Tuesday, April 29, 2014

On the Road: Bring Your Own Bag

When I was packing for my trip, I was aware of the fact that Los Angeles would be banning plastic bags on the first of the year. Customers who did not bring their own bags to the store would have the opportunity to purchase paper bags for ten cents each. I did not want to incur the expense of buying multiple bags during the months I was there, so I planned ahead for this situation.

Over the years I have accumulated a great number of bags. When I take a trip, I like to experiment with different combinations of them. For this trip I decided to use two large suitcases and as many small bags as I needed. One suitcase held all the clothes because I wanted to restrict the amount of clothing I was taking since I always pack too much. The other suitcase held most of the other items like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. I also carried an open laundry-type bag and threw all the shoes in it. I used cloth Trader Joe bags to carry a lot of small items. Once I arrived in LA, these bags were emptied out and used for groceries and other items I would buy in stores.

Once the new year began, I had the opportunity to shop in a world without plastic bags. I have no problem with this ban since I think it is a good idea. I just have to train myself to bring the bags inside the store every time I shop. The bags are always in the trunk and I always forget them. I noticed a lot of people who were getting used to the new situation would just place the items back in the cart after they were purchased. Once they got to the car, they would just put their purchases in the trunk. Some had boxes and coolers that were already in the trunk to hold the new items. Since I have shopped at Sam's club for many years, I was used to that procedure.

Although I will be able to get plastic bags when I return to Ohio, I know the day when plastic bags are banned throughout the country is coming soon. The saddest part of that ban will be the loss of the Target bag. That is the best plastic bag ever created!!!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, April 25, 2014

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-97 in Maryland

Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Chesapeake Bay Bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interstate 97 is located entirely in the state of Maryland, so it is really called an intrastate. I-97 is 18 miles long and connects the cities of Annapolis, Severna and Glen Burnie. This is the primary highway between Annapolis and Baltimore. Attractions near I-97 include the Chesapeake Bay, the many attractions of Baltimore and the numerous places of interest in Washington, D.C.

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.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Travel Tales: Akron to LA 2013 - Day Three

Packing the car in the rain was not fun and I was not looking forward to driving in the bad weather. I try to avoid that kind of situation as much as possible. This day's journey would involve going through mountainous areas and the desert. This is challenging in good weather, so I did not know what to expect. The rain was pretty intense on the mountain when I was leaving Flagstaff and I kept my speed down as I drove down the mountain. Once I got to the bottom, I was glad to have the rain stop. I noticed that a rain cloud seemed to be stuck on the top of the mountain.

The surprise of the day was I got to drive most of the day in cloudy conditions with no rain. I love driving through the Mojave Desert. It is the favorite part of my trip. Usually I have clear weather, so this was a different experience for me. On the plus side, the clouds kept down the temperature and they also brought another aspect to the beauty of the desert.

As I came out of the desert at Barstow, I noticed the dark clouds and I had to deal with the rain as I drove on the 15. My journey down the Cajon Pass was nerve-wracking. I could not see in the beginning. Since I thought this would be a possibility, I drove behind a truck and watched his tail lights. When I was halfway down the mountain, the rain subsided and the visibility improved. The traffic began to back up near the bottom of the mountain and I noticed some people sitting on the bank of the interstate. These people had been involved in an eight-car chain reaction accident. Driving down this pass under ordinary circumstances is challenging, but traveling in the rain makes it extremely dangerous.

When I got on the 210, the weather cleared and the sun was shining brightly as I arrived at my daughter's place. I am always overjoyed to arrive at my destination safely. That makes all the effort of preparation worth every minute. On this trip my attention to weather forecasts and my willingness to alter my plans to accommodate changing conditions helped me stay out of harm's way. Winter storm Boreas had a huge impact on people across the United States. I was happy to stay out of the way.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, April 18, 2014

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-96 in Michigan

Empire Bluffs Trail view of Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Empire Bluffs Trail view of Sleeping Bear Dunes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Technically, Interstate 96 is called an Intrastate because it is entirely in one state. I-96 travels for 192 miles and links the cities of Detroit, Brighton, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Norton Shores. Attractions near this highway include Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, Spring Lake, Lake Michigan, Highland Recreation Area, Lake HuronWaterloo Recreation Area, High-Rollway Overlook and Muskegon State  Park. To the north of this interstate is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

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.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Travel Tales: Akron to LA 2013 - Day Two

After a wonderful sleep at the hotel, I wanted to get on the road early. Since I was supposed to have a fairly clear day, I wanted to travel as far as possible. When I checked the weather before I left Ohio, I saw I would have rain on the entire third day. The fourth day would have about two hours of rain. My plan was to get to Flagstaff and stay for two nights.

I do not like to get gas in major cities because I do not know what kind of neighborhood I am encountering when I exit the interstate. However, since gas prices are lower in and around major cities, I will get gas just outside the city.  Albuquerque is an obvious choice for gas since the city is centrally located In New Mexico on Interstate 40 and I have always refueled on the west edge of town. I was surprised and happy to see a new Pilot station located east of Albuquerque at Exit 196. That location was so convenient for getting gas without the hassle of dealing with an unknown city.

The day did not go as planned. The weather situation had changed and now the Weather  Service was warning of a winter storm which it eventually named Boreas. I had to deal with rain for almost all of New Mexico. The hotel coupon book did not offer many choices, so I decided to treat myself to a more expensive hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona. I figured if I had to wait out some bad weather, I would do it in style.

