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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Our coming vacation, and a look at the past.

It is easy, as we age, to fall into patterns. The comfort of routine provides a haven as worries about the struggles of aging are realized. It becomes tonic to find something pleasant and just let it wash over us. A cocoon of the familiar, wrap yourself in the cozy experiences you have lived before. Restful, peaceful and safe.

My wife is a little crazy, though, she thinks we should try new things, take a few chances, gamble a little on the unknown. And she is right. We spent years going back to visit our mothers, and when they passed away we have barely gone to the same place on vacation twice.

Last year we went kayaking on Lake Superior, the biggest lake of the Great Lakes. We took a kayak and a canoe and paddled around on the lake that never gives up her dead. Due to a last minute cancellation we had a huge cabin all to ourselves, and we found that we still like each other, after all these years, we are still friends. In fact, best friends. And we decided vacations alone are the way to go. 

So we have done some exploring. A friend of mine told me about a hidden gem in southern Ohio. Lake Hope, we rented a cabin, spent a long weekend kayaking, grilling, hiking, exploring the beauty of our state. It was illuminating. 

Since that was such a success we branched out, two weeks ago we went to Shawnee State Park.  We spent four days exploring the park, Portsmouth, small parts of Kentucky, Wayne National Forest. It was too cold to kayak, but there are two lakes just perfect for that. And we will go back.

Since we have no real plans for vacation this summer, and we have had such good luck with state parks we have decided to make that our plan. A week in a state park cabin. But, we decided to try something a little different, of course, my wife is crazy after all. Two years ago we vacationed in Holden Beach NC, a small haven on the eastern seaboard. To get there we had to drive through West Virginia. A rugged state, filled with majestic beauty. Deep caverns looking up at forest covered mountains that seem to climb straight up to the sky. When we drove through there were mists clinging to the mountain sides, haloing the tops and covering the valleys, it was beautiful. I am keenly fond of mountains. And it is only about five hours away.

Since it is right next to Ohio we decided to try it. We found several state parks with cabins and lakes made for kayaking. So, we are off. In June, sometime we are headed to WV to relax, kayak, and check out the area. I am excited to try something new, new sights, new places, a chance to immerse ourselves in different cultures, foods, and scenery. 

With that in mind I decided we needed a travel mascot. This little guy was trapped on a window in Portsmouth, and we liberated him.  He is traveling with us from now on.

Of course we still have the Traveling Sunnies show, thanks to Trina Emmerson.  

And, if you have been paying attention I am dedicated to making videos of all our trips, and we need a good introduction. So, this morning I spent a ridiculous amount of time making this opening. I borrowed most of it from the Grateful Dead movie, because I love the Grateful Dead. 


 
I remember one empty night in a cheap motel in Kansas, run down after a long day of construction work on a farm where they raised swine. We were building a new barn. I smelled even after the shower, I stunk for days afterward. Years later I still remember that smell. I was sore from toting heavy crap through the mud and offal. It was a very bleak night, and I was questioning the decisions I had made to get there.

Flipping through the channel there was an Uncle Sam Skeleton riding a chopper through a wild cartoon scene. I lit a joint and watched the movie and life was ok for awhile.  I still love that movie. The next day was awful, as was every day until we finished that small building in that smelly, muddy place, but for one evening, in one dumpy little room life seemed ok. 

Here is my intro video.