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Archive for Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jest for Grins: Absolute truths for travelers

September 6, 2009

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You might say husband Ray and I have itchy feet and — whether we scratch that itch by air, sea or land — as long as our money holds out, we plan to travel. During the last year, we’ve put 43,000 miles on our car, cruised the ocean and taken more flights than intended when the plane on the first leg of a recent trip developed mechanical problems. While I admit I’m no expert on traveling, I have learned some absolute truths for travelers that I’m willing to share.

• A five-hour flight from Kansas City to Seattle can turn into a 17-hour combined airport wait and detours to Los Angeles and Sacramento before arriving in Seattle too late to visit the Space Needle.

• Using the restroom on a plane is as easy as dancing in a shoebox.

• When flying a carrier with open seating, it is perfectly OK to approach a slender, clean-smelling person standing in line and offer them the aisle seat next to you (assuming that your spouse, like mine, prefers the window seat).

• Even with slender, clean-smelling persons on either side of you, the middle seat on an airplane is not the most desirable place to sit.

• Alaska Airlines will sell you a cheeseburger for $6. (This is FYI only, not a recommendation, because I didn’t buy one.)

• Cruise ships have fantastic cheeseburgers. (I didn’t try one but my sister who did says so.)

• Food on a cruise ship is FREE unless you go to a specialty restaurant where you pay a cover charge (we did, and it was worth doing ONCE).

• It is possible to be seasick when waves are designated as “slight.” (Who knew the ocean has swells that rock the boat like a carnival ride?)

• If you are subject to seasickness, you can eat as much dessert as you want without gaining weight.

• On your knees in front of the Porcelain God is the only place to be when you’re seasick.

• Cruise ships have casinos for the same reason Las Vegas does (you lose, they win).

• By the time you snap the picture shown on your camera’s view screen, the whale is below the surface and the moose is behind the tree (the bear you actually capture on film turns out to be a bush).

• When traveling with a sister who wants to visit the old Skagway, Alaska, cemetery where Soapy Smith is buried, DON’T DO IT! (The mile walk isn’t worth it, and Soapy doesn’t care one way or the other.)

• Fairbanks is a fun Alaskan city to visit. (What’s not to love about a sternwheeler river cruise, having lunch in Soapy Smith’s restaurant and staying in a cabin on the river at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge?)

• Nothing says “Welcome Home” like the first glimpse of your car in the airport’s economy parking lot.

• Your car is a little piece of home on a road trip.

• On highways, only owners of motorhomes know exactly what bed they’ll be sleeping in at night.

• It is not smart to read an article that bedbugs have been discovered in nice hotels just before you embark on a long road trip.

• When you travel by car, you don’t have to confine each piece of luggage to 50 pounds.

• However, once home, you must wash every item of clothing in your suitcase … even the 50 percent you never wore.

• Long ago, Great-aunt May wrote this question in my autograph book: “Why travel when the sky is blue all over?”

So far, her assumption of worldwide sky color has been correct. It’s been blue every place we’ve traveled, but we’re still checking it out. We plan to see if the sky is blue in Georgia in October. And in November, we’ll check out the sky over Disney World. I figure if it’s a different color anywhere, that will be the place!

— Marsha Henry Goff is a freelance writer in Lawrence whose latest book is “Human Nature Calls.”

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