Hicksville Here We Come ~

I’ve been taking a couple of mini vacation trips with my backpack, my rollie and my lovely family.  I love summer!

Until I’m back to regular posts, here’s another fun and unique travel option that was sent to me recently from my very LA hipster niece.  She knows all the cute and quirky places to stay in California and this is certainly one to add to the travel list.  If you’re traveling in Southern California, you might want to spend a night (or two) in Hicksville.Hicksville is a  “motel” resort with lodging comprised of themed trailers with names like The Fifi, The Pioneer, The Integratrailor, and The Sweet.  It’s located in Joshua Tree, but you won’t see an address on their website.  That’s because you can’t drive by…you only get the address after your reservation has been confirmed.  It’s the ultimate secret getaway.  But wait, it gets better – the whole place, including the swimming pool, runs on solar power.  Their amenities include the pool, a Tipi with a firepit, horseshoes, darts, table tennis, archery and of course a bar.  All the comforts of home.  Well, that probably depends on where you call home, but it would definitely be a great stay for a night or two of fun in the outdoors and under the stars in the California desert. These folks really “circled the wagons” in style.

Thanks Melissa!

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Road Trip ~ three fun reads

I love to read and always have several books going at the same time.  Usually my method of choosing a book is cruising through Powell’s Books and picking up whatever calls out to me in the moment.  I pick by title, cover and sometimes author.  It is usually totally random and not every one is a winner, but so far my system has worked quite well.

Since summer is almost here and some of us are dreaming of the luxury of a lazy afternoon or two stretched out in the lawn chair or on the beach with a book, I thought I would share a few I’ve enjoyed recently on my new favorite topic – Road Trips.  These are easy reads and by no means high literary art.  Beach books all – but with heart and humor.

The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian ~ Ok, I LOVED this book.  I bought it based totally on the title and the short blurb on the cover.  I could not believe it was written by a man.  Someone said “Michael Zadoorian must be a wise old lady.”  Agreed!  This is the story of John and Ella as they take one last road trip.  Ella has cancer and John’s in the grip of Alzheimer’s.  Ella is determined that what they need most is a vacation.  In Ella’s words…”You might ask if this is the best idea?  Two down-on-their-luck geezers, one with more health problems than a third world country, the other so senile that he doesn’t know what day it is – taking a cross country road trip?  Don’t be stupid.  Of course it’s not a good idea.”  But, turns out – it was a perfectly perfect idea!  This is the ultimate road trip, love story and final act of bravery all rolled into one.  I cheered them on until the very last page.  This review in the Route 66 News says it better than I can.

Breakfast With Buddha ~ by Roland Merullo is another delightful read. I think it might appeal to seasoned Buddhists as well as anyone who doesn’t know the first thing about Buddha.  Actually, for me, it was more about contemplating your own life’s journey.

The story centers around Otto Ringling, a middle-aged man who’s dealing with a case of “what’s it all about Alfie?” and a serious gourmet food habit as well.  After the death of his parents, he’s conned into taking a road trip from the suburbs of New York to to the family farm in North Dakota with his sister’s Rinpoche (guru). Along the way Otto and his companion share lots of American misadventures as well as insightful Buddhist teachings.  It’s a fun, quick read, but it also managed to give me pause more than a few times.  And I loved the food descriptions as well.  In short, Breakfast with Buddha is a tasty treat.

Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral ~ by Kris Radish.   Ok, first, let me just say that I am not a huge fan of this author.  I chose this book solely based on the premise.  I love the whole idea of the traveling funeral – so watch out friends of mine – you might get a UPS from me after I move on to the Next Adventure.

For Katherine Givens and the four women about to become her best friends, the adventure begins with a UPS package. Inside is a pair of red sneakers filled with ashes and a note that will forever change their lives. Katherine’s oldest and dearest friend, the irrepressible Annie Freeman, left one final request–a traveling funeral–and she wants the most important women in her life as “pallbearers.”  From Sonoma to Manhattan, Katherine, Laura, Rebecca, Jill, and Marie will carry Annie’s ashes to the special places in her life.  The ultimate final road trip with more than a few interesting and memorable moments.