Driving up the mountain in Flagstaff in the heavy rain was not easy, but I was able to make it to the hotel safely. When I watched the weather report, I found out conditions were getting even worse. Now I needed to change my plans again and leave the next day to drive the last seven hours. I would have rain on that day, but if I waited the rain would be heavier the following day. This storm was going to sit over the Southwest for a few days, so I decided to get out of its way.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, April 11, 2014

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-95 in Florida

During its travel of 1920 miles, Interstate 95 connects the major cities along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Its journey takes I-95 through 15 states and the District of Columbia before the highway ends in Miami, Florida. Drivers who look at this highway on the map will notice it parallels the coast except for a noticeable bump. The section of I-95 that runs through St. Lucie and Martin counties travels out to the west of the Florida Turnpike. Some people get off I-95 in Fort Pierce and get on the Turnpike until Hobe Sound where they rejoin the interstate so they can have a straighter route.

I have driven every mile of this highway in Florida. Interstate 95 travels 382 miles linking the cities of Yulee, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Palm Coast, Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Titusville, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Vero Beach Beach, Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Jensen Beach, Stuart, Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Miami and Coral Gables. Special care should be taken to avoid major cities like Miami and Jacksonville during rush hour. However, at any time, the traffic is heavy on this road, so plan according. In 2010 Interstate 95 in Florida had more fatalities than any other section of interstate. Drivers should always use caution on this highway.

Little Talbot Island State Park
Little Talbot Island State Park (Photo credit: 9Blu)
Many attractions are along this interstate. Little Talbot Island, the Atlantic Ocean, Daytona International Speedway, Canaveral National Seashore, John F. Kennedy Space Center, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Flagler Museum, Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, the Florida Keys, John Pennecamp Coral Reef State Park and Lake Okeechobee. Florida is a tourist state and these a just a few of the many places of interest in this state.

As I have mentioned in other posts, I love Little Talbot Island. It is one of my favorite places. It is a state park, so no hotels or restaurants are on the beach. A small admission fee is charged and bikes can be rented to ride along the beach.

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 west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Travel Tales: Akron to LA 2013 - Day One

In late summer and early fall of 2013, I had to deal with a medical situation that required some extra attention.  I was exhausted during that time since my body was working hard on healing itself. I briefly considered whether driving across the country was a wise idea. After I was given the okay from my doctors, I began my preparations and told myself I would rest more along the way if I needed to do so.


After weeks of preparation and second-guessing every single aspect of my trip, I embarked on my journey. As with every trip, I could not sleep the night before I was to leave. I tried to go to bed at 7:00 to get as much rest as possible, but gave up on that effort at 1:30 and decided to depart.

Originally I was going to leave on Sunday, but noticed the chances of severe weather. That weather system produced a major outbreak of tornadoes. The strong wind continued on Monday, so travel was not an option. Tuesday was my choice even though I realized I had a bad weather situation waiting in the Southwest. I planned for an extra day on the road in case I had to wait until the bad weather passed.

I had a clear day for driving and I was able to avoid all rush hour situations in the major cities that day. That fortunate timing meant I was able to avoid the bypasses and drive straight through Indianapolis and St. Louis. Gas prices along the way were lower than normal. As is always the case, the lowest price was in Joplin, Missouri. I had not seen $2.74 for gas in a long time.

Finding the hotel coupon books on the road was difficult this time. Once I found them, I saw my favorite hotel in Oklahoma City had a coupon and decided that was where I would stay. A couple hours before I was going to arrive in OKC, my daughter called me and said she wanted to contact the hotel to make sure it had available rooms. I am glad she did that because the hotel had no vacancy. A college sporting event was taking place, so that meant many hotels in the area would be booked. After some quick research, we found another hotel on the north end of town. That was fortunate because I arrived in OKC just as rush hour was beginning. The exit was near the Kilpatrick Turnpike, so bypassing OKC in the morning was easy.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, April 4, 2014

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-95 in Georgia

English: Montage of images from Cumberland Isl...
English: Montage of images from Cumberland Island, GA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interstate 95 travels through Georgia for 112 miles. I-95 connects the cities of Savannah, Richmond Hill, Brunswick, Woodbine and Kingsland. I always get gas in Kingsland before I drive into Florida because the prices are lower. Attractions located near this interstate include the Atlantic Ocean, Fort Pulaski National Monument, Tybee Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island, Cumberland National Seashore, Richmond Hill State Park, Sapelo Lighthouse Wildlife Refuge, Marshes of Glynn, the Okefenokee Swamp and St. Simons Island. Cumberland Island provides a unique experience for visitors. Wild horses, ruins of an old mansion, beautiful trees and an amazing beach are just a few of intersting aspects of the island.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single drivers 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 easy continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-95 in South Carolina

Harbor of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, ...
Harbor of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dillon, Summerton, Santee, Florence, Walterboro and Hardeeville are some of the cities along the 198 miles of I-95 in South Carolina. Hardeeville, which is just a few miles from the Georgia border used to be my favorite place to get gas on the South Carolina I-95 stretch. Attractions near this interstate include the Atlantic Ocean, Lake Marion, Santee State Park, Lake Moultrie, Hilton Head Island, Fort Pulaski National Monument, Old Fort Walker and the Lowcountry Visitors' Center and Museum.

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.
Enhanced by Zemanta