. Taking the time to research a hotel can help to give travelers an idea of the personality of hotel. If the reviews of the hotel contain countless comments about paper-thin walls and excessive noise, vacationers might look elsewhere for a good night's sleep.

I wish I could say that I have found a way to deal with the sound and vibration of heavy footsteps above me, but that is not the case!!!
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Friday, December 13, 2013

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-90 in Indiana & Illinois

English: Dan Ryan Expressway at 33rd Street lo...
English: Dan Ryan Expressway at 33rd Street looking north (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For all of its 156 miles in Indiana and almost all of its 124 miles in Illinois, Interstate 90 is a toll road. However, during the time it travels through Chicago, I-90 is toll-free. This interstate is known by many other names. The Indiana Toll is its other name in Indiana and in Illinois I-90 is known as Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, Kennedy Expressway, Dan Ryan Expressway or Chicago Skyway. The Indiana cities of Elkhart, South Bend and Gary are joined to the Illinois cities of Chicago and Rockford by this highway. I-90 and I-80 travel together across most of Indiana. In Illinois this interstate joins I-94 for a while before joining I-39.

Attractions near I-90 include Pokagon State Park, Crooked Lake, Door Prairie Auto Museum, Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the casinos in East Chicago. The nearby Illinois attractions are Lake Calumet, Fox River, Rock Cut State Park and Lake Michigan.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for the choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure to 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.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-90 in Pennsylvania & Ohio

Photo by Brice Burtch, June 24, 2007
Photo by Brice Burtch, June 24, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After traveling through Pennsylvania for 46 miles, Interstate 90 journeys across the northern section of Ohio for 245 miles. I-90 intersects with both I-71 and I-77 in Cleveland. This highway joins I-80 to the west of Cleveland at North Ridgeville and the two continue together to the western state line. I-90 becomes a toll road during its time with I-80. Drivers should be cautious of this interstate in Cleveland especially the section know as Dead Man's Curve, which has been the scene of many accidents. Also avoiding this interstate during rush hour in Cleveland is a wise choice for travelers. Cities joined by this highway include Conneaut, Ashtabula, Mentor, Cleveland and Toledo.

Attractions near I-90 include Lake Erie, Headlands Beach State Park, James A. Garfield National Historical Site, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cedar Point Amusement Park, Hayes Presidential Center, Fallen Timbers Battlefield, Fort Miami National Historical Site, Maumee River, Fort Meigs State Memorial, Kelly's Island, Blue Hole and Seneca Caverns.

Sunset over Lake Erie from Voinovich Park
Sunset over Lake Erie from Voinovich Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for the choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure to 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.
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Friday, December 6, 2013

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-90 in New York

Seneca Lake, Geneva, N.Y.
Seneca Lake, Geneva, N.Y. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interstate 90 travels 386 miles through the state of New York. This highway is also known as the New York State Thruway and does have a toll. I-90 runs parallel to the southern border of Adirondack Park and to the southern shores of both Lake Ontario and Lake ErieSchenectady, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Fredonia are some of the cities joined by this interstate.

Attractions located near I-90 include the Shaker Museum, the National Shrine of North American Martyrs, Oneida Lake, the Finger Lakes, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Chautauqua, the Adirondack Mountains and Niagara Falls.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for the choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure to 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.


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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

On the Road: Beverages & Coolers

On some vacations I take a cooler full of drinks, but on other trips I leave the cooler at home because I do not want to be bothered dealing with the ice. Taking a cooler saves me money and makes refreshments available to me at any time. On my last trip the temperature was low enough for me to put the soft-sided cooler in the trunk and have the beverages stay nice and cold on their own. On the other hand, if I do not take a cooler, I have to go inside the travel plaza to get drinks. This forces me to get out and walk around to exercise my legs which is beneficial.

After many years of trial and error, I have decided on a good balance of beverages for me. Diet Coke gives me my caffeine fix and I try to take only two cans per day. I have found in the past that drinking too much caffeine dehydrates me while I am on the road. In addition, if I drink caffeine all day, I will have a difficult time falling asleep when I stop at a hotel. My second drink is Arizona Diet Green Tea and four small bottles per day works for me. If I feel dehydrated, I add a packet of EmergenC to the bottle because the two mix well together.


The last choice of drink is water. If I decide to take only one beverage with me, I will choose water. For my first day of the trip, I freeze the bottles of water and use them to keep the rest of the drinks cold. Four bottles of water a day brings the total to ten beverages per day.

Having drinks in the car is very convenient. However, not taking a cooler frees up room in the car. For my last few trips, I have taken a soft-sided cooler that will collapse when empty. The hard-sided cooler may be more efficient, but the soft-sided one will fit into more areas. If I have packed the car to its limits, I will fold down the cooler and not use it.

On my final day of travel to the west, I always stop to get gas just before I drive into the Mojave Desert. Even if I have not brought any beverages with me on the rest of the trip, I take that opportunity to purchase several large bottles of water just in case something goes wrong with the car. Those drinks are always ice cold - much colder than if I had kept them in a cooler with melting ice. I would rather have too much water than not enough for that section of the trip since services can be scarce in the desert.


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