What’s on your Summer reading list?  I’m always looking for a good read.

Lusting for a Land Yacht

I’m starting to think that more than half the fun of retirement planning is discovering all of the amazing options that I had absolutely no idea about.  Every time I talk to someone and mention our backpack and rollie plan, they tell me about some interesting place to visit, new ways to travel and the best yet, how to get paid while you are on the road aka workamping, in short, how to vivir la buena vida con poco dinera.   Just the other day, I had lunch with a friend who, last summer for her 60th birthday, visited 12 national parks in two weeks.  Camping with a girlfriend.  They loved it!   Another friend is hitting the road pulling a 10′ (that’s tiny) trailer so she and her dog and kitty can wander wherever the spirit of adventure takes them for the next year.  Or so.  These gals are blazing trails for me that I didn’t even know were there.

I’ve discovered that there are literally thousands of people, couples and singles, who chuck the house and the stuff and the stress and take to the joys of the open road.  All over the world.   The options are endless.  Who knew?  Really, it turns out that if you’ve got your health and an adventurous spirit, money isn’t as important as I feared.  Obviously money makes life easier, but travel and having grand adventures are still on the table.  Big time.  It just requires a slight mind-set adjustment.

So, with a new respect for those people I once thought to be just this side of the Beverly Hillbillies, I’ve become strangely drawn to what were originally known as land yachts.  If we’re going down this road (still an IF but I’m warming to the idea), then let’s go in style.  Which I would not necessarily confuse with luxury.  Fun, cute, unusual – something with flair that would make me swoon, like the little red number at the top of this post.  Definitely fun to think about.

Here’s a short pictorial history of some of my favorite land yachts.  I had a great time finding them ~

Family fun in a vintage 1909 motor home.

It was called The Jungle Yacht.  This was BEFORE Ike created the highway system so driving one of these babies over the mountains must have taken nerves of steel.

Now, this could do it.   It’s a 1956 model but I think it’s pretty cool.

Cutest.  Trailer.  Ever.And Ricky the cat could have his own trailer to match.  I love that it’s an Airstream which might just be the totally coolest trailers ever built.

Oh the places we’ll go.

So, if (and it is a BIG IF right now) we were to take to the open road in an RV or maybe one of those cute Airstream trailers, where might that road lead?  Visit friends and family – check, find rivers and stop for fly fishing – hubby big check, me “Ok, I’ll give you a few”, all those must see monuments, parks, historic sites that every tourist wannabe has on their list – sure, we’ll do those too.  But, I recently stumbled on a few places that really sparked my interest.  Now these towns might be worth barreling down the highway in an oversize toaster on wheels!  Kinda makes me want to say “Road Trip!”

Knowing us, we’d have to start with the names of dubious character ~ Intercourse, PA, Assawoman, VA, Blue Ball, OH, French Lick, IN (ooh la la!) or Buttzville, NJ and then ease on down the road to the tiny town of Slaughterville, Oklahoma which, so the story goes, was once the subject of a PETA protest.  PETA asked the town (I’m not making this up, I got it right from the Travel Channel) to change its name to Veggieville with the promise of donating $20,000 in veggie burgers to the school district if they did.  From there we could cruise into such hot spots as Hell, MI, or Fertile, NM.   And, when hunger strikes, we’ll head on over to Pie, WV.  If we’re feeling adventurous, we’ll surely make a stop at Surprise, NY and round out our road trip at Deadman Crossing, OH, or maybe Jerkwater, PA, or Idiotville, OR.  Idiotville? How can we live in Oregon and not have heard of Idiotville?  That sounds like a weekend getaway on it’s own.

Happy trails and roll up the damn window, the breeze is messing up my hair!